No issue number assigned
from the new Chairman
In accepting the post of chairman of Mec Vannin I have asked myself, "What is the role of the nationalist organisation in modem Mann?"
Mec Vannin's main objectives are clearly laid out in its Policy Summary, but until there is either a change in the electoral system to accept proportional representation, or widespread discontent, neither of which seems imminent, then a voice on the floor of Tynwald seems unlikely in the short term.
However, political influence can be exerted very effectively from outside of the centres of power. It is in this respect that Mec Vannin has proved so successful over its many years of existence.
Mec Vannin will continue to fight the nationalist corner with a faith that Manx values can be appreciated at all levels!
Our gullible government.
The protocols and etiquette of what has become known as the "Edwards Enquiry" have already been well chewed over, but the obvious was still missed: the Lieutenant Governor was privy to information of national importance and the Chief Minister was not. There were no oversights. There was no lapse of protocol. The UK Home Office is administered by the same civil servants now as under the Tory government and they advise the Ministers, new to the job or not, on correct procedures.
The revelation to the L.G. of the intended inquiry claimed to be during an "informal" meeting, yet he was sworn to secrecy: hardly informal. Those who claim a need for a retention of the L.G. as a liaison with the U.K. have had the rug truly pulled from under them on this one. The L.G. is as much a colonial overseer as he ever was, keeping an eye on the natives and reporting back to his superiors.
Predictably, Donald Gelling excelled himself in his now familiar role of Chief Apologist for the UK in Mannin, but eventually plucked up the courage to stop apologising once the leaders in a tiny group of rocks somewhere to the south of England told the UK that it was out of order. So, we can forget waiting to see what the UK does in every minor domestic matter and start following sheep-like on the Channel Islands. Should we advocate scrapping Tynwald and just have a single representative in the Jersey States? It could save a lot of money and we could stop apologising all the time.
NO SHODDY OUTFITS HERE!
For many years Mec Vannin has urged successive governments to increase the diversity of our economy. Our fears about such over-dependence on the finance sector and our qualms over being the beneficiaries of money laundering have been oft repeated. In that context, the relatively new venture of attracting film companies to use the Island, is a small but welcome alternative.
Whilst the financial incentives are the main reason that they come, there are other advantages such as quiet locations, clear skylines. ease of closing roads and so on.
A government Manx Film Commission has been set up to ensure that companies abide by the legal requirements. If they are to qualify for the financial benefits. companies must employ a certain amount of Manx workers and have sound financial backing and the film commission has the final say whether the subject matter is acceptable.
Unfortunately, the commission has not been sufficiently vigilant. In at least one instance a company fled, leaving debts to local tradesmen and unpaid wages to Manx workers. There is also evidence that another film company has employed Manx workers and craftsmen on the cheap (in any case they usually pay less than the going rate that would be expected off Island). In this particular case, the workers concerned approached the Manx Film Commission to report that they were being offered considerably less than was originally agreed. The message came back loud and clear that the Commission would do nothing, for fear of rocking the boat and frightening the customers away. The workers concerned stood their ground and the company took other people on, presumably on the cheap.
If this new industry is to survive, the Commission and companies must win the goodwill of workers and craftsmen. They must be offered fair wages. The Film Commission must be vigilant to ensure that shoddy outfits are not able to enjoy the financial benefits and at the same time make further savings at the expense of Manx workers.
Implications for Pensions
The UK Labour government has a plan to abolish tax relief on pension funds paid out of UK held funds to non-UK residents. Whereas that may be fine for weeding out the tax-dodger element over here, it has serious implications for Manx people who have personal pensions held in a UK fund. They will be subject to UK taxes on their pensions primarily because of the abuse of the tax-haven economies of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Will our government care?
Cultural Identity and Apple Pie!
It is almost becoming fashionable now to stand up for a strong Manx cultural identity. Money and resources are being made available by Government to a limited extent though there's still a long way to go. Being a member of a Manx cultural group is respectable and going to Ceilis; Gienses and Manx nights is no longer viewed as the dark and sinister past times of disreputable and undesirable nationalists (though they do appear from time to time I have to admit).
This is a good news for the Manx culture in that we have to a large extent overcome the negative view in which our culture has been viewed for over a century. We must be careful, however, while we are all out 'giensing' and immersing ourselves in nouveau Manxness, that we do not lose control of our cultural destiny nor ignore the other majority and minority cultures which are currently emerging in Mann.
Euro-cash - the blind following the uncertain.
The Manx Treasury has already
its intention to do exactly whatever the UK does in relation to
Monetary Union, for better or worse. In this age of "plastic" and
transactions, however. the old arguments concerning currency exchange
less valid with each passing day. This country is free to adopt
currency it chooses and the businesses and individuals herein are
free to accept whatever currencies at whatever rates they choose. It is
difficult to see what essential benefit has been obtained from linking
ourselves to Sterling when we still have to change all our money for a
simple day trip to Liverpool - we may as well be dealing in Yen!
The Legislative Council
The farce that was the recent elections to the Legislative Council has once again brought this body's existence into question. Mec Vannin does not believe in indirectly elected government, and so we cannot support the status quo. Eventually, the successful candidates were not chosen by dint of their political acumen or efficacy, but because they were unlikely to rock any boats.
In the arguments concerning candidates from outside the Keys, it appears to have been forgotten that it was not long ago that a sitting member of the Keys could not stand for the Legislature and with very good reason: It prevented it from becoming a retirement home for elderly or publicly unpopular MHKs. If we require a second chamber, and there are strong arguments for it, then it must comprise people who are accountable to the people, standing and elected on publicly declared manifestos.
Arrane Ashoonagh Vannin
C'red ta shiuish coontey jeh'n chummey noa ta Chalse Guard er chur er yn Arrane Ashoonagh Vannin? Ta sleih dy liooar gaccan nagh vel eh kiart er chor erbee - "Cha nel eh tradishoonagh" "T'eh sacraleid" "Cha dod eh er ve scruit ec Manninagh dooie" "Lhisagh Chalse ve lhiggit!"
S'treih lhiam gra nagh voddym jannoo Ihieusyn ta noi. Va'n cummey va currit er'n Arrane Ashoonagh mie dy liooar mysh keead blein er dy henney tra ve jeant ec Mnr Gill. Yiarrin dy vel eh kiart dy liooar nish, agh er lhiam pene nagh vel eh chammah's ta "Mylecharaine's March" (yn carr ren Gill ymmyd jeh dy chroo yn Arrane Ashoonagh).
Bwooise da jee nagh row noidyn yn cummey noa cummal 'syn Ellan keead blein er dy henney, er y fa dy beagh 'Ellan Vannin' liorish ny Bee Jeeyn yn Arrane Ashoonagh noa ain. (Cha nel mee er chlashtyn eh foast!)
GOVERNMENT TO MAKE LAWYERS IMMUNE FROM LAWSUITS!
A letter from a member of the public to Mec Vannin
The Isle of Man Government, in an unprecedented move for a British Crown Dependency plans an order to prevent advocates from being sued for professional negligence or case mismanagement by their disgruntled clients.
Seen by some as a delicate constitutional issue infringing human rights, the matter was debated at the recent sitting of Tynwald and is already stirring unease amongst the population, most of whom are British subjects on an island where the Crown is ultimately responsible for good government in liaison with the UK Home Office. Nowhere else under effectively direct British rule is such a privilege enjoyed by the legal profession. The proposal is being challenged by certain MHKs in the APG.
UK Home Secretary Jack Straw recently ordered an overall inquiry into the financial and regulatory regimes of low tax areas such as the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Former UK Treasury official Andrew Edwards was appointed to the task. His report is scheduled for late July. In addition, the islands were recently forced to adopt "all crimes" money laundering legislation at the insistence of the UK Home Office such that with overseas taxation agencies now having the right to pursue delinquent funds, the islands themselves are no longer technically "tax havens".
Jack Straw's move would seem related to ultimate EU fiscal harmonisation and the Euro. The Isle of Man Government's inexplicably sudden action to protect lawyers might be related to the much publicised case of Alan and Bridget Edwards, once leading UK care home property owners but also island residents.
The Edwards have sought in vain to secure professional representation in the island's courts in respect of a lawsuit they are currently preparing to bring against Bank of Scotland Group. Bank of Scotland (Isle of Man) Ltd; and at least three local Manx advocates. One of the advocates is also a director of Bank of Scotland (Isle of Man) Ltd and between 1992 and 1997 was involved in handling litigation on behalf of the bank regarding sums of money deposited by the Edwards. The Edwards were not noticed parties to this protracted action, being only made aware that something was happening in July 1994. The full details had to be gleaned from a library text book on Manx law!
Such is the island's nervousness regarding the impact on confidence of the UK Home Office review under Andrew Edwards, and indeed New Labour's overall plans for the offshore financial centres, that the last thing the government wants is a crisis in the banking and legal professions. Any untoward happenings could serve to give the UK the excuse it wants and such fears are being voiced amongst the higher echelons of financial service professionals, albeit the public are not being so informed.
Alan and Bridget Edwards were badly served to the extent that they had to secure a Licence from the Lt. Governor to employ an English barrister as no local lawyer of worth would take the case. Even the Manx advocate eventually appointed to handle the Governor's Licence not only failed to brief the English barrister but even failed to appear in court as did one other Manx advocate when the case was called on an earlier occasion. The Edwards were left unrepresented and lost everything.
In the meantime, Alan Edwards just this week held personal face to face talks with his name sake Andrew Edwards from the UK Home Office. The Edwards Review, whether it be Alan's or Andrew's, will make interesting reading! The more so as Alan is believed to be suing for £125,000,000 in an unprecedented action involving prominent Manx advocates.
How many MHKs does it take to
light bulb? None - they'd get an expert in from
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We're keeping a watching
= We're scared to make a decision
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