Positive Action Group - Possan Jantys Jarrooagh

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Tourism and Transport

Another User Agreement? Under no circumstances!

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steampacketcrashMany people amazingly do not appear to appreciate fully the vital importance of our sea link.

It was this fact that prompted me some twenty five or thirty years ago to propose that the IoM Government should purchase the Company. A proposal that many other people have also suggested over the years.

This could still be done to-day for the IOMSPCo Ltd does not appear to have much collateral value.

 

User Agreement in the news again

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ferry closed

The gulf between public opinion and our elected dictatorship on the User Agreement and its operation by the Steam Packet is staggering. They live in an Andersonopia1 where a majorityof their out-of-touch selves rarely see a ferry from their first class perch on a plane out of here.

I'm sure, like me most are bloody angry that a foreign owned company have an Isle of Man Government  agreed monopoly that ensures 36% profits2 for them and a shoestring service for us with a backup that is not designed to handle Irish Sea winters.  Do they want to change this, do they heck! That might mean real political work.

The most recent illustration is the Department of Infrastructure's invitation to have an invitation (also known as 'Prior Information Notice' or PIN) this invitation was made on the 18th DECEMBER and elapses on 7th JANUARY.

Now, think.

Just suppose you wanted as few ferry operators as possible responding, what would you do?

Got it, let's have an invitation arranged for a minimum period, say three weeks tops, and let's issue it a week before Xmas. That way most senior management will be on holiday and miss it.

If that's not going on, DoI have made sure we are going to think it. It looks like the DoI are playing games with what is absolutely critical and a strategic necessity to everyone on this Island, not just some crusty in DoI.

Following complaints I understand that this deadline will be extended. A shame they didn't have the vision to see this coming before...

Stupidity or arrogance? I have no idea.

Link to User Agreement


In a Andersonopian survey of Nobles consultants, a majority thought things were going swimmingly at Nobles; unfortunately, in a letter from them the opposite was true. They also love the ugliest nativity scenetm ever displayed. They are now voting with their feet.

Last available figure. For some reason they won't let us see recent figures.

 

Tynwald Steam Packet debate 15/12/2010

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Mutiny!Chris Robertshaw MHK has provided us with a copy of the speech he made during the debate on David Cannan's proposal to have a select committee examine the viability of the Manx government placing the Steam Packet into public ownership.

After a 90 minute debate Tynwald voted 24-4 against. 

 

Protecting our Lifeline

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Who would be best able to protect our ferry lifeline?

Protecting our ferry  lifeline is not the same thing as protecting the interests of the current owners any more than it is about pretending that the user agreement has served us well. Protecting our lifeline is simply about ensuring the Isle of Man has a good quality, value for money reliable service that serves our various needs well. In the heat of the current debate it would be very easy to lose sight of this important principle.

As a result of the arrival of a limited amount of competition in Douglas harbour the current owners have been responsible for the orchestration of some quite extra ordinary outbursts of late.

They first lashed out at some of their biggest customers only later to return with an apology. Then they proclaimed that if their freight customer base was threatened, this would result in passengers having to pay more. Next in line were the staff who have been deeply unsettled by events and,  I believe, have been used in a quite cynical fashion to promote the selfish interests of the owners. Finally we hear vague  rumblings of cuts in services sure to unsettle anyone not already upset by the whole episode.

All this begs the question – so, given the choice, who really would be best able to protect our lifeline if push came to shove?

 

Steam Packet News

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Interesting to hear the Steam Packet wailing about 'unfair competition'. I'd have thought the User Agreement made them the unfair competition.

Bill Malarkey, Phil Gawne and Chris Robertshaw have got it right. The principal problem with the Steam Packet is that they effectively financed their owners purchase of them through debt ( see Tynwald Hansard and previous article). Bit like the recent ignomously departed owners of Liverpool FC.  

Their management have a lot to answer for. Buying one clapped out vessel could be deemed a mistake, but buying two vessels with engine issues that have elongated journey times is surely pretty careless. I understand that the Mezeron freight operation in Douglas operates on some land that was recently sold by the Steam Packet. I wonder if they blame our government or the User Agreement for that!

We may have to put up with some discomfort as the Packet try to swing public opinion by pruning the timetable to the minimum required under the User Agreement, but this is worth going through if it will result in us gaining an operator free of the debt burden and overbearing management structure that characterises the present company.

 
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