Isle of Man
Ellan Vannin o Mannin
Man is an island in the Irish Sea, halfway between the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland. Along with Jersey and Guernsey, Man is one of the three dependencies of the British Crown —insular territories that are internally self-governing but are not sovereign countries, as their international relations and defense are the responsibility of the United Kingdom.
The culture of Man has Celtic and Nordic roots, and has more recently received strong English influence, both stemming from the island’s ties to the United Kingdom and the influence of English immigrants.
The Isle of Man was subject, throughout the Middle Ages, to the successive domination of Scotland, Norway and England. This fact had its cultural correlation in the double Celtic and Nordic influence that shaped the island’s identity: its own language, Manx, belongs to the Celtic group, while its oldest government institution —the Assembly, or Tynwald— has Viking roots.
Permanently associated to the English crown since 1346, the island enjoyed semi-autonomous government via Tynwald. Over the centuries, the Assembly became the country’s legislature. In 1866 a system of internal self-government was consolidated, as the island remained a British crown dependence. One year later, for the first time in history, Tynwald’s lower house was elected in a semi-democratic vote (only landowner males were allowed to vote). Universal suffrage was implemented in 1919.
At the beginning of the 20th century, after centuries of Anglicization, a movement for cultural and linguistic revival emerged, with the Manx Language Society at its core. In mid-20th century the island became an offshore tax haven, which attracted companies and new high-income residents and triggered a rise in prices. Shortly after, nationalist party Mec Vannin was founded, aimed at turning the country into an independent republic which could implement a left-wing agenda against privileges of corporations.
Politics and government
The Isle of Man has its own Government and Parliament (Tynwald), consisting of two chambers: the House of Keys and the Legislative Council, responsible for legislating. The government of Man, which is headed by the Chief Minister, collects the taxes that are paid in the country and, together with the Parliament, exercises full internal self-government. The Lieutenant Governor, representative of the British crown, has among his or her functions to give royal assent to Man legislation.
Despite being a dependency of the British crown, Man is not a part of the United Kingdom. The UK government, being the government of Her Majesty, is responsible for the defense and international relations of Man. Man citizenship does not exist; the island’s natives are British citizens. The UK Parliament has the capacity to approve laws that the Isle of Man must fulfill; by convention, and when it comes to the island’s internal rule, Westminster does not usually pass laws without the consent of the institutions of Man.
Three active political parties exist: the Labour Party, the Liberal Party and Mec Vannin. In the 2021 election, the two former gained seats. Man has a longstanding tradition of mostly electing independent candidates.
Chief minister: Alfred Cannan, independent (since 2021)
Distribution of seats in Parliament (House of Keys, 24 members). September 2021 election:
Independent MHKs - 21
Labour Party - 2
Liberal Party - 1
Government: independent members
(Last updated October 2021.)