ON grabbing a quick chat with the two Falkland Islands by-election candidates after their Chamber of Commerce session on Tuesday it occurred to me afterwards – as it always does post interview now I’m old and medicated – there were a couple of questions I might have asked but didn’t. The first – who’s more intimidating, farmers or chamber members, and the second, the next ExCo election will be pre-Christmas – would you be keen to take up the challenge?
Regarding the former no doubt candidates have been thoroughly cross examined during their tours of the camp – as my geographically distant colleague Mark acknowledged in a recent column, locals are a rather brusque lot – and once you’ve put your head above the parapet being an Islander won’t necessarily save you (and to be clear I view both candidates as Islanders). Certainly at the chamber the pair were questioned to the nth degree on subjects so diverse a Chief Executive might have struggled, let alone a greenhorn election candidate.
Putting aside what it revealed about the candidates – that’s for you to decide – it also gave our future MLA his first insight into the concerns of a broad range of business owners, on themes such as agriculture (there were also camp business owners in attendance) tourism and hospitality, retail, questions on salmon farming, hydrocarbons, the roads network and transport, internet communications, housing, education including camp education and other issues. It was an invaluable exercise on both sides for sure.
Regarding the second question, the work of an Executive Councillor is a necessary task but not an easy one – no doubt over the decades it has been considered a poisoned chalice by some while the more ego driven have grasped it without compunction.
Ultimately though it’s a duty that’s very much dependent on good advisors and occasionally that advice, as we know, isn’t top-notch. The media often read ExCo papers – I’ve been reading them now for 27 years. And having a yarn with a colleague recently we were saying there’s a noticeable pattern that very few options are offered. You know what I mean – along the lines of:
Option 1 Do this, it’s great – it’s a good idea.
Option 2 You could do this – but don’t because yuck.
Option 3 Do nothing.
Just a thought – how about if some options seem discomforting (they cost more than expected or they’ll impoverish the vulnerable) send them back and ask officers to come up with some better/more options?
Anyway the new ExCo election will be coming up soon so if I don’t get the opportunity to ask the candidates their thoughts on whether they’d be enthusiastic about a session as an Executive Councillor as soon as they’ve got a foot in the door and if yes how they’d deal with the above issue, then maybe you could, if you see them out and about on their rural rounds. Good luck to both.