Police action against a number of people alleged to have committed what the Chief Constable of the Isle of Man called `criminal damage’ has been discontinued with cautions being issued to those embroiled in the affair.
The issues relate to the daubing of a large number of slogans across the Isle of Man which questioned the Islands colonial status and called for Manx freedom.
The Celtic League was extremely critical of the decision by police to mount a sustained purge against nationalists of all persuasions whilst their enquiries were ongoing. Many people who had no connection to the unfolding events, which spanned a four month period, were stopped and asked about their political or cultural involvement in the Manx movement.
The actions over the graffiti were also disproportionate given that it turned out a team of volunteers were able to remove the slogans which had caused such offence to the Manx political establishment in four or five hours.
It is clear that the actions of the police were politically driven and although this is not admitted it does warrant further enquiry.
There is no doubt that a political trial (or trials) of those involved would have caused great embarrassment to both the Manx and UK governments. The one person charged formally with four counts of criminal damaged was to appear in court later this year and his advocate, shrewdly, was preparing to mount a defence of `lawful excuse’ several MHK’s were on notice to appear as witnesses (as was the DoI of the Celtic League) and whether sustainable as a defence or
not the trial would have thrown up a lot of truths the UK and Isle of Man governments wish to keep hidden.
Despite the resolution of this round of frenetic nationalist protest the `elephant in the room’ still remains the unresolved yearning of nationalists for independence from the UK and the casting aside of the colonial yoke.
The bad news for the Manx political establishment and their puppet masters in Whitehall is that this outburst of nationalist fervour was totally unexpected. It came from an unexpected quarter and it involved young people. Unless actions are taken to resolve the grievances which led to these young people asking why their country does not warrant the sovereignty awarded to other British colonies these actions in differing forms will reoccur!
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information