Allen Moore Manx Branch Secretary of the Celtic League sets out his views below on the Moorhouse – Watterson exchange in the Keys.
Meanwhile in other moves Bill Henderson MLC (who is a member of the Celtic League) is considering revisiting his successful resolution in Tynwald in 2007 when the Court supported calls for the return of the Chronicles.
It will be interesting to see with a House of Keys and Legislative Council with many new members what the ‘mood music’ is now.
Another change is the Islands UNESCO biosphere status. The status is predicated not just on environmental issues but also heritage surely a added imperative – indeed handled correctly UNESCO could be swayed to intervene perhaps.
Another unknown is the position of ‘Culture Vannin’ which although in place the last time the Chronicles issue went ‘live’ as the Manx Heritage Foundation has since been rebranded and refocused.
The usual arguments will be trailed why the attempt to have ‘The Chronicles’ brought home is a non-starter but one thing is certain this is likely to become a recurrent matter. Better it was resolved before it becomes acrimonious.
Here is Allens article:
“Who was ‘off topic’, Jason Moorhouse or the Speaker?
Claims that Jason Moorhouse was ‘off topic’ when asking about the return of the ‘Chronicles of Man and Kings of Man and the Isles’ during a Tynwald debate about Manx National Heritage security were wrong.
The return of the Chronicles was very much ‘on topic’. There is a lot of talk from government about the Isle of Man being the first entire Nation to gain World Biosphere Reserve status, but they need to start acting like a national government and take the responsibilities that entails. That includes looking after our own historic artefacts, such as the Chronicles. The Isle of Man isn’t shouldering that responsibility in allowing the British Library to continue to keep them. In not asking for their return and in stifling any debate about their return, Tynwald is agreeing with that theft.
The Chronicles are the longest surviving document written in the Isle of Man. As such, they have great significance here, much more so than languishing in a cupboard in the British Library in England. Perhaps the British Establishment think that we in the colonies are not up to looking after such an important old document, which is where MNH security would come into the equation for the Chronicles to be returned.
I don’t know whether the Tynwald debate was sparked off by the most recent incident involving Salisbury Cathedral in England, the attack on a case holding the Magna Carta. While the Chronicles might be deemed safe in their cupboard in the British Museum, and we only have their word that they haven’t been misplaced, they would obviously need to be housed securely in the Manx Museum. To take the term security wider, light and atmospheric moisture would potentially damage the Chronicles, so those issues would need to be taken account of during storage. However, as a Nation we need to take that responsibility. The Chronicles and the period of our history which they cover are part of what made us a nation.
We in the Isle of Man celebrated the Millennium of Tynwald in 1979, so Tynwald is even older than the Chronicles. However, what is about 300 years looking back to Viking times? The institution Tynwald is part of the Norse legacy of the Isle of Man, and so are the Chronicles, which deal with our history from that era. It is disappointing that the Speaker of the House of Keys is out of touch with that. Perhaps Mr Moorhouse would make a better Speaker!
Mannin Branch Secretary”
Images (1) Page from the ‘Chronicles’ (2) Rushen Abbey Isle of Man
Assistant General Secretary