Friday, 29 April 2011

Save the Children

I must be just one of many Manx parents relieved that the Department for Miseducation and Child Abuse have dropped a controversial attempt to introduce a ‘Children's Bill’ which would have given numerous halfwits carte blanche to snoop, tittle-tattle in secret and in general screw up the lives of Manx children even more than they do already.
In a press release put out last thing yesterday in the hope nobody will read it until next week (see we learn that:
“The then Department of Education consulted the public over the Bill last spring and there were 76 responses, with views submitted by Tynwald Members, Government Department and Boards, local authorities, teachers and teaching unions, church groups, organisations and individuals.
Eddie Teare MHK, Minister for Education and Children, who extended the consultation period when he took over at the Department midway through the exercise, today announced that with 76 per cent of those who responded against the Children Bill, and a further 10 per cent having reservations about it, he wouldn’t be proceeding with it.”
The thing that hacked most off – which we only found out about due to the efforts of a determined local civil libertarian, Tristram Llwellyn-Jones - were the plans for a secret database to log information about children, which would have been comprised solely of contributions from cretins who no sane parent would allow in the same room as a child. This database, linked to sweeping new powers which social workers and other, equally unschooled, busybodies intended to award themselves, had the capacity to break up families and put kids in care, yet no child or adult mentioned on the database could have challenged the information - or even discovered what lies had been spread about them.
Sadly though, this is not the end of the matter. What the Manx Kinderstasi cannot get by public consent, they still intend to get by a legal process which none of us will have the chance to object to.
There is a hint of this when the press release mentions, almost casually, that:
“..the Department of Education and Children will, via a new Education Bill, proposed for some time after September’s General Election, establish an alternative to the Safeguarding Board, if it’s considered appropriate, and may use the Bill as a vehicle to establish a post similar to that of commissioner to look after the rights of children.”
Actually, given their past record for ‘protecting’ children so well that a double murder took place in a state children's home (run on the cheap by criminally incompetent godbotherers, which they dealt with by appointing another bunch of even less competent godbothers to take over the contract, for even less money), the only serious thing the Manx government could do to protect local children is to issue a shotgun to every parent. Then they could give a legally binding pledge that if a politician, civil servant or any other drain on public funds comes within a mile of a child parents can blast away with impunity.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Parish Capers

Now here (see ) is an odd story. The Manx Church Commissioners calling public meetings to discuss the future of two churches.
This has never happened before, so why do it now? And, apart from the falling away of congregations which all Manx churches are experiencing, is there anything unique about either failing church here?
Well, a few unique things actually.
Lezayre looks like a picture postcard country church, and has the kind of catchment area that ought to bring in enough well-heeled punters to tick over. Problem is, both Lezayre and the tiny Auldyn Church down the road used to be run by the local Freemasons. In fact Auldyn Church was built with Freemason money for strictly masonic purposes, and, amusingly, without a funny handshake no-one gets through the door to a church so architecturally challenged it would make a gargoyle puke.
Then the Lezayre vicar got a bit concerned because these rolled-up trouser merchants kept picking his parish council. When he put it to them that such bodies are supposed to be open for any churchgoing villager to participate in they demurred. After all, they also pick the Commissioners, and the (anti-)social programme for the village hall, and make sure only their mates get planning applications through (even if it means blind or disabled people can’t get their homes adapted)…
In fact, nothing in the area happens without Masonic approval. So when they decided the vicar was a bit too uppity most of what’s left of the congregation (as subservient hat-tippers who need what unskilled work remains in Ramsey, being unemployable anywhere else) left too.
Jurby Church is a different matter.
If Jurby was twinned with Chernobyl then Chernobyl would be insulted – that’s how bleak the landscape is. And that isn’t my cheap crack – some kids visiting FROM Chernobyl actually said that! Some great, if impoverished, folk live there, and they’ve tried to make it a decent community – despite the Manx government – but they’re on a hiding to nothing.
It grew out of an ugly housing estate built round a run-down military airfield. Then the airbase closed, then the collection of Nissen huts that used to house an eclectic range of junk shops that made a great Sunday out closed. Then the government grants to various enterprises that were supposed make it a thriving industrial estate ran out, and that closed.
Most recently the racing circuit on the airfield lost the ACU licence because the approach roads which formed part of the circuit were too potholed by heavy lorries delivering materials to construct the new prison… this rate even the new prison will close. Actually, that wouldn’t surprise me either, as judging from the build quality who knows how much money was skimmed off the ludicrous sums paid to the local contractors (not counting what they saved by employing cheap foreign labour instead of local workers).
Jurby Church is a windswept building clinging to the coast just outside of all this. It has a tiny, elderly congregation who, most Sundays, probably can’t even brave the Force 9 gales to get there. The one thing that might save it is some Norse/Celtic stonework enclosed in the entrance, which the Manx government is not allowed to lose for the nation (though they would probably give it a go).
On the other hand, Jurby School is infested with visiting evangelicals, and the Methodists must have worked out that Sandygate Chapel – a mile or so in the other direction - is a pretty, well situated building which any developer would pay enough for to clear the Isle of Man Methodist Circuit debt. Oh, by the way, Lezayre has a saleable little vicarage too. Oops, almost gave the game away.
So, various possibilities there then. Sadly, none of which will benefit ordinary decent churchgoers, but it will be interesting to see which scams win, and how they are excused.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Nepotism, Jesus and Chips

When it finally became legal to register a Civil Partnership over here I posted (see Game Over for Manx Christian Homophobes) on the hypocritical behaviour of churches and faith-based pseudo-charities. Having blocked progress by every petty-minded, vindictive method open to them (and having so many government friends, they also had many chances to do so), one such outfit then tried to jump on the Bill as a handy method to advertise minimal toe-dipping into 21st century waters.
As I remarked at the time, these chancers are so dim they think just dropping the words ‘Church’ or ‘Christian’ from their working titles will fool the Manx public. Anyone who ever had dealings with such noddies knows better.
But they still peddle the myth that government outsourced social services are not under the thumb of spook-fancying ignoramuses, and that careers with the same do not depend on the approval of blokes who wear their collars backwards.
Oh, really?
Take a look at .
Maybe you can work out why a theologian is such an obvious choice to get the community handing over their spare change to one of the island’s worst obstacles to family life, and an absolute health hazard for all kids and responsible parents.
Maybe it was not straightforward nepotism, which would be a nice change for a governmental or quasi-governmental post. Perhaps she just had a helpful reference from a former employer, Frank Cranmer (see ), whose name may be familiar to anyone who browses religious right blogs for a good laugh.
Funnily enough, Central Lobby Consultants probably would not be flavour of the month with local nanny staters either - at least if they were vaguely acquainted with the real world and capable of some basic research. SpinWatch, the outfit that keeps a jaundiced eye on dodgy PR firms, has a basic item on CLC at , which is part of their Foodspin project (see ) on front organisations for the junk-food industry.
Religion, well placed family help and junk-food. That's quite a lethal combination.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Drop the Living Dead on a Donkey

Tomorrow the Manx public heavily subsidises yet another grubby attempt to pack new punters into churches. Either that or an afternoon out for the unscrupulous few who already doss about these undertaxed faith barns of a Sunday.
The same pack of freeloaders on the public purse who foist the Christmas on the Hill nausea-fest on us are behind it, and posters have been in all the usual ghettos for the last few weeks. Curiously though, not a word in the media until yesterday when this (see ) was the front page of the Manx Indifferent. Could it be even idle Manx hacks got so bored by this twaddle that they couldn’t be bothered to cut and paste it?
Anyway, avoid Peel later on Saturday afternoon unless you want to get caught up in a twonk parade, because:
“Saturday’s free event starts at the Creg Malin car park at 4pm – from where Jesus (played by Alex Brown, head of the Scripture Union Ministries Trust) will ride a donkey along the promenade to Peel Castle, which will have been transformed into Jerusalem.
From 4.30pm, the family-friendly reenactment, involving a cast of about 80, will continue inside the castle.”
So, it seems, yet again Manx Heritage, an organisation which has almost single-handedly blocked or destroyed any serious chance to record genuine Manx history, is also involved.
And no, you did not misread that. Because Manx Heritage, within a generation, has destroyed the Manx history project. It is no longer possible for a serious academic to collate primary source material or get either grant aid or Manx government assistance for an objective historical project.
What we got instead for the last decade was laughable Celtic mythologising in a desperate attempt to jump-start a tourist trade which died when cheap air travel was born. And now, having even bored off the kind of middle aged office workers who like Clannad and buy any old New Age ‘alternative therapy’ they’re going really downmarket, in the hope a few low rent evangelical thickos will buy some tourist product while ‘exploring their Celtic Christian roots’….. or some such guff.
It is tempting to just point and laugh, but there are serious questions here.
For one thing, will the god-botherers pay to enter Peel Castle, or be excused the usual £10 or so charge? If so, how do the entrance staff know which are honest families on a day out and which are faith-based freeloaders? Glazed expressions and tasteless 100% polyester clothing might be a rough guide, but is that enough?
And who meets the costs of the extra policing, the parking and traffic problems? Peel ratepayers, or the island as a whole?
Come to think of it, how much did we pay in policing & other costs for Christmas on the Hill? While those responsible will have made sure that this never reached the minutes of any political or civil service committee on public record, it was probably excused on the premise that acolytes of the Zombie Carpenter went on to shop at Stepford Central (owned by Christian zealots who, coincidentally, also run the Police Liaison Committee).
And even if this line is being taken again, what commercial spin-off is there for Peel, given that (a) the event is scheduled from 4 PM to 5.30 PM and (b) Manx Heritage destroyed Peel retail over a decade ago when they blocked all public transport and traffic schemes except one which forced tourist cars and coaches to skirt around Peel itself, straight on to their House of Mannanan tourist trap and then back out of town to do their shopping and refreshing, if any, at Stepford Central?
But there is a bright side. For one thing the press unwittingly did local parents a favour when it published a prominent picture of one of the island’s worst dangers to kids.
For another because:
“It is a one off event – and organisers say Christmas on the Hill won’t take place this year either, after three successful events.”
That’s because it was crap. Hardly anybody went except the organisers, so in all likelihood the cost of extra policing alone didn’t even balance the additional takings at Stepford Central. And, on past performance, I doubt if VAT or other taxes paid by Stepford are anywhere near the grant aid ploughed into developing a ‘shopping experience’ not seen elsewhere since the hilarious ‘zombies on escalators’ scene in George Romero’s Dawn of the Living Dead.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Imminent election, first race card played

You can tell there is an election coming when our dimmest politicians, having gone through the other horse-frighteners in the pack, play the race card.
So see to spot an MHK who is desperate.
Knowing Malarkey’s history, you can see why. He piggybacked on the new Liberal Vannin party network to get into the Keys. Once in there, he immediately jumped ship. The whole point of Liberal Vannin was to stay on the back benches and hold government to account. Peter Karran, the party’s leader, has done this for years by (a)not signing up as the ‘political member’ in any government departments, where his sole role would have been to plant Tynwald questions which make ministers look good on knee-jerk topics, and (b) not getting sidetracked into pointless ‘committees’ which, like the government departments themselves, simply rubberstamp policies pre-decided by career civil servants with little or no knowledge of the public sector area they run down or hand over to even less qualified private and ‘third sector’ companies and faith based charities.
I saw exactly where Malarkey was going when I saw him huddled with semi-pro temperance nazis at a conference they held at Nobles to try and validate folk myths about ‘rising’ drink statistics. That, in turn, got them government grants for another two years, and Malarkey a seat on the Chief Minister’s Task Farce on Drugs and Alcohol. He is well qualified for that, having not only no professional or academic knowledge of the subject matter – which puts him on a par with his fellow committee members – but also a total reluctance to ask questions about the source or validity of the folk myths passed off as ‘academic research’ or ‘expert opinion’ which keep them all in a job.
By now, there is no excuse for such pig-ignorance. Check for a recent example of the prolific debunking of myths peddled to excuse government interference into everyday life and keep self-appointed alcohol ‘experts’ in business. Or you could look at to defuse a new myth which will soon be expounded to the financial advantage of not one but two classes of parasite on the Manx public sector host.
So why is Malarkey now playing the race card? I suggest because a couple of years ago the BNP paid a well publicized visit to the island to leaflet his constituents. Any politician of principle would take on the racists, but in my time on the island I have yet to see one candidate in any of the constituencies where I have lived who has not groveled to racist scum on an election manifesto. And until one does, is there any point in voting?
But the funniest thing about his question is that newcomers to the island are more, not less, likely to use private nurseries. For one thing because places in education department schemes go first to families registered by social services as ‘problem families’ (i.e. the work-shy or those rendered unemployable by past education and social policies) and not kids with working parents, for another because we have a public sector culture where professing bigotry or general ignorance, rather than education or social commitment, remains a valid career choice.
Both our civil service and our politicians are living proof of that.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Public health warning for Douglas on 17th April

While we were in Douglas yesterday for a spot of retail therapy a Care in the Community case shuffled up and gave me a leaflet.
Fair enough, I thought, they need a hobby and some pin money, so they might as well get it handing out flyers for sunbed shops and closing down sales. Then I looked at it and laughed out loud.
Yes, the product was dodgy, and yes, the trader is fast going out of business, but it wasn’t quite what I expected.
Ladies and Gentlemen, time for another of the Deluded Herd’s annual get-togethers. Our chums at Living Hell, Port St. Mary’s most infamous madhouse, are having an Easter event at the Villa Marina.
UNITE@easter not only features the deranged ramblings of one of Ulster’s many redundant preachers (AKA ‘Jonathan Stansfield, Lead Pastor’), but also (cue drum roll)…..the UNITE Worship Band!!!!
Actually, I was unavoidably detained in locked rooms and forced to hear these prize herberts once or twice, and they are unforgettable (unfortunately). Imagine that freak show of failed contestants they feature on the final of the X Factor, led in tuneless song by a demented harpie who accidentally took a shedload of magic mushrooms and thinks she’s being rogered senseless by her Magic Invisible Friend and you won’t be far off.
The flyer is a bit vague, and some of the copy is even accidentally regurgitated from their New Year bash, so not sure what else to warn you to avoid on April 17th between noon and midnight. Witches may well be accused and burnt for all we know, small kids and folks in wheelchairs could be trampled underfoot when pitchforks are wielded and torches lit by a howling mob.
I doubt if there’ll be any chocolate bunnies though, not even Fairtrade ones, because rednecks don’t like that kind of pagan idolatry, and being End-Timers who eagerly await the Rapture they’re not about to help anyone in the developing world unless the kickback is 100 times bigger than the investment of other gullible people’s money.
Of course, this is also happening just across the road from their Broadway rivals, so an all out turf war for the day between our local evangelical Crips and Bloods could be on the cards. Punishment bible beatings, spray-and-pray random leafleting, drive by sermons…. who knows what else.
Just stay out of the area between around noon and midnight next Sunday would be my advice.

Game Over for Manx Christian homophobes

It’s been a funny old week in what passes itself off as the Manx press since it finally became legal to register a civil partnership.
To summarize briefly, we finally won the war for common decency over here, but in coming months there are a few religious snipers to be picked off. Which will happen, as they're not very clever, definitely not very popular and their old government friends are either retiring or popping their clogs.
So what we see now is a backlash by local faith leaders to the legalization of civil partnerships, now that they've totally lost the battle to stop them.
See, for example, in which the Anglican area manager peddles a line last used by the Christian Institute as an either/or ultimatum to block the original Civil Partnership Bill in the UK.
It all sounds quite reasonable at first, but read closely and what he's doing is dissing gay marriage as a self-indulgent whim and trying to put some distance between the concept of Christian heterosexual marriage as 'proper' marriage and any form of 'partnership' as nothing more than a handy legal contract which might save you a few quid in tax benefits.
For the record, the current bishop wasn't here when the CP Bill Public Consultation took place back in around 2005, but his predecessor made no public comment on the subject and the Anglican submission was written by an Archdeacon who only retired last month. It did not take the Christian Institute line, did not oppose legal civil partnerships, and only wanted reassurances that clergy would not be under legal pressure to perform church ceremonies.
Those reassurances could not be gained through open discussion in Tynwald, because it would have shown up the churches as homophobic throwbacks who wanted the income from legal church weddings without the commitment of proper civil registrars to treat grown-ups decently. It was gained instead by their stooges in COMIN (Council of Ministers), whose meetings are not open to the public and whose minutes are not published until three months after the non-event, by which time the sleazy little deals have been nodded through Tynwald without risk that a member of the public could tip off their MHK.
Then there’s , which again looks very promising on the surface. But I think not if you know who is behind it, their history and their management structure.
Until a couple of years ago the Isle of Man Adoption Service, the charity paid by government to run our adoption services, was called Manx Churches Adoption and Welfare Society. All that changed was the name.
Employment, policy and committee membership are still under the control of the Anglican Church. The treasurer, for as long as I can remember, is a paid up member of Forward in Faith, one of the Anglican breakaway cults that can't deal with women priests, gays...or most other people!
It's one of about half a dozen such government-underwritten church charities in the social services sector who are dim enough to think that if they dropped the word 'church' or 'Christian' from their name, nobody would know how they're run.
Sorry, but some of us look at charity and company formation docs every day. We know the difference between registering a name change and registering an entire new constitution. We check, and we DO pass information on to people who can use it.
What's been happening is a desperate shortage of people adopting, and what MCAWS (as most people still know them) are really up to is relaxing, of necessity, an approval system that checks if potential parents run 'good Christian homes' (yes, they really used that phrase to someone I know) and allowing unmarried or divorced Christians, possibly even single parents, to adopt if enough fully lobotomized, church-spliced spouse-and-child-abusers don’t come forward.
They've been unsuccessfully trying to advertise this for the last year or two, but could not bring themselves to use 'the G word'. Annoyingly, they've been approached numerous times by gay and lesbian couples in recent years, without success, and in truth there never was a legal barrier anyway, just the personal prejudices of those vetting.
I suspect that MCAWS jumped on the first day when civil partnership ceremonies could be booked as a handy free advert, but that in practice gay couples will be the last resort once they've worked through any other applicants. For the sake of Manx kids who need good homes, I just hope the cultists don’t come forward, and government stops offering enough money to make child abuse a Christian business prospect.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Stamping out crime around schools

According to this story (see ) the Department of Miseducation and Child Abuse want to stamp out anti-social behaviour on school property outside of normal school hours.
Well, that’s good news, so being a socially minded person perhaps I can tip them off to a few of the worst culprits.
They could start with Ramsey’s infant school, where judging from screams which can be heard on the adjoining estate each Sunday morning, some awful form of mental abuse is going on. I know no-one brave enough to look in and identify the torturers or their methodology. All I can say is that a random collection of individuals with glazed eyes are seen to emerge soon after. Thankfully, I hear from another source that, having emptied the purses of most gullible victims to the extent that weekly takings are smaller than the petrol costs, the torturers may be calling it a day and concentrating on victims closer to their home base in Douglas.
I hear similar stories from workmates living close to two Douglas primary schools, and have also heard of teachers being approached by what they suspected were devotees of a sinister cult which is known to prey on substance abusers, the elderly, and the housebound in the Port St. Mary area.
Jurby is another deprived community reporting a cult making dummy runs at gaining Sunday access to the school. There it was even suggested a keyholder helped them, and that one culprit has been seen regularly entering the prison a few hundred metres away from the school. It wasn’t clear whether he smuggles illicit materials in or out of that particular institution, but the most worrying factor ought to be his well established links with the Department of Home Affairs, a shady organisation responsible for most (if not all) of the island’s worst crime.
Having been offered this information, maybe the police can now get some of the island’s most despicable characters off the streets, so respectable folk can go safely about their business.
Or is that too much to ask?

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Big Mother is watching you - or the battle between 'nudgers' and 'nannies'

For a while now I’ve been looking for a way to introduce the subject of ‘nudging’ to this blog.
The term ‘nudging’ was popularised by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s 2008 book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Wealth, Health, and Happiness. It refers to the political use of behaviourist techniques, rather than outright bans and law changes, to get the general public to stop doing stuff politicians, civil servants and other busybodies have decided we should not do.
In the UK Cameron established BIT (the Behavioural Insight Team) to formalise the nudging of what ex-Etonians obviously see as the fat and feckless masses into slimmer, duller lives. This replaced an old Brown/Blair approach which wanted to achieve the same aims, but by outright bullying from prim and proper nanny figures.
To get a useful introduction into this quiet further intrusion into our lives and freedoms, and the current behind-the-scenes battle between ‘nudgers’ and ‘nannies’ take a look at by Brendan O’Neill. It’s from an American site – hence the odd spellings – but if you want to know more on the topic from a UK perspective, it’s one that crops up regularly on Spiked, so check out the link to the right of the page.
Over here, it might be a while before the Manx great and gormless can lose their ignoble tradition of nannying the rest of us to death. But even a brief look at this article reveals the pseudo-therapeutic methodology increasingly being adopted by Manx civil servants, ‘government advisors’ and other unelected, publically unaccountable busybodies – often superstitious, semi-literate or plain stupid, by the way.
Take a look, then check out Spiked for more. The similarities between the UK examples and some of the ‘health conscious’ psychobabble being spouted in recent months by Manx government departments may alarm you. Maybe it will also help you spot the signs when these anti-democratic village idiots try to slip more past us in the future.
(hat tip to Dick Puddlecote for the link)