Lifting the lid on fracking big deal

Terry Cringle

Terry Cringle

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Yes, we have a record outbreak of diggery-pokery going in Douglas at the moment; road works costing millions of pounds. But this is just a cover-up for something else and today I can reveal the truth exclusively in the Examiner.

It’s not exactly road works. It’s fracking. They’re looking for shale gas.

A short time ago my journalistic phone-hacking skills were deployed to reveal all by way of a secret recording of a telephone conversation in the office of Chief Minister Allan Bell. It went like this:

‘Hi there, Al. It’s Dave.’

‘Dave who?’

‘Cameron. You know. Prime Minister of Great Britain.’

‘Well, well – it’s you is it? The guy who ripped us off to the tune of long millions under the VAT agreement a couple of years ago? Trying it on again are we, Dave?’

‘Not this time, Al. What I’m proposing is a deal whereby you can get some of that money back. We would like you do a little fracking for us, in secret. What you have to do is start a whole lot of road works which we will pay for instead of you, and under cover of this work you will do a whole lot of fracking.’

‘Yeah? Just one question. Why?’

‘Right. You’ll know how the fracking we’re having done in West Sussex is causing a lot of nasty public protest and which is getting in the way of finding the shale gas which I believe is vital for the British economy. We think if it’s done in the Isle of Man under the guise of road works there will be no trouble. Simple as that.’

‘Go on, Dave. What else?’

‘We would also like you to move that big clock at the bottom of Victoria Street. We have been checking the site out and we believe that under that clock is a huge amount of shale gas. Our guys have been sniffing around there and they’re convinced they can smell it.’

‘That’s interesting Dave. We happen to know that there’s nothing more under there than an ancient Victoria sewer pipe. Do your boys really believe they’re smelling shale gas and not something else?’

‘All right, Al. What about the rest? Deal?’

‘I have to admit it sounds pretty good, Dave. We could certainly do with the road works and in the process, of course, we will be getting some shale gas which will be pretty useful to the Manx economy.’

‘Well no, Al. It’s not quite like that. You see, you are a Crown Dependency. We own the Isle of Man and that means we own your shale gas. We’ll just ship it out when we’re finished.’

‘You treacherous bunch of slimy . . .’

At this point there is the sound of a crash as if Mr Bell’s phone has gone through the window. There is nothing more on the tape.

But at least the people of the Isle of Man now have a better idea of what shale gas might smell like.

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The ‘TT and Motor Sports’ website says: ‘The Isle of Man’s comprehensive road network has been entertaining competitors on two wheels and four, and spectators, for hundreds of years.’

Is this why all the roads need so many repairs?

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Jim Barnaby reports the following headline in the Examiner: ‘Bankbenchers want Anderson to go.’

Where to? Lloyds TSB perhaps?

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Richard Hetherington has another Manx crossword clue, from the cryptic in the Daily Telegraph: Man may be using lipsalve regularly (4) – ISLE.

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