Wednesday, November 3, 2010

First broadside in the Scallop War

One for The Aberdonian to get his teeth into;)
SCOTTISH fishermen's leaders and environment secretary Richard Lochhead have united in condemning a decision by the Isle of Man government to ban the bulk of Scotland's scallop trawlers from Manx waters.

The Manx authorities have introduced a bye-law that effectively prevents large Scottish boats from fishing in their traditional scallop grounds around the island.

Mr Lochhead said: "The Scottish Government believes the Isle of Man bye-law is unnecessary and unwarranted and I have been in contact with the Isle of Man fisheries minister - and UK ministers who gave the go-ahead - to make my concerns clear."
Not being affected by EU fishing "guidelines" and also as self-governing Crown Dependency, the Isle of Man is legally entitled to impose such restrictions; whether or not it morally justified to do so is obviously another question. However, the role of the UK ministers (plural?) mentioned here is a curious one.
Why would their permission be required?


The Aberdonian said...

Yeap, this is of interest to me. Like the devolved nations, the Crown Dependencies need to get past the "gatekeeper" of the UK government to get any bills passed by their legislature enacted into law.

All bills passed by the Tynwald are formally given to the Lieutenant-Governor of the Island who as the Crown's rep forwards them to the Privy Council via the UK Ministry of Justice (before that it was the Home Office) who check out the bill to make sure that the UK government finds it acceptable (i.e. it does not infringe into foreign affairs, currency, defence etc or anything else) before the UK Justice Secretary gives it to the Queen at a Privy Council meeting. The Queen then gives an Order in Council approving the law.

The "Order in Council" method differs from the "royal assent" that the UK, Scotland, Wales, NI legislatures get.

So technically no law can be passed by the island legislatures without the UK government being consulted. The method I believe is the same for Guernsey and Jersey.

I am guessing the UK ministers would have been Justice Ministry ministers who maybe checked with the UK Agriculture department as well.

A noted example of UK government "interference" on the Isle of Man was in the 1990's when the then Home Sec (and now present Justice Sec) Ken Clarke overturned a death sentence passed on a murderer on the Isle of Man when the death penalty was still on the statute books there. The idictment court by the way on the Isle of Man is called the "Court of General and Gaol Delivery". Sounds ominous eh?

(By the way there is no trial by jury in Guernsey - very un-British!)

Here is Ken with the Manx chief minister, the honourable Anthony "call me Tony" Brown, sparkie to the people. (All present and former Manx ministers have the prefix "the honourable").

By the way, talking about Crown Dependencies, what do you think of this?

Snouts in the trough! In the latter one it should be remembered in Scotland there has been devolved politican's pay freeze in place!

Whoa! Today it is suggested the Crown Dependencies could have their own sort of foreign policies!

Food for thought for you O'Neil! I will try and get around to writing a bit about the Dependencies.

Brother Cadfan said...

I was under the impression that there was a convention not to interfere if, as Aberdonian points out the law does not go against human rights, which some of the West Indian territories have fallen foul of. The Cayman Islands for example were not legendary for their tolerance for homosexuals until they were required to develop it by westminster! The crown dependencies are I think given a much looser leash than the overseas territories. The ECHR wields more influence over policy, which is I believe how corporal punishment got banned, not Westminster interference.

The Aberdonian said...

Brother Cadfan raises the interesting question of the other dependencies. The major difference between the Crown Dependencies and the others (such as Gib, Falklands etc) is the the Justice Ministry deals with the Crown Dependencies whilst the others are dealt with by the FCO.

Also the Crown Dependencies crowd have an automatic right of residence in the UK which I do not think has always been extended to the others.

The Isle of Man has passed through many hands in its history - most notably Norway and Scotland. It was rented out to Scotland by Norway as part of the same deal that Scotland got the rent of the Western Isles.

During the Wars of Independence, the English seized the island and the English crown gave it to the Stanley family as their personal fief - but did not annex it into England. Apart from Robert the Bruce trying to get back the island, that was its constitutional position until the 18th century. By that time as a non-part of the UK, the island became a haven for smugglers who took cheap goods smuggled from abroad and then transported them to the UK to annoyance of customs. It was annexed as a Crown possession with the British monarch becoming "the Lord of Man" - the title the Stanleys had. Weird that London never annexed island into the UK during this period. Must have been some sort of fiddle or something going on.

The Channel Islands are another matter. They are the rump of the old Duchy of Normandy and from what I can gather the islanders' conceit is that due to 1066 and all that, the UK belongs to the Channel Islands and not the other way around.

You may scoff at this conceit. But consider this, when a bill from a UK legislature (UK, Scotland, etc) gets royal assent, the bill is signed by the clerk of the House of Lords:

"La Reyne le veult"

Norman French for the "the Queen wills it"

King Billy's (in the chain mail - not the white horse) lives on. The Channel Islanders are technically the daddies and the Brits their subserviants/bitches.

(Personally I think it is a disgrace that Scottish bills are assented this way as we were not invaded by the Normans. My ancestors - I bear a Scottish-Norman name - were invited in - the should reinstitute the old Scottish method of touching the bill with the Scottish sceptre!)