Elms at St Marks
Elms at St Marks Credit: Manx Radio Credit: Manx Radio

The episode of the elms at St Marks raise a whole series of different issues:

The elms at St Marks

It is wrong to chop down these trees. These trees are an internationally important tree landmark, and should not be felled. Despite being a registered woodland with trees over 100 years old, it is disappointing that planning consent was granted for the felling of one of Europe’s last elm tree tunnels at St Marks.

The Isle of Man has the largest remaining field elm populations in Europe, and elm-lined roads would once have been a common sight throughout the continent. Now one of the last could soon be felled on the Isle of Man.

It will be a national disgrace if these trees are felled, and that’s why we had a protest to save them at Tynwald on the morning of Tuesday 29 June, 2021.

Protest at Tynwald to save the elms at St Marks
Protest at Tynwald to save the elms at St Marks Credit: Brian Kelly Credit: Brian Kelly

Protecting our island’s natural heritage

Our island is a special place – not just for the community and the people, but for the natural beauty and environmental heritage that belongs to all of us.

Actions count more than words: As a strong environmentalist, I believe that community leaders must lead by example. That’s why I’m proud to lead a low-carbon election campaign.

You may have seen me cycling around our streets (which helps with parking too!) and to date, we have only used 100% recycled paper as part of our election campaign.

Further, Liberal Vannin has already been pushing to do better than the Government’s target of reaching Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050, by investing in clean energy solutions and infrastructure.

Public governance

Fundamentally, this episode shows a significant problem in the public governance of our island: We have too many politicians who think their job is to be the Government’s representative to the public, when they should be our representative to the Government.

Our politicians should be keeping an eye on the unelected bureaucrats, because this is the fundamental basis of our Manx democratic settlement: the politicians should be our representatives to give strategic vision and direction to government officials. Sadly, too many of the legacy politicians think that it is their job to just go along as members of Club Disney – they think their boss is the Chief Minister, when their true boss must be the people of Mann.

Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.