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.

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