Monday, September 26, 2011

Confessions of a Faded Politician


With election fever spreading across the Island, former MHK for Peel (1978 – 1986) Dr David Moore shared his views on Manx politics, both historically and contemporary.

Initially concentrating on recent financial growth he reflected on the poor state of the Island in former years; tourism was in decline, unemployment rising and the new lucrative finance sector a new born infant, with poverty a dark spectre for many. But unlike others Dr Moore saw salvation in the horrific collapse of the Savings and Investment Bank, which many deemed catastrophic for the Island, forcing the country to become a respectable player within the world of modern finance.

High Bailiff Laughton
Delving into his 1978 manifesto Dr Moore willingly confessed both his achievements and failures and coyly recalled his days as a raw, young man who professed to know better. Truth to tell he hated elections, a time when truth and politeness were suspended and some people’s reasoning behind voting for a particular candidate could only be described as fickle. Although the date may have changed, for some the principles remain the same.

Dr Moore is not shy to speak about the modern image of successive, contemporary Manx governments, suggesting that their public image, inflated salaries and ultimate re-naming as Honourable Ministers has fundamentally placed a serious wedge between them and the electorate.

Although many of the political questions raised today would not be unfamiliar to our ancestors, Dr Moore believes that the Island’s interest in Manx politics has decreased, and considers that democracy has now, regrettably, been taken for granted.

Tom Cormode
Dr Moore explored the issues surrounding the unexpected contest between High Bailiff Laughton (sitting member for Peel) and Tom Cormode, a Blacksmith living outside of the town from Quine’s Hill near Port Soderick, in the Manx General Election of 1903. An unforeseen challenge, Cormode’s appearance raised many questions in the minds of the electorate; he was working class, did not reside in Peel and was up against a respected social figure. Minds were brought sharply into focus as voters toyed with the influence of religion and the benefits of ‘keeping in with the likely winner’. But Laughton employed four out of five people in Peel which gave others more to think about, and ultimately family and friends remained divided about their choice.

Democracy may have fretted in its crudely made cradle over the years for the voters living in the fishing port, but against all the odds Tom Cormode triumphed over the popular High Bailiff, justifying the power of the vote for the ordinary working man.

Valerie Caine © September 2011

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