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code99

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Everything posted by code99

  1. Promoting the Island to the outside world is conceivably one of the least crackers ideas that our politicians could do to keep themselves occupied, even though it does somewhat question their commitment to reducing our carbon footprint... The problem with this particular trip though is that of all of the places on the planet that they could visit they chose to go to a country with one of the worst Human Rights records. They are not the first western leaders to try their luck with Middle Eastern mirages and probably will not be the last to discover that a ‘marriage of convenience’ between democracy and autocracy habitually ends in tears. IMHO, the GMP has every right to be updated on the purpose and the outcomes of such an endeavour, and the MHKs should be clamouring with enthusiasm for some specific details (i.e., justification). Bahrain was once blacklisted as ‘uncooperative jurisdiction for tax purposes’ by the EU and although it has since been removed from that list, I would have thought that the optics of the IoM forging relationship with a country that does not have an income tax system could potentially spell more trouble than it is worth.
  2. and Poor Folk (in Scotland) won't get much help from their beloved Royal Family either... https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/oct/04/king-charles-allowed-to-vet-proposed-scottish-rent-freeze-law
  3. No, it is not the fault of the workers. You should blame crony capitalism and their patsy politicians who over a last couple of decades fashioned huge inequality and divisions in society. It is a national scandal that it is no longer possible for someone on a salary of £25k to afford a roof above their heads, whether through renting or buying. The pay discrepancy between senior civil servants (general consensus is that, in the main they are pretty useless on this Island at least) and their ‘juniors’ harks back to Dickensian times. The situation is not much fairer in some sections of a private sector either, with rampant inflation exacerbating what were already precarious economic and financial conditions for many ordinary workers. When the gap between haves and have nots grows to such extent that ordinary people are no longer able to have a decent quality standard of living, something has to give - this has been a long time coming.
  4. code99

    Manx Radio

    There is a war happening in Europe (unleashed by a murderous maniac), a cost-of-living crisis impacting just about everybody bar the very wealthy, and to top it all off last Wednesday there were runs on the pound and UK gilts, which nearly decimated most of the UK pension fund industry. If the BoE did not step in, some older members of MF could have woken up this weekend being about 90% poorer. And the economic carnage is by no means over. FFS, this is such a perilous set of circumstances that many people have found themselves. To endlessly wail about someone’s accent on Manx Radio seems like nothing more than 'out of touch' self-indulgence. It is really quite pathetic, IMHO.
  5. You’re portraying Ukrainians as sub-humans who do not deserve their own homeland. But the good news is that you are living in a free country (unlike Russia) where you are legally able to express your Russian propaganda point of view. And I am entitled to completely disagree with you.
  6. Prior to the BoE’s intervention today gilt yields were rocketing. Obviously, the global financial markets are a bunch of ‘woke pinkos’ who count among their ‘number’ the EU, the Office for Budget Responsibility, the IMF, Channel 4, Larry Summers, the Labour Party, Greta Thunberg, etc. All of these groups are said to hate Britain and they want to sabotage Britain and Brexit …. according to the Daily Mail that is their cunning plan. The clear and unequivocal truth is however very different - Truss’s irresponsible tax cuts caused all of the market mayhem. Bucket loads of smackeroos were spent on the Queen’s funeral pageantry. The length of the queues of people gawking at the Queen’s coffin will soon be a distant memory. These queues will be more than matched by ordinary Brits queuing to foodbanks. But not everyone will be suffering. The most privileged 1% of Brits (and that includes the Royal Family) are already doing even better under the Truss’s government. An early ‘winner’ is odious and fervent Brexiteer (and the donor to the Tories) Crispin Odey, who has just made himself another small fortune by betting against the pound (the first time he used this strategy when he made a bundle out of the crushing pound was after the Brexit referendum). I am sure he and his ilk have no problems with Thick Lizzy turning Britain into a third world country where the inequality between haves and have nots is off the scale. With peeps like these on her side, Liz does not give a dam that she is ‘unpopular’ with ordinary Brits – this must be what she always wanted.
  7. Are you for real? You’re having a laugh, right? In the UK - nurses, teachers, i.e. people who are considered to be middle class, have already been frequenting foodbanks; not because they’re poor at budgeting, but because the cost of their essentials has become horrendous. Rents alone are so high that many millions of people don’t have much money left over to pay for other things. Unfortunately, the Island is heading in that direction too. Just wait until base interest rate will get to 6% (as the City boys and girls are predicting) and gas bills start surging and property repossessions start kicking in. Then we shall see how many more clients foodbanks will acquire and what type of clientele they will be.
  8. Teachers are professionals - the same as doctors, the same as offshore financiers, the same as e-gambling IT programmers, the same as advocates, etc. They should be treated with respect and paid a decent salary. Would you rather they lived off foodbanks?
  9. If we do not support our teachers we may soon find out that offering pay rises to our teachers may be the only option to keep sufficient teaching staff ‘in post’.
  10. During the lockdowns the delivery of education was (understandably) patchy. Some kids were receiving reasonable quality lessons and homework, whilst others were getting something less than adequate. As parents were pulling their hair out trying to juggle their own work commitments with looking after their kids, (some) teachers were sighted cycling, walking, jogging, etc. One should not generalise, but this perceived ‘double-standard’ skewed public opinion against the profession, somewhat. That said, the anti-teacher sentiment is bizarre. IMHO, if their offspring are anything like some posters on MF, then teachers definitely deserve inflation-busting pay increases and extra holidays, if for no other reason than this will allow them to de-stress. With the exception of MHKs, senior civil servants, well-off pensioners and HNWIs, many more residents will be squeezed by the escalating cost-of-living crisis. In the months ahead, gas bills will rise sharply, mortgage rates are already going up, and the prices of most essentials are rising too. Dr Alex has asked the GMP to not ‘talk ourselves into a recession’. This is an easy thing to say, but much more difficult thing to do, when the government has not actually done much to stave off what looks like becoming an inflationary recession. The IOMG’s recently announced ‘financial sticking plasters’ will only last so long and will only help certain residents. As strikes for higher pay will undoubtedly sweep across the UK and some pay rises will be granted, instead of sneering at the IOM teachers’ strike, more of the GMP should probably support them. Going forward, ‘strikes in some form’ maybe the only option for some IOM residents to obtain decent pay, sufficient for them to survive the coming winter.
  11. Here is the link: https://www.gov.im/media/1377792/sustainablebondreport-2022-digital-v42_compressed.pdf "I am delighted to present this first annual Impact and Allocation Report, which identifies how we have allocated £400m of funding in accordance with our Sustainable Financing Framework over the course of the 5 year assessment period from 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2023. The report shows that the monies have been allocated across a broad spectrum of relevant categories within the framework, focusing support towards our Island and it’s people" - David Catlow Interim Chief Financial Officer.
  12. I agree – “the future is green tech”. I’m not saying that KPMG did not have some good ideas (very intelligent people have come up with some very excellent ideas), all I’m saying that underneath those ideas it is hard to find much of substance. That is what I mean by a ‘consultants whitewash’ for the Island’s future, i.e., all superficial image little substance – as if their report is an edited ‘copy and paste’ of similar material that KPMG have previously prepared for some of their other clients. E.g.,: The KPMG report avoids dealing with our today’s substantial challenges, paints a hypothetical picture ten years from now, and provides no ‘pathway’ for how to get from where we are today to that hypothetical future; As far as an “effective climate change response and investment in green digital (sustainable) infrastructure” is concerned, I think that the KPMG report makes our future appear ‘solid’ e.g., they talked about onshore and offshore windfarms, and these farms being partially funded by the private sector. Unfortunately, talking about these things is easy, doing them, especially getting private funding for them is much harder; There is also the important issue that the IOM electricity network would need major upgrades before substantial ‘green electricity’ could be plugged into it. Those upgrades would become the responsibility of Manx Utilities. I agree with you that "there is insufficient emphasis on this in the CoMin Economic Plan" - my overall impression is that they don’t have focussed plans that will effectively transform the Island into a much better place.
  13. From reading this article I have concluded that: The building itself was inherently dangerous by design and it seems that the approvals process was to some extent fraudulent and negligent. The fact that no person in a position of responsibility was ever held to account is an appalling miscarriage of justice which still haunts the Island today. IMHO, the culture of deflect, delay and deny is still alive and well as is evident in Dr Ranson's case.
  14. The newly acquired appetite for ‘fairer and broader’ taxation system is a fundamental U-turn from previous IOM governments’ policies (ironically, is at odds with the Tories in the UK who are actively cutting taxes for the rich, especially for the very rich). For years IOM governments have been offering tax benefits in an attempt to lure self-sufficient individuals and businesses (which happened to be predominantly in e-gambling and offshore financial services) to the Island. E.g., there is the ‘NI holiday’ which is available to certain new residents. However, asking all other residents to repair the resulting leak in the NI Operating Fund/ Reserves, when the government itself does not have a good handle on how to spend taxpayers’ money wisely, is making some of those same residents none too happy. The IOMG is clearly in the bind, and has ever decreasing options. Their pompous rhetoric about ‘the future is bright’ and ‘let’s not talk ourselves into a recession’ seems laughable in the context of the many challenges we are currently facing. Personally, I would like our economy to diversify towards industries such as engineering, non-gambling IT and other cutting-edge technologies; industries that improve lives and/or save the planet. New science and medical research (along the lines of Dr Glover’s business), etc., would also be a brilliant way forward. At the conference some government ‘officials’ lamented about historic ‘missed opportunities’ such as not building more houses, not insulating more homes, etc., but their current reliance on KPMG’s glossy ‘consultants whitewash’ as a promise to deliver a ‘better’ future, is almost certainly too little too late, IMHO.
  15. Here is the link. Feast your eyes! Most of the money has been already spent, and spent on what I would personally describe as 'business as usual' initiatives. https://www.gov.im/media/1377792/sustainablebondreport-2022-digital-v42_compressed.pdf
  16. A public consultation about tinkering with our taxation system is currently underway - this has been published on the government's website somewhere and the deadline for public feedback is an early October. One of the options they are considering is to levy NI on non-employment income such as dividends and interest. At the conference one gentleman stood up and said that the fact that the IOMG are even 'considering' such an initiative was sufficient for him to already redivert some of his income from the Island. There was a quiet murmur around the room that any 'unfavourable' tax changes will make the IOM increasingly less attractive for businesses and presumably also individuals. This message needs to be heard 'loud and clear'. Yes, there are many great things about the Island e.g., 'personal safety', but the most important issue for business people is tax, it seems.
  17. Very succinct and sadly very accurate summary, IMHO. Although the IOMG’ s objective for the conference was to ‘sell’ the future goals/ targets/ aspirations (i.e.; £10b GDP, 15,000 additional residents, £200m additional Government revenue, 5,000 new jobs, £1b capital investment over 15 years), most questions from the floor were about the problems people personally face today. The most difficult of these questions were either ducted by the panellists, or given mumbling non-direct incoherent or conflicting answers. E.g.; On one hand, according to Dr Alex, the Treasury is a custodian of taxpayers’ money, but on the other hand, unlike the previous approach, where Treasury had the primary responsibility for setting the budget for individual departments, this year, this responsibility appears to be being pushed out to individual departments (it seems to me that by making this strategic change Treasury has ceded their role as the ‘overall custodian of taxpayers money’). Dr Alex also said that the absence of party politics on the Island enables ‘continuity/ stability’ of government policy across consecutive governments. Meanwhile, another member said that the absence of party politics makes the government’s decision-making process a lot harder and a lot longer. My personal ‘favourites’ were the four talking heads from the DfE who were trying to explain to the audience why the 4-year-old agency-based structure of the DfE was more effective and efficient than the previous non-agency-based structure. I came away still not understanding why the ‘agency model’ was needed and what they all actually do. A good question came from Dr Taylor (who is currently developing some kind of hydrogen-based energy technology), who asked the panel as to why they thought it was a good idea to become dependent on the private UK energy suppliers if in 18 months there could be a change in the UK government (a Labor Government was implied), which may have a different political view on ‘tax havens’. I did not hear a good answer. Whether people were concerned with individual issues relating to the DfE, or health, or housing, or education, or climate change, my overall vibe was that this government did not want to give specific and clear answers. This evasiveness made the IOMG look as if they were out of touch and also a bit too smug. It is unfortunate that the conference was held prior to today’s ‘emergency sitting’ and the UK tomorrow’s mini budget (one civil servant was describing how his wife needs ‘off Island retail therapy’ every few days when they go off shore - clearly, he is not terribly personally concerned about rising gas prices and is also not making the choice between heating his home and feeding his family). The IOMG’s grand plans will not be worth paper they are written on if our retail and hospitality businesses go under and the current residents start to leave the Island. Should this happen, persuading people to stay here is likely to be at least as big of a challenge as attracting new people to settle here, IMHO.
  18. Unfortunately I did not hear any details of when the interconnector will go in or how much it would cost. But given that this is going to be a major project, the cost must surely be in the millions...
  19. At the conference no one articulated which ESG criteria these companies would use. Two other (relevant) things that I noted are: 1. It seems that they plan a second electricity interconnector with the UK installed and operational by 2030. Once this has happened our (gas powered) power station will be switched off. Switching off the power station will result in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions and therefore significantly boost the IOM’s green profile/ credentials. 2. The IOMG intends to cut emissions by the services sector by 30% over the next 10 years. I did not hear any quantified statements/ commitments to reducing CO2 emissions in any other sectors of our economy such as manufacturing, transport, etc.
  20. Other than saying that it will be a great asset for the Island when it is finished, he did not elaborate.
  21. As I understand it - Yes, but I stand to be corrected.
  22. My overall impression from yesterday’s sessions was that the IOMG have set out a long-term vision but the path forward, between the realities of today and their visions of the future, is muddy and unclear. E.g., it seems to me that attracting companies to the Island with ‘digital presence’ only without (many) people will not be possible under the ‘substantiality’ rules (agreed with OECD) that a company must have certain physical presence on the Island in order to be recognised for tax purposes. I am hoping that today’s session on ‘Sustainability of Public Finances’ with Dr Alex will be less of a talking shop and will offer some ‘actual’ facts. Speaking of facts, a question was asked about the cost of the Liverpool Dock escalating to £100m. The answer Alf gave was along the lines that through the public consultations the message from the GMP was that Liverpool Dock was what the GMP wanted and therefore Liverpool Dock is what the GMP is going to get. In other words, regardless of the cost, the Liverpool Dock just had to go ahead. I am also confused by some peoples’ ongoing vilification of Daphne. She is not saying anything different about climate change emergency to what anyone else who understand how critical the situation has already become is also saying (VIPs, like King Charles III and Sir David Attenborough, are saying exactly what Daphne is saying). In her slides she highlighted that although the IOM’s total polluting emissions are low, our GHG emissions per capita are one of the highest in the world. An interesting point that came up a couple of times was that many companies are adopting ESG principles which will prevent them from investing in/ existing in jurisdictions which do not have adequate green credentials. This change makes a clear link between our green agenda and our economic welfare. Although to date, the IOM has hardly suffered at all from the impact of climate change ‘extreme weather events’ - other countries are, and they are demanding action. E.g., Pakistan’s government is unequivocal in their demand for developed countries to repatriate poor countries for the damage that is being caused by climate change catastrophes such the recent devastating floods. In the UN, over next couple of days, member states will be discussing a ‘global windfall’ tax on fossil fuel companies, etc. This is a moral question as much as it is an economic one. Another take-away from the conference was that the UK mini budget could throw a host of spanners in the financial works of the Island. Top of that list of fears is the possibility of the UK cutting the VAT rate. Because we have the FERSA agreement, that change would have an unavoidable and serious impact on IOMG finances.
  23. QAnon conspiracy theorists are very dangerous in themselves and are even worse when they are Trump’s supporters (e.g., these dangerous delusionists made up some of the mob behind the 6 January Insurrection). It is easy to dismiss them as just nutcases, but these people are anything but harmless - through social media their influence has been spreading like wildfires. QAnon started life in 2017 with an insane conspiracy theory about “elite Satan-worshiping paedophiles in USA”. Then they used this conspiracy theory to try to besmirch some Democrat candidates, but since then they have gone global and unfortunately have even found a vulnerable audience in the UK. I hope that we don’t have QAnon crackpots here on the Island, although the local anti-vax crackpots have some very similar menacing tendencies. That said, the diatribe from homegrown right-wingers is not very far away from QAnon’s so called ‘teachings’ and ‘insights’. E.g., British right-wing rags run hate campaigns against Greta Thunberg – they portray her as a ‘bogeywoman’ - a threat to ‘the people’ and ‘our’ collective wellbeing. I note that they don’t go after Sir David Attenborough in the same visceral way, even though he is as committed to saving the planet from global warming/ climate change as she is, and says almost the same things about how urgent the situation is as she does (I wonder if Attenborough’s longstanding friendship with the late Queen is what ‘saved’ him from their vitriol). Presumably, if Prince Andrew was to marry Greta (who is about the right age), the tabloids would be fawning over her and be reporting her green credentials as quaint eccentricities befitting of her royal status.
  24. I don't know: " We built this city on Rock and Roll (e-gaming)" makes sense.
  25. Kier Starmer was (apparently) named after Kier Hardie, the founder of the Labor Party. I hope Sir Kier will find some inspiration from this, and start talking about British economic injustice/ inequality more frequently; i.e., Labour's bread and butter. Of course, Brexit is an albaTruss around his neck. And this is what will be so hard for Labour to do - to convince their base that Brexit is a poisonous trojan horse that is destroying Britain economically from within, whilst a few odious opportunists (I wonder if that zealous Brexiteer Sir Jim Ratcliffe has made his mind yet about moving Land Rover production plant from Wales to France?) are laughing all the way to the, probably offshore, proverbial 'bank'.
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