Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lily Neill update

Lily Neill just finished a few concerts in Dublin and will be performing one concert in the U.S. on August 6th as part of the Swift Run House Concert Series (Faifax Station, VA).  This is her only U.S. appearance this season and the performance is expected to sell out, so please reserve your place soon in order to avoid disappointment.  The performance will also celebrate the release of Lily’s new CD – it’s going to be the first time she has it with her in the U.S.!


Visit http://www.SwiftRunCelticConcerts.com/ to reserve your place for this performance.

Lily will also be featured in the upcoming edition of Irish Music Magazine, out on August 1st.  Her CD, “The Habit of a Foreign Sky” has continued to receive rave reviews - the latest can be found online here, http://my.liveireland.com/profiles/blog/show?id=957489%3ABlogPost%3A213094&commentId=957489%3AComment%3A214386&xg_source=activity and in fRoots, which writes, “ […] a sparkling and delightful album of superb music from start to finish and well worth seeking out”.

Following her performance in Virginia, Lily will be on the road again in Finland, Russia, the United Kingdom, Lithuania… life as usual!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mark Cavendish Oo! La! La!

MARK Cavendish is being described today as the ‘David Beckham of cycling’ after his historic final stage hat trick of wins in Paris and the coveted green jersey in the Tour de France.


The Isle of Man rider’s face is over virtually every newspaper in Europe today, prompting the Beckham-like description from media writers.

Matt Slater of the BBC said today, “Mark Cavendish is David Beckham big in Belgium . . and not just in Belgium, but also France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain... pretty much everywhere they love cycling.”

It’s a view repeated across the media where Cavendish’s face and his heroic feats in the Tour de France have been given blanket coverage in a way that even football fails to achieve. IOMTOday
It’s the first time a British cyclist has ever taken the sprinters’ green jersey and his five stage wins in the tour now give him 20 stage victories overall, placing him the 6th most successful Tour de France rider of all time.

Cav is now described as the fastest sprint cyclist in the world and was yesterday given the ultimate accolade by the highly respected British rider David Miller. Miller said, “He is Britain's best athlete right now and probably the best sprinter in the history of cycling.

“"I know it's always a big claim when you start calling people the best ever but he is that good and it is a shame that people at home don't quite realise that yet.

“We have amongst us one of the greatest cyclists of all time. He is already the ‘David Beckham’ of Europe, in every country. Sadly, he’s not treated the same way in the UK.”

The Chief Minister announces his retirement.

Isle of Man chief minister Tony Brown to retire

Chief Minister Tony Brown
Chief Minister Tony Brown will not be
standing in the 2011 general elections

After 35 years in public service, Tony Brown said the time was right for him to step down from Manx politics.
Mr Brown began his political career in 1976 as a commissioner for Castletown and has since served 30 years in office as a member of the House of Keys.
He said he has been fortunate to serve the people of Castletown and the island for such a long time.
He added: "As a political representative I have always endeavoured to be accessible, approachable and open with people.
"I have also endeavoured to act impartially and with integrity".

Monday, July 25, 2011

Friend of Washington Manx and Head of National Celtic Heritage Center moves to Mississippi State


Christopher A. Snyder will lead Mississippi State's Shackouls Honors College as the inaugural dean.


In making the announcement, Jerry Gilbert, university provost and executive vice president, said Snyder's appointment as dean represents an elevated leadership role from the previous position of college director. Snyder officially begins work Aug. 1, he added.

An authority on medieval history, Synder has been serving since 2006 as director of the honors program and professor of European history at Marymount University in Arlington, Va.

Gilbert said MSU takes pride in the stature and strides achieved by the Shackouls Honors College since 2006, when a $10 million gift by Bobby and Judy Shackouls of Houston, Texas, led to its creation.

The college currently enrolls more than 1,000. For more, visit www.honors.msstate.edu/.

"We are delighted to have a person of Dr. Snyder's caliber to assume the role as the first dean," Gilbert said. "He will have an opportunity to build on a solid foundation of excellence and take us to a new level."

Following his visit to Starkville, Snyder said the students with whom he had interacted impressed him with their eagerness to take on new challenges. He also acknowledged a strong sense of community among the college faculty and staff, as well.

"My first priority will be getting to know them better and hearing their ideas about honors education so we can, together, create a rigorous and distinctive curriculum for the college," Snyder said.

Related to his Marymount duties, Snyder also directs the Arlington-based National Celtic Heritage Center. He holds master's and doctoral degrees in medieval history from Emory University, and a bachelor's in medieval and renaissance studies from West Virginia University.

He has written six books and edited two others. He also has authored numerous book chapters, journal articles, and film and book reviews.

Additionally, he has been featured on television on the History Channel and British Broadcasting Corp., and had articles published in the Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report.

"I'm very excited about coming to Mississippi State University and to lead the Shackouls Honors College in its pursuit of academic excellence," Snyder said. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sad news for the Washington Manx Society and NAMA

It is with a sad heart that we report the passing of a dear member. Von Quayle, wife of Don, who passed away the day after enjoying her 80th birthday on Tuesday. Don tells me that she had been ill for a while and hospitalized as recently as last week when she -- as those who knew would expect -- determined she was going to get well enough to come home for her party. The Quayle clan were all gathered and the birthday festivities were celebrated. At 5.30 the next morning Von passed away, in no pain and happy her birthday and family gathering plans had been accomplished. Rest in Peace, Von.

Don was President of NAMA 1998-2000 and is still an active member. Details of the Memorial service to be held this Friday are given in the image above. Double click on it to make it larger. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Archibald Knox and the League of St German


Talented local designer Archibald Knox became fascinated with St Patrick’s Isle, declaring Peel to be the most attractive place on the Isle of Man, and it was this subject that became an absorbing and enlightening talk given by Liam O’Neill, founder of the Archibald Knox Society.

Held appropriately enough at the current St German’s Cathedral, situated in the heart of Peel, Liam’s descriptive account brought to life Knox’s passion to renovate the ruins on St Patrick’s Isle, touchingly briefly on the redoubtable Canon John Quine who was a great friend of Knox. Both educated and influential Knox and Quine were linked by poetry, associations with Douglas Grammar School and the restoration of Lonan  Old Church also known as St Adamnan’s. Knox, who designed Canon Quine’s gravestone, was commissioned by the cleric to also design a number of iconic pieces for the cathedral on more than one occasion.

With his intentions firmly in place Knox placed an advertisement in the Peel City Guardian accompanied by an article describing the setting up of a ‘league’ to renovate the old cathedral and other buildings. Infinitely knowledgeable about both religious and Manx heritage he advocated a disciplined strategy for what later became known as the League of St German, hoping that the report in the local newspaper would raise interest in his project.

However, not everyone agreed with the ideas outlined by Knox. Designer, artist, writer and socialist William Morris, was firmly against the principle, forwarding a letter to the formidable British politician William Ewart Gladstone in 1879 detailing his fervent opposition to the scheme. It was reported that Morris visited the Isle of Man a year later, presumably on the pretext of halting the restoration, and it is suspected that Gladstone too may have paid a visit to the Island.

Plans to renovate the cathedral clearly never materialised perhaps due to the unwanted interference of Morris, or a lack of enthusiasm from the Manx public, who may have had little appetite for such a scheme, placing their faith in other projects.

Valerie Caine © July 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

As part of the Centenary Celebrations of the World Manx Association held
during Manx National Week, a special but short visit was made to Rushen
Abbey where it all started in July 1911.

A group of local members of the W.M.A. together with Homecomers from U.S.A.,
South Africa, Australia, Liverpool, Manchester, London and Barrow in
Furness posed for a photograph in exactly the same spot as those group of
founder members a hundred years before.

The party then travelled to Malew Churchyard where a garland was laid on
Richard Cain's grave by the President and Chairman of the W.M.A., Peter
Kelly and Wynn Kneale.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Homecomers

 Left to right: 
James Corlett, President of the North American Manx Association, Peter
Kelly, President of the World Manx Association and Colonel Kevin Williams,
President of the Southern African Manx Association.
The recent centenary celebrations of the World Manx Association saw
"Homecomers" making their way to the Island from the U.S.A., Australia, New
Zealand, South Africa, Dubai, Luxembourg as well as from the London,
Barrow-in-Furness, Manchester and Liverpool Manx Societies. A whole week of
special events were laid on for the visitors and local members including
visits to properties that have been used as the venue for the "Annual
Gatherings" during the past hundred years such as Great Meadow, Ballaquane,
Rushen Abbey and The Nunnery. Another special visit was to Douglas Town Hall
where annual general meetings used to take place in the early days of the
association. The representatives were made most welcome by His Worship the
Mayor, Councillor Mr Ritchie McNicoll and Mrs McNicoll. Peter Kelly gave a
history of the Town Hall building whilst the Mayor told something of his
predecessors. 


Pictured are three Presidents signing the visitors' book in the Mayor's parlour. Both visiting presidents were presented with a painting of a horse tram whilst the mayor gave Peter Kelly a pair of cufflinks bearing the town crest in recognition of his hard work in putting together a programme of events for the homecomers.

The Patrick Parish Post



With modern lifestyles on the Isle of Man bringing changes to daily activities the structure of some of our smaller communities has altered radically. Local amenities have dwindled and all but disappeared in some of the more remote areas, as corner shops, post offices, churches and even the local pubs have shut their doors for the final time.

Work and social commitments can steer parishioners away from village life and the advantages of living in a small community, but a resourceful band of volunteers from the west coast of the Island have joined forces to help bring everyone together with the publication of ‘The Patrick Parish Post’. Printed bi-monthly and available from various outlets within the parish, this eye-catching community magazine aims to bring local news, dates for your diary and lashings of ‘skeet’ to residents of Patrick, Glen Maye, Dalby and all the ‘little places in-between’.

The team behind this novel publication would welcome any news of interest to people living in these areas, and also encourage anyone who wishes to place an advert, to contact patrickparishpost@manx.net or telephone Vicky Harrop on 844999.

Valerie Caine © July 2011

Cav wins -- Mentions Isle of Man

Washington Times

Mark Cavendish won yesterday on the 4th stage of the Tour de France and will wear the yellow jersey. According to the article in the Washington Times today he was reminded of home when the wind started lashing him -- I certainly know how that feels!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Laa-ruggyree sonney dhyt -- Happy Birthday World Manx Association

A message from the President of the World Manx Association



Today is 17th July and it was exactly one hundred years ago that Richard Cain held a meeting at Rushen Abbey with fellow Manxmen from the Isle of Man, the United States of America, Canada, South Africa, Australia and different parts of England. The event was captured by Thomas Keig the photographer for this was the birth of The World Manx Association. The object was to form an umbrella group to unite all those Manx Societies across the world and together act as a conduit for those Manxmen who decide to make a new life in the developing counties of the world by helping them to find a home and a job. The other main object was taken from T.E.Brown's last public lecture on the Island and words that he said that had been engraved on Richard Cain's heart for the following fourteen years:

" Whenever any of our sons and daughters revisit the Island be sure to give them a real welcome, and on their returning give them a hearty shake of the hand and a clap on the shoulders, so that they may return with renewed hope and courage to the land of their adoption."
I take this opportunity to extend greetings to all Manx people around the world and to thank the Manx Societies for all that they do, I pray they continue for generations to come.

Peter Kelly M.B.E., C.P.


Message from Luxembourg:


Dear Peter,

On behalf of the
Luxembourg Manx Society I congratulate the World Manx Association on the centenary of its first meeting, this day in 1911.

It was wonderful to be part of the celebrations and thank you for extending such a warm welcome to my son, Charlton, and myself. Hopefully Charlton will be an active member of the Manx community in the years to come.

Best wishes to the WMA for the next 100 years!

Julie

Friday, July 15, 2011

BBCThe final chapter of a Manx illustrator's year-long art project will open to the public at the Manx Museum in Douglas on Saturday. Over the past 12 months Juan Moore has staged four exhibitions in his Welcome to the Neighbourhood series. Each show has been held in a separate and unrelated venue across the island, designed to make art more accessible. The fifth show will offer the chance to see all 100 artworks displayed together for the first time in one gallery.

Manx National Heritage:

Over the past year the Manx artist Juan Moore, has been staging exhibitions of his artwork in selected unusual venues as part of the "Welcome to the Neighbourhood‟ art project. The fifth exhibition in the project is being staged by Manx National Heritage in conjunction with the Isle of Man Arts Council and will open on Saturday 16th July at the Manx Museum, when all one hundred artworks will be displayed together for the first time in the final „Welcome to the Neighbourhood‟ art exhibition.

The 12 month „Welcome to the Neighbourhood‟ art project was funded by the Isle of Man Arts Council and involved art exhibitions being staged in a fish restaurant, a wine bar, the Villa Marina arcade and an empty shop unit.

As well as having a different and unusual location, each exhibition has also had a specific theme which was reflected in the exhibition‟s title and was used as a recurring theme throughout the exhibition‟s artwork. The first exhibition was held in a fish restaurant and was entitled "Carpe Diem‟ (Seize the Day... or Fish of the Day), whilst the second exhibition held in a wine bar for one night only was entitled "One Night Stand‟ and looked at the various stages of a relationship from male and female perspectives. The third exhibition entitled "Gighibition‟ was an exhibition of artwork inspired by the songs of various Manx musicians, who in turn performed at the opening of the exhibition.

"Gighibition‟ was an extremely unusual art exhibition and as Juan Moore, the artist, said:

“I had a few worries as to whether people would get the idea of a gig and an exhibition together, I was worried that art lovers would be put off by the idea of a gig, and I was worried that music lovers would be put off by an art show. Another worry was that there would be no connection between the music and the art. Once again I worried for nothing as we had over 500 people attend the opening night and everyone loved and got the concept, it was a highlight in the project for me.”
The fourth exhibition was held in an empty shop unit and was entitled „Life & Other Nonsense‟ and reflected a variety of things on the artist‟s mind and stories in the Manx press at the time.

Yvonne Cresswell, Curator of Social History, comments: “The final part of „Welcome to the Neighbourhood‟, exhibited at the Manx Museum will provide people who have been to all or some of the previous exhibitions an opportunity to see their favourite works again. All one hundred works will be together and, for those who have not viewed earlier exhibitions, it is the chance to see the artwork for the first time and appreciate how it has developed over the year-long project.”

In addition to the "Welcome to the Neighbourhood‟ exhibition at the Manx Museum, there will also be a programme of associated illustration workshops, an illustrated lecture and a live art event. The illustration workshops will be held throughout the week beginning Monday 25th July, sessions at 10.30am and 1pm, tickets £8. 

The live art event will be held on Saturday 30th July and the illustrated lecture „Watching Paint Dry‟ will be held on Saturday 13th August, tickets £3. All the events will be held at the Manx Museum and further details and bookings can be made by contacting (01624) 648000, tickets are available from the Manx Museum Heritage Shop.
The "Welcome to the Neighbourhood‟ art exhibition by Juan Moore opens on Saturday 16th July at the Manx Museum (open Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm) and continues to Saturday 13th August 2011.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Viking Festival in Peel Castle


Marauding Vikings invaded the west coast of the Island this summer, setting up camp within the historic surroundings of Peel Castle, where they spent time educating visitors and school children about the Viking way of life.

The venue, provided courtesy of Manx National Heritage, was bathed in glorious sunshine with curious bystanders invited to join in the retelling of the sagas, or learn more about Viking daily life and survival. Each tent revealed a new occupation with men and women in authentic costume keen to pass on knowledge of their chosen trade.

Cooking and craftwork became a standard female occupation, but the Vikings were buoyed by a very healthy diet, with a plentiful supply of fish, no sugar (except for natural honey) and oatcakes for fibre and nourishment. Modern day stimulants such as coffee and chocolate were yet to be discovered. Seasonal fruit, vegetables and nuts were augmented by a local supply of meat, although this would be naturally limited in the spring. Additionally herbal teas provided both refreshment and home-made remedies for medical problems.

But the menfolk also had their roles to play, providing a safe haven for their families. Being gifted craftsmen they fashioned pieces of delicate jewellery and carved wooden artefacts. However, their image as a fighting race of people was tempered by times of relaxation with assorted games providing an antidote to periods of combat, demonstrated here by an example known as Kubb.

The romantic appeal of Viking life meant that numbers of people available to perform were at a premium, with nine re-enactment gatherings scheduled during the same weekend in the British Isles alone. However, re-enactors did travel to the Isle of Man from Scotland, England, Wales, Denmark and Norway.

Junior School pupils from all over the Island visited the Viking encampment to find out more about their daily lives, feeling part of village life as they listened to stories huddled in blankets for warmth and protection.

‘Vikings of Mann’ are always on the lookout for more recruits and would welcome anyone, no matter what age, to come along to their meetings at 8.00pm on the first Wednesday of each month at the Manx British Legion branch in Douglas Street, Peel.

These meetings give everyone an opportunity to learn and develop new skills, particularly in the winter months. These might range from carving wood and bone to knarl binding, needle knotting and buckle making. Male recruits also have the chance to double-up as warriors, but some of the womenfolk might be more interested in a new book of costumes recently delivered from Borg in Lofoten, Norway, which will provide an added incentive for re-enactors on the Isle of Man to create new costumes.

New members are encouraged to come forward with suggestions as to which skills they would like to explore, but in the meantime the society is keen to hear from anyone who has the skill of a metal forger and is willing to pass those skills on to the group.

If you would like further information please contact Margaret Gunn on 410968, mgunn@manx.net or through the Vikings of Mann Facebook page.

Valerie Caine
© July 2011

Insignificant island -hmm-so why do we bother then?

From IsleofMan.com

Treasury Minister Anne Craine has said the Isle of Man is insignificant to the United Kingdom
Treasury Minister Anne Craine has said the Isle of Man is insignificant to the United Kingdom
View full size image
THE Isle of Man is insignificant to the United Kingdom – that’s the view of the Island's Treasury Minister Anne Craine.

On Tuesday she revealed that the Isle of Man would lose £75 million of its income per year after the Manx Government accepted a revised VAT Revenue Sharing Agreement.

Following 10 months of negotiations between the government and HM Treasury Mrs Craine said they had "reluctantly" accepted the revised deal in order to retain the Island's Customs and Excise Agreement.

According to Mrs Craine this agreement is important to the long term economic and financial interests of the Island.

She explained: "After nearly a year of negotiations we have reluctantly accepted a reduced revenue share at the price of retaining the Customs and Excise Agreement.

"We understand that this is not a situation that any of us would wish to be placed in but we do think that the price to pay – the potential loss of the Customs and Excise Agreement – would have been too high to have gambled from the Isle of Man's perspective.

"I think it's very difficult for us to realise as a proud, small, independent nation, just how insignificant we are. This is a major issue for us here in the Isle of Man. The point that came to us from the UK Government is that it is not a particularly major issue as far as they are concerned - they can take or leave the arrangement. They don't see it as being of fantastic benefit to them.

"They are prepared to run with this arrangement but if it was going to become protracted and if we were going to continue to argue for a better deal, which they did not see as being fair, they made it clear they were ready to walk away from the agreement."

The new Revenue Sharing Agreement means the Isle of Man will lose 14 per cent of its annual income. This year revenue will be reduced by £30 million, next year by £50 million and from then on there will be a reduction of £75 million per year.

Mrs Craine admitted that there would be difficulties ahead as a result of the decision. She said: "It does mean of course that things are going to be difficult and we are going to have to face some pretty tough challenges.

"Government is intent that the way forward should be to protect those in receipt of our services and those who are most vulnerable in our community. But at the same time it's very important that we have the ability to develop our economy.

"We believe that in agreeing to this new formula that has been implemented that we will be able to do that and we will find a way forward that will provide for greater economic development for the Island for a more certain and stable
future.”

Mary & Sarah Andrews have been busy this summer...

...they have been on a painting vacation at Orkney Springs and captured these memories of summer. And as they are also members of the Greater Washington Area Manx Society and because I like their paintings I have decided to share them with you. Enjoy!


Mary Andrews: 4th of July

Mary Andrews

Mary's cups and saucers

Mary Andrews

Mary Andrews

Mary Andrews

Sarah Andrews

Sarah's Paisley Cathedral


Sarah Andrews

Sarah's plates

Mary Andrews


Mary Andrews

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Help Carol share Manx Music with ALL of North America!


From Carol's website www.musicladycarol.com:
  • A most amazing bit of trivia...The fiddle is such a popular instrument on the Island that it could be nick-named the Manx National Instrument. While their Scottish and Irish neigbors were jigging to the bagpipes, Manx musicians were fiddling the night away! - I was absolutely fascinated to learn that the Medieval Manx fiddles, which were still being played in the 1600's, before the introduction of the Italian violins, were set up with only three strings. The melody was played on the top string, while the other two strings sounded as drones! ~~ Sound familiar? The modern mountain dulcimer was destined to play Manx music! Who knew!
  • www.musicladycarol.com

Gathering of the Celts



Capercaillie

The Yn Chruinnaght inter-Celtic Festival returns later this month with a stunning line-up of performers and musicians and the opportunity of watching a number of top class acts at various venues across the Island.
Maeve MacKinnon

Kicking off the festival will be Scottish super group Capercaillie who will be playing at the Royal Hall at the Villa Marina. Brought to the Island in partnership with the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure, Capercaillie’s world-wide appeal has ensured the band’s popularity for more than 25 years, as they continue to criss-cross the musical divide. Selling more than one million albums (three silver and one gold album in the UK) Capercaillie pushed the boundaries of pop music with the first Gaelic Top 40 single and later wrote music for and appeared in the Hollywood movie ‘Rob Roy’. They have performed in over thirty countries including Iraq, Macedonia and the Sudan – now they will add the Isle of Man to that list!

But the festival programme will also appeal to those who prefer something a little mellow, including a free concert featuring Welsh musician Cass Meurig playing the lesser known stringed instrument, the crwth. She will be joined by leading Breton vocalist Lors Landat and accordionist Thomas Moisson. There’s also an opportunity to learn more about the crwth by joining Cass for the annual Ian O’Leary Lecture where she will discuss this unusual instrument in more detail.

Outdoor displays, workshops and free mini-gigs are always a popular attraction and a great opportunity to see dancers and musicians in action, with Appalachian clog dancers from Wales, a young Irish band from Belfast, a dynamic Cornish dance group and a selection of dancers from the Isle of Man getting together to perform at selected venues. And for those who can’t resist the urge to put on their dancing shoes a Giant Ceili will feature a choice of traditional dances to join in with, and an optional fancy-dress theme of Celtic flags!

Guidewires
As the week-long festival draws to a close events move to the Centenary Centre in Peel highlighting hybrid Irish/Breton band Guidewires. Coming together for a festival in Belgium during 2007 they not only play Irish music, but Breton, Middle Eastern, Galician and newly composed music. With an all-star line-up creating high energy performances and infectious melodies the band has been described as having ‘the freshest sound in Irish music’.

Scottish Gaelic songstress Maeve MacKinnon will bring Yn Chruinnaght to an end accompanied by accordion-ace Angus Lyon and guitar-legend Ross Martin. With influences as diverse as Dolly Parton and the Buena Vista Social Club, Maeve is expected to create a thoughtful mood with renditions of cross-cultural collaborations influenced by Indian classical music through to flamenco.

Attracting the generous support of the Isle of Man Arts Council, the Manx Heritage Foundation and Manx Telecom, tickets for the festival will include concessions for children and senior citizens, with special deals available when combining both concerts at the Centenary Centre. Tickets are now available from Peter Norris Music, Mostly Manx, Celtic Gold, Shakti Man and Thompson Travel, except for Capercaillie which can be purchased from www.villagaiety.com. For further information about the festival visit www.ynchruinnaght.com or phone the festival hot line on 425957.

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Valerie Caine © July 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

UK reform of VAT to cost IOM 14% on annual income

By Sean O'Hare 12 Jul 2011 Daily Telegraph

The UK Government has withdrawn a total of £200 million in yearly subsidies from the Isle of Man, a move that will force major changes to the way the crown dependency operates.   The loss represents approximately 40 per cent of the Manx government's yearly income and may lead to public services pension reforms, pay freezes, cuts and a change to the island's tax policy in an effort to balance the books. In a statement issued today the Manx treasury minister, Anne Craine, said: "[We have] has no intention of trying to mask the fact that this change will mean challenging times for the island into the future, and further it will require tough decisions to be made by the next Tynwald and government."
Since 1979 the UK and the Isle of Man have pooled VAT receipts under what was known as the revenue-sharing Customs and Excise agreement, generally accepted as being advantageous to the Isle of Man.

An independent investigation in 2007 by Richard Murphy, founder of theTax Justice Network, revealed that the Manx government was in fact receiving three times more revenue than it appeared to be entitled to because it is proportionately more structured to VAT-exempt activity than the UK.
His campaign to have the hand-outs stopped is believed to be behind the UK Government's decision to withdraw £114 million in 2009 and now £75 million. The Treasury gave the reason that the arrangements were no longer considered a fair and equitable sharing of VAT and other duties.Richard Murphy said: "I know this is a massive problem for the Isle of Man, but it has been a long time coming and I don't apologise for it. Why should the UK taxpayer subsidise the Isle of Man so that it can operate a tax haven and offer a standard rate of income tax of 10 per cent, a top rate of 18 per cent and a cap on total tax paid? It does not need a zero per cent corporation tax. It could charge capital gains tax. It could charge inheritance tax. All of these are choices: bad choices. Today's ruling means they will now have to collect tax, change their tax regime and attract real business and tourism. It also raises another question: how long can these crown dependencies last? Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man all have holes in their budget, their tax regimes aren't viable and very soon they will have to apply to the UK or EU for inclusion."

The withdrawals will be staggered over the next few years, resulting in projected annual revenue reductions of £30 million this year, £50 million in 2012/13 and £75 million thereafter. The new revenue-sharing formula will consider the Manx economy in terms of national income on a sector-by-sector basis rather than in totality.

"The reasoning behind this new approach is that in order to produce an Isle of Man share that is deemed 'fair' by the UK Government, there is a need to recognise that different sectors have different exposure to VAT and hence different capacities to generate VAT revenues," said Ms Craine.
A spokesman for the Manx government said: "There's no doubt about it, it is a tough deal but it can be managed because our economy is growing, we haven't suffered a recession, we have strong reserves and no external government debt."

The Treasury made it clear that unless the deal was accepted, it was ready to give notice to terminate the Customs and Excise Agreement which provides for the Isle of Man continuing as part of the EU VAT territory and offers opportunities which are not open to competing international business centres.
Ms Craine concluded: "There will be those who say that [the Manx] government has not fought hard enough, that we should have refused to accept any revision of the Revenue Sharing Arrangement, or that more robust political lobbying in the UK could have improved our position.

"To those I would say, the Isle of Man government has negotiated robustly in a much harsher economic and financial world than most people on the island have experienced. The world has changed; we have to get real. The present financial situation within the UK is serious and their government is substantially reducing department budgets and fund allocations to local authorities. To expect sympathetic or preferential treatment from the UK Government, especially in the current economic climate, would be naive."

Tynwald to debate BBC

THE BBC’s media coverage of the Isle of Man will come under the spotlight in the final sitting of Tynwald today in Douglas, including a suggestion that control of editorial content should not be handled from outside the Island.

A series of recommendations will be placed before the court following a lengthy period of consultation by a Select Committee under the chairmanship of Graham Cregeen MHK. The committee was originally created to look into the value for money the Isle of Man is receiving from the television licence fee.

Other ideas amongst the recommendations includes the suggestion that the BBC provides a daily audio-visual news service dedicated to Manx affairs which should be broadcast across the BBC's British network and not just the north west of England.

The report also recommends to Tynwald that the Isle of Man should not consider withdrawing from the historic licence fee arrangement with the UK at this time. However, it suggests that Tynwald should instead concentrate its efforts on obtaining “value for money” from the BBC.

The report warns, however, that the issue of the BBC and its role in the Isle of Man should be kept under review, whilst not forgetting that there is “an overall shortfall of around £1 million per year in the BBC’s investment in the Isle of Man”.

The Select Committee has itemised the following priorities in future negotiations with the BBC: 

•  That the BBC should treat the Island as an independent nation in practice as well as in theory. 
•  That the BBC should provide ever more comprehensive coverage of Manx affairs across all its media and channels, and that this should include coverage of Manx affairs in BBC television news broadcast to our neighbours not only in the North West of England but also in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 
•  That the BBC should support the introduction of a daily audio-visual news service dedicated to Manx affairs which, whether it is delivered via the Internet or by some other means, viewers in the Isle of Man can access just as easily as they can access the regional television news from the North West of England. 
•  That, in order to get the most out of its television journalists based in the Isle of Man, the BBC should relax its policy on bespoke web video while at the same time taking steps to minimise any adverse impact on existing providers. 
•  That the BBC should continue to give practical support and assistance to Manx Radio and other broadcasters licensed in the Isle of Man. 
•  That the BBC should allow a greater degree of Manx-based editorial control over the Isle of Man pages of its website. 
•  That the BBC should follow through in practice its stated commitment to support the Manx language. 
•  That, subject to the continuing progression of DAB as a widely used platform, the BBC should support the introduction of a DAB multiplex to carry Manx Radio and other Manx stations. 
•  That the BBC should support any proposals made by or on behalf of Tynwald as to coverage of Manx parliamentary proceedings.

Tomorrow’s debate will also recommend that the Council of Ministers should consider and report to Tynwald with recommendations by January 2012 on:

(a) the level of resources devoted to broadcasting and media policy, which includes the specific responsibility of implementing the recommendations of this report and the general responsibility for “furthering the interests of the Island in the whole field of programme services”, which is currently a statutory responsibility of the Communications Commission.

(b) the question of whether these resources and responsibilities should continue to lie with the Communications Commission or be transferred to a Department of Government.

(c) the question of whether a Tynwald Member should continue to sit on the Communications Commission.

From isleofman.com

Sunday, July 10, 2011

IOM wins big at Offshore Awards

Eight out of 14 categories were won by Isle of Man companies, including Best International Life Group UK (Axa Isle of Man) and Best International Bank (Standard Bank Offshore).
The awards, now in their 12th year, aim to recognise the best providers and products in the international investment sector, and are judged by a panel of industry experts.
Allan Bell, the minister for economic development, said that winning the awards “demonstrated the number of companies in the Isle of Man who are recognised as leaders in their sector".
For the first time, a category was introduced for Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes or QROPS, with a special award given to Boal and Co for “technical innovation”. Their new "Trinity" scheme was designed to capitalise on recent changes to the Isle of Man's pension regulations, and was praised by the judges as having “helped other providers in the sector”.
The Isle of Man's success at the awards was marred only by the fact that they did not win the award for Best International Finance Centre, which went to Jersey.