Yn Pabyr Seyr Earroo / Issue 25
Published 2nd January 2002

Yn Pabyr Seyr is published by Mec Vannin, the Manx Nationalist Party. Articles may be freely reproduced in unedited form provided that credit is given to the source.

Contents of this issue:

The Nunnery - Questions must be answered

The current controversy over the sale of the Nunnery and its grounds confirms to Mec Vannin that the government in the Isle of Man is being less than open in this matter.

Long before Mr. Peter Karran MHK started asking questions, Mec Vannin had asked questions and the matter of ownership was clumsily side-stepped Richard Corkill MHK.

We are very concerned at the government in the Isle of Man dealing, on an apparently increasing basis, with Mr. Graham Ferguson Lacey who has an international reputation as a "corporate raider." Consequently, we wrote to Mr Richard Corkill MHK when Treasury Minister. Despite the huge capital expenditure and direct involvement of the Treasury, Mr. Corkill denied all knowledge and referred the letter to the Education Department.

The claim is that the Nunnery Ltd. has sold the Nunnery and grounds to the IBC. This, however, is held in more than a little doubt by Mec Vannin. Let's be more explicit: Our own attempts to establish the ownership of the Nunnery did not reveal the Nunnery Ltd as the owner.

The innocent have nothing to hide or fear (so we keep on getting told ad nausea) so we now openly ask these simple questions of now Chief Minister Mr. Richard Corkill, MHK:

Who ULTIMATELY owns the Nunnery building?
Who ULTIMATELY owns the International Business School Ltd?

These are questions of prime public importance. They are simple questions. They MUST be answered and, if they aren't, people will form the conclusion that there are substance to allegations made. That will further damage the already severely eroded confidence of Manx people in the government in this land.
The average turn-out at the last election was less than 60%. Most of the successful candidates were returned by substantially less than 50% of the electorate. The government in the Isle of Man cannot legitimately claim to represent any substantial body of the electorate.

Low turn-out equates to a government without support

The average turn-out at the last election was less than 60%. Most of the successful candidates were returned by substantially less than 50% of the electorate. The government in the Isle of Man cannot legitimately claim to represent any substantial body of the electorate

A  post-election "comment" in Isle of Man Newspapers effectively blamed the electorate for the low turn-out and warned of the "death of democracy". Isle of Man Newspapers itself must accept a huge amount of responsibility for, not the apathy, but total disenchantment of many Manx people with government (or attempts at it) within our Island.

Its unquestioning repetition of central government policy, ethos and propaganda has lent, in no small part, to a total stagnation of "politics" in the Isle of Man. This cosy relationship between the government and only widespread printed media is not simply perception but demonstrated fact: Never forget the leaked government memo that revealed the government's disquiet at the existence of a published newspaper that wasn't "in its pocket." We refer to the Manx Independent prior to its acquisition by the Isle of Man Newspapers company.

Now, the government in the Isle of Man has entered into a formal partnership with the Isle of Man Newspapers company on the internet. Mec Vannin's policy on media is quite clear:

"Our society's perception of itself and its current affairs are in the hands of the media. Consequently, a healthy independent media will ensure a healthy  perception of the society. The current monopoly situation in both broadcast and printed media is not desirable."

The current situation does not meet this policy and the monopoly should be broken up. That's obviously not going to happen since the government in the Isle of Man is so weak that it simply cannot deal with any form of open challenge. Not being in a position to control, gag or intimidate the international media, the government in the Isle of Man has undertaken to squander hundreds of thousands of pounds a year of our money on employing a propaganda officer in London to mount a King Cnut style resistance to articles written about the Isle of Man's laundering  industry.

Compare this approach to the hugely more important requirement to have direct representation in Europe via a single officer which could save us millions of pounds a year by getting derogations and easements on requirements to meet European regulations. Feeble excuses are made including, incredibly, the cost implications of employing someone. It is no understatement to say that the government in the Isle of Man has now utterly "lost the plot."

Housing Crisis - Government "answers" will not work

The intention of the government in the Isle of Man is to investigate the housing crisis. Wow. In several months it will produce a turgid report saying that more first-time-buyer housing must be built. For this, more land will be released for development. Compulsory purchase of our dwindling productive farmland may be recommended.

The eventual result will be another botched, maladministered series of housing schemes straight out of the English 1970s. The remaining Manx population faces being ghettoised by the bankrupt policy of "first-time buyer" schemes. Even now, there is no escaping the fact that if you want to see any vestiges of actual Manx community, you need to go to the public housing estates with the associated perception of lower social status.

It is also completely laughable that the long-established practice of encouraging foreigners to invest in the Isle of Man as absentee landlords has been reported by Isle of Man Newspapers as "news". Nationalists have been raising this issue for years and have been ignored. Let us again make something abundantly clear: There is no housing shortage in the Isle of Man. If there was, estate agents wouldn't have so many houses to sell to people abroad. No amount of "first-time buyers" schemes will ease the problem, it will just release more housing for immigration.

There is only one answer to the housing crisis: Immigration control and speculation tax, not in five years' time, but NOW!

Consultancy - is a well-groomed tail wagging a flea-bitten dog?

Dr Jonathan Sless, our Campaign Officer wrote an article which recently appeared in Isle of Man Newspapers,  campaigning for the veil to be lifted from the government's hiring of consultants. It noted that the Civil Service has become dependent on hiring these professionals an on-going basis, and even relies on them to conduct day-to-day business on the Isle of Man.

Whilst consultancy is a "costly " exercise, it argued this was not the same as expensive provided: (a) consultants are hired for the right reasons; (b) there is clarity in the scale and scope of their commissions (c) there is staff, and politicians, of sufficient calibre required to control  them.  Unfortunately the party has found out that in the Isle of Man, consultants have been hired for the wrong reasons, and there has been insufficient clarity over the scale and scope of their commissions. More dangerously, the Government simply lacks the staff/Politicians of sufficient stature to ensure that these consultants are controlled so that their nature does not get the better of them. This "nature" may be driving them towards either short changing, misrepresenting, or defrauding the Government.

The recruitment drive to hire foreign technocrats helps to some extent; however, it also  produces a bias towards hiring consultants, and  proves that the Isle of Man currently lacks such personnel. The over reliance on consultants is leading to the Island becoming a "receiving shop"; i.e. the recipient of all manner of imported wisdom much of which may not be suitable for it. The current crop of grandiose public works schemes produces lots of work for consultants; it also hides their invoices. Many schemes, such as the IRIS, may be a manifestation of this situation, as well as being a waste of money. To find out we have tried to get information about consultants  from the Civil Service, but were fobbed off at every turn on the grounds of "commercial confidentiality".

Amongst the questions that Mec Vannin wants urgently answering are - How realistic is it to recruit and train local civil servants to undertake some of their roles. To what extent do consultants represent business interests, either at home or abroad. How much does consultancy actually cost the Government, including all of the so called "peripheral work" that they do. Do consultants interfere with the political decision making process on the Island?  The party believes that these are questions which should be debated in any genuinely democratic society.

Teaching crisis is not news

Isle of Man Newspapers is trying to ingratiate itself to teachers by making a "news" issue of a Manx teacher's recent letter regarding the difficulties facing the ever dwindling number of Manx teachers. This has been backed up by giving further space to George Quayle, headmaster of St. Ninian's high school.

Whilst the writer of the original letter is perfectly correct and justified in his grievance, this is not a new issue or confined to teaching - it applies to all Manx people and has done for a long time. Isle of Man Newspapers has earned a substantial amount of hostility from teachers over the past few years with clumsy and misleading articles about various school reports. This has resulted in some schools refusing to deal with the company.

The facts are, and have been for a long time, that Manx people earning less than the "average" wage (and that is most of us) can't afford housing whilst imported contemporaries are given housing, relocation and even travel expenses to entice them here. This applies to teachers, nurses, civil servants - you name it. Apart from generating resentment and poor morale, it is against the employment law that requires equal treatment for employees.

Compounding the situation is the fact that those Manx people who want a career, recognise the overwhelming futility of remaining in the Island - no matter how well qualified and experienced a Manx person is, the likelihood is that their potential and ambition will never be realised since they will be automatically passed over by an immigrant worker. The obvious answer is to emigrate.

The failure of the government in the Isle of Man to properly address the issue of higher education and specialist training also means that anyone not content to be office-fodder for the finance industry must leave to train and rarely return.

Laa Cooinaghtyn Illiam Dhone - Yn Nah Laa Jerrey Geuree 2002

Oraid Ghaelgagh liorish Peddyr Shimmin

'Sy voayl shoh er y laa shoh 'sy vlein shey cheead jeig tree as tree feed v' Illiam Dhone currit gy baase as haink eh dy ve ny vartyr. Ny yei, v'Illiam Dhone hannah er chosney e voayl ayns shennaghys Manninagh daa vlein jeig roish shen. Lesh cooney veih Ard-whaiyl Hostyn hooar eh yn cur seose jeh Cashtal Rosien hug jerrey er tranlaase scryssoil ny Stanleeyn as yn Stanlagh Mooar.

Er dyn traa shen t' Illiam Dhone er ve da dy-chooilley Vanninagh dooie as mie cowrey jeh shassoo noi tranlaase Sostynagh.

Agh son shen as ooilley, vel reddyn er chaghlaa dy firrinagh?  Vel Mannin seyr voish yn tranlaase jeh joarreeyn? Er-lhiams nagh vel. S'feer eh dy vel ymmodee sleih ayn ta coontey nagh vel nyn Reiltys agh geiyrt er Reiltys y Reeriaght Unnaneysit as ny keayrtyn t'eh jeeaghyn dy vel shen kiart as dy vel Mannin foast reillit veih Lunnin.

Ansherbee nish ta Kiare as Feed noa ain. Agh s'liass dooin leeideilys niartal dy gheddyn rey rish yn tastid dy vel Reiltys Vannin fo ordaag Hostyn. Ta shin nyn ashoon seyr as ta shin niartal dy liooar dy ghoaill greim er nyn erree hene.

Ta gaue mooar ayn mannagh vel shin jannoo red ennagh dy beemayd sluggit seose 'sy Sur-steat Europagh noa shoh as bee nyn enney, nyn eiraght as nyn gultoor fo baggyrt.

Haink yn euro stiagh ayns kiarkley jea ayns daa heer Europagh jeig, goaill stiagh Nerin.  Ayns daa vee nee shenn argid ashoonagh ny cheeraghyn shen scuirr dy ve argid leighoil. Myr shen bee cooid smoo jeh nyn enney hene caillt ec ny cheeraghyn shen.

Shegin da'n Kiare as Feed noa jannoo briwnyssyn doillee dy chummal seose seyrsnys yn Ellan 'sy traa ry-heet as dy chur speeideilys da'n theay - ta shen dy ghra da dy-chooilley pheiagh.

S'treisht lhien dy bee creeaght as fys rolaue oc dy yannoo shen.

Ta feysht ny dhieyn foast feysht vooar er yn Ellan. Ta shin clashtyn focklyn stoamey ‡heet magh ass nyn bolitickeyryn agh cha nel shin fakin jantys. Ta'n traa ayn nish son nyn bolitickeyryn dy chur nyn argid raad ta nyn meeal ayn.

Mannagh vel nyn Reiltys goaill greim er yn chooish shoh bee anwooiys as anvea ayn rish traa foddey.

Ny lhig da Illiam Dhone ve jarroodit ain. Ny lhig dooin brah e chooinaght kyndagh rish neuyeeanid as lhiastid. Shegin dooin ooilley gobbraghey cooidjagh dy choadaghey as dy lhiasaghey nyn Ellan.

Irree seose Vannin!

Translation of Manx speech by Peter Shimmin for the  Illiam Dhone commemoration (2nd January 2002)

In this place on this day in the year 1663 Illiam Dhone was put to death and he became a martyr. However, Illiam Dhone had already earned his place in Manx history twelve years before that. With help from the English Parliament he obtained the surrender of Castle Rushen that put an end to the pernicious oppression of the Stanleys and the Great Stanley.

Since then Illiam Dhone has been for every true and patriotic Manxman a symbol of resistance to English oppression.

But for all that have things really changed? Is Man free from the oppression of foreigners? I think not. It is true that there are many people who reckon that our Government only follows the Government of the United Kingdom and sometimes it does seem that that is right and that Mann is still governed from London.

Anyway, we now have a new House of Keys. But we need strong leadership to get rid of the perception that the Manx Government is under England's thumb. We are an independent nation and we are strong enough to seize our own destiny.

There is a great danger unless we do something that we will be swallowed up in this new European super-state and our identity, our heritage and our culture will be under threat.

Yesterday the euro came into circulation in twelve European countries, including Ireland. In two months the old national currency of these countries will cease to be legal tender. Thus these countries will lose a good part of their own identity.

The new House of Keys will have to make difficult decisions to preserve the independence of the Island in the future and to give prosperity to the people - that is to say to everybody.

We hope that they will have the courage and foresight to do that.

The housing problem is still a big problem on the Island. We hear fine words coming out of our politicians but we do not see action. The time has come for our politicians to put their money where their mouth is.

Unless our Government takes a grip on this problem there will be discontent and unrest for a long time.

Let us not forget Illiam Dhone.  Let us not betray his memory on account of apathy and inaction. We must all work together to protect and improve our Island.

Rise up Mann!

Illiam Dhone (William Christian) Commemoration - 2nd January 2002

English Oration by Quintin Gill MHK (Rushen)

We are here today to commemorate the execution on this day in 1663 of William Christian - or Illiam Dhone, who was shot dead at this place by Manx militia.  Illiam Dhone was charged, and after a trial of sorts, was convicted of treason. Even at the time of his death there seemed to be some ambiguity in the minds of Manx people about the circumstances surrounding the whole episode. In some eyes Illiam Dhone died defending the 'islanders enjoyment of their lives and liberties as they formally had'.

To others Illiam Dhone was a chancer, an opportunist who sought to take advantage of the political and social upheaval of the times for his own purposes. Whatever the historical truth - or subsequent interpretations, it is now the case that this annual commemoration has, for some of us, become a focus for consideration about the nature of contemporary political and social policies and their effects on the Isle of Man and the Manx people.

The Isle of Man has always been subject to external influences, largely beyond its control, and often contrary to its interests. This is the nature of any small state, particularly an island nation.  For better or for worse, the Isle of Man has been subject to a colonial-style form of government until relatively recently. Even today the British government retains responsibility for our 'good government' and no one could pretend that our relationship with London is one of mutually respecting equals. This is the reality of today's political world; but politics is dynamic and everything changes all the time. There are forces abroad which threaten the current sovereignty of states and cultural values of many peoples throughout the world.  Globalisation, the increasing power of a small number of huge multi-national conglomerates, political unity into 'super states' with federalised regions, convergence of national currencies and global religious divisions - these are some of the challenges of today and tomorrow. I am sure it will prove to be the case that many things will change fundamentally following September 11th. These changes will certainly have a direct effect on the Isle of Man. The financial markets will become subject to more stringent regulation and offshore jurisdictions which are unable to satisfy the US, or their British allies about their security or probity will come under increasing pressure.
This is a bleak future I have painted - one where the Isle of Man effectively toes the British/ OECD/ EU et al line and hopes it will be allowed some leeway to maintain something like its present economy. In a political environment moving towards tax harmonisation and central control mechanisms this seems hopeful at best.

So that's the bad news - or some of it anyway - certainly enough to be going on with for one speech! What then, can we as individuals do and what might we be demanding our government do to promote the Isle of Man's interests in this potentially hostile political and economic environment? Purely for the sake of this speech I have divided my suggestions into two areas although they are, of course, complementary:

Firstly, politically - our government should be much more pro-active in promulgating our case internationally. We depend primarily on the British government to represent our interests at our peril - there is a clear need for us to make our own representations. This should not be considered as any form of alternative to the on-going moves towards self-determination, which must continue. The Isle of Man needs to have a positive relationship with Britain - this should be mutually advantageous but must not put Manx interests secondary to British wishes. We cannot depend on anyone else to further our interests; we must advocate for ourselves.

Secondly on a personal level. It is easy to be irritated or distracted by the small number of people here on the Isle of Man who see this island solely in terms of a business opportunity; a place to be exploited fully before moving on. We will all have met such people - we know them when we see them - we certainly know them when we speak with them. However, I believe that the overwhelming numbers of people living here have a commitment and love for the island. They share our desire to protect it's special characteristics and qualities. We should; therefore, all take pride in our history and sense of place. If we all continue to promote and support our cultural activities - and encourage others to do likewise - then we will continue to maintain our culture and with it a national identity.  Manx language, song, dance and music should not be elitist, they should be accessible, relevant and fun. They are expressions of who we are, where we have come from and where we, as a nation, intend going. We should shake off the victim mentality of the colonial underlings and be proud to promote our traditions and values. We must all support our cultural institutions now so we may still have a Manx identity in the future. We must resist the homogenous blandness of corporate global culture that we have all seen elsewhere.

Whatever Illiam Dhone's motivation, he is remembered as a Manxman who raised the issue of Manx autonomy - will this generation be remembered for serving the same cause or as the generation who idly allowed the special nature of our island home to drift away for ever?  There are uncertain times ahead. We will face political and economic challenges.  I do not believe it is overstating matters to suggest that our very cultural and national identity is potentially at risk. We each have a responsibility - through our professional or personal roles to apply ourselves to serve our island, not just for our short-term interests, but also for the interests of future generations of Manxmen and Manxwomen.

Gura mie mooar eu

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