What is wrong with us ?

Two thousand years ago it only took Hadrian eight years to build his huge 73-mile long wall right across Britain.

One hundred and sixty-nine years ago the Manx had just built the worlds largest 72-foot diameter Lady Isabella in Laxey to pump water out of what was one of Europe’s largest mines.

One hundred and forty-nine ago, despite the tides halting the initial construction twice a day, it only took five years to build the massive 145-foot Chicken Rock lighthouse.

One hundred and twenty-eight years ago it only took eight months to build the one-in-12 gradient five-mile electric railway from Laxey to the summit of Snaefell despite a terrible winter.

Just to return our little world-famous 26-foot Peggy 10 miles from Braddan to her home in what is to be a newly-constructed boat house in Castletown’s Nautical Museum will soon have taken more than twice the time that it took to build the mighty Chicken Rock lighthouse.

Does our current failure to get the horse trams running all the way to the Steam Packet terminal not seem painfully like the bigger and vastly more difficult adjacent island’s ridiculous HS2 debacle ?

Between 1844 and 1846, in only two years 6,220 miles of railways were built, so why on earth are we allowing ourselves to be seen as so incompetent by taking years to get the remaining 0.8 flat miles of lines re laid to get our unique tourist attracting horse trams to the Sea Terminal ?

Most of our civil servants are excellent, pleasant people who accept that they are paid to serve those whose taxes fund their salaries.

However there are clearly a few seemingly out-of-control government employees who wrongly believe that their having to count our beans enables them to rule rather than serve those whose taxes pay their salaries and in doing so damage the image of their department.

Is the crux of the problem that some in our government have lost control over those who are well paid and are supposed to be serving and working for both their ministers and us but are not doing so ?

Why have our lawmakers, the Attorney General and all his lawyers plus the human resources department of the Public Service Commission, whose salaries we also pay, been allowed to become so powerful and to impose the stifling complications that make it so difficult to control or dispense with those who are failing to serve us ?

The Romans and the Victorians were very successful without these restrictions so why do we have to accept them ?

Would the Victorians have incurred the £50m-plus over expenditure on the Liverpool landing stage or have wasted many millions of pounds on the repeated dredging of the Peel Marina by failing to action the expert advice and common sense that the river should have been canalised so that it flowed past, instead of into the marina which will continue to necessitate yet more millions having to be wasted on future dredging ?

Surely we should be able exceed the achievements of the Romans and Victorians who managed so brilliantly without having had the benefit of all our modern transport, machinery, materials, communications, IT Systems and technology.

Instead of the Isle of Man matching the current incompetence of those in England should we not be demonstrating our nations independence and our ability to eclipse their dismal performance ?

If so what is our Chief Minister and each of his Council of Ministers going to do to change the situation ?

Richard H Bedford


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This letter was first published in the Manx Independent of March 23.