Isle of Man Local Web Guide

Ramsey - Joe Rooney

My name is Joe Rooney, age 58, and I came to the Island 15 years ago from Ireland. In 1968 I joined IBM to sell mainframe computers when computers were practically unheard of. I have

been involved in computer technology — and seen its trends - for over 30 years.

For a period, 18-24 months ago, I approached Mr. Gelling, Chief Minister, the Chamber of Commerce, the Post Office, the DTI and the Tourist Board with a proposal that would have given the "Oldest Parliament" enormous international publicity and financial benefits.

I proposed that the Isle of Man should use an Internet Community System - such as the one

used by Nottingham - to bring electronic Ancient Greek democracy to the "Oldest Parliament". ( In addition to the normal business activities, like shopping locally, such a community system is designed to allow citizens to:

  • Set up their church, club, hobby, social, etc. activities.

  • Express themselves publicly, without censorship to fellow citizens on any subject that they may feel strongly about (see below).

  • Vote immediately on any matter of concern to the community.

Ancient Greek democracy involved all voters in matters of concern to the state.

It was true government of the people by the people.

The Internet - especially with the major technological innovations to come - can give us the ability to make our community and political aspirations known immediately. If enough people support those views, our politicians can also act them upon immediately.

This will make our little democracy more focused and responsive to our very fast changing world, as well as more transparently honest and open. Result: Greater community togetherness.


1. Chamber of Commerce:

The Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce ("The Voice of Better Business") was given a video and CD, by Allan Bell, MHK, about Nottingham’s progress to date on their citizens’ card and Internet plans. (Touch plc, developer of the Nottingham system, was prepared to let the Isle of Man "jump the queue" over other cities wishing to install the Nottingham system, providing an early meeting could be arranged with government ministers, the Chamber of Commerce, Department of Trade & Industry and Tourist Board officials).


The Chairman (managing director of Pickwicks) did not acquaint his 400 Chamber of Commerce members with the contents of the CD and video! Why? Because, he admitted, his "head office was thinking about introducing a shopping card scheme for its customers" and he did not want to "confuse" his 400 Chamber members with the, Nottingham "citizen card/Internet system"!!!

2. Chief Minister

By implementing a "Nottingham-style" Internet community system, Island residents could discuss - and vote on - matters such as the Ramsey marina, prison siting, incinerator, Queen’s Pier, etc.

Through involving its citizens in electronic democracy, the "Oldest Parliament" could have reaped huge international publicity and kudos. Some of this would, naturally, have translated into greater tourist revenues and business opportunities.


Mr. Gelling did not see reason to seize this opportunity on our behalf He has never explained why. Was he, perhaps, afraid of a

"more open" society?

3. Manx Radio and Isle of Man Newspapers

When it became apparent that the Chief Minister did not wish to at least investigate the parliamentary and social benefits of an "open society" I faxed the relevant correspondence to our ‘national media’.

(I had also done this with regard to the behaviour of the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce (see above) - with no success. Perhaps Manx Radio and Isle of Man Newspapers didn’t want to upset their big advertisers?)


Once again neither Manx Radio nor Isle of Man Newspapers ("Good News for Everyone") chose to bring to the attention of 76,000+ residents that the Chief Minister had turned down, potentially, one of the biggest social, economic and publicity opportunities that the Island had been offered in its history.

(I responded by faxing the press releases and correspondence to 150 of the Island’s main businesses.)

4. Chief Constable

In February 2000 I faxed the Chief Constable with copies of the unpublished press releases to Manx Radio and Manx Independent Newspapers. I also sent him a selection of faxes to Mr. Gelling, and others regarding the benefits of an open democratic Internet community system to the "Oldest (continuous) Parliament".

I asked the Chief Constable to investigate, and where necessary, prosecute those involved in this censorship and cover-up.


I am still waiting to hear from Mr. Culverhouse.

Election 2001:

It is clear from the above that:

Some of our MHK's are not honourable, despite their assumed titles.

A deplorable standard of "ethics" has been shown to exist in the Island’s Chamber of Commerce - the "Voice of Better Business"

Our media have demonstrated that they are more interested in protecting the "ruling elite" than bringing us uncensored news.

The police authority - which is supposed to uphold the democratic rights of all citizens — clearly failed, in this instance — to do its job.

Towards a new future...

As your MHK, I would ask Mr. Gelling, Chief Minister, the Chamber of Commerce, Manx Radio, Isle of Man Newspapers and the Chief Constable to explain their parts in this perversion of our democratic rights.

On a "Positive Note" I would work to:

  • Ensure that each person on our Island can vote on matters of concern to him or her through our own Community Internet System. (For example, how many additional residents do we want here? How many of these should be artists, farmers, musicians, business people, etc?)

    With your agreement I would propose that we adopt the Amsterdam approach to cannabis for one year. If the crime rate goes up directly as a result of cannabis, we stop the experiment. If it does’t, we will have a lot more tourists!

  • I propose that our Chief Minister be elected directly by the voters I also propose that MHK's cease to use the inappropriate title of "Honourable".

If you want real change in our society, then allow me to be your MHK in November.

The choice, and challenge, is yours...

Joe Gooney

Tel: 816188; email:

Published by Joe Gooney

Printed via the Ion Elections Web site.


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