Well, let’s hope that Alan Bell has now read The Examiner. The IOM Today http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/greatest_challenges_for_generation_bell_1_3545791 reports on Alan Bell’s speech at Friday’s breakfast briefing at the Claremont and a very downbeat message it was. Although there is no direct reference to the next VAT round the article infers that this is certainly a major contributory factor. This entire topic makes frustrating reading. The main reason is lack of transparency. Why was the UK so over-generous? Did we agree something in return? How else can we make any sense of it? The UK out of the goodness of its heart decides to be exceedingly kind to us? Then decides that the recent agreement was overly generous and then after a period of consideration decides that even the reduced amount was still too generous? Can someone please explain? Where are the goalposts? We need to know. And did we negotiate the original amount by way of concessions on our part? If so, what were they and can they now be retracted? It’s very difficult for the hoi polloi to understand why the situation arose in the first place. Above all is there a limit to this or can it go on ad infinitum? Where do we draw the line?
It comes down to lack of transparency again. As mentioned in the previous post Professor Hugh Davidson makes some very good points about the way we should tackle the issue. However, we always seem to bow to the UK. Other small countries can function without Big Brothers in the background. Are we too cowardly or are we too conditioned to consider separation from the UK? Alan Bell does mention this topic to be fair, but he also states that he is not saying it will happen. He also stated that the island needed ‘national and international politicians’ and suggested some current MHKs were ‘really extensions of local authority members’. Well I would agree with that but where are the national and international politicians?
To return to ways of saving money, I can think of instant economies that no-one would even notice: Disregard whatever recommendations are responsible for the Big Brother surveillance technology that is making our streets appear both unwelcoming and frankly ugly. Where did this idea come from? Let me guess – could it be the UK? Why do we go with Big Brother UK? Other countries don’t have this amount of surveillance. They have lower crime rates you say? So do we. So whose idea was this?
We now need a further half million to cover costs of additional social workers. The workload has increased by 500% in a year? Why? Well, it seems we have adopted working practices from the UK…the experts ? I could go on because, as frequently stated on this blog, we appear to be rubber-stamping UK proposals left, right and centre. In fact this particular example is of concern. It seems that although the Children Bill did not go through we have simply adopted working practices anyway. How often does this go on? We are not the UK and simply because we have imported a number of UK civil servants who are accustomed to working to particular legislated practices doesn’t mean we have to follow.
How to improve our self-esteem? In the local small pond our politicians seem to have sufficient amounts of this. Put them in the UK/International large pond, however, and there seems to be a tendency to touch the forelock. Prove me wrong.