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Alex McQuarrie - January 2017

My name is Alex McQuarrie, and as a history graduate with a fascination in politics, I am delighted to have the opportunity to take on the role of Parliamentary Intern in the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office. My first week was focused primarily on familiarising myself with the work of the Tynwald Chamber and Information Service (CIS), where I am based. The CIS team are the primary point of contact for the public and their work reaches far and wide. One of my first tasks was to help produce a presentation and workshop for Parliamentarians in Sierra Leone on how to undertake research, as two of my colleagues prepared to visit the country.

Tynwald is a member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), and cooperation between parliamentarians in jurisdictions across the world is serving to improve parliamentary standards and instil good governance. Closer to home, I have also been introduced to the wide range of activities that the CIS do for educational outreach, and in the final month of January I coordinated my first school tour of the Legislative Buildings. Students from Dhoon School visited the Chambers to observe Question Time in the House of Keys and to have a short tour of the rest of the building, and despite some nerves and the odd stutter, I was delighted to see the students enjoy their visit.

I was also involved in the arrangements for the arrival of One World Centre IOM to the Legislative Buildings for the 5th Annual Primary Fairtrade Event, where delegates from schools across the Island attended a day of workshops and activities that promote Fairtrade. With the 150th Anniversary of the first democratic election of the House of Keys approaching in April, attention for CIS will increasingly turn towards preparations for celebrating and promoting the event, and I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this.

I was also quickly introduced to the work of the Clerks of Tynwald, and I have been made Assistant Clerk to three committees, the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee (SAPRC), the Select Committee on the Organization and Operation of the General Election (OOGE), and the Ecclesiastical Committee (ECC). In this role I have been sitting in on meetings, producing the minutes for the meetings, and undertaking some of the actions that the Committees have agreed to carry out. I have taken a particular interest in the early stages of the work of the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee as they begin to scrutinise the strategy towards mental health on the Island, and I have recently been undertaking research for this. This has been enjoyable because I find it very gratifying to be involved in work that is striving to improve people’s lives. I have also produced a draft report for the Ecclesiastical Committee, and I have had the opportunity to sit in on two oral evidence hearings for SAPRC and OOGE.