Saturday, 23 March 2013

21st century child abuse

Well, profuse apologies but I’m still too bogged down with real life to get back to serious blogging.
But I couldn’t go without noting the kerfuffle this week when Tynwald approved the merger of the Isle of Man Adoption Society (still better known locally as the Manx Churches Adoption Welfare Society) with the Isle of Man Children’s Centre, thus also amalgamating the island’s fostering and adoption services (see and ).
As reports say, it only squeaked through after the Bishop (who is honorary president of IOMAS/MCAWS) complained the Society’s directors had not consulted him and so the Tynwald vote was the first he’d heard of it. In turn, our Minister of Social Neglect was keen to point out that MCAWS management themselves had requested the handover of functions in order to close the society.
The immediate problem with this version of events is that, by law, the directors must formally announce the proposed closure meeting by public notice, and simultaneously give written notice to all concerned parties at least 21 days beforehand, so that the Bishop should have known of the meeting and resolution to close. Any ordinary member of the public who worries about such matters would have known, as it appeared in the local press in the public notices – where corporate crooks bury the other evidence of international scams being closed down if anyone can be bothered to look.
There is also the control of MCAWS by the Anglican Synod. In theory, any interested person of good character could offer their services as a director: in practice (and I have this from past attendees of such meetings) a private Synod meeting chooses suitable candidates. ‘Volunteers’ are ‘coincidentally’ proposed and seconded at the AGM and an election follows, conveniently never with more candidates for office than posts. How, then, could a MCAWS board exist unless very much under the thumb of the Bishop?
Another issue is the reasons for the closure.
Insiders suggest the government discreetly told MCAWS it would no longer fund separate adoption and fostering charities. This seems likely as the Minister for Social Neglect (another religious zealot, of course, though in his case a devotee of Rome’s new link to 1980’s Argentinean fascism) clearly demonstrates he believes there are ‘deserving’ and ‘feckless’ poor, and is gradually depriving all such sinners (be they old, disabled or simply too badly educated for employment) of the public support expected in a civilized society.
Then there is the matter of a Catholic adoption agency in Leeds, whose continued refusal to allow gay couples to adopt has been vetoed by the courts at every level of appeal. Following our Civil Partnership Act, MCAWS (one suspects with gritted teeth and rictus grins) have duly made it known that applications from straight or gay couples, divorcees or single people would all be considered without prejudice. Again, I’ve been discreetly told that gays and other such delinquents might have to have their applications considered by the island’s  moral guardians of religious rightness, but in practice would never be successful.
Sadly, though, this may not be quite the victory for common sense it appears.
Partly because from the 1980’s (when Manx government childcare was noticeably ‘dumbed down’ by cheap evangelical alternatives to trained professionals) through to recent years (with seminars being led by new age charismatics with no academic or professional pedigree) childcare on the island is itself something of a foster home for wacky ideas. 
Partly because the Children’s Centre is yet another ghetto for the ‘ladies who lunch’. You probably know the score here. Committees are formed by bored rich women whose husbands spend their days diverting foreign aid from the poor towards the offshore accounts of developing world dictators in return for control of natural resources by Western corporations. Funds get raised at glittering social soirees, and, inevitably, are spent with more regard for the latest fad than solid academic research.
Hardworking parents of lesser means find it ironic that while these legends in their own lunchtimes harangue the rest of us about raising children, their own offspring - deprived of parental attention - become the best customers of drug dealers or the first in line to hand their bank accounts to the venal leaders of dead-eyed cults. I say this having personally helped several Manx ’trustafarians’ (in the absence of parental support – or even interest) to escape such fates.
So, the failure to help troubled kids find loving families passes from religious flat-earthers to the kind of vacuous trophy wives who take horoscopes and new age twaddle seriously.
And this is progress?

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