• February 4, 2016


“Juan may be a pretend soldier and a crap policeman but he sure knows a lot about trams!”

The House of Keys is a bizarre place these days its more like a circus than a parliament. All the (recently) established norms are being turned on there head within days of being agreed.

Just a few weeks before Xmas Steve Rodan the Speaker announced that time wasting frivolous questions from the likes of Liberal Vannin would not be tolerated. His somewhat out of sync move was then replicated in Tynwald by the President.

Now these moves were presented as the decisions of the respective presiding officers but no doubt they were greeted with a huge sigh of relief by several Ministers not least the Treasury Minister who was being constantly assailed by questions from Tynwald’s terrible twins Messrs Karran and Beecroft. Indeed at the time the Chief Minister said there was no intention to stifle debate but supported the move anyway.

So much discontented muttering, some of it aloud, from the LibVan team with Peter Karran obviously frustrated referring to the President as ‘love’ and then in a Manx Radio alluding to the control the State had over some elements of the media.

Then last week everything was topsy-turvy with Ms Beecroft getting leave to introduce an emergency motion over the horse trams and the Chief Minister supporting her motion.

What’s happening? Because for a start one would have thought with Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne, a man who has spent a few hours behind the horse, already organising a meeting why the emergency? (Note; there was no emergency motion over Gas standing charges).

However, the Chief Minister and Kate Beecroft latterly seem to have realised common purpose (albeit short term) – who would have thought it? The previous weekend the CM had a spat over comments made by Cat Turner (LibVan Councillor) over the finance industry. Cat Turner used the ‘H’ word to describe the industry and seemed reluctant to back off in the face of Chief Ministerial ire. Enter Ms Beecroft to, as one pundit put it ‘slap-down’ the councillor pointing out that our finance industry may once have been like the ‘wild west’ but now the Sheriffs in Town.

Only thing is there have been several instances of allegations over financial shenanigans ranging from allegations by Canadian media giant CBC, the Irish Parliament TD Mick Wallace and Northern Ireland and the mysterious monies connected to the NAMA northern portfolio. It seems the Sheriff still needs to enlist a few more Deputies’ just to make sure the ‘West’ is not still wild. Or after this weeks FSA revelations is it the case that someone has shot the Sheriff?

Anyway back in the Keys horse tram debate, posited on the basis of taking action over something the Minister of Infrastructure had already taken action over, ground on.

There were wide ranging contributions. David Quirk warned members that there were lots of things to think about including a concrete yard in a School nearby. Chris Thomas mumbled something I didn’t quite pick up. It could not have been important as no one seemed moved by it. Jon Joughin who will definitely get the Minister of Mediocrity portfolio when Allan Bell creates it was meanwhile dreaming about the Santa train – and its only January!

Juan Watterson, who is very authoritarian these days, said that Douglas Corporation would have to remove the track, he had read it in the Tramways Act of ‘1800 and something’! He seemed to miss the point that the debate was premised on saving the tramway. However now we know Juan may be a pretend soldier and a crap policeman but he sure knows a lot about trams!

Eventually the debate like the tram reached its destination. They set up a committee to look into all the options. I was totally confused by this time – must be my age. Is this Committee a new one? If so are there now two? If not is it the Committee that Gawne – sticking with the Wild West theme – was corralling anyway. It all seemed pointless and then I suddenly realised that the Keys is a bit like a horse tram pulling up and down the promenade and never really getting anywhere.

Anyway I hope the Keys and Tynwald sort out the Tram situation then they might find time to apply more scrutiny to those gas, electricity and oil prices. Maybe someone can initiate an emergency debate on that. I mean our politicians are ‘hell on wheels’ over some issues – but not the one’s that matter somehow!

Psst! Don’t talk about Insurance.


Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


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