Douglas South By-Election – Candidates 2015

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

Bill Malarkey

I wasn’t blown away by Bill. As a Douglas Councillor and ex-MHK i’d have expected much more.

The message I took away from this interview was the Bill Malarkey wants to be in Government. He justifies this by saying he doesn’t think that you can help people in opposition. I’d like to point out to Bill, that whilst in “opposition” LibVan MHK’s have managed to persistently and successfully challenge poor Government performance. West Midlands Quality Review? LibVan. Opening up the Sefton affair? LibVan. Later in the interview, Bill is very quick to point out his belief that some policies, such as the Douglas parking charges, were only withdrawn because of action taken by people outside government. Is this the quickest U-Turn in history?

Bill is very much an inside man and it comes across in the language he uses – he’ll do whatever role the Chief Minister think’s he’s best suited for (a worrying statement from anyone claiming to be “independent”). He’ll make the “right decisions for the right people”. Not for all the people?

His strangest statement is that he believes Government are “penalising the wrong people” – so who are the right people to penalise then Bill?

I’ll leave you with this thought – after having spent 8 years in politics the crowning achievement Bill Malarkey chooses to highlight is his success at bringing all alcohol in supermarkets into a single shopping aisle. If only all our elected representatives were so dynamic…..

Bill is very much of the “old guard” – definitely not the sort of person we need to steer the Island through the troubled waters ahead.

Kurt Buchholz

Kurt’s driving factors are education, economy, monopolies, health – but he doesn’t talk about any specific ideas, just broad generalisations. Kurt talks about needing MHK’s with vision, which I wholeheartedly agree with, but then doesn’t manage to show that he has any vision himself. He just makes some rather generic statements, but doesn’t say anything new at all.

Kurt is the first person to admit he doesn’t know how he will pay for these general ideas of his – and with the current financial climate it’s worrying to have someone stand for election who seems to have no handle on spending.

It’s good that Kurt is in favour of clean energy, but again i’m concerned that he doesn’t understand the situation we’re in. The MEA has a substantial amount of debt, and if there were a significant shift in energy policy, not only would we have to pay for the new renewable turbines, but we’d still be paying off this debt. How does Kurt propose to fund this policy?

Kurt standing as an Independent was a bit of a surprise. He’d been involved in LibVan for some time and applied to be the LibVan candidate for Douglas South, being beaten by Keith Fitton for the nomination – so to hear him talk about how he wants to be independent is dishonest to say the least. One month ago he was a committed LibVan party member, now he’s a committed independent. I wonder what he will be committed to next month.

In Kurt’s own words – “I’m a person just standing for myself”. I couldn’t agree more.

Amy Burns

Sadly, Amy didn’t take part in this round of interviews. I would have liked to hear her views and I’m surprised she couldn’t spare the ten minutes from her campaign schedule, especially as all six other candidates managed to.

Keith Fitton (LibVan)

I’ll make the same caveat here as for Douglas North – i’m going to be a biased towards Keith as he’s the LibVan candidate, but again i’ll try to be fair.

Keith is clearly against the “drip, drip, drip” of indirect taxation – by which he is referring to the raft of new charges being introduced by our Government. Unlike the others interviewed he does set out clearly the three options he believes are available. As Keith sees it – More cuts, More tax or Grow the economy (which seems to be his preferred option). I’d add a fourth to this – more efficient Government.

There’s a lot of talk about party politics, being held to account, and creating a more transparent government by fixing collective responsibility – pretty much what I’d expect from a LibVan candidate.

For me though, it was Keith comments about personal risk that I found most compelling. Unlike the other candidates in Douglas South Keith is actually putting his personal finances on the line by standing for election. Both Bill and Kurt run their own businesses, and i’d expect will have a steady income from these to fall back on – and Amy describes herself as a homemaker – so there’s no financial downside for her.

Keith on the other hand will have to resign his job and take a gamble that he will get re-elected in 18 months time – or face unemployment.

So when Keith says “it’s time to put up or shut up”, I feel he is really putting his money where his mouth is.

See my thoughts on Douglas North at http://wp.me/p2MVsk-2P

Links –

http://www.manx.net/tv/mt-tv/watch/71887/douglas-south-bill-malarkey

http://www.manx.net/tv/mt-tv/watch/71889/douglas-south-kurt-buchholz

http://www.manx.net/tv/mt-tv/watch/71888/douglas-south-keith-fitton

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