Saturday, 24 January 2009

More biblebashers going bad

What is it about godbothering pensioners and their attitude to the law?
Back in December I highlighted the case of an old cow who cut up rough when traffic police stopped her racing to church (see When biblebashers go bad on 17th December).
Now there’s an even funnier case – though potentially more serious. Again not on line, possibly again to spare the pious fossil’s blushes, so here’s a quick precis:
85 year old dear overdoes the wine at Sunday lunch, then decides she just must drive to church. Police are alerted to a car being driven erratically through Port Erin, and arrive to find said car has mounted the pavement by the local RC church and hit the wall. The visibly disorientated driver has to be taken 20 odd miles to Douglas (being a Sunday all other police stations are shut) and when eventually tested is way over the drink-driving limit.
In court her brief tries everything, from rounding up the congregation as character references to accusing the police of being less than Cary Grant with the geriatric gin-guzzler. The judge is also told she’s indispensable at church, where she launders the fancy dress costumes.
Does make you wonder, doesn’t it?
Fellow godbotherers who’ll act as character references, and priests with all expenses paid cars being waited on hand and foot. Obviously not that ‘indispensable’ if none of them could offer her a lift. With a £400 fine and 12 month driving ban, let’s see if they pitch in now she really has problems.
The funny thing is, the police are proudly saying how the Christmas drink driving figures are down thanks to their prominent campaigning (see Every teenager and single parent from a sink estate who’s been random checked in recent months should now say ‘get off my back and stop a few biblebashers instead before they kill someone’.
Sadly, while death in the shape of godbothering grannies is now kept off the roads, the other subject area of my December posting isn’t improving.
For example, a Chelsea tractor parked on the pavement outside a Douglas religious establishment twice daily on Sundays which necessitates anyone (e.g. mums with prams or the disabled) having to step into the centre of a busy narrow road to pass. One pensioner was about to report it, only for a young mum to tell him not to bother.
Seems she’d almost been ploughed down a few times by the same vehicle in the prison car park while visiting, and finally reported it through the advised official channels – i.e. the senior prison officer then doubling up as acting prison governor.
Guess who the reckless driver was?
Knowing how admired he is in senior police circles – especially amongst fellow members of Christian police groups – what are the chances he will be told to park his car legally this side of an ‘unavoidable’ fatal traffic accident?

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Pimps, Parsons....and Politics

I’ve posted before on the efforts of the UK Home Office, aided by ‘God’s own pimp’ (the Rev. Steve Chalke) to change the laws on prostitution. Purely coincidentally (I’m sure) the plan is to push through changes this month in a way that would excuse yet more public subsidy of nice little earners badly disguised as charities that Chalke has been setting up in recent years (See Pimps, Parsons, Police & Prostitution on 28 Dec).
When in Shakti Man last week I was amused to see Stop The Traffik merchandising, based on the efforts of local evangelicals who ‘support’ teachers during ‘citizenship’modules. They pose as womens rights activists but don’t appear to know that Chalke registered the slogan as a trading name even before incorporating the company via a downmarket London company formation outfit and selling it on to some other right wing spookchasers linked to the Alpha cult.
Chalke could easily still be taking a cut, I suspect hiding involvement or possible control by merely acting as a ‘consultant’, not a director. This is the oldest trick in the book, and should fool no-one, especially in an offshore jurisdiction where 50% of the adult population administrate hundreds of such companies. Just goes to show, the folk trying to dictate Manx morality aren’t even bright enough to work as office juniors in the real world.
Thankfully UK churches aren’t managing to bamboozle the politicians as easily as they expected, and may have to wait a lot longer before they get their hands on the loot – if at all.
Witness these three Early Day Motions, for example.

EDM 523 / Prostitution and the criminal law / Tabled by Lynne Jones
‘That this House considers that the measures in relation to prostitution contained in the Policing and Crime Bill, though well-intentioned, are deeply flawed; believes that there is no justification for involving the criminal law in consensual transactions that cause no public nuisance; notes the opposition to the proposals from the Royal College of Nursing and other members of the Safety First Coalition, who call for an end to the criminalisation of prostitution, which they consider makes sex workers more vulnerable to attack; further notes that police evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee has cast doubts on the enforceability of the proposals on paying for the sexual services of a prostitute controlled for gain and therefore opposes these provisions in the Bill; and calls on the Government to make more effective use of existing laws against trafficking and sexual exploitation and to enlist the support of purchasers of sexual services to help expose those establishments that use trafficked women.’

EDM 525 / Definition Of A Brothel / Tabled by Lynne Jones
‘That this House notes with disappointment that the Government has failed to use the Policing and Crime Bill to honour the commitment in the Home Office report of January 2006, A Co-ordinated Prostitution Strategy and a summary of responses to Paying the Price, for an amendment to the definition of a brothel so that two or three individuals could work together from shared accommodation; and is concerned that the omission of this provision misses an important opportunity to allow women in the sex trade to work more safely, to have more control over their work and to make it easier for them to leave the trade should they so wish.’

EDM 524 / Policing and Crime Bill provisions introducing orders requiring attendance at meetings / Tabled by Lynne Jones
‘That this House notes that Clause 16 in the Policing and Crime Bill providing for the introduction of Orders Requiring Attendance at Meetings for those found to be loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution is simply a rehash of the abandoned proposal in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill for compulsory rehabilitation; considers that there is no evidence that compulsion assists in rehabilitation and agrees with the Royal College of Nursing that the proposal will lead to greater detention of some of the most vulnerable, stigmatised and marginalised people in society whose criminalisation helps institutionalise them in prostitution; and therefore urges the Government to concentrate instead on providing high-quality outreach programmes, independent of the criminal justice system, which offer healthcare and support, sexual health advice and drug rehabilitation opportunities that individuals who want to leave prostitution can access.’

With the Labour Party whipping the nation’s godbotherers and jam-makers up into the biggest frenzy over a folk myth since the white slave trade common sense like this is rare to find. But at least some are fighting back, and good luck to them.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Bigotry on the rates

There's a sad story over on the Daily Telegraph about a homophobic fire officer who has just been given the freedom to continue his sick prejudice.
He was one of nine officers given a written warning and ordered to undergo diversity training for refusing to give out safety leaflets at a gay pride event in Glasgow. Being a godbothering throwback he refused, then took his employers to an employment tribunal with the help of the Christian Institute, that notorious gang of well funded fundamentalist freaks. Disgustingly the fire service caved in, and not only apologised but gave the bigot hard cash to go away and stop whining. You can read about it at
I couldn't help wondering; if this sad, spookchasing excuse for a human being's superstitious objections had taken other forms, would he have been as successful?
For example, what if he'd refused to work on Friday 13th or walk under a ladder?
Then I mused, could it happen over here?
But something very like it has - though in that case even a government service headed by a notorious fundamentalist said enough is enough.
The case revolved around a six foot four, 18 stone copper - also a judo black belt. Just the type to have around on a dark night with villains about, so you'd think.
Problem was, in addition to the acceptable prejudices for coppers during Robin Oake's watch as Chief Constable (racism, sexism, homophobia, sectarianism............) this one had other irrational views. He believed in ghosts, so strongly in fact that he refused point blank to patrol on dark nights around old buildings, churchyards and other places where popular fiction and folk tales have it that the dead kick their heels while waiting for Judgement Day.
This was apparently too much hocus pocus even for James Anderton's favourite son. But knowing Oake's twisted views on gays, which led him to replicate on the island with equally sad results illegal entrapment techniques which he (and not Anderton) introduced to Manchester, I suspect he would have approved the cretinous superstitions of the Glasgow fire officer if ever spouted by a Manx police employee. In fact, as he was a prominent member of the Christian police group which objected to advertising produced by the Gay Police Association, I know he would.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Judgement Day

I was tipped off that there would be a judgement today in an extraordinary Manx court case. Extraordinary for one thing in that a Manx judge finally broke ranks and admitted the Manx legal system was itself capable of nasty, illegal acts against someone who went to it hoping for justice.
I don’t know the full history of this case – due to it progressing in such a way that it couldn’t be publicised for one thing. What I do gather is that an order from a Lancashire court preventing a Manx resident seeing his kids was upheld by a Manx court – even though there is no equivalent law over here and so the Manx court had no power to make such an order. I also gather much of that was because some in the legal profession passed judgement before anyone entered the court, and seem to have thought like redneck preachers rather than trained lawyers.
It’s been suggested to me there’s some similarity between the way this case went and the sorry way Andy Kershaw was told by a Manx judge not to speak to his kids even if they met by accident in the street. In both cases you have an assumption that a guy who takes a broken relationship hard and maybe initially overreacts is an animal, gets driven into a corner by the legal system, inevitably hits back in sheer frustration and is clobbered with the full weight of the law – in the process losing all hope of a future relationship with kids he loves.
It’s also been suggested to me that much of this fundamentalist Manx attitude is because godbotherers are gaining power in the social services. The problem dates back to the 1980’s, when many local authorities privatised training of social workers to cut costs. The most ‘cost effective’ mickey mouse courses were offered by US evangelicals – the kind who tell students in all seriousness that wearing black T shirts is evidence of Satanism. As the Manx government hates to bear the costs of training anyone locally, it was only a matter of time before these semi-literate kneejerkers started moving over here for a quieter life… and so it goes.
I always thought the job of family courts was to find a middle road for troubled couples, something that gives kids a chance to know two parents and leaves the door open for all in case, with time, the old wounds heal. So even if the family doesn’t get back together at least everyone’s talking.
OK, that’s never going to be easy, but if you have a situation where not only social workers but, over here, even legal officers see everything in Old Testament terms where one protagonist is good and the other evil it’s not going to happen. Period.
The guy at the centre seems to have lost so much faith in Manx barristers that he fought the case himself – which put up the backs of their mates and stacked things even more against him. Good to see that not only did he not give up, but that eventually at least one Manx judge was willing to give him a proper hearing.
The judgement is at .
Bear in mind this is our so-called legal profession talking about themselves, so they’re not likely to speak plainly in a place where even us oiks can discover it. Still, if you can plough your way through the legalese you may well worry that our courts are a mess and Manx justice mighty thin on the ground.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Not praying, just preying...and desperate

Can I give fair warning that a prominent voodoo merchant plans ritual child abuse in public on Peel Beach on April 12th, in front of an audience who are unlikely to escape with their wallets.
Don’t believe me? Go to and see for yourselves.
See what I mean? Who but a state-sanctioned spookchaser could half-drown an innocent baby in public, and even get the police diverting traffic instead of arresting him? If David Blaine tried this he’d get jailed or sectioned – possibly both.
But if you think about it, this is godbotherers admitting defeat.
Look at the date – Easter Sunday. One of the two most important dates in the Christian calendar, and barring weddings or funerals the only two when the wider public step into a church to keep elderly relatives sweet. So, instead of a setpiece sermon in the cathedral, with guaranteed radio coverage, the most overpaid, overprivileged cleric on this island is …..standing with his trouser legs rolled up in six inches of seawater, sprinkling tapwater on a rugrat.
It’s over. They can’t baffle us with bullshit, can’t convince anyone outside their tiny, ageing flock they have any moral authority… they’re all washed up. Nothing left but cheap showbiz tricks.
You could see that too last weekend, when our own Southern rednecks, Living Hope Community Church, put on an anniversary show in front of paying punters down at the Villa Marina.
Not just Rev Jonathan ‘I had breakfast with George Bush’ Stansfield at his most mouthfoamingly manic, not just ‘local celebrity guests’, not just live adult baptisms, but a rock band ……. FROM LEEDS!
It was supposed to be a massive attempt to drag in new punters, but even with the local business equivalent of the KKK pooling their funds for advertising (which in turn guaranteed several Manx Radio plugs and a spacefiller in the Courier) it was a disaster.
I know that for a fact, because an office colleague had to attend to placate some mad relative. Even though the colleague is a regular churchgoer, she described the entire proceedings as a freakshow where even the freaks weren't getting off on the parlour tricks.
For example, the rock band weren’t a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, and didn’t play Sweet Home Alabama, nobody drowned in the bathtub, hardly anybody spoke in tongues or thrashed around on the floor… in fact the faithful were so underwhelmed they went home without lynching anybody.
Actually, Stansfield might as well have wrapped up his sermon in the immortal words of the knackered ‘droid in Blade Runner.
‘Wake up. Time to die!’

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Comedy Hour

I've been slow to alert folk to a fun event on Manx Radio last Thursday.
My good mate Andrew Dixon, Vice-Chair of Isle of Man Freethinkers, was called into the studio for a debate nominally over the atheist bus adverts. In the faith corner to tell us all why it was a sin and we will go to hell in a handbasket was Peter Murcott.
You can hear the results at
For the benefit of off-island readers (and possibly on-island readers too) I should explain that Murcott is the local equivalent of Christian Voice's Stephen Green. He's a veteran of local campaigns going back to Keep Sunday Special and was even, I believe, the leader of a Manx chapter of Mary Whitehouse's old Festival of Light gang.
As you'll hear, he likes to present himself as a legal authority, though he's never practiced law. He did recently retire from teaching O & A level law at the local 'tech. Also to his credit, while his biblical arguments against Sunday trading fell on deaf political ears, his arguments on behalf of shop and other workers got them a fair deal when the Manx law was amended.
That said, it's hard to take anyone seriously when he mixes quotations from Genesis with legal judgements and has the most prolific whiskers since Biggles Flies Undone.
Debating Murcott is almost a rite of passage for Freethinkers, and by accident he always sounds off about subjects he knows nothing of when his opponent is, coincidentally, there because they take an informed interest.
Previously, for example, on assisted suicide he drew Jeff Garland, who, being a modest bloke who rarely uses his doctor title, Murcott didn't know was a retired clinical psychologist with not just extensive experience counselling the terminally ill but a couple of books out on the topic. So when Murcott fumed that the ill and elderly would feel terrorised into taking the tablets Jeff amicably flattened him.
This time was as funny. Poor old Peter was not to know that, long before a current stable of businesses, Andrew was a post-grad student on a project led by Richard Dawkins. Thus not the best person to tell 'authoritively' that evolution is poor science.
Listen, laugh and learn!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Jesus saves, Africans just die

Another planted story about ‘caring’ spookchasers (see has me fuming at both the sheer audacity of these shysters and the absence of background checks before Manx overseas aid money is doled out.
The danger signs are there even before checking further. When did anyone at Broadway Baptists help another human unless there’s a kickback?
The first obvious question was ‘who the hell are Childcare Kitgum Servants’?
A fast answer to that, and to how they work, can be found at In brief, it’s an Australian evangelical outfit, which immediately raises the question of why they bother forming a subsidiary Manx charity.
I suspect the answer to that is the same one as the use of Manx charitable status by several US evangelical networks. Bargain basement alternative to proper Manx offshore status, with no searchable public records and a weak regulatory regime which files documents but does not check or monitor charities.
This allows money to be bounced around the world from one sister charity to another as ‘donations’. They will eventually reach the US bank account of an evangelical church, usually in tranches of under $10,000 to avoid triggering obligatory reports to the FBI and IRS, and always entering the US in another currency and then being converted into dollars to avoid new Patriot Act checks which can be made anywhere in the world if the suspicious transaction is in US dollars.
But it gets worse. Via an e-mail list I subscribe to I discovered, which really puts stuff in perspective. Rick Warren, the homophobic twat due to cast spells at the Obama inauguration, and a mad Ugandan pastor linked to the Bush regime’s massive sponsorship of faith-biased pseudo ‘AIDS prevention’ schemes. A disaster which makes the problem worse and allows western evangelicals to rob Africans of their overseas aid then ship the proceeds home again to build megachurches.
Then again, we should not forget the UK contribution to a scam which is sicker than graverobbing. The infamous ALPHA cult is also busy in Uganda. Their head honcho, Sandy Millar, (who famously told homophobic US Episcopalians that "your steadfastness in the face of a new and speciously sophisticated manifestation of evil has won you many admirers all over the world" ) started cuddling up to Archbishop Henry Orombi over there and was rewarded by being made a bishop of the Ugandan Church with a special mission to London.
Excuse my language, but Christ on a bike! These pondlife must be shovelling up cash by the bucketful while Africans die, and now the Isle of Man is helping them.
It really is time for vigorous public debate on both the abuse of Manx charitable status and the vacuous system by which our overseas aid budget is being hijacked.

Radio Four and Against

So, as anyone who joined the fun this week knows, Mark 'Turd Of The Day' Damazer, the Radio 4 boss, isn't about to let anyone rational interrupt his daily two minutes of hocus pocus any time soon. I suspect he's taking instructions on the matter from one Andrew Graystone , the BBC producer responsible for the 'challenging' (that's mediaspeak for 'shite no-one watches') film prominently advertised before broadcast last Easter.
Graystone is an Evangelical Alliance stooge who Joel Edwards managed to get on to a statutory body which 'advises' the BBC on religious programming, even though he's absolutely incapable of objectivity as not only a spookchasing flake but the BBC employee who would get the work should one of his employers take his advice. After all, the EA must also pay him well for media work such as a website he does for them.
On the other hand another wing of Radio 4 is showing more taste. A month ago I ran something on the ridiculous plans to change prostitution laws, based mainly on evangelical advocacy campaigns which falsely paint all immigrant women as potential victims of mythical traffiking gangs
(see for more).
An article by Ruth Alexander at politely but decisively trashes the trumped up evidence, and handily reveals the true source of the false stats evangelicals are waving about. It's also revealed that not only are they a decade old but that even the researcher who gathered them thinks they're badly flawed, being based on a vague survey that rang a few suspects almost at random and took a stab at what the overall picture ought to be.
Well worth a look to balance the hype due to appear unchecked throughout UK media in the next month or two.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Thought For The Day

The excellent Gavin Orland campaign to bombard the BBC this week with complaints about Thought For The Day is going well. About 1,500 are pledged to do it.
Mine, sent in good time to get the Today staff sniggering through Monday's 'thought', read as follows:

'Dear Sir or Madam,

I wish to complain (in the most amicable way that I can) about the segment of your programme laughingly called 'Thought For The Day'.
My primary objection is a simple one: there is very rarely evidence of thought. I am painfully aware that many clergy go weeks, months...sometimes an entire career.... without an orginal thought, but I would argue licence payers are being defrauded by contributors who make no effort to do so.
My greater objection is that the spot is limited to religious speakers. For the reason mentioned above I do think this lays you open to a charge of deception. You could always deal with this by changing the title to 'Superstitious Rant For The Day' , 'Misguided Misogynistic Whinge For The Day' or something else on those lines, but there is a simpler solution. Here in the Isle of Man we adopted it some time ago with great success, so I pass it on for your consideration.
The local radio station, Manx Radio, has featured non-religious contributors alongside religious ones in their 'Thought For The Day' spot for some time. For example, I speak along with other Amnesty International members during the week around Human Rights Day every year.
This has brought several local benefits. Firstly, as the station depends upon a mixture of government grants and advertising, the number of listeners and therefore advertising revenue increases. Similarly the number of commuters who catch traffic warnings and therefore do not skid on black ice, or pensioners not injured in bizarre domestic accidents while hurling themselves across kitchens to turn off the ramblings of demented local lay preachers.
I feel sure this pattern would be repeated on a much larger scale across the British Isles if you could only see reason. For the sake of pensioners, motorists, and indeed a wide section of your audience who are inconvenienced by the need to hurriedly block out two minutes of nonsense which blights your otherwise excellent programme I beg you to consider this idea.
If you really cannot face up to empty threats of damnation and do the right thing, could you at least give a clear public health warning five minutes before the offending item. This should give plenty of time for listeners to adjust their radios in good time, and considerably ease the pressure on emergency services dealing with the current crop of freak, radio-related accidents during peak commuter travel hours,


Stuart Hartill
Isle of Man'

By the way, the reference to pensioners suffering freak injuries while trying to turn ranting biblebashers off is based on fact.
My good friend Denys Drower has broken countless radio sets and numerous items of kitchen furniture in his efforts to avoid such crap in either the Manx or UK version. At 90 it's high time he and his wife were able to breakfast in a civilised manner.
But our Denys is still fighting the good fight. Two years back I helped him get up a petition to the Beeb asking for an opt-out to the Sunday Service - something on the lines of those given for cricket matches. As an ex-Auntie reporter himself Denys knew this is technically possible for mere pence. He's also penning anti-clerical poems galore, and even features in January's Freethinker.
What a hero!
Us young 'uns owe it to old campaigners like him to get our e-mails off to the Beeb now (, and cc to, also try to make your complaint official).
Write now and help get wank off the wireless.

Silver Rings don't work

The January issue of Pediatrics, a US medical journal,has a report telling us what we’ve always known. The $176 million pumped by the Bush administration into godbothering ‘abstinence only’ sex education was wasted.
The ‘Silver Ring Thing’ pisses public funds down the drain, and that’s official.
"Taking a pledge doesn't seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior," said the report’s author, Janet E. Rosenbaum of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking."
In fact, only 24% of kids who undergo such evangelical brainwashing will then go on to use condoms, compared to 34% of kids who never suffer the courses.
Rosenbaum, in effect, says that problem is down to the misinformation silver ringers get.
"There's been a lot of work that has found that teenagers who take part in abstinence-only education have more negative views about condoms," she said. "They tend not to give accurate information about condoms and birth control."
She also found 82% of those who took the pledge dropped out, and there was no significant difference in the proportion of students in both groups who had engaged in any type of sexual activity, including giving or receiving oral sex, vaginal intercourse, the age at which they first had sex, or their number of sexual partners. More than half of both groups engaged in various types of sexual activity anyway.
You can find a good outline of the report at
Predictably, godbotherers tried to diss the findings, intimating the difference is down to a different kind of youth being attracted to the Silver Ring idea.
So thick people go to church, fuck around behind each other's backs then get more unplanned kids and STDs. What else is new?
Now let’s see some research into the other diversions of US public money into church propagandising. Drug and alcohol ‘education’, probation services, childcare, homelessness…..the list of offences and offenders is endless.Time to get the facts into the open.
We’re starting to see the problems caused by this nonsense in the UK and Isle of Man. It is time to nip it in the bud before more people die and more kids grow up in the misery caused by religious bigotry.

Monday, 5 January 2009

You are the weakest link.......

You may have come across the Darwin Awards, which go annually to eejits who kill themselves in spectacularly stupid ways.
I had to laugh on hearing the recently announced 2008 winner was a Catholic priest. Now THAT's Darwinism!
Reverend Adelir Antonio di Carli had been trying to break a record for the longest time in-flight with party balloons when he disappeared on April 20th, 2008. He staged the stunt to help raise money for a chapel for truckers.
Wearing a helmet, aluminum thermal flight-suit, water proof coveralls and parachute, the cleric set off over the ocean from Brazil in a mad contraption suspended only by 1,000 helium-filled balloons. He was reported missing about eight hours later after calling on a mobile phone to say he was crashing into the sea. Three months later his body was discovered off the south-eastern coast of Brazil.
Just a shame he was flying solo. There's a 'retired' Nazi in Rome many would love to see 'test his faith' in a similar fashion.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Product Placement for Plonkers

I was amused by the letter from Sharon Ingham in Friday’s Indie (see
This relates to the desperate attempt to drag a few more punters into a shopping centre and simultaneously ‘brand’ the island as ‘Christian’ with an outdoor Christmas Eve nativity freakshow at the spot of our annual Tynwald Day ceremony (see my 25 December post for more). For off-island readers, the joke is that Patrick has around half a dozen houses and another inhabitant fronted the freakshow. Talk about clumsy PR, it could almost have been a ‘Freedom To Fester’ effort.
But then, the frontwoman for the freakshow also appears in the new Tourist Department TV ads…which has me giggling some more, because when looking for the source of another poorly placed ‘Christmas story’ which has FTF’s sloppy fingerprints all over it….
…..but I’m running too fast here in my hilarity.
The other story was the ‘coincidental’ front page and picture of Wednesday’s Courier (sadly not online as it’s a real plonker). This shows the Anglican Bish steering a lifeboat. Of course, to really impress the local fairyfanciers, he should have walked on water, but never mind. Godbotherers just produce shit PR. Tough luck, but if your brain is wired to obsess about spooks there’s no room for logic, humour or creative thinking.
Now this story would have been placed by the RNLI, whose volunteers do a good job but whose Manx fundraisers are banjaxed by making themselves an exclusive club, open only to second generation wealthy inbreeds. A bit like Save the Children and Age Concern in fact. Interestingly, Hugh Davidson, the 70’s PR pterodactyl behind 'Freedom To Fester', likes to ‘help’ them too.
This adds to my hilarity, because the Nativity endorsement is SO like the clumsy FTF attempts to place letters ‘written’ by locals (in reality ghostwritten by the fumbling PR hacks Davidson mentors) complaining about the UK press treatment of the island.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Davidson has suggested to government that the ‘upmarket’ RNLI be added to the little FTF portfolio of ‘clients’. As it’s a safe ‘brand’ that locals support without publicity there is no danger the RNLI will actually collapse, and his goons will use the continued goodwill as ‘evidence’ their methods work.
What would be very funny is if he has offered his dubious skills to the church, perhaps PR to a bishop who, as Sentamu’s Apprentice, is already sold on the idea of ‘media savvy clergy’? If so, spotting the obvious placements (and pointing out how our local media are now almost totally dependent on a government and church which conspires to bury news in favour of spin, downright lies and bigotry) is about to be more fun than ever.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

New Year Dog's Breakfast

Bookings are now being taken for the President’s New Year Breakfast. At this annual bun & bible bash gullible punters pay to breakfast with the President of Tynwald (and any other politician sober enough to make it) while an inspirational speaker exhorts them to lead a good Christian life. Yes, the last three words don’t belong together, and yes, the entire event tends to be a bad joke.
Some years it’s quite hilarious. For example, you’d think someone would smell a rat when a recent speaker claimed to be doing Christian good works through a trust run from Monaco with a name almost (but not quite) like that of a well respected aid agency. I’d have expected his only audience to be the Manx Fraud Squad, but apparently folk not only paid to listen but stumped up for a cash collection divided between him and legitimate Manx faith-led charities. Again, the last four words don’t quite belong together, but at least some Manx charity details are listed on a government register.
I’m also amazed anyone pays to be in the same room as the Tynwald President, Noel Cringle. Of necessity I was in the room twice one year while he imitated a lay preacher in a backwater village chapel, and I’d have paid to get out. Officially he was there to formally launch a charity so I just escaped after the formalities and before I had to throw up.
We even had to rearrange the date and venue once because it clashed with his Rotary night. Perhaps that was where they pre-arranged the voting for the committee members.
This year’s speaker, amazingly, is legit. He’s George Reid, the SNP politician and former TV producer whose credits include the Michael Buerk story on the Ethiopia famine. For reasons best known to our dimwit politicos, they introduce him instead by his hobby, as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. It’s a purely honorary position, which means he spends a week sitting in for Her Maj at their annual fat-chewing session. I do hope the poor sod gets well paid for it.
This rings alarm bells, because El Presidente has form for using banquets paid for with public money to retard the separation of church and state. In December 2007, on the very day the Keys were supposed to debate the remaining clauses of a Constitution Bill which could have sidelined the Anglican Bishop, a motion came out of nowhere that the House rise without considering any business and slope off early to the President’s Christmas lunch instead. As the clauses weren’t complete, the Bill couldn’t finish in time.
No point paying to see Reid. If, as I suspect, the godbotherers in Tynwald are propagandising before a new version of the Bill starts the press report will have been pre-written, whatever Reid says on the day, and will appear on the government website very quickly after, as will a Manx Radio interview on their website (quite possibly pruned down to the ‘highlights’ by a former employee, now ‘retired’ and picking up pin money as a Member of Legislative Council).
Political and clerical business as usual in 2009 then.
Ho hum.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Youth facility? Don't bet on it!

A small item in this week’s Examiner has me wondering if local kids are about to get groomed by quite unsuitable adults. IOM Newspaper staff notoriously avoid investigative work which upsets the local elite, so I suspect the story only fills a hole on the page, but still curious.
The dreaded Living Hope Community Church (AKA 'the Southern Daft Cult') have a change of use planning application in for the old Lancashire House pub, a tumbledown dump out in the Santon wilderness. They want to turn it into a ‘youth social centre’, which is curious as there are only half a dozen houses within miles in either direction.
'The Lanky' was a handy watering hole halfway between Douglas and Castletown in horsedrawn days, flogged off by the brewery years ago as it hasn’t brought in drinkers for decades. It was bought by a local entrepreneur who made millions from contract services to the hospital and prison building schemes -always remarkably well informed and ahead of the contractor queue in such things.
He seemed to be on another winner, setting up a child day care centre on the main road halfway between two major centres of offshore finance activity. Despite family connections which should have brought in the richest rugrats on the island, that also failed. Again – curious.
But there’s something else – either again curious but a total coincidence or worth looking at.
A couple of miles away is Mount Murray, whose history is already rather eventful (see, for example,, and if you really have the time and Now Albert Gubay, the real figure behind Mount Murray, is talking of developing a casino there (see
Of course, we already have an island casino, at the Douglas Hilton, owned by George Ferguson Lacey, who also owns the vacant Castle Mona hotel site and is therefore in a position to quickly develop another nightspot – whenever the heritage and other government grants come through judging by his previous record with other ‘heritage sites’ (Bishopscourt, The Nunnery, Rushen Abbey…).
And Ferguson Lacey is a keen sponsor of various local evangelicals, who even tells folk he once hung out with Billy Graham and Richard Nixon. Curious clash of interests considering the usual religious objection to gambling (and folk enjoying themselves in general).
Similarly, Gubay has been known to court religious interests once or twice in a career originally built on a supermarket chain which flouted the old Sunday trading laws. So take note of the statement in the iomtoday article that: ‘It would be his intention to give 20 per cent of the yearly profits from the casino to worthy causes. A committee would be appointed to decide which causes would benefit.’
I wonder. Could we be in for a bidding war involving two of the island’s most ambitious developers trying to buy off the ‘moral majority’ in the form of the island’s scuzziest religious racketeers?
Whatever happens, if local youth services cannot get basic government grants while six figure sums get thrown at fundamentalist throwbacks for ‘youth outreach’ it's a safe bet the immediate future for Manx youngsters is a bleak one.