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.

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