Friday 16th September saw a very unusual open air sitting of Tynwald in St John's. Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, we came together to hear the proclamation of Charles III as our new king. The Tynwald Special Ceremonies Committee had given us a briefing not long after we were elected, but in the whirlwind of everything else that was covered in that period, I suspect many of us had forgotten most of it, other than the clear instructions to read the briefing document and follow the guidance therein. As the situation unfolded on 8th September, the Clerk of Tynwald sent the briefing document out again so that all members would be aware of protocol.
Even though the Special Ceremonies Committee had obviously been at work on the protocol, there were a few anachronisms that clearly showed how it was derived from the last time a Proclamation Ceremony was held in 1952. The dress code specified that ladies should wear a dark day dress and black gloves (optional). I'm not sure specifying a dress and gloves is contemporary and feels very Victorian, so perhaps the guidance hasn't quite moved with the times.
Tynwald felt strangely small without the grandstand, the fair ground and the giant screen, but there were several hundred people in attendance. Given the historic nature of the sitting, I think that's entirely understandable and it was very welcome to see how many were in the crowd.
The Extraordinary Sitting of Tynwald called to discuss the response to the Cost of Living crisis was postponed from 13th September until 22nd September as the protocol dictates that parliamentary business is suspended until after the funeral. As autumn weather starts to take hold, and thoughts turn to how long we can hold off before the heating gets turned on, the discussions about how the Government can support our community has never been more pressing.