Nicola Cowsill | September 2015
During my second month here at Tynwald, I have been learning more about the goings-on throughout the year in parliament and the Office of the Clerk of Tynwald.
Every year the Office produces an annual report and I have been helping to write articles for the annual report for the parliamentary year 2014-15. I have been learning what has happened before I started my internship, and it has also excited me to what is to come.
I have started working for the Clerk to the Committee for Social Affairs Policy Review Committee (SAPRC). SAPRC is a Standing Committee in Tynwald and scrutinises the implemented policies of the Government Departments, Department of Health and Social Care; Department of Education and Children; and Department of Home Affairs. I have enjoyed this immensely as I have had to think what evidence the Committee Members could scrutinise to effectively choose their topics.
Twice a week the Library team run scheduled tours of the Chambers within Legislative Buildings. I usually take one of these free public tours, so I wanted to look further into some of the history of the building and the chambers. My favourite fact that I discovered while researching happened when the legislature buildings used to be the Bank of Mona (the bank collapsed in 1878 and in 1879 the building was bought by the Isle of Man Government). I uncovered that the Members’ room, which used to be the Bank’s administration room and safe was the scene of the Great Bank Robbery of 1878. A bank cashier stole nearly £9,000 and went to elaborate lengths to get away with it, the cashier in question was called Mr Alexander William Gray. He told the bank manager that he had been robbed on Peel Road on his way home from the bank, not only did he make up a lie, he also drugged and shot himself to make it seem authentic.
It has been useful to research the history of the building and chambers as in October, the Deputy Clerk of Tynwald and I will be doing a lecture on Tynwald and the differences between the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom, to the Lower Sixth at King William’s College.
This month I have been working on our education programme by starting an education pack for Newly Qualified Teachers. All Newly Qualified Teachers come into legislative buildings for a tour around the chambers at the start of the new school year. We wanted to share what we offer here at the parliament in terms of education for Isle of Man students including our tours, lectures and future educational packs.
I have also been working on the social profile of our youngest team member, Tynwald Ted. Tynwald Ted has an Instagram page @tynwaldted
All the posts on Instagram are designed to inform the younger generation about what we do here at Tynwald. The focus is what happens within Tynwald, and how it affects them. In September, our educational outreach bear has been telling people to register to vote and celebrating International Peace Day.
As my second month comes to an end, I am eager for sittings to restart next month as we had two new members join us in September from the by-elections so I shall see the Members sworn in to the House of Keys.