Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Thou Shalt Not Shall Be The Whole Of The Law

I am startled (but hardly surprised) by a report (see that the Manx police are seeking (or at least having foisted upon them) a power to stop drinking anywhere on island, rather than just isolated trouble spots which police records have identified. 
My first thought is that it is a shame we cannot have a bill to prevent idiocy outside the Wedding Cake, or public evangelising. Because as the wise and witty P.J. O’Rourke says “…no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.”
There is also the planned legislation to prevent smoking in cars containing children  (see ), which may sound laudable on a casual glance but is based on poor BMA research, which was quickly debunked but only corrected so quietly that the general public remain unaware of the problem.
One elementary fault in the research is that it is based on what happens if you smoke in a car with the windows fully closed – which even a hardened smoker will tell you is physically impossible. Another is that they simply got the sums wrong, by a massive percentage. See for the latest in the saga plus a number of links which give a potted history of the way the legend has developed.
Further to that is the way that the BMA (and more particularly a professional anti-tobacco lobby) continue to press their case based on the sensational but now totally discredited version of the evidence, not the reasonable but much milder version which would allow for some sort of common sense debate and compromise. It really seems such parties are not interested in debate or democracy, just consolidating a position where they will tell us what to do without question, or else.
As I have never smoked (filthy habit) and am (at least in the true and original sense of the word) temperate I think I can claim an independent, unbiased view of these things. As I am also a responsible parent, what also niggles me is the way that pig-ignorant but powerful prodnoses not only presume, but are being allowed, to legislate based on their ridiculous assumption that most parents simply do not know, and cannot be trusted to do, what is best for their children. That is an insult, especially coming from cretins who cannot even read the Bible without moving their lips.
The most worrying thing about this is the way we’re slipping away from the English Common Law system towards European ‘Roman Law’. In a nutshell, common law is based on the idea that you are free to do something unless there is specifically a law against it. Roman law works on the principle that it is illegal to do anything unless there is a law which grants you the right to do it, i.e. there is a numbered code and regulation for absolutely everything and if there is not you are a criminal, go straight to jail.
Eventually, because smokers (like most Manx people in my experience) are conformists they will lose the latest battle, just as they long ago lost the one over smoking in even segregated areas of pubs staffed and patronised only by consenting adults.
As smoking has been moved by a mixture of social engineering and well connected but ignorant busybodies from being the social norm to the social exception (the action of an ‘awkward’ and ‘inconsiderate’ few), so social drinking is going the same way. It will soon be - at best - not tolerated and at worst actually illegal, because people who want to conform, to be friendly and not make trouble (i.e. to be sociable and neighbourly) do not know how to fight back in a civilised way against anti-social prodnoses who claim the moral high ground and have friends in all the right political places.
In the process, of course, these otherwise useless and unemployable busybodies create a nice little cottage industry as ‘therapists’, ‘counsellors’ and ‘advisors’, which we the public (and their victims) pay for from our taxes.
Nice scam if you can work it, but what a nasty way to destroy our community and the pleasures that community has long held in common. Little more than a miserable, mean-minded, happy clappy fascism, in fact.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Feeding the therapy addicts

I was intrigued by the annual report of the Gambling Supervision Commission (see
Most of it is pretty dull and inoffensive – at least for a pointless QUANGO like this, though considering that a large percentage of what we used to call the Finance Sector is now devoted to online gambling it is frankly hilarious that it is as badly run as the FSC was before the OECD demanded better.
However, page 27 IS quite revealing.
Here we learn that:
“All online licence holders are required, by a condition of their licence, to make a contribution to the Islands problem gambling fund. Contributions are collected annually and the funds are distributed between the Isle of Man Social Services and the GREaT Foundation, a UK based charity.
Isle of Man Social Services use these contributions to fund third sector addiction support agencies which provide local service and support to those individuals for whom gambling is becoming or has become a problem. The GREaT Foundation is a UK based organisation that provides help, support, research and education in the area of problem gambling. The Commission’s support of this cause has been recognised with the Silver GREaTer donor award, which stands as testament to the contributions and support provided by the Islands industry to this highly valued service.”
In other words, as those dependent on  alcohol-dependency charities for employment could not pay themselves, and were the object of open derision even amongst those who recognise they need professional help (but could not find it because the Manx government closed down the facilities rather than pay the staff), it was necessary for their chums in government to find a new scam to subsidise them.
The answer, yet again, came from the UK government, who had set up Gamcare, a bogus ‘gambling dependency’ operation which creamed off income from the gambling industry as a condition of licensing and passed it to ‘therapists’ and ‘counsellors’ who (in theory) help anyone who thinks they might be getting in too deep to stop gambling. 
In practice, it keeps the new puritans off government backs, which is pretty funny considering that the puritans are the ones who spread the scare stories in order to set their churchgoing mates up as ‘third sector therapeutic charities’ in the first place. Which is exactly what the puritans did in the Isle of Man, with alcohol, drugs... and other issues of which they lack any practical, professional or academic knowledge.
If you like, you can see the latest local Gamcare scam at , and to find out more about how the UK is wasting both British money and the money it now creams off us, take a look at .
So do we have a gambling problem? Probably no more than anywhere less; in fact we have more chance of winning the lottery than finding evidence of addiction that would stand up.
But do we have a problem with underemployed parasites needing to justify their public subsidy? Yes.
The money currently creamed off by government from gambling companies to feed the therapy-giving addiction of a few disturbed people could equally well go to, say, schools or health. 
At most, only a one-off payment should be used to break their habit. After that, they really should seek private therapy and pay for it themselves. 
We can’t go subsidising these wasters from the public purse. If gambling really is annoying the over-sensitive sector of the populace - which I am not convinced is a large one – then let the gambling industry make some token annual donations to schools and hospitals and let us be done with the lecturing.