Isle of Man Shops Bill
measures in recent times have attracted more controversy within the Manx
Legislature than the Shops Bill; and few have yielded more surprises.
then, one’s surprise at the considerable controversy that erupted in the
House of Keys on 21 February when the Bill was returned for the House’s
approval to the changes. Some of the Bill’s supporters variously
described it as having become “unworkable” and having “lost its
balance” during its enactment. This led to a proposal for a conference
to be held between the two chambers of the Legislature; and although this
was defeated, the vote showed that the Government was now in a state of
considerable disarray and division.
this was followed by two early morning radio interviews with the Bill’s
supporters, together with the matter becoming a news item, one was left
wondering whether something significant had, after all, occurred in the
Legislative Council. Enquiries revealed the contrary.
furore, then, remains a mystery, since the Bill is set to pass into law
more or less intact. Yet Proverbs 21:30 says: There is no wisdom or
understanding nor counsel against the Lord, and it may be that this is the
explanation of the recent events; in which case we can expect further
what has been achieved by the opposition to the Shops Bill beyond some
improvement to one or two of its clauses? First of all, history will
record that the Bill did not slip through quietly. On the contrary, it led
to a major debate on the distinctiveness of Sunday, which has not occurred
for many a long year, with the Lord Bishop playing a major part in putting
forward the Christian position.
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