Sunday, 29 May 2011

Spot the real social problem

I was laughing today at an old Auberon Waugh article in which, apropos of nothing useful, he complained that care of the handicapped was becoming a UK boom industry for the hard of thinking.
I laughed first because at the time the article was written (being younger, idealistic and still unwilling to live off laundered crime proceeds in the Finance Sector) I was being interviewed for a Manx job working with the disabled. Thankfully, the Manx public and voluntary sector was then being run by even thicker, more faith challenged dimwits than now, so I was turned down in favour of some superstitious village idiot, who probably now advises the Manx government on matters they know even less about. I shudder to think what a mess I might have made of my life if 'managed' for years by people handicapped by both religious delusion and severe myopia regarding the outside world.
Which brings me to the other reason I laughed, and a more serious matter.
From a story where, with government encouragement, local media wrongly reported (see for example ) that a girl died solely because she took the ‘legal high’ MDAI, to the first precautionary amendment (see for example by the Coroner, along with admissions that investigations were incomplete, to the first intervention by the government body which bears the major irresponsibility for such futile deaths (see for example ) we see a perfect example of the nonsense ‘Bron’ warned us about.
The sad, totally avoidable death of a Ramsey teenager points up everything wrong with Manx drug and alcohol policy, and that it is wrong because the Manx government (in itself a major source of ignorance) chose not to seek any expert or informed advice, and instead pandered to the whims of a bunch of cretinous, unemployable, faith-addled numpties who need to be kept off the streets.
Like the UK government (and governments elsewhere wasting resources in an unwinnable ‘war on drugs’) the Manx government could learn from criminal drug dealers, who are models of social responsibility by comparison.
For example, it was drug dealers and the better drug advisory bodies who enabled an informal ’drug testing’ information service in the 1990’s (known to clubbers and even distributed by clubs) by which rival ‘brands’ of Ecstasy were evaluated for content and purity, and rogue batches blacklisted and put out of circulation. Bear in mind, ‘E’, then as now, was illegal, so those involved risked both further arrest and loss of profit.
And also bear in mind that it was when clueless government drug czars made ‘E’ a Class A that, in the circumstances, both kids and dealers turned to older Class A substances which were cheaper and more deadly, on the basis that you would spend just as long inside if caught dabbling in either.
In those circumstances, is it surprising that Manx kids turn to ever more bizarre ‘legal’ variants of an illegal drug which, alone, has never killed anybody (because all the deaths credited by tabloid hysteria to Ecstasy, when properly examined by anyone with the patience to read autopsy reports fully, turn out to have been due to a mixture of substances – some, such as alcohol, legal – or simple dehydration, or a pre-existing medical condition)?
And is it surprising, in a social situation where their only ‘expert’ drug and alcohol advice comes from ‘professionals’ who rely on free handouts written by superstitious simpletons who, in turn, probably couldn’t scrape through GCSE Chemistry, never mind Sociology, that they turn to ever more bizarre suppliers?
‘Bron’, in typically black humour, went on to worry that the supply of handicapped people might run out before all the chumps can be found jobs negating the opportunity for such already put-upon souls to get on with their lives. Similarly, maybe the real reason we appear to be reading so many Manx tabloid scares about drugs, alcohol, homelessness, prisoners who cannot fit back into society, sexually transmitted disease and family breakdown is not because they are on the increase. Maybe, on any close analysis, the population percentages suffering such problems are the same as they ever were, or even declining.
Maybe they are just more prominently reported, and, knowing that few (if any) Manx reporters now actually find stories, go to events or even ring round contacts to flesh out the PR releases they are sent (predominantly from business and government) there is also another intriguing possibility.
Maybe a superstitious, previously privileged minority is terrified of people who take control of their own lives, and terrified of losing their ability to leech off social misery. So maybe, rather than the ‘great and the good’ dominating social care in order to abolish poverty and attendant misery, they are determined to dominate it in order to ensure it continues – or is at least seen to continue.
Oh tragedy of social tragedies, that vacuous godbothers might no longer find enough drunks, smackheads and other victims to pay the mortgage and subsidise their church expenses.

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