Charlie Shimmins | September 2016
Any month containing a General Election is always going to be an exciting and interesting time for someone who takes a keen interest in Manx politics, but working at the heart of the system in Tynwald itself has been fascinating. Seeing the administration that goes into the changeover of new membership following the election, as well as the level of organisation that goes into even the shortest of sittings has given me a deeper understanding of the processes that make up the Manx political system.
Last month, I wrote a proposal for a new Twitter account from Tynwald, separating live tweeting of proceedings in Chamber from the existing @tynwaldinfo account, which is for news and publications. Working with the team, I was able to get @tynwaldlive up and running in time for the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office to live-tweet the proceedings at the swearing-in of the new House of Keys and the election of the Speaker later that day on the new feed. I’m really glad to be in a position where my ideas for new initiatives can be taken forward and executed.
A particular highlight for me this month was welcoming a delegation of thirteen politicians and staff from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in Pakistan. The delegation came to Tynwald to study the political system of the Isle of Man and learn lessons about good governance and parliamentary practice that can improve their own work. It was great to meet the delegation and help make their visit to the Isle of Man pleasant and memorable. It also offered me a chance to further reflect on some of the finer details of the political system here and how it compares with others.
Much of my time has been dedicated to completing the Tynwald Annual Report, a yearly summary of everything that took place in Tynwald the previous parliamentary year. This year the publication has used new publishing software, and putting the 60+ page document together has been a logistical as well as a technical learning curve for me. The report is now nearly compiled, and I will be particularly proud to see it published in print form, having put so much effort into bringing it to this stage.
Now in my second month in the role, I’m settling into the more routine tasks of the role of being an intern in the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office. I have spent time sitting at the front desk, where I answer telephone calls and deal with face to face enquiries from the public, as well as processing sales from the gift shop. I also continue to hone my tour-guiding abilities, and showing people around the Tynwald chambers is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job. I’m happy to be taking on a wide variety of tasks and am always happy to complete errands, as each gives understanding of a new aspect of work here.
Looking ahead, I’m sure that things are going to get busier once the new House of Keys are settled in and normal parliamentary work resumes. I am looking forward to being involved in committee work and am also looking forward to more opportunities where I can suggest my own ideas and hopefully see them through to fruition.