Sunday, 26 May 2013

Orwellian antics

Just a brief note to say that the No CCTV campaign is holding a '1984 Action Day' on 8th June. The idea is to hold a number of local actions to highlight both the invasiveness and ineffectivity of CCTV, and to suggest that proper community policing (and I'd add to that proper, functioning communities , not the awful pseudo-variety any number of interfering busybodies with government friends want) is the real answer. In the wake of the awful Woolwich incident, any number of authoritarian nasties are jumping on the bandwagon to revive the 'snoopers charter', so the timing of this action and any discussion it causes could not be more appropriate.
I spoke to these guys a few years back and they stressed to me that they would be happy to forge a partnership with civil libertarians over here, if anyone fancies contacting them to set it up.
Meanwhile, check their blog on the right and for more details.

Another day, another Manx drug SNAFU

I see from the government website ( see that the island is to extend a temporary ban on various quasi-legal chemical substances and is also – at least in theory – offering advice to those who might like to be surer what they’re taking.
Except, of course, that this is not what is happening
In a nutshell, the tabloid-addled know-nowts up in the Wedding Cake who ‘advise’ on drug policy are trying to pretend their paranoid fantasies have been verified by UK government ‘expertise’. But as anyone who followed the David Nutt affair knows, the UK government does not actually have an expert panel of objective, independent drug advisors.
The chief advisor was sacked for giving evidence based advice rather than being prepared to rubber-stamp baseless nonsense and the principled members of the council resigned in protest. They now offer the objective research the UK government doesn’t want direct to interested members of the public instead (see ) while a ragbag collection of pseudo-independent scientists, professionals and academics produce what reports and findings they’re told, when they’re told, and which fool nobody.
Except, of course, for a class of politicians and civil servants who are even less educated or honest - such as ours.
Meanwhile, a Manx drug advisory service which used to - at least - be guided by information from dependable (if sometimes self-serving) sources in the drug-control cottage industry lost government funding because it did not have enough religious friends there.
‘Advice’ now comes from a clueless consortium which does, and which having absolutely failed to give advice on its core area of inexpertise, ‘alcohol abuse’, now fails to give advice on topics it knows even less about while living off ‘sin taxes’ extracted from the industries which sell such products.
Some days I wonder what would happen if the Manx government sought advice on potential social problems from objective, knowledgeable professionals and tried to put in place coherent and realistic policies to deal with them (if they exist, which is sometimes also debateable). It would be a waste of time, because it has never happened, and will never happen.
Manx government culture just does not work like that, and its policies and ‘solutions’ just do not work. Period.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Home affairs

I don’t usually bother with Manx online petitions as – to be blunt – they’re usually thrown up by racists or other redneck insomniacs intent on keeping themselves in unearned privileges and the rest of us hard at work to subsidise them.
Today I found an exception.
Laura Cull is a young ex-workmate of mine who I’ve watched go from clumsy school-leaver and drummer in a raw but energetic girl band to savvy IT worker and out lesbian. She was one of the first to enter a Manx Civil Partnership and is now finding out the hard way that 'equality' does not extend to housing rights for gay and lesbian couples.
Laura is fighting back with a petition to fully implement our 2010 Equality Act, and not just the parts that our politicians and our employers cannot avoid. You can support her, her partner and many others pondlife with powerful political friends can currently safely ignore with your signature at
Do it now. Make our politicians and legislators do something for somebody other than themselves and their bad business associates.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Ethics Boy

As we all know, Manx klingons like to trade on their insider political status, and the worst are those who leech off Tynwald Day.
So, no surprise that a coalition of the island’s most right wing godbotherers like to hold a 'prayer breakfast' close to the Colonial Clown Show and cut their costs by filching a government guest as the speaker.
Previous offenders have included an Oxford scientist with a sideline in squaring science and creationism, and a general who sent ordinary troops into recent conflicts with duff equipment and no flak jackets but increased the number of military chaplains.
Possibly topping both of these was the UK peer who likes to pose as a mover and shaker on the international aid scene but behind the scenes pushes the ideas of crackpots who, for example, would like to see Israel collapse in order to bring on The Rapture. It beggars belief that a key figure in the House of Lords can one night be a guest at a government reception and days later be addressing friends of the ‘revisionist historian’ (some still prefer the term ‘Holocaust denier’) David Irving. The lecture, I’m told, can still be found on a notorious neo-Nazi website you cannot look at without being blacklisted by the security services of several nations.
This year’s ‘guest of honour’ is a former banker, but also an ordained priest in the Church of England. He is also the author of a book entitled "Serving God? Serving Mammon?
I’m not sure if the book makes it clear whose servant he eventually is, but his career gives a few clues.
Between 2004 and 2010 he presided over HSBC during possibly the dodgiest period in that bank’s history. A US investigation (see and for example) later found HSBC managing to somehow not notice money laundering on a massive scale from the Colombian drug trade, or sanctions busting in Iran and other proscribed countries. When the US slapped a then record fine on the bank it emerged that it would actually have been much larger, and that banning the bank from doing any business within the US banking system should also have followed, but that this could not happen because of the risk to international banking and that massive staff cutbacks would follow.
The staff cuts followed anyway, with – for example - major layoffs in the offshore jurisdictions through which much of this cash would have passed and indeed the closure of at least one jurisdiction’s operation entirely - handily enough before further investigations might have revealed much worse goings on. Not that this poster boy for contemporary religious morality suffered as a result.
Unlike thousands of his lower ranking staff, he did not lose his job as a side-effect of the massive fines. Unlike millions of ordinary and innocent workers whose pension schemes were major shareholders his retirement plans would not be dashed when share prices tumbled.
Because by that point he had a new job in the LibCon pact, as Minister for Trade and Industry. Since when that department has cut deals with the largest tax-avoiding corporations, failed to curb the outrageous bonuses paid to senior bank executives (who – not to put too fine a point on it –were pretty rubbish at their job anyway) and nursemaided the UK arms trade towards subtler use of offshore structures to avoid public scrutiny of their deals with some of the world’s ugliest despots.
All I can conclude is that if Jesus is still saving then he’s got his pension tucked away in scams that would make any smack dealer blush.

Friday, 3 May 2013

We're Do-o-o-med!

We’ve had the oddest letter this week, which had me roaring with laughter and Management almost exploding in fury.
It seems Ramsey Baptist Church are going door to door asking if anyone wants them to pray for anything. This is the intellectually challenged clown troupe who wave their hands in the air like they just don’t care every Sunday down at the local primary school because, given sight of a ten pound note, the Education Department have less self-respect than a desperate crack whore.
Well, they could always pray for a collective two figure IQ between their entire congregation, but they shouldn’t expect miracles.
Seriously though. On the one hand, a religious zealot is rapidly dismantling what is left of the welfare state and any sense of collective responsibility or neighbourliness this septic isle ever had. On the other, all kinds of evangelical monsters are crawling out of the primeval swamp, picking off the lonely, the dispossessed, and other victims of this neo-nastiness.
How sick is that?
If I thought Ramsey had local politicians I would write to them, pointing out that such opportunism is on a par with cowboy builders who try to worry you into ‘replacing’ roof tiles then scarper with your cash. But as Captain Mannering (see ) has just taken charge at Trumpton Town Hall for the fourth successive term I doubt Dad’s Army will be on this case (or any other) within the decade.
So that’s it then. As Private Frazer would say “We’re all doomed”.
Though not as doomed as the Zombie Carpenter’s charmless chums when they knock on our door and Management answers it.