The outbreak of Nationalist fervour that occurred in the last quarter of 2009 was so unexpected that it took even `seasoned’ nationalists by surprise.
The strength of feeling apparent amongst some young people of their need to identify in an outspoken way their dissatisfaction with the status quo indicates that Manx Nationalism, which many had assumed was a waning force, will carry on into another generation.
The anglicisation of the Isle of Man was apparently not as all-encompassing as it had seemed. However, the nationalist surge also showed just how diminished as a people the true Manx are in their own country and it also showed that the
existing establishment in Mann, still dominated by a colonial mindset, was prepared to use whatever force was necessary to ruthlessly suppress dissent.
Police action was almost certainly politically directed and it was most tellingly aimed not at apprehending the perpetrators of alleged misdeeds but more at sending a message to nationalists generally to keep their heads down. In
this respect history was repeating itself as when Mec Vannin (the Manx Nationalist Party) took its first `nervous’ steps into the public arena almost fifty years ago it was subjected to distrust and hostility by the establishment and the colonial police.
Another parallel with events half a century ago was the hostility of the media. Although at that time the media tended to be dominated (although not owned) by Manx born people it was as anglocentric in its approach to nationalism as the `Manx’ media of today.
The burst of nationalist exuberance six months ago has now waned but it is clear from the complexities of the issues which drove it in to the open that it may be quiet but `it hasn’t gone away’.
All the indications are that as the indigenous people of the Isle of Man become even more minoritized then expressions of Nationalism will continue to surface as a desperate expression by the Manx not to be further marginalised.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information