Saturday, 27 April 2013

Poe-faced Pillockry

This (see  ) was a welcome relief from the Sefton Hotel row (see  for example) which dominates the Manx press but does not interest me in the slightest.
Two unwanted political presents from Westminster (at least one, thankfully, well past his sell-by date) taking a noisy pop at each other. You could not make this up.
A hissy catfight between two colonial relics over the future of the island’s campest High Gothic church. I’m only surprised that instead of the picture the local press used they didn’t just Photoshop the protagonists into Grant Wood’s ‘American Gothic’ painting.
Google it and you’ll soon see what I mean. Larry New would be a spit for the grump with the pitchfork.
Isle of Man Newspapers used only the bilge generated by both sides in this silly argument, and did no digging. This is a pity, as neither side wants us ‘heathens’ to really know what is going on.
To get to the root of it, just go to and note the prominent announcement that St. Matthew’s is “a Forward in Faith Parish under the Pastoral care of the Bishop of Beverley”. THAT is the root of the problem neither side will talk about in public. For some years now, this Anglican church has been unique on the island in having a special dispensation to, when it suits, take orders from another Bishop rather than any memsahib who might hold office under the island’s Bishop.
The thing is, the present Bishop of Sodor & Mann could be described as “conservative with a small c” .Think ‘Anglican Mainstream lite” – conservative but evangelical rather than high church, keeping the church status quo together, now willing to see women priests rather than look ridiculous in the eyes of the unchurched public but gays are still a step too far.
Forward in Faith, by comparison, are at best UKIP with a hint of Monster Raving Loony and probably far worse. Pouty, petulant, predominantly ex-public schoolboys who will take their ball home if the world won’t let them run things. For years they have been threatening to break away, initially to Rome (which doesn’t want them), then playing footsie under the table with the Russian Orthodox churches. Basically, anything it takes to let a bunch of silly boys carry on flouncing around in nice frocks, ringing bells, and chucking incense about.
Oh, and they really don’t like homosexuality either, these beardy wierdies. Oh no, not one bit! Hate them more than women, the working class, believers in other faiths (don’t even go there on Jews or Muslims….) and commie subversives.
Two bishops back, the Manx FIF crew were tight with Anglican management. Nothing open, but the power behind the throne while the occupant was a permanently half-cut chum of Prince Philip (amicable enough though - as long you kept real life out of the conversation). He was replaced by an urbane careerist to whom nothing stuck – a real Teflon man – and who saw at once that these rabid smell and bell merchants would get him nowhere fast, so he quietly ditched them and got somewhere fast.
St. Paul’s actually, just in time for the Occupation. Whoops!
At this point the Manx diocese was really falling apart – losing worshippers faster than any in the British Isles in fact - so no surprise that John Sentamu saw to it that the next area manager was a lad who would knock heads together and stop the rot. Which, to be fair, he has done. The process is inevitably painful for churchgoers as hard economic decisions are taken, but most factions in his church seem to accept Paterson is trying to keep things together and even, in the long term, give some room for various models of (cost-efficient) worship to develop.
Except for half a dozen or so deranged FIF fanatics who cannot cope with democracy, the 21st century, or the world in general because they have never had to deal with such distractions.
It is tempting to suggest the Bishop should just let them go, then consider what use would the building be when they have to sell up in the near future?
Sadly too few Manx Goths to finance a potentially amazing nightclub with a unique William Morris picture window. Perhaps some sort of S & M establishment to fuel the darker night-time urges of finance sector sickos? Real shame if it became yet another carpet warehouse.
More seriously, considering the government attempts to regenerate the quayside as an upmarket ‘development’, the particular history of some complainants with dodgy financiers and property developers (and that the only way to balance the diocesan books could be the sale of ‘surplus to requirement’ buildings) maybe the future sale of the church is all anyone is arguing about.
Now maybe that is the real story we are missing…..

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Three Thinking

I would be the first to admit my heart has not been in this blog in recent months (to be honest, not even sure my intellect was at times).
I meant to take a year out from blogging to do other things, then come back with a fresh view. I was charmed that some 'regulars' missed my rantings (and who some of them turned out to be) and begged me to come back early. So I did, but it has not been a good time - lot of things going on elsewhere for me, some other distractions too - and the results have not been up to scratch.
I think the problem is I have one of  those minds that wanders all over the place - lots of disparate interests and a mixture of inability and reluctance to toe 'party lines' on the issues some would say I am campaigning about.
So, I have decided to try and get this blog 'back to basics', and stick to a few key issues. At the same time, because other things also interest and/or bother me, but it would be too confusing to explore them here, I will go into them on my two other blogs - one a revived project from last year, one completely new.
From today, for nonsense about the Isle of Man and either international faith-based fallacies or their local manifestations (plus appeals for help from others so afflicted) continue to look here, for a not-entirely-serious campaign to rescue everyday life (and the corporate world in particular) from rudeness and unpleasantness in general see Applied Crisperanto, and for slightly more serious discussion of militarism, the arms trade and similar topics which I have (as yet) not found the time or courage to go into start watching my newest blog, Anarchy, Peace & Chips. Links to all three to the right of this page.

Ethical Bankruptcy

I suppose most locals view plans to establish food banks on the island with some surprise or amusement (see for some grisly details, but don’t take any of it as ‘fact’).
It is no surprise to see churches involved in this, as they so often are in plans to abolish the welfare state. Disgruntled government insiders warned me months back this was coming, after the Department of Social Neglect was encouraged by evangelical bloodsuckers to look at a notorious Liverpool scam being operated by other faith-frazzled fraudsters.
 At least three schemes have been jostling for a government green light. No surprise that the worst one is first out of the block, but a huge shame.
Just two names tell me this is a scam, even without bothering to check in more detail. Firstly, the involvement of Church on the Rock - still apparently dominated by a clique which hid sexual abuse of under-age girls by a former pastor until a 1999 court case (after which, for obvious reasons,  they ‘rebranded’). Secondly the involvement of the Trussell Trust, a UK charity which will raise alarm bells in any seasoned investigator of charity abuse.
For a start, this is also the second coming of the Trussell Trust.
The first (England & Wales charity number 1061207) ran from 1997 to 2007 (i.e. roughly the period when EU redevelopment grants to the former Soviet bloc were being handed out like sweeties, the monitoring process was so flawed that local schemes in those countries were disbarred from benefitting and cash flowed back in suitcases to Western religious ‘charities’ in turn controlled from the US). During that period the public emphasis was on ‘aid’ to countries like Bulgaria, rather than the Northern Irish and Scottish feeder schemes – in turn descended from 1980’s schemes run by lunatic fringe churches whereby, effectively, a clueless UK government employed churchworkers to perpetuate sectarian division instead of abolishing it.
The second version (England & Wales charity number 1110522) grabbed what loot was left and reinvented itself around the perceived increase in UK poverty and disempowered communities. See for more details.
From a UK precedent set with Tesco I’m guessing one of scams which will be pulled locally is to collect leftover produce from Manx supermarkets for supposed ‘redistribution’ to the ‘deserving poor’. This is not a new idea.
To my certain knowledge the biggest UK supermarket chains have been handing boxloads of produce close to sell-by dates to island religious organisations since at least the early 1980’s, though because supermarkets never like to reveal just how much perfectly good food gets binned there was no publicity. Also to my certain knowledge, much of it got snapped up by middle class worshippers and never reached needy families, because by their twisted logic those families were not ‘deserving’.
When, on two occasions, I told genuine community groups about this source of free food it was the Zombie Carpenter’s freeloading chums who blocked letting them in on the discreet distribution. I suspect they will do so again, just as I fully expect they will use their monopoly over the supply as a means to pack out their empty pews. Some of the newcomers will have learnt this by watching how Samaritan’s Purse build Baptist puppet churches throughout Eastern Europe.
In short, not a welcome development and not a genuine attempt to tackle increasing inequality on the island. But then, this is inevitable if Manx evangelicals are so closely involved with the very government departments which create inequality and destroy all attempts by ordinary Manx people to keep community going.