Alan Bell, the Isle of Man's Treasury Minister really does say the most extraordinary things. He has said the Isle of Man shouldn't be linked to financial centres which aren't transparent and cooperative. He told Manx Radio:
"We have a job to do in the time ahead because I'm certainly expecting some quite early steps by the United States Government to up the pressure on small jurisdictions to comply with what the international community is looking for.
"The difficulty we have at the moment, and the great danger for the Isle of Man, is that in this present economic turmoil larger countries do look for scapegoats.
"The small off-shore and international business centres such as the Isle of Man are vulnerable to attack, regardless of the uneducated comments which are made.
"We are in the firing line and will remain so for quite some time to come."
Alan, tell me this:
1) How are you transparent when no meaningful information regarding any company or trust is on public record in the Isle of Man?
2) How much information have you actually exchanged with other jurisdictions under your tax information exchange agreements? Don't recount how many you have got: tell us if they have ever been used.
3) Why can't the abuse detailed by the US Senate in 2006 happen now? Nothing has changed that I can see.
4) Why have you worked so hard not to comply with international regulation, such as the EU Code of Conduct on Business Taxation?
5) Why did you refuse to exchange information under the terms of the EU savings tax directive unless it was to facilitate tax evasion? How can you suggest that a refusal to automatically exchange information is either an indication of transparency or cooperation?
If we are to take you seriously you have to answer questions like this openly and honestly, and explain how your policies will change so that we do believe that you really are transparent and cooperative, because right now there is no evidence that this is the case.
Or to put it another way, please educate us and stop hurling meaningless abuse.