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.