Scooping the Treasury Minister

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Editors’ blog: Our lead story in the Examiner this week scooped the Treasury Minister.

We revealed the total figure of the ‘UK’s VAT grab’. In a couple of years’ time, it will mean the Manx taxman will have to find £75m on top of the £114m from the last raid every year - or we’ll face some hefty cuts.

We got the figures early thanks to good old fashioned contacts (whose identities we shall always protect) and journalistic enterprise.

You’ll be glad to read that no phones were hacked when we got the story. Our methods were the tried and tested ones of our trade.

The new VAT agreement will no doubt be the biggest story of the next few years. When you do the sums it’s horrendous.

I was glad of a little light relief after the Examiner went to bed yesterday.

I was on a panel for an Any Questions-style event at Onchan and District WI.

The first time a public engagement went seriously awry for Tony Blair was at a WI meeting. So I was on my guard.

In fact, I was a bit apprehensive. I thought it might be a real grilling.

Occasionally, when I meet members of the public they say ‘why don’t you do any investigative journalism?’ or ‘you just print what the government tells you to’.

I went armed with examples of our investigative journalism and stories in which government ministers were criticised to explain a bit about what we actually do.

In fact, it was not necessary.

It seems that members of the WI are too bright to believe the myths that our conspiracy theorist friends favour.

The questions were thought-provoking and entertaining.

My thanks to fellow panelists were Alan Wilcox, Judith Ley and Peter Kelly, the Captain of the Parish in Onchan, and the ladies of the WI for an enjoyable afternoon (which ended with a delicious cream tea).

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