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Everything posted by code99

  1. I agree with you. But, they do need to think these issues through just in case..."Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"
  2. Has the Government discussed/ agreed/ confirmed this proposal with life insurance companies? If not, the risks of having a Government policy to alter the cause of death (on death certificates) in order to persuade life insurance companies to pay out on what they would otherwise not pay out on are immense. It would put the IOM doctors in an impossible situation (if this is true, then it would tantamount to conducting systemic fraud), it would cause trauma for the families and it would undermine the Government’s reputation for ethical behaviour. Surely, this Government would not be that stupid…?
  3. Hope this helps! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7xE6ByD5pU
  4. Being the national broadcaster means that the BBC need to be politically neutral - in order to be seen as being neutral the BBC has to walk a tightrope between lots of conflicting political forces. Unfortunately, they are frequently damned for over-interrogating some politicians and under-interrogating others i.e., they are damned by one side if they ‘do’ and dammed by the other side if they ‘don’t’ (much of the criticism they get is highly political). In the book/ show ‘House of Cards’, fictional character Mattie gets killed for prying too much…that story-line was not entirely unrealistic. Today, in many places around the world professional journalists lose their lives for exposing corrupt governments and corrupt government officials, etc. Mercifully, this does not happen in the UK/IOM (as far as we know), but our journalists are being silenced by other means, including social media intimidation. Paul Moulton’s gaging order also comes to mind.
  5. Exactly right - let the baying angry crowd brandishing proverbial pitchforks have their vengeance! Just jesting! On a more serious note, IMHO, “Naming Names” would be a wholly inappropriate, moronic and possibly even illegal thing to do (if individual public servants are named as specifically responsible it would be an unprecedented thing to do). Of course, there needs to be an investigation about what went wrong, but because the IOM Treasury signed off on the project, they must share some responsibility. It seems to me that neither the Treasury nor the politician(s) in charge of the DOI have provided sufficient oversight of each milestone of the project to keep it on track. I would not be at all surprised if the IOMG took somewhat nonchalant approach to this project and simply hoped for the best, or something like ‘just do it’. To make sure that lessons have truly been learned what needs to change is the culture within Government Departments i.e., to become more professional, more cooperative and more answerable (these cultural changes need to be implemented from the top). The day-to-day interactions between our politicians and the IOM civil servants need to improve; positive changes will require dedication and wisdom on all sides. An important question is “do we actually have sufficiently capable people in both the Government and CS who can implement the urgently needed changes?”
  6. There is also the ‘old-fashioned’ but vital question of fairness. Over the years, successive IOM governments have recklessly trashed taxpayers’ money on vanity projects and plain incompetence. Now, they are continuing that tradition and at the same time want to recoup these cumulative financial losses by cutting frontline public services such as health, social care and education. An example of ‘nonsense spending’ is Manx Care’s desire to appoint ever more desk jockeys (with two Porsches), but does not have enough money to pay nurses, ENT and orthopaedic specialists, etc. Surely, what the public should be demanding from our politicians, including Sarah Maltby, to stop talking in pointless generalities and to start owning up to their collective past and present mistakes and, most of all, to offer up some practical solutions. I concede that some of the calamities are now legacy issues, but the IOM’s incumbent politicians should have taken these issues into account when they put themselves forward as people who would ‘tirelessly’ serve the public interest. I would welcome politicians taking pay cuts to their salaries and also to the salaries of the IOM senior civil servants before there are any cuts to NHS funding. The DOI and DfE leadership would be at the top of my list.
  7. Exactly what Sarah Pinch means when she says that Manx Care are looking at three options, one of which would be ‘deeply unpalatable’, is anyone’s guess. My guess is that she is referring to the ‘flat’ or even reduced Budget that the IOM Treasury is giving them for the 2024/25 financial year. If I am right about this, then it makes sense that she/Manx Care would find this predicament deeply unpalatable. I presume that the other two options involve getting additional money from other sources, doing things like bringing back a private health system, where patients who can afford it and want to jump up the ever longer waiting lists are asked to stump up a lots of cash. One thing is clear – Manx Care are facing some very tough financial choices and also possible cuts to current (NHS) health services. Given the lack of facts in what Pinch just said, we will have to wait and see what those options actually are. Needless to say, I think that the creation of Manx Care was a disastrous decision for the Island.
  8. I agree. The programme reminded me of what complete bunch of nincompoops the Tories can be. Machiavellian Steve Baker came across as a psycho who (for his own safety) should be locked up in lunatic asylum. Not only was ‘posh’ Dave Cameron pathetically complacent about the Referendum, his nemeses the two main Brexit clowns Johnson and Gove were totally clueless about what the consequences of Leave winning would be. They simply did not expect the Leave vote to win and consequently they woke up to their unexpected and pyrrhic victory without any plans about what to do next. Hence chaos ensued. Their mess will take years to clean up. Barring some global catastrophic event or some astonishing good fortune for ‘Brexit Britain’, given the age profile of Remainers versus Brexiteers, I predict that there will be another Brexit referendum within a decade, and the ‘Rejoin’ vote will win.
  9. I agree with you. The most cost-effective method of delivery to protect society is free of charge (Australia, New Zealand, etc) e.g. breast screening programme, etc, etc.
  10. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Coronavirus might also watch for what President Biden, Anthony Albanese Prime Minister of Australia and Chris Hipkins Prime Minister of New Zealand are doing.
  11. Last Friday a group of cross-party UK MPs wrote the UK Government a letter citing the reasons why the Covid booster programme should be extended to a wider population. They said that this was necessary to protect the NHS and the economy. If a new seasonal Covid booster is offered privately, it will be priced at least £100 (per dose). Studies show that workers including those in hospitality, tourism and retail, bus drivers, cleaners, etc - i.e., people in lower socioeconomic groups are likely to be most affected by Covid and are also those least able to afford private health. I would accept an argument for means-tested vaccine distribution so that ‘monied people’ will shoulder that financial burden in order to protect the rest of society. I am prepared to stump up £100 for my booster, provided staff who are aged under 65s and work for the likes of Tesco will receive their boosters for free.
  12. The US Inflation Reduction Act 2022 commits America to embrace green technologies manufactured inside the US. The US Government will stump up about $800b and, according to Goldman Sachs, the US private sector will invest a further $1.7t. Of course, this ‘green revolution’ is in part predicated by Trump not winning the US Presidential Elections next year and not decreeing coal as the national fruit and fossil fuels as essential oils. Western democracies are also trying to wean themselves off China. Paradoxically, the more the US invests in their green revolution the more challenging it will be for Western companies and governments outside the US and China to ‘go green’. For instance, the Australian Federal (Labour) Government is very keen on encouraging investments in locally manufactured green energy infrastructure like solar panels, wind turbines, tidal wave technology, etc. Their problem is that Australia can’t financially compete with the US for investments and expertise (scientists, engineers and other specialists are being lured to the US by the money they can earn there). Consequently, some of Australia’s green energy projects have already been binned. It is likely that Europeans are facing similar struggles to attract green energy technology investments for their projects. Another example is the recent auction for UK seven offshore wind projects which was a total flop. The IOMG has to navigate these same dynamics. Without Government subsidies, green projects aren’t likely to ever get much traction here. The IOMG must dot the financial i’s and cross the practical t’s before committing to any green projects, including this wind farm project. Spending £40m may not be very much by international standards, but with IOMG finances currently eroding at a rapid rate, that sort of cash is getting harder and harder to find. Unless the wind farm project is handled competently, after investing/spending £40m the Island could be left high and dry.
  13. An updated Guardian article: "Ministers are facing urgent calls to consider widening the availability of Covid vaccines amid concerns that a new variant of the virus could put pressure on the NHS and cause more sickness in the workforce this winter...two of the main arguments for more boosters were reducing pressure on the NHS and helping the economy by having fewer people off sick with the virus or from long Covid." "Prof Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick, said the government should “absolutely” extend the eligibility of Covid vaccines to over-50s, and also consider offering them to all adults". “In the US, President Biden is encouraging all Americans to get an updated Covid-19 booster, in addition to an updated flu jab. It is right to prioritise those over 65 and clinically vulnerable, but in the UK the decision to limit to the over-65s only seems to have been made on too narrow a definition of cost-benefit. Cost-effectiveness, looked at from a broader perspective, is about more than just reducing deaths and hospitalisations.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/sep/08/uk-mps-press-for-wider-covid-vaccine-access-amid-concern-over-new-variant
  14. I did not know you were a scientist, but let's hope you are correct in your assumption, although some disagree: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/sep/08/pirola-latest-covid-variant-spreading-in-uk-health-data-suggests And why not? E.g., "Pfizer plans to sell Covid vaccines at $110 to $130 per dose". https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/pfizer-plans-sell-covid-vaccines-110-130-dose-rcna53382 However, Prof Danny Altmann, an immunologist at Imperial College London, said: “Covid and long Covid vulnerability has been massively skewed to the most socioeconomically deprived – for example, those in jobs least compatible with working from home or taking time off when infected. By outsourcing vaccines to private medicine, we exacerbate this divide.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/aug/17/covid-booster-jabs-approved-for-sale-to-uk-public
  15. Under different circumstances I would agree with you, but in the land where the nasty miserly Tory Party (whose primary guiding principle is ‘austerity for the poor will be a boon to the rich’) is in charge, I cannot agree with you. Even reputable experts’ advice, when it does not fit with the current Tory orthodoxy, is either being ignored or compromised. Just look at RAAC scandal. I understand that in countries like Australia and New Zealand the governments will be offering seasonal Covid booster to all residents. Time will tell if they are making the right decision on this one i.e., either the UK Government is underreacting to the threat of a new wave of mutated Covid, or the others are overreacting. The article attached to my reply to Zarley refers to an UK-based study which identified that over-40’s, women in particular, are vulnerable to contracting what is often debilitating Long Covid. I have relatively young and healthy friends who had their two Covid jabs, nevertheless they became very ill with Covid during the last year’s TT. I sincerely hope that the UK Government/ IOMG are not screwing this up and their Covid policy-strategy works, because the consequences for some people could be horrific.
  16. For what it's worth this article includes some interesting references (but there are no cast-iron guarantees): https://fortune.com/well/2023/08/21/long-covid-last-2-years-death-disability-hospitalization/
  17. I am concerned that the decision to restrict the top-up vaccine programme to the over-65s and the immunocompromised could end very badly for the UK, and even worse here. The demographic of the Island is such that an outbreak of any serious illness could tip Nobles into crisis – we know that they are already struggling and we are not even in winter yet, just imagine what could happen at Nobels if the Island is hit by a new wave of Covid. IMHO, the booster should be offered to all residents who want it. There are international precedents for this - in those American states where the balance of power is controlled by Democrats it appears that "everyone" will be able to get 1 "updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be up to date”. In California, for example, as at 23 August this year “Any Californian aged 6 months and older can get vaccinated for free”. I hope I am wrong but I suspect that the Island’s booster roll-out will (once again) slavishly follow what Public Health England does… why do we need the IOM Director of Public Health whose job is to copy and paste the English rules? Abolishing that role will save taxpayers money that could be used to recruit some frontline medical staff who deserve decent salaries not disingenuous clapping by politicians.
  18. What ordinary residents care about is the scarcity of frontline health and social care and education workers, vast overspending on vanity capital projects, things like the difficulty of getting on and off the Island via the Airport (which has been put ‘on notice’ by the relevant Authorities), young families being priced out of the housing market, the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and also the cost-of-doing-business crisis, etc, etc. IMHO, just because things are not directly impacting the public, that does not mean that they do not matter e.g., who cares if someone was appointed as another COO in an obscure Government Department...but the absurd situation where each Government Department is a separate Legal Entity has resulted in massive duplication of duties/ functions/ systems and CS staff. These separate CS empires are directly and indirectly costing the Island an unnecessary fortune i.e., there are additional costs of running and limited cooperation between Government Departments. I cannot see how this duplicate Legal Entity structure helps to make residents' lives any better or gives Government ‘value for money’. On the contrary, over the past decade both quality and quantity of public services on the Island have gotten considerably worse. Back in 2019 the Public Sector Pensions Authority had 11,362 active members (aka public sector employees) – circa 20% of the Island’s working age population, with CS numbers rising by an average of 250 people each year. This (largely invisible) CS expansion has been caused by successive unaccountable IOM Governments failing to get a grip on what are the right priorities. They have spent taxpayers’ moolah and are running down the Reserves, all of that with apparent impunity. IMHO, consolidating Government Departments under a single Legal Entity should have been done eons ago, but now this Humpty Dumpty system has been around for so long, it is probably too expensive to put Humpty back together again. Having said that, before the Government come around asking residents to pay more taxes, I believe they must demonstrate that the Government can live within their means without compromising frontline services. A reduction in CS numbers who are not involved in provisioning of frontline services is long overdue and this action should not be swept under the carpet any longer.
  19. The details of Lucy Letby case are shocking but not all that surprising - a culture of self-preservation thrives in most public sector organisations, large companies and professional service firms, especially at the top. The rise of ‘professional managers’ in every aspect of life was supposed to reassure employees and the public at large that professional standards are being upheld. Unfortunately, this corollary edifice has over time morphed into a Kafkaesque bureaucracy where psychopaths of every kind easily ‘blend-in’. At some point most of us will experience an example of inadequate customer service. The trouble is that the consequences of countenancing an incompetent traffic warden are altogether different to those when dealing with incompetent medical professionals. The Manx Care PR machine never stops telling the IOM public that their paramount obligation is putting patients first, followed by an immediate counter statement about the budgetary constraints they face are making the delivery of that obligation nearly impossible. The demise of provisioning quality public health services in the UK and particularly on the Island have been exacerbated by the politicians who are too keen to take the credit for everything positive that happens but are habitually shy when it comes to taking responsibility when negative events happen. The incumbent IOMG seems to be just sitting on their hands, biding their time, until they get to throw the proverbial electoral dice again at the next GE. I bet some external consultants are already lining-up to write more fanciful reports to woo the next IOM Administration with their proposals… or they might resuscitate that old chestnut ‘2020 Plan’ commissioned by Bell and Teare all those years ago. When they come around begging for votes again, it will be up to the IOM public to hold the current gaggle of IOM politicians to account. We need to ask them: “what did you personally do over the last 5 years that benefited the Island?” and about the decisions that they were collectively responsible for: e.g., Dr Ranson’s case, the Abbotswood’s case, the treatment of Dr Glover, Manx Care, the Liverpool Terminal, the Douglas Prom, the Airport, etc., etc.
  20. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-isle-of-man-66544411 When the IOMG said that they wanted to increase the population by 15,000 they did not say that the new residents would be a new batch of government pen-pushers (despite the duplication between DHSC and Manx Care, and the senior non-jobs in DfE, and 'copying and pasting' of rules from UK Departments like Public Health England and DEFA, etc, etc). Most current residents hoped that there would be additional; teachers, doctors, nurses, hospitality workers, construction workers, etc. - frontline workers who actually do practical stuff. If the Island can't match the pay increases granted to keyworkers in the UK, let's hope the IOMG has recruited a new Director of Communications (the previous Director whose name I can't remeber left last year) to craft an eloquent message to explain to the public why additional pen-pushers are necessary and essential workers are leaving. Unfortunately, the only time the IOM public get to send 'messages' to the politicians is at each (useless) GE e.g., that continued chronic unaccountability within Government will eventually destroy the financial and social structures of this island that the residents proudly call home.
  21. ‘National heritage’ generally implies a set of quintessential traditions including a unique language and culture/ legacy like the Manx language or Roman ruins or Vikings ships or Flamenco guitar-playing, etc, etc. Getting rid of ‘national heritage’ would be akin to selling the inherited family silver to pay the bills, but what is the Isle of Man’s National Heritage and what is it worth? The Manx National Heritage is the Islands’ uniqueness and historical identity. There is a huge spectrum of perspectives and attitudes as to how residents feel about the prioritising the past verses the present. Some residents who own restaurants and cafes would be delighted by dozens of stag and hens’ dos arriving on our shores every weekend, while other residents would be strongly opposed. Currently we can’t even agree on MF among a handful of posters whether the IOM tourism is an advantage or a drain on the Island’s public finances. Many ‘old world’ European cities (from Vienna to Krakow) still have quaint horse driven coaches as a part of their 'heritage' and their tourist industries. Steam trains and steam ships were major forms of public transport across the industrialised world until they were superseded by oil and gas driven engines. Today there are very few examples of that world-conquering ‘Victorian ingenuity’ but as much as 'heritage' is important, so too are Manx Care patients who are languishing in waiting lists to see ENT specialists, gastroenterologists, orthopaedic surgeons; young families who are trying to get on a housing ladder, etc, etc. On the one hand, letting go of ‘vintage’ stuff without replacing it with something special would reduce the Island to being just another bland place lacking character and charm. My point is that like with many things on the Island, most politicians only have vague ideas and no articulated plans about how to choose the best options to secure the Island’s future. As a broader community the residents do not have a homogenous vision of what our future should be. Of course, decision making would have been much easier if public finances were in much better shape with enough money to fund and subsidise every tantalising dream… What I find infuriating is that now we are in a situation where potentially the Island will have to start making choices between Manx National Heritage and Manx Care/ NHS.
  22. I 100% agree with you. This is what Amadeus wrote in Airport threat: “What exactly were red sonya and spackman paid for?” When I questioned £60,000 to be spent from Councils’ Reserves including £9,000 on recycling video and £10,000 on promotional material to households to explain recycling policy (even though the Council Leader insisted in a public meeting last year that “everybody” in the community knew about the policy), he wrote: “When did you last have a hug?” It appears that he can dish it out but he can’t take it. As a passenger/ customer of the Airport it is his prerogative to criticise their services. In a democracy, it is perfectly acceptable for Local Authority ratepayers to be satisfied or dissatisfied with the level of services that their Local Authority is providing. There are ample examples in the UK of what happens when Local Authorities become unaccountable about their finances and run amuck. Clearly, any personal abuse, name calling and insults are unacceptable.
  23. IMHO, out of control: "Douglas Council spends more than £200k on advocates in the last financial year". What did ratepayers get for this expenditure...? https://www.manxradio.com/news/isle-of-man-news/douglas-council-spends-more-than-200k-on-advocates-in-the-last-financial-year/
  24. Going forward, without additional Revenue the IOMG will have to prioritise its spending choices if dipping into the NI Fund is not approved by Tynwald. Increasing taxes will upset some of the voters, cutting frontline public services will upset the other half. The IOMG needs to ‘reign-itself-in’ until it knows the full costs of building and operating Liverpool Ferry Terminal, the Douglas Prom, the Airport, whether they will have to bail out Braddan Leisure Centre, etc, etc. As others have already commented, 'dismantling' the IOM’s mandarin civil servants’ empires is potentially a legal minefield. That being said, other countries (Italy, Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, Greece etc,) were forced to find financial/ legal compromises when they stood on the precipices of bankruptcy. Sorry to be so negative, but there are no easy answers out of this muddle – the leadership seems rudderless, any decisions around cuts or tax rises are bound to be unpopular and time is no longer on our side. Whether there is enough of community spirit i.e., the mettle needed to keep going (after the inevitable ‘hard-choices’ are made) remains to be seen. I’d say most residents want the Island to succeed - I most definitely do. Unfortunately, as soon as the signs that our ship is sinking become evident, I fear that some people will leave, including those who currently contribute the most to the public purse.
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