Yes, we know there have been sittings since the election but this is the first one to start with Alfred Cannan and the entire cabinet bidding to show us whether they will be clowns, lion-tamers or in possession high-wire balancing skills that keep everyone happy.
Or, to choose a simpler analogy with more gravitas, will we, in five years’ time, look back on what was the era of Alfred the Great or something more akin to the tales of The Fast Show’s Unlucky Alf?
They are due to be asked to approve an increase in gas prices by 2.1p per unit, proposed by the Communications and Utilities Regulatory Authority. This is in response to the spiralling costs globally, but with the effect likely to be an extra £45 on monthly gas bills for high users, it is going to lead to fierce debate.
Whether the government can offer anything in support of those badly hit by the increases may be crucial in members approving the hike.
A lot of the items on the agenda are carry overs from the previous administration.
Chris Thomas (Douglas Central) had two such motions, one concerning the future of library services and the other on a register of unoccupied urban sites. However, he will move neither this week.
The latter withdrawal may be to do with the fact he has just been appointed as chairman of a new housing and community board and so it is could well fall within his remit.
The libraries motion, which seeks greater co-operation on libraries and a stronger commitment to support the Family Library, is on hold as he hopes to see a response to the consultation on the future of libraries, while the Family Library team is planning to brief Tynwald members next month.
Mr Thomas does have a new motion down for debate, however, calling on the Council of Ministers to publish a programme setting out its policy agenda, financial plan and legislative programme by December and that it should be produced and debated annually. Those old enough will remember something similar called a Policy Document that gathered, in one place, a reasonably clear outline of policies and spending plans that were then debated.
Some governments are more keen than others to leave themselves open to such a level of scrutiny and accountability.
There are several other motions that hark back to the old days of July, when members ran out of time. The subjects include a general debate on the appointment of a children’s commissioner, time limits for government to respond to queries from Tynwald members, and whether department chief executives should be subject to performance-related pay.
The last of these was tabled initially by Julie Edge, who is now education minister as such will be working closely with a chief executive.
What can we say about Question Time? Not a lot really, other than it will not last very long.
Four of the five questions tabled are in the name of the Liberal Vannin poster boy Lawrie Hooper, who is now health minister. These were placed in advance of his anointment by King Alf and will see the answers converted from oral to written.
At least he didn’t have questions tabled for the health department, because we would have had to demand he we went ahead and asked the question of himself, for us all to see. This is mainly because of the suspicion that the only person Lawrie Hooper would deem worthy adversary in debate would be Lawrie Hooper.However, we wish him well and won’t mention what happened politically to the last LibVan health minister, or a certain LV education minister before that.
The subjects raised by Mr Hooper include changes to the employed persons’ alliance, a progress report on the Liverpool landing stage, public sector housing, and student access to the UK’s Turing Scheme for international opportunities in education.
That leaves only one question tabled for oral answer. Ann Corlett (Douglas Central) will ask new Justice and Home Affairs Minister Jane Poole-Wilson when provisions under the Domestic Abuse Act, Sexual Offences and Obscene Publication Act and Justice Reform Act will be put in place.