Yn Pabyr Seyr is published by Mec Vannin, the Manx Nationalist Party. All articles are copyright Mec Vannin unless otherwise stated. Mec Vannin grants permission to reproduce articles from Yn Pabyr Seyr provided that the source is credited.

Issue 9 - Special edition - November 1992

Facts; Not Threats

"If and when the dangerous spectre of direct action returns, as it inevitably will if things continue as they are, we should be obliged if responsibility is not laid at the door of the nationalist movement, but rather at the door of a government that failed to heed the signs."

That statement was made by Mec Vannin Chairman Bernard Moffatt in March 1989, following the trial of members of the F.S.F.O. organisation. Moffatt was responding to statements by the F.S.F.O. members that the actions were, in part, prompted by the absence of an effective political outlet. Mec Vannin, they declared, had become defunct.

Mec Vannin, which was still in business, didn't like the criticism, but did accept the implications: Since those days, we have debated vigorously the question of increased finance industry activity and have publicised our opposition.

The Government, it seems does not like political opposition. We feel that it would like its alternative even less. When Mec Vannin fails to articulate a view; when it fails to stand up for Manx values of culture, decency and respect for individual rights, the Manx administration, of whatever ilk, will face serious problems!

Fact: We are entering a very bleak period. The Government's own 1991 Policy Report clearly revealed that the Island stood on the brink of a recession as least as bad, and quite possibly worse than that of the early eighties. That recession was so bad because the governments of the 1970s had created an artificial economy: a house built on sand. Our economy could now be likened to a skyscraper built on sand. The U.K.'s recession has not yet bottomed out, and it will take ours another two years to reach the same point.

Fact: Population increase has made our position worse. The massive increase in population has led to the need for massive capital spending projects. Despite the presence of the finance industry, there is no longer enough money to pay for them.

Fact: The "boom" caused hardship for many Manx people. Far from improving opportunities and living standards for local people, the nature of employment opportunities, lack of training requirements and virtual abandonment of work permit regulations left most Manx people without a fair chance of gaining better paid employment. The massive surge in housing costs, both to buy and to rent, left many virtually homeless. The result was the rash of "First-time Buyer's" housing, epitomised by the shameful Ballavargher development.

Fact: The poor of the Island have become poorer, and the rich have become richer. This is proven by Government statistics.
The October 1990 Earnings Survey claimed an average weekly wage of £239. The chart clearly shows, however, that the most common wage was £166 per week including overtime and before deductions. One quarter of the population earned less than this. By June 1992, the average had risen to £276 (15.4% on 1990), whilst the most common wage had risen to £175 (5.4% on 1990), and a quarter of full-time workers continued to earn less than this figure. The richest ten percent have moved from earning more than £375 to £453 (20.8%). Inflation over this period is 9.5%, which means that those earning the common wage or less are 3.7% poorer in real terms, whereas those on the "average" figure are 5.5% better off, and the top 10% are 10.3% better off in real terms.

The Downward Spiral

A reason often used in defence of rapid economic growth is that the extra cash is needed to pay for essential services and infrastructure improvement.

How often do we hear, "The Health Service is overburdened," ..."Schools need to be expanded or rebuilt ...."Roads have become seriously congested" ......." Sewers cannot cope with the extra volume,"..."A new courthouse is needed to deal with the rising crime rate,"...All this and more, as a result of rapid increase in population, all of which require more cash. From here on it becomes a downhill spiral. To improve all these services requires cash; more people are needed to generate the extra cash; more people means expansion of services; more cash is needed etc. ad nausea, and so the dog keeps chasing its own tail. Surely, if we don't have enough cash now after the recent and massive rise in population, we will never have enough by pursuing the present "Cash solves all" policies.

Finance Sector Fetes Orient

After four years of finance sector oriented boom, Mr. Walker promised a diversification of industry. In Hong Kong, the primary objective is banking and insurance. At home in the Isle of Mann, manufacturing industry is contracting daily. Agriculture, fishing and tourism are also in possibly terminal recession. The stark reality of a successful Hong Kong business campaign, and the inability of our Government to recognise it, is summed up in comments in a report by the "Manx Independent's Peter Harrison:

"As I look down from my window, the billionaires rub shoulders with some of the poorest people in Asia."
"A hundred yards away, lager is being dispensed at US$14 per pint."
"...billionaires rub shoulders with some of the poorest people in Asia."
"We look down on Hong Kong and visualise Douglas 2000. Millions of twinkling lights - every one worth at least US$10 - was evidence of the fabulous wealth that surrounds us." 
"...billionaires rub shoulders with some of the poorest people in Asia."
"...I can see the Pacific Princess discharging one thousand American tourists, each one of which will spend US$1000.."
"...billionaires rub shoulders with some of the poorest people in Asia."
"Maybe one day the Bank of China will open a branch in downtown Douglas."


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