Illiam Dhone Commemoration 2nd January 2012

Fastyr Mie – Blein via noa to all

We are here today to commemorate Illiam Dhone who was unjustly executed right here this very same day in 1663. The circumstances surrounding his sentence by the Royalists are clouded with uncertainty, but what is clear is that Illiam Dhone is regarded as a Manx Martyr by the people of Mann. Some have attempted to call him a villain but why? He was never charged with causing anyone’s death or injury during the rebellion uprising. Nor did he plead guilty to any offence after being arrested and chose not to vilify or incriminate his accusers before being executed. These actions are more honourable than villainous. Manx Martyr suits me and should be reflected as such in our school education system so future generations are clear about our hero.

The simple fact that he is and has been known for nearly 350 years by his Manx name Illiam Dhone is a statement in itself. We are all aware of how our language and therefore our culture has been suppressed over the centuries yet it lives on and continues to grow today. This I believe is significant as it is not just a bunch of hard-core Manxies but an ever-growing number of new residents who are supporting and promoting our culture in general. We should welcome these people who enhance our communities and promote our heritage. Building numbers of like-minded people is important to gain the critical mass necessary to sway popular opinion.

I firmly believe we should promote our traditions and values more widely. The Manx ethos is enshrined in the Latin phrase we all know and recognise – Quecunque Jeceris Stabit. Whichever way thrown always stand. Today the phrase could easily be – innovation, integrity and pride. The Manx have all of these attributes. And these roots can be traced to Illiam Dhone who, in the face of tragic consequences, he chose to be a patriot and exercise his Manx right and hold his morality without sacrificing national pride. True Manx value.

The Isle of Man has proven its resilience and innovation throughout history and in relatively recent times when mass tourism finished it adopted a new taxation policy. Controversial to some, however, its success cannot be denied and has continually evolved to today whereby one of our main economic contributors is e-business. We must remember this successful policy provides the many social benefits and the quality of life we all enjoy today. Whilst continuing to evolve I believe the Isle of Man has a new opportunity to be innovative by promoting Social Finance where investment is made on ethical grounds. This will display our transparency and integrity whilst developing a new finance industry that will be economically sustainable and very importantly help dispel that negative ‘tax haven’ label we all detest. Gives us something we can all be proud off.

This commemoration is regarded by many as a Nationalist event and there are those who don’t attend for fear of being branded a Nationalist. I believe this to be shameful, unjust and must change. Why is the term nationalist a dirty word on the Isle of Man? Can you not have strong beliefs regarding sovereignty and self-determination without scorn. When I was campaigning last summer – a couple of people asked me – am I a Nationalist? My answer was I stand for what’s best for the Isle of Man and ALL the people who live here. If that’s a nationalist – which Manx politician isn’t? Our Island must come first and when I say our Island I mean including those who have adopted our Island as their home. We must embrace those who welcome our way of life, adopt our culture and our values. The new Manx must be accepted by us all. Welcoming these people into our beloved Isle of Man is critical for our future constitutional progress towards independence.

I am in favour of reviewing our constitutional options as our current position as a Crown dependency has exposed unacceptable vulnerability. The negative rhetoric towards the Isle of Man is well documented and becoming relentless in these turbulent economic times. For this reason we must seek to gain control of our destiny by becoming less dependent on the UK and being recognised as a responsible Nation on our own merits. Having our own people in London, Brussels and further afield is a positive step towards greater independence. More encouragement must be given to the new Governor who is a diplomat and has openly offered his help in evolving our constitutional position and that is to be applauded and taken full advantage.

At the time of Illiam Dhone 350 years ago the Isle of Man found itself adversely affected by events beyond our shores. Likewise today we are faced with similar conflict outside our control and Manx politicians have a duty to protect our people and economic welfare. And for that reason our first priority must be economic stability and sustainability for the immediate future. A task every Western government is dealing with on a daily basis and I am confident in the ability and ambition of this new Government who will deliver. However we must be realistic and ask the people to be with us during these difficult few years. I envisage a strong future for the Isle of Man as I believe our people/all our people are now more than ever are keen to explore and embrace the innovation, integrity and pride in being Manx.

As a new politician I am deeply honoured to make this presentation and looking back at his history I admire and find inspiration from Illiam Dhone who was not only a true patriot but exercised outstanding diplomacy in the face of personal tragic consequences. Paying homage to the Manx Martyr on this day is highly appropriate and a true privilege.

Gura mie ayd

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Click here to read the January 2014 Newsletter by Laurence Skelly MHK