I have now had a full week to study the provisions of the Budget presented to Tynwald last Tuesday by the Treasury Minister (hello Annie).
I do this with every Budget.
A well-developed persecution complex persuades me that if there is anything really bad in there, it will be aimed straight at me personally.
This year the anticipation of what was coming was particularly bad, with the more excitable elements of the island’s news media promising that we were all going to get it right in the neck.
As a result, paranoia led me to believe that one of the main provisions would be that, because of our unreasonable and increasing burden on the public purse, all old people will be shipped out to the Ayres in cattle trucks, ordered to dig their graves, and be shot dead in cold blood by paramilitary gunmen imported from Iraq by the Manx Treasury.
Fortunately this has turned out not to be the case. But there’s always next year I suppose, Annie.
Otherwise, the 2011 Budget has stirred up new concerns.
In political terms the Isle of Man is a very odd place indeed. For all its economic dependence on the forces of capitalism it is, paradoxically, a socialist state, which came as a great surprise to Nick Clegg when he was in Douglas last year to attend the British Irish Council.
The fact is that the Isle of Man has a much greater spread of state ownership and control than exists in the United Kingdom.
The Budget told me that nearly 20 percent of the Manx working population is employed by the Government and that’s not just the civil servants and the people in services like health and social security.
The Manx Government also controls the electricity industry, just about all the public transport on road and rail, the water supply, the airport, and even entertainment at the Villa Marina and the Gaiety Theatre.
Across the water all this kind of thing is in the private sector.
Admittedly the horse trams are not in Government ownership, but this can only be a matter of time.
There is frequent talk of nationalisation of the Steam Packet. As for Manx Gas, if they keep on putting their prices up . . .
All this power rests, of course, in that sinister cabal, the Council of Ministers.
They are the Generals running the Isle of Man. They change discreetly into military uniform and medals before going in to their highly secret weekly sessions on a Thursday.
This, I have come to realise, is a situation which is going to lead to violence on the streets of Douglas and blood running down the gutters.
Inspired by the people of Tunisia and Egypt and the rest, thousands of protesters will gather in Peveril Square with demands for Chief Minister Tony Brown to step down and leave the country with his ill-gotten gains.
Security forces – well, Civil Defence and the Coastguards I suppose – will deploy with rubber bullets and power hoses and the world’s news media will pour into Douglas on Mezeron and the world’s eyes will be upon us and . . .
All right, all right. I am letting my overheated imagination run away with me.
I apologise to Tony Brown for that ill-gotten gains crack and I am sure there are no jackboots under the table at CoMin.
It’s just my state of euphoria on finding out that I’m not going to be taken out and shot. Not yet anyway.
I have been sent an advertisement clipped from a newspaper published in India saying: ‘For sale to kind master: Full grown tigress, goes daily walk untied, and eats flesh from hand.’