Monday, 28 December 2009

Christmas Cracker

On Boxing Day I heard a Christmas Cracker which, yet again, illustrates there’s even a huge gap between unelected religious leaders and their own flocks (never mind the rest of us).
I blogged on 1st December about lazy Manx attempts to jump on a Christian Institute bandwagon (see Witless Christmas crackers). Shortly following that story’s appearance in a Manx newspaper, two devout teen churchgoers chatting to their elderly gran were surprised to find she thought the Bish a bit of a wet blanket. So they decided to test her tolerance with a Christmas present from the Ann Summers shop – a box of chocs with, let’s just say, an adult theme.
When they saw her next, on Boxing Day, they were startled to discover the box was empty. Apparently she not only saw the joke, but passed the box round female friends of similar age while all were involved in good works on Christmas Day.
Fair play to all, and I share this story with hardened atheists because it’s only fair to mention when ordinary folk with a faith that baffles show evidence they’re not completely brainwashed by their windbag clerics.
I'd like to think this shows even local professional godbotherers might turn into tolerant human beings. But that would be a miracle, and take rather more swallowing than mint flavoured chocolates modelled on the male anatomy.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

I need no reason for the season

I checked the Manx Indie yesterday (in case actual news had crept into it – it didn’t) and discovered Johnston Press’s latest attempt at seasonal relevance, an exchange between Sentamu’s Apprentice and an atheist on how to spend Christmas. Read it at if you like.
Me? I glanced at a few words, got the general idea then went back to reading a collection of P.J. O’Rourke classic articles.
Yup, that’s me - shallow hedonist, rather burn out than rust, etc., etc. And as I’m tired of explaining v-e-e-r-r-y s-s-l-l-o-o-o-w-w-l-ly to dullards who seem too dim to get a simple idea through their brick-like bonces, I do not have a spiritual bone in my body. If I did I’d have it surgically removed and replaced with something more useful.
As far as I’m concerned, we don’t need to ‘earn’ pleasure. We don’t need a reason for the season. We need no excuse to be happy or to spread joy. Just do it and be – well, a Christian would say damned but I’d say damned happy.
I am not interested in polite exchanges of greetings with those who bore the backside off me every other day of the year. For once I want to be with the people I love most, doing stuff I like and nothing… N-O-T-H-I-N-G… else. Give me that, stay out of my face for a few days and I will put up with almost anything for a reasonable time on any other day of the year, preferably while being paid to do so.
Forget spirituality: time for some serious fun.
So, let’s just admit it; however well meant, the article was never going to work, because two individuals can never speak for the wide range of supposedly dissimilar views they’re asked to represent.
For one thing, Robert, whatever faults he has, isn’t a bigot and seems to have genuine concerns over social justice. That puts him at loggerheads with many of his flock, and certainly those who call the shots in the Manx synod. Similarly, if Anglicanism is, as the old quip goes, the Tory party at prayer then Muriel is of a humanist tradition somewhere around the Lib Dems having a Moment of Silent Contemplation.
In fact, take away the belief in sky fairies and Robert’s middle of the road Anglicanism and Muriel’s middle of the road Atheism aren’t poles apart.
The main difference between me and Robert Paterson is that I’m prepared to live in a society where we both have an equal chance to vote for someone to represent us in Tynwald or to stand for office ourselves if we don’t like the candidates, and he isn’t. The only significant difference in our view about Christmas is that I don’t care if he spends it on his knees in sackcloth and ashes while talking to the wall or off his head on pony smack while in sexual congress with the consenting adult of his choice. Just as long as he doesn’t bother anyone else, and in particular doesn’t prey on the vulnerable.
Funnily enough I (full out freethinker and libertarian of the O’Rourke/Hunter S. Thompson Gonzo school) and a predecessor of Robert Paterson (high Anglican, ex-navy chaplain, personal friend of Prince Philip and as un-PC as they come) had several long and amicable discussions over rather more alcohol than was good for either of us without coming to blows. So, it goes to show that even the lunatic fringes of apparently opposed worldviews can rub along, providing each starts from a basic belief in humanity.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Manx newspaper finds story shock

Never thought I’d say this, but Isle of Man Newspapers have finally printed something on a major local blight which, in passing, reveals that bigots in government are part of the problem. Even wierder, it was written by ffinlo Costain.
It appears in the most unlikely place too. For the last few weeks, the Excrement, under pretence of provoking discussion of ‘important’ issues, have printed a weekly ‘essay’ by a guest contributor. Until this week they were, frankly, such snoremongering drivel that I could only suspect Freedom to Fester have underwritten the project.
But this week ffinlo was given his head on the subject of Manx racism, and he hasn’t done badly. In fact he’s even spotted, as I have said for years, that the DHA is a racist rats nest and that some of our MHKs probably have wet dreams about Nick Griffin.
You can read it all at OK, as ever, he’s cross-referencing it with his other paid projects and fishing for new contracts, and if you really want to read the survey the link is also wrong. You need
Still, as my wife said, about time; just a shame it took so long. Ten minutes with a tape recorder in any workplace or public place on the island would have given any half-decent hack this much to go on.
So is the root of the problem a lack of half-decent hacks, or decent hacks being muzzled by employers scared of losing government income?
Now, there's another story worth chasing.

Lies, more lies and Manx drug legislation

As from today, so-called ‘legal highs’ become ‘illegal highs’ on the Isle of Man.
OK, we knew that was coming from articles like in what passes for a Manx press.
But interestingly, and following the new practice of various ‘Freedom to Fester’ partners, the DHA chose to release the official news today on Manxnet first at . The press release is misleading from beginning to end, but then local reporting has also been a wee bit.....minimal?
Thing is, Manx hacks were invited to a ‘confidential’ briefing in the Chief Minister’s bunker a few weeks back. It is interesting to see how all have since happily trotted out the party line. Even Radio Cowshed’s resident dissident, Stuart Peters, from whom I’d expect at least a token sixties flashback. No queries, no supplementary research, not even words from medical experts to explain the alleged need for a further infringement of personal liberty.
The first two we can put down to the government playing games with the media over their tightened PR budget, and the threat of reduced income from government notices in the case of Johnston Press - AKA IOM Newspapers (who only set up shop here to get that income) or direct government subsidy in the case of Radio Cowshed.
The lack of medical comment is easy to explain too. The Isle of Man Drug & Alcohol Strategy Team contains no chemist, no medical expert, no psychologist or psychiatrist, or indeed anyone who could, in the real world, be regarded as an authority on the subjects under discussion. When they want ‘evidence’, they just download it from the UK’s Home Office.
Which is where they have a particular problem, because, as the UK press were reporting happily last month, most of the academics Gordon Brown relies on to excuse tougher drug policies and placate Daily Mail readers do not think the laws need to be tougher, do not think the current drug classification system is correct, and do not even think some of the substances previously illegal should be so.
Oh, let the cat out of the bag there with that word ‘previous’ did I? Well, see elsewhere on the IOM Newspapers website under ‘national news’ (as in UK national).
Oops, did some lazy sod at the DHA or one of our ever busy Manx newshounds forget to tell you? The entire Manx program was lifted from the UK Home Office, who ‘coincidentally’ introduce exactly the same measures today, having (unlike the IOM) at least done something that passes for research and consultation.
I say ‘passes’ because it wasn’t a proper exercise either. But for one typical example of expert parties who entered into the spirit of the thing, tried to look at the thing properly and make a submission to that process, look at the Transform briefing at
The difference in quality is, I politely suggest, staggering. Which makes the entire Manx travesty even more of a nonsense.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

More misery for less money

On 18th December the Manx SS revealed how they plan to continue wrecking lives in a recession.
If you want, you can get it direct from the masters of disaster on the government website at, where you find garbage like:
‘The Social Services Division is operating proactively and decisively in a well considered approach to ensure social care and support to those in greatest need can be sustained.
The Division has a multi-faceted comprehensive financial strategic approach to enable the Isle of Man to continue to deliver quality social care services when resources are reducing and need is increasing. Social Services have put this into action and will accelerate its implementation given the need for a swift response to the latest fiscal situation.’

Alternatively, I could sum it up for you in a sentence.
They’re going to continue abusing the vulnerable on a smaller budget, and rope in more superstitious amateurs to help them.

Who killed Christmas?

I’ve just got hold of Faith In Action’s Christmas leaflet, albeit via wealthy friends.
It’s basically a note with times for all the Ramsey Xmas church services, padded with stuff about loving your neighbour and making a difference in the community – which is quite ironic when you think about it.
The thing is, the Ramsey churches used to combine to put the predecessor to this through all doors. But this year they’ve only leafletted upmarket homes. How odd - or perhaps just revealing!
The disastrous interplay between churches, local government and business is all too evident in Ramsey, and getting worse as recession bites. I expect nothing else in a small town than for the seediest elements to combine.
Masons, Buffs, Rotarians, evangelicals…whatever. Private deals in chapel or lodge turned into public policy after nominal discussion in the council chamber. It’s always been the way in small towns throughout the British Isles, and probably far beyond. Secret scufflings of superstitious village idiots holding the world back. Ho hum.
But I didn’t realise quite how bad it was here until present-hunting with my small daughter in the main street yesterday. No secret that Ramsey commerce is all but dead, though not because of Tesco or online retailing.
The problem is revealed in the way the empty shop windows are decorated in a vain attempt to hide the decay. Some bright spark handed them over to the evangelical lunatic fringe, who mounted rival nativity scenes/advertising for their Xmas antics. Even in the half-alive shops there are adverts for obscenities like Christmas on the Hill at St. John’s instead of posters for community events. Rather than a friendly, small town celebration of humanity at a traditional time of good cheer, the effect is closer to Kristalnacht.
You see what happened? In their rush to claim a tradition drawn from many streams for Christofascism, the deluded herd have achieved what neither the Puritans nor the Taliban could.
They’ve killed Christmas.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

List of shame

I’ve just seen something incredibly useful in a Manx newspaper. It’s a list which, amongst the odd good cause which crept in by accident, probably contains every timewasting pseudo-charity whose useless antics you will ever be asked to perpetuate on the Isle of Man.
It got into print because Manx evangelicals live in such a tiny bubble that they think their lifestyles are praiseworthy, love to boast about them and actually think we might be impressed.
The list can be found at But the use isn’t just limited to on-island readers.
If you go to then try some of the names you pick up what these charities do, what kind of income they can’t get away without declaring and who’s behind them, not the PR bumpf which gets printed uncut in the lazier press publications.
Then, if you check the trustees, you’ll find that by clicking on any name their trusteeships with other charities are given, so enabling you to see how such parasites network. The worst don’t admit most of their links, but, amusingly, the more arrogant and shameless ones do. You can also find links to their websites, which tend to be less guarded about links to sometimes quite vacuous or stomach-churning enterprises.
Go on, have a treat. Spend an hour or so following the links and get all the ammunition you’ll ever need to keep faith-based lunatics at bay when they beg in your area.

Job done

Today I had a unique experience. I was part of a government committee set up to plan for a potential disaster which has sacked itself, because the plans are in place and they work. That has to be a first.
Even more of a first – all clergy involved did a sterling job. Mind you, they were professional clergy, not hobby vicars, and as we gave up our lunchtimes voluntarily for the committee meetings and nobody was giving money away there were no evangelicals.
We were the Isle of Man Flu Pandemic Ethics Committee, a mixture of health professionals and lay people (including three clergy) with an interest in ethics, and we met at Nobles Hospital bi-monthly for two years. We put in place the ethical structure for Manx health services dealing with what, originally, was expected to be a serious bird flu pandemic but, in the end, was a much milder swine flu outbreak.
In the Isle of Man no-one has died, all who need a vaccine or treatment will get it, and the hospital has robust policies to continue dealing with those with high priority medical conditions without losing beds or staff needed for flu emergencies, now or in the future. As nothing has gone wrong there will be no screaming, but, between you and me, when we took the issue on it was an uphill battle against politicians going round with their eyes closed and fingers in their ears.
I’ve only once before been involved in such a scenario over here, and that was a disaster which caused me to approach this one with low expectations. In the other case the committee were the puppets of social services and their friends in evangelical churches.
The end result of that is the social problem we were meant to eradicate now gets worse day by day, because once the sham committee moved aside at the sham meeting to launch the sham solution the bigots and parasites at the root of the problem took over, and will continue to claim they’re solving it until the cash runs out. Frankly, that day might well be the first one when the problem starts to go away.
But that was another committee. This one restored my faith in some public sector workers (though as an ex-nurse I’ve always trusted health workers), and in the genuine good intent of the few old fashioned clergy still about. Modest types who got into the job to help people, not to lecture them senseless.
The lesson, I suppose, is that honest folk with good will can head off a disaster. But if you ever do find yourself in a position where you might have to, first avoid all involvement by evangelicals, civil servants or politicians. Do that, and you might get the job done right, and without wasting time, money or materials.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Less wasted paper, less sermons

I’m intrigued by the new coalition between two local longwinded sermonisers, Sentamu’s Apprentice Robert Paterson and FOE’s Ffinlo Costain.
Is the latter now also working as quietly for the former as he has for the DLGE, or is there some strange marriage of convenience? Alternatively, as greens and godbotherers could both put someone with Attention Deficit Disorder to sleep in seconds with their prose, does it matter anyway?
Whatever, the first evidence came to light at, where it could be excused as just FOE giving another unelected klingon a bit of a leg-up. Because greens and godbotherers do have something else odd in common.
They both seem to prefer to push their case behind closed doors with unelected politicians. One would almost think they don’t trust the public to back their policies; they certainly have a marked disinterest in testing them at the ballot box.
By Saturday the story had spread to Radio Cowshed (see, which is unsurprising as by Saturday evening the newsdesk is being run by the religious team, and by today it was in the Excrement too.
So, maybe I could put forward a few green savings of my own.
Firstly, Christians could bury their petty feuds and arrange to meet in groups of, say, a dozen on Sundays, instead of heating 12 different premises in any island town, each occupied by an odd couple and maybe a passing stray dog if it’s raining. Snake-charmers and holy rollers could do the public an extra favour and make a double saving too by not using schools for their bizarre goings on.
Then there’s that unending stream of local colour supplements that flows through our letterboxes. In my case, as part of our strict anti-junkmail policy, my daughter bungs them straight into the bag to go to the recycling bins.
I doubt anyone else reads them either. In fact I’ve tested this idea and have yet to find anyone who can remember one item (or even the name of the publications) except those who arranged for the item to be there.
Overcome your nausea and try reading one and you soon discover why.
Firstly, examine the ‘editorial’ against the ‘advertising’ and check the juxtaposition of one against the other and you might wonder which is which. The odd gaps where the relationship isn’t so obvious, you’ll note, favour woo-woo merchants, neo-colonial racism and exploitation (I think the PC term is ‘faith-based help for the developing world’), or greens shouting at working people for using supermarkets.
So, logically, if the message was so important, and paper waste such a sin, shouldn’t such articles appear online where somebody might read them, rather than in the least recyclable paper form where nobody does?
Most of us would still bin them as spam, but we wouldn’t have to cart them off to the recycling bins next time we’re…well, at the supermarket actually, as the supposedly sin-free retail ‘alternatives’ are nowhere near a recycling bin.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Strange way to protect us from a police state

The Department of Home Affairs over here is responsible for a steady stream of sick jokes. For one, as those who know it best comment, it seems to employ worse people than it incarcerates. The use of slave labour for ‘charitable projects’, the lack of an independent prison visitor scheme or prisoner complaints system required by law, the high numbers of people who spend more time there before trial than they would afterwards (if eventually fairly convicted) because the only bail facility demands daily prayer meetings….
The list of other sick jokes about the prison service alone just goes on and on.
Now you can read a new one at .
I passed this to a number of UK prisoners rights and civil liberties groups, and the jaws of most who read it are still hurting from hitting the floor so hard. If you don’t know why, the Wikipedia entry on the Strangeways Prison riot in 1990 is as good a place as any to start.
One other other common rumour amongst old lags about Mr O'Friel's real loyalties also caused some to ask: 'Does Opus Dei have a policy on police surveillance?'
Funnily enough, I did notice something odd a couple of years back, when the Manx version of new legislation on interception of communication was going through.
A curious clause was inserted at the last minute 'on human rights grounds'. Doubly curious, because it was commonly suspected at the time that Manx human rights legislation was being deliberately delayed to allow the police to retain as many unreasonable powers from the dark ages as possible.
In a nutshell, it makes it an offence for Manx police to bug the confessional booth in a Catholic church, or to require a Catholic priest to provide information on anything he hears in an act of confession. There was no similar dispensation for other Christian denominations or other faiths as far as I could tell.
How bizarre. Wonder if Dan Brown would be interested?

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Secret Satan

I’ve just seen Satan packing bags for kids charities at a supermarket.
He was easy to spot. Cheery old bloke with white whiskers, said ‘Ho, ho, ho’ a lot and kept wishing people Merry Christmas.
‘This buffoon’s confused or dyslexic’, you’re thinking, ‘he clearly means Santa’.
No, I mean Satan. I know the man concerned as he’s a fellow member of a group who (local godbotherers earnestly assure not only each other but also their friends who live in government broomcupboards) are either Satan made flesh or at the very least his little helpers.
Not only that but he’s also a dangerous sectarian. And you can take that from sensibly shod jam-makers who feature prominently in Manx government disaster plans (which scares the daylights out of me, as has meeting similar socially privileged but intellectually challenged dingbats who might take life or death decisions in such emergencies).
I am absolutely serious. A few months back the local WI were, as ever, short of good speakers and it was suggested that it would make sense to add Isle of Man Freethinkers to the ‘minority religion’ speakers invited to dispel common Christian myths which in the past, unchecked, led to things like the Holocaust.
Amazingly, the jammy bodger management seem to have decided that this can’t happen because sectarian groups aren’t allowed to preach at WI hen parties, and humanism (I know not how they decided this) is sectarian.
I asked two humanist friends in Northern Ireland what they thought about this. You’ll agree, I think, they might know a thing or two about sectarianism.
The noise at the other end of the phone, the wife of one informed me, was her husband lying on the floor, bent double laughing while rubbing his buttocks, which he had bruised after falling off his chair, which was now in pieces.
But, hey, what would they know compared to godfearing, upright Manx ladies who sometimes read nearly half the Daily Mail without professional help?
Well, one has a George Cross for pulling rather a lot of civil servants out of a building the IRA had just bombed. The other spent getting on for two decades, outside of his ‘real’ job at Belfast’s only state school for kids from both communities, as a voluntary mini-bus driver running families of both Loyalist and Republican prisoners to the H-Blocks every weekend.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Pruning flowers, appeasing deadheads

Keeping this blog is a bit like gardening. No, really.
When I started the thing my attitude was, leave it all untouched. If, a year later, something I wrote proves to be stupid, or a prediction way off, it shouldn’t matter. It’s supposed, after all, to be a record of what I observed on a particular day, so in the fullness of time it might turn out not to be the full picture.
Sadly, though I’m prepared to be that open and honest, let my mistakes stand along with the best stuff, allow anyone the freedom to comment or correct me and I will leave their comments intact, the world won’t let me. Not the Manx one anyway.
The thing is, this is an island where some folk have what William Burroughs used to call ‘The Right Virus’. It doesn’t matter about the evidence, it doesn’t matter about the civilised process whereby all ideas and things are constantly questioned in order that that which is faulty or no longer useful is stripped away and replaced by better ideas and things (at least until they, in turn, reveal faults and are revised, rebuilt or replaced).
No, you see, people with the Right Virus have faith. And furthermore, they have always run things, and have always been right, while you or I are wrong and are impertinent to ask questions. And that is that.
And people with the Right Virus also do not debate, or invite comment, or in any way engage with democracy, or science, and especially not things of the mind. Because, being Right Minded, they can never be wrong and subsequently do not need to.
The difficulty with all this is that if you are involved in a civic minded group, and invite someone with the Right Virus to come and speak to it on a topic of public concern, they won’t. Or more exactly, they expect to come along and give the same set talk they give to a few senile churchgoers who never read newspapers, then ask for contributions to their ‘good cause’, and finally leave, cash in hand, having said their piece but explained nothing.
They will not explain apparent anomalies in the things they do. In fact some will not answer questions at all, and none will entertain debate or helpful suggestions about possibly better ways to do things, even from those with decades of practical experience.
The point is, discussion of moral and social issues on the Isle of Man is based on a one way communication process, the sermon. Not even the lecture, following which the lecturer expects to take questions, or the seminar, at which the leader tries to get everyone talking, or just plain and open discussion based on the sensible notion that, individually, none of us can solve a social problem but, collectively, we might all contribute a little and get something good done.
And those with the Right Virus take something else from religious culture too. They brook no dissent, to the extent of informing the organisers of civic groups that, in order to have the dubious privilege of their presence, those organisers should first announce the Righteous’s appearance in terms which clearly indicate Divine Wisdom will be passed down, not social issues discussed, also refrain from all possible criticism of the Righteous, even to the extent of withdrawing past criticism, and finally ensure that all who might now, then or in future be possibly associated with the host civic group do the same. If you think I am joking you have obviously never met a Manx politician, civil servant or charity worker.
So, from time to time, I quietly prune a couple of the older items on the website. Not because my opinion has changed, not because the information proved inaccurate, not because of a legal threat, but to ensure that those prepared to at least try and hold together Manx civic society here have a slim chance of doing so.
It’s sad. It’s silly. But on an island run by superstitious village idiots, it’s just the way things are.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Tourism revival? Not a prayer!

The Tourist Department put out a press release to justify their 2010 TV advertising campaign today. You can see it at before it hits the press.
Wow, they must have spent all of half an hour working that out down at the ad agency, and all of five minutes at a departmental meeting approving it.
In the interests of decency and honesty I also feel it only right to warn off-island readers that there’s absolutely nothing natural about the family involved. They’re amongst the religious zealots who last year set up what looks worrying like becoming an annual freak show, as described at Disaster alert . Given half a chance, such zombie worshippers will also turn St. John’s, venue for our national day each July 5th, into the set from Dawn of the Living Dead the rest of the year. Not that it’s much different on July 5th, of course.
Look, I’m trying to be fair. I don’t really care who comes here as long as they bring their wallets.
If the Tourist Department really want to entice folk like the elderly godbothering masochists who stumbled round hills to find ruined Celtic chapels on a foolfest called Praying The Keills that’s up to them. I can think of better, more productive, niche markets, but you have to start somewhere, and we have enough local evangelical halfwits already to take up any empty coach places.
On the other hand, considering the increasing time our emergency services spend pulling crazed biblebashers out of the sea or off cliffs, maybe we need a new tax which, in the interests of fairness, should only be paid by superstitious visitors. Alternatively, local churches could put up a bond against the cost of the rescue helicopters if they're so keen to 'share their faith', instead of expecting taxpayers, Civil Defence and RNLI volunteers to keep their foolish friends alive.
I also loved
“The campaign aims to reflect the Island’s lifestyle and position the Isle of Man as a place where visitors are free to take part in a variety of outdoor activities. “
In plain English, you’d better be a hiker, because there’s no shops, no night life and very little public transport, so you may spend most of your time here standing around in a Force 9 gale wondering why you came.
Or there’s also
“It is again in line with the Island’s branding project as a destination where people have the ‘freedom to flourish’.”
Freedom to continue living in the Bronze Age at everyone else’s expense, more like!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Not so cheap tricks

Well, could you be bothered taking part in a totally pointless climate change 'demonstration’ yesterday? I couldn’t either.
If you’re not clear what I mean, then I won’t refer you to the reports on a government underwritten radio station, or those in a newspaper which receives £700,000 per year alone for running government notices, so try the relatively independent Energy FM at instead.
And it gets worse next week, when a notable waste of space fills time in the Keys on similar questions (see Considering that these matters are also being ‘independently’ raised by an FOE activist who received £15,600 from the Department of Local Government and the Environment “to carry out a news co-ordinating service between November 2008 and May 2009” (see I’m at a loss to understand how the relevant government departments aren’t aware or considering it. By the way, would that ‘news co-ordinating service’ include a series of articles purporting to be ‘independent opinion’ on environmental matters from an FOE perspective in Manx Tails – which doesn’t get direct government funding so has to rely on free copy even more than other local media?
The sheer futility of it all was demonstrated on the BBC news reports last night, where a few thousand blue-painted MOR types ambled through the streets of London acompanied by obliging rozzers. Prominent amongst the banners were those of homophobic fuckwits Tear Fund, Greenpeace (cause celebre of non-doms and landed inbreeds everywhere) and the only slightly less picky Christian Aid – who, I suppose, at least have the decency to advertise their Christocentric agenda in their name. Then a smug Gordon Brown was seen greeting said sad-acts. Crikey, bet he was terrified!
Similarly, every time such events kick off over here the most prominent supporters are right wing fundamentalists and nationalists, and the whole show is stage managed and publicised by folk who receive government funding to publicise the island. And that’s on top of the underwriting by corporate elements who make it a condition of their funding that the role of the free market, and the relationship between international corporations and specific national governments, is never questioned. The one thing never talked about is democracy, because it’s the last thing any of the interested parties want.
So, what’s the point, and who exactly is the message directed at if everyone supposedly involved in delivering it is being sponsored and stage-directed by the very parties common sense tells us are most guilty?
The answer, I would say, can be found in predictions made by those anarchist jokers the Situationists over 30 years ago. Both Guy Debord’s Society of The Spectacle and Raoul Vanneigm’s Revolution of Everyday Life foresaw that as capitalism reacted against the apparent social ‘revolution’ of the 1960’s it would find ways to commodify protest and revolution themselves. And sure enough, what we have now is a situation (be it globally or right here on the Isle of Man) where the most reactionary and powerful forces in society not only direct our ‘protest’ against them, but sponsor it and extract our time and money for permission to do so.
That is a long way from democracy. But then, as I and other awkward sods here have known for years, the Isle of Man is not a democratic country or a self-governing one, and the last thing those who run the place want is anyone drawing attention to that.
Climate change ‘protests’? No problem, and will you be paying by cash or card?

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The real value of Christmas

I’m still looking out for those ‘’Christmas cancelled by PC loonies” stories, but I have to report that a much funnier new trend has been spotted too.
Can’t say I’ve ever noticed it over here, but it seems competitive parents are spending small fortunes on kids costumes for school nativity plays. What makes this hilarious is that the spending is even greater if little Tarquin or Tabitha only gets a bit part.
According to Debenhams, parents can spend as much as £150 on a costume, including £50 bridesmaid dresses being used for angels, £60 arctic fur throws costing £60 for sheep and even £25 striped Velour dressing gowns for shepherds.
A Beeb website story (see quotes Ed Watson of Debenhams thus:
"The amount of money that some parents want to spend on their child's nativity play appearance would enable the baby Jesus to leave the stable and check into a five star hotel.
"It's silly and we're doing all that we can to persuade competitive parents to change their minds - it is the season of good will after all."

Looks more like evidence of what traditional Manx used to call ‘Foolish Fortnight’ (the medieval ‘Feast of Fools’) to me. Oh, and more than a hint that even upmarket Christians can be totally bonkers.
Someone should take these buffoons aside and explain, in very short words, that the whole point of a real school nativity play is it’s totally naff. Kids fidgeting, fighting and getting the words wrong, bad costumes thrown together at the last second, the donkey doing a woopsie…….
Did you really think it was supposed to be a deeply religious moment?
And you really didn’t think your kids are supposed to make people weep with the sheer beauty of it all, thrill to their delicate and meaningful interpretation of biblical myth?
Did you?
How sad is that?

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

DHA dummy blows smoke in our eyes - again

Energy FM, the only Manx radio station staffed by anyone young enough to understand the issues, reports today on plans to ban Mephodrone over here. Sometimes known as ‘plant food’, it’s an iffy legal ecstasy synthesis flogged by mail-order firms via adverts in the kind of mags still read by semi-retired hedonists and alternative types.
I see at that: “In the House of Keys today, Adrian Earnshaw revealed that 22 people here have been referred to drug services because of Mephedrone.”
This is misleading – not on the part of Energy staff, who have higher standards and simply report what state sponsored layabouts say in the Keys, but by the DHA, who don’t.
It’s misleading because as Earnshaw and his nasty little cohorts know, people don’t get referred to ‘drug services’ because they have problems, but because the police or other powerful busybodies found them with miniscule amounts of substances which would be legal or semi-legal in more civilised countries. In order to avoid prison sentences they must then ‘voluntarily’ submit to being monitored by the state and bored stupid by fundamentalist retards who get public money by passing themselves off as ‘substance abuse counsellors’.
And Energy also have a story (see ) on a 20 year old who faces jail for £300 worth of bush.
Now, bear in mind that Manx prices are double the UK and that police routinely put a nought on the ‘street value’ of drugs. Then the waste of court, police and the 20 year old’s time becomes more apparent.
He could go to jail for having a Tesco-bagful of what would be a Class C drug in the UK, but isn’t on the Isle of Man because the Chief Minister has no expert drugs & alcohol advice. There, like around 80% of the jail inmates – many yet to actually face a court because they’re not prepared to pray every day (so can’t get bail) – this young man will waste taxpayer money, be prevented from doing a decent day’s work instead of staring at the walls and being lectured on his morals by certifiable cretins, and have difficulty finding another job when he leaves.
I have no particular interest in these substances, be they legal or not, but I’m ashamed to live on an island where the government is so ignorant, and special interests so corrupt and powerful, that we’re going bankrupt and sentencing a generation to poverty and unemployment.
And all because a few godbotherers looking for public handouts can’t bear for others to organise their own lives and pleasures. Even when those lives and pleasures do not bother anyone else.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Witless Christmas crackers

Ah well, Bilious Henderson’s attempts at cheap publicity over the
lack of nativity plays in Manx schools (see the update on Christmas matters ) sank miserably.
How sad. Now he’ll have to go back to stealing BNP myths about immigrants.
If the deluded herd really want to put the Crass back into Christmas over here they also need to use better hacks. For a start, don’t use a witless waffler who lifts her argument straight from the Christian Institute.
You can see what I mean at The only cheap shot missing from the C.I. original is their dig at Maria Eagle’s personal life.
And that a journalist – even a house-trained numpty like this one – thinks the loss of blasphemy laws have sent the UK to the dogs?
What can they be teaching them on NCTJ courses these days? Gary Otton will laugh his socks off to hear that Johnston Press’s policy of only employing dour know-nowt Calvinists on their Scots papers has now spread to their other titles.
(Sighs deeply) Now, take this down in your worst shorthand (if they teach you that either!)…
People have rights. Ideas do not, and in order that the world moves on it is also vital that they are rigorously challenged.
People can have their reputation defamed, even though in practice it is only rich individuals who can complain about it. Fairy stories cannot, and were made for little children, who (unlike religionists) learn to enjoy the myth without taking it literally.
But then, you can see how desperate the Examiner is by their ‘Christmas cancelled’ effort at . Note in particular that the Port St Mary Living Hell con-artists are getting a bung from the Commissioners and the attempts of the Elim to get one too.
As for the fate of the Festival of Light? Anybody who names a community event after Mary Whitehouse’s gang of chuckleheads deserves to fail, if you ask me.
Oh, and to return to the original story. If my daughter asked her mum: 'What's a Horny Christmas, mummy' I suspect she’d get the same answer as when she asked ‘what’s an orgasm?’
That answer being: ‘Ask your dad’.