• May 18, 2015


As the Island tries to forge new economic initiatives in markets such as China what signal does it send that the Island is still ‘overseen’ by a person termed ‘Lt. Governor’.

People have derided nationalists for suggested the name change saying it is unimportant, but as the Chief Minister remarked on a recent visit to China, now seen as a potentially vital economic zone of interest for Mann, ‘status’ is important.

In a letter to Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK the Celtic League say this is not just about nomenclature but about future economic progress even if some on the Island fail to appreciate that (see below):

“The Chief Minister
Allan Bell MHK
Chief Minister Office
Government Buildings
Isle of Man

13th May 2015

Dear Chief Minister,

I watched with interest the recent TV interview you gave to Paul Moulton of MTTV and was particularly interested in the emphasis you placed on promoting a better understanding of the Islands current constitutional position both in the United Kingdom and indeed amongst some of your colleagues in Tynwald.

Invariably (the Mec Vannin AGM having highlighted the issue) the interviewer touched on your views on the Lt Governor and your response as always was ‘diplomatic’. I think however you did say that whilst the Isle of Man had a link to the Crown the role of Lt Governor would continue albeit with the limited powers it has today. I think you also intimated the name was not especially significant but the role. Please correct me if I got this wrong.

Mec Vannin will advance its own views on this matter but I think in calling for changes rather than for the Lt Governor to just go the Party was also recognising the ‘current’ constitutional status quo. As usual what was a soundly crafted and diplomatic expression of views couched in non abusive form has already been misrepresented in some quarters.

Great play has also been made of the fact that a previous attempt to change the title of Lt Governor failed and once again there was no recognition of the fact that in the intervening period the position of the Island has evolved and continues to do so.

Two years after the Tynwald sought to change the title to ‘Crown Commissioner’ in May 2007 the Manx Government announced:

‘A landmark declaration recognising that the Isle of Man has its own identity and interests in the international area’

Indeed you touched on how those ‘identity and interests’ have developed in recent years during your MTTV interview.

Similarly (although personally holding reservations about the recent China initiative) I was cognisant that the government, having set its sights on developing business ties with this emerging economic giant, you personally would give the venture ‘your best shot’.

I therefore followed with interests the various interviews you gave and media reports thereon.

I was struck in one report where you highlighted the importance that your Chinese hosts attached to status, to the extent that a meeting would not go ahead if a diplomat or functionary of similar rank were not available to meet the visiting delegation.

You also emphasised that to succeed in this new business environment it was vital to understand the culture and protocol clearly. Position and status mean a great deal apparently in Asian States.

Undoubtedly (despite any reservations I or others may hold) engagement with China and other Asia Pacific States will be the norm going forward.

I wonder in that new economic reality what signal it sends for the Isle of Man, when dealing internationally, to have (in however titular a role) a person termed ‘the Lt Governor’.

One would hope that even the Crown and the United Kingdom would recognise the rationale for further modifying the role and title even if some in the Isle of Man do not.

Put bluntly this is not just about nomenclature but may be much to do with future Manx economic prowess.

Yours sincerely,

J B Moffatt (Mr)
pp Celtic League”

Links to the MTTV interview by CM with Paul Moulton here:

International Relations

Chief Minister China Trip

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


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