Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Into the Light......

And this is what happened next….. The following Tuesday I was sworn in. This involved a very ancient and I have to say, profoundly serious ceremony, and the words which stood out were “Without Fear or Favour” Best guidelines possible.

The ceremony was conducted with his usual dignity and eye-twinkle by my brother-in-law, Mike Kerruish, First Deemster. A couple of weeks earlier I had a shoulder operation following a football injury, and was supposed to be in a sling for six weeks. It appears to be in my make-up never to show weakness or pain, so the sling was discarded early, and I had discreetly to use my good arm to lift my left signing hand up to sign the official documents. Mike noticed, but no-one else. And it hurt.

As I arrived at the Swearing In, I was met at the door by Dominic Delaney, the member I had ‘ousted’ by my election. My intervention had put an end at that stage to his long parliamentary career. He shook my hand and wished me well. I really appreciated that generous gesture from Dominic.

Straight after the Swearing-In, I took part in my first session of the Legislative Council. I was warmly welcomed by everyone, and proceedings were conducted sitting down, but it was hard to relax. It was all brand new to me, and very daunting. There were, to me, strange procedures to follow which I tried to pick up and memorise as the session went along.

I spoke briefly in my first appearance, making some comment about the wording of a clause in a bill dealing with Coastal erosion and control. That was in effect my ‘maiden speech’ The word “connivance” appeared in a clause and I commented that it seemed an inappropriate word to have in legislation. Not a sparkling start, but I was able to demonstrate (to myself) that I knew my way around legislation and how it worked.

Meanwhile, paper work of huge quantities was arriving at my home – and continues to do so. My next move was to Ramsey Mart, always a good and familiar place to turn to when you have a problem. There is always something very reassuring about the smell of cow-muck. It brings back the cosy candle-lit evenings of my youth nestling into a cow's flanks and drawing down the milk. By hand of course.

At the Mart I bought two second-hand four drawer filing cabinets. A futile purchase as they were filled within weeks. I later realised that I should instead have bought a shredder. You do learn.

The first hurdle was over, now for my first session of Tynwald - and that was a Different Country. Come with me sole reader, to that Strange Place next time....

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