Mark Kemp has thrown his hit into the ring for this year’s General Election, contesting the constituency of Rushen.
In a statement announcing his candidacy, Mr Kemp said: ‘We live on a beautiful island and can travel a short distance and be walking or cycling in the hills or swimming in our seas. We have a finance centre, our own fisheries and farming sectors and we have our own government so in theory, we can choose our own destiny and make the future whatever we want it to be. In theory.
‘Unfortunately, we have had to suffer through administrations more interested in withholding information, that haven’t seized the initiative when they needed to and have failed to reform, or mend broken elements of the public purse and the civil service. Cabals have formed along with silo mentality and it feels more like this island belongs to senior civil servants and the Council of Ministers rather than us, the stakeholders, ratepayers and taxpayers, so I want to help you to reclaim your island from years of ineffective and laissez faire, often expensive departmental practice, an inadequate budget process, cronyism, and members of the House and passive Ministers who are unwilling to rock the boat and who look the other way with regards to poverty, mental health and the failings of social services. I want to help you reclaim our island from those who offer platitudes about the biosphere but don’t seek to protect it.
‘We have some well-meaning and invested politicians, but we also have self-interested ones who make big promises every five years and fail to deliver for the Isle of Man. Juxtapose the latter with the work I have undertaken for you behind the scenes and on my own time for fifteen plus years and the savings to you, the taxpayer, as a result of my investigations. In addition to that work, I help where I can within our local community and I want to do more so I am asking you, the good people of Rushen to put your faith in me so that I can help deliver a brighter future for you and for everyone across the Isle of Man, and for the generations still to come.
‘I ran in the 2016 General Election, falling short by a swing vote of 55, and you may recall some of my revelations about population decline, students not returning, a lack of vocational training, the failing by DESC (not teachers) of circa 30% of every GCSE cohort, Salisbury Care Home, Vision Nine, a lack of ongoing diversification in the economy and the need to reform the budget process. My revelations weren’t well received with certain individuals within the corridors of power and in places where decisions that affect livelihoods are made. At the last election, I was a teacher. . .now I’m not. I’m working in finance once more, but I am undeterred, standing before you again, and I won’t be bullied into keeping quiet or toeing the line.
‘You are all stakeholders – you have an interest in, and can either affect or be affected by what happens to the Isle of Man – and you have a voice. Don’t just make it heard on September 23rd, ask questions now, keep submitting FOI requests and keep up public pressure on environmental issues, spending practices and capital project outlays, the state of our roads and the education of our children and grandchildren. Our youth demographic has a voice and it is one that many of the incumbents fear. . .I’m calling on our youth to make their voices heard at this election.
‘There’s much that the next House and Council of Ministers need to quickly get right and look out for because right now there are imploding capital projects with exploding costs, a runaway pension blackhole, committees galore but no real action from them (see the report on Lord Lisvane’s review as an example), a lack of affordable housing, bullying within the civil service, and we aren’t future proofing the Isle of Man for the threats we are facing; G7 and Europe’s sword of Damocles wary gaze at our 0/10 tax regime, ongoing No Deal Brexit issues and pandemic fallout and the threats yet to come.
‘Despite everything, there are sure to be opportunities and industrial revolutions and we must be well placed to capitalise. Indeed, as an island, we have the building blocks and the means to be successful. . .we have some very intelligent and hard working people within our civil and public services, we have our own fisheries and farming sectors and we can become world class in healthcare and education. All the while, we can be attracting people to live here and enjoy our free mountain air and the stunning vistas of the Isle of Man, as we do every day, but we do need to get a grip on the housing market and create opportunities for everyone to purchase a home, not just those that can afford to grow an investment portfolio of real estate.
‘If elected, I will work hard to prevent the sins of past administrations being repeated and I’m sure we all want an end to “lessons have been learned” rhetoric, so let’s actually debrief on the good and the bad and improve practice instead. No more reactive Government and policy, let’s be proactive. I propose that the next House seize the day and bring back hope to our population by spending your money efficiently and in a transparent and accountable manner (this should be a given), by embracing our youth demographic and listening to them, and by saying “yes, we have problems with poverty, homelessness and mental health but we want to tackle them with vigour and help those who are struggling”, not look the other way and hush people who want to address these issues.
‘In summary, we need a sustainable island with a constantly diversifying economy, we need education reform and budget reform. We need to engage with our youth demographic and focus on the mental health of our population. All of this will require reform within the civil service and the breaking down of silos and cabals.
‘I want us to create jobs and build affordable, ecologically responsible homes and make the Island a destination of choice for companies, tourists, and for our students to return to. I also want us to be serious about protecting our biosphere and ensure that the energy requirements of the future are sustainably met.
‘I have lived in Rushen for most of my life and currently reside in Port St Mary. Rushen is a stunningly picturesque part of the Island and has much potential still to be realised. During the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, you, my friends, neighbours and fellow parishioners throughout Rushen showed how magnificent you are by pulling together to help each other. Your community spirit is something I am immensely proud of.
‘In return for that community spirit, you, the good people of Rushen deserve to be represented by someone with integrity who will fight for you. You deserve a leader and someone that is undeterred by the establishment. You deserve someone who will push for a brighter future and not bend to the will of those who would seek to subvert democracy and waste taxpayers’ money. I believe I am the right person to represent you. I have only ever asked for a public mandate, I have never tried to get in via the back door as an MLC voted in by Tynwald members. I am asking you once more for your trust, and for the honour of representing you.Vote Kemp in the 2021 General Election and reclaim your island. All the best my friends.’
Mr Kemp joins Dr Michelle Heywood and Andrew Langan-Newton in declaring their intention to stand in Rushen. The two current MHKs Laurence Skelly and Juan Watterson are expected to face off to replace Steve Rodan as President of Tynwald. Mr Skelly has also confirmed that if he does not win the contest to be President he will retire from Tynwald while Mr Watterson has said if he is unsuccessful then he will seek re-election.
The General Election is on September 23, if you’re planning to vote make sure you’re registered and if you’re planning to stand, make sure to let Get know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.