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Review looks for ways to "do better" with elections process


gettafa
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Manx Radio

Our Tel was at it on Manx Radio this morning.

He did suggest that Advocates are "trustworthy" (but to be fair, only in the same way as local authority clerks are).

Now don't get me wrong, there are some very nice and pleasant and decent advocates. Some of my best friends are ...etc.

But of all the people I know, from the barrack room to the boardroom to the bar room, the must distrustful I have ever known have been....advocates.

Lying, conniving, cheating, greedy, duplicitous, smarmy. I could go on.

 

 

Edited by gettafa
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32 minutes ago, gettafa said:

Manx Radio

He did suggest that Advocates are "trustworthy" (but to be fair, only in the same way as local authority clerks are).

 

 

None of them to be trusted. None. Particularly the latter, as recently proven. Not further than they could be excreted, anyway.

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The real question though isn't about integrity - it's about competence.  I'll repeat a comment I made to a question of yours on a thread about two weeks ago:

On 11/12/2019 at 11:17 AM, gettafa said:

Why the Isle of Man insist on always using advocates as returning offices we will never know.

On 11/12/2019 at 12:58 PM, Roger Mexico said:

It's historical.  Normally (for example in the UK) elections will be organised by full-time staff of the local authority or authorities that make up the constituency.  But in the Island there are some Parishes that don't have any such staff so the old tradition of lawyers running elections was retained[1].  You also see this in some LA elections for Parishes in the rare cases where there actually a contested election, though most elections for LAs are now run by the staff.

Up to 2016 at least one constituency (Ayre, but maybe Glenfaba as well) was still made up of Parishes without full-time staff, so there was a sort of excuse and it was left in the hands of advocates.  The problem is that their management of them is ... variable, shall we say.  Not helped by the fact that it is not always a profession where competence and self-confidence are positively correlated.  Certainly last time there was one complete disaster (Ayre and Michael), another near miss at best (Garff) and a number of other cases of things not being done well.  Though the refusal of Tynwald to face this reality didn't help.

There's now no reason why the responsibility shouldn't be transferred to the LAs, with central government funding and perhaps some training help from the professional organisation in the UK.  It would mean some continuity (last time half the ROs were new to the job) and there would be an office in each constituency (except Douglas being shared) where people could go for queries and maybe early voting.

 

[1]  Presumably, prior to the 1980s, when advocates were much fewer in number and their pockets less stuffed with finance sector fees, it was also a nice occasional source of income. (I think the current fee is £10,000).  Though nowadays John W reckoned they lose money on it.

The real question about this announcement is "Why now?".  There's less than two years to the next election and there won't be time to have a consultation, analyse it, produce reports, write and pass legislation,  produce regulations and all the rest.  The right time to start all this was back in 2017 after the Tynwald Report on the 2016 election was published.

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Good to see that IOMG is prioritising its resources.

I'd hate them to concentrate on poverty, overstaffing, cronyism, the public sector black hole, potholes and inept road 'improvements', flooding mitigation, ferry prices and policies, and a failed health system.

At least we'll not be having MHK's serving jail sentences any more, and that's probably always been a huge problem.

Edited by Stu Peters
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On 11/12/2019 at 12:58 PM, Roger Mexico said:

Not helped by the fact that it is not always a profession where competence and self-confidence are positively correlated.  Certainly last time there was one complete disaster (Ayre and Michael), another near miss at best (Garff) and a number of other cases of things not being done well.  Though the refusal of Tynwald to face this reality didn't help.

And many more that go undetected, unreported.

I have worked at polling stations, UK.  Suddenly normally decent people become rogues. If they think they can get away with a few more votes for their chosen politician, they will. The Buster/Douglas East situation is far from isolated - here or UK. (It's just that he took the piss big time, and no one had ever been caught before so he just let the power go to his head and what the hell).

Advocates, I suppose by their very nature, are the very worst people to be given control of this aspect of our society (aye, it was different 100 years ago when they were of the few who could read and write) . They are not known for their accounting skills either. OK, local authority clerks may be even worse, but there must be a better way.

Electronic voting?

 

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48 minutes ago, Donald Trumps said:

Astonishing tho' it may seem Roger, there isn't a single mention of the word 'recall' in that report

Maybe that is why Mr Thomas is raising the issue

To be fair public recall of MHKs is really a separate issue from elections (though I suspect the legal situation after a disputed or false election is far from clear).  But the Report does illustrate just how laggardly they have been about this (section 3):

Quote

At the first regular sitting of Tynwald following the General Election, on 18th October 2016, the Select Committee was established and its members elected. During the debate the Minister for Policy and Reform Mr Thomas said:

a comprehensive root-and-branch review of the electoral legislation is underway already. It was agreed in 2013 that this would be carried out following the 2016 General Election.

It was for this reason that Mr Thomas moved an amendment asking us to report by April 2017, an amendment which was ultimately agreed to by Tynwald

And then they sat on it for two and a half years.  It's possible that Thomas has been trying to get things moving but things have been delayed by the Cabinet Office (who don't come that well out of the Report), the Chief Secretary and Quayle - who is actually the Minister for the Cabinet Office not Thomas.

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2 hours ago, Roger Mexico said:

The real question though isn't about integrity - it's about competence.  I'll repeat a comment I made to a question of yours on a thread about two weeks ago:

The real question about this announcement is "Why now?".  There's less than two years to the next election and there won't be time to have a consultation, analyse it, produce reports, write and pass legislation,  produce regulations and all the rest.  The right time to start all this was back in 2017 after the Tynwald Report on the 2016 election was published.

All correct - it’s a competence issue and, typically, these moves come too late. A number of advocates cocked it up big time at the 2016 General Election. That’s been known for years. Action to bring about improvement should have been taken then. 

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2 hours ago, Donald Trumps said:

Astonishing tho' it may seem Roger, there isn't a single mention of the word 'recall' in that report

Maybe that is why Mr Thomas is raising the issue

The matter of recall is being dealt with separately. It's to do with such as an MHK going to prison (Jeez, when is that going to be happen when the big boys cream off £millions in likes of the MEA heist and the politicians and government put a Nelson's eye to the wrong end of the telescope) and nothing to do with an electorate not being happy withe their elected representative making wrong decisions or whatever.

And even then there needs to be 10% of the voting electorate to sign a petition. Which in some cases is about half of those who can be arsed to vote anyway.

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4 hours ago, gettafa said:

The matter of recall is being dealt with separately. It's to do with such as an MHK going to prison (Jeez, when is that going to be happen when the big boys cream off £millions in likes of the MEA heist and the politicians and government put a Nelson's eye to the wrong end of the telescope) and nothing to do with an electorate not being happy withe their elected representative making wrong decisions or whatever.

And even then there needs to be 10% of the voting electorate to sign a petition. Which in some cases is about half of those who can be arsed to vote anyway.

The recall thing you're suggesting is actually the way in which it is done in the UK (and has been done successfully twice recently).  One of the processes that can trigger it is the MP being given a prison sentence (whether suspended or not) though over a certain length of imprisonment removal from the House of Commons is automatic.  But in the Isle of Man according to section 6 of the Representation of the People Act 1995, any length of sentence will do that:

Quote

6 Vacancy in seat

(1) If any sitting member of the Keys is punished with custody (whether or not suspended) for any offence triable on information, the member’s seat shall be vacant —

(a) if he or she appeals, or applies for leave to appeal, against his or her conviction or sentence, on the determination or withdrawal of
the appeal or, if leave to appeal is refused, on the refusal of such leave;

(b) if he or she does not so appeal or apply, on the expiration of the period within which the appeal or application must be made.

(it's similar to the UK law in that the appeals process has to be exhausted before things start).

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8 hours ago, quilp said:

Compulsory voting, name on the ballot sheet, fines for non-compliance. 

Why would compulsory voting help democracy? I, for one, will not be voting. There is absolutely no merit in dignifying a system where you put a cross against a name on a voting slip when you don't know what the shape of any Government will be, who will lead it or what policies will be adopted or supported, particularly by your preferred candidate. Individual manifestos are worthless. My vote is a valuable commodity and I will not be giving it away to anyone on the basis of precisely nothing guaranteed in return. If a fine was involved I would merely spoil the paper. Pointless exercise whatever way you look at it.

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