Monday, September 27, 2010

Isle of Man - at LP conference

It's a funny old world really, don't you think?

Last weekend I went over to the Isle of Man for the first time. My only previous connection to the Island was that my parents went there for their honeymoon. I had never been but always fancied it, as regular readers will know, I am very keen on spending holidays in Britain/UK and places nearby as well as going to other places further afield, I do think it is important to explore your own country as well as everyone else's

I know that the Isle of Man is not exactly in the UK but then it is not exactly outside the UK either, so bear with me on this point.

I went to visit an old friend, Alex Powell, who I met before the 1997 General Election campaign when she was active with the Labour Party in the Calder Valley. I hope she wont mind my saying that she was a bit of a poster girl for the party for a while, being young, pretty and photogenic and was pretty much guaranteed to be somewhere nearby when Tony Blair was speaking.

She moved to the Isles a good few years back and we pretty much only caught up at conferences until the emergence of Facebook into my life.

I only went over for 36 hours but we managed to cram plenty in; a trip round Castle Rushen - a particularly fine medieval castle (I am a bit of an expert on such things, having studied them at both O'Level and A'Level, not many people know that!), lunch at Port Erin, a stroll on the cliffs at the Sound - and a visit to various local hostelries. I was amazed incidentally to leave her house in Castletown at 5.50pm last Sunday afternoon, get a lift to the airport, check in, get on the plane, arrive at JLA, check out, jump a taxi and be back in my own house at 7.50pm. Anyway, I had a fab time and hope to go again to see a bit more of the Island.

Alex now works as the External Relations Manager for the Manx Parliament, working with similar civil servants from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands, Gib etc to ensure that all the various Parliaments and Parlimentarians keep in touch with each other through international conferences and so on. She was at the LP conference in Manchester with one of her ministers, Minister Bell and brought him to our NW Reception where she introduced us. So I was able to tell him that I had been on the Island only the week before.

He was very keen to develop stronger links between the NW of England and the Isle of Man, particularly given the financial links between many developers working in our region and his Island. Peel Holdings for instance, have their base in the Isle of Man. I suggested they might like to have a stall at conference next year when Labour comes to Liverpool, and it will give them a chance to explore that further with visitors to the stand - while helping us with an income stream. I introduced him to a few of our councillors and MPs and I hope returned some of the hospitality I had been shown the previous weekend.

1 comment:

scouseboy said...

Next time, try to take the ferry. It is a very relaxing crossing (provided the sea's not too rough!)