• May 3, 2015


“Guild” protest sends wider signal to Banks, Offshore Companies, E-Gaming, Developers and even Government that not everyone can be bought!

It was just a few simple words “Gow-jee my leshtal agh cha nel mee arryltagh goaill ayrn jeh’n cho-hirrey shoh kindagh rish yn raantys noa – I am sorry but I am withdrawing from this competition in protest at the organiser’s choice of sponsorship.”

The statement by Manx Speaker, Stewart Bennett, was even understated slightly by Mark Kermode who wrote up the item for Celtic News saying “it’s not exactly headline news”.

However, in retrospect, it may yet turnout to have a greater significance than any individual headline or a radio sound-bite (that is if the media can overcome a fear of upsetting one of their main advertisers) that it generates.

The protest made at the “The Manx Music, Speech and Dance Festival” (a.k.a. “The Guild”) was a protest about sponsorship of the event by building developer Dandara (a.k.a. “Heritage Homes”).

The stand taken by Bennett which appears then to have been replicated by others (see link) may yet go further than a “one-off” episode over disdain for a particular developer. It may yet open up discourse about the whole nature of sponsorship by private and public sector bodies and the incestuous and corrupting influence they can have.

Over the years Nationalists have been the unheeded “spokespersons” as the Island slips steadily deeper into commercial moral decline. Where else would you get gambling enterprises sponsoring educational initiatives?

Much of the island’s “wealth generation” of recent years was founded on venturing into areas of business such as offshore finance, shell companies, arms trading and latterly e-gaming where more discerning societies will not venture. Over the course of those years many bodies associated with this type of business try to “soften” their business image by “sponsorship” or “good charitable works”.

Additionally, it is not just the private sector – indeed government support of charitable, environmental or cultural bodies seems to come with an unwritten qualification that if you “step-up” (for funding) you “shut up”.

Whether Stewart Bennett’s protest is a step toward a more widespread willingness to question and challenge the concept of “charitable paymasters” remains to be seen. However, it is a start and a significant one given that it took place right at the heart of what has been an icon of Manx cultural life for a century and a quarter!

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.)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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