• August 8, 2015


The call this week, from Manx Infrastructure Minister Phillip Gawne MHK, for more land to be freed up for development prompted an immediate and hostile reaction from Nationalists.

In an article on the Mec Vannin Facebook pages Peter Crellin referred to politicians who espouse this line as:

‘the prophets of the Church of Continuous Economic Growth, however, who will sell anything for a short-term gain in the hands of a few’

So who are these ‘prophets’? Well bizarrely a number of them including Gawne and the current Chief Minister certainly at one stage were nationalists. Allan Bell stood for the Keys (unsuccessfully) as a Mec Vannin in the 1970s and whilst I can’t say if he was involved with the anti-immigration movement Fo halloo he would, given his nationalist credentials at the time, have not been unsympathetic. Similarly Phillip Gawne was involved with a later incarnation of direct action nationalism whilst involved with FSFO.

Now a government including these two avowed nationalists (Bell restated his sympathies only three years ago) along with others in government like Laurence Skelly the Economic Development Minister (himself a small ‘n’ nationalist) seem keen to take the Island down a path that there own experience must tell them is fraught with pitfalls.

As a lifelong nationalist myself my initial reaction to the Gawne statement was not one of anger towards him personally (as with some in the nationalist movement) because whatever the criticisms of this current government the inner cabal tends to work to a script. My first view was ‘don’t shot the messenger’.

Because looking at the various steps taken by this government over the past year you can see that the starting gun has been fired for sustained development. Planning restrictions are to be relaxed and work permit legislation is also to be weakened. Recently in an action also involving the Infrastructure Department (the Peel silt fiasco) the government demonstrated a cavalier attitude to regulations and more importantly to public opinion. This political cabal is not going to be swayed by expressions of disproval or condemnation

The statement by the Infrastructure Minister has effectively opened the door for a new round of untrammeled immigration. Opponents in the nationalist camp need to ready themselves to confront that threat. Who knows a protest movement not dissimilar to that which Allan Bell and Phillip Gawne recall from their youth may materialise.

Strange really that two of the politicians driving the policy were once such strong opponents of the very thing they now propound. ‘The foxes are in the hen house’!

(The Celtic League DOI is a lifelong member of the Manx Nationalist Party – Mec Vannin)

J B Moffatt (Mr)

Director of Information
Celtic League



The Celtic League was established in 1961and 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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