Thursday, 26 February 2009

Equal rites, or just marital madness?

Thank goodness for Brenda Cannell – the only MHK with the gumption to ask an obvious question. i.e. ‘Why SHOULD the clergy's right to refuse to perform a marriage ceremony for a transsexual be enshrined in law?’
Sadly, she doesn’t appear to have actually asked it during the Keys debate. Even sadder, her colleagues wasted time with far dumber questions. See for more.
For example, Geoff Corkish, the duly elected timewaster for Douglas West, who asked: 'Given that a member of the clergy cannot be compelled to conduct a marriage service where at least one partner has changed sex, if the person concerned withholds that and you can be fined £5,000 for making an un-authorised disclosure, doesn't this constitute a fine for telling the truth?'
Geoff, I know you used to do PR for the Steam Packet, so you have all the intellectual capacity of a short plank, but the answer is ‘No, it’s still illegal, even for an over-privileged, cross-dressing, superstitious windbag’.
Furthermore, the very purpose of the bill is to ensure the basic human rights of transsexuals, including the right to marry, therefore a transsexual has no need to give ammunition to a certified bigot, and it is none of said certified bigot’s damn business anyway.
Got that?
Actually, the more I think about it, the more I wonder why any sane person chooses a church marriage.
Think about it – if you were signing the contract to buy your home and the advocate started talking to an imaginary friend, what would you do? Even amongst Manx advocates (some of whom are demonstrably unbalanced and only in practice because of family ties), such behaviour will get you a stay in a nice room with padded walls.
Yet we think nothing of it when (sometimes not even with a shotgun pointed by an angry father) adult couples legally commit themselves to a lifetime together at a ceremony overseen only by a bloke who asks them to make their pledge using a fictional character as their witness.
If you think there’s equality before the law in the Isle of Man, let’s test it.
Try getting married here by a bloke dressed as a white rabbit, using Winnie the Pooh as your witness.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Ken Knowles, ODC

I was sorry to learn that my fellow local Amnesty campaigner, Ken Knowles, had died recently.
Ken was one of the last of the island’s most endangered species, the Ordinary Decent Christian. A retired schoolmaster from Ireland, he was one of the little band around a local liberal clergyman who started the Manx Amnesty group, and who is himself no longer around. They saw absolutely no contradiction between vigorous human rights campaigning and their faith, so it might be inevitable that they found themselves in the minority in their churches while able to work comfortably with non-Christians who are simply unwelcome elsewhere in what passes for charitable activity on the island.
As Ken’s health deteriorated he offered to host the Amnesty meetings at his house to stay in touch, and when a ‘proper’ venue opened we saw less of him. I didn’t find out he’d also lost his sight until he rang out of the blue after I’d had an item in the paper supporting another good friend - Pat Kneen, the Manx assisted suicide campaigner. Ken was irate about the local church attitude to the issue, in particular the way in which four leading churchmen took it upon themselves to put the church ‘view’ to government without ever seeking it from their congregations, and had even dictated a letter to the papers by phone.
He was amongst those who left their regular churches at the time, distressed by the lack of discussion and kneejerk attitudes. I’m not sure he ever found another church community, which was heartbreaking for him but a greater loss to local churches. They lost a thoughtful, sincere man who simply could not be silent about human misery.
But the discourtesy of his fellow-believers did nothing to diminish Ken’s faith, and I also remember him disagreeing sharply in print with my fellow Freethinker Andrew Dixon’s quip about ‘bronze age belief systems’.
A lesson for us all locally here. This isn’t the UK, and you can’t cut yourself or others off because you disagree with their views on one topic. The churches do it all the time, then wonder why they’re dying or why the voluntary sector whose policies they insist on dictating is a sick mess. But then some of my Freethinker mates won’t work with ‘people of faith’ either, unable to see that some people just cannot frame their view of humanity except through a prism of faith.
Folk like Ken and I just plodded on, looking for a middle way on the things that matter most to us, agreeing to disagree on other topics and moving on.
I could take a dim view of the island, having witnessed the public treatment of either of my late friends, Ken Knowles and Pat Kneen. I think I’d rather take something positive from having known two remarkable men in a small community in a few years. That either of them were able to speak up, and that neither of them were broken by the bigotry or apathy that surrounded them.
I think I’ll take an example from that.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Our Father, bang bang..... Amen

We shouldn’t laugh, really, we shouldn’t, but I defy anyone to read a tale of Californian faith-centred lunacy picked up by the sharp-eyed FeĆ²rag over at Pagan Prattle.
In brief, a guy walks into a notorious evangelical ‘Cathedral’ in California while visitors are being told about the church’s ‘excellent’ suicide-prevention program. He hands a note to an usher, walks up to the cross……then shoots himself.
The bit I love in the report is that when church helpers heard the gun go off, they thought nothing of it, thinking he was just praying.
Worshippers pray with handguns in California? How scary is that!!
Turns out that it isn’t the first suicide by shooting in the church either. No wonder they have a suicide-prevention program – just a pity it doesn’t go beyond praying and collecting cash.
To be honest, even if I was faith-inclined, I think I’d also be a little wary of a ‘family-oriented’ church in California where one of the staff is called Manson. That really WAS a case of the family that slays together staying together, as I recall.
You can read all about it at ......and I do defy you not to snigger!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Open and shut case

My joy today on reading the beginning of an article suggesting the island’s only purpose-built, professional drug & alcohol rehabilitation facility might finally open properly (see
didn’t last long.
Because as the next to last sentence reveals, it ISN’T opening.
And as the last sentence reveals, when or if it does it isn’t going to be staffed by professionals either, because the whole operation is being put out to private tender. No prizes for guessing who’ll snap that up then.
Incidentally, ‘recruitment constraint’ is a bit of a misnomer too.
The DHSS were told two years ago by the tiny team of medics who try to keep a service running exactly what the going rate is for professionals already trained and living here. But the DHSS doesn’t want to pay. Similarly when a year ago the professionals provided their services to a private contractor on a DHSS contract, that contractor wouldn’t pay either. That’s why the trained professionals are still working in semi-skilled jobs instead.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The mugs don't work

Our Department of Education now seems determined to help fundamentalists feed off parents, not just small kids. Unsurprisingly, they don’t really admit that in their press release. See for more details.
It’s also worth pointing out that Carolyn Shipstone cannot be a national representative for Care for the Family, firstly because it isn’t even a Manx charity, secondly because it uses separate England & Wales, Scottish and Northern Irish registered charities to hide the true chain of command and flow in and out of funds.
CftF often issue vague and misleading statements which ignore the very existence of this ‘family’ – odd for a ‘family values’ group, I always say. But then, if one of your branches used to be close to a pro-life group whose founder (a convicted terrorist also with recent firearms offences to his name) went on the run after a fire in a family planning clinic you wouldn’t mention that either.
Just as you only find out from the English charity register that one of the English branch’s trustees is also a trustee for CARE (Christian Action, Research & Education), one of the most rabidly homophobic and in fact generally misanthropic bunch of social inadequates ever thrown up by British evangelism.
As I’ve hinted before, (e.g. How To Win Government Friends And Screw Up Kids ) the whole sad and sorry saga of how such a freakshow ever got a foothold on the island goes back a few years.
As I said then, I don’t even expect my seven year old to take losers like that seriously, and having seen both the fundamentalist 'drug projects' operating on the island in action I assure you that their combined ‘expertise’ could safely fit on the back of a postage stamp and still leave room for….a one word blunt appraisal of the main product.
If any parent is dumb enough to take up this kind ‘offer’ you really do need professional help, but then so do most government ‘experts’ trying to drum an inferiority complex into local parents. Whatever you do, stop worrying about your kids and start laughing at these self-seeking panic merchants instead.
Honestly, mugs…they’re just not worth it.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Death on Wheels

On Friday I had another startling insight into the bats-in-the-belfry mentality of local voluntary groups.
The insight came from an unlikely source.
I sit on an ethics committee charged with formulating hospital policy in the event of pandemic flu. It’s unusual in my experience of government advisory committees, in that it’s formed by dedicated professionals who seek only to do what is best for the public. There are no chancers from pseudo-charities seeking grants, no stooges of other government committees to force pre-arranged agendas, and no civil servants pushing us towards the rubber-stamping of government apathy.
We discuss scenarios put to us by health professionals as a means to set ethical policies. These deal with the most appalling moral decisions they may have to take in an emergency.
It is frightening stuff, and some of it gives me nightmares for days afterwards. But I am impressed by the dispassionate yet considerate way in which my colleagues listen carefully, comment frankly, and do their level best to reach conclusions which could help doctors, nurses and administrators take life or death decisions.
Then sometimes there’s a lighter moment. For example a colleague who told us about a curious request at a sub-committee to co-ordinate health and voluntary workers in emergencies.
For some peculiar reason, and against all prior evidence, the government (like other parties to the plans who are yet to look at actual evidence) is obsessed with the idea that the public will riot in emergencies and mob rule will prevail. Perhaps this might explain why one of the local twin set and pearls brigade wanted to know, in all seriousness, if meals on wheels drivers could be armed in emergencies.
I have this surreal vision of a meals on wheels van careering through, say, Onchan, at top speed. Wing-Commander Cholmondely-Barking, DFC and bar, sits white-knuckled at the wheel, cornering on two wheels, while in a roof gun-turret Mrs Constantine Effingham-Smyth, OBE, blazes away with both barrels at a horde of zombie chavs.
Only in the Isle of Man could someone at a government consultation group hold such whacked out views about the majority population. More worrying, only in the Isle of Man could they be taken seriously by politicians.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

De-bag the rotters

You may have heard about the Pink Knicker protest planned for Valentine’s Day in India.
It’s a witty and apt reply to a nasty bit of sexist violence.
Briefly, a Hindi Nationalist outfit called Sri Ram Sena (Lord Ram’s Army), attacked young women last month in a pub in Mangalore, a college town in the southern state of Karnataka. The bigots thought that women in a pub was just ‘un-Indian’. Apparently Valentine’s Day gets their undies in an uproar too. Strange people.
A lively bunch of Indian ladies who call themselves the Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women are hitting back. Via a Facebook site, now over 10,000 strong , they’ve vowed to send pink knickers to members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the biggest and oldest group in the Hindu nationalist movement, which includes the SRS and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.
This is because RSS members are nicknamed ‘chaddi wallahs’ for their habit of poncing about in baggy khaki shorts. Old viewers of Goodness Gracious Me will recall that ‘chaddi’ (or ‘chuddies’) is Anglo-Indian slang for ‘underpants’. You can read more about the campaign at or (which also has footage of the SRS in action).
I couldn’t help thinking of Roderick Spode, the would-be fascist dictator who is a bane of Bertie Wooster’s life in P.G. Wodehouse’s books. Spode, a parody of Oswald Mosley, leads the Black Shorts (in real life Mosley led the Blackshirts).
There’s another curious coincidence with the SRS case. Spode’s downfall is rapid when it becomes known that he made his fortune as "founder and proprietor of the emporium in Bond Street known as Eulalie Soeurs", the fictitious Ms. Soeurs being a designer of ladies' lingerie. Finally it is revealed that Spode IS ‘Eulalie Soeurs’.
In a memorable passage, Bertie Wooster tells Spode: ‘The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you're someone. You hear them shouting "Heil, Spode!" and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: "Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?"’

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


I was on Manx Radio doing a Thought For The Day last week.
At least I think I was – they buggered up the online replay and repeated someone else’s talk on two consecutive days, and as they never tell you which day of the week you're on there's no way I was listening to Radio Cowshed at 7 AM all week just to check how I sounded .
Actually I was hamstrung and bored this time anyway as the Freethinkers laid down a party line. We were all supposed to ‘celebrate’ Darwin and the theory of evolution.
What’s to celebrate? Evolution happens, just keep up or die.
Usually I just go in with the twin aims of bending the format and saying something funny. No sense in upsetting religionists or you don’t get asked back, so charm them and try to knock a stereotype off-balance instead.
A fellow regular and I used to have a bit of a private competition – who can slip in the most outrageous comment and make the engineer laugh. In the great days of Andy Arnold that was OK. Now he’s gone and we’re being recorded by a proper clergyman I’m supposed to take it seriously.
Take an excuse for a radio sermon seriously? Moi? Get real!!
So I’m thinking of giving it a miss in future. I was in on the groundbreaking first local ‘secular alternatives’, and I’ve pushed it far enough to get Amnesty International in there too. In theory membership and ‘interested others’ of the Freethinkers number 30-50, so if there’s genuine interest time someone else stepped up.
maybe it should be a stipulation of Thought For The Day that you’re off your trolley when recording.
That would brighten things up in the morning. If they can come out with fairy stories when they’re stone cold sober, just imagine the topics when sozzled clergy start telling folk what they REALLY think.

Don't get fooled again

The temperance nazis are up to their old tricks next month. Must be the time of year when funding to the alcohol advisory bodies is up for renewal.
The official announcement is at and on paper it looks legit enough. Gilmore is a top man in the Royal College of Physicians and a liver specialist, so he knows a bit about relevant topics.
But he’s also a poster boy for the Christian Institute and the Christian right in general. They love to quote him ad nauseum to ‘prove’ we’re all going to hell unless we get back on our knees and grovelling to sky-fairies again.
The other problem is, in addition to their habit of quoting him totally out of context, even a doctor can’t resist making pronouncements on topics he knows nowt about.
Take that innocent statement: ‘alcohol is a drug of addiction’.
Oh no it isn’t, and this isn’t his area of expertise so his is not an expert opinion. Since when was the liver part of the brain?
Now I’m not even a regular tippler, but when experts are used like this by pious pillocks who get public funds to stand on their soapbox and preach it’s enough to drive you to drink.
And just how many times does an interested amateur (who can be bothered to do the basic research) have to correct self-styled ‘experts’ (who get fat fees to spout shite that feeds kneejerk prejudice)?
Addiction is a myth that appeals to dodgy ‘therapies’ not based on science or professional expertise. This is why you see pseudo-scientific jargon like ‘dependency’ used instead, to avoid legal liability.
Much to the disgust of a nasty little industry based on selling ‘therapy’ no-one needs (and godbothering nosey-parkers who like to push everyone around) you CAN have a couple of drinks without turning into a drooling vegetable or destroying the lives of all around you.
It takes self-discipline, certainly, but people do it. Some not only do that, they smoke spliffs or use class A substances up to and including heroin.
Sorry to burst your puritan bubble, but people do it all the time without harming themselves, so there it is.
Anyways – if we’re taking about addiction and dependency, why limit it to chemical substances? How, exactly, would you describe the relationship between losers who need to throw away all their spare time and money on religious organisations and the scrotes who get both a living and power over others from the odious cults involved?
Addict/dealer? John/pimp?
Seems about right to me.

You are the missing link. Goodbye!

There’s an interesting addendum to my Partners in crime item on Sunday 8th.
Today they discussed the clauses to the Gender Recognition Bill in the Keys, and the House’s current champion knuckledragger couldn’t resist the cheap publicity. See and piss yourselves laughing.
Ironic too that Houghton makes his comment two days before the bi-centenary of Darwin’s birth.
Proof that in the Isle of Man the missing link hasn’t just been found: the quality of political candidates is so poor it actually got elected.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Nice try,but no cigar

One of Tynwald’s good guys is making an attempt to get the empty eight bed drug & alcohol unit at Nobles open.
Politicians won’t admit this, but the hold-up is because the DHSS doesn’t want to pay trained staff the going wage. Everything else is in place – always has been, but the politicos would rather quietly refer folk who admit problems to religious parasites, who make church membership and payment of church dues a condition of treatment.
Peter Karran MHK is at least, as he says, trying to ‘break the log-jam’ and get the unit open, which he attempted in the House of Keys on 27th Jan.
Sadly, he’s also mistakenly helping to hand other people’s money to zombie-loving parasites.
At the same session he was moving another amendment to the Social Security (Amendment) Bill. His amendment, officially, would hand some of the benefits of anyone likely to stay a night with Kemmyrk or Graih directly to the hostel management. This could allow both a directly state-run homelessness charity and a confidentially state-run homelessness charity to steal further funds from the homeless.
Religious groups have a habit of invoicing the state for services not actually provided to people who don’t even know they appear on the system as having a ‘problem’. It can happen with youth services or drug and alcohol counselling. All it takes is for an enterprising ‘community worker’ to gather a list of people who sit outside the youth club, or someone who talks through an alcohol problem on church premises being encouraged to give names of others ‘so that they can be offered help’.
Will people who sleep in a doorway now mysteriously find benefits they couldn’t claim for lack of an address being paid to a ‘charity’ for a bed they never occupied?

Partners in crime

An interesting amendment has been made to the Gender Recognition Bill curently going through Tynwald.
Interesting in that firstly it confirms the prejudices of the local clergy and their lack of interest in the institution of marriage or helping adults maintain stable relationships, secondly it confirms that politicians are helping them to perpetuate these prejudices under the pretence of respecting religious belief, and thirdly it suggests clergy have access to information about individuals which is, by law, confidential.
The Bill, as it suggests, is to give some legal protection to folk who’ve changed gender. Mostly mundane stuff like housing, pensions, employment and so on.
It begins with the following clauses:-

1. (1) The Chief Registrar shall maintain in the General Registry a register to be called the Gender Recognition Register.
(2) The form in which the Gender Recognition Register is to be maintained shall be determined by the Chief Registrar.
(3) The Gender Recognition Register shall not be open to public inspection or search.”

So, basically, anyone who has changed gender need not tell the world about it in order to prevent the kneejerk prejudices, but the info is tucked away on a confidential register just to ensure no problems getting a passport, benefits or whatever.
Then, back in October, the parson’s pal, Anne Craine, agreed in the monthly Council of Ministers meeting to introduce an amendment. As recently moved in the House, this reads:

“No clergyman is obliged to solemnise the marriage of a person whose gender has become the acquired gender in accordance with the Gender Recognition Act 2008.”

What’s interesting is that wording has changed slightly from the COMIN minutes last October, when:

“Council further agreed that paragraph 2 of Schedule 2, be amended to exempt a clergyman from the obligation to solemnise the marriage of a person if the clergyman reasonably believes that the person has changed gender.”

Well, no suprises that the voodoo pimps still want to inflict their flat-earth prejudices on the rest of us.
No suprises that they can meet government in private to get their way, and get fellow zombie-worshippers amongst the political dregs to help them with legal opt-outs from their obligations as decent human beings.
One question though.
How can a voodoo pimp ‘reasonably believe’ that someone has changed gender unless someone else provides him, illegally, with the information from a confidential register?

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Oh, give me a home...

There’s an interesting sign of the financial times in the local Anglican community at At least for those who know how to read it.
For the benefit of those who might not here's some pointers...
Back in the era of Bishop Atwell the Anglican Bishop moved out of his traditional palace, Bishopscourt, and into a more modest Douglas home. This was before my time - possibly in the early 1980’s.
At this point a quiet deal was struck between the Manx government and Richard Nixon’s old mate, George Ferguson-Lacey. Ferguson-Lacey would buy and restore Bishopscourt for the sake of the nation and in return would get planning permission to build a number of houses in the grounds, one of which would be given to the Bishop.
Only he didn’t get planning permission and thus began a long war of attrition between the Fat Man (as he’s known amongst past and present employees) and the government in the form of Manx Heritage. This has rumbled on since and also involved other places of Manx Christian heritage, such as Rushen Abbey and the Nunnery, acquired after similar 'understandings'.
The Fat Man, by the way, has been well advised throughout this war by local experts in Manx ecclesiastical law, who must be hard to find. Which probably explains why he inevitably comes out on top, and possibly in return why, until now, Manx diocesan financial planning has been more successful than the UK norm.
There was next an attempt to strike a deal with a developer to build houses on church land close to Peel Cathedral, again with the Bishop getting a new home. Again, planning permission not granted so the next two bishops stayed in Douglas.
By the way, there was a great game, known amongst devotees as 'P,P & P', played by clergy trying to drive out of the Bishop’s last home.
P,P & P stands for ‘Pump Pedal and Pray’. Just to explain, the entrance leads at such an angle onto a fast main road that it was impossible for either emerging clergy to see oncoming traffic or vice versa. Visiting their leader really WAS an act of faith, not just a job requirement.
The move to Patrick signals clearly where the finances are at though.
It used to be the rectory to a living known as ‘the four parishes’, not a plum post but definitely a full time one racing between four village churches. But as fast as they retire the local clergy pros are being replaced by ‘hobby vicars’ (unpaid folk, usually retired, who’ve done some local training), and their vicarages sold off.
If it’s got to the point where Patrick, a modest farmhouse, is being set aside for the Bish that means all the decent properties have been flogged already and the only one left is the Bish’s present abode. To make things worse, even the hobby vicars are starting to pop their clogs and no upcoming sixty-somethings to replace them.
If he does move to Patrick, also expect a trend for 4x4s amongst Manx clergy. Not exactly demonstrating that Christian stewardship over the earth trendy vicars like to witter about, is it? But there’s no other way to get to that house, and nowhere to park that isn’t knee-deep in mud. Doubt if the skills Sentamu passed on during the Bish’s apprenticeship included tractor-driving either.
Excuse the pun, but God help the poor sods in winter.
They won’t get help from anyone else.

On the buses

You might want to take a look on the Guardian website at , which has a story on a counter-campaign by the Christian lunatic fringe against the ‘probably no god’ bus adverts.
You might also like to join me in a running joke.
In a previous life Rev George Hargreaves used to be George Hargreaves, a record producer most famous for Sinitta’s gay anthem, ‘So Macho’. That much is fairly common knowledge.
What isn’t is that Hargreaves moved to the Isle of Man on the profits. Then his life went downhill so fast that he took up with the local Pentecostalists.
I’ve always maintained that as Hargreaves ‘finding God’ can only be blamed on the poor Manx nightlife of the time, we owe the world a debt. So, like the guy in Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy who makes it his life’s work to track down and insult everyone in the universe, I have a mission to apologise to the world for the distress the Isle of Man has caused by unleashing this evangelical fruitcake.
What I do is, every time I hear of a publication which mentions Hargreaves, I write in and apologise on behalf of the entire Manx population. As you’ll see, I’ve done it on the Guardian piece.
As a former DJ (of the cheesiest 70’s ilk), I’ve always said Tony Brown, our Chief Minister, is the perfect man to make these apologies for us, but as he’s either too busy, too drunk or too illiterate I’ve taken up the baton.
If anyone else on the Isle of Man wants to join in, I’d be glad of the support.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

New threat to children announced

The recent announcement on the Manx government website of a ‘working group’ chaired by the Education Minister, Anne ‘parson’s pal’ Craine, to ‘develop and enhance children and young people’s facilities within the community’ (see is bad news for several reasons.
Bad news firstly because it is under Craine’s regime that evangelicals have been allowed to use schools for depraved gatherings on Sundays – for which several sources suggest they don’t even pay.
Bad news because when it says they will consult churches, in practice it is even worse. There are only three churches likely to be on this bandwagon, and none of them are places where your child would be safe.
The last time one of them ran such a project it was closed, as far as I can tell finally because nearby residents objected regularly to the police about the number of kids sitting outside, purely because it was a handy meeting place (although the church tried to claim them as ‘members’ in funding bids). However, even before that there was the matter of a cleric, finally imprisoned for offences involving an underage girl, but before that families of others were ‘advised’ against alleging that he’d known them biblically on youth club nights .
Then there was the curious affair of the vanishing sound system. Originally this was highly publicised as an example of the kind of misguided youth the project dealt with, only for investigations to stop when another suspect to emerge was a volunteer who, on closer analysis, had never quite severed past links with loyalist thugs.
The last time another of them planned such a project, back in the early 1980’s, it didn’t even open! That didn’t prevent a six-figure legacy being spent and a building meant to entice kids away from strong drink being sold to a brewery and turned into a nightclub.
Then there is the more recent planning application by Southern rednecks to turn a former country pub in the middle of nowhere into a ‘youth social centre’. I’ve speculated on that before (see Youth facility? Don't bet on it!).
It also worries me that at least two local developers have stooges on the management committees of these churches, curiously always well briefed enough to guide the churches towards likely public funds at times when the sale of property they own would secure said developers key spots for future developments.
There used to be a TV advert which asked ‘Do you know where your kids are tonight?’
I tell you bluntly, if yours are ever at a ‘youth facility’ run by these chancers you need to be very worried, for their physical safety and their sanity.

Help the poor.....Take two

After a phonecall from a One World Centre committee member, I’ve taken the unusual (for me) decision to delete a blog item from Saturday 31st Jan (‘Help the poor, close a charity’).
If it was just another do-gooder grumbling at being told that, actually, they’re doing more harm than good and should stop I would completely ignore it, but it’s more complicated than that.
It isn’t that I changed my mind about the general topic either, it’s just that I recognise an unbalance and it should be corrected.
My opinions about the abuse of Manx charitable status and the utter incompetence and ineffectiveness of the regulatory regime remain. When you see something like this (see ) and realise Manx registered charities are part of the problem you should wince.
My absolute contempt for Manx politicians and civil servants and our sham of an overseas aid program, that also remains.
My view that we must stop automatically assuming that any action that can claim charitable status is good – not changed a bit.
The refusal of Manx or UK governments to properly look at the issue of charitable status, and to change the rules which allow any evangelical chancer to avoid tax and scrutiny by calling his scam ‘religious’ – that’s the very heart of the problem.
What I didn’t do very well is to explain that I’m not leaving the One World Centre committee due to any fault of committee members, but because I don’t see what difference they or I can make if the entire structure of Manx charities and overseas aid into which it fits is rotten to the core and being abused right, left and centre by evangelicals, ultra-right wing politicos and a government marketing scheme which, under the pretence of ‘rebranding’ the island, has the sole intent of brainwashing locals into 'thinking positive' instead of criticising things we know are wrong.
What has to be ripped out is that rotten core. Forget ‘charity challenges’ in which we choose between funding the further misery inflicted on any one East European or African community by any one group of bigots and chancers or another which is as offensive but for different reasons. For example, I’m tired of apologising to Romanian friends and relatives who have joked for a decade that they send us plumbers and doctors while we send our village idiots to stir up new sectarian conflicts, siphon off EU funds to their US puppet-masters and put dedicated public sector professionals out of work.
I should also admit that at the time of writing the post, I was still waiting for a hospital appointment, promised in December, to identify mysterious and recurring pains which need such serious painkillers some nights that I can’t travel to work the next morning. And I only got that after taking a day’s holiday in order to get an emergency appointment and finally corner my GP!
As I write I’m just back from the hospital. So, with luck, in a few days I may know the problem and if there’s a solution.
But for the future, you’ll understand why I blog less and don’t waste time on committees which lack the will or focus to tackle the root of local problems in the time my daughter is growing. I’d prefer to be with her.
In fact, as long as she regularly comes home from school full of nonsense inflicted on her against our will by the half-witted spookchasers who have open access to Manx schools these days, I need to be.