MHKs need to know what happens beyond our shores. These days the island appears to be tied up in various international agreements and restrictions. We are affected by EU regulations even if we are not members of the “club.” We’ve all heard of Protocol 3 and that this permits us to trade without being EU members but how does this function in practice? Well, it seems that for around a quarter of a million pounds per annum we now have someone on the spot to alert us to any changes emanating from Brussels.
So is this the answer to our EU problems? Based on past form it seems questionable after all our close neighbour, the UK, isn’t really all that clear about how our own relationship works, let alone the EU. According to the recent House of Commons report on the Crown Dependencies there were references to lack of clarity about the situation. Does this mean there are no hard and fast rules? Which prompts the question: is there no constitution of any kind? Under what rights or treaties does the UK claim the Isle of Man as a dependency and how do these govern our relationship and legislative position with regard to the UK?
Yes, of course we are British! But exactly how was our constitutional relationship formed and where is the documentation to explain this? If we were all aware of this – including the UK government – wouldn’t it make things a lot clearer? I have been told that it is complicated. Fine – let’s take a look and see if we can make some sense of it. We need to know exactly who erected the goalposts and where they are placed. If we accept that it is “unclear” and “complicated” then we leave ourselves open to anything. Freemen of the Isle of Man, we must have clarity. Can your candidate explain things? If not, how can this ever be an even playing field? So how au fait is your candidate with the details of Protocol 3 and our constitutional relationship with the UK? I would suggest that government makes this information available to candidates as a matter of course, supplying original documentation i.e. not in the abbreviated form of a Dummy’s Guide.