Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, launches his ‘Island Manifesto’

Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, has launched his manifesto for the Isle of Wight. Highlights include attracting higher education, creating high-technology jobs in the digital industries, extending Island Line, creating more cycle ways and making ferries company enter into a public service obligation.

bob seely standing portrait

Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Bob Seely has today (Tuesday) published his ‘Island Manifesto’, setting out his ambitions to “improve lives and prosperity” on the Isle of Wight.

The manifesto (embedded below) looks at key areas such as housing, transport, health and education.

Bob says that a campaign for the Island to receive a better government funding deal, “could” mean an extra £6 million a year goes to the Isle of Wight council (who have seen cuts of £75m to the revenue budget since 2010).

Seely: What is achieved, not who does it
He said,

“In this document, I offer a vision of what we should aim to achieve to make our Island even better.

“My role is often to support others, to make connections in Westminster and Whitehall – and to bring people together.

“For many of these projects to succeed, I will need to work with others. Ultimately, it is what is achieved that matters, not who does it.”

Seely spent a decade thinking about issues
Although only elected as MP in last June’s snap election, Bob says he’s spent a decade thinking about the issues the Isle of Wight faces,

“I am aware that by proposing new things, and a personal vision, I am opening myself to both scrutiny and potential criticism. As far as I know, I am the only MP to produce a detailed vision of what his or her constituency should look like after being elected.

“However, I would rather outline an ambitious plan for the Island and, working with others, see how much of it we can achieve, rather than be timid in our vision.”

Highlights of the manifesto

  • The manifesto looks at attracting higher education to the Island, creating high-technology jobs in the digital industries by making use of some of the country’s best broadband speeds, extending the Island Line, creating more cycle ways and making ferries company enter into a public service obligation.
  • Other areas include protecting the environment while developing homes the Island needs to build communities not just houses.
  • It also says the Island needs a jobs agenda to attract high-quality jobs and also training for local people to be employed in them.
  • The manifesto proposes the Island needs to celebrate and show its cultural and artistic heritage to the world through partnerships with the Arts Council and London museums and galleries to attract visitors and create jobs.

Lowthion: “A vision which is unsustainable with being a Conservative MP”
In response to the manifesto, Isle of Wight Green Party spokesperson, Vix Lowthion told OnTheWight,

“The islandvision outlined by Bob Seely – with little detail of how he will achieve it – is for an Island which works for the wealthy. He supports moving health services off the Island and reducing facilities at St Mary’s – but doesn’t outline how we can access them.

“He supports the Island becoming a National Park – but fails to acknowledge how this will increase house prices way outside of the budget of the ordinary Islander.

“He talks of promotion of Arts and Sciences – whilst supporting huge cuts to school budgets and the reduction in arts provision for our kids.

“His vision of the Island is not sustainable for us residents – for our self sufficiency in terms of energy, food and public services. And the crux of his plan relies upon his own government having to overturn their own policy of slashing council funding.

“It is a vision which is unsustainable with being a Conservative MP – and this is why so much of it will never happen.”

Critchley: Just a “a wishlist and a PR exercise”
Julian Critchley, Isle of Wight Labour’s spokesperson told OnTheWight,

“It’s hard to take seriously anything which involves the quote, ‘Thanks to the Highways PFI, we will soon have the best roads in Europe’. And unfortunately, this isn’t a serious document.

“This is a wishlist and a PR exercise. Mr Seely is a Tory MP in a Tory government which is desperate for every vote, to the extent that they’ve already bribed the DUP in Northern Ireland with billions of pounds to secure their support.

“So I think Islanders will be rather disappointed that all Mr Seely has managed to win for the Island is a jargon-filled brochure with not one actual solid commitment backed up by real cash for the Island.”

He went on to say,

“It is, however, always going to be a difficult sell to persuade people you are interested in improving life on the Island, when you loyally vote for the policies of a Conservative government which, over the last eight years, has hammered the Isle of Wight with crushing austerity, overseen the chaos in our schools, introduced plans to move St Mary’s services to the mainland, and removed vital funding for adult and children’s social care.

“So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Mr Seely has to fall back on repeated references to ‘vision’, and a few pretty pictures of the Needles.”

Stuart: Four major gaps
The leader of the Isle of Wight Liberal Democrats, Nick Stuart, told OnTheWight,

“As an Islander I welcome Bob’s document and agree with many of the concerns and suggestions. But I want to highlight four major gaps.

“The proposed transfer of acute NHS services from the Island with travel costs and family isolation will lead to additional suffering. It is his Government who failed to fully support the NHS and I would urge him to try to save what we have first.

“For business we need to address all issues such as planning, premises, skills access, business rates and local services. The Council’s regeneration approach shows little signs of success and I do not see the Conservatives listening to business concerns nationally or locally.

“His figures on education hide the squeeze admitted by the Government and as a former teacher I’m strongly opposed to the community damaging of closure of local 6th forms.

“On environment a national park would be welcome, but with this Government its unreal. I see words over deeds for example there is minimal money in the “fabulous” PFI contract focused on cycling.
It is unfair not to note good points, as with his views on social housing, protection of the rural environment and the failure of the Conservative privatisation of the ferries we could make him welcome to our party!”

The Manifesto
Read the manifesto in full below (click on the full screen icon to see larger version) or visit the Island Vision Website.

[Ed Opinion: It’s great to see Bob supporting Isle of Wight photographers with the use of their photos in his manifesto – it would have been good to also see credits for the photographers too.

Update: We have learnt that Bob’s office paid for the use of the images, so no credit needed. Good to see him supporting local business. Ed ]

Article edit
16.50: Comment from Julian Critchley added
18.7.2918 10am – Comment from Nick Stuart added

Tuesday, 17th July, 2018 1:41pm



Filed under: Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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17 Comments on "Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, launches his ‘Island Manifesto’"

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Another Perspective
Here is the dilemma with Bob’s manifesto as I see it. The island, with its captive labour force, has always been a low wage economy, particularly within the service and tourism sector. Most youngsters with a bit of ‘get up and go’, understandably do precisely that. Those who remain risk a lifetime of ‘in work’ poverty, often leading to depression, anxiety and mental illness. This, along with… Read more »
Another Perspective

Oh, I forgot, here’s the positive bit.

In order for the island to pull itself up by the boot straps the community needs to get real, and not continually blindly vote in to power, both nationally and locally, the self serving architects of failure.


” A vision for the island” Says it all really. A vision. Plenty of arty photoshopped pics and a load of unachievable guff. Mr. Seeley seems disconnected from the real island issues and is becoming part of the problem and not part of the answer. After a promising start all we have is a lame pony attached to the council three wheel cart.

iain mckie

I rarely agree with people from the left, but Julian Critchley is spot on, this is just PR flim flam from an ex-spin doctor.


Who in his right mind would provide yet more unaccountable cash to this hopeless administration? Surely not even a Tory government is that stupid! (OK, forget I said that).
This is yet another wish-list from La-La Land.


So this Islands vision is to ask a government that has forgotten us for cash? Good luck with that Bob.

Rupert Besley
A manifesto does need to be accurate, clear and well-expressed. It may seem nit-picking to highlight, as below, small details that fall short of these requirements and which more careful editing would have corrected. But when the fine detail is faulty, you begin to wonder about the wider thinking. Accurate? ‘The Lake District had one poet – Wordsworth – and has 20 million visitors. The Island has… Read more »
Another Perspective

Wordsworth could have been an island poet Rupert had he only written, ‘I Wondered Lonely as a Clown

Rupert Besley

The Lake School of Poets?

Rupert Besley
Your (OTW) update suggests that as the images have been paid for, no credit is necessary. I don’t think you’re right there. Artists and photographers have the moral right to have their work identified, whether paid for or not. As the information page from UK Copyright Service puts it – ‘Attribute the work correctly Always include the source or your material and state the name of the… Read more »
Having read the ‘Manifesto’, it is short on ‘the how’, but to be fair Mr Seely does indicate clearly, in my view, that it is a starter wish list and open for discussion and that is a first as far as I can remember in my 3 score plus years of life. The response of the alleged opposition to Mr Seely is predictably bereft of any positive… Read more »
iain mckie

This is a PR stunt in case of an early General Election, latest odds are 2/1 for 2019 at the bookies (but am told me a couple of friends that Nov 15 2018 is being considered). Seely has managed the almost unmanageable and been a worse MP than his predecessor.

I am very disappointed to see no mention of the plight of potentially 10,000 women and their familes on the island from the rise in the State Pension Age. Before any says – I have always believed that men and women’s State Pension Age (SPA) should be the same. But making women wait SIX years or more – without notice was not acceptable. It was the Government… Read more »
Another Perspective

A great vision that raises many interconnected issues, let’s hope it prompts some positive debate.


Agreed. So many people want to knock any kind of positive contribution, mostly because it doesn’t fit their own politics. I wish that sometimes people could put aside their personal agenda and try to support contributions from whatever source which might, just might, bring some good.

I suspect it’s simply that people prefer to judge others on what they do, rather than what they say. Bob has supported: School budget cuts NHS services to be removed from the island Cuts to social care Cuts to public services Cuts to disability benefits The list of actual concrete actions which Bob promises in his mini-manifesto is as follows: 1. There’s nothing. It’s vaccuous warm words.… Read more »
” I wish that sometimes people could put aside their personal agenda and try to support contributions from whatever source which might, just might, bring some good” What a wonderful idea, however I see even more lambasting of ideas when anyone else tries to change things for the better. The problem for career politicians is that we can look at what is said and actually research what… Read more »