Sixth candidate to fight for Douglas East seat
A sixth candidate has come forward to fight next month’s by-election in Douglas East.
He’s 48-year-old advertising copywriter and author Richard Falk, of Central Promenade in Douglas.
He says he will be campaigning on the issue of controlling government expenditure and dealing with the enormous public sector pension liability, which has ballooned to £3 billion.
‘The Isle of Man is almost certainly the most over-governed place on earth,’ he said. ‘A population of 85,000 is served by the world’s only tricameral parliament, with a total of 35 members, plus no fewer than 24 local authorities, backed by a vast army of civil servants.
‘The financial liability that this represents is quite horrifying, and if our civil servants wish to retain their final salary pensions, then their numbers must be steadily reduced through natural wastage. Otherwise there is a very real possibility that we could become a failed state.’
Mr Falk says he is also alarmed by the finances of Manx Utilities, which has debts of £497 million, including £185 million to build the Pulrose power station and an unauthorised loan of £120 million to deal with overspends.
‘[The] Manx Electricity [Authority] would never have accumulated such debts as a private enterprise, or indeed a properly managed public utility,’ he said. ‘It should therefore be privatised. Both the electricity and gas markets should be opened up to competition, particularly in view of Manx Gas’s new charging structure, which exploits its monopolistic position for its own convenience.’
He added: ‘The international picture is no more comforting. There is a realistic possibility that the UK could vote to leave the European Union, restricting our access to its financial markets, and it is not impossible that a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party could win the next election.
‘Were that to happen, Corbyn’s economic adviser Richard Murphy – arch-critic of the Isle of Man and the man who believes himself responsible for the renegotiation of the Customs and Excise Agreement, costing us some £200 million a year – would be in a position of power and capable of causing us real damage.
‘We need to guard against these threats by progressing towards an independence referendum, including agreeing both the wording and implementation, in case we need to hold it quickly.’
He added that he believed that government should be simplified and its spending more carefully controlled.
‘The theme of my campaign is ‘No more business as usual’, he concluded. ‘Because if things don’t change, we’re out of business.’
The seat became vacant when Brenda Cannell quit.
She told iomtoday.co.im why she decided to go in this story.
Whoever wins the seat will not serve for very long before they have to fight an election again.
All 24 House of Keys seats will be up for grabs in September 2016.