Thursday, 17 May 2012

Release your Inner Llama

By now I’ve got used to the Isle of Man College running ‘spiritual’adult education nightclasses with titles on the lines of ‘Release your Inner Llama’. It’s not as if Manx college tutors are actually capable of teaching adults anything these days anyway. In fact their current range of ‘vocational’ courses illustrates exactly how low government expectations of the current and future workforce are.
But as the college brochure was chucked through the door today I had a quick glimpse to see and giggle at what wacko delights were on offer. And as ever, tucked amongst flower arranging and ‘how to turn-a-computer-on’ type offerings was the now usual quasi-Buddhist emptyheadedness for bored rich thickos, plus a sprinkling of other new age psychobabble such as Reiki. A new departure was giving over to numerous, equally ill advised (not to say imbecilic), explorations of ‘Celtic Christianity’ the chapel that came with the premises for the now disgraced ‘business school’.Um… yes…. quite!
So far, so stupid. Far more serious is the involvement of Care for the Family, puppet of infamous christocentric UK hate group CARE, in a course on ‘Alcohol Awareness’ run by a governmental advisor on that very topic. I have little doubt they will also poke their homophobic noses into another course, theoretically on drug awareness. I also doubt if either course, even without CftF’s ‘help’, would stand up to critical analysis. After all, nothing else produced by the Chief Minister’s Task Farce on Alcohol and Drugs has.
That might be because the Christian fundamentalist careerists who first proposed the project to a previous Chief Minister would never allow anyone who might have an academic or professional background in such topics to get involved in the first place. Apart from anything else, an informed person with even a modicum of social responsibility would be obliged to tell politicians what a dumb idea it is to give public money intended to prevent drug and alcohol dependency to those who deal in nastier alternatives.  Alternatives which screw up families and make weak people socially and financially dependent on free-loaders for far more years than bargain basement vodka or heroin.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Who is helping who?

Last week when this (see appeared on the Manx government website I was sure we would read it in the columns of a ‘Manx’ newspaper in the next few days. Curiously, it has not appeared.
It certainly had all the right ingredients, i.e. a story involving a supposedly senior Westminster politician visiting a Manx government committee which purports to help poorer nations. The fact that Cox is actually a pariah even within Westminster Tory circles, and that Manx ‘overseas aid’ is far too often money gifted uncritically to neo-colonial dabblers (or  faith-based simpletons who only interfere in other countries because they are unemployable here) would not normally bother a docile local media which likes to be spoon-fed titbits from those whose advertising keep it going.
I remember our not-so-distinguished visitor as one of the main participants in a Rupert Murdoch funded campaign to curb local educational authorities in the early 1990’s. More particularly it sought to stop the better ones ignoring Section 28 – which prevented schools educating children about homosexuality (rather than presenting it as a disease or undesirable lifestyle). More recently she became involved in the Christian Institute, which even its politest critics view as the British evangelical right’s version of the Monster Raving Loony Party.
Further afield is her involvement in something known as the ‘One Jerusalem’ project, which seeks to deny Palestinian claims on the Temple Mount in favour of the current set-up, where a handful of the world’s most flat-earth Christian cults squabble amongst themselves over a square mile or so of mystic hoo-ha while the Israelis look on with gritted teeth and Muslim interests are handily ignored. Her overseas ‘charitable activities’ are similarly suspect, tending to perpetuate crude stereotypes of people from poorer countries which resist the ‘help’ (i.e. undemocratic control) of Western governments and evangelical charities as well as excusing some pretty inhuman UK government decisions, such as one where money is being, on the one hand, cut from women’s groups which genuinely help women escaping forced marriage and, on the other, given to a religious ‘charity’ to ‘help’ (i.e. repatriate back to their abusers) women allegedly ‘trafficked’ to the UK.
‘Trafficking’is one of those emotive terms played on by both evangelical panhandlers and racist civil servants.
We think we know of ‘thousands’ of poor foreign women smuggled into the West under false pretences by criminal gangs and then forced to work in the sex trade because we’ve read stories about them, not only in the gutter press but the women’s pages of supposedly liberal and objective papers. The problem is that when academics and serious journalists look closer they find that firstly all the stories were based on just two police raids, secondly the stories were coming from evangelical groups who saw that reviving Victorian myths about the ‘white slave trade’ could generate some handy government grants running ‘support groups’ and thirdly that neither figures nor sources could be substantiated. They were - to be absolutely blunt - plucked out of thin air, made up, bogus….(insert any term you prefer here).
In addition to the panhandling godbotherers, the other party to benefit is an immigration service which finds it easier to stereotype all women from certain countries who came here to work or have been held back by culturally conservative families as victims and tarts. This avoids awkward questions concerning their future employability and allows them to be forcibly returned on the next plane, under the supervision of Anglo-Saxon missionaries, while letting both sweatshop employers and misogynistic religious leaders with a power base in minority ethnic communities off the hook.
As knowing any of this involves research I doubt that it explains why the story was not used. Perhaps it was simply elbowed out by other ‘news’ beneficent to more immediate religious interest and privilege, though it would be interesting to know why Cox really came.
I suspect that a fellow evangelical on the far right of the picture might know the full story. If so, he will not be telling it.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

This herbert (see ) has been one of the oddest things happening over here this week.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s…CROSSMA-A-AN!! Oh, and possibly compulsory workwear if the Christian Institute and Christian Legal Centre ever had their way.
Having first come across the story when a visibly bemused Paul Moulton had to interview him last weekend for Manxnet TV (see ) - which we can be sure had absolutely nothing to do with several Manxnet staff and a key local advertiser being involved in a bizarre evangelical cult - I was beginning to wonder if it was all hype. Sure, he got coverage in all the local media, but nobody could recall seeing him - and a saddo dragging a 12 foot cross up Manx hills is the kind of thing one tends to notice.
The lunatic fringe of Manx Christianity getting extensive media coverage for something that never actually happened would be nothing new. If you need reasons for this, consider, for example, that the ‘national radio station’ has more ‘religious broadcasting’ than news-gathering staff (though only one godbotherer gets paid to my knowledge) and the news desk only works 8-4 weekdays, and that, since openly moving control, management and production off-island, the ‘national press’ is now interviewing their own staff as nobody else can (or wants to) talk to them.
But he was finally sighted in Ramsey yesterday. To be accurate, he was spotted ‘resting’ at the unused picnic area in the middle of the main street (thanks to the infamous ‘mural’, nobody eats there for fear of throwing up and trade at adjacent sandwich shops has been decimated), though nobody saw him actually walk in or out of the town.
If you were to believe one gushing press interview, he has been happily received by locals all around the island, getting stopped by passing Mercedes drivers, asked to pray for ailing relatives and other such rot. Even if a few lonely nutters did recognize a fellow headcase and ‘inter-acted’, his reception in Ramsey was not warm. To my certain knowledge he was asked only two questions by locals.
Firstly “Isn’t it time you got a job” and secondly “Why don’t you just carry a Kalashnikov? It would still make you look insecure about your manhood, but at least Kalashnikovs haven’t been responsible for as many innocent people dying as that thing.”
If you were wondering who on earth pays for such nonsense, it may help to know that, having started the week off with Onchan’s creationist lobby, he is due to end it at one of Ramsey’s one-man-and-a-dog evangelical outlets tomorrow. There were five at my last count and they do not even talk to each other. The truth is, at the rate they fall out and form new splinter cults there could well be six or seven by the morning, so it is impossible to say where ‘Crossman’ will be preaching, or if anyone will be there to hear him. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Enough to drive you to drink

Judging from this (see ) the Geriatric’s Choice is back to his old tricks. Possibly he’s just getting his token gesture out of the way before the winter, when most of those who elected him will either pop their clogs or develop full-blown Alzheimers and forget all about him.
An island-wide ban on public drinking? Guess that sort of nonsense is bound to be suggested eventually when you hand control of both social services and the police force to a bunch of Evangelical party-poopers.
The truth (as Singer would discover if he bothered to use the extensive government resources available to him) is that the police already have more than enough power to send anti-social drinkers on their way or lock them up.
It should also take less than 30 seconds (again, if he could be bothered) to discover that the current designated areas were carefully worked out between local authorities and police. In fact, when he was a Ramsey Commissioner he was (technically) present at those meetings. Even though they happened in closed sessions which are not minuted anywhere I had no problem finding that out, so unless he is now as senile as the care home duffers who voted him in he ought to recall it too.
With a little more research he could even discover that the binge-drinking problem does not exist outside the minds of a few terrified pensioners who never go out, the gutter press publications they read, and a tiny but determined lobby of religious parasites who see public money up for grabs with every folk devil and moral panic they can invent.
The Bill – as Singer also knows – will fail if more than half the House are awake or present when it is voted on.
But he’s still a prat, and this is still irritating.