There are elections in the Isle of Man this autumn so whilst there is no effective party political system as such in the island (a fact that seriously undermines the effectiveness of its democracy) there is plenty of manoeuvring going on - not least because it looks highly likely that current Chief Minister Tony Brown is looking to move on the Presidency (which is a less political role).
Allan Bell is the current Isle of Man Economic Development minister who has long been involved in the politics of finance in the island and it seems clear he's now looking for higher office and has been out on the stump, as Isle of Man Today has reported.
He knows how to win support. It's reported that:
He said the island needed ‘national and international politicians’ and suggested some current MHKs were ‘really extensions of local authority members’.
That should win him lots of backing amongst his colleagues.
More worryingly though he says:
THE next five years will be the most challenging the island has faced in a generation.
His stark warnings, made against the backdrop of a likely further revision of the VAT deal, were outlined to a breakfast briefing .
Mr Bell told the Examiner afterwards: ‘The next five years will be the most challenging for a generation, on a whole range of fronts.
‘We need the Isle of Man to recognise just how serious it will be economically and to rebalance the budget.’
I have to agree: I've said the Isle of Man is at real risk of going bankrupt, even if not as soon as Jersey and Guernsey might.
But what's really worrying is his solution:
But he said one issue would dwarf all others in the years to come – the affordability of the state pension.
He said: ‘The debate so far has taken place on the affordability of public sector pensions and the need to get them back on a firmer footing.
‘But the bigger challenge is the sustainability of the state pension in a smaller community like the Isle of Man with an ageing population.
So the Isle of Man is facing bankruptcy because of its tax haven activities - which the UK is now refusing to subsidise and which their own tax structure cannot fund, and yet who do they choose to pick on to make the sacrifice that they think is required to allow the abuse they permit to continue? Why, the old in the island!
This is economic madness where the ordinary people are made to pay for the tax abuse of the rich laid bare.
And Allan Bell is seeking office on the basis of delivering it.