The local free paper reports that another self-styled ‘community centre’ run by religiots but underwritten by public money is now officially open. Oh dear.
Nobody seems to want to mention this, but the project was born when the Manx police closed their last community police house a few years back. As links between the Department of Home Affairs and lunatic fringe fundamentalists have always been strong, it was inevitable the loons then asked for it. Sadly it was equally inevitable this could not happen – at least not directly – as the loons in question are considered off the Rictus-grinning Scale by almost anyone else.
Government preferred to deal – at least on the record – with a mainstream denomination. Two were not interested, as they were too busy selling off their own properties to acquire another one that would not sell on a dead market. Another was, but had no money to redevelop it far enough to start harvesting public funds.
The compromise was a deal with an eclectic collection of religious outfits with dogma so batshit crazy that only a charity dedicated to fulfilling the bizarre evangelical visions of a long dead film magnate was prepared to throw money at them. Lots of money though. One outfit was even able to offer slave labour, in the pitiful form of converts drawn from some of the island’s most vulnerable people.
Civil servants – apparently – knew of neither the money nor of the involvement of the recipients, which is puzzling when they made no secret of it. So when the respectable if cash-strapped mouthpiece suggested redeveloping the building as a multi-agency facility, to be used by various Third Sector (i.e. religious) organisations which have mopped up contracts for ‘outsourced’ (i.e. axed) social services the civil servants were delighted to help. They even suggested the local school might like to be involved. One other partner organisation which ought to know how to check out dodgy customers (but on this evidence cannot) is a bank. Given that the bank involved (whose help was preconditional on wide publicity) also widely publicised their ‘charitable efforts’ for Samaritan’s Purse (a religious scam run by a buddy of George Bush and banned from UK schools) their compliance department must be absolute pants.
The end result is a building which any self-respecting health and safety authority would demand be covered in hazard tape, housing projects which should rightly be run by qualified professionals working directly for a government department, overseen by a motley collection of undesirables, some of whom could be registered as dangerous to children if a Manx variant of Sarah’s Law was ever introduced and almost all of whom could be sectionable under the Mental Health Act.
In the Isle of Man all of this is considered good government. Apparently, many residents in the area even think it is progress. The mind boggles trying to imagine what kind of horrors that community must accept as normal, everyday life.