• May 18, 2015


Turning on the Radio this morning I thought I had accidentally tuned to the BFBS (for those not up to speed with military parlance that’s the British Forces Broadcasting Service), but no, it was just the latest bulletin from military-fest on Douglas (Isle of Man) Promenade where the British Army are staging a ‘show’.

Conveniently it is just across from entertainments venue the Villa Marina so if the weather turns inclement they can take the show indoors.

To be fair to Manx Radio they have balanced their extensive coverage over the past three days of the military ‘fun’ on Douglas Promenade with ‘one’ item from nationalist group Mec Vannin.

Mec Vannin featured later in the news as well so coverage of nationalist views seems extraordinarily extensive.

However, the item titled ‘Chief Minister disregards Mec Vannin talks on Governor’ seems to have been ‘lost in translation’!

We looked at the Mec Vannin resolution which says:

“e) This AGM:

Calls for the building known as Government House to be renamed and used as the Official residence for the President of Tynwald during their period of Office.

The present incumbent, whilst the link with the Crown remains, to be re-housed at the expense of the Crown in premises that they choose to acquire for him/her.

f) This AGM:

Calls on the Isle of Man Government to raise with the British Crown the appropriateness of using the title “Lt. Governor” in the Isle of Man, and indeed the title of Governor or Lt. Governor in all non-independent, self-governing territories under Crown jurisdiction.

Suggests that, given the United Kingdom’s commitment to United Nation’s Declaration on decolonisation, the use of the title “Governor” or “Lt. Governor” in any non independent territory under Crown jurisdiction is abhorrent, offensive, and demeaning to people in those “dependent territories”.

Mec Vannin believes the title “Crown Representative” should be used.”

So lets analyse that ‘very measured and perfectly reasonable’ statement. It does not call for the Governor to be ‘kicked out’ (as another area of the media put it) of his home (as far as we are aware the dear old boy does have a home already – back in his home the United Kingdom). The resolution calls for the building known as Government House, which he currently utilises, to be used by the Manx State instead and suggests quite reasonably that the UK should find and pay for a separate suitable premise for him.

By the way this is exactly what happened in the 1930s in Ireland when the Free State, which had a similar relationship to the UK (this was prior to the establishment of the Irish Republic in 1948), renamed the former Vice regal Lodge in Phoenix Park as Áras an Uachtaráin, and the Governor General of the Irish Free State moved to another location.

By that time the Governor General of the Irish Free states role was largely ceremonial (ring any bells!).

As far as we can ascertain, from surveying the history of the period, despite the fact Ireland and the UK had not had to best of relationships (to put it mildly!) the moves caused no great controversy.

Coming back to the CM ‘disregards Mec Vannin talks’ headline, MV don’t appear to have been seeking talks with anyone just suggesting that the appropriateness of the title should be raised with the UK his nomenclature, etc. being the remit of the Crown.

Mec Vannin even helpfully suggested a title which is strangely close to the last proposal from the Manx Government which was for the term ‘Crown Commissioner’ to be used – that is probably still lying in a draw down at the Department of Constitutional Affairs awaiting Elizabeth R’s signature.

Indeed in correspondence to the CM yesterday the Celtic League reiterate this point (i.e., that it’s a Crown prerogative) and suggest both the UK and Crown should recognise ‘the rational’ of changing the title.

Still we suppose it’s the old adage ‘you can take a horse to water but not make it drink’.

Given how reasonable the Nationalists suggestion is and the type of response it has elicited it’s a good job they didn’t suggest that he should ‘just go’ and those who love him so much should carry his bags. Nationalists wouldn’t do that they’re far too reasonable!

So why this outbreak of ‘nat-bashing’?

Anyone would think, perish the thought, that some in the media are trying to use nationalists as ‘cannon-fodder’ (oh no! There’s another of those dreadful military puns!).

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League 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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