• December 22, 2015


As yet another colonial relic gets ready to be ‘implanted’ on the Isle of Man it’s worth recalling that just five years ago (2009/10) a sustained campaign of slogans and graffiti appeared that questioned the Islands continuing colonial status.

The graffiti was simply but clever. It juxtaposed the name of a former colony with the date of its independence. For many people the events had occurred so long ago that at first the name and the date bore no correlation. Then a dawning that to the shame of Manx nationalists and the Manx people over fifty years after other countries had achieved nationhood we were still bondsmen to the Crown.

There was eventually a sustained police campaign which lead to a number of people being arrested. However police action against a number of people alleged to have committed what the Chief Constable (as it happens another English import) of the Isle of Man called `criminal damage’ were discontinued with cautions being issued to those embroiled in the affair.

The Celtic League was extremely critical of the decision by police to mount a sustained purge against nationalists of all persuasions. We described the events at the time as McCarthyite! 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. Indeed the police in the early days of the campaign were using language more graphic than they used when burglars were running riot early this year. They talked in terms of ‘tightening the screw on nationalists’ (link):


Eventually they were forced to issue denials they were heavy-handed and hounding nationalists:


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 alarm 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 was not admitted at the time the appearance of any graffiti and this goes back to the days of Fo Halloo seems to unnerve the ‘empire loyalist’ tendency in government.

There is no doubt that political trial (or trials) of those involved five years ago would have caused great embarrassment to both the Manx and UK governments. One person was charged formally with four counts of criminal damaged 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 I, as Director of Information of the Celtic League.

It is questionable if such a defence would have been successful but it would have probed the ‘unnatural relationship’ that still exists in the twenty-first century between the UK and a bond State. A territory it effectively controls without democratic mandate.

There was no trial because a trial would have thrown up a lot of truths the UK and Isle of Man governments wish to remain not discussed.

The proposition which maintains the status quo he is a fear of the unknown by ‘local politicians’ (they can’t claim to be national politicians whatever fancy ministerial titles they give themselves) and the arrogance of the UK towards its remaining ‘chips of rock around the world’. That arrogance strangely was on display in a video interview with Sir Richard Gozney (the new Lt Governor) that I found shortly after learning of his appointment

Despite the resolution in 2010 of that 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 the last outburst of nationalist fervour was totally unexpected. It came from an unexpected quarter and it involved young people.

The arrival of a new colonial puppet master may reawaken some of that national ardour that had cooled – who knows!

Pics; The words Mec Vannin at the entrance to Government House
The words Jamaica 1962 the year the former colony became independent
Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


About Author


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The Celtic League
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x