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code99

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Everything posted by code99

  1. Put your mind at rest. Crookall says: "There are lessons to be learnt from it”. I am supremely reassured.
  2. code99

    Kush

    This is very, very sad news. The last time we saw Kush was a couple of weeks ago when he was living on his own in what had been the ring-tailed coatis’ enclosure. Kush looked miserable and lifeless. Apart from his isolation from the rest of his panda family, he was also suffering the deprivations that come with living in a cold barren enclosure. This ‘temporary’ enclosure had no trees or bushes. It was pretty clear to us that Kush was highly stressed. And why had he been taken there? He had been taken there because he was too ‘frisky’. Under the red panda breeding program, the Park did not have permission to breed any more pandas. Previously the vets had tried to insert a contraceptive under the skin of the female red panda, but this attempt failed. Consequently, the powers that be decided that the only solution was that this ‘breeding pair’ had to be separated. Red pandas are highly sensitive animals. Was Kush thinking: “What have I done wrong to deserve being sent to this hell hole? Will I ever see my family again? When will this torment ever end? Please, someone, I’m feeling cold and miserable. All I need is a tree to climb. Is that asking too much?” Apparently, it was. My conclusion is that Kush died needlessly and his death was totally preventable.
  3. "Artists like Barbara Hepworth", really? We do need more young people here and I am in favour of wall murals, but to think that young professionals will move to the Island because of them is amateurish. But this is a ‘Manx disease’ to appoint amateurs to positions of authority who will never be accountable for their silly ideas.
  4. code99

    COP21

    "Within 50 years we'll all be net zero anyway - not because of Greta but because the technology is constantly improving" Stu Peters@Stu Peters There is a very clear correlation between increasing economic growth, increasing fossil fuel consumption and the destruction of the world’s ecosystems. From the mid-1800s, as a result of the Industrial Revolution, humans have perennially pursued ever greater economic growth i.e. for the last few hundred years human beings have increasingly been disrupting (and destroying) our planet’s natural ‘circle of life’, and the planet's weather systems are starting to go haywire. There are numerous problems with the idea that ‘green’ technology is constantly improving, i.e., this has not happened in the past – more technology, more destruction, never the other way around. All technological things have one vital input – energy that comes from consuming, burning and destroying resources. Apart from these basics, even if new ‘novel’ technologies came along that could be used to ‘help save the planet’, initially they would simply be too small to have any material impact on the accelerating environmental catastrophe. They would arrive too late. The idea that every petrol head in the western world would be able to switch to an electrical vehicle is also delusional. There is simply not enough lithium, cobalt, copper and other raw materials available, which would be needed to build this number of vehicles (and batteries needed). In many countries the existing electricity grid would need to be massively expanded to cope with the additional demand. Just building the hundreds of thousands of wind turbines would run into similar raw material constraints. On top of that, the world would need to accept that going green is toxic business - the mining of these resources often produces extremely hazardous waste, and can also involve the barbaric exploitation of workers in the world’s poorest countries. Many Pacific Island nations are already being submerged by rising and increasingly acidic seas. In many cases, it is already too late for these ‘hypothetical future technologies’ to save them. How can coral reefs be ‘restored’? How can old-growth forests be regrown? How can melted glaciers be saved by future technological advances, when they have already melted? Believing in non-existent/un-proven future technologies that will save us from our destructive ways is akin to believing in fairies. It’s nothing but greenwash, a cute idea that excuses people from doing anything that would actually help, but would involve personal sacrifices. What the world needs is for humanity to drastically reduce the consumption of everything; from kids’ toys to boomer cruses. But who is going to make the necessary sacrifices? Nobody, it seems (not even the world leaders because it dosen’t fit with their home agendas of promising their voters ever higher standards of living). Hence, hypocrisy reigns supreme. Meanwhile, the ‘haves nots’ the world’s poorest people, and those who live in climate vulnerable locations, are already bearing the brunt of the climate-change tragedy.
  5. The reason Mr Hooper has been inundated with grievances is because public are getting desperate for quality health services, and not because they are congenital troublemakers. The underlying problem is that the IOM health services have become increasingly sub-standard (the seven issues that he listed as what he can’t do is a testimony to how bad things have become), and there is little sign of improvement on the horizon. In many peoples’ experiences the so-called ‘complaints department’ is a bit like the DOI – is not fit for purpose. Mr Hooper needs to take s serious look at the primary causes of the current inadequacies and do something about them. IMHO, the Island is rapidly approaching the point where only those who can afford to go private off-Island will be medically treated, while many of the rest will be left languishing in pain and discomfort. Frankly, this is pretty awful state of affairs and it requires the IOM Health Minister’s urgent action. So, rather than ‘signposting’ what he cannot do for individual patients, Mr Hopper needs to get on with the job of fixing the bigger underlying issues. Residents should not have to endure curable pain. Surely, that is something we all agree on. Mr Hooper needs to show leadership which solves the problems that all often come back to having insufficient numbers of qualified medical staff. We don’t elect Manx Care managers, but we vote for politicians, and in this case, the person in the hot seat is him. Mr Hooper must step up and be accountable to all of the people of this Island. The proverbial buck must stop with him.
  6. I agree with most if not all comments on this thread. IMHO, the root cause behind some individual government departments being not fit for purpose is that our entire political system is not fit for the 21C either. In a small place like the Isle of Man, political transparency is one of the most important keys to having properly functioning democracy. Over the years a trust in institutions has been eroded as the public often perceives that it is the various vested interest groups which are in charge, not the Government itself. E.g., Manx Gas has the Island in its clutches, but I doubt that anyone in the IOMG really understands whether this opaque private company is indeed ‘fleecing’ the residents or not... (before the latest price hike Manx Gas had a mark-up of 400% on the wholesale price of the gas they bought from MUA. Surely this is the main reason the IOM has excessively high retail gas tariffs, despite the so-called ‘investigation’ ?) Other countries also engage in post-election ‘horse trading’, but at least there the parties involved know precisely what is it they are trading/compromising. On the Island, a month on from the election day nobody knows whether our Programme for Government will remotely reflect anything close to what many of our elected MHKs had pledged in their individual election campaign manifestos. And, whatever the new Programme for Government will contain, who will monitor progress and who will be held accountable if not much materialises? Or, will they eventually ‘bin it’, saying that unpredictable and unprecedented “events” have taken over, thus rendering the Programme obsolete, which is pretty much what happened last time. Every 5 years the Island holds the general election, but so too does Iran, Turkey, Russia, etc. To be a modern western democracy it requires much more than a bunch of amateurs being appointed (with alacrity) to positions of politcal power and authority. Our political system is still based on the ancient principles of a “Viking chiefdom” where the elected clan chiefs (MHKs) elect one of their own to be the ‘foremost’ chief - the Chief Minister. This whole ethos is predicated by the belief that benevolent decisions will be taken ‘inside the tent (another Viking reference) for the good of the Island’. The problem is that once elected, the chiefs (MHKs) can get away with paying only lip service to their ‘promises’ and also avoid any real scrutiny and accountability. To counter this ‘institutionalised ineffectiveness’ we need what every other democracy has - a formal political opposition, not just a couple of mavericks who hope to make a difference and/or mean well. Significant improvements in CS/PS will not be achieved until our political system is reformed (so that it is suitable for the 21C), IMHO.
  7. I was listening to a podcast the other day where somebody mentioned that in some parts of the USA a nurse working in a hospital could now, because of rampant wage inflation, earn $250,000 pa. Compared to this very fortunate US nurse, a senior nurse in the UK would be on a maximum £70,000 and have the added ‘benefit’ of getting occasional patient abuse as an unavoidable ‘perk’. In Australia they have a mixed public and private health system. It is mandatory for anybody earning over a specific threshold to either sign up to a private health or pay higher Medicare levy. Nevertheless, their private health system is in crisis due to young people opting out of it, in droves, as they are finding that the ever-increasing premiums do not justify their potential ‘personal’ benefits. They prefer to pay extra Medicare levies instead. Unfortunately, these levies are still too low and it is only matter of time that the taxes must go up. IMHO, if the Island introduces ‘fees’ for seeing GPs or similar, then this process should be handled cautiously, and should only be implemented if there is means-testing. I also suspect that the admin costs associated with managing such a system will probably outweigh any additional revenues it might generate. Contrary to the prevailing myth that, because the IoM has one of the highest per capita income rates in the world, everybody on the Island is rich; the truth is that most residents are ordinary people with basic incomes. My view is that even the upcoming 27.5% increase in gas prices will be difficult for many residents to pay. Being hammered by GP fees would be a very unfair burden for a lot of people. One of two things are therefore likely to happen; either 1) people will skip their GPs appointments, something that could lead to more serious problems longer term, or 2) more and more people will pile into A&E (which is already stretched), whenever they need to see a doctor. Other options must be sought, if we wish to retain a health system which is fair for everyone.
  8. Unfortunately, our current political system encourages ‘JFK’ in reverse i.e. ask not what you (MHKs) can do for this Island, but ask what this Island can do for you and your family. ETA - I am not talking about anyone in particular, it applies to all of them, IMHO.
  9. When ‘people in power’ commit ‘indiscretions’, and then try to keep it all hush-hush, things can easily become more than just facile tittle tattle. Potentially, these people could become vulnerable to blackmail (admittedly on the IOM the cat normally gets out of the proverbial bag pretty quickly). The trouble with the argument that ‘they are human beings and are entitled to their privacy’ is that if ‘politically powerful’ do wish to hide the truth about their private lives, they are usually able to exercise their (sometimes) enormous influence to the detriment of others. Under some circumstances this could lead to tarnished decision-making, outright corruption, other nefarious actions being taken, or they could be taking risks that they do not fully understand (you only need to think about the concept of ‘politically exposed persons’ …the higher people are, the further they have to fall). It seems to me that if prominent public figures find themselves under personal scrutiny, they should come clean before things (could) get very messy.
  10. This island is awash with 'nasty evil landlords' who only care about 'profit'. As a tenant, you have no rights in practical terms.
  11. The massive increase in the wholesale price of natural gas could result in IOM consumers paying much higher gas bills than the current proposal of a 27.5% increase, or the IOMG potentially having to bail out the owners of Manx Gas. Conveniently, the issue of higher gas prices on the Island was not debated during the election. Vulnerable consumers should be top priority - will we also see a similar increase in the price of electricity? One thing that bothers me about Manx Gas is who owns them i.e., the owner may be best described as a hedge fund. A UK registered private company ‘Ancala Partners LLP’ have owned Manx Gas since 2016. Ancala trades under the name ‘Islands Energy Group’ and is also the parent company of Guernsey Gas and Jersey Gas. I am not at all enthused that such a critical piece of the IOMs utility infrastructure is in opaque private hands. It seems to me that, no matter what happens to the cost of gas, the IOMG cannot let Ancala go broke because the IOMG must ensure that Island’s gas supply keeps flowing. Is it morally and politically right that the IOM should be in a situation where it might have to bail out a UK based hedge fund? Why wasn’t Manx Gas owned by the IOMG in the first place?
  12. I think because neither of these two candidates (Allinson and Cannan) has a popular mandate to be Chief Minister, the whole election process is a bit of a hypocritical farce. During the election campaign many of the candidates went out of their way to declare that the previous administration was a "do nothing failure", etc - the same administration in which these two were both major players! It seems ironic to me that the members of the House of Keys now have to choose between the two candidates whom neither ‘scored’ outstandingly well when they were elected as MHKs. IMHO, the way to fix this unfair system is to radically change the process by which the CM is chosen. The only sensible and representative way to do this is for the public to directly elect the next CM via a public vote. Under this method, anyone could stand for CM and that vote would be held at the same time the House of Keys is elected.
  13. I suspect SP will not moderate/ modernize his views, unfortunately. But can Alf Garnett get along with Alan from Rising Damp? I hope the answer is Yes, for the good of the Island; otherwise, what is the point of being an MHK.
  14. MHKs are a lot like public servants, while they are in office, they are there to represent and serve us, their public. I take your point, but I don’t think good candidates should be solely discounted on the basis of their public/ private sector backgrounds. Otherwise, the Island might as well stop running general elections and hand the reins of power to technocrats. For every public sector employee who is supposedly getting on a ‘Tynwald gravy train’ there is surely a businessperson out there who we could level the same ‘scepticism’ at. Not all businesspeople who wish to become MHKs will be doing it out of the goodness of their hearts or out of a sense that the Island needs their experience and leadership.
  15. I am glad that the AFD will be effectively powerless no matter which government is formed. Most likely the final make-up of the next German government will not be known for months. Either the SPD or the CDU will be the lead party in a 3-party coalition. Due to its electoral success today, the Green party will have a huge say in policies of the next government, and the Green party will become the powerbroker who decides the fate of the Chancellor. I would definitely prefer Scholz over Laschet!
  16. Gutted for Gareth. Personally, I am not at all enamoured with the idea that a small Island with a population of 85,000 should have local businesspeople dominating government. Sure, to have survived and prospered in the private sector they will have had to experienced tough ‘real-life’ situations, but they will also have had an innate desire to make money - for themselves. The Island will only safely benefit from their expertise if we have tangible accountability and transparency/controls, which prevent conflicts of interest arising. IMHO, the best option for the Island is to have a balanced Tynwald with representatives coming from all sorts of different walks of life.
  17. Not a great surprise if the current DOI senior management want a minister who they probably consider to be a patsy and who would enable them to live comfortably in their perennial dither rather than actioning fundamental reforms. A sad indictment of our political structure is that far too often the peoples’ elected representatives to the highest office in the land have few skills and abilities besides ‘scooping up litter’. However, with so many newbies in the HoKs, the second-termers like him might have to step up to the plate and assume national responsibilities – that would be a real test of his mettle. Good luck from me.
  18. As a group they give the impression of being a formidable team, who are ready to take on the Boys Club. Good on them!
  19. Great posts everyone. I jotted down some of the fundamental questions that seem to have emerged from this discussion so far, as I understand them. Apologies if they do not reflect other MF members’ perspectives. Is the CM role just a figure head, because all of the critical decisions made in Westminster? What is the best approach for electing the CM? E.g., by popular public vote in a separate election in parallel to the GE, by the MHKs, by Tynwald, etc? Should there be specific criteria/ restrictions applied to the prospective candidates for the CM role? E.g., must they top the poll in their own constituencies, must they have MHK experience at being a minister? Would being an MLC be sufficient? Are gender equality/ preferences important too? Should the CM have limited power or almost ‘absolute power’ e.g., be able to ‘hire and fire’ ministers? Or should MHKs be given power to appoint and sack individual ministers? What would be the main responsibility/ accountability by which to assess the CM’s performance? E.g., the successful implementation of the ‘Programme for Government’, etc? Should the ‘Programme for Government’ supersede individual manifestos, including the CM’s, and should this document be put to a public vote, the collective of MHKs for a vote, etc? In the absence of a formal party-based political structure, should there be ‘official opposition committees’ to scrutinise the performance of the CM and the ministers, and what actual powers would these ‘opposition’ members have? What would constitute a sufficiently serious ‘failure’ to have the CM removed (and also individual ministers) and what would be the process for removing and electing a new CM? E.g., by simple majority in the HoK, by public vote, etc? The social media is a microcosm where the diversity of opinions in the wider community are discussed. If members of MF can’t agree on what the best options and solutions should be, then clearly the general public is just as divided. Over the years there have been clumsy attempts to foster reforms, but there has never been any real momentum to make any significant changes. IMHO, the reason is that whilst some of the Island’s inhabitants want ‘change’, others are happy with the ‘status quo’. The Island has very old political traditions and I believe everyone respects that, but perhaps there is also a willingness to bring our political system into the 21C, as some of these ‘traditions’ are becoming obsolete/ retrograde and need to be given less importance. I think that at some point the IOM will have to grasp the nettle and hold a comprehensive ‘once in a lifetime’ referendum to find consensus answers to some of these questions. The huge challenge of course is to make sure that this referendum will not degenerate into a bitter dispute that would polarise people like Brexit or the Scottish Independence did and continue to do.
  20. I guess that is Middle for you...
  21. Gutted for Keiran Hannifin. Going forward, I am expecting Stu Peters to engage in a bit of theatrical politics in the HoKs, but to have very little impact on government policies (hopefully).
  22. Sorry, are we still talking about Robert Howard Quayle CBE? My view is that there are no clear leading contenders at this point, but certainly not 'Letter-shredder' DA with his track record in government.
  23. That’s what he says today, but who knows what he will say tomorrow... “He’s only politician after all don’t put your blame on him…”
  24. A lot of my wishes came true yesterday, but sadly not all of them. Elated that Baker/ Boot/ Cregeen/ Harmer and Perkins all got their marching orders. Superb results for MLP, but gutted for Gareth Young. Also gutted for Keiran Hannifin, who I really hoped would get in. Disappointed for Andrew Langan-Newton, but Michelle Haywood seems pretty solid alternative, in my opinion at least. My biggest dismay of the evening was the return of Ashford – Errrrrrrrrrrrr! Now for some speculations about who will get the role of CM. Conscious that Thomas (to my great incredulity) came second to the enigmatic Ann Corlett, this less inspiring performance might mean that he is no longer be one of the favourites to get the top job. With him out of the race, that would proably leave a 3-horse race consisting of: Alf C (eek!), Alex A and I sincerely hope Daphne C. In my opinion Daphne’s stakes have gone up strongly because there are now two like-minded MLP MHKs, who I assume would support her nomination, and there are also more female MHKs. Both Jane Poole-Wilson and Kate Lord-Brennan could also be reasonable choices, but to my mind it is a bit too hasty to become the CM after being in the HoKs for just a week or so. Perhaps their turn will come next time. it was a jaw-dropping moment when HQ became CM. If his election proved anything it proved that things that noone anticipated are possible. As much as it might seem like a completely insane idea, could Jason Moorhouse be everyone’s ‘compromise’ candidate for CM? At least he is nice, and he is definitely NOT an idiot.
  25. I’m sorry but I completely disagree with you regarding the marina. As always, as the cliché goes, “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Or, as another cliché goes; if we don’t show solidarity when ‘they’ come after our neighbours, then one day when ‘they’ come for ‘us’ as well, there will be none left to speak up. I do not want property developers to take over the best environmental spots on this Island, to the detriment of everyone else. Building expensive houses for (super) rich people will do nothing to close the gap between better-off and skint on this Island. Furthermore, the IOMG never stops talking about the Island’s ‘biosphere’ credentials as if they were accolades. I fear that this project could cause an environmental disaster. My view is that the development plan in its original form was a slap in the face of the ordinary people in the community, that the proposed changes are an improvement, but still more changes will be needed before the majority of people support it.
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