Jason Moorhouse: I am in a unique position

Monday 16th May 2022 3:41 pm
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Jason Moorehouse MHK for Castletown for Paul Speller features on new MHK's. (Johnston Press )

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Every week, an MHK writes for the Isle of Man Examiner.

This column, written by Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Jason Moorhouse, appeared in he May 10 edition of the paper.

The most extreme economic challenges for half a century are now being experienced by island residents and businesses.

It is vitally important that key decision makers remain fully aware of this and take the appropriate actions.

To facilitate this, my focus is on continuing to be a very accessible, community MHK, with a desire to hear and reflect the views of the people of Arbory, Castletown and Malew.

I have weekly drop in surgeries, visit local businesses and the commissioners on a regular basis and attend as many public events as possible.

I make extensive use of Facebook to share my thoughts and provide an extended month-end update.

There are challenging issues in the constituency around the development of the Airport Technology Gateway, the new school at Castle Rushen High School and the Southern Swimming Pool. These must be pushed forward.

In Tynwald they often fail to recognise the importance of such projects, but your MHKs are eager to keep these challenges at the forefront of their thoughts.

Readers will know about the questions I ask government ministers, but that is ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

A significant amount of my time is allocated to helping resolve issues experienced by constituents and working ‘behind the scenes’ to help move things forward.

Recently, I have been instrumental in the adoption of Bus Vannin’s one-way system, resolving a significant challenge at the Southern Pool and asking the Department of Education, Culture and Sport to consider agreeing to buy a piece of land from the neighbouring landowner for what appears to be a realistic price.

I am a politician in a unique position – a backbencher in their second term with no delegated powers, who assisted Alfred Cannan as he campaigned to be chief minister and who sits at his right-hand side in Keys and Tynwald.

Continuing as a backbencher with no ties has been an incredible experience; it gives me complete freedom to ask, to nudge and to get things done.

During the previous parliament, I had delegated powers in Infrastructure and DHSC.

To be at the boardroom table in those departments as Covid-19 struck and the chief minister demanded that things should be done in a different way, increased the role of some politicians.

Having that additional responsibility at such an important time was an incredible privilege.

Following the first lockdown, I resigned from the Department of Infrastructure; being in the department was an honour, but I realised that I could challenge effectively and achieve more from outside.

Within the department change is slow and often difficult. However, when a Tynwald member asked a question that would receive an instant reaction, the relevant officers had to review the area and it was discussed at the boardroom table.

That knowledge and my desire to remain on the Economic Policy Review Committee made it easier to decline offers to join departments.

To belong is nice, but it can quickly become very comfortable.

In my second term, I am acutely aware of the speed at which time shifts.

We are already almost 20% of the way through this parliament!

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