Saturday, 29 September 2012

Sark raving madness

Apologies for not posting recently, and further apologies in advance as I may not post much in coming weeks. Daytime reality, sadly, is getting in the way of my other interests.
But for now, this (see ) makes amusing reading to anyone who has been around offshore finance long enough to remember ‘the Sark Lark’.  
For those that don’t, it was a scam, ended around 2003 on ‘advice’ from the OECD Financial Action Task Force (see ), whereby Sark residents were recruited to act as ‘directors’ and’ trustees’ of shady offshore structures. Not professionals with business qualifications or experience of, say, banking and trust management, mind you, but simple souls who could just about spell their own names, and not much else. To be fair, Sark wasn’t the only place this happened in the bad old days, and much of the recruiting was done by Manx outfits whose staff will have now retired – some from senior government posts and with honours from Her Maj.
Actually, that isn’t the only reason it makes amusing reading. For some time I’ve been following the civil war on Sark between the locals and two unpopular newcomers (who just happen to run a large bank).
Private Eye has carried some of the best stories, but will give you a pretty good idea what Mr Kniveton is walking into. However, if you really want on-the-spot progress reports from a native, keep an eye on , where, somehow, I feel sure we will soon be reading a somewhat frank appraisal of his progress.  Meanwhile, if you’ve ever had dealings with Sark, take a read through to find what names behind the illegible scribbles on many a corporate document are doing since their old ‘business empires’ collapsed earlier this decade.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Evolution-deniers on tour

Since my last post I've been digging further into the subject, and it appears that the Isle of Man is just one source of  easy cash from slow-witted folk with deep pockets. In fact the professional evolution-denier in question is on something of a UK tour of science-free backwaters, starting next weekend.
What is more disturbing is that, while the intellectually-challenged elsewhere will only host Mackay’s wacko antics once before pointing the way to the next houseful of eejits,  the Isle of Man is letting him spew his guff an incredible SEVEN times. Admittedly, four of these are being hosted by Broadway Batwits, but one of them is described as a ‘youth service’, and that has to be really worrying. Especially if you consider that some of the likely punters include public and third sector ‘professionals' who deal with vulnerable sectors of society.
See the full itinerary at . Note at once the absence of a date in any venue which might be even loosely described as a font of academic (or even theological) wisdom. And even swivel-eyed loons like that are not dumb enough to listen to Mackay twice.
The Isle of Man as an emerging British Isles centre for conspiracy theorists, flat-earthers, and antics peculiar to three-nippled, cousin-marrying, superstitious peasants in general? What an awful vision! 
Not quite the international image our wise government pays all those PR agencies so much to create, is it?

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Beware prats in tinfoil hats

If you happen to be in the vicinity of Grill in the Park, Nobles Park on the evening of 25th October or The Studio, Upper Car Park, Central Prom the following evening look out for people in tinfoil hats. Even if you spot people in more conventional dress entering these establishments you might want to make a note not to trust them with any important matter regarding you or those you care about.
The thing is, information passed to me indicates that the Manx Tinfoil Hat Tendency is fast gathering momentum. If you can bear to follow some of the recent odd exchanges on the local newspaper letters pages and IOM Newspapers website you know the sort of person, and their flaky views.
You would think that these freaks meet in the corners of dingy pubs at night (which quickly clear when they start talking) or perhaps the cheaper caffs during the day after they’ve signed on.  Surprisingly not, in fact it seems they are about to go into the after-dinner speaking lark.
In fact one John Mackay of Creation Research UK is due to make all but the wackiest upchuck their food on 25th and 26th October. As stuff I’ve seen suggests those arranging this visit are barely literate I’m not sure this is wise, but hey ho, any entrepreneur has to be encouraged during a recession.
 Mackay, if you’ll excuse the pun, is a real dinosaur of the Evolution Denial industry. He started in the 1970’s (so must now be over 60) and is now seemingly moving into Global Warming as his traditional market shuts down.
Creation Research UK is the European arm of an Aussie outfit, Creation Research, and Mackay pretty much runs both as a means to push DVDs and speaking tours of views he variously claims to be presenting as a scientific or theological academic (depending on the punters and venues). However, credible evidence of his expertise in either field seems as light as creationist evidence that the Bible should be taken literally.
The British Centre for Science Education (which IS run by scientists, and regards the likes of Mackay as menaces to the young and impressionable everywhere) says that:
“Mackay has a doctrinaire (dogmatic) belief in his religion; he has absolute belief in the absolute certainty of the revealed truth of the bible, as literally interpreted.
He was originally a school teacher and holds a degree in geology from a reputable Australian university (Queensland). What Mackay has never been is a professional, practising geologist. Despite the name of his ministry, he has never had a peer-reviewed article in any scientific or geological journal. Nor is the author of this report aware that he has ever submitted such a paper.
Mackay has also been described as a geneticist, presumably because he undertook a course in this subject as part of his BSc. However, one thing Mackay is not is a geneticist. What he would have learned in a 1st degree in geology is both years out of date and well below the breadth and depth of education which most consider necessary to be a practising geneticist. Mackay certainly has never practised as a geneticist.
Nor does Mackay appear to have any theological qualifications whatsoever.”
Actually, the BCSE study the professional creationist racket rather closely (for obvious reasons), but remain objective enough to ask the main players precisely what they mean to say, and how they mean to say it. In the course of this they uncovered something else about John Mackay.
Do not read until you first place a pillow below your chin. You will need it to prevent your jaw breaking when it hits the floor.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Three months later, and an answer arrives

Back in May (see ) I wondered why a professional religious bigot – a pariah, so I understand, even within Westminster Tory circles – would be visiting the Manx government’s Overseas Aid Committee. Perhaps, I idly mused, she was doing nothing more than paying a UK taxpayer funded visit to local pro-life chums. But I also wondered why, even though a government press release was issued, the usually compliant Manx media ‘forgot’ to run it at the time.
Today, at, I found the answer. 
Just to explain a little more. While in theory the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (England & Wales registered charity number 1107341) has seven trustees, in practice Caroline Cox founded it, very much runs the show and is indeed the sole official contact.
I’d like to believe Manx money will go to a needy cause and be used wisely. Because there are certainly people in the Sudan who desperately need our help. 
Unfortunately, given that the charity’s founder hangs out with career Islamophobes and homophobes, and seems to favour the sort of ‘overseas aid’ where rich countries give poorer ones a choice between starving or letting the donor countries choose the government and control their import/export trade, I am not too confident that we will help the victims, rather than a new set of opportunists. 
Shame really, because I also have little doubt that Phil Gawne has nothing but good intentions, and bravely continues a massive uphill struggle to maintain any sort of overseas aid funding.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Freak alert

As if older people on the Isle of Man don’t have enough to worry about (what with the second worst pensions in Europe and the closure of most useful government-run care facilities) now Manx wrinklies have Esther Rantzen leeching off them. At least, that’s the public warning I read today behind
I doubt there is any serious comment on Manx social life to be made by a professional prodnose and child-frightener who, almost single-handedly, could be held responsible for the explosion in British child-abuse, the decline of professional childcare and the seemingly unstoppable growth of the cod-psychological quackery industry that passes itself off as ‘child protection’. Faced with the growth of such emotional fascism and village-idiot level hysteria any halfway decent and responsible parent may sensibly decide to get a pump-action shotgun and be prepared to use it any time one of these freaks raises its empty head anywhere near the fruit of your loins.
I think that is becoming rather clear to many of us. Which may be why the goofy-toothed ‘mare is now being let loose on another vulnerable age-group, one which market research has indicated can be made into ‘victims’ ripe for exploitation by the lowest form of social menace known to humanity, the third sector ‘care professional’.
Anyway, what is this 21st century Matthew Hopkins (or at least whoever is feeding her local lines) on about?
 The worst social isolation for older Manx people I am aware of involves bright individuals getting on  a bit who find primitive superstition tiresome, and who are not only bored senseless by nonsensical small town chitchat, the maintenance of Edwardian social hierarchies and other such nonsense but have actually admitted it. The problem here, I humbly submit, is caused by a combination of a lazy, incompetent public sector and the churches too many of them go to (and which don’t even realise they are dead yet). Such numpties are therefore the last people on earth anyone should throw money at in order to ‘solve’ problems which they alone create, cause or perpetuate.
But as the likes of Rantzen say so often: “(Insert uncritical endorsement of your venal and exploitative pitch for public funds here). That will be a thousand pounds plus expenses please.”