Isle of Man Examiner letters, June 24, 2013

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The island is ripped off by the BBC

Comments made by the Celtic League about being ripped off by the BBC are oh so true.

The BBC fell out with the island when Manx Radio had the temerity to broadcast the TT nearly half a century ago, along with the arrival of Radio Caroline in Ramsey bay.

At that time the powers that be at the BBC had a view that people who lived north of Watford Gap grew leeks, raced pigeons and played crown green bowls – today they seem to have a mind set that people on the Celtic fringe of Britain live in mud huts and throw stones at each other and are easily subjugated.

The BBC has never done the island many favours, always showing interviews with some ‘odd bod’ or ‘crank’ who throws a bad light on the Isle of Man and its people, when documentaries are put out by their biased programme editors.

It is obscene that we give the BBC £5 million in licence fees and get nothing back – our politicos were hoodwinked when they complained to the BBC about being underrepresented both on radio and TV and were given a mention on the shipping forecast. Big deal.

No one on this island should pay one penny to the BBC until they either set up a community radio station or better still pay for our own Manx Radio.

The BBC bosses are sending over an officer to check up on us all and make sure we have paid our licence fee – one wonders what would happen if we just refused to pay up, would they send us all to jail?

The left wing cadre at the BBC also have no right to occupy the moral high ground when dealing with the island – you only have to look at the Savile enquiry and the dirt already uncovered and the loss of £100m on the digital archive fiasco.

Why then do we send over £5 million off the island?the answer is weak politicians who have never fought our corner well.

No we don’t get anything from the BBC only the ‘rip off’ that goes on year after year so we have every right to refuse payment for a lousy service given to our island and every right to keep our £5 million.

D. G. Dobson, St Mary’s Rd, Port Erin

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Welcome news but action is six years after

Government’s announcement last week of an independent inspection of children’s services starting in September is welcome news.

However we should remember that the government accepted the 132 recommendations of the Everall Commission of Inquiry in May 2006. One of these called for this external inspection to assess and publicly report on progress after one year. It is reasonable to ask why this external inspection is six years late.

One of the inquiry’s recommendations (126) was that legislation should be introduced to place a statutory duty on all government departments to co-operate with each other in safeguarding and promoting the interests of looked after children. This has not been done.

Government also said in its Children’s Plan 2009-2012 that it was committed to putting the Safeguarding Children Board (now the Protecting Children Board) on a legislative footing and that the Children’s Committee would also be given a legal basis to perform its functions. It has failed to do either of these – and here we are in mid-2013.

The Department of Social Care, and the others involved, naturally want to ‘pass’ this Inspection and it has worked closely with the Scottish Care Inspectorate on what is to be reviewed. This should ease it gently into the regular, and rigorous, OFSTED inspections which Minister Robertshaw has told Tynwald he favours.

Alan Croll, Harcroft Avenue, Douglas

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Unimpressed with treatment at the hospital

I feel I must add our experiences to the current issues surrounding Noble’s Hospital management and care.

When an elderly relative was admitted after a severe stroke, the A+E services could not be faulted – but once inside the ‘system’ that is Noble’s, we were not so impressed.

To begin with, the vital specialist ‘stroke ward’ he was admitted to was closed down due to shortage of staff over Christmas.

Who knows how much this contributed to his decline and now total incapacitation for the past threeyears?

While in the so-called ‘rehabilitation’ unit, he received very little of the same and was shunted about frequently (and with great stress to him) due to constant infections going around the wards. One wonders how much of this is due to the apparent complete disregard to use of the hand-gels available, and gloves, if used were also used for opening doors, answering telephones and typing on keyboards.

On one occasion, at 80 years old and very sick, he was wheelchaired from the rehab unit across the car park (at night, in icy temperatures) for some test or other at the main hospital.

Some staff at the unit were extremely pleasant, cheerful and fairly helpful. However, more often than not, they were to be seen chatting at the desk (usually about their many holidays!) ignoring buzzers, telephones and sometimes our requests.

On more than one occasion we, the visitors, had to bring to attention some potentially serious oversights concerning our relative.

The general attitude seemed to be to ‘move people on’ (and out) as quickly as possible, regardless of their stage of recovery. In the end, I have to say, we were as keen as they seemed to be to get him out of there.

At the time a couple of the consultants we conversed with voiced their dissatisfaction with the decision making – and that was over three years ago.

Name & address supplied

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Imagine if the bailout had been in the UK

Where have we got to politically since the Sefton bail-out on April 18?

Allan Bell is still in place as Chief Minister, recently back from strutting his stuff in a taxation conference in Downing Street and telling the UK media what a well-regulated financial centre the Isle of Man is, shortly after perpetrating the biggest abuse of political power on the island for over 20 years. He has craftily kicked the ball in to touch, or tried to, by referring the bail-out to the economic policy review committee.

Let’s consider the likely course of events in an adjoining jurisdiction if something similar to the Sefton bail-out had happened there.

If David Cameron, Prime Minister, and George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, had bailed out a company chaired by former Prime Minister Sir John Major with taxpayers’ cash, without consulting anyone, what do you think would have happened? Let’s guess.

First an almighty row in Cabinet, especially when it became clear that the beneficial owners of the company were very wealthy individuals active in the City of London.

Second, pandemonium in Parliament, with MPs of all parties, including their own, demanding Cameron and Osborne’s resignations.

Next, instead of hiding away somewhere, Sir John Major being grilled by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight and John Humphries on the Today Programme.

Does anyone seriously believe that Cameron and Osborne would still be in power two months later? Of course they wouldn’t.

They would have been in Buckingham Palace weeks before, handing in their Seals of Office, their careers in ruins.

But we do things differently on the Isle of Man, don’t we?

But why?

Why should we have lower standards of governance here than in the UK?

Why has Tynwald not acted as it should and removed Mr Bell, Mr Teare and Mr Shimmin from their posts? There has been only one debate in Tynwald since the bail-out, on Kate Beecroft’s motion against it on May 21. Mrs Beecroft presented a meticulously researched report, full of important information, and gave a measured speech. More than anything so far, it blew the lid off the whole affair.

In reply, our (still) Chief Minister reacted in fury and disgustingly accused Mrs Beechcroft of putting forward a ‘narrow, poisonous view’ and ‘denigrating, slurring and smearing’, which language is, I suggest, completely against the traditional courtesies of our ancient parliament.

Amazingly, he was not pulled up for it by the President.

The good thing though is that this self-righteous, self-serving rant, packed with inaccuracies, was broadcast live on Manx Radio, and repeated several times since. If you heard it or have read it on the Tynwald website, I leave you, dear reader, to decide for yourself what it tells us about the character of the man.

Kate Beecroft’s motion against the bail-out was lost by 20 votes to eight.

Alan Walton, Baldrine

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