[From Manx Quarterly, #25, 1921]

THE ISLE OF MAN FOR THE MANX

(By Dorothy Eyre).

How ugly are all imported things in the midst of the natural loveliness of this country. Everywhere the visitor brings devastation with him. This, in a way, means a good amount of well-being to the Islander, and in consequence may be partly overlooked. But the visitor seldom brings anything worthy of imitation, and rarely anything that Manxland would do well to permanently retain.

A vulgar assurance, money made pomposity, a loud voice, and a liberal sprinkling of orange peel accompanies the Englishman abroad, who blatantly overrides, or purposes to override, the courteous simplicity of these kindly folk.

Is it good policy to pander to the demands of these marauders?

They must have what they pay for or they will go elsewhere to create their own chaos anew, but give them no more.

Do not sacrifice your land, your tradition, your ancient speech and lovely songs, on the altar of financial well-being. Money grubbing is the curse of civilization, and brings with it little else than self satisfaction and conceit. It would seem possible by increasing taxation for outsiders to do more to prevent this parasitical blood-sucking by the invaders — who oust the gentler natives from their rightful privileges, by running competitive businesses and establishments. There is not money enough in the universe to pay for the sacrifice of the soul of the Isle of Man.

The sensuous vulgarity of the music hall is as far removed from the sweet pathos of "Ny Kirree fo Naightey," as is the arrogance of the tripper from the noble simplicity of the cottagers. Above all, let the Manx women think long before they exchange the serenity of their home life for the flaunting absurdities of the English shops and streets.

The invader arrives, and from that moment begins his habitual all-conquering offensiveness with a widespread distribution of largesse, by which he hopes to become popular, and woe to those with whom this method succeeds. For him they build hotels and hydros, and lose their identity, for him they build music-halls and picture-dromes, and lose their intelligence and for him are the dancing saloons, in which are lost no few ideals, and the screaming hectic hurly burly is the price the Manxman pays for the desecration of his land.

At other times the invader elects to reside in the Island — he brings with him a modern improved plan of building, and regardless of all suitable building materials, which are ready to hand in the quarries and the country, he either faces his hideous house with yellow brick, or roofs his pretentious bungalow with red tiles. As soon as be becomes a rate-paying resident he assumes a lofty demeanour towards the politics of the Island, which are no concern of his or of any other Englishman. He gives his opinions about the stupidities of the Islanders, to those who never asked far his prejudiced ideas on the subject. How very unlikely that he should have anything in common with the temperamental dreaminess of the Celts.

Within recent years this English conquest of the Isle of Man has become more and more apparent. The Manx are gradually forsaking their priceless heritages — they have mostly forgotten or never known the language of their ancestors. and it has become the fashion, unfortunately, to do things as they are done in England.

[fpc Dorothy Eyre was presumeably the wife of Rev W. A. Eyre, sometime stationed in Laxey and mother of Beatrice Eyre, but not I think of Manx extraction]


 

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