Saturday, 31 October 2009

How do Manx politicians stand on drugs and alcohol?

So, a scientist gives impartial expert advice to the UK’s Prime Minister, just as his job requires, and what does the Prime Minister do?
The opposite, to suit the prejudices of the uninformed herd most likely to vote for him.
Well there’s a surprise.
Actually, reading some typical summaries of Professor David Nutt’s sacking for giving inconveniently sensible advice on relative dangers of illegal drugs and other risky substances and activities (see and for example) I did wonder idly.
What would happen if the island’s Chief Minister – also a Mr Brown – were to get expert advice he didn’t like from his own Drug & Alcohol team? Would he also ignore it for cheap political gain, or would he have the courage to do the right thing?
Then I remembered. That situation cannot happen over here, because the D&A strategy team doesn’t include experts.
No scientists, no medical professionals, nobody with a qualification in psychiatry or psychology…. No bodies, no expertise, just a random bunch of evangelicals and temperance nazis looking for a public handout and a police department trying to avoid cuts.
There is one other funny coincidence though – that quote about the Prime Minister’s ‘absurd stance’ on drugs.
From what I hear, our Mr Brown's absurd stance after a few drinks at the President of Tynwald’s Christmas Lunch is bad enough, while politicians and staff from the Department of Home Affairs often can’t stand at all after some of their departmental outings.
Then there’s the time, a couple of years ago, when senior politicians and church figures were invited to a Fair Trade wine tasting. Well, it was a good cause, so we shouldn’t blame them for tasting as conscientiously and thoroughly as they did.
And they certainly did.
Police gossip says they were taken home in the van from the cop shop a few doors down from the venue, thus leaving the entire south of the island without police cover until 1 AM.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Real Journalism shock

I haven’t recently checked out Spiked, the ‘libertarian Marxist’ website which was, if nothing else, a place to find contrarian and argumentative pieces which challenge kneejerk liberal assumptions.
Spiked articles can genuinely question or merely irritate by turns, as you’d expect from folk from a now defunct Trotskyite group.
Still, a Nathalie Rothschild item usefully sums up a Guardian story I should have noticed earlier, as it finally explodes the traffiking myth being stirred up by evangelicals in order that they can preach and pass the begging bowl some more.
She tells us that:
“The Guardian got hold of an internal police analysis of the six-month campaign, Operation Pentameter Two. It showed that after extensive intelligence-gathering and raids on 822 brothels, flats and massage parlours across Britain, only 96 people were arrested for trafficking, and out of these only 15 men and women were convicted. For 10 of them, police found no evidence of their having coerced prostitutes. In the end, only five men were found to be genuine traffickers – that is, they had imported women and forced them into prostitution – but they had been detected before the Pentameter investigation started.”
Actually, it gets worse. Even amongst those arrested elsewhere were a couple whose arrest was more due to police needing a nice dramatic shot of a door being battered down for a TV documentary than months of patient work uncovering some criminal ‘Mr Big’.
Not, in short, helpful for future appeals by a TV vicar and his faithful accomplices with a propensity for stoking up moral panics then starting ‘charities’ to deal with them.
The entire piece is worth a read (see ), but be sure to go on to two original Guardian pieces by Nick Davies at and
I say this because Davies is the journalist who gave us Flat Earth News. This important book exposed ‘churnalism’ and other practices by which even the ‘quality press’ has stopped chasing real news or employing real investigative reporters, while regionals (especially those owned by large corporations, not old fashioned local activist/publishers) just cut and paste national stories (in turn bought from a handful of agencies).
This explains, for example, how one agency, friendly to groups like Christian Concern for Our Nation and the Christian Legal Centre, is able to place story after story in the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail about ‘sincere Christians’ being 'persecuted' for their hate (sorry ‘faith’), and why those stories then make it to the top of other news organisation story lists.
In short, some real and useful journalism for a change.
Read and remember next time such moral panics ‘coincidentally’ hit the headlines elsewhere.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

In order for evil to fail.....

I was wondering at the more than usually sombre mood of folks around me recently. Yesterday I discovered the reason.
Acquaintances of theirs, never in the best of health anyway, have new maladies and, being a touch theatrical about such things, are busy worrying friends and family about it. The end result is that everyone is made more miserable.
People succumb to more illness as they get older, then they die. It’s not rocket science, and the medical world can only ease the process, not stop it. So, whether you’re the ill party or the relative, stop turning nature into a particularly bad episode of East Enders and make the best of it.
Similarly, I upset a few PC types who posture at putting the world to rights – sometimes even making a living from such shams. They’re upset I point out huge inconsistencies in their actions, in fact so upset they wreck otherwise functional groups with more modest but effective ways to stop the world going to hell in a handbasket. I’m then asked to save the day by those left clinging to the wreckage.
I’ve decided to do………
.....nothing beyond smiling sympathetically when I absolutely must. Then just walk away and leave them all to it.
It’s not being harsh. It’s just that me and mine, being folk who others see as thinking, caring sorts, get dumped on a wee bit too often by those others, who refuse to think or act for themselves.
I’m not being selfish. If anything it’s the opposite. I’m being consistent.
As I’ve said before, the best you can do for yourself and those immediately around you is try to be happy, and the best you can do for other people is to stay out of their business. The world is screwed over not just by the outright manic dictator but by the interfering do-gooder.
OK, from time to time a Saddam Hussein or Hitler really screws things up, but most of the time it’s the constant nagging and interfering of bored middle class dilettantes or otherwise unemployable religious cling-ons that does the damage. A rag-tag, brainwashed army of petty-minded busy-bodies who just will not leave us to go about our business in peace.
Temperance movements which cannot stand the idea of anyone having fun, egotistic airhead cancer campaigners who insist we pay them to run one pointless marathon after another and want the entire NHS budget spent on some homeopathic nonsense, neo-colonial religious charity chancers who will do anything except let the world develop… know the sort.
Let’s ignore them all.
Let’s enjoy ourselves all the time as much as we possibly can – at least as long as we don’t inconvenience the neighbours in doing it. And let’s ask no more of our neighbours than that they do the same.
Contrary to the sermons of those who preach ethics but will not study the subject, in order for evil to fail miserably it is only necessary that good people do nothing to aid halfwits. Because it is the interference of halfwits which delays the demise of such lunacy in the first place.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Dancing fools

At mid-day yesterday my daughter was smashing me over the head with a cake tin.
But it’s OK, because I was helping her and my wife save the planet. We were down at St. Johns as part of the Manx effort for this 350 campaign thingie.
If you’ve managed to survive until now without being bothered by it, I can’t be bothered to explain. Just see for explanation and for a (sort of) report.
Well, not much point paying government PR hacks half a million a year to manufacture community campaigns, then not even use the bilge the halfwits produce, is there?
Pretty funny really. Having struggled down there in the rain with cake tins and wooden spoons and weaved our way through weekend hippies in expensive 4WDs (no, really) The Prodigy didn’t want to drum along with the herd (that’s my girl!). So, to enable her to march to her own beat I suggested she whack the cake tin on my head instead. Which she did quite happily.
We then jigged about a bit as the pipe band played Manx folk tunes, and I’m proud to say that as we danced in front of the island’s only Manx language school, at the heart of plastic patriotism in a crowd including a politician so Manx he once burnt down a holiday cottage, she was the only one who knew the steps.
Bloody Manx poseurs! If you can’t be bothered to learn your own culture there’s a boat to England in the morning.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Overseas aid sponsors murder in Uganda

Having waited in vain to see if a major human rights story would be covered in the ‘serious press’ I guess I’ll have to draw your attention to it.
Briefly, a Bill introduced in Uganda’s parliament on October 14th means gays, and those ‘promoting homosexuality’, face life imprisonment, or in certain cases the death sentence.
A useful summary of the Bill by Amnesty International tells us:
‘The existing law, Section 140 of the Ugandan penal code, penalizes 'carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature' with imprisonment of up to 14 years. This legacy of British colonialism was introduced to punish local practices of what the colonial powers deemed to be 'unnatural sex.' The laws stand as proof that same-sex sexual practices and gender diversity are, and always have been, part of Ugandan culture. The draft bill tabled today seeks to imprison anyone convicted of 'the offense of homosexuality' for life.
Paragraph 3 of the draft bill sets out provisions on what it names as 'aggravated homosexuality,' which will incur the death penalty, contradicting the global trend toward a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
The final section of the bill provides for Uganda to nullify any of its international or regional commitments that it deems 'contradictory to the spirit and provisions enshrined in this Act.' As both the African Commission and the UN Human Rights Committee have held, a state cannot, through its domestic law, negate its international human rights obligations.’

A group of 17 international human rights groups put out a joint statement explaining and condemning the Bill. Read it at and I guarantee you will be stunned at the contents. In brief, a country once praised throughout Africa for effectively tackling AIDS/HIV has turned into a hellhole where the country's political leadership, egged on by their Western chums, have turned gay-hunting into a national bloodsport.
Western evangelicals are the sole cause of that.
At their request, we cheerily put our pennies in collecting tins for cutesy charities running programmes in Uganda, under the sad delusion we are helping. No, what we are doing is subsidising Africa’s 21st century equivalent of German anti-semitism in the 1930’s. The language is the same, the tactics are the same, and the culprits are the same, i.e. Christian bigots and fraudsters with powerful political friends.
I’ve blogged about this matter before, for example at Quack Christian 'therapy' causing Ugandan bloodbath and later at Uganda and happy clappy fascism - the saga continues.
But what depresses me even more is that I didn’t even know about Amnesty’s statement until the saintly Nigerian humanist campaigner Leo Igwe posted it on a discussion forum in the hope someone would alert the UK press.
I’m not only depressed that the UK press didn’t pick it up, but that even though I’m an Amnesty member and subscribe to both their newsfeeds and those of another signatory, Human Rights Watch, neither told their UK supporters.
Do they think we weren’t interested? If so, that’s a pretty sad judgement on what passes for a human rights ‘movement’.
Come to think of it, as this state of affairs in Uganda has gone totally un-noticed by the Manx Overseas Aid Committee, who still hand public money to happy clappy fascist scum without a second thought, it’s a pretty sad judgement on a lot of people.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Enough to drive you to drink

There’s more evidence of the car crash that passes for government drug and alcohol policy today on the Manx government website. Apparently we’re about to have a ‘Focus on Alcohol Awareness’.
I’d never have guessed from all the ‘coincidental’ poorly placed PR shite in the papers, honest. Just as I’d never guess that it’s the time of year when ‘Third Sector’ parasites compete for government funding in next year’s budget.
All those talks to community groups? What a coincidence.
Now I could go and explode the myth straight away by pointing you straight to a relevant webpage, but that would be no fun. So indulge me by following this trail and you’ll see something interesting.
First, go to for the standard announcement written by Daphne Caine, the DHA press officer, (which, by the way, I suspect you will read under another journalist’s byline later this week). Then follow the link to the ‘be alcohol aware IOM’ website and watch the warning as you leave the DHA page.
Got that? It’s an ‘independent’ website the Manx government take no responsibility for.
Now click on the website.
Hmm, looks like standard Freedom to Fester maintained Manx government stuff to me, with a link to the Education Department. How would our charity sector survive without them and the half million quid the Manx government shells out for their services?
Now go to the contact page at and have a look at the sad collection of know-nowt amateurs they think can help you. I count three nasty cults, and I’m not even trying to look for them.
Firstly there’s the genuinely scary news that Care for the Family are sole partners to the D of E Drug & Alcohol Liason Officer for ‘Education’. In other words, the Education Department has no professional help and the homophobic fundamentalists who gave a job to a previous Education Minister’s unemployable daughter are still getting public handouts in return.
You can read more about the nasty links between the Manx education department and fundamentalists at something I posted last October (see How To Win Government Friends And Screw Up Kids , but I’ll explain again briefly.
Care for the Family started meddling over here via links with their Scottish and Northern Irish operations, which have a similar record for stealing public funds in return for truly cretinous ‘educational intitiatives’.
John O'Brien, a Care for the Family trustee, is also a trustee of CARE (‘Christian Action Research & Education'), which as I said before is:
“notorious for favouring Section 28, opposing civil partnerships, counselling registrars how to plead 'conscience grounds' for not registering civil partnerships, and generally inflicting christofascist crap on anyone with the temerity to read books.”
The daughter of the last Manx education minister got a Westminster internship with CARE just after graduating, and Care for the Family's links with the Manx education system curiously enough began at about that time. Last year a third rate bunch of bible floggers posturing as a ‘theatre company’ got a nice gig at Ballakermeen School’s new ‘community art’ space. One of their trustees, Norman Adams, is another CftF trustee.
Small world.
Leaving aside a group of retards who nobody who cared for their family would let into the house for a second, let’s also consider the ‘Treatment & Support Services’ section.
There we find two more cults with nastier methods than the Scientologists or Moonies,
Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon.
One of them only gives a London number. This is so that you won’t recognise the local contact as one of the most fundamentalist churches, notorious for numerous scams to part the vulnerable from their cash, and not averse to covering up a bit of underage sex either.
You see, while the public image of these ‘twelve step’ groups is twaddle we pick up from bone-idle tabloid writers, the reality is quite different. Their record on creating new dependencies to replace the ones they’re supposed to tackle, and exploiting money and sexual favours from ‘clients’ for example.
The thing is, in order to progress through the ‘twelve steps’ you have to volunteer personal information, much of which could get you divorced, jobless or imprisoned if it gets to the wrong person.
You think you’re ‘safe’ in an AA group? That isn’t what any number of folk who contact cult helplines say.
You think you can go to the police and get the rapist or extortionist arrested? On what evidence? The word of a self-confessed alkie against a ‘respectable’ charity worker, more than likely attached to a wealthy evangelical church? Get real!
You think alcoholism is a disease and AA is a recognised treatment based on well-established psychological methods? That isn’t what any reputable medical textbook says. If alcoholism is a medical illness, what is the World Health Organisation number?
Do yourself a favour. If you or someone you care about has problems with alcohol look up the Stanton Peele website on the sidebar. Learn to drink responsibly instead of having an irrational fear of alcohol that plays right into the hands of cults and parasites.
And stay well clear of fundamentalist nutjobs like the ones our government sponsors. They are the real health hazard.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Keeping Sunday Stupid

Yet again faith-based lunacy evades the sub’s spike and slips onto the news at Radio Cowshed.
Must be Sunday then.
This time it's the enthusiastic, but pointless, activities of Ramsey’s Faith in Action crew. Previously they’ve spent their weekends wandering round beaches picking up rubbish, or de-weeding the gutters of empty Parliament Street shops. Well, at least it stops the deluded going door to door encouraging the rest of us to talk to their imaginary friend in an empty barn.
And it’s not as if anyone can tell these days which Parliament Street shops are empty and which are in use, apart from the ones where shopkeepers run out every two hours to change the discs on their 4WD vehicles - which block the street and cause people to shop elsewhere, or just online.
This time FiA have repainted a church which nobody goes to, and which even a previous vicar once admitted to me is only standing because it is a ‘heritage site’ nobody can knock down, rather than a place of worship. You can see the story at
Jurby is a fine example of church inability to deal with social change. It’s an empty, windswept barn on a cliff, listed as a heritage site because it has some fine Celtic crosses. It may have once served a village community, but Jurby is now (to be blunt) a sink estate built from the remnants of an abandoned military airfield. Even when the airfield was going, the RAF preferred the posher, better kept, Andreas Church a few miles away.
That previous vicar tried the sensible option of a multi-denominational meet-up in Jurby School, and much as I dislike public buildings being used that way I admit it gave some comfort for elderly, disabled or carless folk who couldn’t get to the tiny Methodist chapel down the road at Sandygate, or travel to Ramsey if Catholic.
As it happens, I like Eddy, the FiA spokesman. He’s a helpful little ‘teccie who works in an opticians and solves everyone’s problems. He once even fixed an old clock for my wife and refused payment.
That said, why are FiA allowed to flout the ban on advertising signs enforced throughout the island by the Highways Division/Department of Transport?
We’re told the old joke of hanging a bedsheet wishing someone Happy 60th on the wall at a major roundabout is dangerous. Similarly, local business and charities shouldn’t advertise their wares and events on the crash barriers at tight bends coming into town.
Yet FiA, for around a year, have had their banners on the walls outside a Ramsey local authority office, one at a nasty little roundabout next to a pedestrian crossing, the other directly opposite a T junction where cars and pedestrians narrowly miss each other at the best of times.
Now this couldn’t be because the Transport Minister is a notorious fundamentalist who thinks religion is, somehow, above the law, or that the need for tiny evangelical sects to get recruits trumps the need for the general public to cross roads in relative safety.
Could it?

Thursday, 15 October 2009

What's worse - Jesus or heroin?

There’s a story on Energy FM’s website which sums up the Manx government’s total disinterest in dealing with an underclass it created, and which is now seeking ever more desperate means to get by.
To summarise, a 28 year old smackhead carries out a string of burglaries, gets caught, and instead of help (or even a prison sentence) is fed to evangelicals so they can remove any shred of hope the poor sod had.
That’s not the way it’s reported at, of course, but that’s the truth of the matter.
What depresses me more is the section which reads:
'Deemster Doyle heard how Parker’s time at David Gray House had been positive.
’He ordered Parker to spend a minimum of three months at the probation and bail hostel, and placed him under a two year supervision order.'
Read Holy Innocents and work it out for yourselves. If he’s not dead in a month he will wish he was.
Let’s balance the options, shall we?
Heroin – usually kills you within a decade, during which you’ll spend your life robbing any old tat from any insecure place to pay for more heroin from other criminal lowlife, who also get caught and jailed fairly regularly.
Inconvenient for those with vulnerable property, and some drain on the NHS.
Christianity – usually involves you paying over a large portion of any income you have for many decades to lowlife whose ‘profession’ is protected by legal privilege, and with so many government friends in on the racket they are never put out of business.
Inconvenient for everybody, as the addicts can live well over half a century, the lowlife not only pay no tax but claim massive public subsidies to keep their business premises going, and the law won’t touch them.
Relative numbers of both type of addict?
About the same, but, if I had to choose, give me the ones who only live a decade and would never be stupid enough to believe the drug gives them everlasting life.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Beggars belief

Well, the Chief Minister’s fake initiative on alcohol got another boost today, with help from one of the self-elected religious know-nowts who set it up in the first place. You can read about it at
Beats me how nobody is exposing this twaddle for the utter, self-serving bilge and pack of lies it is, or that nobody twigs that those quoted aren’t interested in solving the problem, because there isn’t one.
Religious parasites created another moral panic to get public money. That’s the whole story. Period.
Thing is, the Chief Minister’s so-called ‘taskforce’ on drug and alcohol issues wasn’t formed by the Chief Minister and isn’t a taskforce. It contains no individuals with any practical experience or qualification to advise anyone on substance abuse. It came out of a private meeting involving two evangelical churches and several other chancers looking for easy cash and employment for their halfwitted friends. And they’ve been telling porkies ever since.
For example: 'Figures from the Alcohol Advisory Service indicate that an estimated 1,800 children live with parental substance abuse'.
Figures from the AAS indicate nothing, because they’re guesses based on hearsay and ignorance, not scientifically rigorous research done by professionals.
Or then there is: 'Last year 124 children were referred to the Alcohol Advisory Service 12-21 team as a result of their own high levels of alcohol consumption.’
No they weren’t. Their parents were given a choice between ‘voluntarily’ submitting their kids to pointless ‘counselling’ from muppets with no professional qualifications or risk the courts taking those kids away. And the ‘high levels of alcohol’ are calculated by a slapdash method which, again, doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Amongst other faults it regards anyone who drinks two units of alcohol more than once in a week as having a ‘problem’.
I went into this in detail a couple of years ago. One day I even went so far as to be the only ‘ordinary member of the public’ to take a day off from work and sit with a roomful of public sector layabouts and ‘third sector’ chancers looking for another handout. The meeting was held at the lecture theatre up at Nobles and advertised as a major conference on Manx alcohol abuse.
There were two real academics speaking in the morning on surveys underwritten by the Manx government. I questioned them over lunch and, as I was the only person they spoke to that day who knew anything about proper academic social science research, they gave me their full surveys rather than the idiotised summary to analyse, which I did.
They agreed with me about the paucity of their evidence (mainly due to lack of facilities requested from the Manx government) and that, at the best estimate, Manx alcohol problems effect about a fifth of the population percentages found elsewhere in the UK, which in turn pale beside findings of most European countries. They also agreed that in those countries such drinking isn’t considered a ‘social problem’, and that ( to paraphrase our actual words) the only reason it is in the UK or US is because evangelical campaigners have made such a racket about it since Victorian times to flog bibles.
I wrote up much of what I’d found along with the references and suggestions for further reading for what, at the time, I considered a reputable website for people with an interest in free speech and social issues. Looking for it a few months back I found it had been removed, along with everything else which might spark debate or inform the general public.
Pertinent information on a Manx social issue being censored. What a surprise!
Sadly, I doubt if anyone else will challenge this bilge either. Certainly, nobody has in the last three years. I can at least say I tried to point out some of the nonsense, engage in the debate, and question the academics.
For anyone who is seriously interested I suggest two things.
First, read Stan Cohen’s book Folk Devils and Moral Panics, or just look up ‘Moral Panic’ and ‘Deviancy Amplification Spiral’ on Wikipedia if you are short of time.
Then go to . You can browse the crap on Drug and Alcohol Strategy for a laugh, but pay more attention to the ESPAD report. Don’t just read the heavily edited and biased summaries of Manx findings, look up the detail and cross-match it with that from other countries.
Also note that the 2007 ESPAD report is missing. It used to be there, but it had findings which didn’t fit the folk myths. You can still find it by Googling ESPAD if you want to know more.
Then piss yourself laughing every time the Manx press are short of a story again.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Pat's legacy

I had some sad news this afternoon.
Pat Kneen, widow of the Manx Death With Dignity campaigner Patrick Kneen, died recently.
I shared some history with the Kneens, as I was secretary to their campaign. Indeed I also had to campaign for charges of assisting a suicide to be dropped against Pat. They were scary days, as my job wasn’t too secure either, but sometimes things come along which have to be done, and this was one of them.
Pat really was the unlikeliest political campaigner I’ve ever met. While Patrick had a long background in the Manx Labour Party which immunised him to the lies, backstabbings, bigotry and general corruption of Manx life, Pat was a genteel retired schoolteacher who only moved here when they met and married, after both had been widowed once.
Not the kind of person you expect the police to come for mob-handed in a dawn raid. And not the kind of person who could have served a decade in jail if bigotry and corruption had triumphed, as it usually does over here.
Shortly after Patrick’s death, before the real nastiness kicked off, she told me and another friend that the hate, ignorance and dishonesty of local evangelicals towards Patrick’s polite, public-minded efforts had made her mind up.
It may have been silly things like Hospice staff refusing Patrick (who ran the islands leading cancer support group at the time) a chance to sit in their garden after an exhausting session at Nobles Hospital. Or maybe the anonymous midnight phonecalls saying, in a distinctly threatening tone, they would be ‘prayed for’.
Whatever, but she was hopping mad, and a week or two after Patrick’s funeral had made her mind up. This tiny lady was not going to let priests and politicians bury her husband’s work by sheer apathy.
What happened next was totally unexpected. The island’s international reputation sank to a new low because of it, though I’m proud to be amongst the few that showed the world we’re not all scum. You can read about all that at
Still, we won, had some fun doing it, and may have invented a whole new style of campaigning in the process. On the other hand, Pat Kneen was (unsurprisingly) so drained by the whole thing she upped sticks and never came back to the island, though she never forgot my family and sent cards regularly.
She’ll be missed, but her legacy to the folk I love most is a simple but effective message.
Don't get serious. Get happy.
Laugh ignorance off the planet.

Rug-butting bastards do it again

Niusha Boghrati sent the message below to supporters of No More Executions at 11.55 AM today.

'Behnoud Shojaee was executed in the early morning of Sunday, Oct, 11th in Tehran's Evin prison, while tens of human rights defenders were protesting the verdict outside.
Behnoud Shojaee was sentenced to qesas (retribution) by Branch 74 of the Criminal Court in Tehran on 2 October 2006, after he was found guilty of killing a boy called Omid the previous year, when he was 17. Behnoud Shojaee had no legal representation at his trial. This was the sixth time his execution had been scheduled.
Executions of those under 18 at the time of their alleged offence is strictly prohibited under international law.
Iran is the only country in the world that has carried out such sentences within past year.
More than 70 minors are currently awaiting their execution. Safar Angooti, accused of a murder when he was 16 is scheduled to be hanged next week.'

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Lies, damn lies and dipsticks

I was mildly amused by an article in this week’s Examiner where Liberal Vannin took exception to the use of the ‘Pathway’ system at Nobles (see To be honest, after a quick giggle at yet another desperate Manx press ‘shock horror expose’ with no substance I then thought no more of it for a couple of days.
This is, after all, a political grouping which calls itself ‘liberal’ yet includes white flighters thrown out of UKIP for stirring up race hate. And this is a ‘local newspaper’ which, as part of a plan to drive the last locally owned publication out of business and get an advertising monopoly, ran uncut government press releases as an unspoken condition of getting the government advertising. Even funnier, Johnston Press staff seem to be so underpaid they’re moonlighting as PR hacks for troubled government departments.
And even funnier than that, Johnston Press management are key partners in Freedom to Flourish, which, under the pretence of running an international PR campaign for the island, actually creates the bogus community groups (known in PR speak as ‘astroturf’) whose activities fill the ‘community’ and ‘charity’ columns. Helpfully, the F to F hacks we, the public, pay around half a million for via government PR initiatives are kind enough to write all the publicity for such groups. Otherwise we might not think the island is a caring place where poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia and corruption don’t exist.
Then I happened to be at an advisory meeting, supposedly on NHS ethics, where a senior local Catholic tried to move discussion to the Pathway initiative and complain that patients have no say in end of life decisions (I know, Catholic and end of life decisions, goes together like Nick Griffin and racial tolerance, doesn’t it?).
Because of other strange comments at the meeting I was intrigued enough to wonder where Karran’s complaint came from. Just jumping on fear and folk myths, or ‘advised’ by anyone or anything specific?
I knew, for example, the Catholic speaker had been ‘advised’ by his seniors in Liverpool, where the Pathway project began. And I knew that senior UK Catholics are rabble-rousing and scare-mongering in response to the recent legal clarifications over assisted suicide.
So I looked at the story again, and noted that: “Party members explained they are not questioning the plan's use for the terminally ill in Hospice Isle of Man but for those who are 'probably' dying in Noble's Hospital.”
Hmm, that’s strange. A private health facility (though underwritten by public money) which provides end of life care you wouldn’t submit your dog to, which relies on volunteers and ‘alternative therapists’ rather than employ qualified staff and offer scientifically proven medical treatment, which, mysteriously, never has the capacity to deal with working people of slender means dying of the most awful cancers, yet always has a place for wealthy bods still capable of changing their wills….
So, while this excuse for a hospital has been using the Pathway system for years, Karran is only concerned about those who are ‘probably’ dying in Nobles ( in other words, there are rumours about Nobles but absolutely no substance)?
How curious!
Could all this have anything to do with information given to the Daily Telegraph by another consultant, who pointed out that the Liverpool Care Pathway was developed by one Professor John Ellershaw. Thing is, as well as being a consultant in palliative medicine Ellershaw also features prominently in material by Care Not Killing, a right wing coalition which includes most of the flakiest ‘pro-life’ nutjobs and churches such as the C of E. This is not counting around a million in funding to CNK from the Catholic church via front groups specifically to enable ‘spontaneous’ calls from the ‘concerned public’ to any radio show phone-in on pro-life issues.
We should also note that hospice and palliative care ‘professionals’ are the most rabid opponents to assisted suicide in any form. Well, they would be, wouldn’t they?
Patients making informed advance decisions to die at a time when things get too much? That takes valuable income away from those whose only interest is spinning out our suffering as long as possible, in order to charge to the max for snake-oil ‘therapies’ with no practical or scientifically testable effect.

International Day against the Death Penalty

I was just going to take another pop at some local nonsense today. Then I got an e-mail which put things into perspective, so I'm telling you about that instead.
Today, as I doubt any 'proper' newspaper will find time to tell us, is International Day against the Death Penalty.
International Campaign Against Executions, a group run by various refugees from Islamic 'justice' and their friends, today issued a statement. I print it verbatim, as, even with the imperfect English, it is a challenge to secularists everywhere to act.

'We must build a world free from crimes against humanity and executions.
'Killing people and taking away the right to live from human is one of the degradation phenomenons of human society. Men are born only once and may live once only! Life, which is origin of all creativity, talents, prosperity and happiness in the human being society. Taking human life with any reason, excuse or justification is virtually killing creative and talented force of human being and depriving the society from benefiting from these talents in improving living conditions. Aggression to human life is the most heinous behavior of the rulers of society to human rights. Crime against humanity and execution is one of the most savage human behaviors in history of human life, and laws that allow execution legitimately are criminal laws. Judicial systems that intentionally take human life are criminal systems and will produce crime in much broader dimensions.
'Execution is the most important tool of states to bring calmness to society and to stabilize state’s base, tools to intimidate people against the government. Government advocate of deceit execution say; execution is being used as a society security tool from crime and murder. They hide behind victim’s anger and pretend they are performing justice to victims. But the reality is, by taking guilty people’s life; society will not obtain security and comfort. And during history, amount of crimes committed by governments are thousand times more than murders committed by people.
'Today, especially in the age of technology and the peak of power and human’s ability in building a free and human world, human more than ever is in need to remove crime against humanity and execution from society and build a world without any crime against humanity and execution.
'International day against execution must become a day to protest against this wildest and barbaric human act, must become a day to value and cherish human life throughout the world. The day that people with clear voice shout over their rulers to let them know; they do not need the murder of human beings, will not tolerate the intention murders, and do not obey laws which has been built based on crime.
'International Day against execution is the day to protest against all countries that are the biggest and most professional murderer and have committed the most brutal crimes. A day to protest against judicial systems, in which there is neither justice nor respect to human dignity, systems that are the largest producers of crimes in society.
'International Day against execution is a day to protest against Islamic Republic as the capital and record holder of execution in the world. A government that executes any opponents, murders Juvenile, shockingly and tragically stones men and women. A government, which in threshold of international day against execution put about 8 Juvenile to death row by hanging and a woman to row of stoning.
'Let’s gather from every city and country around the world on October 10th, and raise our voice and defend the movement of life and human rights to the entire world. 'International committee against execution is calling upon all humanitarian and honorable people in the world to gather on October 10th, and on International Day against execution show the power of human rights defenders and right to live and audibly shout; world doesn’t need execution. Stop all executions.

There are links on the sidebar to various groups alerting us to this barbarity. Have a look, then maybe sign up to get alerts to e-mail campaigns and petitions which try to prevent more such atrocities.
For example, two Iranian men are due to be executed on 11th and 19th October respectively for acts committed when they were 17. Iran, as I'm getting tired of reminding people, several years ago signed an international convention against capital punishment for minors.
Along with the USA they continue to break the spirit of the convention by ensuring minors aren't tried or sentenced to death until they reach 18. They then carry out the executions quietly, when world attention is elsewhere, and in many cases without even informing the lawyers or relatives of those executed.
You can turn a blind eye, shrug your shoulders, or try and stop it. I can't take that choice for you.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

No Manx justice, just this mess

At long last someone is taking a proper look at our rotten island prison. Sadly, still not the Department of Home Affairs.
Positive Action Group brought over a speaker from the Howard League recently. Predictably he wasn’t impressed at a set-up which involved handing far too much public money over to a bunch of cowboy contractors for a jerry-built slum. He was even less impressed at a justice system which fills 40% of said overpriced slum with folk who haven’t even been to court yet – and that’s only judging from official figures!
You can read about that at And then one of the few local advocates interested in justice had his say at
All in all, not very impressive, and that isn’t even half the story. For example, can anyone explain why the only folk arrested to get bail are those prepared to sit through a daily prayer meeting at the island’s only bail hostel? In short, if you’re of any religious persuasion except an evangelical Christian one, or have no interest in the supernatural, bail is not available. Neither is a balanced probation report when or if you finally get to court.
And it gets worse. At some point a story will appear in the local press, probably under a byline, which suggests our youth justice system has impressed the experts.
It hasn’t, and if you want the untainted original DHA press release (written by a moonlighting Johnston Press hack if their previous stuff is any guide) you can find it at
Cut through the gloss and spin at the beginning and go straight to the bad news tucked away ‘incidentally’ towards the end.
What the inspectors actually said was that our youth justice system is run by a bunch of unco-ordinated amateurs and doesn’t work. In effect, what they were saying is it’s time the island actually got a youth justice system.

Bibles wreck your teeth

The young ‘un’s just come home from school with a funny story that’s made our day.
Most of the lunchtime clubs have a steady flow of kids, based on no more than teachers outlining the choices and times in the first week. Gladdens your heart – so much for today’s kids being lazy or lacking interest in learning stuff that won’t fit into the regular curriculum.
But one is failing so miserably that it has to bribe the kids with sweets. That one being the Bible Club. So, not just mind rot, tooth rot too.
Sad bunch of deluded kiddy-fiddlers. High time some teacher showed them the door for public health reasons.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Once upon a time in the Western Isles

Guess what, our non-existent night life is an indirect cause of religious conflict up in the Western Isles.
On the other hand, one of the other consequences is that two of the most obnoxious fundamentalist fuckwits in the British Isles are at war with each other.
The war began when George Hargreaves, founder of the Christian Party and now (somewhat confusingly) running an outfit called the Scottish Christian Party from London, decided to run for office as the Western Isles MP. He’s using the dubious matter of Sunday ferry sailings as an excuse.
By doing so he’s upset the Western Isles resident religious bigot, Daily Mail journo John MacLeod, who presumably thinks only he has the right to profit from non-issues turned into religious controversy.
You can read and laugh at the whole sad story at
But why has Manx night life got anything to do with all this, you ask?
The thing is, Hargreaves moved over here some years back on the profits of So Macho. Unsurprisingly, a producer of gay disco anthems who was also black fitted in like…............ well, he didn’t!
At the time most people either left the island to find life after dusk or ended up listening to dipso white flighters whinge at the golf club bar every night. For Hargreaves it got so bad he fell in with local pentecostalists.
Give the man credit though, he saw a market, got some correspondence course qualification as a clergyman and has never looked back. Thinking about it, it’s almost funny – a black man with a dog collar is the worst nightmare for all those South African losers the Manx government enticed here when apartheid fell apart!
Hargreaves has failed miserably as a Scottish political candidate once, being trounced in a Glasgow constituency by Patrick Harvie (green, gay and an NSS member too – how embarrassing).
MacLeod has an even longer record of mean-minded Calvinist shite-peddling. If I’m not mistaken, he features a few times in Sexual Fascism, Gary Otton’s excellent account of Section 28 skullduggery up in Scotland, and fairly certainly in a few of Gary’s postings at Scottish Media Monitor (see sidebar).
Frankly, this pair deserve each other, but the rest of the world deserves neither. The more each is confined to slagging off the other, the less we have to worry about the pair of them.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Mann, Muslims and counter-terrorism

There’s a report over at Matblog of some excellent advice coming from what is (if only for lack of another label) a British Muslim thinktank. Even more amazingly, it was being given at a Labour party fringe meeting.
In a debate entitled: How should the left engage with British Muslims?, one presentation was by Ed Husain, Co-Director of the Quilliam Foundation.
His reported advice is summarised as follows:

‘- What the left should not do:

* Adopt the attitude of ‘take us to your leader’, and only engage with Muslim communities through self-appointed male middle-aged leaders.
* Seek representation of British Muslims as a monolithic community.
* Turn only to religion to address British Muslims. Besides mosque structures, there are junctures where Muslims interact with wider society: football supporters, college students, pensioners, for example. We must speak to them as ordinary humans and British citizens, and not just talk to them through the prism of religion.

- What the left should do:

* Engage with Muslims as citizens like everyone else. The British Muslim representative model doesn’t work for a whole host of reasons.
* The left — and the Labour Party in particular — should be the grassroots movement of British politics that young Muslims/Asians/Brits are looking for. The Labour Party has failed to galvanize on people’s genuine concerns.
* The left should not shy away from confronting far-right Islamist extremism. Fascism is not only a white-European problem. The left sees minority communities as those that should be protected and not criticised. This liberal paralysis ends up in doing a disservice to minority communities. Instead, the left must confront attitudes in these communities that are anti-women, anti-secular etc.
- Overall, then, the answer is that the left should not engage with Muslims as Muslims per se, but as British citizens and ordinary humans.
- After 12 years of Labour, the government has done many things right, but it is also worth asking where it went wrong and why Blackburn and other northern cities remain so dangerously divided along ethnic and religious lines.’

Excellent stuff, and isn’t it a line secularists should be putting on ‘minority faiths’ to prevent a dying church, desperate to retain privilege, claiming common cause with those it once strove to put out of business?
It also begs another question; why is it us ‘ex-Christians’ (again for lack of an adequate label) are less successful at dealing with the culture we’re from and our families still ‘officially’ belong to than, say, secular Jews or the ex-Muslim movement?
You can see more on the debate and presentations at .
Incidentally, off-island readers may wonder why I have such interest in the Quilliam Foundation, while on-island readers will recognise Quilliam as a Manx name but may not know the foundation, so here’s a brief explanation.
The Quilliam Foundation is a thinktank involving several ex-members of extreme Muslim groups, set up specifically to try and aid counter-terrorist policy making - and in particular ways to draw disgruntled, disenfranchised young working class British Muslims away from such lunacy and into more productive community or political thinking.
The Quilliam from whom it takes a name was a 19th century Liverpool solicitor, Abdullah Quilliam, who founded the first British Muslim mosque and was something of an intermediary between the British Empire (which he was no fan of) and the Arabic world. He, in turn, was a descendant of John Quilliam, an unflappable Manxman who commanded Nelson’s gun crews. When asked by Nelson how ‘we’ were doing at the battle of Trafalgar, Quilliam reportedly replied “middling”, then calmly walked off as bits of ship’s equipment and crew flew furiously around him.
Sadly, though Abdullah Quilliam had Manx links and even kept a house here, what passes for Manx historical accounts of him are little more than racist whimsy and folk tales. For some sense of what he was really about Wikipedia is a good enough start, and for more on the Quilliam Foundation see the link on the sidebar.
Both the foundation and the inspiration, I'd argue, are worthy of more Manx attention.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Godbotherers 1, Decency 1 at the UN

ARTICLE 19, the international free speech body, gives a cautious welcome to the Resolution on the Right to Freedom of Expression adopted by consensus today at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). But they also warn that: “Unfortunately, the resolution does contain two viruses. It will be incumbent upon member states of the HRC and civil society to ensure that these viruses are not allowed to flourish, multiply and gangrene the text and commitments. Instead, they shall be contained, by and through international human rights standards and principles, so that the resolution can best function and offer the maximum protection to freedom of expression.”
So, you ask, what’s the problem.
Well, the final draft version proposed by Egypt & the USA had a few, actually.
For a start, it entirely deleted a paragraph which stated that the Human Rights Council: “Encourages consultations among media professionals .... with the assistance of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, with a view to exchanging views on this subject and sharing best practices, taking into account the independence of the media and international human rights law”.
But in particular, Article 19 was particularly concerned about a passage which stated that the Human Rights Council: “expresses its concern that ... negative racial and religious stereotyping continue to rise around the world”.
The previous resolution referred to “negative stereotyping of religions and racial groups around the world”, so while the word “religions” was omitted the phrase “negative racial and religious stereotyping” was no better.
As Article 19 said yesterday, “stereotyping” was too ambiguous and is easily interpreted to encompass religions, religious ideas and religious symbols, none of which are not protected by international law. Their view was that the words “negative racial and religious stereotyping” should be replaced with “negative stereotyping of individuals and groups on the basis of their religion or race”, which at least conforms with international human rights law. They also regretted that their recommendation to strengthen the protection of freedom of expression were not incorporated in the final text.
As it happened, the final agreed text still referred to “religious stereotyping”, which Article 19 today deemed: “a vague and difficult concept which suggests that religions, religious ideas and religious symbols (rather than believers) may be protected by international human rights law.”
The new Resolution also still makes specific reference to another resolution against which human rights advocates around the world have advocated.
HRC Resolution 7/36, said Article 19: “unnecessarily diluted the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression.”
Secularists might remember that the UN Special Raporteur has been the last line of defence a few times before when the uglier, more powerful theocracies have tried to sway the UN.
Nevertheless, Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director, concluded that: “The adoption of the Resolution by consensus is a breakthrough. Especially so given the tensions and conflicts that have accompanied recent discussions on freedom of expression within the Human Rights Council and its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights.”
So, swings and roundabouts, but if the theofascists had got things all their own way it could have been much worse.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Unwanted, unloved, and an unbelievable waste of public funds

My old mate George Broadhead, Manx born secretary of the Pink Triangle Trust, is not happy about the visit of a certain homophobic boy nazi to the UK next year, especially as it’s at public expense.
In a PTT press release a few days ago he said:
“This pope has shown himself to be paranoid about homosexuality. His opposition to LGBT rights knows no bounds. In his Christmas message last year he declared that saving humanity from homosexual behaviour was as important as saving the rainforest from destruction. This must be the most outrageous and bizarre claim yet made by someone who has already got a well-deserved reputation as one of the most viciously homophobic world leaders on a par with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
“The Vatican reinforced its anti-gay reputation by strongly opposing a UN declaration calling for an end to discrimination against gays and the Pope’s Christmas message provided clear evidence of an obsession about homosexuality which is tantamount to paranoia.

“It is imperative that the strongest possible protest be made when he visits the UK next year. This is not without precedent. During the last papal visit to the UK by John Paul II in 1982, a protest called POPE (People Opposing Papal Edicts) was instigated by the Gay Humanist Group of which I was a founder member.
“It had the support of other gay and secular organisations, including the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and the National Secular Society. On the occasion of the next papal visit, we must pull out all the stops to demonstrate our opposition.”
And no sooner had Gorgeous George planted that thought in a few minds than the fun began. For example, another PTT member has a freeedom of information request in to the Home Office for a breakdown of the likely costs, including accommodation for Ratzo and his entourage, public functions, other entertainment, policing and other security, publicity, transport, diversions, etc.
Now there’s a petition up on the Number Ten website too (see
The thinking is, if Geert Wilders isn’t fit to enter the UK and speak to a group of mature politicos, why isn’t a humanity-hating, bare-faced lying scrote with previous as long as your arm on the ‘banned’ list too?
Go on, sign up.
We saw off Hitler. Why go soft on his disciples?