If we try to look more closely at how legislation enters into the Tynwald corridors of power it seems difficult to dispute the theory in the post: Isle of Man Election 2011. HowDoes Governmen Work? If legislation is being introduced that did not emanate from the department and the draft bills mirror legislation from other countries or jurisdictions then there has to be a mechanism which permits this. If any MHKs can throw a different and equally plausible light on things I shall be only too happy to publicise it on the blog. However, after years –yes, years – of observation I can only assume that factors 1 – 6 provide the impulses for the resultant bills. Quite where the more stringent additions are entered is a mystery to most of us, but undoubtedly someone does know how these extras are inserted into the draft bill.
It could be argued that we need to comply with international treaties etc. That also seems plausible until you read page 6 of the Crown Dependencies Report where it is stated that: Although they are proud of their British associations, the Crown Dependencies are not a part of the United Kingdom and are autonomous and self-governing, with their own, independent legal, administrative and fiscal systems. The Island parliaments legislate for themselves. UK legislation and international treaties are only extended with their consent. So there you are. There it is in black and white. This would appear to be yet another reason to ensure that our candidates of choice are wide awake and aware of our constitutional position and ensure that only necessary legislation is introduced to Tynwald in the first place.
The Isle of Man seems to have a particularly cosy relationship with the UK. The Crown Dependencies Report also informs us that legislation passed by an island parliament is then passed to the UK for scrutiny prior to the granting of Royal Assent. But get this statement on page 20: The Isle of Man has gone a step further than the Channel Islands and has formalised the process of passing draft legislation to the Ministry of Justice before it is passed by the Manx Legislature, although it is still scrutinised again by the Ministry of Justice afterwards. (!!!) So who was responsible for this change? Why does the Isle of Man Government feel it is necessary to do this when other Crown Dependencies do not? Doesn’t that sound like a tad too much input from the UK?
I urge you to read the report which is available on www.positiveactiongroup.org . Amongst other things you will discover the statements about intervention from the Justice Secretary on drafting points and references to the informality of the process which “leads us to suspect that the UK Government does, indeed, influence Island legislation at the policy level.” It goes on to state that we are “more than adequately advised” by our own Law Officers etc. and they draw the conclusion that it seems a strange use of MoJ resources which are supposedly stretched “to engage in a kind of legislative oversight which does not restrict itself to the constitutional grounds for scrutiny.” Aren’t you feeling just a little concerned? And who pays for all these, arguably unnecessary, meetings and consultations? Well, of course the taxpayer does. Do we need or want these things? That’s for you to decide and take appropriate action.
To sum up:
- Draft bills frequently irrelevant and unnecessary for Isle of Man purposes
- There is a documented informal relationship with the UK MoJ
- Someone changed our practices. We are seemingly the only Crown Dependency to have done this.
- There is documented interference in our legislation and a form of legislative oversight
- We discover that international treaties and UK laws are adopted only with our consent – supposedly anyway.
Does this sound as if our wishes are being considered?
What can you do? Please raise these issues with your candidates – if future freedom is important to you.
PS Although I frequently quote the Postive Action Group as a source of good information I am not a member and my views are not necessarily the views of PAG