For a view of the issues covered by this blog:
So we now have the information direct from a trained change agent (previous post). Charlotte Iserbyte tells us that she did not participate as a change agent but gained the knowledge of how change agents work. It seems likely that many do not even realise that they are being used. Proposals and policy often sound eminently plausible and well-intended to those who are trusting of those in authority. That’s understandable as many of us find it difficult to believe that others might not be working for our benefit, or indeed actively working against our well-being. If this is also a problem for you then try to see things the other way around:
It is generally accepted that the Cold War resulted in espionage and infiltration on both sides. There were also double agents. Therefore, to all intents and purposes these people appeared to function well in their own country – speak the same language, understand the thinking patterns, share sense of humour etc. There was almost certainly little outward indication that they were agents. How surprised many of their co-workers must have been to discover they had been duped by a countryman.
It stands to reason that we must accept that such people could, theoretically, infiltrate any government system. They could be ‘helpful’ in advising about policy change winning others over to their way of thinking. For this reason – if for no other – we need a Freedom of Information act. One that really permits us to access information, not an act that introduces further restrictions in a positive guise. But it doesn’t stop there. To use a FOI act you have to know what questions to ask. If deals are being done under the radar, how would we know that there was anything to investigate?
Imagine for a minute that there were some members of the Isle of Man civil service who had been imported for their knowledge of UK legislation (why would we need this unless we are not self-governing?) and Crown (please search site) matters who actually had an agenda unknown to us. Supposing they had received training and perhaps weren’t even aware that they had been changed (there are reports of this from some who have taken part in courses containing NLP) then how could we be sure that those of our members who adopt legislation almost unquestioningly are being given the whole truth? How would you go about using a FOI act to uncover the facts?
Well, you could enquire about advising officers’ interests. You could attempt to discover if they belonged to any societies, what financial interests they held etc. You could also request a CV. Too prying? Hardly. If our members are held up for public scrutiny it seems reasonable to seek more information about their advisors. How do we ascertain exactly where ministers source their advice? These are reasonable enquiries in a so-called democratic system. Why then did Eddie Lowey decline to ask his tabled question on this topic in Tynwald and why did Manx Radio explore Alf Cannan’s question which had been removed yet apparently didn’t consider Mr Lowey’s topic to be of importance?
Question: Does the Isle of Man have change agents?
The answer: How would we know?
There may be members who suspect that the civil service contains change agents. It can happen everywhere, after all. There is no shame in having admitted a few. However, if such a thing were known and not addressed, that would be a very serious matter.