I know this is quite a strong statement to make, but I don’t think I have ever been more disappointed in our Government than I am at this moment. To see such a degree of disrespect coming from our Chief Minister is something I never thought to see.
It is the single most important duty of an elected representative to ensure that they are always acting in the best interests of the people, and to ensure that others are doing the same. At the end of the day, being an elected representative means being accountable to the people, and being held to account by your fellow representatives. As an extension to this, it is the role of those not in government, to hold the government to account. In a democracy, this is the role of the opposition.
Now, this inevitably will lead to disagreements, over policy enacted, over decisions made and over services delivered. But these disagreements should always be handled in a professional manner, after all – everyone is ostensibly working towards the same goals right?
So to see our Chief Minister refer to the attempts by a fellow MHK, Kate Beecroft, to ensure that a Minister of his Government is being held accountable as “silly games this woman is playing” is shocking. “This woman” is an elected representative of the people, doing her job by trying to hold to account a Minister who may have deliberately mislead our national parliament and the people of our Island nation. Was this remark a deliberate attempt to denigrate Mrs Beecroft by implying that as a woman she is not to be taken seriously, and is only capable of “silly games”? I dread to think that this may be the case.
Focusing on the issue at hand, which is quite frankly what the Chief Minister should have been doing rather than trying to score political points, the most fundamental point seems to have been missed. The Chief Minister himself says the public want government to “find solutions to problems” , but without MHK’s questioning in public how will we even become aware of the problems in the first place? I would suggest that the amount of political activity surrounding Nobles hospital has only come about as a result of the very public disclosures made by Mrs Beecroft.
In a political system where everything is “confidential” and information is tightly held and controlled how, aside from leaking this “confidential” information, are the public to be made aware of what is really going on?
To suggest the claims being made are “not appropriate” is quite simply ridiculous. If a Minister is deliberately misleading Tynwald, what is more appropriate than to call him to account? This is exactly the role of the Opposition politician! I’m starting to think our Chief Minister doesn’t really understand how a democracy is supposed to work…
The Chief Minister also suggests that the sections of the report that have been released were “selected to score political points”. This shows a complete lack of understanding as to why the report was released in the first instance, or is a deliberate attempt to distract people from the real argument at hand. The aim of releasing this information was to show that there were areas within the report that gave rise to concern, to show that the Minister had deliberately misled Tynwald as to the contents of the report. In all honesty, the focus of the report (Colorectal Surgery) is not really relevant, although as it relates to the Public Health this does add a degree of severity. The important point is that the statements made by the Minister for Health do not reflect the content of the report, and that is what really gives cause for concern.
How can we be living in a real democracy when our Parliament is being lied to? Where our elected representatives are being misled, preventing them from doing the job we elected them to do, who is supposed to hold the Government to account?
See the entire interview at – Chief Minister Interview
Along with Kate’s responses –