NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
On January 2nd 2015 at Hango Hill, Nationalist spokesman, Bernard Moffatt, said the Manx government’s austerity policy was out of control. He said:
“You can go too far and I think people have just about reached breaking point”
He warned the government if it continued its policy:
‘could tip the Island over the edge’ he said ‘politicians need to be aware ordinary people will only take so much’
Link to video of comments here:
The initial response from the state funded media was the usual anti-nationalist negativity we have come to know ‘and love’:
Manx Radio opened its report with the words:
“The traditional Illiam Dhone commemoration on Hango Hill in Castletown has been used as a platform for an attack on the Manx Government’s performance.”
Plainly, anyone who listens to the speech again will see that it was an attack on the dangers of austerity which cuts ‘to deep to fast’ and if anything the UK government came in for greater criticism than the Manx (even the ‘travails’ of the Irish Republic got a mention).
What seems to have been a unilateral decision by the UK to recalibrate the VAT agreement with Mann set the Island of down the road to austerity. Unfortunately that was followed quickly by Regional austerity across Europe – which of course also knocked-on to the Manx economy.
In any case the Manx government were not unduly perturbed by the mutterings of Nationalists around Hango Hill within days the Treasury Minister was ‘on the front foot’ issuing absurd challenges for people (plainly Nationalists) to come in and effectively run the Treasury for him.
However, a few days later the bombast softened a trifle and by the second week of the month the Chief Minister was suggesting things might have gone a bit too far.
Now, in IOM newspapers a story has appeared saying that:
“The island community has been left bruised by extra charges and taxes that are hitting those on lower incomes hardest”.
The admission was prompted by a question from Chris Thomas MHK (one of the quieter, more thoughtful and socially measured of the current batch in the Keys).
Responding to Thomas, Chris Robertshaw MHK (a member of the cabinet whose role some of his colleagues don’t even seem to understand) said the government:
“Recognised the island had to move back towards a sense of recognisable fairness”
at the same time disclosing figures which revealed one in four households, the poorest, do not have enough income to meet their basic needs.
This almost ‘Pauline conversion’ comes from one of the primary architects of the policies of austerity that have bit ‘to deep to fast’.
The back-peddling has started – but talk is cheap particularly when uttered by a Minister. With rate rises still due to filter through and a property revaluation set to give the Isle of Man its own home-spun version of the poll tax the Manx public would be very foolish to believe the worst is over.
If ‘stealth’ charges do continue to accrue the message from the muddy grass around the base of Hango Hill on Jan 2nd 2016 maybe even more blunt!
However in the short to medium term, external forces have been given government a breathing space.
Cuts to fuel bills mean not just lower petrol and fuel oil prices but, as they filter through to manufacturers should also see a reduction in prices of food and other basics. Firm government pressure on the Islands gas utility to stop prevaricating and pass on lower product costs would also help.
The government could rethink their strategy for managing change. Indeed given this week’s news that 25% of the population are already living on the edge they will have to!
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.)
ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues
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