Sunday, 12 February 2012

Worried? Me?

I wasn’t going to blog this week, mainly because I was told to get out of the way and read a book while Management and Junior Management did something important.
Problem was, a joke about busybodies in the book connected with some things I read this week, one story about a completely bonkers fundraising initiative involving a charity known to my friends and relatives as ‘Hangman’s Rope’ (because every time the public give them further licence to act, something else innocent dies), and another an ‘advisory’ evening on a health matter where, on the face of it, yet another bunch of rich, superstitious new-agers want parents to disregard good medical advice because of something they heard from a friend of a friend who read it on the back of a Tofu wrapper. Both the head-scratchingly inane ‘fundraiser’ and the new age unhealth warning demonstrate the continued persistence of that irritating phenomena, the Manx busybody of independent means.
Funnily enough, many such press releases enter cyberspace due to a once very strait-laced hack whose idea of ‘edgy’ used to be wearing a pink Argyle pattern sweater to play golf. Then, some years back, he got it into his head to try hallucinogenic mushrooms, which led to such a bout of soul-searching that he signed up for life with an evangelical cult. This, I humbly submit, may explain a lot of things.
But this is the problem now that Britain no longer has an empire. Once upon a time village idiots (especially interfering, pathological do-gooders who engage in charity work), could, after adolescence, be dispatched to the colonies to boss around natives until they either got killed by beri-beri or lead poisoning (courtesy of a bullet or two from an exasperated native employee or spouse).
True, those who miraculously survived sometimes retired here and could even bring the empire’s problems home by going into politics.
I can think of one who was so dull-witted he was unemployable here, even by the church which gave steady employment to his relatives, and was dispatched in utter desperation by his family to Kenya. There he failed dismally to make his mark or even get into white mischief, then came home once there were no older relatives to stop him and eventually drifted into a career as a political deformer from which he was only recently and forcibly retired, and where his weekly questions were so pointless and his blustering speeches so grey they made even his father’s sermons seem inspiring.
Another, similarly dispatched in his youth further East, rose to the top of what Interpol used to consider the most corrupt police force in the former British Empire – apparently not just without a stain on his character but without even noticing that his real employers were the Triads. No surprise, then, that he also went into Manx politics upon retirement, where he was highly respected for his work on issues of morality, law and order.
But that was in another era, when there were still far-off countries where a pompous (if semi-literate) buffoon could be safely absorbed into some minor regional bureaucracy. These days the only market for such chumps is Eastern Europe, because a century or more of colonial mistakes have made Africa, India and the Far East immune to even the most virulent forms of British idiocy, and as US tele-evangelists pump far more dirty money into such countries than puny Brit godbotherers, even ‘charity work’ with demented evangelical outfits is drying up.
But always remember the Romanians saw off Ceacescu. In fact, from my relatives I know of a long history going all the way back to Vlad The Impaler of unwanted interlopers being disposed of in colourful ways, and greedy illiterates with political ambitions ending up in unmarked graves then being quickly forgotten by their former near neighbours and collaborators. So even siphoning off EU aid to build substandard cow shacks passed off as ‘sheltered housing’ and ‘schools’ in the hope the roof stays on long enough for the tourist trade to pick up and the site to be sold on for ‘redevelopment’ no longer seems like a safe career option.
The real difficulty will be when the latest generation of demented ‘social reformers’ come home for good.
Their colonial era predecessors left in times of Manx economic hardship and retired to an island of full employment where the economy was bolstered by a growing offshore finance industry. The new generation were unemployable here even in such good times, which was precisely why they were packed off in the first place.
If they return to an island where employment and the economy are both far less certain, then even their superstitious relatives and chums in the public sector will never find paid employment for all of them. And as they are demonstrably dumber than any ‘at risk’ subculture they might be let loose ‘advising’ to, one struggles to think of any career choice other than living off the state at an even lower level of subsistence than, say, an evangelical minister with a franchise from a US parent church.
I might worry a lot if I could stop laughing long enough.
You are welcome to try both, possibly even at once.

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