Saturday, 29 October 2011

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

This (see http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/help_to_design_a_logo_for_manannan_overseas_aid_1_3914976 ) 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.

1 comment:

Mark Lane said...

Yes. Well spoken.