Thursday, 29 December 2011

Woody Allen Jesus

And talking about censorship and handing over Xmas to the fairy-fanciers -Dick Puddlecote drew my attention to another little gem.
It appears that ‘Jon o’ fun Woss’ had the excellent Tim Minchin on his Christmas shindig. All very nice, but there was a bit missing, thanks to management worries about offending the immoral minority. Probably didn’t want Christian Concern and other cross-wielding throwbacks clogging up the switchboard with crank calls, or the Daily Mail calling for Wossie to be disembowelled….summat like that.
The story is that Tim was asked to produce something funny and festive. His offering was a witty little ditty called Woody Allen Jesus, which the studio guests enjoyed, but the studio management had kittens over. So it wasn’t broadcast.
Luckily, you can still see it over t’internet. At! , for example.

Silent Write, who'lly shite

The local sock puppet media (though all Manx media has had either a government or corporate hand in the glove for over a decade now) brought us a sermon from Sentamu’s Apprentice at .
Oh dear, it didn’t get a good reception, did it?
When even the under-employed dimwits who haunt Johnston Press online forums have gone off a major source of urban myth and general misinformation it may be time to call it a day. Because, as Gary Otton of Scottish Media Monitor (a contrarian colleague of mine who knows that company’s publications better than most) says, only those who stay wilfully under-informed in order to confirm their knee-jerk prejudices haunt such dives in the first place.
Garry, by the way, has the dubious honour of having been banned, even under many pseudonyms, from pretty much every Johnston Press website there is. He has this annoying habit of pointing out the myths and factual inaccuracies in PR pieces from faith-based Scottish hate groups which lazy hacks run, uncut, as their own work. That never goes down well, and as for writing both Sexual Fascism and Badge of Shame (the two best, most damning books ever on the collaboration of the Scottish media in religious hate campaigns against gays, which led to both abominations like Section 28 and a massive increase in homophobic violence) – well, that was right out!
Incidentally, follow the link on the right to Scottish Media Monitor and you will really have your eyes opened about ‘responsible’ local media, church organisations and their friends in government. After a little of that you might just see similarities to the kind of things that vex me, and the reasons I bang on about them. Same media group, linked church groups, similar political scenario.
The odd thing is, I counted four recent stories which gave an excuse for Paterson to offer his dubious thoughts. It might just be because the Manx media is cutting and pasting more twaddle provided by the usual pressure group numpties than usual. Manx hacks so hate to leave the office and actually attend events or go and speak to the public at the best of times: having to leave home and actually go to the office over the Xmas break would probably be a grind too.
But even that is not the oddest thing to me. The oddest thing is that not only have we seen nothing in the Manx media about El Bish chairing the committee charged with producing the Anglican Church ‘pastoral statement’ on civil partnerships (see Big Story, curious silence for more on that), but that the local faithful do not know about it either, and not even the few full time professional clergy have been informed.
The possible exception to this would be the tiny clique of right wingers whose job it is to hand down to Manx Anglican plebs policy and wisdom which, in turn, has been relayed to Paterson from Sentamu’s private crew– a crew which, of course, ‘our’ Bish used to lead.
Their notorious lack of other contact with ordinary churchgoers - and the even bigger gap between them and anything which might be termed the real world - explains a lot. No wonder so many of them are retired civil servants.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Evangelicals steal Christmas from the poor - again

According to a story at
“Over 4000 shoe boxes filled with gifts are on their way to disadvantaged children from the Isle of Man.”
If you believe that, I have some shares in a tapioca mine you might like to buy.
On the basis that Samaritan’s Purse demand £1 from anyone daft enough to give them a box, what we do know is that the con-artist behind this scam - Franklin Graham, the repugnant offspring of televangelist Billy Graham – is at least another £4,000 richer because of Manx people with more money than sense. I also wonder if it will get to him the same way funds from other offshore havens used to.
SP, having failed to find anyone dim enough to register and front a bogus Manx or Channel Isles ‘sister charity’, used to have a strange aversion to receiving the donations in a cheque. On at least one occasion, under the guise of a visit to a regional headquarters, a volunteer was instructed to get on a plane with the hard cash in a briefcase, so that it could be added to the donations from that area rather than being traceable to an offshore source.
This, by odd coincidence, would mean the parent charity in the US had no audit trail to a place the IRS takes a particular interest in. In the drug trade (so a helpful Agent Scully lookalike from the FBI once explained to me and others on an FSC money-laundering course) this is known as ‘smurfing’. Funnily enough, in times further back, it was also the favoured method by which rogue Irish politicians delivered their skim-offs and pay-offs to Manx and Jersey banks to hide it from the Irish tax authorities.
What we also know is that those trying to prevent religious conflict in some poorer countries have just got 4,000 new problems, courtesy of the same idiots. Because we also shouldn’t believe the statement that “Children in countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Liberia and Romania will benefit from the gifts.”
SP have a habit of switching the destination after the boxes leave the donors, but never telling them. For example, a few years back, having led everyone to believe they were going to Russian ‘orphanages’ which had been handily photographed during a flying visit in a previous year, the boxes were reloaded onto an SP owned plane flying to Pakistan with one of their US media crews. Once dropped in a Pakistani disaster zone, they were filmed by SP’s PR unit and paraded in front of the world’s press. The PR unit got back on the plane and flew back to their luxury Carolina media headquarters, where the film and photos were glossily repackaged for next year’s campaign literature.
The boxes? Who knows – but by that time they were unfit for use anyway, so probably dumped on the nearest rubbish tip.
As if Franklin Graham and his despicable cohorts would care about starving Muslims anyway. This is, after all, the guy who even Southern Baptists shunned after he suggested the US Army fly Bibles into Iraq along with the initial invasion force.
This is the outfit who would only allow victims of a Southern American disaster to use tents provided to SP by a US government agency if they formally renounced Catholicism first, and whose tame US Army chaplains told astonished refugees from bombing in Iraq that they could only use the refugee centre showers after attending prayer meetings and bible classes.
Every year I’m pleasantly surprised by the continued willingness of Manx people to help the less fortunate.
But I’m disgusted by the evangelical pondlife who take advantage, and line their pockets by stealing from the world’s poorest people.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Drink up, light up, keep calm and carry on

Well, another day, another bit of pointless legislation from the Manx government.
Last week, (see we became the laughing stock of Britain by outlawing a substance that wasn’t even found here until some numpty of a drug advisor, desperate for another year of public subsidy, downloaded a stock advice sheet from a similarly clueless or dishonest UK pseudo-charity.
The slim justification for this was selective misreading of a medical report on the death of a girl who may have (but more probably did not) acquire some from a much older man in between necking a lot of alcohol and we know not what else. As nobody involved in the inquest bothered to read the full medical report - so even the coroner does not know what other factors there were to the death (pre-existing medical conditions, social or psychological issues) - and the doctor who made it was not asked to look for any other evidence, the simple truth is we do not know why she died, and will never know, because it might be inconvenient.
Away from the pseudo-war on drugs, evidence this week of the real war by the Manx government on civil liberties at
As ever, it is dressed up with a lot of false concern for poor ikkle kiddie-widdies.
Oh, grow up!
Does anybody on this island know one car-driving family so impoverished the car doesn’t have windows that wind down? Or one parent so indolent or evil they don’t open them?
If such a creature existed, and was ever the pig-ignorant stereotype these twonks take as a bog-standard parent, isn’t it far more likely that they would damage their kids in a far nastier way, and already have lost them to social services?
Similarly, how many folk do you know so selfish they light up in a company vehicle which may be driven or used by others, rather than being provided for their sole use?
I know none…. Zilch…. nada. And over the years I have worked for plenty of companies which owned vehicles, and with some pretty unsavoury workmates.
And once those red herrings are smoked, we are left with the real question.
Why is the state butting in on one more of the few private spaces left to individuals to chill out?
Some do it by listening to the radio, some by chucking their car a bit too fast round the Mountain Road. Whatever!
The point is, the state has no business telling its employers and sole income source if we can light up in a private vehicle. No more than it had stopping people who, by common consent, wanted to smoke in a closed area of a pub or other public building. No more than it has rationing alcohol to over-25s in weekly allowances any grown adult would consider nearer to a quick lunchtime snifter.
Wake up and smell the coffee - before they ban that too!
A government, guided only by tabloid hysteria, junk science, bogus charities (which it alone underwrites and in many cases picks staff and committees for) and other know-nowt freeloaders and prodnoses, is whittling away at any small pleasure enjoyed by consenting adults.
Time to do something about it, even if that ‘doing’ is, like Spanish bar-owners and customers, to simply, daily and en masse ignore a fatuous law until it is taken back off the books because it is impossible and impractical to police.
In other words, carry on as normal with your lives. Do that long enough, ignore the noise pollution of (self-appointed) experts and bansturbators long enough, and, who knows, we might just get enough peace to enjoy a quiet fag and a pint.

Empty political question, textbook non-answer

According to this prize piece of astroturf (see “Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw has given an insight into levels of child poverty in the Isle of Man.”
He has done no such thing, because like homelessness the government has no means of determining it. A swift glance at the irrelevant collection of statistics this chump produced as an ‘answer’ to a planted question by ‘Doors To Manual’ Hall shows that.
As with homelessness, if ever pressed or offered a suitable framework the government would simply set up a bogus ‘consultation process’ and civil servants would say it was ‘impractical’.
Or in plain English, any genuine consultation or framework would reveal how callous and incompetent politicians and government departments are, and that much of the worst effects of such poverty can be directly attributed to government functions which simply don’t work or aren’t available when they are most needed.
Anyway, ‘child poverty’ is a red herring: a misleading and emotive term which belongs in the dustbin of ideas.
It is not children who live in poverty. They are not wage-earners, not even benefit claimants, and they don’t pay bills or rent houses. It is their parents, families and guardians live in poverty, and neither the government nor the useless offspring of our most venal employers who run the Manx ‘third sector’ want to change that.
Apart from anything else, what would they do if a significant percentage of Manx society wasn’t too scared of losing any job to demand decent pay or conditions?
Children ARE powerless, but that is a different problem, and one which is true for most Manx people in a pseudo-democracy. We are more likely to see a squadron of pigs fly over Tynwald than a conference of the great and the good addressing that issue. Why would they, when they are the main cause and the main beneficiaries of our two tier society?

Friday, 16 December 2011

I'm planning fun, not a funeral, for a friend

I was sorry to hear of the death of one of my friends yesterday, though glad that at least in death he got some of the local recognition he richly deserved in life (see ).
At 93, Denys really was my oldest friend, and since I moved back here one of the dearest. I first met him at a party to launch Fermi’s Paradox, an extraordinary CD by the quite unique Sulby Phantom Band. Denys, even then over 80, was the narrator of an extended poem by his son(and essentially the Sulby Phantom Band), Roly, around which the CD was based. While most of the island’s self-described cutting edge thinkers were there to look cool and hang out with Roly, I was there at Roly’s suggestion specifically to meet Denys and chat about another matter.
Denys wanted to form a Manx group to mercilessly mock local religious hardliners until the Manx public stopped letting them get away with murder (or at least rape, fraud and propagation of general ignorance). Roly, knowing I had similar ambitions, thought his dad and I should talk and see what might be done.
We had a lively chat; I recognised a similar spirit and that night found a role model for my autumn years. Though nothing happened immediately, and neither of us can take credit for calling the meeting which lit the fire, a few months later Denys, Roly and I were amongst a small group of folk who became the Isle of Man Freethinkers. And the rest, as they say, is history.
What I shared with Denys was a belief that satire is the best – sometimes the only –weapon which can neutralise blind belief. If, like us, you chose to balance the joys of Manx life (the scenery, the laid back pace at which anything -or usually nothing- happens) with the mindbogglingly stupid antics of Manx politicians, civil servants and their religulous mates, you also need to be able to laugh.You will never stop the hardcore few who choose such belief, but in poking fun you might limit the damage done by the hypocrites whose wages they pay, and those who we all pay to produce the obscenities which become Manx government policy.
Denys (so I recently found out) had a longer record for top-flight relentless satire than most. He had served as a Royal Artillery officer in World War Two, so saw the savage stuff which fuelled the English post-war satire boom, from Pinter and Theatre of the Absurd at the high culture end to That Was The Week That Was and Monty Python at the lower end.
But arguably this boom was launched well before that by another ex-RA wit, Spike Milligan, with the Goon Show. And in researching some stuff about the Goons and the English Theatre of the Absurd a few weeks back I discovered something amazing. I’d always known Denys was once a plummy-voiced BBC announcer in the days when they wore evening dress to read the shipping forecast, but he was also the narrator of at least one series of the Goon Show.
I can’t claim to have done anything so grand with Denys, but we did launch the League Against Cruel Schmaltz ( a spoof campaign to get Manx radio to play less MOR muzak and find at least one point in the day when Denys’s frail wife, along with many similar housebound oldies, could enjoy some tunes they knew too).
We also harangued the military misfits who turn ‘national remembrance’ days into Bridge Over The River Kwai torture-fests. Pointless two hour prayer dirges, with six hymns, bible readings by dignitaries and a sermon from the Anglican Area Manager, rather than the beer, sandwiches, Vera Lynn and Glen Miller anybody, like Denys, who actually saw off Rommel really wanted.
Sadly, chinless ex-officers who, in their own careers, were too young to have seen a gun fired in anger at anyone but Belfast 10 year olds never listened, and now it’s too late. But we tried, and we definitely had fun, as we also did in the most unlikely campaigns on the most serious issues, such as the assisted dying campaign run by another founder Freethinker, the late Patrick Kneen.
At one point Denys and I had a bit of a private competition going as to who could get the most outrageous letter in the Manx press. When he moved away that stopped, but I would hate to finally win by default, so maybe I’ll take up that baton again just as a tribute to Denys.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Pass the bucket

I’ve now read two reports of the recent overblown and underpowered ‘conference’ which was supposed to find out if we have poverty and neglect here on Moaner’s Isle.
Facts and truth are as remarkable for their absence as they would be anywhere else except a collection of government-run puppet charities and their klingons. As I said last month when it was first publicised (see Poverty of Theory, Neglect by Government ) : “If these overpaid parasites have to ask they are more useless than we already knew, and we really need to ask in return why they have claimed so much public money for decades.”
Because, make no mistake, all that is going on – as ever – is the usual suspects whipping up more moral panic over inequality THEY perpetuate, in order to beg more public funds, in order to carry on whipping up moral panics, in order to beg more public funds, in order to perpetuate their useless existence. Maybe they have to, because nobody with an ounce of common sense would employ them for a real job.
The first version of several impartial reports (handily written by a Children’s Centre PR dogsbody then copied slavishly by ‘proper’ hacks) appeared at , where it was noted that: “It was organised by The Children's Centre whose chief executive John Knight hopes it will now lead to united efforts to tackle the issue."
It won’t.
For some clues as to why not, you could pick up the story as it eventually appeared in a newspaper now not only owned and controlled off-island but soon to be printed elsewhere too. See for a few clues as to who got paid just to turn up, who got paid to not only turn up but pose as ‘experts’, and who got paid to do both and then had the cheek to beg for more cash.
The non-academic with no peer-reviewed research on the topic to his name (from the Sunday kick-around league non-university with no track record in social sciences) must have felt right at home.
I also noted a social services bigwig who once spent an hour arguing that collecting accurate information on the precise numbers of and circumstances for women needing places of local refuge from violence was counter-productive, because she already ‘knew’ instinctively and didn’t think either the government or the public needed hard facts. Their role was just to hand her a blank cheque every time she demanded one.
She got her way because, as a highly overpaid and under-qualified Home Affairs executive pointed out at the same inter-departmental pow-wow, it was so much easier to blame all Manx social problems on people with dark skin, and also costs nothing in time, resources or research.
Then there’s the public sector key worker who, a decade ago, spent two hours listening to clueless Ulster godbotherers give a lecture on ‘drug education’ in which they couldn’t list (never mind actually give the correct chemical name of) several widely available illegal substances of the era, or the signs of their abuse, or cite one academic source which had identified either a medical danger or a social cause for concern for the drugs (no longer in circulation) of two decades before which their talk actually centred on. After this highly professional presentation both they and the faith barn they proposed to work from were also offered public money.
Or the authority on youth work whose bogus ‘youth club’ closed after no more public money was wasted on it: because as passing police officers kept reporting, the kids outside were just standing there, not members. Because they would rather stand in the winter street than enter a premises where staff, after nicking the sound equipment, had tried to frame innocent kids for it, not to mention assaults on girls under the age of consent who were ‘advised’ by police that allegations against ‘decent’ church leaders by anyone with a petty crime record would not reach court. Which they did not.
So, nothing to see, nothing to report. Just more begging bowl business from the usual recidivists.
Ho hum.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Big story, curious silence

Now here’s an odd thing.
Since December 1st I’ve been fielding queries from two ‘specialist’ areas of the press who know me of old. Both, from differing perspectives, are researching stories on an important development in their ‘specialisms’ in which a leading Manx resident will play a major part. Mainly, it must be said, because they’ve never heard of him. Yet the island media appear to know nothing about it.
Many current Manx journalists wouldn’t know a story if it crept up and hit them with a baseball bat, so nothing new or odd there.
What is odder is that powerful friends of the leading Manx resident haven’t spoonfed the story to a grateful hack either. Usually every vapid word he utters while going about his pointless and privileged job is not only relayed to the media, but followed by angry phonecalls and threats about the withdrawal of advertising if not immediately, and prominently, used.
So why not now?
Perhaps you can judge for yourselves.
The queries began when, on 1st December, the Church of England Media Centre issued a press release (see in which it was announced that:
“The House of Bishops has announced the membership of a Group established to advise it on reviewing its Pastoral Statement issued prior to the introduction of civil partnerships in December 2005. The Group will be chaired by the Bishop of Sodor and Man, the Rt Rev Robert Paterson. The other two members of the Group are the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, and the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Rev Colin Fletcher. The Group will start work in December and report to the House in time for the House to reach conclusions during 2012.”
The statement goes on to explain that:
“The preparation of the pastoral statement was the last occasion when the House of Bishops devoted substantial time to the issue of same sex relationships. The House undertook to keep that Pastoral Statement under review and announced in July, this year, , that the time had come for a review to take place.
The House of Bishops also announced in July further work on the Church of England's approach to human sexuality more generally. The expectation is that the membership of that Group, whose work will be considered by the House during 2013, will be announced in the next few weeks.”
The C of E is looking to make their most important policy statement since Civil Partnerships became a reality, and Sentamu’s Apprentice is in charge of the process?
How big a Manx story is that?
What’s fast emerging is that even their fellow Anglicans hardly know these guys either, never mind the world at large. Which may be deliberate, or just because there are too many church factions with an interest (and form for sulking and taking their ball home) for any of the ‘regulars’ to get picked.
It’s known that Colin Fletcher is a former tutor at Wycliffe Hall and former chaplain to Archbishop George Carey. So he would have been picked by Anglican Mainstream. Don’t let the name fool you. They’re the ultra-orthodox freaks who keep threatening to break away and take some of the oldest, most valuable, church property with them. In reality, a tiny but powerful bunch of cranks, the C of E’s equivalent to a mad relative in the attic.
Less is known about Foster, other than that he studied economics at Durham, then lectured in it before being ordained, since when he’s worked his way up through the ranks in various roles, apparently with a particular interest in church mission, which I thought was just every vicar’s basic job.
But if Sentamu’s Apprentice was chosen because he was a dark horse and therefore gay and liberal Anglicans couldn’t object, it isn’t going to work.
True, the AM nutters don’t know or claim him, but they’ve approved him anyway because they see him as a fellow evangelical; if a bit of a wimp because any apparent antipathy for humanity doesn’t extend to lady vicars or women and everyone else in general except sad old white blokes in frocks.
But on websites such as the influential liberal Thinking Anglican (see ) comments like this are starting to appear:
“Robert Patterson (sic) was vicar of a parish adjoining mine and is wholly unsympathetic. He sacked a celibate gay curate, and most recently [...] he was one of only two C of E bishops in General Synod to vote AGAINST extending the pension rights of civilly partnered clerics.
I contacted some gay couples I know who live in Robert's former parishes - Robert would not be their choice for this post! I wonder if there is a single civilly partnered person in the whole of England who would support his appointment.”
Well, we’ve seen his grumpy, charmless comments after the Civil Partnership Bill passed, toeing an old Christian Institute line which portrays gays trying to put their relationships on an official basis and ensure pension and other basic rights as little more than economic opportunism, rather than ‘proper’ marriages like Christians pretend to have.
And I’ve noted here his successful attempt to make sure criminal civil servants won’t do time for leaking highly personal and confidential information about transgendered people to vicars, who also won’t do time for receiving it, or have to explain how they got it or why they won’t conduct a marriage ceremony.
So, we already know he has a bit of a problem with gays. In fact, his reported comments are alarmingly close to those swivel-eyed Manx political lunatics whose rabid views on the (then only proposed) partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1991 caused all decent people in Britain to write us off as a third world backwater. A view of us which meant most trade union and business groups took their conference business elsewhere for the next 20 years for fear of being branded homophobic knuckledraggers.
When Patterson and his chums eventually reveal their ‘new, improved’ Anglican policy towards gays we can have little doubt that, however sincerely meant, many will laugh and some will even feel sick. No point putting lipstick on a pitbull.
The problem is, if that view seems influenced by someone who is also an unelected politician in the Manx upper house, and could be portrayed as some sort of moral leader on the island, then we are right back to 1991 in the eyes of the rest of the world. And with a world recession on those are basics none of us want to go back to.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

That sinking feeling

Part way through a Saturday shopping expedition that, for other reasons, had all of us falling about laughing we tried to park in Ramsey market place. This was only possible after some complicated manoeuvres around a bunch of crinklies and dignitaries who were, as one, staring glumly into the harbour.
The reason, as we suspected, was not a community suicide pact but this (see ), yet another grief-fest on the rates. No surprise that Ramsey’s best known political carbuncle was in on it either. This collective celebration of the sinking of a ferry over a century ago just set us off in more gales of laughter.
Sorry if that offends the patriots and heritage buffs. Not!
But then, we’re offended that you’ll be gathering for yet another jamboree on the rates tonight , and that half-baked culture dullsters can just take over a building which was a genuine community resource until it was handed over to the heritage racket. The difference is we just laugh at you, don’t waste our time by attending such farces and prefer to contribute to real community initiatives instead of ersatz ones trying to perpetuate historical myths.
But the bigger reason we were laughing, even before encountering the municipal sad-acts in the market place, was to do with this (see ).
For off-island readers, the joke is that for the last week the island has been cut off from the real world because the clapped out former US military craft which passes for a national ferry service (a national ferry service not owned by the nation in decades and now, in theory, owned by the banks of another clapped out country) cannot run in bad weather. Yes, a boat considered fit for 21st century military activity in this age of postmodern warfare is slightly less capable of setting out on the Irish Sea than, say, a 40 year old cabin cruiser with an outboard motor.
This has led to empty supermarket shelves, which in turn illustrate effectively just how little the over-subsidised Manx agricultural sector actually produces. It also illustrated, as some have long suspected, that even some fruit and veg labelled as local is actually shipped in from Ireland and repackaged.
Nothing new there. It used to happen years ago with ‘Manx’ meat, and even ‘Manx’ kippers.
And the other reason we were laughing as we surveyed the empty shelves is that it revives memories of when friends and relatives from Central Europe come to visit, and go away startled at our low standard of living, even as they roar with laughter at local newspaper stories which print, unchecked, stories about the fictitious exploits of evangelical Manx ‘charities’ in places like Romania or the Ukraine. One relative was so worried at the apparent inability of the Manx to feed themselves that she took to sending ‘Red Cross parcels’ of proper food for us to pass around the neighbours, or even feed ourselves if it came to the crunch.
When normal service is resumed, my guess is there will be queues of sobbing cultural elitists in Tesco. They will probably be heavily wrapped in balaclavas, scarves and hoods. Not because of the weather, but in case anyone normal notices them and laughs.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but many of us here have been doing that for years anyway. Maybe if you didn't have your heads rammed so far up your backsides you would have noticed.

Freaks and zombie-lovers go back to school

Way back in March (see Foul-mouthed pervs strike in Manx schools) I mentioned that the Department for Miseducation and Child Abuse was allowing Christian fundies more opportunities to tell silly stories to small children. This on the dubious premise that so few tinies reach adolescence having read a Bible or even knowing the major stories.
Why this is a problem, I don’t know. Why there isn’t similar concern that not enough small kids are familiar with, say, Aesop’s Fables or the Brothers Grimm I also don’t know.
Actually, the first thing I did on hearing this nonsense was to seek out The Penguin Book of Classical Myths and give it to my daughter. It’s a university classics course textbook, she was then nine, and she loved it. Beat that, zombie carpenter acolytes!
The whole pointless exercise was masterminded by the Scripture Union Ministries Trust, having been sanctioned by the Education Department’s Religious Education Advisory Committee, which is, by law, chaired by the Bishop of Sodor and Man, and whose membership is entirely selected from and by the major Christian sects. No other faith or belief group is represented, or is ever likely to be. In fact, at the time of the last reform of this committee likely to happen in our lifetimes, just under a decade ago, a senior Anglican informed the government that no other faith or interest needed to be represented, as they did not exist.
This barefaced lie this was told because Churches Together in Mann, the government’s only official point of reference on religious matters, was approached in 1999 by people of other faiths about setting up some sort of Manx Interfaith Council. They then wet themselves at the thought of having to share their publically funded toy box with other childlike simpletons.
I also mentioned in March that: “So far only two teams of SUMT yawn-troopers are being let loose in three schools. But apparently, later this year, our clueless government will allow four gangs to practice their potty-mouthed antics in between four and eight more primary schools.”
I heard evidence this week that not only is this now happening, but that it is being used as a Trojan Horse for the distribution of creationist literature through Manx infant schools. The creationist tracts in question were produced by a Northern Irish evangelical organisation. Incidentally, the Education Department, only a few months, ago assured parents Creationism is not and will not be taught in Manx schools
In addition, I hear credible reports that the parents of small children in at least one school say their kids are having nightmares from some of the lurid Old Testament codswallop being read to them.
Aren’t you glad your children are in such safe, professional and attentive hands?

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Another day, another parasitic QUANGO

And as if to reinforce the message from the item below on the drug & alcohol dependency racket, a new scam to ‘protect’ gamblers was announced yesterday at
No surprise to see the Isle of Man Alcohol Advisory Service is behind it. They have struggled for a year or two now to justify further direct government funding, or to use their relationship with government to demand ‘charitable donations’ from local retailers in return for not further infantalising the whole process of buying alcohol. Those who have had compulsory interaction with such ‘advisers’ tell me the service quality, by any professional standard, is so laughable that anyone who thought they had a problem and could afford treatment would be better off throwing money at a passing drunk than employing these bozos. They live off government money because nobody else is dumb enough to give it to them.
Even before checking further into this racket, I could predict that the set-up would be similar to that which has given several prodnoses a steady income from other ‘vices’. The trick is, start a moral panic, lobby for a government advisory body, get invited to be on it and then use it to get (1) a regular payoff from the industry in return for your silence and (2) the perpetuation of the advisory body by offering the odd feelgood, but practically pointless, ‘policy’.
Take, for example, the ridiculous one whereby the employees of supermarkets (many teenage or if older desperate for regular employment) dare not sell alcohol to anyone under 25 (even though they are merely required to challenge anyone who looks under 25 and legally are actually obliged to sell to any sober person of 18 or more who requests alcohol rather than demanding it with menaces). I know of cases where management has sacked employees who sold to 18-25 year-olds in order to scare the rest and impress government watchdogs. Those former employees (even though they have done nothing illegal or immoral) then cannot get other work for months.
Sure enough, when I check out Gamcare (or to give their full and misleading name, the National Association for Gambling Care, Educational Resources and Training) on the England and Wales Charity Register and elsewhere, the scam follows that practiced by various UK alcohol and substance ‘advisory’ charitable bodies.
For example, in 2007 GamCare received 80% of a £3.5 million budget set aside on government mandate by the UK gambling industry to promote responsible gambling. Neither the UK government nor the gambling industry are open about what happened after that, but back in 2008 it was expected £4.76 million in funding would be demanded for 2009, with that number jumping to £5.34 million in 2010 and 2011.
Sure enough, the last accounts submitted by Gamcare reveal that £2.7 million was coughed up, that the ‘charity’ got no other income apart from their gambling industry hush money and that it did not expect to tap anyone else for the cash for the foreseeable future.
In return for what?
Well, companies who carry the GamCare logo at their establishments or on their websites ‘voluntarily comply with a set of guidelines towards the promotion of responsible gaming’, according to the official line. And that’s about it really.
Yes, there’s a website, a gambling helpline, a chance for one–to-one advice (though not necessarily from anyone required to be trained to any obvious standard that I can spot)..blah, blah, blah…bit like the new IOM set-up for this racket, and the established ones for others, in fact.
And like the IOM racket(s), only one trustee for Gamcare has any obvious professional and relevant background. The other names look like the kind of privileged layabouts you see in any average New Years Honours list for…..well, probably for being privileged and getting out of bed long enough to wander into a few government advisory bodies and pick up an OBE in return, to be honest.
Actually, that would be better than the Manx industry standard, which is for an increasingly smaller and smaller, more self-selecting gang of unskilled busybodies to elect themselves onto ever more ‘advisory bodies’ and so avoid having to actually seek employment or pay their own way for yet another year or two.
It strikes me that, compared to that, the average smack dealer is a responsible member of the community. Probably pays more taxes and provides a more useful public service too.

Poor judgement should not excuse poorer new law

You can always tell when the local professional prodnose industry thinks next year’s government subsidy might be trimmed because fact-lite scare stories like this (see and appear.
Two immediate and awkward questions arise: just who are these government ‘drug advisers’ who apparently believe “stricter laws, more research and greater awareness are all needed to curb the spread of such drugs”, and do any of them have any professional expertise?
Knowing that the Chief Minister’s task force on drugs and alcohol was set up by individuals and organisations whose main reference point is the Bible, and who do not have so much as one basic qualification in medicine, psychology (or indeed the ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ sciences in general) between them, I do hope it is not them. Actually, what I really hope is that this idiotic ‘Advisory Council’ is disbanded pretty sharpish, because, on this evidence alone, none of them are capable of interpreting something as basic as a medical report to a coronary hearing.
No, I have not read the medical report either, but I do know that it does not say this teenager was killed by a legal high, and I do know, just from reading local newspaper reports, that that teenager had also consumed quite a lot of alcohol, and I do know, from reading many more reports over the years of inquests into ’drug deaths’, that with the possible exception of purer than usual heroin it is never a single chemical substance (legal or illegal) that kills the victim, but a particular chemical reaction caused by the combination of various substances, plus the victim’s particular medical history and the particular social circumstances of the death event.
I would also have thought that in this particular case other questions which might need answering include why a 17 year old had such easy access to alcohol (which unlike the MDAI really IS illegal -and supposedly the subject of very high profile tough legislation and social control which this case alone proves simply does not work either) and why she was apparently openly having a close relationship with a man twice her age yet nobody personally or professionally related to her thought that was odd.
Again, one of the conditions demanded by and granted to Manx evangelical homophobes for the lowering of homosexual consent to 16 was a clause preventing the ‘grooming’ of anyone under the age of 18 by an older adult. In practice, as UK gay organisations have pointed out, this type of legislation is only ever used to block same sex relationships, and never against the organisations whose employees are most likely to groom teenagers for sex, i.e. religious ones.
You can also tell how close the links are between the court services and the evangelicals who live off such moral panics because, coincidentally, there will always be a high profile case for a helpful coroner or judge to use to call for tougher legislation.
Just think about it. Why would a legal professional call for weaker or better legislation, or for people to take personal responsibility for their lives, or neighbours to look out for each other …..or indeed anything which people in the real world would recognise as common sense? That would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.
Of course, the other thing we can rely on is that either the Manx press were not at the coroner’s hearing, or did not find time to read such evidence as was on public record or the judgement in full, or just chose to concentrate on juicy morsels which ‘prove’ what their bigoted readers always want to think rather than doing their duty as journalists to report the fullest facts and best informed (though probably conflicting) opinion to us so that we can make informed judgements.
Considering the seriousness of some of the issues here, this ragbag conspiracy of self-serving idiots really does need to be treated with utter contempt. And we really should, as their employers, dispatch most of them to the Job Centre as soon as possible.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Care in the Community

I’m pretty sure the Isle of Man Government – and especially the Department of Education – should not be encouraging people to link up with hate groups. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to know it’s actually illegal – even on this bigoted island.
So I was surprised to learn that a recent item on FirstClass, a Department of Education-run website ( homepage at ) informs local mothers that: (an) “event, entitled Mum’s the Word, has been organised by national charity Care for the Family, whose aim is to strengthen family life and help those facing family difficulties. It will take place at The Mount Murray Hotel on Thursday 17th November from 730-10pm.”
So let us get something straight at once. CftF is not a Manx ‘national charity’, but a network of off-island charities, all cross-pollinating faith-based hate and ignorance. It began as an England and Wales charity, but is also separately registered in Scotland and Northern Ireland, though it fails to declare to any of those registries (as legally required) that it is a network rather than a stand-alone charity. As far as I can tell, it also should not be accepting money for charitable activities on the Isle of Man unless it has the specific permission of the Manx Attorney General to do so, because it is not registered here.
Although those with a little experience can track the structure, it also would not be too keen on the public regarding it as little more than a puppet of the even nastier Christian ‘education charity’ CARE (‘Christian Action Research & Education'), which has a strong lobbying team at Westminster, mostly thanks to links with the Conservative Christian Fellowship. The most obvious link is John O'Brien, a Care for the Family trustee, who is also a trustee of CARE, but I have little doubt that behind the scenes the management pyramid structure and policies are even more strongly linked.
To get a taste of CARE, this is a group who in 2005 sent letters to Scottish churches urging them to contact their local councils on the issue of civil ceremonies for same-sex couples registered under the new Civil Partnerships Act due to come into force that December.
The letter read: “CARE believes that it is not appropriate for there to be ceremonies associated with civil partnership registration. To hold a ceremony would suggest that registering a civil partnership has the same status as a heterosexual wedding, which it doesn’t.”
CARE also warned: “Some registrars are unwilling to perform such ceremonies and there may be issues of freedom of conscience if registrars are compelled to perform these ceremonies.”
That was because, from the time the original English Civil Partnership Bill was first passed, CARE put rather a lot of effort into writing to all registrars ‘advising’ them to try and opt out of conducting the ceremonies on ‘conscience’ grounds. As we all know, some did, and years later are still trying to take their case to Europe in a last ditch defence of religious bigotry and privilege.
Care for the Family, via links with Scottish and Northern Irish operations also not averse to taking public funds in return for truly cretinous ‘educational initiatives’, first got the chance to meddle in Manx educational affairs when David Anderson was Education Minister.
By the very oddest of coincidences this was about the same time that the Isle of Man Courier, picturing various happy university graduates, happened to report that: “Rachel Anderson, daughter of David and Jane Anderson, of Ballamoar, Patrick, has graduated from Durham University with a BA Hons in anthropology. She attended Peel Clothworkers' School and Queen Elizabeth II High School, where she was head girl in 2001-2. Rachel is spending the year as an intern with the charity CARE at Westminster, where she is working for an MP.”
The next 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, was another CftF trustee.
Small world, isn’t it?
Actually I spotted something even funnier in the FirstClass posting, which at one point says that: “Experienced speakers Katharine Hill and Cathy Madavan, who between them have six children, will share their own experiences of motherhood.”
I hope their managers haven’t noticed that. Because I imagine even the idea of lesbian mums and artificial insemination would have made CftF go all queer – if you’ll excuse the pun. On the other hand, considering how many desperate wankers seem to be involved in CARE and CftF, maybe the kids were just in-house jobs too. After all, these fundie freaks seem to like to keep everything else in the family.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Another day, another 'one idiot short of an asylum' story

This (see ) intrigues and amuses me.
Initially, it was amusement because the prospect of yet more Manx ‘help’ being inflicted on Romania will be bad news for my many acquaintances out that way.
Almost weekly we get anguished messages from them laughing at the latest damage or general idiocy caused by a Manx-based ‘overseas aid’ group (usually faith-based, which immediately explains most of the idiocy) and asking if there is anything they can do to help shore up our economy and thus stop the constant Eastward flow of cretinism. As one of them says, Romania, like any country, has some village idiots in rural areas, but the Isle of Man now seems to be producing whole villages of the intellectually challenged and then exporting them, which is a bit like fly-tipping your entire country’s toxic waste overseas.
In addition, one acquaintance, after a brief visit here, is still dining out on his collection of Manx pothole photographs. His countrymen agree, even Ceacescu in his worst years would never dare let Romanian roads and pavements get to the state of the average Manx street. They also sympathise with our third world plumbing, the way the concept of even rudimentary home insulation has never been understood here and the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables. Some wonder we haven’t all died of either pneumonia or scurvy.
And then (as witnessed by those whose experience of the Manx is limited to seeing the buffoons who turn up there to ‘help’), there is our poor education system. Limited knowledge of geography or history is one thing, and poor numeracy or scientific knowledge more worrying. Lack of foreign languages may be almost par for the course for quasi-Brits, but what really tickles Romanians about the Manx (at least the ones they see) is that they’re even illiterate in English.
For all these reasons, this article makes me painfully aware that, in the near future, I will yet again be apologising to Romanians and the butt of yet another series of Manx jokes.
However, other things about it intrigue me. Such as the tenuous mention of a link with Florian UK.
Because Florian UK is not a UK charity. Florian UK (co. no. 03001330) was an English registered company, formed in 1994 and dissolved in 2009, apparently a non-trading property letting company, but (reading between the lines) probably forcibly closed by the companies registry after failing to file accounts or adequately explain what it was actually up to.
Operation Florian (England and Wales registered charity number 1054657), on the other hand, is a real charity. Essentially, it is something run by firefighters throughout the UK which sets out to do good deeds for folk in poorer countries. It seems to do fairly well at fundraising – I suppose based on the public goodwill for firefighters – but less well at actually keeping accounts and spending it. In fairness, that goes for a lot of small charities, so not a real danger sign.
So possibly no more than a simple understanding, but if it is linked to firefighters then why not just say so, and call it something obvious like Florian Isle of Man (or Mannanan) instead of a grandiloquent title which makes it sound like it’s a (or even the) major Manx foreign aid charity and invites confusion with the Manx government’s official overseas aid programme?
Additionally, of course, if it really is the continued adventures of a dubious Department of Home Affairs project which finds dumping redundant fire equipment abroad cheaper than scrapping it, and in the process links up with small town Romanian neo-fascists and US Baptists building a North Romanian business empire while stirring up ethnic conflict (see Chief Minister, international joke and Of spooks and spookchasers for more) then we have far more serious problems.

Poverty of Theory, Neglect by Government

According to this (see (which will now have reached the ‘proper’ local press) the Children’s Centre are putting on a conference, chaired by the Pretzel of Tynwald and a government ‘consultant’ on children, to determine if there is poverty and neglect in the Isle of Man.
If these overpaid parasites have to ask they are more useless than we already knew, and we really need to ask in return why they have claimed so much public money for decades.
They really should know how much poverty and neglect there is. Most of the Children’s Centre committee are married into the business and political dynasties which caused the island to become two distinct nations in the first place, and from talking to some of their kids I also know how dysfunctional some upper middle class Manx families are compared to, say, the average sink estate family doomed to a second generation of lifetime unemployment.
Then there is the odd selection of speakers.
We are told, for example that: “Mr McCann is a motivational speaker who encourages people to look at life differently, helping them to take a leap that will change their lives for good and make a real difference in the world.”
So he will be talking to ......who exactly at this pseudo-conference, and encouraging them to...... do what? The permanently excluded perhaps, suggesting that as local business interests have no use for them, and also have no intention of taking (even as individuals) their fair share of the local tax burden, they might as well get used to it?
But of course not. He’s just another stooge brought in, like the canting priests who harangue us from another direction, to parrot the lie that we are equally and individually responsible for our plight, and that social or economic forces have absolutely no bearing on the matter.
I hope they’re paying this pathetic, two-faced twerp good money to push that lie: I also hope it isn’t public money.
And if you really must legitimate political inability to tackle poverty and social problems with an ‘academic’ overview, why would you pick a lecturer from an establishment about which the Daily Telegraph once asked: "Is this the worst university in Britain?"
That question was asked in 2004, when Luton had an unusually high course drop-out rate, and was additionally proposing to relax consequences of students failing second year exams. Luton answered back that as it existed specifically to give chances to the kind of folk who cannot normally consider higher education the drop-out rate was be expected and extra attempts to keep students studying needed, which is fair enough in my book. But then I read elsewhere that: “The QAA conducted a thorough institutional audit of the University as a whole in 2005 (prior to the merger of the University), which resulted in the audit team’s questioning of the academic standards of its awards and its lack of confidence in the university's quality standards.”
It seems that after the audit was taken the QAA got further information showing some appropriate action in response, but it was only in July 2007 that the audit was finally signed off. Again, to be fair, University of Bedfordshire constantly polls somewhere around 70th in most ‘league tables’ of British academic excellence, which puts it just above the lowest third, but potential employers wouldn’t dismiss a 'Beds' degree nearly as quickly as, say, an MBA from the Isle of Man Business School.
Then there is the strange link with an outfit called the Institute for Optimum Nutrition. The ION is regarded by more scientifically-based nutritionists as a “controversial” organisation, and that would be putting it mildly. For example, founder Patrick Holford's apparent advocacy of vitamin C as better than conventional drugs to treat AIDS was once described as “very scary” by the British Dietetic Association.
This has not stopped the ION offering a Home Study Course and a three-year Diploma in Nutritional Therapy (DipION). Another perturbing thing is that the University of Bedfordshire previously validated the DipION as a foundation degree, and only withdrew this validation in 2010.
So, with a wealth of British academic knowledge in the social sciences to choose from – much of it cutting edge – those responsible in Manx government chose a minor academic with no peer reviewed work from a university with no teaching pedigree in the field (and who just happens to have a book to flog) to kick off a major important social debate?
Yeah, that would be about par for the course.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Oxfam would not take this tat. Why should we?

I was intrigued, and even encouraged, by a small piece of graffiti I saw in Douglas yesterday.
On the wall outside the multi-storey car park, beneath a crude image of (presumably) a hammer or axe, someone wrote: “Art isn’t always well fought out”.
Someone else then crossed out “fought” inserted “thought” and scribbled “idiot!” beside the original graffiti. But I think they missed the pun, and the point.
As a cultural academic and veteran of numerous serious (if also playful) attempts to question the point of art (and in particular if all art inevitably gets commodified eventually, so we might as well give up and do something else) it was at least encouraging that someone thinks such questions might still matter. Especially on the Isle of Man, where – to be blunt – the local Arts Council was always run by water-colouring fossils under the thumb of small town politicos who were proud to know nothing about art but know what they like and things have now hit a sub-YBA low (YBA being ‘Young British Artist’, for anyone who still cares).
In the 1980’s I probably knew three Manx artists (at most) with some sort of internationally recognisable talent, social conscience or knowledge of contemporary art history – mostly gained from being around politicised punk like Rock Against Racism. By the late 1990’s, when I returned here tooled up by direct contact in Leeds with most of the original art theorists and armed with the opportunity to explore such stuff in a local newspaper column, even they had been replaced by a new generation of dull conformists. Younger, nominally qualified but more terrifying than the ‘ladies who paint’ one still meets at Manx art gallery openings.
Yes, there is public and private money being thrown at local art world hacks to prettify awful and socially pointless new buildings and shopping complexes, generally thrown up like a bad curry after a drunken Friday night out in the vain hope some gullible tourist will splash their disposable income around. But would any sane and socially responsible artist take it?
Are there any anyway? And why is there no public engagement or debate about the arts? Sorry, but ‘government surveys’ which filter out all attempts to comment on a pre-decided policy do not count.
Real questions need to be asked. We could start with basic ones, like would you rather have a concrete seagull stuck next to some harbour-side cafes or a home help? But we could ask better ones, like would you rather pay some spawn of a banker with an art degree to come up with ‘public art’ or plan something better with your neighbours........ or just not bother?
Off hand, I cannot think of one piece of art in the Manx public domain which actually contributes to a sense of well being or pride in a community. Honestly, I just cannot, and I am actually interested in art and the regeneration of community!
These days walking through Manx towns is like walking through a surreal scene in which the family of some recently deceased person, rather than donate the stuff to a charity shop, has dumped giant versions of 50p store paintings and ornaments out in the street, where they clutter pavements or lean against walls.
Oxfam would not take this tat. Why should the rest of us?

A new generation of parliamentary privilege

An article (see by someone I recall as a local paper editor some years back caused me to raise an ironic eyebrow, and gave me a giggle or two. Nothing similar has appeared on radio or in the local print press yet, which doesn’t surprise me for the same reasons that it caused me so much amusement.
The thing is, I pottered about in Manx journalism 20 or so years ago when Hazel Hannan, then MHK for Peel, one day used parliamentary privilege to ask impertinent questions of the Minister for Tourism about Charles Kerruish. More specifically, she was trying to clarify what funding Kerruish might have received from the Tourist Board (as it then was) towards the costs of some holiday cottages he was having built, and with what guarantees.
Doubt later emerged as to whether they really were holiday cottages, and if any part of the possible grant conditions required him to pay back some or all of the grant if he, say, sold them on as private housing after a year or two because tourists didn’t rush to rent them – because tourists weren’t tending to rent a lot of holiday accommodation (or even to visit the island) at the time.
If this sounds familiar that might be because, some years later, similar questions about holiday accommodation were the undoing of a Chief Minister who Kerruish regarded as a protégé. They also went unreported until a court case some time after the questions were being asked, by which time most of the Manx public had obtained answers elsewhere.
Sadly, it seems only two journalists were in the Keys when Mrs Hannan made her enquiries. One was the hardworking Charles Guard from Manx Radio, the other was the equally conscientious and quite elderly Jennifer Leece, then working for the tiny Peel City Guardian, as was I.
Actually, this wasn’t unusual at a time before Johnston Press bought out the island’s two ‘rival’ larger newspaper groups. In fact it was something of a joke between Jennifer and Charles that the other papers only attended Tynwald if one of the MHKs who spoon-fed them was about to make a speech. Much of the time, so printworkers from that era who had to handle last minute page changes say, they just listened in to Charles’s reports and made notes, or used tip-offs from any MHK who was using them as unpaid PR, or just asked Fred Kissack (then Chief Secretary).
Charles, as I remember, did not include Hazel Hannan’s queries in his report that day. Perhaps, like Jennifer, he saw nothing startling in them. It was the usual practice, then as now, that any backbencher querying the actions of the political senility had been primed to do so by the subject in order that such wasters could make a carefully scripted reply to reassure the unwashed masses.
Jennifer, however, did report them, and they appeared in that week’s paper, as from my memory the editor also saw nothing remarkable and expected the Greatest Living Manxman (as he was then regarded) to make a routine explanation in due time.
Only he didn’t. Indeed, there were then claims the paper had misreported the questioning and the GLM even brought considerable influence to bear on both Mrs Hannan and the island’s smallest newspaper to retract all mention of such matters.
At which point the editor dug in his heels, backed the ever accurate Jennifer and said he would wait for the Hansard report to prove she had recorded it word perfect. Which she had. And then, as the editor also ran Manx Life, he continued to ask questions. Meanwhile, the island’s ‘national press’ remained silent, having simply not been there to hear the questions, even if they would be prepared to break the habit of a lifetime and for once demonstrate the gumption or tenacity to follow up.
Which they did not, as they also had not when senior civil servants (or even local police on at least one memorable occasion) ‘advised’ local newspapers not to follow up other stories in those years. The point being, unlike our shoestring operation, those papers received considerable income from government advertising and were expected, in return, to run numerous flattering stories helpfully and exclusively supplied to them.
There was, so I was told, an ‘understanding’ between senior civil servants and the two larger papers that government would prefer it if it was able to place public notices in two publications (as then and now required by various laws) but only pay once. Therefore it would sit back and wait while the papers got into a war for other advertising (which would handily also wipe out smaller, more troublesome publications) and reward the winner when the rival folded.
As it happened, Johnston Press was playing the same game on a larger scale around Britain, intent on monopolising the regional market which was then the only press growth area. When the two Manx rivals had near bankrupted themselves it stepped in, bought them both and captured the entire government contract. JP also found a huge potential one in return for bigging up drunken lunchtime pronouncements from finance sector figureheads who, in the name of all decency, should really be left to ramble incoherently into a hotel urinal until they pass out.
So, in these new and desperate times are we about to see elected politicians and the local press being told by senior government figures who lack even a public mandate what to ask, what to report, and about whom?
Or is just business as usual? In which case I predict the press won’t even need to be ‘advised’, as Manx journalists once were in quite a heavy-handed manner. They already know, and will.
As for the politicians in a parliament where procedure and access to power is controlled by characters who are not used to being questioned (or even having to suffer the indignity of seeking election)……
What do you think?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Alabama madness, coming soon to Ramsey

A terrifying flyer fell out of my Courier this week.
It appears that Living Hell, having turned Port St. Mary into a smack-riddled trailer park within a decade, are planning to hasten the degeneration of Ramsey too. Frankly, with the Ramsey Degeneration Committee already destroying anything of local character, taste, interest or colour I’m not sure we need the help.
I can only think this is some sort of revenge attack by crazed Southerners for the Michael Starkey exhibition down at Port Erin Arts Centre, and if so nobody could blame them. Ever since his awful ‘muriel’ went up on the wall opposite a particularly nice Ramsey cake shop I’ve had to stop patronising it. I can’t leave the shop without feeling physically sick, and I don’t want the owners or potential customers to think my nausea is a result of something I ate there.
Anyways, starting tomorrow evening, the Batshits have booked the Grammar School Lecture Theatre twice monthly for (and I quote direct from the flyer):
“an evening of contemporary music, an encouraging, life changing message, a chance to encounter God and coffee and donuts too!”
Charming, and just when they finally got all the stains and smells caused by incontinent freaks at the last evangelical screechfest out of the assembly hall floor at the town’s infant school.
So that’s junk food and cringeworthy cut and paste ‘sermons’ (courtesy of an Ulsterman who couldn’t cope with equal rights in his home community, armed with a correspondence course divinity diploma) twice monthly from now until…whenever someone at the Education Department turns down the loot I suppose.
Which will be never.
Paying punters at such atrocity exhibitions deserve all the pain they get, but I hope that at least the neighbours (especially residents of two nearby sheltered housing schemes) are spared the UNITE Worship Band. Think of a Cliff Richard tribute band formed by tone deaf inmates of a long term mental institution and you would be on the right lines.
Scary thought, is it not?

Noon of the Dead

Well, had other stuff to do today –such as the copy for the latest column bearing this name (yes, I still rant in print as well as cyberspace. I know, how quaint, how retro…). But I just have to pass on today’s encounter with the living dead in a supermarket.
There we were, one happy family, having successfully parked the jalopy in what’s left of the supermarket car park now that the powers that be have finally decided to fill the stonking great hole that appeared in the middle of it two years ago. In the process they’ve created a rubble pile three times the size of the hole, parked a digger which is fast disappearing into the ever-subsiding perimeter of the hole and managed to block off the recycling bins, but ho hum….whatever!
Next we successfully steered a trolley with duff wheels round shelves remarkable for the absence of anything vaguely fresh or edible, and even found a till with no queue staffed by a kid who actually seemed keen to serve us. As Her Indoors and Junior Management took up position ready to pack stuff as it was scanned, I placed the first item on the conveyor belt…..and then the nonsense started.
Some three-nippled, mouth-breathing old throwback in an IOM Steam Packet jumper (which is tantamount to an admission you only procreate with siblings and cousins) put one of those ‘next customer’ plastic things just behind my first item and then dumped a 24 pack of industrial effluent-based lager on the conveyor belt just behind that.
He seemed intellectually incapable of understanding that this, once placed on the conveyor belt, would not stand still and that the six free inches between my first item and it would not magically expand as I tried to unpack the rest of the contents of a large trolley into it.
Believe me, I tried to educate him. Politely, in words (short ones), and by pointing to my full trolley and indicating the vast difference in height, width and depth between the two spaces.
I even pointed out that there was a space at the end of the till which wasn’t part of the conveyor belt, where he could place his economy priced mouthwash without it moving. His answer was “Well, you could pack faster than that”, which suggested a worrying unfamiliarity with basic concepts of time and space…or anything else really.
Eventually I was reduced to moving his 24 pack back to the end of the conveyor after unloading every second or third item from our trolley, while he grumbled to a (presumably female) co-idiot with slightly less facial hair about the time it was taking me to empty my trolley so he could get served. The kid on the till was almost blue in the face in an effort not to laugh in case Barnacle Bill noticed and he got drawn into the action , while somehow I managed not to explode.
What more can I say? I bend over backwards to defend quaint Manx eccentrics against a harsh, unforgiving world, but there’s a limit.
Hopefully this Neanderthal was too old to catch any female relative over the age of, say, 12. He was also ugly as sin and unlikely to be economically active enough to pay for sex, so at least he can’t add to the sum of local stupidity.
However, simpletons like this are still a major factor in disasters like the election of Leonard Singer, the current Ramsey MHK who isn’t Allan Bell, and that has to be a cause for concern.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Beware of unsolicited texts from pestering pastors

I really feel sorry for folk around Port St. Mary.
There was a famous TV advert a few years back in which a small girl had to choose between ‘Daddy’ and ‘Chips’, and chose the chips. Sometimes I think it could be revived for unfortunates around the island’s answer to an Alabama trailer park, except in their case it would be ‘Jesus or Heroin?’
Seriously, have you SEEN Port St. Mary since Living Hell (‘Living Hope Community Church’, to give them the current trading name) set up shop and anyone who could spell their own name tried to sell up and move out?
Which brings me to this week’s Manx Indifferent and an article under South News about a ‘community choir’ being formed to have fun and raise cash for charity in the process. Given that Living Hell are involved any sane person will disregard such myths as the ones about choir members choosing the music or the charity. Forget it, that money has a US bank account's name on it already, however many 'religious charities' it has to pass through to get there.
But a more serious word of warning – especially if you have a daughter who is slightly under the age of consent but could (especially in dim lighting) pass as older. In the near future your daughter may start to receive texts ‘inviting’ her to join the choir. These could become persistent, and will emanate from adults who have obtained the number via Education Department staff, though neither the Education Department staff nor the persistent pests they passed it to obtained it by legitimate means.
If this happens, also be aware of several other things.
Firstly, this has happened before, and even though one culprit was identified and an official complaint made to the school it was not investigated. The culprit continues to roam schools preying on under-age girls under the pretence of ‘mentoring’ and the Education Department staff member who illegally obtained the child’s mobile number and passed it to him was never reprimanded, or even questioned.
Secondly, as long ago as 1999, other individuals involved in the project helped cover the tracks of a Ramsey evangelist, also with an unhealthy interest in girls in their mid-teens. Though he was eventually charged over one incident of many alleged to have taken place in Ramsey, Douglas, Peel and Port St. Mary it was only due to the persistence of a family who later left the island to avoid the backlash. Other incidents were simply never investigated, due to the collective refusal of the church venues involved to cooperate and the lack of will on the part of appropriate government staff to make them (including, to my certain knowledge, at least one church elder).
Should a young relative be pestered as the result of the current project, my advice would be report it to the school and the Education Department, but before either of those to the police. Mud sticks eventually, and while evangelicals hold key positions in the Education Department and Police Consultative Forum thankfully they no longer do so in the police force itself.

Government 'advice' from the thick and the dead

I had to laugh at I know by now you’ve read this in what passes for a local press, but I feel obliged to quote from the original, as presented to the press to regurgitate whole. Because, unlike certain public notices (see (Oh ‘L’) someone in the Chief Sickbag’s office WILL check closely, and if ‘independent’ reports are cut, so future government advertising may be.
This kind offer, on the surface at least, invites mere plebs to become public representatives on advisory bodies. Except, as anyone who’s ever encountered either the drawn-out, secretive and (frankly) dishonest application procedure or the kind of freaks who end up on these committees can tell you, it does not.
The thing is, the Chief Sickbag’s office draws up a list of ‘suitable’ candidates (generally over-the-hill figures from the ‘special interest’ groups who civil servants have accepted ‘free lunches’ from over the years) and the current one was agreed with the last Council of Ministers. This is only vaguely hinted at in any COMIN minutes, because the Chief Sickbag writes them.
Procedure requires that there is then a’public invitation’, unwelcome responses to which inevitably get ‘lost’ before the Chief Sickbag presents the names of those appointed to a future COMIN meeting to rubberstamp. In the case of the public bodies in theory considered later, the process is even more opaque. Frankly, if you can count to ten, haven’t subsidised a ski holiday for a senior government figure and/or aren’t gaga already, don’t waste a stamp or rack up a phone bill.
For example, I remember talking to one MNH member with enough self-respect to step down before his short term memory was completely shot (unlike, for example, an old biddy on another cultural advisory body who was marked present at meetings for around two years even as staff in her nursing home tied her into her chair to prevent her wandering off). He swore that, at one point, some members were so sedated and the need to rush new policy through so urgent that their silence was recorded as votes for the motion. I even wonder if, like Jeremy Bentham, the stuffed bodies of deceased members are wheeled in to make up a quorum, though I doubt if they’d be marked “present but not voting” as Bentham famously is at UCL meetings marking major anniversaries.
There was also the day that a senior figure in the heritage racket was rescued in Strand Street by a concerned bypasser, having not set foot there since the first mid-80’s redevelopment. Even as he was escorted onto the nearest bus back to Arcadia, he was still muttering ‘I’m sure you just turn left at the Dog’s Home…..’
(For those not old enough to remember, the Dog’s Home was a legendary 1980’s pub - one of the few where individualists of all ages could feel secure and rednecks never came to drink. It was the key building in a block of small businesses which was knocked down under a secretive planning deal involving compulsory purchase, eventually providing the site for the current Marks & Sparks. Few, if any, of the owners got enough compensation to continue elsewhere.)

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Ignorance is not a traditional value

Yesterday I saw yet more evidence that while, on the one hand, it is churches who claim to be the champions of community and local identity it is their members who, in practice, are fast destroying both. This example would be simply hilarious if it were not so startling and very, very dumb.
We were looking for a child’s birthday present, so thought we’d do the right thing by getting something that would encourage the child to learn something and also looking for it in a proper local bookshop, rather than Waterstones.
While there a bloke I’d take to be a fairly new resident came in and asked the staff for assistance. He had friends coming from across, and as they’d be here at the end of October, wanted to give them a suitable book on Manx folklore which might explain Hop Tu Naa.
For non-Manx readers, Hop Tu Naa is the Manx variant of those Halloween customs whereby kids dress up and go door to door asking for treats. The fun bit is they get to dress in witch costumes, but to get the treats they must also (a) carry a carved turnip lamp and (b) successfully sing the Hop Tu Naa song. So, most would agree, harmless fun stuff that gets kids away from the Playstation and keeps local tradition going.
Apparently not the shop assistant, who froze as if asked if they had anything on practical Satanism and child sacrifice, after a few seconds said, rather stiffly, they didn’t stock “that sort of thing” and then, when asked who did, uttered the phrase which is enough to get you slung out of the Independent Book Retailers Association, “Try W.H. Smiths”.
Seeing all this, and in particular the bloke’s dazed expression as he headed for the door, the Light of My Life steered him towards me and ordered me to list suitable Manx shops and book-titles. This I did, and duly put his business the way of a nice little guy who stocks old Manx books, posters, postcards and other memorabilia, just across the street from the bookshop as it happens.
The irony is, a few metres away from the shop assistant was an entire bookcase of local titles, mostly nonsensical whimsy but including several copies of Sophia Morrison’s Manx Fairy Tales, an Edwardian local classic reprinted in a ridiculously over-priced edition a few years back by Manx National Heritage to take advantage of the need to cover Manx culture in the school curriculum.
It’s a great book, something like a Celtic version of Grimms Fairy Tales, but also with several chapters on Manx customs and all very accessible to kids. The Manx elders who introduced me to it and other out-of-print local classics years back were, without exception, stalwart churchgoers and also, for example, involved in keeping things like mhelliahs (harvest produce sales), Sankey Evenings, carvals (Manx carols) and suchlike going in village churches.
By comparison, the annual Manx outcry about the ‘dangers’ of Halloween comes from a nastier, more recent Christian tradition (if something recently concocted in the half-mind of a deranged fundamentalist can yet be deemed ‘tradition’). This was predominantly introduced by exiled Ulster Unionists who, before fleeing a fairer, more humane Northern Ireland, discovered the advantages of US correspondence course theological qualifications and superchurch pyramid schemes. Like our worst politicians, they know nothing of morality (and never even study the big moral questions) but do know (in their case by filling in the blanks on those helpful sermon templates that come with the franchise) how to create moral panic out of tabloid non-stories.
It is they, and not ‘militant atheists’ or ‘aggressive secularism’, who are the greatest threat to Manx community life and common decency. But for now, as their entire lives revolve around material wealth and their pretensions towards ‘spiritual values’ are just ridiculous, I’m happy to laugh, or put them out of business by pointing punters towards proper, community-orientated, competitors who do deserve neighbourly support.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Different arseholes, same old shite

Well, the Manx election is over, and now the dust has settled we see that although a few different arseholes got elected all we can expect is the same old shite as before.
My experience as a Ramsey voter was fairly typical of most working people outside the capital.
As there are few jobs in the town, most of the working population commute 15 miles each way to Douglas and back, which should have meant a rush to the polls after 6 PM. Nope, just the election supervisors, the candidates and their blue-rinsed back-up teams when I got there.
Only exception was the campaign workers for Laurie Hooper, at 24 the youngest candidate and one of only two brave enough to say that, if elected, he’d push for scrutiny of government spending and policy-making procedures. Neither he nor the other guy making that promise (a junior civil servant, as it happens) got in. Thankfully neither did the truly scary woman from Liberal Vannin – a party with a campaign run by Robert Kilroy-Silk’s former campaign manager, so more UKIP-lite than liberal in values.
Various crinkly folk tell me that all the top four polling candidates visited them, but no working people recall seeing more than one candidate on the doorstep – and he was a working guy himself who could only make the rounds over evenings and weekends.
In fact, one neighbour, a sprightly ex-schoolteacher, deliberately went on holiday to Italy during the election week. She correctly forecast that (1) almost all of the votes in Ramsey would be cast by retired people, as commuting workers won’t be able to get to the poll in time and the unemployable don’t vote, being too illiterate to read candidate names (2) knowing this, career con-artists always make a point of touring retirement complexes and known homes of retired people and (3) if elected they never keep their promises.
Therefore, rather than becoming so irate she clocked one of the lying sods (which would be undignified for a genteel lady of advancing years) she would sit in the sun until the lying stopped and the toads most able to get frightened, superstitious half-blind biddies to leave the house, daytime TV and the Daily Mail long enough to put an X in roughly the right spot were declared the winners. At that point the highest paid civil servants can continue cutting deals with the skankiest local employers and the rest of us can carry on as normal.
Incidentally, as a lapsed member of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party (I participated during the Wild Willi Beckett years, when a combination of inspired lunacy and more serious campaigns on homelessness and sleaze actually got us York and Bradford council seats) I will be informing the party hierarchy of a Manx politician canvassing under false pretences. In this story (see, Leonard Singer is clearly sporting an OMRLP rosette with the centrepiece altered. Ironic really, as the original said: “VOTE FOR INSANITY. You know it makes sense” .
Come to think of it, the Isle of Man may be one of the few places outside Washington DC or Tehran where, rather than restrict the voting rights of the clinically insane, we just employ them as politicians to keep them off the streets.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

DHA, more danger than strangers to kids

If I haven't blogged for a while, it's because I'm trying hard to stick to my post-holiday policy of only spreading positive vibes - poking fun at a few local windbags and drains on the rates along the way but in general trying to cheer up decent folk just trying to get by on the Rock rather than add to their woes.
But this (see is worrying news.
It isn’t just that a government department is wasting public time, money and resources indulging the prejudices of some of the island’s least responsible, self-pitying bigots. It is also the bigots who government will use or employ to ‘look into’ the matter.
Given that the Manx government already wastes far too many public facilities to tittle-tattle about the rest of us and screw up our personal and family lives, I would also be surprised if they choose to share their toys with any unskilled, tabloid-reading (and believing) inappropriate morons who don’t already draw a government salary.
I definitely don’t think the government wants anyone with an ounce of sense knowing the ill-informed ‘intelligence’ they share freely about the rest of us, and I doubt if the worst offenders are on their radar anyway, given that Manx ‘childcare professionals’ never look at unpleasant stuff involving fellow fundamentalists when reported by concerned relatives and neighbours.
But what really worries me is that if it has got as far as this, then someone in either Social Services or the DHA has already formulated a policy and a way of pushing it through a bogus ‘public consultation’, just as they did with homelessness.
Having once wasted an extremely unpleasant evening with some civil servants from the DHA, DSS and various puppet charities, I’ve been through something similar to what is (in theory) supposed to happen here but (in practice) will not.
The official agenda at that meeting was to decide the format for an information-gathering exercise into the scale, nature and causes of Manx homelessness, in order to help government develop strategies to need it. Amongst the things I quickly discovered were:
(1) It doesn’t matter what it says on the agenda of such a meeting or who drew it up in theory. In practice both the agenda and the decisions the meeting will rubberstamp are set in advance by a DSS executive on a £100K+ salary, who will not actually bother to turn up to the meeting.
(2) I, the token ‘member of the public’, had more facts and figures at my fingertips, and knew more about the issue in general, than a group of people who, collectively, cost the public about £500,000 in salaries each year.
(3) Government employees don’t bother researching for meetings like this, and may even turn up not knowing what the meeting topic is, but happily put in claims for overtime anyway.
(4) Slum landlords and the DSS get along just fine, and the DSS are not about to allow any evidence to appear in a government document which would break up that cosy relationship.
(5) Nobody with dark skin or a foreign accent is safe in the care of the DHA, but if the DHA can find a way to blame all Manx social problems on such folk they will.
(6) Some key government staff not only go to the same fundamentalist churches which produce the homophobia, sexism, racism, physical, mental (and in some cases sexual) abuse which in turn is the primary cause of Manx teenage kids leaving home, they are also involved in the fundamentalist bogus charities which the DHA and DSS proposes to use to counsel and rehouse them.
So, in brief, nothing will emerge from this mess but more trouble for ordinary parents. If you really want a list of people who are a danger to children, you should start with the staff lists of any government department, bogus charity or government advisory body which gets involved in such a pointless exercise.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Oh, 'L'!

Me and the Mrs are still giggling at a glaring error in a government advert prominently featured in last week’s Isle of Man Courier.
Well, we thought it was a typo, but it could be genuine.
After all, nobody with more than two working braincells gets to work in the Chimp Secretary’s office (for fear of upstaging the Chimp himself), and some of the folk who have ‘advised’ the Chimp’s Tea Party in the past have more than a passing knowledge of the adult entertainment industry. It’s an open secret too that internet porn takes up way more browsing time in certain government departments than, say, human rights, international law or the websites of the Economist or Financial Times.
Which might explain why, in the third paragraph of a quarter page public notice placed on behalf of the Chief Secretary's Office on page 48 and meant to invite expressions of interest for ‘Public Art Coordinator for Regeneration’, we read that: “In order to meet the public's responses for vibrant and interesting regenerated areas, the government is seeking Expressions of Interest to undertake the coordination of Pubic Art within some of the Island’s planned regeneration areas.”
But even that won’t be as funny as the tasteless tat chosen for production at public expense which results if this is nothing more than an unfortunate typo.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Good news and inspiration

As nothing in the Isle of Man seems worthy of ridicule (or even note) this week, and what passes for UK atheism still seemed as irrelevant and up its own Little Englander backside as it was when I went off on holiday I wasn’t going to blog today.
Then I checked out the Pink Triangle Trust blog and read something positive, about an organisation and individuals whose boots British humanists will not be fit to lick for decades.
The PTT (see ) has just donated £1,000 towards the cost of a conference being arranged by the Nigerian Humanist Movement.
I don’t recall now how I first came across the work of the brave and inspirational Leo Igwe, head honcho at the NHM, who has faced everything (libel actions and death threats from the powerful quacks and charlatans of Nigeria’s infamous, US-backed evangelical industry, beatings of family members and arrest courtesy of that country’s equally dishonest and unhinged police and politicians....) yet continues to talk sense, act for change and, in general, be everything a civilized human being could aspire to be. I only know that discovering his work, and just seeing e-mails with his name on, lifts and inspires me on even the worst day.
The blog quotes from the NHM website, which tells us that: “The Nigerian Humanist Movement was founded in 1996 to promote Humanism, defend secularism and provide a sense of community to all non-religious and freethinking Nigerians – atheists, skeptics, rationalists, agnostics and freethinkers. Nigeria is a deeply religious society. And in most cases people relate, interact and marry along religious lines. Religious affiliation becomes a decisive factor when one is seeking employment, doing a business or wants to be admitted into a school or university. Those who do not profess any religion are treated as second class citizens. So in Nigeria most non-religious people are in the closet. They lack any association or community they can call their own. The rights of non-religious people are not recognized. The voice and interests are not represented at public debates and discourse. So NHM was formed to fulfill this important need – to defend the rights and interests of Humanists and the general public and to realize a Humanistic society.”
As the website (see ) also says:” In a country plagued by poverty, ignorance, religious fanaticism and superstition, NHM will continue to work and campaign for intellectual awakening, social reform, cultural rebirth and renewal.”
As should we all, in countries perhaps less plagued by extreme poverty but equally riddled with other stuff and nonsense that none of us should have to abide.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Clocking on

On August 6th, just before being dragged away reluctantly to warmer, more vibrant places for a while, I wrote that: “The optimist in me hopes I'll come back a chilled, kinder, less irritable person determined to spread only positive vibes…..”
It wasn’t just that the balance between the precious benefits of the quieter pace of life over here and the inescapable price (having to work in a sick industry which offers the only local employment) was getting out of kilter.
It wasn’t just the knowledge that (as the Manx education system is as riddled with small town prejudice and superstition as anything else) working parents with no link to the richest, thickest inbreeds need to take on the real education of our children, and treat ‘school’ as little more than a child-minding service where the kids try not to go to sleep while we’re away at work
It was also the reality kicking in that family responsibilities to relatives whose health is fast failing mean yet less time from now on for activities that actually interest me.
And the further knowledge that, even while away and theoretically on holiday, we’d probably be drawn into the lives of others whose problems dwarf our own.
Like the calm, unassuming folk who the drunk or loony always sits next to on the bus, me and the Mrs just seem to be magnets for anyone who can’t or won’t open up to ‘normal’ people or ‘proper’ family. Usually we don’t mind - and sometimes we even tap into something richer we would otherwise never have experienced - but even Nobel Peace Prize winners need a day off.
Well, I’m back on the Rock. Have been for a few days, actually, but still couldn’t bring myself round to blogging again.
Well, probably because (having studiously avoided the internet whilst away) I found nothing had moved on when finally checking back in here last week.
And I do mean nothing! Do the Toytown windbags who dominate the local media really think anything they have to say is of importance to anyone with more than a double figure IQ?
And probably because I have not even looked at a computer in almost three weeks yet the sky has not caved in. This brought home to me that, while 99% of anything on the Isle of Man is nonsense I didn’t miss, 99.999% of anything on the internet in general is mind-rotting twaddle exchanged between losers who seriously need to get a life instead.
And probably because the optimist in me did triumph over the blue meanies which dwell on the bad stuff, and though the problems of others did eat into time I’d rather have spent lounging under a tree reading a funny book it didn’t matter. Because the folk with problems were folk I love and want to see happier, and because I only had room for one funny book in my hand luggage anyway.
So..... chilled, kinder, less irritable, determined to spread only positive vibes?
Yes, I think so.
Mind you, I only actually go back to work tomorrow, so better give it until the weekend to be sure!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Abnormal service will be resumed....

Just in case anyone was worried.....
I will be unable to blog for a couple of weeks because I have to go away.
The optimist in me hopes I'll come back a chilled, kinder, less irritable person determined to spread only positive vibes......
Well, we'll see when I get back.
Meanwhile, be excellent to each other.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

As ye give, so shall ye receive

Acolytes of the Zombie Carpenter have been dropping religious pamphlets through our letterbox again.
Not Ramsey ones, which I can at least excuse as they’re from cheery eternal optimists we sort of know just trying to be neighbourly and invite us to their shindigs. These chancers operate from Douglas – by the looks of it on a similar basis to those shysters who offer to buy your gold or tarmac your drive.
One leaflet asks: “Where will your soul be 150 years from now? Indeed, where will you be in Eternity?”
If these anonymous twerps want to ask pointless and stupid questions, I wish they’d at least make an effort to ask funny ones.
How about: ‘Where was the fairy from the bottom of your garden five minutes ago?’
Or why not: ‘How many unicorns does it take to change a light bulb?’
In another leaflet, they ask: “Can we be sure of forgiveness?”
Well, that’s an easy one.
I don’t care if they’re deluded, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find they have learning difficulties. But that still isn’t an excuse for dropping litter through other people’s letter boxes, and as they were dumb enough to give a contact address I think they should pay for it by receiving it in return.
So, if anyone has any paper they cannot be bothered to take to the paper bank, why not drop it off at Switzerland Road Gospel Hall, off Queens Promenade, Douglas.