Friday, 6 July 2012

Little white li(n)es

Ever since the story broke on Energy FM (see & I’ve been laughing at the mess the local semi-pro temperance industry has got itself into.  Now, those whose very income derives from a scam pulled by a few evangelical panhandlers a decade ago are joining in the ‘condemnation’ (see, which has me rolling round the floor one again.
I particularly loved: “The spokesman added: ‘If the Isle of Man had the highest level of cocaine use in the world per head of population, as suggested by the World Drug Report, drug-related crime would be extremely high to enable addicts to feed their habits.”
Why? Because the cocaine cult hit the island in the early 1980’s as a fashion brought here by young financiers and those in related trades. I even remember the wife of one up and coming legal professional sporting a cute little gold plated fingernail – which baffled her elders but was considered very amusing amongst her peers. By comparison, over-the-hill rockers came here to get away from such temptations.
 Coke just isn’t a housing estate kiddiewink sort of drug – even when international prices started tumbling. The only Class A which ever caught on locally outside wealthier circles was Ecstasy (which serious drug prevention professionals agree should never have been a Class A anyway) and even that only for a short period.
So, just to fill in the missing links here …..
Early in the last decade Manx evangelical klingons (who depend on government for handouts) were looking for a new scam at about the same time UK tabloids were kicking off about underage drinking, as well as dredging up that ‘silly season’ staple, D-R-U-U-U-G-G-S-S-S! “Bingo”, said aforementioned klingons (thought they couldn’t say that now, of course, as their latest scam is gambling addiction). Out of this came that panhandling pantechnicon we know and laugh at, the Chief Minister’s Task Farce on Alcohol and Drugs.
Almost every local professional directly involved with young people or health couldn’t keep a straight face around these wowsers, so they needed hard ‘evidence’ to justify their continued existence – not to mention the public subsidy of their church buddies. The answer was for the island to join ESPAD (European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs), which sets a Europe-wide questionnaire every five years, carried out by ‘proper academics’ according to the same format in every participant country, then publishes the results.
 As I’ve mentioned before on here, for numerous reasons known to social science researchers ESPAD surveys have to be taken with  a large pinch of salt, and certainly cannot be taken as a ‘stand alone’ statement on youth drug use. For years, as it did not suit their purposes, neither the Manx temperance industry nor their civil service friends have acknowledged this. They still will not on other moral panics (alcohol, gambling…), and still deliberately choose badly structured ‘surveys’ by bargain basement academics well past their sell-by date to justify their continued, totally pointless, existence and claims on the public purse.
But I do not include David Quirk in my dismissal of total drivel produced by hardcore parasites. He came to his role well after all this dishonesty, and played no part in setting the original scam up. I’ve had a few dealings with him, and know him as an old school Labourite – a working man who went into politics to do the right thing for his community, and to my certain knowledge in his own time, unpaid, he still puts the skills of his old trade to use for old dears in emergencies.
David takes people at their word unless given hard evidence not to do so, and will be taking the word of government advisors - people who are supposed to be professionals - as true here. But as the ESPAD survey which the ‘new, improved’ DHA takes issue with is actually the second in which the island took part, and has been the basis of government expenditure on drug and alcohol ‘education’ and prevention for a decade, it is interesting that the DHA (without whose participation neither survey could have taken place) now dismisses the findings. On that basis, shouldn’t DHA executives – for example –offer to pay back the money given to the Drug Squad during those years?
I wait with amusement to see what ‘alternative’ survey the Manx amateur ‘substance-abuse-prevention’ industry will come up with now that they’ve shot their own golden goose. It has to (a) sound impressive (b) be comprised of statistics nobody can check and (c) according to parameters which can only conclude that we need a handful of clueless, god-bothering wasters who would be otherwise unemployable to run the ‘prevention industry’(rather than, say, qualified professionals with a background in medicine, nursing or pharmacy) . It also has to be produced in such a way that the findings can never reach academic researchers who might take an informed interest in comparative drug use in communities around the UK or world and the reasons behind that, who would immediately pull the methodology and stats to pieces and cause the Manx government further embarrassment.
Tough job, but I’m sure some bible-touting chancer can be found to do it.

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