Why do they fly Union Jacks?

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I noticed that almost every shop in Strand Street was heavily festooned with Union Jacks over the last few days. I suppose this is inevitable in the big chains which have a uniform policy foisted on them from head office in London, but small local shops should be more proud of their Manxness.

In this island we are celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of the Lord of Man, so the only appropriate flag to fly is the Three Legs. The island is not part of the UK, so a flag with the three crosses representing the internal composition of that state (the union of England and Scotland, plus a bit of Ireland) has no particular relevance to us. =

You might as well choose at random the flag of any other country of which Queen Elizabeth II happens to be head of state. Having the UK flag everywhere could confuse schoolchildren as to which jurisdiction they live in.

The scenes in Strand Street recall the dark days when the Union Jack flew even over the Hill on Tynwald Day. Thankfully the age of imperialism and colonialism is largely over, and in recent decades the Isle of Man has made great constitutional progress towards greater self-governance, such as by limiting the role of the Lieutenant Governor. The natural next step would be dominion status, such as Australia and Canada got. This year they are proudly celebrating the Jubilee of their head of state, using their own flags.

Of course, to finally remove ambiguity about our identity and constitutional position, what we really need is independence—before the Scots beat us to it!

Christopher Lewin


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