The Isle of Man – model of democracy?
This week the Voltaire Society welcomed as its guest speaker The Hon Steve Rodan, President of Tynwald. As well as providing insights into the legislative process, Mr President provided a fascinating overview of the island’s democratic development. Reflecting on his own experiences since moving here in 1987, he applauded the far-reaching social reforms which have been enacted in recent times, including the final abolition of capital and corporal punishment, the extension of the franchise to younger voters and the granting of marriage rights to same-sex couples. Shanne Gutierrez said, “it was a really interesting session, especially given the issues raised at the previous meeting with the Green Party.”
The students raised a number of issues, including the island’s unique environmental status, its constitutional relationship with the UK and the likely impact of Brexit. Jack Smollen said: “I found the debate about the pros and cons of party politics particularly stimulating. It really made me think about whether or not Tynwald would benefit from the adversarial politics of Westminster.”
In summing up, Mr President declared himself an optimist and delivered a strong defence of the merits of the Manx system. On behalf of the Voltaire Society, Jack Smollen thanked Mr President for his time and considered opinions.