A few weeks ago I complained to a UK based company, who have retail outlets on the Island, that it didn't seem appropriate for them to be encouraging people, on their in-store radio, to stock up on goodies for 'St George's Day '. I don't have any problems with St George's Day as such but it is the Isle of Man after all; I'd be surprised (and delighted) if their radio service will be wishing their customers a 'Happy Tynwald Fair Day' but I reckon this is unlikely to happen.
Indeed, I can't help but feel that this particular retailer wouldn't be wishing their Scottish, Irish or Welsh customers a happy 'St George's Day' ; however, the Isle of Man, well isn't it part of England anyway?
Another large UK retailer used to (perhaps they still do) stock squirrel food in their store. Now I know we had that incident a few years ago when an unsuspecting skibbyltagh boghtey (tourist) smuggled his pet squirrel over to Mannin but a whole section dedicated to this one creature seemed slightly over the top.
I often think such firms are missing a great opportunity to identify themselves with the local community; it's not rocket science after all, the Isle of Man isn't part of the UK and has its own proud and independent character...we're not a windier version of Bolton with lower taxes: there is a little bit more to us than that.
I've often talked (with limited success!) of the possible dynamic between business, language and culture. I've already explored some of these issues in a series of videos which you can find on our Youtube channel. Perhaps people feel that now isn't the time to be talking about language and culture; that they are an unnecessary drain on resources, a distraction from the need to drive economic growth forward; however, the two aren't incompatible and it's perfectly possible for the language and business community to dovetail together in order to achieve a prosperous and dynamic Island. In my opinion we desperately need a debate on the Island about what it means to belong to the 21st century Isle of Man and what part language and identity can play in this modern and prosperous Mannin
However, there are many good examples of a positive dynamic between culture and business. Partly down to the generosity of LLoyds TSB on the Island we'll be publishing the first of the Gruffalo books this year. We'll also be starting work soon on a Manx Gaelic App. for smartphones that will receive significant funding from a Island based business. More on this one to follow; but these, and other examples, I hope, go some way to illustrate a dynamic at play that can serve well both the Island's culture and business communities
Gow-shiu soylley jeh ny ratçhyn TT = Enjoy the TT races