• April 23, 2016

The current shameful episode in relation to the failure of the Manx government to include the definition ‘Manx’ on the census form reminded me we have been here before.

In the mid 1990s the Celtic League campaigned against the introduction of ‘British’ identity cards. After some considerable protest the UK backed down realising that in relation to the Celtic countries and not least the North of Ireland the system was impractical. The UK does ensure that in its census you can describe yourself as Scottish, Welsh etc. Even Cornish people now have rights since the UK agreed to apply the framework Convention on National Minorities.

Only in the Isle of Man it seems is our government so spineless it denies the birthright of its people.

But it was always so and as you will see from the footnote to the article below even as the UK were backing down over the use of the term ‘British’ on identity cards – the ‘Uncle Toms’ of the Manx government were insisting that ‘British’ was a term in law that had primacy.

Two decades on nothing has changed – Allan Bell the nationalist – I don’t think so!

“British Retreat on “National” identity card system – 16-10-96

The British Government has scrapped controversial plans to introduce a “national” identity card system the decision comes just weeks after UK Home Secretary Michael Howard had indicated the UK were to press ahead with the scheme.

The plans have attracted considerable debate in the United Kingdom with the erosion of Civil Liberties advanced as a strong argument against the proposed system.

The Celtic League, one of a small number of organisations that actually submitted a response to the United Kingdom Home Affairs Committee advanced a much more fundamental case to support the libertarian argument. We reminded the British government that substantial groups of people presently identified as “British” within the United Kingdom have a distinct cultural identity and would resent the imposition of any system that detracted from this. We advanced that the scheme as proposed, although initially on a voluntary basis, would once introduced acquire a momentum of compulsion. We advised that in Northern Ireland the nationalist/republican community would be sure to see the British national identity system as an attack on their cultural identity and, whilst this was perhaps predicted by the British, they should anticipate that the same level of opposition would also manifest itself in Scotland, Wales and Cornwall.

There seems little doubt that had the British progressed the proposals a strident campaign of protest would have developed and when on the 8th of August 1995 the Celtic League wrote to the ID Green Paper Unit enclosing our submission “Whose National Identity?”

We concluded our submission by promising to mobilise a campaign of opposition. It’s now unnecessary as the British have retreated on the issue and fortunately common sense has prevailed.

J.B. Moffatt

As an addendum to the question of national identity, consternation was caused in the Manx General Election of November 1996 when, under new Legislation, candidates were required to declare their “nationality”.

The Manx Attorney General, Michael Kerruish, declared that “Manx” was not acceptable; Manx candidates (the majority) were forced by a law devised and enacted by the Manx government to declare themselves as “British” – whatever that is.”

Image: Manx Flags fly proudly while the Manx government traduces our Heritage!


Issued by: The Manx branch of the Celtic League

TEL: 01624 877918 or 07624 491609



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries including our own Mannin branch. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues

The link for the main web pages is below:


Mannin Branch Celtic League's photo.
About Author


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The Celtic League
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x