The Isle of Man, a tiny island in the Irish Sea that is one of the UK’s three British ‘Crown Dependencies’, has just become an unlikely focal point in the global debate about Black Lives Matter following the death of unarmed African American George Floyd in the US. Because comments made by a presenter during a broadcast of the island’s local radio station have sparked outrage well beyond the shores of the obscure tax haven.
We shouldn’t be surprised, though. The Isle of Man has a long and checkered past of clinging to reactionary ideas. Throughout its history, it has had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the present on issue after issue, including some downright medieval practices long abandoned on the British mainland. Meanwhile, its tax haven status means it has been ripping off the British public as well as serving as a headquarters for all manner of sleazy financial shenanigans.
This sordid record raises big questions about the continuation of its special status.