In September, I circulated a letter of introduction, which I hope may have persuaded you to consider supporting me in the forthcoming Election.
Just to remind you, I am a serving Manager with the Isle of Man Bank, a thirty-three year career I shall end if elected in November. I am Manx born and have lived in Onchan all my life. I am married to Norma and live in Birch Hill Grove where our daughters Nicola and Amy have been brought up.
My leisure and community pursuits are many and varied and for the last five years I have represented you as a member of Onchan District Commissioners, occupying the position of Chairman of the Board last year. This has given me a taste for politics, which I wish to develop and progress in the House of Keys where I believe I can make a positive contribution.
There are opportunities and problems facing the Island and on the next three pages you will find my thoughts and views on the main issues.
The economic scene. Our major challenge is to maintain and build on the economic success we have enjoyed in recent years. The situation needs careful handling however, as our infrastructure is not maintaining pace with economic growth. This impacts on our quality of life and finding the right balance is essential.
Many of you are concerned at the spending commitment Government has made to capital schemes and the consequential effects a downturn in the economy may bring. We are well aware how quickly situations can change. To guard ourselves, we must be prudent to ensure we work within our budgets and receive value for money.
Too much has been wasted in recent years. How much has been spent for instance discussing the incinerator over the last decade without a brick being laid? Without doubt our infrastructure must be updated, but with a tighter rein on spending and more accountability. We require better co-ordination between departments, a diverse economy and a positive approach to decision making.
Education. Education on the Island is in good shape, particularly in Onchan, where we have two quality primary schools. In a few years time, they will be joined by a new secondary school at Bemahague, an appropriate site for this purpose offering the potential for much needed youth sports facilities.
The outcome of this years Teacher Survey highlighted low morale due to excessive bureaucracy and new initiatives. We must listen to and address these concerns to free teachers from needless administration work. Fundamentally teachers enjoy teaching. It should be a satisfying job, but consistent support and encouragement is required to help them achieve their objective.
The recent increase in staffing arrangements should help. It is important however that we re-think the best way of delivering the educational process and ideas may be available from the Scottish and Welsh systems where some of these problems have already been addressed.
Health and Social Security. Built at vast expense, our new hospital is nearing completion with the challenge now to ensure it operates successfully. Unbelievably however, stories of lack of space are emerging and these should be brought into the open. Health is important to all and I welcome the provision of a new diabetic centre and the introduction of a formalised complaint procedure.
A concern to many families is the unfairness of accommodation costs for nursing and residential care. Thrifty residents often see a lifetimes savings evaporate when faced with these costs and I believe help to reduce this burden should be considered.
Law and Order. Law and order is an issue of major importance and many older residents see their values of the world turned upside down by anti-social behaviour. CCTV helps in fighting crime, as do neighbourhood watch schemes, but primarily the public need the reassurance of reliable, efficient policing and this must be the overriding aim.
At election time the usual cry is "lets have more police on the beat"- but I believe our requirement is more effective policing. Politicians, judiciary and police must work in partnership to achieve this. Legislation is needed to enable the system of arrest, prosecution and punishment to function more effectively, to improve protection for both the public and police officers on duty.
Sentences must be realistic. How often are offenders freed from prison after serving only a fraction of their time? What sort of message does this give them? Wrong doers should fear the law. Now it is more a case of the law-abiding citizen living in fear than the villain. Offenders have a choice, behave or accept the consequences!
Finance. Our economy nowadays is dominated by finance; a well regulated, sophisticated international industry embracing banking, insurance and shipping. Although you may feel we have too many eggs in this one basket, at present, there is no alternative capable of generating the income it provides. In view of this we need to do all we can to ensure the industry continues to prosper.
Without doubt it saved the Islandís economy following the collapse of our former bread winning industry, mass tourism, and is a story of success providing Tynwald with the spending power to rebuild the Islandís infrastructure.
Tourism. Although the days of mass tourism are over, the Island has superb scenery and attractions for those who appreciate its natural beauty. This year has been difficult for the industry, but the future for tourism is bright as we cater well for niche markets and special events.
None are more special than the U and MGP races and I am confident that next year, anticipation and enthusiasm will have heightened and the events will return as strong as ever.
A step forward for tourism is the yacht marina in Douglas. Long overdue, it will be interesting to observe its progress and, if successful, further development should be considered for other ports around the Island.
Agriculture. Farming has had a rough time in recent years with poor returns, in spite of high production. Animal health issues have added to the difficulties although, hopefully, the situation is improving. Support is needed however if we want to encourage less intensive methods of food production and quality environmental stewardship.
This will help maintain the attractiveness of our rural countryside and the strategic role agriculture plays in our economy. Greater consumption of Manx produce is something we can all do to boost our farming industry and help maintain its capacity for self sufficiency.
Housing. In my banking work as a mortgage lender, I am well aware of the difficulties of the housing market and with two daughters in their twenties, have personal concerns should they themselves eventually wish to become home owners.
Although solutions are in place, these raise their own problems as there is considerable resistance to mass building programme's and grant assistance tends to inflate house prices. What other answers might be available?
An additional, simple solution may be to introduce a voluntary scheme to use the Islandís housing stock to greater advantage by building homes for "last time buyers". Around our Island, many older residents live in homes, which, for various reasons, are now a burden to them. With the right incentives they may welcome an opportunity to move to more appropriate, modern accommodation which they could own or rent, freeing their own property for qualifying, first time buyer residents.
Environment. "O Gem of Gods Earth" is the second line of our anthem, which, I believe, provides a standard we must maintain. Few places can rival the Isle of Man as a place to live, and just as previous generations have cared for the Island, we too are trustees of our landscape and coastline. The on-going challenge, therefore, is to effectively, manage the problems modern day life presents, by thoughtfully planning our housing needs, managing traffic, sewerage and refuse disposal.
As far as the latter is concerned, I support the "reduce, re-use, recycle" principle with the remainder being incinerated. Refuse is not a trendy subject, but the inescapable fact is we produce far too much of it, and until we reach the point where, nationally, manufacturers/retailers are compelled to adopt a more imaginative approach to packaging, the problem will continue. As an environmental gesture, I am therefore providing only one manifesto per household.
In the case of traffic, I support improved bus services, more bus shelters, cycle ways and encouraging people to return to living closer to their work place.
Onchan Issues. I firmly believe as a district, Onchan must retain its independence and it is pleasing that, in spite of population growth, a healthy community spirit survives. This is helped by the many local clubs and societies such as the scouts, guides, bowling, heritage, women'sí institutes, pensioners, and football (both senior and the thriving new junior section) to name but a few.
For recreational purposes I support development and improvement of our countryside footpaths and, with appropriate funding, want more responsibilities such as street cleaning and hedge trimming handed over to Onchan Commissioners.
As far as building development is concerned, the clear message I hear and share is "Onchan has had enough," and I remain opposed to further mass development in our district.
There are however, two exceptions. Firstly, resolving the eyesore in the Main Road known as the "Bounty House Site" and secondly finding suitable locations from which local tradesmen can operate their businesses. The lack of garages and builders store areas, is a major frustration to them, and deserves greater consideration.
For the elderly, I welcome more purpose built homes, but consider locations should be carefully chosen with convenient access to shops, transport and other amenities.
Finally, Onchan must retain an adequately manned police station. In my view, the police establishment to serve the district is under strength and nowadays, seeing a sergeant has become a rarity. A review of the local policy is needed.
Although not exhaustive, the foregoing are some of my views, but what about my principles, what makes me tick?
I am a straightforward person with time honoured values. I welcome competition and fair play and support the principle of "freedom of the individual", provided it does not spoil things for others.
I dislike inconsiderate behaviour, excessive "red tape" and wasted resources. I like to keep things simple. In public services I want teachers to teach, nurses to nurse and police officers to police.
Onchan Commissioners have given me a good grounding in Local Government. I enjoy meeting people and spend my working life helping members of the public with their problems. Problem solving and decision-making are a major part of my daily routine and I believe my experience in banking would stand me in good stead should you elect me to represent you.
During the last three months, I have tried to see as many of you as possible to discuss issues, an activity I intend to continue until the election. Should we have had difficulty in making contact, or if you require transport on Polling Day please telephone me on 628973 or "e-mail" me at email@example.com
For residents new to Onchan, or first time voters, taking an interest in the political scene is a good way to integrate into the local community. My message to you is please use your vote, it is important and a high poll is a positive reflection of the interest residents take in their district.
In this election you can vote for up to three candidates. Your support in placing an X against my name will be greatly appreciated.
Published By Adrian Earnshaw
Printed via the IoM Elections Website. www.iomelections.com
REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT 1995