Chief Minister responds to misleading and insulting comments by Times Columnist

CHIEF Minister Tony Brown has responded robustly to what he calls insulting and unwarranted comments made by AA Gill in today’s Sunday Times (May 23, 2010) about the Isle of Man and its people.

The Chief Minister stated: ‘Although AA Gill is not a news journalist but a satirical columnist meant to entertain through his outrageous comments, I, like all Manx residents, find his remarks to be misleading, unfounded and insulting to every man, woman and child on our Island.

‘Unfortunately, AA Gill has, for some reason, a personal dislike of the Island and its people, as is clear from his latest abusive comments.

‘The Isle of Man is not the country that he portrays. We have a strong anti-drugs policy and a crime rate that is among the lowest anywhere in the British Isles. On the social policy front, the Island gave the vote to women decades before the United Kingdom and we have extended the right to vote to 16 and 17 year olds while many other nations are still considering it.

‘He may like to reflect on the privilege that he enjoys to express his views so freely in the media; it is a privilege that many Manx men and women sacrificed their lives for in considerable numbers, in two World Wars, and in fact continue to do so today by voluntarily serving in Her Majesty’s Forces in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan.’

So what did he say? Referring to Mick Jagger’s controversial suggestion about the Island being used as a testbed for the legalisation of drugs, Gill suggested in his Sunday Times column that this was an inspired choice.

‘If it all goes wrong, and they become a hopelessly addicted, criminal cesspit, who’d care?

‘Indeed, who could tell the difference? The denizens of Isle de l’Homme fall into two types.

‘Hopeless, in-bred mouth-breathers known as Bennies. And then retired, small-arms dealers and accountants who deal in rainforest futures. I have never been anywhere that would be more improved by a glut of class A substances. They believe in fairies and fascism.

‘This was the last place in Britain to legalise homosexuality. The Isle of Man, twinned with Malawi. Bring on the crack.”