A report on events in Mannin by the General Secretary (GS) of the Celtic League, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, to the AGM covered a diversity of topics including the language, politics, the judiciary, police, the Manx election and the BBC licence `rip-off’.
The colonial anachronism of the appointment of a new `Governor’ also got a mention.
During the course of the year the General Secretary spent some time in both Cymru and Mannin as part of a Celtic language project (sponsored by Plymouth University) he was undertaking on preschool education (see link).
The Mannin section of the GS dossier is set out below:
Following an apparent surge in nationalism on the Island that found expression in street graffiti in 2009/10 there came a subsequent lull over several months. In September 2010 though graffiti started to appear again and this time in Douglas, which was avoided previously. The new message was less sophisticated and indeed perhaps even less political than the mix of Manx language and anti-colonial slogans which appeared at the beginning of 2010 and said bluntly “Manx not English‟. Coincidentally this new bluntness parallels a similar outburst of expressionism on the Internet which coincided but is clearly not coordinated with the graffiti campaigns. New web-sites calling for Independence have been complemented by less political but equally succinct calls for Manx identity to be respected, including a Facebook group calling for more ‘Manx accents on Manx Radio’. It is clear that a generation of younger people feel frustrated that their identity is being suppressed and the ability to express discontent over this is also via the main stream media being stifled. What this latent surge of nationalism, which manifests itself periodically and seems uncoordinated, will achieve is anyone‟s guess.
Isle of Man Governor
A retired British diplomat was appointed as the 29th Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man in April 2011. It was reported in the news that Adam Wood was the first Governor to be appointed by the people of the Island, but as the Celtic League pointed out, “this much trumpeted change scarcely conceals the continuing influence of the UK government in the process‟ and has continued its call for full independence.
A `code of conduct’ was brought out in August 2011 by the Manx Judiciary, which is identical to one already in place in another Crown dependency and, according to the DoI, seems to have been adopted in some haste – a recognition perhaps of the unsatisfactory deficiency that the League highlighted in 2010. 22
The Celtic League registered its concern in February after the Isle of Man treasury revealed it had concluded a tax exchange agreement with the dictatorial monarchy of Bahrain. Just days after Manx government ministers `trumpeted’ the deal pro-democracy demonstrators were being gunned down in the streets of the Gulf State and members of the majority Shia community were the target of violence and intimidation.
General Elections 2011
A general election was held on the Isle of Man on 29th September 2011, which saw several changes.
Three ministers were ousted from office. Anne Craine from the Treasury, Martyn Quayle from Social Care and Adrian Earnshaw from Home Affairs all lost their seats in Ramsey, Middle and Onchan respectively, but the status quo was maintained in the majority of constituencies. Interestingly three Liberal Vannin party candidates were successful in the polls, where Kate Beecroft won a seat in Douglas South and Zac Hall was elected in Onchan alongside established MHK and party leader, Peter Karran. The result increases the party’s presence in the House of Keys from about 4% to 12.5%. The remaining seven Liberal Vannin candidates failed to secure seats. Successful candidates were sworn in on 4 October 2011.
Every five years the House of Keys is dissolved by the Lieutenant Governor and a General Election is held to elect members of the House of Keys. 24 members of the House of Keys are elected and 16 year olds are eligible to vote.
New Chief Minister
MHK Alan Bell was voted in as new Chief Minister 11th October 2011 by members of the House of Keys with a large majority. In a radio interview that followed MHK Bell said that his attitude to the independence of the Island had not changed much since he was a member of Mec Vannin in the 1970. Another ex member of Mec Vannin is MHK Phil Gawne, who was re-elected as a MHK in September and is the (Ministerial) Agricultural portfolio holder.
A march in Douglas in against police alleged corruption, harassment and victimisation within the Island’s Police Force, took place in October 2010, where one of the main complaints centred on the absence of an independent Police Complaints Ombudsman, where people with grievances about the Police Force can go. Some people reported that even though they supported the protest they were afraid to make a stand in public.
BBC Licence Fee
The BBC announced in December that there will be a refund of monies to the Isle of Man to compensate for services it fails to provide the Manx community, amid a Tynwald committee review of the TV licence arrangements between the Island and the BBC. Some news reports put the refunded amount to be approximately one million pounds over several years.
Several early years teachers started an intensive course in the Manx language at Braddan Playgroup on the Island from September 2011, which are being run by Adrian Cain. It is hoped that these teachers will go on to teach the Manx language and is the first time that such a course has been run. It is hoped that the new course will help to serve a gap that exists in the number of qualified preschool teachers that are able to teach through Manx.
National Illiam Dhone commemoration
At the National Illiam Dhone commemoration on the 2nd January, nationalists gathered at Hango Hill in Castletown. Mec Vannin Chairman Mark Kermode, who delivered the Manx speech at the commemoration, said:
“Tynwald was not a government working for Mannin and the Manx but a self preserving creature”.
For comment or clarification on this news item in the first instance contact:
Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, General Secretary, Celtic League:
Tel: 0044 (0)1209 319912
M: 0044 (0)7787318666
The General Secretary will determine the appropriate branch or General Council Officer to respond to your query.
ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.