In little over three weeks, islanders will go to the polls to pick the 24 people we will blame for everything that goes wrong over the next five years. But before we reach for the nearest pitchfork and declare someone ‘the worst minister ever’, it will be up to those 24 people to pick a Chief Minister.
Without going into the ridiculousness of the situation that We The People can’t be trusted to pick our own leader, the person who will steer the ship, spend OUR money and represent us internationally, it is interesting that so many candidates have been unable to name who they want to see get the top job. I can’t decide if it is indecision, whether they don’t want to miss out on a job if their guy doesn’t win, or just plain cowardice to show their true opinion, but most people stick to the ‘it’s too early to say’ or ‘let’s wait and see who is nominated’ line.
I don’t agree with this position in all honesty as most people who pay a passing notice to Manx politics could tell you right now who the bookies’ favourites are, both are ministers and both are standing in constituencies to the north (and partially west) of the island. There are also rumours of different candidates, one or two from the Douglas areas and even one from the deep south, but everyone is pretty sure the next Chief Minister will be a man.
That isn’t surprising in one aspect, it is assumed people need ministerial experience before taking the top job and as many Gef readers will know we took great delight at labeling the current Council of Ministers as CoMEN due to the complete lack of women anywhere near the top table.
However, I see no reason why the Chief Minister has to have been a minister, if anything it could be a major advantage, they wouldn’t be weighed down by the baggage of previous failings, untethered to their predecessors, they can go off to be their own person with their own leadership style and maybe deliver on some of these vital issues I keep hearing about from candidates.
The simplest way to do this, elect a woman. Now this isn’t some feminist outpouring and I think anyone who comments that in their oh so well thought out musings on social media should actually sit and read what I’m saying. The countries the international community has looked to for how to deal with Covid, led by women, the countries with the best social policies, led by women.
Look around the world, there is Angela Merkel, Nicola Sturgeon, Jacinda Ardern, Kaja Kallas, Sanna Marin, Mette Frederiksen, Mia Mottley, Halimah Yacob, all leading their countries and yet the closest that the Isle of Man, the country which loves to tell people we gave women the vote first, can say to having had a woman at the top of the billing was when Anne Craine served for a short spell as Treasury Minister. In fact the only female minister since 2011 when Mrs Craine lost her seat was former Lib Vannin leader Kate Costain who had little over a year in charge of DHSC. It’s hard to argue against ‘jobs for the boys’ with that fact hanging over CoMen.
This election is our chance, not to pick the leader because we obviously can’t be trusted, but to make it known to candidates that if we want change then we need a new perspective and for me that comes from electing a woman to the top job.