Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Bennies throwing bennies

Even before anguished squeaks over Jagger’s suggestion that the Isle of Man should be used to test cannabis decriminalisation had died down, the Manx governed mental are whining again. Funnily enough, the guy who set them off was also commenting – more obliquely – from off-island on the same issue.
This time it was A.A. Gill, already the arch enemy of our dimmest, most inbred elements for previous snide comments when, while staying with Jeremy Clarkson, he had the misfortune to witness Castletown's World Tin Bath Championships.
To fill some space while standing in for Rod Liddle at the Times, he snapped of Jagger’s ‘helpful’ suggestion: “The denizens of Ile de l’Homme fall into two types. Hopeless, inbred mouth-breathers known as Bennies. And then retired, small-arms dealers and accountants who deal in rainforest futures. I have never been anywhere that would be more improved by a glut of class A substances. They believe in fairies and fascism. This was the last place in Britain to legalise homosexuality. The Isle of Man, twinned with Malawi. Bring on the crack.”
Read it all at if you want.
Obviously, this soon got picked up by the Manx papers at , and has led to an outpouring of self-pitying wank from various losers, including the Chief Benny himself, who today chuntered: “Although AA Gill is not a news journalist but a satirical columnist meant to entertain through his outrageous comments, I, like all Manx residents, find his remarks to be misleading, unfounded and insulting to every man, woman and child on our Island. Unfortunately, AA Gill has, for some reason, a personal dislike of the Island and its people, as is clear from his latest abusive comments.” (see for the rest - and grab a sickbag before you click on it).
And, by the way, far from all Manx residents feeling insulted, all the ones I speak to are roaring with laughter. Mind you, they also work for a living.
Now, of course, Gill’s attack will have nothing to do with a planning decision which prevents his chum Jeremy Clarkson from fencing off a path behind his holiday cottage which was chiefly being used by bobble-hatted loons to gawk at Motormouth’s family. (see for more). Nothing at all, honest, especially as they never, never pressed their noses against his window or let their scabby dogs off their strings, leading to a local farmer losing sheep over a cliff. Honest.
And another funny thing. The disgruntled locals claim not to know what a Benny is. Funny that, because when I worked next door to the disputed paths at Castletown Golf-Links Hotel in the mid-1980’s and also knew the family who lived in the lighthouse (now Clarkson’s cottage) ‘Benny’ was the term used by hotel staff, golfers and everyone else who lived or worked around there for the clueless gawks who were apparently too disorientated to stick to the paths to the coast, instead wandering across the course, and on at least one occasion into the hotel kitchen itself.
This all started when an ex-army chef, who’d served in the Falklands, said that the woolly-headed loons were remarkably like the Falklanders who marines nicknamed ‘Bennies’ after the simple-minded Crossroads character. Benny stuck as a label, and even developed into ‘Benny jokes’ told in the kitchen and after hours at the nearby flying club bar, where the term spread to local light aircraft pilots, and I’d take a good guess to Clarkson and the Top Gear team when they were over filming….and we can all guess where next.
And some other funny things.
No-one has mentioned the previous planning enquiry in the late 1980’s, when the then CGLH management wanted to extend the course over the same disputed area, or the fuss a century before when the forebears of the same landowner also tried to fence off the paths. This led to the restrictions Clarkson observed to protect various rare flutterybyes and flowers, when Manx National Heritage gave evidence at the aforementioned 1980’s enquiry.
No-one mentions the other party to the current enquiry, the current owner of CGLH and a man with ministerial friends and much advertising revenue to distribute, who might be keen on seeing the paths fenced off to revive the golf course extension idea. No-one mentions either that there is a lot of bad blood between him and Manx National Heritage (and their own partners in government) because of his previous claims for recompense in return for developing other sites of Manx historic interest.
And no-one is looking at MNH’s success a few years back at quietly putting through legislation which, in effect, puts all public Manx land under their stewardship, thus allowing them (if they wish) to put restrictions on all ramblers who might choose to wander around beauty spots that MNH see have commercial potential as ‘heritage sites’ (or as us commoners might say, ‘tourist traps’.).
And absolutely no-one mentions MNH’s track record of using their participation in planning committees to close down local businesses or even whole towns (e.g. Peel), or in quickly moving in to ‘rescue’ a beauty spot complete with a scenic café when, due to their insistence that the only nearby road could not be improved lest it destroy the natural ambience, the café owner (or maybe his bank manager) finally admitted defeat.
Yet aren’t they all coincidences so funny that, in comparison. anything A.A. Gill has to say about us seems quite dull?

No comments: