NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
It’s not every day the quiet tranquility of Manx political life is rocked by controversy but today was one of those days.
Chris Robershaw, the Minister for Policy and Reform, dramatically resigned just a day before the Manx budget was due to be announced.
However his resignation was not related to any lack of a fiscal meeting of minds round the Council of Ministers (COMIN) table but more of a good old fashioned ‘turf war’ for areas of responsibilities.
Robertshaw apparently lost the day and as some (rather unkind) commentators on social media put it ‘threw his toys out of the pram’.
Politically, it came as a surprise, because Robertshaw has been something of a rising star in the inner echelons of government.
A comparatively new member of the House of Keys he was elected five years ago. He then served briefly in the Department of Social Care until being ‘elevated’ to the new role of Minister for Policy and Reform. This new role is surrounded by ambiguity; the Manx Chief Minister had to admit in Tynwald recently that the Cabinet Office which his ‘ministry’ falls under “does not have a Minister as defined in the Council of Ministers Act 1990”.
A keen ‘reformer’ Robertshaw has been one of an enthusiastic group within COMIN that launched a wave of austerity on the Isle of Man like nothing seen before.
Public sector job cuts and privatisation, pay freezes increased rents for social housing, stealth taxes and hidden charges etc. The process continued for over three years but by the winter of 2014 the mutterings ‘on the street’ were growing in strength. A series of government staged ‘big debates’ with the people were poorly attended whilst rival meetings organised by backbenchers played to a full house.
Then at the annual Illiam Dhone commemoration on 2nd of January speakers condemned the government for going to far (see link) to quickly:
Later in the month a large crowd marched in Ramsey (the Islands second largest town) to oppose a planned post office closure.
Clearly then some will not mourn Roberstshaw’s ‘fall from grace’ although it appears that his Ministerial colleagues, with whom he had that almighty falling out just days ago. will miss him.
Treasury Minister Eddie Teare (standing in for the Islands Chief Minster who is currently ill) made an astonishing public statement saying that COMIN were ‘saddened’ by his departure describing him as a man ‘passionate in his convictions’.
Apparently not passionate enough to swing his colleagues to his point of view in that make or break COMIN meeting last week.
Such disingenuous statements of grief for this man of ‘conviction’ do little to enhance the ‘street cred’ of an already discredited government.
It is a job to work out which is worst Robertshaw’s fit of pique at not carrying the day in COMIN last week or the false praise of his colleagues – either way within hours his post had been speedily filled!
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur).
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