The last Tynwald sitting of the current administration starts today and, looking at the agenda, who knows when it will end?
Of course, we must firstly insert a caveat about whether this will be the last sitting of Tynwald before the general election as, if the past 18 months have taught us anything, it is not to take anything for granted. With the constantly evolving Covid situation, an emergency sitting in the coming weeks is not something that can be ruled out.
As you would imagine, however, with the final scheduled sitting of a five-year administration, there is a lot to get through.
Heading the order paper, of course, is the election of a new President of Tynwald, to replace the retiring Steve Rodan.
The irony that the majority of votes cast on this will come from MHKs who may or may not be around parliament in a couple of months’ time is probably not lost on everyone.
But it might be on some.
The nation waits with bated breath.
As for the order paper, there are many, many issues to be dealt with including the select committee report on poverty. There has been a lot of talk about tackling poverty emanating both from the government and Tynwald in general.
Critics might suggest the amount of talk has not been matched by the amount of action - an accusation that has been levelled at this Tynwald over a number of issues - whether that will still be the case at the end of this particular debate, we shall see.
Mental health is another area where the calls for more action are building.
Again this is due to be discussed this week. Again we shall see whether subsequent action matches political rhetoric.
The Chief Constable’s report is down for consideration, which does provide a helpful opportunity for electioneering Tynwaldistas to come up with some useful slogans about law and order.
Other reports due for consideration include the regulation of milk and the running of the meat plant.
Towards the end of the sitting, some favourite topics are resurrected by grizzled warriors.
Juan Watterson, if he is not being fitted for a new wig by this stage, will re-engage in his battle to reform the budget process, Julie Edge (Onchan) wants performance related targets for senior civil servants, former children’s champion Daphne Caine (Garff) wants a debate on whether to have a children’s commissioner and Chris Thomas (Douglas Central) wants action on urban regeneration.
The final scheduled item on the agenda, for a debate on the management of capital projects, definitely cannot fall under the banner of possible electioneering.
It has come from Chris Robertshaw, who is not defending his Douglas East seat. He may have something to say about the large and seemingly never-ending capital project that has blighted his constituency, though.
As for the question paper, putting aside the ever-increasing likelihood that there will be tabled a late, emergency question that we haven’t seen yet, there are 90 already down for asking.
It’s impossible to list them all here. Or even summarise. Scores may be settled, points may be made and, sometimes, the answers may even bear some semblance to the original question asked. Just like every other sitting.
At some stage, the Tynwald members will head off into the sunset. And we can spend some weeks pondering whether the current batch of MHKS are/were as good as:
a) They think they are.
b) They thought they would be when setting out five years ago.
Answers on a postcard please.