Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A New Year Resolution - of sorts

There’s an interesting debate about morality kicking off on the PTT Blog at Maybe it’s a kneejerk thing (end of the year, New Year Resolutions and all that) but I was thinking about the same topic last night, albeit in a lighter-hearted way guided by re-reading an old favourite, Quentin Crisp.
I was going to announce as my big New Year Resolution that I refuse ever to take religionists or politicians seriously again.’Get a grip’, I was thinking – concerned at the way in which my posts are getting grumpier. ‘Time to lighten up, mock mercilessly, point and laugh by all means, but don’t get so wound up over the immorality and hypocrisy of people we know are just rotten through and through.’
This time last year I’d decided that in 2008 I was going to meet the religionists and politicos halfway. Join with them on earnest committees to tackle homelessness, prison conditions, poverty or whatever and maybe, just maybe, there’d be a point in the middle where we could make common cause and talk.
I now admit that was a waste of time. They were, and will always be, nothing more than two-faced, triple-crossing neanderthals out to manipulate misery for their own ends. They cannot even spell ‘humanity’, never mind celebrate or embrace it.
Sadly, middle of the road humanists are little better. Either too scared to upset the neighbours or unable to stop looking at the world unconsciously in ‘religious’ terms.
Far better to play on religionist hypocrisy and hoist them by their own petards wherever possible. Chip away relentlessly at their pretensions to the moral high ground. Poke, point, laugh, run.
Do not get involved. Do not debate in arenas which they control. Pick a time and place when the odds are stacked in your favour, let them have it full blast and vanish before the smoke clears.
'Semiotic guerilla warfare' was the phrase we idealistic young media types used to bandy around. We understand how the media works, where stories come from and how they appear in the press. We know how to use images and words, and how to dismantle myths, spread doubt where belief is testified but insecurity lurks beneath the surface.
When posting the link to my old story about Pat Kneen and the Manx Death With Dignity campaign I realised something else too. All this concern about morality and seriousness, trying to engage with pathological liars on their own terms, and I’ve lost something.
That assisted suicide campaign, despite the (literally) life or death subject matter, the brushes with corrupt local government and law and so on, was a joy from start to finish. We lost all fear and hardly ever stopped laughing, and THAT is what I want to get back to.
In 2009 I'm no longer getting serious. I'm getting happy.
I just want to laugh ignorance off the planet.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Wanted, godbothering prison visitors. Must have own rubber stamp

I was amused by the appeal for new members for the Independent Monitoring Board at the local prison (see
I laugh because my experience last year at an interview for the Board of Prison Visitors confirmed to me that it’s a waste of time even trying to find middle ground with the bigots and throwbacks who run this island.
I knew about the disgraceful human rights record, I’d even read the damning 2003 report by the ECPT (European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) on Manx prison conditions (available at, but I was willing to do my middle of the road bit and give the Prison Visitors a try if that was what it took.
Big mistake!
For a start, the Board were so slack it took about six months to get enough of them together to interview me. As soon as I entered the room I knew it wasn’t worth the wait either. Small town biblebashers one and all - I swear one guy’s knuckles even scraped the ground. Their faces on knowing I was not only an atheist but a member of Liberty and Amnesty International for over 25 years were a picture.
Needless to say they didn’t take me. Funnily enough, I later found out they’d happily allowed the successor to an evangelical pastor who was put away for child sex offences to be a prison chaplain, even though he’d bought his clerical title from a correspondence course in the Evangelical Times. Even funnier, one interviewer, I now realise, must have once helped prevent the police from interviewing East European victims of the pentecostal pest after an assault I witnessed in 1998. The charity that brought his victims over is still running, though they’d be worried if they knew that their trustees, including a senior Manx politician, are now listed on East European police files as possible threats to children, and the kids are routinely debriefed by police after their annual visits to the Isle of Man.
So, would I recommend any right-minded local collaborates with bogus Manx government committees set up to rubber stamp bigotry and human rights abuse?
No, because there are probably more thugs, bigots and crooks around the Department of Home Affairs than in the prison.
Why pretend otherwise? Just treat them like the villains they are, and stay well clear.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Pimps, Parsons, Police & Prostitution

A press release from the ECP (English Collective of Prostitutes) on the MOJUK (Miscarriage of Justice UK) news service has finally made my mind up.
I must post something on the cretinous, faith-biased proposals to change the laws on prostitution in January. It’s been proposed by UK Home Secretary Jaqui Smith and advertised by Stop The Traffik and other religious pimps as ‘protecting’ women, but to be blunt it’s absolute bollocks which works by appealing to racist and sexist myth dating back to White Slave Trade fairy stories.
The ECP release mentions a raid on a Soho premises in December, just the latest in a series of similar swoops. This one will lead to a grandmother and registered carer for a man with Alzheimers facing a charge of "controlling prostitution for gain". This though no underage or trafficked women or any evidence of force or coercion was found at the premises, and none had been found during the weekly visits by the police during the whole month of September.
The ECP say it is only the latest in a series, all targetting women at small premises where women are working in safety and by mutual consent, well away from street violence and organised crime rings. As the ECP note: "Many are mothers supporting children; at least three have children with disabilities. One woman started working after the Inland Revenue sent her a £6,000 bill for overpayments of child tax credit. Others are struggling to keep bailiffs at bay following threats of repossession on their home or suffer from ill health.”
These raids and prosecutions are preparing the ground for the new legislation to be announced on 19 January which would force women into "rehabilitation", make it easier for the police to close brothels and arrest kerb-crawlers, and make an offence of "paying for sex with a person who is controlled for another person's gain". Receptionists such as the one arrested in the December raid face up to 7 years in jail, and immigrant women would be automatically deported.
Yet as the ECP also point out,” The figures the government is using to justify raids are based on blatantly discredited research which claims that 80% of women working in the sex industry in the UK have been trafficked. Convictions for trafficking are distorted because the UK definition of trafficking for prostitution, unlike trafficking for any other industry, does not mention force or coercion. This enables every woman with a foreign accent to be labelled a victim of trafficking!”
There is not only the on-the-ground anecdotal evidence of the ECP for such a claim. One of the few serious academic studies of the topic, Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry by Laura Maria Agustin, pretty emphatically trashes the entire argument, pointing out that these figures are arrived at by such a loose definition of ‘traffiking’ that pretty much any migrant seeking work in another country is cast as a ‘victim’ brought there against their will, not as an intelligent decision to better their lot.
I’ve been following this issue for some time, and not just because the involvement of Rev Steve Chalke and his twattish Stop The Traffik outfit alerts me there’s likely to be a scam the religious hope to profit from. By the way, considering the number of ‘business interest/charities/government initiatives’ he and his cohorts are involved in (e.g. Stop The Traffik, Faithworks, Parentalk, Oasis), and the not uncommon use of evangelical networks to provide cheap labour here in the UK (including the Isle of Man), you might wonder who the real pimps and gangmasters are here!
Also note that under the Proceeds of Crime Act the police get to keep 25% of assets seized, and also have a habit of keeping all cash found, trading on the reluctance of sex workers to go public and demand it back. Nice little earner which resembles stories I’ve heard from when the fishing and tourist trade were still profitable here on the island.
Yes, this is a difficult and controversial issue. But if anyone is serious about cutting down on exploitation, rather than religionists trading on sexist and racist myth for a quick buck and more public subsidy, we should have the honesty to look closer and to speak out.
As I recall, I first noted an item by Natalie Rothschild on the ‘Spiked’ website on the misuse of the term ‘traffiking’. You’ll find that at I’d then recommend Brendan O’Neill highlighting the reintroduction of ‘white slave trade’ mythology on the same site at To bring things up to date check out Natalie Rothschild again in a November update at
My old friends at Gay & Lesbian Humanist magazine are also on the case. See, for example,a reprinted article, Sex Workers of the World United, by Cherry Bennet at, and also the link from the G&LH site to the International Union of Sex Workers site at

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Happy Clappies, Fascism and East Europe

We've just received some sad news from Romania, which I'm using as an unashamed excuse for a rant at the side-effects of Western bigots supporting shit evangelical charities.
A friend of my wife's teaches English and Art there. Probably not for much longer, as she's had a minor stroke and lost the ability to see more than fuzzy lumps of colour. At not much past 30 the career of the kind of creative, unselfish teacher you can only dream of over here is over, even if impending public sector job cuts due to the interference of Western charities doesn't make her redundant soon anyway.
As a bright, multilingual student this woman acted as an unpaid translator to the first Western charity workers - equally helpful to anyone whatever their background. In this capacity she helped a well meaning Manx woman who went there some years ago, and returned to persuade her husband to get the likes of the local Buffs and Rotary Club involved. He put up with his wife's efforts, guided by our teacher friend and a few others, for about a year, before admitting neither he nor his fellow toytown business buddies trusted greasy Johnny Foreigners and would only continue to help through 'respectable' Western charities.
In practice that means the only 'charity' available from the island to East European countries is via wealthy evangelical chancers like Samaritan's Purse, who with a US income alone of over $200 million can afford to fly speakers into disaster zones, push them in front of a TV camera, then fly them home again. The sickest thing is, they're not even the worst charity operating here.
Franklin Graham's UK employees tried but failed to get puppet trustees for a Manx SP. Other US outfits did find willing stooges, which are up and operating without declaring their links to even their UK branches, which in turn rarely mention their US puppetmasters.
It would be too much to expect that anyone at the Attorney General's office would have bothered checking out these Manx muppets before granting them charitable status and open access to schools and other public premises. This is, after all, a place where the civil servant paid a six figure sum to head the Financial Supervision Commission and the failed tractor salesman and retired senior politician heading up the IPA were simultaneously directors of an Icelandic bank that's just gone bust in a big way.
Strange, though, that godfearing Manx folk are happy to go along with this hypocrisy and to export to Eastern Europe the kind of sectarian hatred previously only seen in Northern Ireland. Yet they refuse to speak to highly educated people in the countries they claim to be 'helping' who try to warn them that the hate, division and ignorance they are now breeding will eventually lead to ethnic cleansing.
These are the Eastern European professionals who, even now, are losing teaching and health care jobs just as EU help finally filters through to their countries, because that aid is passing via corrupt neo-fascist politicians in places like Romania to 'experts' from 'reputable' Western organisations, mostly evangelical. It then slips back out of the country as one evangelical charity 'donates' it to a sister charity, and eventually once the audit trail is lost back to the US.
Every time you read a piece of PR puff in a Manx newspaper about our wonderful East European 'charity work', don't pat yourself on the back. Hang your head in shame.
If you so much as give a penny to these scum you've contributed to the redundancy of a decent professional who could have made a difference, and a future bloodbath just waiting to kick off.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Bah Humbug

Well, Sentamu's prodigy has given his first Xmas sermon (see ), and as you'd expect it got prime coverage on a radio station where the news staff were at home instead of in the newsroom.
As he highlights 'the Island’s growing problem of homelessness, and criticises what he calls the “I want” culture', so will I.
I was talking to a volunteer at Kemmyrk (the local homelessness charity) recently. On one of the coldest nights of the year just three people stayed either there or with Graigh , the rival service also getting public money run by Broadway Baptists. That's approximately ten down on the known users even in mid-summer last year, before either service got government backing and extensive publicity. Meanwhile I know of two pensioners trudging the Douglas streets each night with sandwiches and coffee for an average of 30 street sleepers in that town alone.
In other words, since the Social Services and local evangelists combined to close down the Island's only alcohol treatment centre and hand it over to an 'independent' housing charity set up according to private instructions from civil servants at the DSS, politicians and church leaders (who also collaborated to keep any member of the public off the management committee) more people are sleeping in the street. This tells me the homeless know they're safer sleeping in a doorway, squat or even a skip than a warm building funded by government and staffed by biblebashers.
The Manx public have shown interest in dealing with the issue, but been prevented from even expressing an opinion by churches. In my book, that makes the churches directly responsible. All they have done is manipulate a growing crisis to get public money which is used for evangelising, not to solve the problem.
Then, if we want to talk about 'the “I want” culture', there's a beauty at To learn more about the apparent background, see previous publicity for this at and
The things to note are it's Xmas Eve, a time when there's panic buying, and the only car-parking for this event is down the road at Stepford Central. Curious that evangelicals put on a public show and to get to your car afterwards you have to walk through the most expensive shopping centre on the island, which is owned by....... oh, another evangelical.
Obviously a complete coincidence, Stepford hosting all those government conferences at special rates, two of their management committee being on all the police bodies you'd have to liase with to arrange public order and all.
Coincidence. Complete. Really.
Scrooge is alive and well. He's probably just left a church near you.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

A Christmas message I wish I'd written

Yesterday the ever excellent Garry Otton over at Scottish Media Monitor
(see for more) delivered a Christmas message that would do for any of us fighting religious privilege and prejudice.
As I wouldn't want to miss out a word of it, here it is in full:

"66 countries in the United Nation's General Assembly have agreed a declaration to decriminalise homosexuality. Now let's read the Big Print: France, the sponsor, didn't have sufficient support for an official resolution. Amongst those refusing to support the non-binding declaration were the so-called United States of America, China, Russia, the Vatican and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, none of whom share a particularly glowing record on human rights. You don't have to be Hercule Poirot to see religionists' fingerprints all over the declaration. The Holy See's observer mission issued a statement saying that the declaration 'challenges existing human rights norms'. Tell that to Amnesty International, sweetheart! And while we're here, what legal justification does the Vatican have to be a member state of the UN? Discuss. Let's not make any excuses for religion; exponents blaming their bigotry on a 'higher authority'.
Yes. A hydra-headed 'authority', as venal as it is contemptible; condemned to crawl for eternity in the darkness and slime of its manufactured superstition.
Such a declaration says nothing of the United Nation's capabilities of protecting the human rights of the world's citizens and everything about the hopeless and ineffective nature of this otiose organisation. The writing is on the wall. In a time of greater need; the United Nations is destined to fail us all.
Christmas. What can I say? To all my friends and readers who will be forced to watch their mum pushing her fingers up a turkey's arse to the sound of 'Hallelujah', please join me in raising a finely-honed Sabatier to Santa's neck. It's dark at three and I'm at home watching pre-recorded drivel in high definition. Give me two religious-free weeks in August! And remember before poking your pennies in that collection box: The poor and lonely don't want to be patronised this Christmas; they want equality and fair play every day. "

I'm always inspired by such a mix of wit, scrutinously researched corrections to lazy mainstream media shite and totally in-yer-face, up front queer attitude.
Slainte, Gary! Here's me, and I hope many others, raising a glass to you.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

When biblebashers go bad

I was startled by a huge Examiner headline this week. It read ‘Ungallant police officers made speeder even later for church’.
But when I read the story, my wee daughter was concerned for my health, having found me on the floor, bent double, clutching my stomach and shrieking with laughter.
Sadly it’s not on line, but the jist of it is as follows:
Police clocked a 61 year old woman doing at least 45 in a 40 zone, just before a village. Apparently she was late for church.
Our boys in blue are usually lenient with minor speeders, preferring to concentrate on serious headbangers. We have no speed limits outside town and well signed 40 zones just before and after. So usually you get a polite reminder of why the few limits are there and sent on your way.
I’ve had a few myself over the years, but no follow ups. In TT Week I once saw a copper studiously ignore a stark naked biker cruising down Douglas prom with an Alsatian on the pillion, so the bar is not exactly low.
Yet this woman ended up in court, where she got a £150 fine and three penalty points. This tells me at once she must have lost it big style and annoyed them into prosecuting.
You get a hint of this from a letter read out in court in which she claimed the police ‘simply sprang out of their hiding place’ and this was the ‘very height of ungallantry’ which made her even later for church. Well, tut tut!
She went on to say that as getting to church was so expensive and life would be ‘intolerable’ without evensong where she could ‘rejoice in tribulation’ she now planned to return to Canada. Her diatribe ended sniffily with: “They do also say of the Isle of Man that nice people come here but they don’t stay. Why should they. Good riddance!”
Need a hand onto that plane with your bags, dear?
I wonder. Is it possible all those fundies on the Police Consultative Forum, forever ranting on about relaxing parking restrictions near churches and so on, have finally exasperated the police into action?
If so, can I also point out the habit evangelicals have of parking their cars with two wheels on the pavement close to their favoured faith hovels. Not hard to spot – newish Chelsea Tractors or people carriers in naff colours, fish signs on the back, personalised plates like ‘MAN460D’, close to a church with the door open and the sound of tuneless wailing wafting from within. Don’t even need to worry any more about a Chief Constable stood at the church door, prayer book in hand, dragging victims in and waving parking wardens away.
Go on officers: make my day. You KNOW you want to!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Let Us Prey

I think Manx churches are feeling the credit crunch.
So, under the usual pretext of 'helping' us , they want to help the public organise their finances better. Then they can beg more cash .
Just take a look at and see what I mean.
But I will only shoot at the guilty here, because I know Cyril Rogers and he's a decent man. If all local clergy were like Cyril - speaking out against racism or homophobia for example - I could have a little respect for them, even if I'd still giggle at their daft superstitions.
But they're not, as you'll see from the inevitable attempt by Stepford Central (that's St. John's Mill to newer readers) to cash in on a crisis. These are the same bandwagon-jumping parasites I mentioned in earlier posts (e.g. Read, note.....then walk away fast ).
'How Can the Church Help with Debt' was their question, so I'll tell them the answer.
Piss off , stop interfering with our lives and stop begging for money.
Oh, and if you were serious about offering cash-strapped people some advice, wouldn't you give them a proper phone number, not a mobile? What are you clowns - cowboy builders?
I don't know about putting people in touch with the Office of Fair Trading. Stewardship Money looks like just the kind of scam that should be reported to them.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Gay & Lesbian Humanist online mag is out - read it!

I've been slow to acknowledge a compliment recently paid to me, so want to put that right now.
The November issue of Gay & Lesbian Humanist came out recently and you can find it at I must admit a special interest - they have a new blogwatch feature, and the first one is very kind about this blog. There - interest declared to appease the critics.
G & LH was always my favourite humanist mag. It actually wasn't being produced for a while because of controversy over a Diesel Balaam article. Now it's back in an online version, bigger and badder than ever.
I read the other humanist mags dutifully but..............................
I don't know, there's always something a bit like Secular Methodism about them. I have a sense of folk who are members of the Rotary Club, drive Volvos, polite middle of the road opinions about most things but don't happen to be religious - if you see what I mean.
I suppose gay humanists are always going to be a bit edgier than that, from necessity,and it shows in the mag. The articles, the subject matter, the opinion, the attention to detail always goes that bit farther.
There's more urgency because, let's face it, it matters more. This isn't some polite academic discussion - the humanist equivalent of theologians arguing over how many angels on the head of a pin. People rarely lose jobs, get beaten up or killed in the UK for not being religious; but if you're openly gay as well as an atheist?
Though I'm not gay I relate to that. I grew up on a council estate in a conformist Midlands town, went to a class-prejudiced grammar school and couldn't wait to get out at 16. In my case the route out and rebellion came through punk - the music, the clothes, the fanzines, the anarchist politics and the attitude. It was a little community of other outsiders - like the gay one -in which we had some respite from a mainstream society whose inability to question or experiment with anything disgusted us.
One of the first punk films was Jubilee, via which I discovered Derek Jarman's writing, and in turn learnt of Outrage and Queer Theory. Actually met Jarman at the premiere of Edward II , which with his mixture of luck and obstinacy was held in a Leeds fleapit, not a flash London venue, and at a time when the effects of his HIV status were very plain. Absolutely magic night, and I'll never forget his mix of wit, charm, principled anger and total refusal to compromise with Thatcherite Britain.
It may sound strange but the gay attitude - and more particularly the queer attitude (there's a difference - think Stonewall and Outrage as rough benchmarks) is an inspiration to someone like me. I'm just trying to get by in a community where everything revolves around the church. I didn't seek arguments with churchgoers, but they don't notice anyone or anything good outside their little world, so I had little choice but to resist.
When I got interested in humanism enough to want to contribute to humanist mags I hesitated - that Secular Methodism again. What had I to say to these folk? When I discovered G&LH that changed. People I could relate to, felt at ease with, who spoke my language.
Look -I can't explain it any better. Just go and read the damn thing. You'll see what I mean, and you won't want to miss an issue - ever!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Save The Children from this

It seems Friends and Heroes , the TV series made here in Ramsey for tiny godbotherers, is scooping up awards at faith-biased filmfests. At least according to a big piece in an advertising supplement enclosed in this week's Courier.
They seem proud that they got a gold award from the Christian Broadcasting Council (selected by 'media industry professionals' too -wooh!). This would only sound impressive if you have never heard of the CBC, and so think they're a big deal.
Sadly not so. Any UK evangelical charity which only reports an annual income of under £10K is a joke. That's not even enough cash to get someone like TV vicar Steve Chalke out of bed in the morning, fer fek's sake!
Actually, there's more than a whiff of Hans Christian Andersen about their charity register entry, but that's nothing new. In fact 'forgetting' to register trustee interests, hiding income and stuff like that is the norm for godbotherers who beg for public funds and avoid tax, as I've demonstrated before on this blog.
When you also note that they're on something like their fourth reincarnation as a charity you know other things are wrong. The usual penalty for failing to make returns or other minor illegal stuff is a quiet strike off by the charities commission rather than prosecution and public embarrassment. Then there's poor legal advice - e.g. forgetting to put something basic in the charitable objectives, which cannot be amended as you do with a normal company. Then there's the even more usual problem with evangelicals: put three in a room and two will plot against the other for control, while all three will be taking instruction from their church superiors anyway.
To get a better picture of the mettle of the CBC committee, go to . After you've noted this sad collection of snakecharmers and holy rollers, along with the fly-by-night outfits they represent, try going to and looking at their partners in crime for more hilarity.
Oral Roberts University?Fek! How sad is that?
Then there's Christian Concern For Our Nation and everybody's favourite LCF lawyer Andrea Williams - a woman so robotic in TV interviews that with a well aimed TV remote you could probably make her head explode. Actually, I'd just settle for switching her off, as would most sick of seeing pointless court time taken up by homophobes who'd rather read a bible than do their public sector jobs.
We should laugh at these losers, a lot. But don't forget something else.
Friends and Heroes is now on both the UK and Manx RE curriculum. This bilge is being shown to small kids like yours and mine without even a health warning, and the company that makes it got breaks from the Isle of Man Film Commission, plus more public cash and a lot of behind the scenes government help to avoid planning objections and build their new studio.

Betty Page (RIP) - America's Best Christian?

Sad little story on the BBC website today.
Betty Page, the pin-up queen, has died.
For those to whom this means nothing, you obviously didn't dabble in punky perversions in your younger days.
Betty caused outrage in her heyday with her (by modern standards) mild bondage and spanking films and photoshoots. I think I came across her (so to speak) when she was reborn as a bit of a campy gothgirl role model in the 1980's and 1990's.
I love her comment that "I never thought it was shameful. I felt normal. It's just that it was much better than pounding a typewriter eight hours a day, which gets monotonous."
Way to go, girl!
I was also intrigued by the revelation that in her later years she turned to religion. This sparked a wicked thought.
Was Betty Page the template for Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian?
Just the idea has me sniggering hysterically at the thought of uptight Baptist ladies punishing the wicked with........a certain gleam in the eye and rather more enthusiasm than is strictly necessary.
Hallelujah! (whack) Praise the Lord!! (whack) Ooo-er Missis!
Take a look at for the Betty story and to see if you agree with me.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Manx fairy tales

Seems the new Anglican bishop has been taking advice from the fairies.
No, really.
He's picked up on the popularity of pinning messages to the trees down at Fairy Bridge. This gave him the idea for something he calls a 'prayer box'.
Apparently this is something that looks like a garden bird box, but you stick notes in it instead of breadcrumbs for robins. These are going to be nailed to trees in church grounds, along with cards and biros, so spookchasers can write cards to their imaginary mate.
See if you don't believe me.
What I love is his explanation.
He says: 'Some may say we're a superstitious lot (or have a lot of superstitious visitors), but I think there's something more profound behind this.'
'I'm convinced that it is a sure sign of the human longing for God and for conversation, fellowship, relationship - communion- with him.'
Um, no, it means you're a loon who needs imaginary friends, and if you can't hide behind institutional lunacy like major religions you tend to get sectioned.
And once again, why do Christians insist on calling believers in other old wives tales 'superstitious' but intimate their own folk tales are not? How can you be a Christian without belief in the supernatural?
Apparently also when humans look at beauty or pain: 'humanity doesn't know where to direct its thoughts and emotions of thanksgiving and longing. The result can be what you can see at the Fairy Bridge.'
...or in any church, mosque or synagogue.
I'm also intrigued that he goes so far out of his way not to knock anyone who calls out 'Hello fairies' as they pass over the Fairy Bridge. Maybe the shrinking church is more desperate for inter-faith alliances against change than we knew already!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

This one is for Pat Kneen

The papers are full of stuff about the assisted suicide programme to broadcast today on Sky. See here for example.
Every time this stuff comes up I'm reminded of a life-changing event. Something that changed the way I look at this island forever, and marked the moment when I lost all fear of speaking my mind at all times and hang the consequence.
People forget very quickly that just a few years ago the Isle of Man was at the centre of such discussions, so go here for a reminder.
This piece was translated and read around the world at the time. It's still my recipe for dealing with apparently overwhelming religious prejudice, and bringing about a sea-change in local attitudes.
Don't get serious. Get happy.
Laugh ignorance off the planet.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Bono and Bob won't like it

It had to happen. Not only is the UK government taking their usual hypocritical public stance on 'tax havens', now Benny the boy Nazi is having a go too.
See for more.
I love the bit about 'Offshore markets could also be linked to the recycling of profits from illegal activities.' Also young Ade's understated response about the Vatican Bank.
It needs to be said. At the same time that offshore centres were coming under intense scrutiny from the OECD, and the Isle of Man had the Edwards Report from the UK, the Vatican Bank, along with other financial institutions, were asked by Jewish organisations to take a close look at their World War Two records, consider how much war loot they might have hidden for the Nazis and maybe consider giving it back to the rightful owners. Even Swiss banks 'fessed up, and in the following years as the audit trail got clearer Jewish families started getting their heirlooms back, art institutions discovered the true provenance of paintings they'd acquired, and so on.
The Vatican Bank? Nada - too difficult, too complicated.
Funny-same excuse they're now giving academics who want the Vatican to release wartime records which might show when, if ever, it stopped cutting deals with the fascists. Funny, just as Benny Boy is so keen to canonise the bastard who might have been cutting them when he could have been saving folk from the death camps.
On a less serious note. Wonder when Bono is going to tell his best mate Benny to lay off the offshore stuff.
Wouldn't want any nosy journo asking awkward questions about godly Irish showbiz types and their tax affairs, would we? Offhand, even without bothering to research the matter, I can think of at least five such figures who won't be doing any more Kafflic Yoof rallies for Benny if he doesn't shut it soon.

It's music, Jim, but not as we know it

Reading an otherwise innocuous bit of Education PR about a Christmas concert at I was startled by a familar name at the end.
James MacMillan? Not the sad religionist James Macmillan who churns out such awful muzak?
'Who?' sez you. 'Oh sod it,' sez me, 'just read and we can cut to the chase'.
I do like this comment by the way
'Leading British composer'? That's almost as oxymoronic as 'Christian morality'! He's an idiot whose religious beliefs will thankfully soon be as obscure and irrelevant to the rest of us as his music.'
Wonder who said that? Oh - me.
No but seriously... the last patron of the Manx Youth Orchestra was Malcolm Arnold - and what a difference. Populist, wrote film scores and music kids could play, and liked playing. Even wrote a piece replete with foghorn chorus celebrating his local lifeboat crew specially for a local youth band. Glorious stuff.
When he wrote something for a Manx orchestra and the local fur coat and no knicker brigade were getting uppity about it I poked fun in the local paper, pointing out his best known composition was the theme tune to 'St. Trinians'. They fainted -but he roared with laughter.
What really worries me is if some bright spark also decides to commission 'Holy Jim, CBE' to knock out obscurantist drivel for Manx kids to struggle through at some point.
No prizes for guessing what kind of theme it will have with his track record. Still, at least it will never get a second performance, and no-one will go to the first unless their attendance is a job or exam requirement.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Oy, Godbotherer, you're nicked!

Some days you see something you didn't expect which gives you the hope to go on - and this is one of them.
A while back I spiked Manx National Prayer Week plans with a pisstake letter to the Examiner suggesting street evangelists should be arrested for begging with menaces, which got more attention than Stepford Central's carefully planned campaign. Poor them, after they got their space in return for advertising from godbothering local businesses and everything.
Just an off-the-cuff prank, and I never dreamed my suggestion that evangelists be pestered by the law would be taken up.
Then I saw an article on the IOM Newspapers website about cowboy builders (see Not the most obvious target for a bit of holy roller-baiting, but look at the first comment from Steve.
Hmm, thanks Steve.
Now, let's take this further, people. Let's write to our retards (sorry - politicians) and demand that the coldcalling clause is applied to thugs who threaten pensioners with badly misquoted scripture.
If this new Crime & Disorder Bill really could be used to criminalise door-to-door biblebashing we might actually see an end to a real social evil.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Read, note....then walk away fast

There's so much Horlicks going on over here at present, and so little time to unmask it, that it's hard to pick an issue.So, better take the biggest scam first.
According to an item on the Manx Radio website (see ) a new local charity guide has been published. Even if you're not as cynical about our poorly regulated charity register as I am, this is a joke.
First thing to note is that Connect2Charity is run by David Talbot, right hand man to the Stepford Central management, the Police Consultative Forum and Police Advisory Group (see As soon as this pub closes, the Revolution starts on 16th October for more on that), and many others. This crew have been flogging their dubious management skills around the voluntary sector for a while now, mostly trying to scare small charities into letting them 'help'. They are also a major component of the team behind the recent local Council of Voluntary Organisations, which seems intent on lobbying Tynwald to disband any half-decent social services left and replace them with predominantly faith-based amateurs.
All this kicked off when CARE came over about five years ago to 'advise' Manx fundamentalists on rebranding their businesses with a 'Christian ethos' in order to avoid anti-discrimination legislation - and taxes of course.
This set bigots counting on their fingers the potential profits to be made from loopholes in charitable and small business law if only the Manx government can be persuaded against fluffy liberal compassion, maintaining professional standards and stuff like that. About as hard as persuading the Pope to conduct a mass, then!
I'd give anyone who might be considering asking a Manx charity for help this advice. Take a look at this guide, note the names, and make damn sure to steer clear of all of them.