Douglas North By-Election – Candidates 2015

Having watched all three Candidates videos for the upcoming Douglas North By-Election I thought I’d share my thoughts on the three hopefuls.

David Ashford

David came across pretty well – which is exactly what i’d expect from him as a seasoned campaigner and Douglas Councillor. Aside from generally repeating a number of common concerns being raised (not a lot of new or original ideas) the interview didn’t really yield any new information.

The thing that concerns me is that although David intends to vote on principle and won’t support something he disagrees with (plus points), that’s not what he appears to have done in the past.

When talking about the unpopular installation of gas boilers in Willaston, David comments “As Chairman [of the housing committee] I had to bring this forward“. This doesn’t sound like David supported that move – but he was required by his position to present the case to Council. Surely, if he didn’t support this action, and was truly standing by his principles, he should have resigned as Chairman of Housing, rather than propose a measure he personally didn’t support?

David’s other interesting comment is that he believes there are too many Government Departments. This is an interesting take on reducing the Scope of Government and i’d ask which Department he thinks should be removed? There is already a great deal of centralisation within Government – does David think increasing the amount of control individual Ministers have is a good thing?

At any rate, surely this is just moving the deckchairs about and the real way of downsizing Government is to look at the services it provides and how it provides them – rather than just reshuffling staff between Departments?

Finally, David makes a big deal of his “independence” – yet we’ve all seen that independents can’t push through the significant and potentially radical changes that will be needed. The first Minister for Policy and Reform resigned because he couldn’t make it work. How does David think he will succeed where all other independents have failed?

For me David Ashford is very much still thinking like the “old guard” – and won’t be able to deliver the change we all feel is needed.

Ralph Peake

One thing strikes me from this interview – Ralph is a very confused individual. There are a lot of buzzwords – “open” “transparent”, but really not a lot of substance or explanations here.

Ralph mentions that there are a “lot of important issues” – but when questioned by Paul Moulton – he doesn’t seem to be able to think of any.

Ralph also has a lot of things he wants to do – and a lot of things that have happened that he feels were unjust – but again doesn’t seem to be able to pin any down.

He does mention that he believes over 75’s should all get a free TV licence – and there’s an important point here. In Ralphs literature he states “I believe TV Licences for [sic] should be free for those over 75”, but when questioned by Paul Moulton on whether this should be Means Tested he states “Means testing would be good, not only for that…” Has he changed his mind in between writing his leaflet and speaking on MTTV?

Is Mr Peake already reneging on his election promises?

Ralph Peake doesn’t seem to have any ideas of his own – and freely admits it to Paul Moulton. Is this really what we want from someone representing our National Interest?

Maire Booth (LibVan)

Clearly I’m going to be a little biased here (as Maire is the LibVan candidate) – but i’ll try to be fair.

Maire is clearly passionate about her beliefs, which is not something that came across from the other two interviews. Maire was also the only Candidate interviewed who clearly spelled out some specific policies. She was also the only Candidate to clearly state her accountability to the electorate.

Maire has a clear advantage in that if elected, she will add to the existing LibVan MHK’s and will strengthen that already powerful grouping within Tynwald and I think this comes across in her comments.

I did have a mild panic when Maire used the word “cuts” and I wondered where she was going with it – but I quickly realised she was talking about rejigging the way the budget works. This may be the main weakness for Maire, she’s not a slick political operative like David, and the voters may try to see deeper meaning behind her comments.

Voters aren’t very often confronted with that rarest of animals – an honest, straightforward politician.

See my thoughts on Douglas South at http://wp.me/p2MVsk-2Z

Links –

http://www.manx.net/tv/mt-tv/watch/71891/douglas-north-david-ashford

http://www.manx.net/tv/mt-tv/watch/71886/douglas-north-ralph-peake

http://www.manx.net/tv/mt-tv/watch/71890/douglas-north-maire-booth

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