Isle of Man Examiner letters, April 29, 2013

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Demonstrate humility

It would be tempting to consign to history the rather unedifying, public spat (Examiner, April 23) between the Bishop of Sodor and Man and Sir Laurence New, a former Lieutenant Governor of the island, as merely the result of one immovable force meeting another!

However, to view in that way their fiercely opposing comments, which I feel reflect badly on the Anglican Church, would be unwise.

This is because to do so would deflect readers from examining the very serious issues that are causing a rift to open up between the most senior cleric in the diocese and many others across our island community.

Regrettably, these issues are the source of increasing discontent far beyond the boundary of St Matthew’s parish (about which I have no wish to comment specifically).

There can be no doubt that the Anglican Church on the island lies at a crossroads where tough decisions need to be taken in the face of declining congregations and mostly ineffective attempts to reach out in Christian mission to people in the community.

The present bishop, who possesses the ultimate power and responsibility for taking most of those decisions, has many admirable qualities that would fit him well for a role in the business world, such as determination, perseverance and single-mindedness.

It would be rather strange had he not formed his own views about what changes he believes should be made as he looks to the future. Sadly, therein lies the root of the present difficulties in this small diocese and predominantly rural society.

In a Christian organisation, though, one would naturally expect such personal qualities to be combined with compassion, understanding and a demonstrable willingness to listen actively and pay genuine regard to the views of other Christians, most of whom are lay people giving freely of their time and energy because they are anxious to play their part in spreading the ‘good news’ of the gospels.

These people should be viewed by the bishop as an asset to the Anglican Church on the island and it would be imprudent of him to disregard their input, even if (as is only right and proper) they do not have the authority to take the final decisions. This is where the bishop, who is akin to a steel fist in a velvet glove, is simply getting it wrong all too often, no matter how well-intentioned his motives might be!

The bishop is required in law to go through a process of consultation over the various structural changes that are being proposed and in regard to the appointment of new incumbents to replace the present ‘priests in charge’ in parishes across the island.

All too transparently, though he says that the structural changes are ‘nothing to worry about’ and claims to have an open mind on these matters, his autocratic actions do not support either contention. Indeed, it is clear that the consultations taking place in the diocese are simply a sham.

The bottom line is that he has already made up his mind and will simply ignore any views from parish representatives and parochial church councils that do not correspond with his own pre-conceived ideas.

That is exactly what he is doing in so many areas and is a matter of increasing concern to so many committed Christians on the island.

The bishop talks about ‘reducing administration’ but the contrary is true; the diocese is becoming increasingly bureaucratic!

He also refers to ‘slow but steady growth’, a claim that does not bear independent and objective scrutiny!

When the present bishop was appointed and before his enthronement, he addressed a large number of clergy and many lay representatives from island parishes at St German’s Cathedral.

He proclaimed to those present that he wished to be seen as a humble bishop who was keen and willing to listen to views, even constructive criticism, and consider it carefully.

Well, I’m afraid the time has come for him to demonstrate a little humility and to acknowledge that the best way to bring about change in any organisation is to work with people, bringing them along with you, rather than disregarding what they have to say and alienating them.

Name and address supplied

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How do we get tourists?

The problem doesn’t lie solely with the Summerland site itself, but with the island as a whole.

How does this island wish to portray itself?

How does the island wish to maintain and attract tourists? What can residents do in their leisure time?

Rather than focusing on one site and what we can do with that, we should be looking at the bigger picture.

There are several sites in Douglas as well as Castletown, Peel and Ramsey which have potential but need to be looked at as a whole so we don’t overload one section of the Island and certainly don’t waste an opportunity like the Summerland site.

We need an urban plan that caters for the key markets on the island, remains sustainable and promotes a forward thinking initiative that attracts developers to our (the islanders) ideas and needs in the context that we live in. At present the island appears to be promoting a ‘Do what you want’ attitude because it is a short-term fix, especially in economic terms.

There is no quick fix to the Summerland site because other sites need to be looked at and we as islanders need to get to grips with a long-term plan which will mean we adopt a pro-active rather than reactive approach to the future of our island.

Let’s develop this site when we know what is best for it, not just because someone can purchase it.

Name and address supplied

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Why meet the prisoners?

After reading the letters in the Examiner purporting to be from prisoners in Jurby – why on earth would the minister want to have a meeting with or take advice from a con man and a person who is in prison for election fraud as well as conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to forge ? Beggars belief!

Mick Bradley

Queen Street

Peel

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An hour stuck in traffic

My journey into work from Peel to Douglas took me one hour this morning. I found myself inching forward bumper to bumper for 40 minutes all the way from Union Mills into town. It has been similar all this week.

If these road works are to continue, for a couple of weeks let alone 74, then there needs to be some active traffic management immediately put into place. At present the traffic from Peel is queuing for 20 to 30 minutes approaching the Quarter Bridge roundabout, while the vehicles arriving from the south are only five to 10 deep.

The traffic from the south is constant enough though, with the lack of traffic coming out of Douglas, to prevent virtually any movement of the west bound traffic.

The situation above cannot be allowed to continue and there should immediately be temporary traffic lights installed at Quarter Bridge and the traffic flow monitored and controlled. Either this must happen or the approach to the road improvements amended in their scale, timescales or design. I hope that my frustrations can be acted upon and, if not your responsibility, then you will forward them onto the relevant person in government.

The west of the island probably has the most rapidly growing population on the island, most of whom work in or around Douglas, so this situation should not be allowed to continue for the sake of their health and wellbeing, as well as that of the island economy.

Jon Barwood

Oak Road

Peel

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It’s all down to natural causes

In his recent reply to my query regarding the global cooling since WW2 Mr Brown makes reference to a paper published in the ‘Science’ magazine in 2003 but gives no information on the authors of this article so it makes it impossible to check on the authenticity of the article, and, let’s be honest, if it was written by someone who relies on funding by spreading the AGW message then it can most probably be taken with a bucket load of salt.

In answer to my request for him to produce just one peer-reviewed paper proving any link between human derived CO2 emissions and the very slight warming of less than 1C over the last 150 years or so he blithely states that he prefers to accept the conclusions – not proof – of scientists being funded by the IPCC, who, for your information Mr Brown, do not volunteer their services but are especially selected and only those that agree with the IPCC stance on global warming make the various panels.

As for your comments that the only sceptical scientists are those with little or no scientific depth who are in league with fossil fuel industries, this I find quite insulting to these people and shows just how low you environmentalists have sunk in trying to protect your cause and would remind you that Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and other environmental NGOs are not slow in accepting funding from the very same fossil fuel companies you so despise.

I recall a former executive of FoE and a director of the Green Alliance for nine years, namely a Mr Tom Burke, accepting a position with BP in 1997 before joining Rio Tinto Mining Co. Surely BP is a fossil fuel company, Mr Brown? Or it was the last time I looked.

Seems fossil fuel money is perfectly acceptable when it goes to the coffers of environmentalists but not to sceptical scientists. Mr Brown asks that I produce a paper which disproves the connection of human caused CO2 and global warming – there is nothing for me to disprove as he should know that in the world of science it is up to the scientist introducing the theory to provide the evidence for his theory. If he cannot provide the evidence then the theory is rejected and so far no evidence has been produced.

As Mr Brown probably knows, the planet has been, over the last 1,500 years, as hot as, or hotter, and sometimes colder than now, – the Roman Warm Period, the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age for example – and I do not think we can blame human induced CO2 for those warm periods, so perhaps Mr Brown can shed some light on this.

As for believing that scientists and politicians can solve the problems of the future this is all pie in the sky as no one knows what the Earth’s climate will be in 50 years’ time. It is impossible to predict and let’s face it none of the ridiculous predictions made by Al Gore, James Hansen and Nick Stern over the last 20 years have come true. Also, wasn’t it someone from the Met Office in 2001 that predicted snow was a thing of the past? Try telling that to the Manx farmers.

Finally, Mr Brown, I accept that there has been a slight warming since the end of the Little Ice Age which is only to be expected and is of natural causes but do not accept the theory of AGW.

J. Craige

Baldrine Park

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Why did they let it happen?

I refer to the letter in the April 8 Examiner headed ‘Shepherds would once have known where to look for buried sheep’.

I am still haunted by images of sheep and cattle frozen to death or buried alive in the recent snow, sheep aborting lambs in the trauma and cattle which couldn’t be fed – they must have felt totally abandoned. What I cannot understand and would like explained to me by the farmers is why this was allowed to happen when warnings of severe snow and high winds was well forecast ahead.

Surely any mountain sheep (especially in lamb) should have been removed to safe ground.

Yes, gallant efforts were made after the snowfall and farmers and volunteers were brave to try and find them to dig them out – but this could have been at a cost to human life as well.

If there was no room to take animals into buildings – perhaps they could have been fenced in the farm yard – at least they would have been found more easily and looked after from home.

I think an investigation by the agricultural minister, Mr Gawne MHK, would be beneficial and a report asked to be given by the farmers as to the action they took at the time to protect their stock. Also a future contingency plan put in place so this must never happen again.

Name and address supplied

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