Still, I can at least point anyone who hasn't yet heard towards the David Nutt lecture at the Manx Museum on Monday 28th April. It's a co-production between Isle of Man Freethinkers and the Positive Action Group: no tickets or seat-booking and free entry/contribute what you can towards costs, so best be there at 7 PM for a safe seat. You can find more at http://positiveactiongroup.org/index.html.
And before anyone asks, no, though I have banged on about such topics regularly, I am not an organiser. If I had any influence on the decision to set up such an event, it is quite marginal, stemming from a proposal I floated to some of the older Freethinkers a few years back.Following the death of my good friend Patrick Kneen, the Manx assisted death campaigner, and once a misguided attempt to prosecute his widow had gone away, I thought it would be a shame to lose the Manx public's new willingness to explore controversial topics in an open and civilised way. The Kneens' brave campaign opened the floodgates on an island where I had almost given up hope of seeing social change or even temporary relief from Theo-fascist twaddle. For once, local religious bigots and control freaks were caught on the back foot (despite their considerable government influence), as was also shown later by the way one homophobic legal or governmental barrier after another fell quickly in just a few years.
I tentatively put it to Mrs Kneen that it would be nice to remember Pat by setting up an annual lecture in his name. The general idea would be to bring over a knowledgeable, high profile speaker on the kind of topic locals might quietly have strong feelings about but no means to start a debate and keep their jobs. She was very keen, but as she moved away to rebuild her life and died just a year or two later, the idea got no further. I did then put it to the Freethinkers that, as possibly the only local grouping interested in social change but unlikely to ever beg public money, we really ought to give it a go.
I can hardly wait for the rare experience of entering a Manx public sector building to hear someone with expert and highly specialised knowledge willing to engage with the general public. Someone who is neither looking for nor seeking to perpetuate a public handout (and even if he was, not willing to lie or suppress vital research or evidence in order to do so). This may explain why it took two groups of enthusiastic, public-minded folk rather than a QUANGO or civil service body to set the night up. It also explains why nobody with a serious interest in the topic should miss it, and why I doubt anyone involved in the Chief Minister's Task Farce on Drugs and Alcohol or their ludicrous policies will be there.