A proposed Public Sector Payments Bill would replace laws dating back to 1989 and covers a variety of areas, including an option for Tynwald to stop paying members who’ve been suspended.Should a suspended Tynwald member have their pay docked?
This represents a fundamental attack on democracy and minority rights in the Isle of Man by transferring power from the public to politicians. It is not up to politicians to have the option to sack other politicians: it is up to the public to do so.
Politicians in the Isle of Man need to stop thinking of themselves as beholden and responsible to the club of other politicians. They need to think of themselves as responsible and accountable to the public.
We pay politicians to ensure that membership of Tynwald is open to all classes, and not only to the rich. Making the pay of Tynwald members dependent upon the approval of their peers represents an attack on this simple principle. It risks giving the power to the majority of Tynwald to financially control minority members, which undermines the ability of Tynwald minorities to properly scrutinise, criticise and hold the majority to account.
It is easy to imagine a Government critic being suspended by a Government which holds a majority in Tynwald, having their pay suspended, and therefore needing to obtain alternative work. This might not be much of a penalty or risk to some of the wealthy members of Club Tynwald, but it would represent an unfair and unreasonable risk to members without such personal wealth. They would need to temper their criticisms and conduct to avoid attracting the wrath of the majority.
This proposal should be rejected in the interests of improving government scrutiny and protecting minority rights in the Isle of Man.