This is an online version of Paul Speller’s column in the latest edition of the Manx Advertiser.
It carried the call for suggested names for the proposed new Isle of Man constituencies.
I continue to use the word proposed because legislation has to be drafted and then approved. I’ve been following Manx politics for more than 20 years, so the fact that there are only three years before the next general election makes me think we shouldn’t be certain such drafting, consulting, approving, rejecting, accepting and general navel-gazing that is going to accompany such momentous changes will be complete.
Unfortunately, the new constituencies aren’t very exciting in appearance and the suggested names for them – as proffered by the select committee that came up with the 12 x 2 seats concept – aren’t the most imaginative.
For instance, merged constituencies of Michael and Ayre could be called Ayre and Michael. Genius.
Similarly, the press release reveals that the proposal to add Onchan parish and Howstrake to the current Garff constituency could result in a new constituency name of Garff.
It’s also suggested that the new ‘urban’ constituency of Onchan, ie without the parish or Howstrake, could be named Onchan.
This doesn’t come across as being too imaginative. It could confuse people who were unable to stay awake long enough to see that while the names often remain the same, the places have changed.
So why not name the constituencies after their best known product/export?
Let’s assume St Catherine’s Drive, currently in what is Douglas West, would find itself in the new look Douglas Central. That would be confusing, as there will be a new Douglas West that would include Pulrose and Anagh Coar, currently in Douglas South, which would, in turn and a little harshly, cease to exist.
So, given the obsession of mentioning anything related to the Gibb family and the fact they once sat on a wall in St Catherine’s Drive, let’s call the new Douglas Central Bee Gees World instead. Not only would it be easier to remember, it would only be a small step to stick a massive water slide out of the building site at Ballakermeen School to create a theme park to complement the race track some motorists appear to think already exists.
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