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Mac the Knife

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    America and the Isle of Man

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  1. Another trip through the Airport. The queues problem does seem solved at least by today’s experience. Secuurity however was an interesting experience. I was frisked by some man mountain because apparently it is now necessar to put my comb and my pitifully small wad of banknoes through the scanner. Ronaldsway must be the only airport in the world which insists on scanning bank notes! The situation was even more farcical in that the notes were just put to one side and never passed through the scanner. My man mountain security officer told me he was just following procedures! His frisking also seemed to require special attention to my lower regions, quite titillating if you are of that persuasion. Oh well another day at Ronaldsway, P.S just passed through Gatwick security en route to America and no problems with my cash, asked Security should I take it out and put in the tray. Answer, why would you want to do that mate!
  2. I have researched the police pension scheme, details of which are available on the Government website. There are two schemes the 1991 scheme which was very generous and no employee contributions required for salaries under 27,000 and then a graduated scale of payments. The 1991 scheme also had extra benefits such as coal allowances and rental allowances. The new scheme which came into effect from 2014, means that all serving officers pay a pension contribution starting at 11.00% rising to 12,75% for higher paid officers. The scheme is based on retirement at 60 and each year of service accrues 1/70 of final salary, with the maximum that can be earned being 50% of final salary ie 35/70 , which presumably is one of the reasons most police officers retire at about age 55. Th employer being the Government pays in nothing as any payments are based on the "pay as you go" system, aka the Ponzi scheme and are part of the Government ongoing pension problem, once the Public Sector Pension Reserve runs out of funds in the next few years. If I was a Police Officer under the new scheme I would be somewhat nervous. One can opt out and set up your own individual defined pot, but the success of this depends on your own level of contributions and the underlying investment performance of your pension pot.
  3. I would not claim to be an expert on this but I would believe the grey squirrel to be " a rat with a good P.R team". I understand that apart from spreading squirrel pox they cause untold damage to garden and woodland wildlife. I further understand that the reproductiion of red squirrels is far less. All, I am saying is that at least the relevant Government Department should at least investigate whether Mr Page's article has any merit?
  4. Interesting article in the Times of London today by Robin Page, about the demise of the Red Squirrel due to the invasion of the Grey Squirrel. The last surviving habitats are the Isle of Wight and Scotland, although they have recently been successfully introduced in Tresco. He has suggested in order to protect the species that two ideal locations for introduction are Mull and the Isle of Man. I have little knowledge as to whether this is a good thing from the naturalist point of view, but if it has no adverse implications, what an excellent advertisement for the Isle of Man and it's naturalist credentials. Comments please adverse or positive!.
  5. The whole matter of Hooper's sacking smells of spite and pettiness. If However you read Mr Cannan's closing speech on the budget debate, it all comes across as petty. It just tries to denigrate anyone who has not praised his budget or disagreed in any way. His attacks on the Speaker are particularly vitriolic. The whole budget struck me as more of a PR statement congratulating themselves, rather than a positive effort to tackle the major problems in the economy, primarily the Civil Service Pension costs. Congratulations are apparently merited because the reserve may not it may not run out quite as quickly as they initially forecast. We are still only theoretically balancing the books by raiding reserves and the structural deficit this past year was even larger than the previous year. Pensions and most benefits went up by 3.0% but thus below inflation , so in real terms a cut. The raising of the personal allowances will help the lower paid in particular, but will soon be swallowed up by stealth taxes or other inflationary increases (electricity today, something else tomorrow.) So overall I would not award him more than a C- for the Budget and his presentation, and E- for pettiness and vindictiveness but at least I can now get on my electric bike!
  6. An absolute disgrace. Four months have elapsed since I raised this with the Chief Minister,MHK's and Anne Reynolds and despite platitudes and blaming passengers for turning up late absolutely nothing has happened to improve the position. I feel sorry for Carole and her Group and their experience, it should not happen,but sadly those in authority take little notice of genuine problems.
  7. Dear oh Dear ,What a waste of half an hours viewing. Not because we saw nothing from our beloved Leader ( HQ) but the standard of the reporting was abysmal. If "doorstepping" Michael Ashcroft over his well known and public Belize domicile is investigative journalism and top BBC reporting , God help us all. Perhaps tomorrow we will see our beloved leader, but his shambles of a press conference looks now even more amateurish and unnecessary!
  8. As usual, most people are missing the commercial view on this. The contract with IOMG will have stipulated the amount of free copies to be supplied to the Government in whatever form. Of the fully paid sales this will have generated some £242K in revenue. GE Whites will have taken their percentage as distributors out of which they pay newsagents etc, this will have have been in the order of 35%, say £84K. There will almost certainly have been a royalty fee payable to IOMG for the contract which would have been substantial and I am not privy to this figure, but I would not be surprised at say another 30% £73K. This would leave gross income to the printer/publisher of £85K, not a huge amount when production costs photographs articles, editorials and printing costs are taken into account. The fact that many more were printed than sold is unfortunate and the contract holder would obviously have wished for more sales but the marginal costs of printing say an extra 5,000 copies would not have been huge and there is probably still to be added to the reported sales, overseas sales and a gradual but small drip feed for past years copies. Hopefully everyone made a profit but not an excess one!
  9. Lxxx Yes, but there are obviously many staff in there already qualified on the X ray machine as they swap over regularly and you see different people on it every time. It is not a difficult or highly skilled job. Your comment is the one I would expect an apathetic management or union official to make! Where there is a will there is a way.
  10. Since I started this topic and my son had to get to Gatwick on time to catch a Far Eastern connection out of Heathrow, I thought this morning we would get there really early and we arrived at 08.20 for the 09.55 to Gatwick. Up to about 08.50 there was no real queue, but suddenly at about 08.55 a large queue built up stretching back past the stairs by the escalator and it took forty minutes to get through. I checked with my son and yet again only one X ray machine used and as we all know the security tray area is badly laid out/planned and leads to slow downs. I can not accept the answer that they can not operate two machines due to staffing rotas, they already have large gaps during the day when none or few planes are taking off, what happens to the existing staff then, do they just sit around doing nothing? It can not be outside the management's skills to organise either efficient rotas or part time staff for the pinch periods. Management's response, presumably that of Anne Reynolds is to do nothing, happy to waste money but not manage in an efficient manner, the sad but normal response!
  11. Yesterday,I waited one hour and ten minutes to get through security. Coming back from Dublin five minutes, Gatwick last week seven minutes This problem at Ronaldsway is not uncommon a guest of mine waited for an hour on Sunday flying to Bristol. Here are we a small provincal airport and a total shambles. Even my favourite MHk, Rob Collister has commented on the delays. I had a couple of American visitors behind me who said it was unbelieveable, were we a third world country? Only one X ray machine working, as far as I am aware despite two expensive machines being installed, never more than one has ever been utilised. What image does this provide to visitors, apart from being totally shambolic. Heads should roll, principally the so called Director of the Airports. Get a grip MHK's but will anything ever happen?
  12. Neil, No not Jerry, if you bothered to study my profile most unlikely to be Jerry. Do not leap to uneducated assumptions Jerry actually represented me or companies in which I was involved in the past withsadly not great distinction! I feel however someone who is under the "cosh" to my mind unfairly, at least deserves to have his side of the case put forward, even though he has not asked me to do so and I have not spoken to Jerry for some five years. Before jumpimg to such hasty conclusions, perhaps study the full transcript of the judgement.
  13. I have some sympathy with Jerry Carter, although I do not believe him to be the best advocate and it appears that he was apparently deficient in his duties here, one needs however to read the full report to understand the whole murky episode. Jonathan Irving was apparently a "naive". buisnessman after some 30 years plus in business, so naive that he apparently provided Mr Gilbey with figures which were according to the report concocted to get a £70K loan. In addition, money was taken from the Festival company to subsidise SHL, which by itself, in a potential insolvency of SHL would have probably been deemed illegal. SHL failed to pay employees tax and NI to a very substantial sum, which was why the Manx government were pursuing the debts of SHL The Manx Government had also arrested his own personal house in respect of tax debts, I believe in respect of both personal tax debts and possibly in connection with SHL. Was Jerry Carter that wrong therefore in believing the whole Irvings empire was insolvent? I supect that as a result of this judgement there may be a substantial claim against Jerry Carter's firm for damages. We shall have to see what happens, but I wonder about the justice of it all. There is no doubt that Jonathan Irving helped develop a somewhat depressed Peel, through some of his property developments, but equally sad for all those parties involved who then lost out through the collapse of his empire, especially any creditors or employees. Perhaps like Icarus he flew to close to the Sun and believed in his own infallibility!
  14. Yes, I could ignore it but it fascinates me to see what drivel he posts.It is a poor version of the Archers. (Apologies to Archers fans!) The point is however, even if one ignores it, is this really the quality of output one really wants from a MHK? Surely he should have better things to focus on? I can understand that some of his constituents think that this shows he is looking after their interests and working hard, which I dispute, as a lot of his time is wasted, even by writing this blog, but an MHK should be involved in far more important points of principle and long term strategy, he is clearly not and it gets boring to be told how tired he is and whether he is mowing his lawn or not.
  15. This man Rob Callister is just sad. How can anyone post such juvenile meanderings as a blog, he obviously has nothing better to do or is so delusional that he thinks he is impressing us all by telling us when he has a sandwich or cup of coffee and this shows how hard he is working. I suspect he has never worked in the private sector and does not know what hard work really is. Are we really to be impressed at his writing up of theses for some tin pot outfit? No wonder that everyone thinks that the MHK's are a waste of time and space. What has been achieved by Tynwald since the last election, absolutely nothing except authorising huge amounts on a vanity project,such as the Promenade . Please do not start me on the MLC's, it took over a year to get Tony Wilde out, whilst he failed to turn up but took a full salary, many of the others are no better. I really despair at the quality of our parliamentarians. It is all so sad
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