• January 28, 2010

It has been reported in a Manx newspaper that the Isle of Man Chief Minister (CM) Tony Brown MHK has pledged that any decision on total independence from the United Kingdom would be made via a referendum.

The CM was responding to a question from a member who was querying if statements made on Manx Radio by the Treasury Minister Allan Bell MHK about preparing for greater independence from the UK were `indicative of the policy’ of the Council of Ministers.

Mr Brown told Tynwald there `will be changes if we are to move on to have greater influence’ but that `time will tell’ whether the government makes a bid for full independence.

Brown also said `strong relationships’ with the UK but also greater autonomy which could mean `breaking links in some areas’.

Manx people may be somewhat bemused by the reported comments because given events of the past few months and the unilateral decision of the United Kingdom to end arrangements on reciprocal health and gerrymander VAT returns the relationship between Mann and its near neighbour is far from strong in fact the UK are breaking links with gay abandon!

Indeed it will be interesting to see how many people stranded in UK hospitals searching for their chequebooks while nationals from Uzbekistan go to the front of the queue view their `strong relationship’ with the UK

The statement indicates the total disconnect there is between Manx political leaders and the political reality of their and servile relationship towards the UK.

The confused constitutional position of the Isle of Man becomes more turbulent by the day as some following the Tynwald debate might gain the view that the Isle of Man was an integral part of the UK from whom independence (by way of a referendum) should/could be sought.

In fact the Isle of Man is a Crown dependency (a polite term for a Colony) and the UK government should be working to ensure, in line with UN declarations on decolonisation, that the Isle of Man is encouraged to develop institutions to enable its independence – indeed it may be argued that Westminster’

s dismissive attitude to existing ties indicate it is signalling just that!

Many people on the Island will also be perplexed by the Chief Ministers sudden enthusiasm for popular democracy by way of referendum.

It appears that whilst any Nationalist argument for independence can only be settled by a referendum equally sensitive constitutional questions, such as reforming the corrupt process for electing the upper chamber of Tynwald (LEGCO), are not to be delegated to the electorate via a referendum!

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