Ask Mark

July 27, 2016
Q

Surely it`s also a time to reduce our MHK`s....do we really need so many for such a small island/population. Lead from the front and show positivity/understanding..after all .. we are told we have to dig deeper into our pockets to help the economy on the Isle of Man.

A

Less MHKs, yes, but also, no President, no MLCs and abolish LegCo in its current form.

July 24, 2016
Q

Good to see that you're taking an interest in minority sports and suitable facilities for them . I wonder if a small outdoor hockey rink could be incorporated into a skate park design ?

A

That's an interesting idea, Paul. I've had a look at the page you've pointed me to, tell me more? Is there enough interest in inline hockey in the South to support something? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

July 29, 2016
Q

I don't believe your 85% figure for a second I'm afraid. There is absolutely no way that only 15% of my former school colleagues who went to uni are left on the island. I'd be interested to see some proper figures but 85% having left can't be anywhere near correct I'm afraid.

A

Thanks for the replies. This is a statistic from the department of education. I was amazed by it myself as it would indicate that over 700 students are staying away each year. It's a recent statistic and it needs more investigation, hence my survey which is high level only and the questions I am trying to ask of the right people. Even if the figure was only 60%, that's still a drain of circa 480 students each year (at 2014 levels) and whilst I think it's good for students to spend some time off Island working and living , broadening their experiences, we as an Island do need them to come back to us to fill vacancies and to upskill in key areas of the economy as we have a decreasing young workforce and this isn't helping the pension situation and it means that we are having to import workers.

July 29, 2016
Q

Yeah this seems very post-factual... are you like the Trump candidate?

A

To give you all a flavour of how the numbers are transcribing (KS4 to KS5); there are roughly 1,850 KS4 students on the school rolls each year, give or take and of that number circa 55% stay on for Sixth Form (KS5) so that means 800+ students leave school to enter work or go to the IOM College each year. Of the 1,000 or so that finish 6th form (there are those that don't but I don't have the attrition rates), roughly 80% go to university, circa 800 students. If 85% don't return upon graduation then that equates to about 700 students total. This means that each year, there are over 1,100 students that haven't gone away and so it will seem like most of your friends have stayed here. Now, I am trying to ask questions of the department about student numbers and when I hear more, you will. Thanks to everyone for your comments, they are always welcome.

August 5, 2016
Q

I'd be interested to hear/ read a breakdown of 'healthcare reform'

A

Hi Kyle, sorry for the late reply and thanks for the question. In short, the hospital needs a transformative CEO, one with a proven track record of turning around failing hospitals. Aligning Nobles with the Care Quality Commission and the UK's NHS Trust Development Authority are steps in the right direction and would help the new CEO who should be free to manage the hospital without constant political meddling. Management needs reducing at the hospital as it's top heavy and with the money saved matrons could be brought back onto the wards and a bank of nurses hired (how this works out in fiscal numbers, I'd need to do more research). Upskilling existing staff is key to quality healthcare, and we should be aiming to create knowledgeable professionals who can educate patients in prevention (diet, exercise, how to manage an injury post-operation). Social services need an overhaul and investigating; I'm aware of several cases where a child is left in the care of someone who is clearly incapable and the child is in a household with an abusive adult. We need more care homes for the elderly but we don't need expensive turnkey solutions. This is all high level, Kyle and there is more to add but I really would welcome your own insights. Feel free to email me at [email protected]

August 16, 2016
Q

Mark Kemp for Rushen , it's not just the police mate... As you know, I/we grew up in port Erin and its not changed in 20/25 years... About time the commissioners or government provided more for the youth to do...

A

I agree, Morgan. I'm pushing for a skate park and I'm working with a dance studio to help them expand into the South.

August 12, 2016
Q

Where do you stand on the Open Skies legislation?

A

Hi Paul, my opinion is that it's open to abuse. Airlines can come in, take a slot, decide that it isn't profitable enough and disappear or they may take on a route during a traditionally busy time and again, disappear. That's a big worry for us because air and sea links are vital to us.

I think it’s encouraged the likes of Easyjet to set up here and up until recently, that’s been a success of sorts for the consumer as it’s increased competition. Talk in the Keys is that Open Skies has increased routes from 14 to 21 and I’d see that as a success as well but could this have been achieved without open skies?? I honestly don’t know and I admit that I need to research this more.

Are there any minimum standards the airlines have to follow under open skies, I’m not sure that there are but I could be mistaken; there certainly should be.

Travelwatch produced a report on the 6 November 2010 which I’ve found insightful but I’d like to see something more current. The conclusions then were:
• Open Skies has increased competition and choice
• Yet there has been little growth in passenger numbers
• Many airlines have come and gone
• There is a risk of ‘unfair’ competition if no regulation
• Guernsey believes that there is a need for a form of licensing to protect ‘lifeline’ routes
• Air links to/from IOM are a vital driver of long term economic health yet deregulation seems to have increased instability

The 2012 Travelwatch report to Tynwald wasn’t any more complimentary and goes on to recommend as follows:

• To safeguard the economic future and wellbeing of the Isle of Man, we believe that it is important that legislation is put in place as a matter of urgency to enable regulation of certain air services to be introduced without delay if required in the future.
• We believe it would be sensible and practical to possibly restrict this by statute to defined ‘lifeline’ services (London, Liverpool, and Manchester), or have general regulation covering all air services, but, in practice, approving without debate any applications outwith the lifeline routes.

http://www.travelwatch-isleofman.org/.../open_skies_-_tw...

On the face of this limited research I’d have to say that I’m not overwhelmed by the Open Skies policy and I’d like to undertake more research on this as (and this includes personal experience) the current system seems flawed and users are having to suffer all manner of delays and cancellations.

September 2, 2016
Q

My question is Mark- would you be any different should you get in? And with the best will in the world, could you be? President Obama is on record saying he held the highest office in the land, yet he could change nothing. As a newcomer how would you change the status quo?
Heaven knows fresh blood is needed, you know how the establishment works. How much wiggle room is there for real change?

A

Thanks for the question, Simon. Anyone that knows me, knows that I won't be pushed around and I can't be bought. As you can see from my section on government reform, I am dead against LegCo and MLCs and I am dead against ministerial uplifts and this is now a matter of public record. If I get in and I am appointed as a minister, I won't accept payment of an uplift except to place it into a charitable trust for students that can't afford to go on university trips or who need help with tuition fees. I personally don't benefit and so I haven't been bought.

I am running so that the establishment and their wily ways are held up to a public mirror in the first instance and halted/changed in the second. If you look at what I want to do with the budget reform, I am proposing a move to a zero based budget (start at zero every year and each department submits business plans) and this defeats the current system of spending “just because we had something left” and it defeats the potential for vested interests to be smuggled through – everyone is now accountable, even ministers. Additionally, key performance indicators will need to be implemented so that civil servants can’t keep on blame shifting and dodging awkward questions. Salaries will be dependent on these KPIs.

There are a number of candidates (old and new) that are wanting to push for accountability and if we can work together we can defeat the old boys club and turn the Island’s fortunes around. Additionally, I was invited to the Chamber of Commerce "briefing" for candidates and as a former accountant I was tempted to see what they had to say but as someone looking to bring down the wealth gap and to diversify the economy, I elected not to go so that my thinking remains clear.

I’ll finish as I started, I won’t be bullied, bought or manipulated; if you know me, you’ll know that I will stand up for what is right. Please do hold me to account on this. I want the best for the Island and for future generations.

September 3, 2016
Q

I really like the focus on education, particularly the emphasis on the Finnish model as a paragon. However, correct me if I'm wrong, but I cannot find any section on environmental issues at all in your manifesto. As the island is such a haven for biodiversity - indeed, the recent establishment of it as a UNESCO biosphere exemplifies this - and has such colossal potential to be a self-sustaining community in terms of farming, fishing, and energy, surely the environment is a key component of local politics? You have referenced Iceland in terms of its success in eradicating its financial crisis, but I also think that Iceland could be a great model for the Isle of Man to follow regarding the environment - to name a few examples, it has an excellent sustainable fisheries programme, and is close to being powered entirely by renewable energy. To not capitalise on the Isle of Man's potential for similar environmental success would be missing out, in my opinion!

A

Hi Eve, under the section on the economy, I've mentioned green tech. Feel free to email or message me for more info' and to share your thoughts further.

September 2, 2016
Q

Nice message, but exactly what do you hope to achieve and how?

A

I hope to achieve budget reform and government reform and this will lead to the protection or prioritising of essential services. By working with other candidates (old and new, those that are trustworthy and who want the same reforms) these reforms can be realised. There is a real opportunity to defeat the 'old boys club' this time around. Locally, I want to see business' enticed to Rushen and the development of areas like Breakwater Road and the Promenade, and I want to see more facilities provided for children and teenagers.

September 10, 2016
Q

Mark can you tell me if we still get( not sure what they are called) cards in the Post with a number on it to bring to the Polling Station as I've not had mine yet and it's not that far away?

A

Hi Beano. You should receive a card a week before the election. It'll be sent out in the post I believe. More information can be found here. https://www.gov.im/.../2016-house-of-keys-general...

September 7, 2016
Q

Dear Mr. Kemp,

Have you had an opportunity to consider the letter I sent you? I understand this is a busy time for you.

However, I would like to invite you to give a response to the question in the letter. What is your stance on the Safe Cycling IOM initiative to introduce a Minimum Safe Passing Distance law of 1.5 metres when a vehicle overtakes a person on a bicycle? How will you vote when the matter is before the House?

I am compiling a list of For's, Against's, and Uncertain's for publication to interested voters.

There is a lot of information including the current situation, research, options, world examples, and pros and cons for the Isle of Man on our website www.safecyclingiom.com .There is also balanced responses for common concerns such as riding 2 abreast, how can a Minimum Safe Passing Distance be enforced, how can it work on Manx roads (all on the FAQ's page).

A

Hi Sean,

You’re correct, this is a very busy time but I’m trying to fit everyone in.

I want to see safer roads and I want to see more cyclists. I will say that I don’t want to see some of the aggression that I’ve witnessed from certain cyclists who think they own the road or can ride in close knit and long and wide pods of 10 bikes or so, but I do want to see more people take up cycling and more people ride to work. As you rightly and indirectly identify in your letter, it’s a healthy activity and so we should encourage it.

“Minimum Passing Distance laws exist in Belgium, France, Portugal, Germany and Spain, 26 States of America and 2 Canadian provinces.

Queensland in Australia introduced a trial Minimum Passing Distance Law in 2014 after extensive research and consultation. A review early this year has shown an improvement in relationships between motorists and cyclists, greater awareness by motorists and an independently verified increase in the distance left by motorists overtaking cyclists. Early results suggest a significant reduction in cyclist fatalities. The Queensland government have now adopted the law on a permanent basis. It has since been introduced to New South Wales and already exists in Capital Territory, South Australia and Tasmania.”
The part of your letter I’ve highlighted in yellow is of most interest to me in the sense that there is, it seems justification for the passing law. I acknowledge that these are early indications, but I would imagine the results would be fairly consistent year on year.
An alternative to the passing law, perhaps an expensive one, is adopting something similar to what Copenhagen have done. Copenhagen has invested in high-quality cycle networks and parking facilities. To quote from an article;
“A comprehensive network is important
This long-term investment has created a comprehensive cycle network comprising a variety of routes; protected cycle tracks along busy streets and at junctions, quiet streets where only cycles are allowed through, attractive routes through parkland and dramatic new bridges over waterways and busy roads, such as the recently-built Serpent Bridge. These routes are not only safe in actual terms – they also make people feel safe. This is essential if new people are to be attracted to cycling - eight in ten people in the Sustrans survey said they want improved safety for people riding bikes.”
With a network of cycle routes we can actually make cycling safe and we can encourage people to take up the sport or to cycle to work. Maybe the solution is a hybrid of the safe passing law and of building cycling networks.

September 8, 2016
Q

What are you thoughts on abortion?

A

First off, I believe that a woman's body is her own property. I don't believe that abortion should be used as a form of general contraception, except in extreme cases such as young girls getting pregnant by accident, cases of rape and so on. I believe we need to be very clear about the definition of life and when we think a fetus is classed as a life. Personally, I'd like to see life recognised at 12 weeks because the spinal column has fused with the cranium and the fetus can feel pain.

September 21, 2016
Q

Our school has had no drive in getting us interested in politics (and I feel this may be a case in all schools across the island), there's been nothing to get the students involved in democracy apart from volunteering at exit poles. It's a little annoying that we haven't been given any insight at all.
The last elected government didn't really do anything for education apart from significantly reducing the budget. Yet they try to convince us that they care by blanketing us with statistics.
Students opinions and voices have fallen on deaf ears.
How can they expect us to learn by using textbooks that are 5-10+years? Or learn in a school that when it rains the roof leaks and you have puddles throughout the corridors.
I feel massively let down by the government with the lack of provisions and decaying facilities. The government doesn't seem to realize that the students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.

A

Well said, Sean. It's great to see you raising your voice and expressing your concerns. It's great to see someone in an A Level year taking an interest in who will shape the future. Believe me Sean, education is very high on my list. As a teacher, I want what's best of the Island's students. Thank you for your post and I hope that everyone shares it.

September 20, 2016
Q

Can you remind me how to protest about the application for the wind turbines at Ballaman please?

A

The planning application number is 14/00632/B

Here is a quote from an email from another concerned resident (the parts in yellow tell you how to object):

“Send your letters of objection by 7th October 2016 to

Secretary to the Planning Committee
Planning & Building Control
Department of Environment Food & Agriculture
Murray House
Mount Havelock
Douglas
IM1 2SF

Or email them to [email protected] and [email protected]

Despite the submission of additional information by the applicant please object to the Planning Application on the following grounds

1. Unacceptable Visual Impact in Open Countryside

The unspoilt countryside and landscape of the Isle of Man is valued by many people as an important economic asset and something that greatly contributes to the quality of life on the Island. Three 18.5m (60+ feet) high wind turbines will have a significant visual impact on this sensitive coastal location. The wind farm will be visible from an extensive area including Four Roads, Mull Hill and Meayll Peninsula, Port Erin and Bradda Head. It will also be very visible from the Coastal Path.

The proposal contravenes the following Strategic Plan policies:
• Strategic Policy 2 – as it does not meet the criteria set out in General Policy 2 for development on unallocated sites.
• Strategic Policy 4 – as it does not respect landscape quality and will cause environmental disruption.
• General Policy 3 – as it does not meet any of the criteria allowing development on unallocated sites.
• Environment Policy 1 – as no overriding national need has been demonstrated to outweigh the requirement to protect the open countryside.
• Environment Policy 2 – the development would harm the character and quality of the landscape.

Also the proposed wind farm would contravene the Area Plan for the South polices on landscape for ‘Cregneash and Meayll Peninsula (H4)’, ‘Port Erin and Port St Mary (D15)’ and ‘Bradda Head (H3)’ and Landscape Proposal 10.

2. Potential Impact on Local bird Population

The turbine blades would be a great danger to the many sea birds which nest in the nearby cliffs and other birds which use the area As the proposed site is adjacent to an area identified as ecologically important on the constraints map of the Area Plan for the South, the proposal would contravene the requirements of Strategic Plan Environment Policy 4.
In the additional submitted information, both DEFA and Manx National Heritage Officers continue to express concerns about the impact of the proposed wind turbines. The Manx Birdlife data supports this.
3. Unacceptable Impact on the Setting of Archaeological Remains on Mull Hill and Meayll Peninsula

The Strategic Plan states that the Meayll Peninsula is of significant archaeological importance. The wind turbines will be directly visible in the setting of the Mull Hill Stone Circle, especially the view towards Bradda Head (see photo - Mull Hill Stone Circle with position of proposed wind farm marked by X).
Any development would contravene Strategic Plan Environment Policy 40 which states:
“Development will not be permitted which would damage, disturb or detract from an important archaeological site or an Ancient Monument or the setting thereof.”
4. Potential Impact on the Air Navigation Radar for the Isle of Man (Ronaldsway) Airport

The Isle of Man Government has voiced concerns about the adverse impact on the safe operation of the air traffic control radar by offshore wind farms in UK waters. The proposed site is directly on the final approach line for planes to the Airport – what will be the impact of the 3 wind turbines on the radar system? The subsequent NATS report of November 2014, clearly highlights a risk to the airport radar.

The wind turbine site is on the final approach to the airport and is used on a regular basis. In addition Ballaman is regularly used for helicopter flights, with the applicants previously publically stating that the preferred approach to the helipad is from the west (sea side) due to prevailing wind conditions. There is clearly a direct safety risk, with issues still remaining of conflicts between aircraft approaching the airport, interference with radar, helicopters landing at Ballaman and the proposed wind farms. The applicants have not provided information to satisfiy beyond doubt that air safety is not be jepordised. The applicants vague offer of planning conditions being used to address the issue, is not supported by any proposed wording which is proven to be legally sound and robust.

5. Safety Concerns about Operation of Helicopters from Ballaman

Currently the private helicopters using Ballaman usually approach the helipad from the coastal side. If the wind turbines are erected, more flights will approach over Port St Mary and Port Erin to avoid the turbines – this will result in an increase in the noise and disturbance from the helicopters already being experienced by the residents of Port St Mary and Port Erin.
6. Precedence Created for other much larger Onshore Wind Farms in the Isle of Man

As this proposal is for more than one wind turbine, approval of this application will give a signal to large wind farm developers that the Isle of Man welcomes onshore wind farms. A precedent will have been set, which will make it more difficult to refuse larger applications in sensitive areas across the Island. The quality of life and exceptional landscape are things that make the Isle of Man distinctive – this key economic asset should not be undermined.

THIS APPLICATION ONLY BENEFITS THE APPLICANT. THERE IS NO ECONOMIC BENEFIT TO THE ISLAND AS A WHOLE.”

I myself will be submitting my objection once the election is over.

All the best,

Mark

The questions on this page have either been emailed in or are taken from my Facebook page.

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