Friday, 28 November 2008

Child abuse as a public art form

As if our Education Department and Arts Council haven’t screwed up enough young lives with godbothering theatrical shite (see, for example 'How To Win Government Friends And Screw Up Kids' on 10th October), they’ve done it again.
Now they want to put on a ‘Rock Nativity’ in the island’s only community performance facility (though the real community will never be allowed to perform there anyway – and that’s another issue). See for more details.
Look, I laughed my socks off with every other parent a few years back when my kid, then aged four, raced round on a wheeled toy donkey as ‘Virgin Mary’ in the nursery school nativity play. Tiny kids with towels round their heads playing holy mummies and daddies, making up their own words based on stuff they overheard at home and making you blush – that’s a proper nativity play.
Teenagers playing Joseph and Mary under threat of poor grades if they don’t? That’s seriously sick and someone should ring Childline.
I also love the fact that they’re wasting public space every night of the week ‘except Sunday’.
Do you seriously think any 14 year old with more than two braincells would be in a church unless they’re drugged up to the eyeballs?
Maybe the emergency services should just rope off the Studio Theatre at Ballerkermeen School and declare it a disaster zone, because this is getting serious.
When a big chunk of not only Education Department cash but the island’s arts budget goes into what is supposed to be a ‘community facility’, shouldn’t that community have some access, and some say in what gets put on?
We are consolidating a ridiculous position where, as churches island-wide close through lack of punters, the superstitious still dictate our public arts programs and have open access to our schools as cheap churches on Sundays, because they can’t be arsed to repair their current faith hovels or rent a room like anyone else.
Meanwhile, try booking a building anywhere on the island to show a film, host a discussion or put on any public event either critical of religion or where views might be offered which differ from godbothering dictats handed down by national or international ‘faith leaders’. I have been trying it for two decades here, and I tell you bluntly it cannot be done.
This sucks. I’m writing to the Arts Council.
I want my money back, so I can spend it on something else. Any DVD splat or shag fest you can name - I don’t care how bad it is, any gig by any loud and raucous visiting over the hill punk band. I don’t even care if some colour-blind smackhead wants to spray-paint a wall in his own vomit and call it art. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, is better than underwriting more superstitious shite with public money.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

To Uganda, with ignorance

The island’s efforts to export evangelical misery to Africa got an extra boost this week, though you wouldn’t know so from reading the Education Department’s press release at
Yes, on the face of it looks like a worthy project, but to know what’s really going on you need to know who Abaana really are.
You can find that out at
Starting to get the picture?
A key point to note is this is a Northern Irish evangelical charity. These have a murky history not known to anyone who hasn’t studied the sectarian conflict, and in particular the Loyalist tradition of abusing public funds meant to heal sectarian division and rebuild communities.
Briefly, in the 1980’s any biblebasher in the North could get public funds by claiming to run a ‘peace and reconciliation’ project - so many did. Background checks were minimal, Westminster was working flat out to support anything which got Ulster unemployment down and inevitably Loyalist local government departments looked after their own first.
All they had to do was use the magic word ‘bridgebuilding’ and UK government and charity funds rolled in –staff wages, office equipment, even rent-free offices in purpose built small business centres. Evangelical churches got so used to it some of their congregations have never needed another job – even though they were the root of sectarian hate in the first place.
Then peace broke out so they had to look further afield, and the Isle of Man is perceived as an easy target.
You should also take a really close look at the role of evangelical churches in Uganda. For example, consider the growing problem of evangelicals who accuse small kids of witchcraft, bag small fortunes ‘curing’ them until the parents run out of cash, then slope off leaving the families to get driven out of the village or lynched.
But surely that doesn’t involve Western evangelicals, and certainly not Manx ones?
Yes, it does! Just a few years ago I interviewed a Peel pastor who had a nice little earner going over there. Once or twice a year he went over to ‘cast out spirits’, ‘cure’ AIDS….and split the profits with an African partner church. Even my highly religious editor was so embarrassed he wouldn’t run the rantings of this lunatic as a story.
You also need to know that the teacher who introduced this project to St. Ninians moonlights with Port St Mary Living Hope Community Church's infamous ‘youth ministry’. In fact she’s one of the little clique who enable their pastor to have open access to schools and even pupil records. And yes, this is the same pastor who was the subject of complaints for pestering girls in their early teens with text messages. See previous postings for more on that!
Will the Education Department ever stamp this crap out?
I doubt it. Not if the alternative to easy publicity for bogus charitable projects they know no-one will ever investigate involves real research, properly thought through policies or employing qualified professionals at the going rate.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The curse of Dumbledore strikes again.

Well, I said getting the clergy to cast spells on public buildings causes problems (see Blessing or Curses on 7th November)........and I was right!
The Anglican bishop only 'blessed' the new school up here on Friday 21st November. Yet on the evening of Sunday 23rd I have it on very good authority that the holy rollers who met there that very morning got an earbashing from their 'sponsors'.
Seems Broadway Baptists, who underwrite the 'outreach project', don't think their Northern brothers and sisters are pulling their weight.
I know not if the problem is their economic or evangelical shortcomings. I DO know they have been told the plug is getting pulled if things don't improve PDQ.
The funniest thing is cynics quickly pegged this bishop as little more than John Sentamu's apprentice.
The usual 'consultation' between Manx and UK Anglicans before his appointment earlier this year was a short one. Basically the Archbishop of York not only formally chaired the meeting, but told them who they were getting - end of.
Even Downing Street didn't bother with the usual token 'approval'. Sentamu told Brown, and Brown had made it clear at the start of his premiership he was leaving the choice of new bishops entirely to Lambeth Palace, not making a token 'choice' between two formal candidates.
So that was that. Democracy Nil, Superstition Two.
Mind you, if whatever sorcery El Bish picked up from Sentamu gets hardline sectarian freaks out of our schools this fast, who cares? At this rate they'll be safe for kids within the year.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Christ in a Cage

I see that the tightwads up at the Tourist Department are up to their usual tricks again.
There’s an ongoing problem with places for kids to go and do stuff, but, hey, let’s not splash out on proper facilities. Why not just get some godbothering throwbacks to bring over a cross between five a side footie and cage-fighting. Then we can spend the difference on a ‘fact-finding’ mission to the Bahamas or something instead.
Think I’m kidding?
Take a look at
But it gets worse. British Youth For Christ (charity number 263446) actually manages to keep 47 biblebashing halfwits off the dole and scrounge an annual income of almost £2,670,000 with this kind of crap. It says it exists ‘to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world by promoting & encouraging the Christian evangelisation of young people & standards of behaviour which accord with the doctrines of the Christian faith’ and ‘to advance the Protestant and Evangelical tenets of the Christian faith in all parts of the world.’
What, like homophobia, burning witches and sectarian violence?
Then there’s the trustees. You can get the measure of them just by looking at their other charitable deeds.
Take Rev. David Stillman and Novi Most International (charity number 1043501), which says it is ‘a Christian charitable organisation which works with young people in Bosnia Herzegovina: to help them overcome the effects of their past, to equip them to enter their futures with hope and confidence, to empower them to become instruments of transformation in their communities.’
So a community in which Catholics and Muslims ethnically cleansed each other is going to get better because Protestant hardliners introduce a new sectarian divide?
Yeah, that’ll work!
I could go on, but why bother? I think you get the picture.
The government has been bellyaching for years about how kids are turning to drink, drugs and wall-to-wall Grand Theft Auto.
So do they put on some half-decent events, fund proper youth clubs?
No, they hand them over to the first brain-dead bunch of sectarian freaks who offer a bargain basement show alternating empty-headed US style sports entertainment with bible-readings.
Look guys. Try doing this properly.
Smack dealers will screw your kids up for about the same price, and NO smack dealer in the WORLD promises the junk they sell will give you life after death!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Normal service will be resumed...

I'm only too aware I haven't posted anything in a week or so.
This is due to having to deal with a number of work & family issues which arose out of the blue last week.
I'm hoping to be back on track by the middle of the week, and posting regularly again towards the end of the week.
Meanwhile - I can't be the only one on this windy, damp rock in the middle of the Irish Sea who is alternatively highly amused or hacked off at the lunacy of self-appointed local decision makers - in particular of the faith-based 'don't question anything or you'll get a thunderbolt down your chimney' variety.
So why not speak up instead of waiting on me!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Stop the temperance war on choice

The utter stupidity of temperance nazis is currently being demonstrated in the Manx courts. Or it would if the government department involved could even get their act together enough to turn up and make a case.
The case revolves around an incident in a garage where a Department of Fair Trade employee says she saw an under-age girl buying fags. If that was all that came out, it would sound like a fair cop – bad petrol company selling ciggies shamelessly to ickle kiddies, etc. But it’s not the whole story.
From other sources I know that the garage owner, having studied CCTV tapes, still thinks the girl looks well over age and would have served her himself, as his employee did.
I also know the employee is a hardcore teetotaller and non-smoker who challenges kids on their age all the time. He’s about the least likely person on the island to flog booze or fags to anyone under the legal age – even late at night when they turn up in a gang.
So far the garage owner and his employee have taken two separate days off to turn up for court, only for the DFT to ring in and say they’re not ready to proceed. It’s a nightmare for a business trying to get by in a credit crunch, though business as incompetently usual for a government department.
The whole stupid point seems to be to secure a highly publicised prosecution and ‘send a message’ to other small businesses and kids who smoke.
I’ll give two reasons.
Firstly, the island’s corner shops have already been driven out of business by a mixture of bureaucracy and government kowtowing to property developers who want to gentrify perfectly decent working class areas. So people move on to garages and supermarkets as the only places open and cheap enough.
Then middle class temperance nazis move in, demanding the source of cheap booze and fags is blocked, claiming kiddie innocence and family life must be protected – oh, and creating a few cosy, publicly funded ‘counsellor’ jobs for their unemployable mates at church.
Pass me a sick bag –pulleeeese!!!
Secondly, when it comes to families or kids, the Manx government gave up providing adequate services years ago, and gave up even inadequate ones when it adopted measures like a five year drug and alcohol plan which, in effect, closed the last professional service and employed faith-based amateurs at a fraction of the cost.
One of the island’s most experienced youth workers tells me, quite bluntly, that kids have had all the drug, alcohol and other health education anyone can give them – despite fundie opposition to any professionally delivered variants still on offer. They know ten times more about the subjects than any evangelical whackjob being employed to offer ‘counselling’ as a condition of non-custodial sentences or early release.
In short, they make a fully informed choice to drink, smoke and generally enjoy life now even if it means problems later. That is at least an improvement on the compulsory religious indoctrination anyone up to the age of 18 faces in local schools.
This government no longer cares if anyone unemployable outside the finance sector lives or dies. It just pumps out media bilge full of buzz words like ‘empathy’, ‘caring’, ‘family’ and ‘concern’ which fool enough Daily Mail readers too lazy to read further. The kids know that, and if there were enough local people who care enough about real civil liberties we would grasp it too and oppose the temperance nazi intent to interfere with informed choice where it still remains.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Blessing or curses?

I see from the government website at
that the new Ramsey junior school, Scoill Ree Gorree (King Orry’s School) is being officially opened on 21 November. I also see the Anglican Bishop is turning up to cast spells on it.
This sad modern Manx ‘tradition’ that every new building has to be blessed is almost as wrong as incest or folk-dancing. But it also has a habit of going badly wrong.
I once watched a previous bishop bless a first-time buyers house on a project here where, within months, so many building defects were discovered that the houses became uninhabitable and there was talk of pulling down the entire estate.
Due to a housing shortage directly caused by the government, building industry and finance sector’s relentless profiteering that wasn’t possible. There was nowhere else for the tenants and house-owners to go. Some of them are still there, two decades later, and frankly if that cleric had called down a plague of frogs instead it couldn’t have done much more damage to their health.
Then there was the fiasco of the last Anglican Bishop and the new Douglas cemetery – a disaster in design so awful that no self-respecting person would be seen dead there anyway. He got carried away, and instead of sticking to the plan happily showered everything in sight with holy piddle.
This discourtesy was noted privately at the next Catholic burial (and Manx Jews are so used to low level anti-semitism that they never remark on it anyway), but not made public until the first local Muslim burial was required.
Still, whatever the consequences of Christians pathetically trying to mark public territory like so many geriatric tomcats, I am more concerned by the evangelical cult currently infesting Auldyn School, next door to Scoill Ree Gorree, at the weekend.
It cannot be good for any school hall to have sweaty, 100% polyester-clad halfwits babbling in tongues and rolling around the floor each Sunday. Even if the place gets scrubbed afterwards – which I very much doubt – with so much idiot DNA washing around there has to be a genetic side-effect somewhere when kids sit or play sports on that floor throughout the week.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Help an East European child, bankrupt a charity

The new Education Bill amendments allowing teachers to physically restrain pupils and so on are all very interesting. But they don’t answer a vital question.
When removing a fundie throwback from my daughter’s classroom, can he just be thrown through a window, or do I have to open it first?
Which handily brings me to my main theme.
It’s close to that time of year when religious charlatans start begging for funds to screw up other people’s lives. Now more enlightened legislation (in the UK anyway, don’t hold your breath over here yet) makes it harder for them to peddle their bigotry in the UK, they increasingly look to East Europe or the ‘developing world’ for victims, but still rattle buckets here shamelessly – especially near Christmas.
With this in mind, time to launch a secular Christmas appeal – let’s call it ‘Help an East European child, bankrupt a charity’.
But surely, you say, those poor Romanian kids need help – even if it’s from evangelicals?
Well…! The decent element in East European civic society has spent two decades struggling to kill off the last hangovers from a previous era, and almost succeeded. The two remaining obstacles are bent quasi-fascist political groupings and their freeloading Western friends. I have this from no less a source than one of the ethnic Hungarian-Romanian Lutheran pastors whose activities kicked off the 1989 uprising, who says wealthy western evangelical groups like Samaritan’s Purse are a bigger obstacle to multicultural community cohesion in his and surrounding countries than Ceacescu and his ilk ever were.
As my East European friends and relatives joke – they send us plumbers, electricians, doctors, nurses and others to keep our creaking service industries going. And we send in return unemployable, superstitious village idiots to collaborate with corrupt politicians, not only revive dead ethnic conflicts but start new sectarian ones, cream off EU funds from local initiatives and generally drag things back to the 1930’s.
It isn’t just friends over there who note this. To the elegant, multilingual East European women working here in offshore finance, the funniest thing about locals isn’t their dowdy clothes, parochial attitude to the world, or inability to do basic maths or speak other languages, but their limited knowledge of British history, vocabulary, spelling or grammar. The word most used locally in Czech, Polish, Hungarian or Russian for ‘Manx’ translates as ‘peasant’. In their eyes, this is the Third World, and the sooner they’re back in a place with shops, cinemas, theatre – or just adequate plumbing – the better!
In return for their invaluable expertise, the least we could do is tell our evangelical bucket rattlers to sod off and find a job. Even some of them can’t be too dumb to stack shelves in Tesco.

Just Stop it!

The monthly round-up from International Campaign Against Honour Killings arrived today.
It was depressing, and the Pope is a Catholic…
Apart from the now well publicised case of the 13 year old stoned to death in Somalia after reporting her own rape, there were statistics on the number of known honour killings in Pakistan so far this year (225), a 17 year old killed after her uncle set his dogs on her, then shot her with a tribal judge’s approval - passed off as an honour killing, but probably a land dispute between brothers. Just for ‘balance’ there’s also a report of the Egyptian Christian who killed his daughter, her husband and their child in a fit of rage because she married a Muslim.
On the brighter side there are attempts to change the Syrian penal code which allows shorter sentences for honour killing. No prizes for guessing who is objecting to that.
The bulletin had a link to a new site for the Global Campaign To Stop Killing and Stoning Women (, which seems to have replaced the old International Campaign Against Stoning. In turn this has links to numerous campaigns to stop religiously motivated violence against women around the world – all good stuff.
While I’m on the subject of religious violence against women, I should also mention the FGM National Clinical Group site at .
Another worthy cause, and from what I can see not getting anything like the public funds thrown at religious bigots to ‘aid interfaith dialogue’. If you have a quid or two to spare, maybe looking for a workplace charity appeal that tackles a genuine problem ,not some fluffy bunny kids swimming with dolphins crap, give the site a look.
Maybe it’s because I’m a dad with a daughter just four years younger than the poor kid burnt alive for wearing lipstick, but this stuff gets to me more than almost anything else these days. I cannot imagine how any parent can kill their young daughter, or bear having her murdered by fundamentalist scum with no apparent link to humanity. But then, I can’t even imagine why any self-respecting parent could be happy knowing evangelicals are allowed into schools, spreading their anti-human virus to impressionable kids.
It has to stop. WE have to stop it.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

What tradition?

I have been interested, though hardly suprised, at the results of Peter Tatchell's efforts to reveal UK Catholicism's rewriting of history with Westminster help.
Catholicism has two problems. It needs a new UK saint to keep the punters interested, but the best recent candidate seems to have been gay.
In brief, the favoured candidate is Cardinal Newman, who not only quite openly had a 30 year intimate friendship with a Father Ambrose St. John, but at his own request was buried with him a century ago.
After several enquiries under the Freedom of Information Act, Tatchell seems to have established that recent Catholic attempts to have Newman reburied in a more 'fitting' manner had a fair bit of behind-the-scenes help from the Ministry of Justice. This even seems to have included a 'media plan' to enable a whitewash should the facts ever come out.
For a good up to date summary of the story look at today's Pink Triangle Trust blog (
Now of course, on the Isle of Man church/state lovey-doveyness notoriously helps to perpetuate common prejudice.
We still have no Civil Partnership Act, despite 'public consultation' prior to a promised drawing up of a bill which was timetabled last year.
Faith-based schools and 'community facilities' are openly homophobic - even when getting public money to deal with issues motivated primarily by faith-based homophobia, such as teenage homelessness.
Unlike the UK, nothing in our legislation requires either charities or businesses to avoid discrimination, and to offer services fairly and (in the case of charities/voluntary sector bodies) to all who need them.
There's only been one 'unofficial' civil partnership ceremony here that I know of - between two women, held in a country hotel lounge and conducted by an off-island clergyman.
It was interesting that they were both Methodists, and that their church friends and relatives were 'advised' to stay away but didn't, despite attending one of the most hardline village churches on the island.
That the event involved quite down to earth country folk, who effectively told their lay preacher and other village worthies to sod off, is quite encouraging.
But has Manx church and community always been as unforgiving towards gays as we think?
There is some evidence that in simpler times they just didn't worry.
A few years ago I had to do a local history project for a Manx magazine which involved (amongst many other things) pottering around village graveyards. I was astonished to find several 18th and 19th century graves where 'lifelong companions' of the same gender were buried together. They weren't hidden away at the edge of graveyards with shipwrecked foreigners, criminals and other 'outsiders'. Presumably clergy and churchwardens were fully involved in the burial arrangements. They just seem to have worried less about what folk got up to with the human plumbing system.
Such a shame 'educated', office-working, financially secure 21st century Christians and church leaders aren't as wise as their illiterate, farmworking forefathers, who respected loving friendships for what they were and generally just minded their own business.

Pest Control

My good mate Roy, who also worries about his kids being abused in the classroom by totally inappropriate adults, suggests we go to
The answer to every concerned parent's dreams, I'd say.
So only one question left.
Why isn't this available in Tesco yet?