The announcement of Alf Cannan’s new administration has delivered some surprises. With some allies and opponents brought into the Council of Ministers, he can’t be accused of bringing in a team of yes men and women. 

Mr Cannan unveiled his gov this lunchtime and has since introduced them all to the media at a brief conference held this afternoon. For anyone who has missed it, they are:

  • Kate Lord-Brennan – Cabinet Office
  • Dr Alex Allinson –  Enterprise
  • Julie Edge – Education, Sport and Culture
  • Clare Barber – Environment, Food and Agriculture
  • Lawrie Hooper – Health and Social Care
  • Tim Crookall – Infrastructure
  • Jane Poole-Wilson – Justice and Home Affairs
  • David Ashford – Treasury

What struck me first was that while yes Dr Allinson and Mr Ashford have been retained in CoMin and Mr Cookall is back (back again), the Chief has not been shy to bring in newbies to Keys or those who have argued against him.

Julie Edge and Lib Vannin leader Lawrie Hooper, while not always seeing eye to eye in the past, were united as being two of the most outspoken critics of the last administration, particularly since the start of the pandemic. Equally, Tim Crookall and Kate Lord-Brenan quit LegCo because they felt like they had more to offer and must’ve thought they could do better than those sitting below them in Tynwald. 

Clare Barber, in her new role as DEFA Minister, is taking on a dept she was critical of in the not so distant past- remember the committee report into the Meat Plant? Well, guess who’s in charge of it now? There’s also Jane Poole-Wilson, who, while a newbie to Keys, is an experienced hand at scrutiny and delivered a rather damning report on the island’s legal system, which she is now responsible for as minister.

Time and tide will come and pass before we can serve judgement on the new administration. But from the onset it has a big challenge, it is full of people who have talked the talk and made ministers face up to the consequences of their dept’s actions. Now they have a different challenge, they must be those who have to face the consequences. In other words, ministers, it is time to walk the walk. 

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