The 2015 sitting of Junior Tynwald has been distinguished by outstanding contributions.
Organised by the Isle of Man branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in association with the Department of Education and Children the sitting was held on Monday July 20th when Year 12 students from the Island’s five state secondary schools assumed the roles of Members of the House of Keys and the Legislative Council to debate a range of topics from progress on equalising LBGT rights to tackling teenage mental health issues.
Two motions were tabled. The Hon Member for Ayre, Mr Bradley Layton, (Ramsey Grammar School) moved: ‘That Junior Tynwald believes it is time for government back offices to be moved from Douglas and distributed to the north’, while the Hon Member for Douglas East Mr Peter Smith (St Ninian’s High School) moved: ‘That Junior Tynwald believes that the role of the Lieutenant Governor should be abolished.’ Both motions prompted lively debate and saw Mr Smith seize the opportunity to employ the word ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’ (best defined as the act of determining something/someone to be worthless). Both motions failed.
The sitting concluded, the President of Tynwald, the Hon Clare Christian, congratulated the students on an ‘excellent morning of debate’, notably the confidence with which the Members had posed supplementary questions and responded to points made during the course of the debates.
Representing Rushen was Adele Harris of Castle Rushen High School who said: ‘I enjoyed the experience. It was interesting to hear different sides of a debate and to observe the parliamentary process.’ Joshua Cushing from Queen Elizabeth II High School represented Peel. He said Junior Tynwald had been ‘a fantastic experience’, not least the opportunity to pose supplementary questions. Ballakermeen High School’s Max Fleurbaay, who served on the Legislative Council, found the process of debate interesting and emerged firmly in favour of upholding the formal traditions of parliamentary procedures in Tynwald. Fellow student Rubee Mellon, however, who represented Douglas South, felt it time to review the traditional elements of the proceedings but, with her interest in politics, found participating in Junior Tynwald valuable. Also from Ballakermeen High School was Ellie Mason, who represented Douglas South and believed British politics had much to learn from Tynwald, especially in terms of Hansard’s use of voice recognition technology.
The 2015 Outstanding Participant Award went to Bradley Layton. Presenting the award Madam President complimented him on his skill in putting forward ‘constructive’ arguments and in summing up the debate so competently. Also commended were Adele Harris and Peter Smith for their ‘spontaneous’ and well presented contributions.
Receiving his award Mr Layton paid tribute to fellow mover Mr Smith and said: ‘I enjoy politics but having to respond off the cuff to supplementary questions was initially nerve-racking. I was surprised, but of course, delighted to have been selected for this award and found the whole experience extremely interesting.’
CPA Isle of Man branch chairman Hon Juan Watterson MHK said: ‘It was great to witness the level of interest shown by the students in such a wide range of issues. Witnessing Junior Tynwald it’s clear students gain not only insight into the business of parliament but also find it valuable in terms of achieving personal goals. The standard of debate was, as always, outstanding. Junior Tynwald continues to go from strength to strength.’
Photographs courtesy of Paul Dougherty, Tynwald Seneschal.
For further information:
Deputy Clerk of Tynwald
Legislative Buildings, Douglas, IM1 3PW
Tel: (01624) 685500