Isle of Man Local Web Guide


Douglas West - Peter Murcott

THE CANDIDATE

I have lived in the Isle of Man since September, 1990, and I am married. I currently work as a lecturer in law at the Isle of Man College. If elected, I would devote myself full time as a Member of the House of Keys.

Before coming to the Island, I was headmaster of a primary school on the English/Welsh border. Education, therefore, is of great interest to me. I am a supporter of the Ballamona Association of Mental Health, having a particular concern for those who suffer from psychiatric illness.

If elected, my politics will be rooted in Christian principles. which will be the basis on which I would seek to approach, to listen to, and to help my constituents. irrespective of whether they share my beliefs.

PARTICULAR MATTERS

(I) Employment

The Islandís full employment record is the envy of many. However, we must not lose sight of the need for effective job security, and for the maintenance of safe and fair working conditions. Moreover, as one who has acted as a trade union official for some years at the Isle of Man College, I take the view that responsible trade union activity is beneficial both to the management and the workforce.

I would support, therefore:

  • the right to trade union recognition in negotiating purposes;

  • the creation of an employment appeal tribunal:

  • an increase in the compensation available for unfair dismissal;

  • the introduction of the remedies of rein statement/re-engagement;

  • an evaluation of the health and safety legislation, to see whether the inspectorate should be increased and its powers extended;

  • an Employment Protection (Sunday Working) Act that grants a general right to a rest day on Sundays, free from any form of discrimination or coercion;

  • a national minimum wage of £5:O0 per hour, reviewable at least annually;

  • an extension of the Shops Act 2000, to cover trades and businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, currently excluded from its provisions: and

  • a Disability Discrimination Act.

(ii) Education

In view of the many changes that have taken place to education in recent years, I would support any reasonable measures that:

  • reduce administration and stress:

  • provide for equality of opportunity to pursue a broadly-based curriculum:

  • maintain fair and firm discipline; and

  • enable pupils to attain the maximum of their potential.

Moreover, I would like to see:

  • the establishment of a Manx inspectorate, utilising the principles of "Investors in People";

  • religious worship in schools to be completely Christian, with improved conscience clauses for those wishing to withdraw from it;

  • a greater emphasis upon marriage in the Islandís Sex Education Policy;

  • a review of the overall provision for pursuits such as music and sport, with a view to their possible further development; and

  • the maintenance of the improved student grants in line with inflation.

(iii) Housing

The steep rise in both the cost of houses and of rented accommodation is a matter of deep concern. I would support any reasonable initiatives that:

  • would provide affordable housing for people on lower incomes, who wish to make the Isle of Man their home; and

  • would expand the public sector involvement in rented accommodation.

Steps should be taken to address the problem of homelessness.

(iv) Law Reform

I would support an ongoing review of the law, to keep it in line with modern needs. Examples of areas for reform are:

  • the Loans (Infants) Act 1907, to provide better protection against minors getting into debt;

  • the wholly outdated, and somewhat absurd, rules, dating back to 1842, on the defence of insanity; and

  • in the longer term, a new criminal code (such as was proposed in Britain in the 1980ís without being enacted) to meet the needs of the 21st century.

I would like consideration to be given to the possibility of extending the provision of legal aid to cover legal representation at employment and at rent tribunals.

(v) Law and Order

The existing prison is clearly inadequate, and needs to be replaced as a matter of urgency. I shall follow carefully the ongoing discussion about its relocation.

In any event, consideration should be given to:

  • an open prison for offenders who do not constitute a danger to society, but for whom the courts deem prison to be the appropriate sentence;

  • a closed prison for those in any other category; and

  • a separate wing for those on remand.

In each case there should be one prisoner to each cell, with humane living conditions, and every opportunity for the acquisition, or the development, of appropriate education and other skills as part of a rehabilitation programme. Moreover, there needs to be a wideóranging review of criminal penalties, to reserve prison as a last resort for those people for whom no other form of punishment is appropriate.

Particular attention should be given to:

  • victim support;

  • the after-care of prisoners on their release;

  • the retention of the current drugs laws;

  • tax incentives for alcohol free bars/places of entertainment;

  • a review and an updating of the obscenity laws to make them more effectual; and

  • the curtailing of the growing practice of able-bodied people cycling on the pavement, disregarding both the road traffic laws and pedestriansí safety.

On the wider question of law and order, I welcome the policy of police on the beat.

(vi) Agriculture and Fishing

Every step should be taken to preserve and improve the Islandís agriculture and fishing. European regulations should be resisted where they are contrary to the Manx public interest.

(vii) Constitutional and National Issues

The Isle of Man should move towards greater independence from the United Kingdom. In the meantime, it should:

  • establish the principle that the Royal Assent may be refused to Manx Bills only on the advice of Manx Ministers;

  • take the maximum advantage of its associate membership of the European Union;

  • acquire effective control of all its taxation;

  • develop relations with countries worldwide that are similar to the Isle of Man;

  • examine the legislation of various jurisdictions before making new law; and

  • ensure that the aspirations of the prayers to Almighty God, said throughout the year whenever the Legislature meets, are translated into practice in all aspects of the Islandís government.

Published by Peter Murcott
8 Selborne Drive
Douglas
IM2 3LS
Telephone: (01624) 611483

Printed from the IoM Elections Website. www.iomelections.com 

REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT 1995

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