Isle of Man Examiner letters, December 22, 2015

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Thanks for the fireworks display

I would like, through your pages, to congratulate Ramsey commissioners and their helpers for a fantastic fireworks display at the harbour.

There was even a small boat which came out with lights blazing up to perform a bow at the end.

As they say these days: ‘Thanks guys’!

Margaret Hastings, Ballure Promenade, Ramsey.

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Is wifi making some people ill?

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), an affliction said to be shared by 4 per cent of us, is sometimes described as an ‘allergy to modern life’.

Symptoms include headaches, nausea, abdominal pains and even blackouts.

A contributory factor in a 15-year-old schoolgirl’s recent suicide may have been her school’s reluctance to accept her complaints that its wifi was making her ill.

The first international wifi standard was officially launched as recently as 1997 and partly because its originators used an unlicensed part of the radio spectrum (2.4 gigahertz), it became available for use without having to undergo any stringent safety checks.

Since then, of course, the burgeoning digital age has become all pervasive in our everyday life with wifi technology accepted without question in our homes, schools, workplaces, hospitals, etc.

But is it, and the microwaves emitted from the whole paraphernalia of digital gadgets, doing us long-term harm, even more insidious than the above possible ailments?

I’ve read that microwaves oscillate many 1,000s of times a second but when the carrier pulses that convey your voice or e mail etc along the signal via mobile phones, computers, etc, they oscillate at only hundreds of times per second.

The slower rate allows the pulses to interact with protein vibrational receptors in our cell membranes.

This stimulates the closing down of the membrane, impairing the flow of nutrients or waste products on their way out.

Also, clusters of cells that form tissues can no longer work as efficiently together.

The excess of trapped waste can lead to an increase in cancer causing ‘free radicals’.

The disruption in the cellular process is thought to lead to symptoms of electrosensitivity and the dying cells release the ‘free radicals’ which can facilitate tumours to those frequently exposed to prolonged doses of microwave radiation – just like most of us nowadays, in fact!

People with damaged or developing immune systems are particularly susceptible to the possible risks associated with microwaves with children born this century, who know no different, willing guinea pigs in what is essentially a long-term experiment, the result of which we may not know in its entirety for another 20 or 30 years.

In the meantime mountains of toxic electronic waste is dumped in Africa and other poor nations, where desperately poor scavengers, including children, risk their lives recovering recyclable elements.

As some of this material finds its way back into your new smartphone of whatever, enriching Apple etc, the scavengers remain in grinding poverty.

In addition, at least 20 per cent of the world’s tantalum, vital for phone and computer batteries, is sourced in poverty-stricken Eastern Congo where childhood malnutrition is rife.

Miners earn a pittance as they hack at the rock face with picks and shovels while the proceeds benefit murderous local militias, the corrupt elite and foreign corporations happy to turn a blind eye.

Maybe it’s considered heretical to criticise the great god, ‘digital’, with all its well publicised benefits to modern life, but shouldn’t we also be aware of its negative aspects when switching on, or not, and buying the latest ‘must have’ gadget, or not!

Finally, excessive use can be exemplified by ‘text necks, hunching for hours over a small screen, and ‘texters thumb’, repetitive strain injury. Stress and depression can also be associated with over-use.

C A Brown, Colby.

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UK could learn a lot from Noble’s

Jill Manning wrote in the Isle of Man Examiner on December 15 concerning the redundancy of Brian Deadman from Noble’s Hospital.

I do not know of the circumstances of Mr Deadman’s redundancy and so cannot comment about that.

However, from my own experiences as both an in-patient and out-patient of Noble’s, the staff there – all of them – do an excellent job and I feel far more comfortable knowing that I have Noble’s to look after me on the island than I would feel if I were still living ‘across’.

Jill mentions the work ethic of some members of Noble’s staff being ‘appalling’.

Maybe, but I have yet to come across this attitude myself.

All the nurses, doctors, consultants and administration staff I have dealt with could not have been more caring, helpful and cheerful.

I cannot comment on the ‘competency’ of the staff at Noble’s as I have no medical experience other than as a patient.

I can comment that I have no complaints about the treatment I received and that I feel I have been well treated and well looked after during my stays at Noble’s.

As for her idea of bringing back the Care Quality Commission from the UK ‘to advise them on the way forward’, this beggars belief and I suggest the UK NHS would do well to be inspected by staff from Noble’s!

Malcolm Meddings, Sulby.

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The Castle Mona used to be white

In your comment headed ‘Problem of the Castle Mona Hotel’ (Manx Independent November 19), you outlined current problems facing this deteriorating building built by the fourth Duke of Atholl in 1802.

You also invited ideas as to how the building might be ensured a future.

Perhaps suitable individuals undertaking community service as directed or as volunteers could contribute to its restoration.

Sadly, some tourists have commented that the building’s dark stonework resembles prison-like concrete blocks.

However, on referencing Patricia Tutt’s informative work ‘An Introduction to the Architecture of the Isle of Man’, I was intrigued to read that Dorothy Wordworth described the stonework as being ‘very white’ and that this was supported by Quiggin’s Guide (1841) and also by the Book of Arran (1810) which alludes to the old exhausted quarry from which the white freestone apparently originated.

So perhaps the external stonework could be significantly improved and thereby become more appealing to would-be investors?

When last functioning in 2007, the Castle Mona Hotel also offered associated training courses.

Due to its historical value, if eventually sold as a classy hotel or as luxury apartments for example, it would be preferable if part of the building, including the Saloon, could be made accessible to the public as a condition of sale.

As the island is a Crown Dependency, my suggestion would be for the current owner to seek advice from the future Lord of Man, Prince Charles, who has for decades demonstrated his passion for such conservation projects, as illustrated by his work for The Prince’s Trust.

His approach is to take into consideration wider environmental and social factors which have resulted in local communities obtaining new work skills. The colour query regarding the stonework may well intrigue Prince Charles who is renowned for helping to restore national assets to their authentic condition.

Understandably, The Prince’s Trust may be over-committed, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. And, in contrast to the UK’s national heritage, as the Isle of Man is a separate nation and a Crown Dependency, the Castle Mona Hotel may attract special consideration by the future Lord of Man.

If not, at least by drawing attention to its sorry plight, some helpful publicity within wider influential circles may result in some type of useful assistance.

Name and address supplied

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Correspondent cherry-picking

It pains me to have to publicly embarrass Mr Craige once again, but after yet another poor attempt (Examiner, December 15) at responding to me, I can’t resist.

It delighted me that he appears to be back tracking and contradicting himself when placed under scrutiny.

Now he is making comparisons between the ‘invasion of Syrian refugees’ to Hitler invading Poland.

The arrival of the Hugenots must still send shivers down his spine. But Craige does have a valid point brining up Hitler.

He was very successful in demonising a race and a religion, as was Hitler. Or maybe that is my inner ‘apologist/appeaser’ talking?

Craige boldly claimed ‘UN figures show that the majority of migrants are not Syrians fleeing the war, 50 per cent do not have any papers to prove they are Syrian, 72 per cent are men’.

After evidence completely destroyed this baseless claim, I was very happy to hear that he has now changed the parameters of this claim, to yet something equally invalid.

Also, data has come out this week that shows that only 8 per cent, not the 50 per cent as claimed by Mr Craige, don’t have paperwork to prove their identity. One does wonder where Craige gets his information from.

Rest assured Mr Craige, I don’t use Fox as a source of news.

Rather, their ridiculous comments regularly make the headlines in other, more informed, broadsheets.

I used the Birmingham example to highlight just how absurd it is as a news station (David Cameron publicly referred to them as idiots early this year for the Birmingham story I referred to) and I was not surprised when your claims about 72 per cent when I looked for evidence of this, directed me to such a news agency.

Yes, Craige is correct, there has been an increase in rape cases in Sweden since 1975. I have never disputed that. Rather, I have pointed out that Mr Craige has no basis whatsoever to hold that this increase is due to the increase in ‘foreigners’.

Given Mr Craige’s rantings on Muslims, it is hardly surprising that one would consider he has them in mind when he jumps to such a conclusion.

As I pointed out, the largest immigrant population in Sweden are the Finnish.

Also, whilst attention grabbing headlines like ‘Sweden is rape capital of the world’ will certainly cause alarm, close inspection is clearly needed when assessing such a delicate and tragic crime and statistics behind such even though it may be tempting and reassuring just to blame immigrants.

For example, it is not possible to objectively compare different countries’ statistics on crime, specific or otherwise, as there clearly are vastly different cultural, social and legal factors behind the statistics.

I referred to the Rochdale case and a similar case in Derby to illustrate that Craige had once again cherry picked cases to support your predetermined views.

Again, I referred to fact that Syrians are not after Mr Craige’s job as the vast majority want to go to Germany.

I thought both examples and their use were pretty obvious to show that hysteria from Craige that an ‘invasion’ is occurring and his overly reliance on negative portrayal of Muslims (whilst simultaneously unaware of examples to counter) are yet again, baseless.

It is a shame that appears to have been missed.

Mr Craige has offered me quite the conundrum with his teasing ‘analogy’ of ‘if I handed you a bunch of grapes and told you two of them were poisoned would you eat them?’

Once again, this is very revealing of Mr Craige’s predetermined prejudice. He has assumed a significant proportion of grapes (Muslims) are poisonous (terrorists/rapists) and this should affect our judgement of them all.

There is no evidence to support the assumptions Mr Craige has made, whatsoever.

Interesting that 70,000 Muslim clerics have recently issued a fatwa on anyone involved in terrorism.

Those cherries (news stories) mustn’t grow in Baldrine. I wonder if Mr Craige counts any Muslims amongst his friends?

Notably, Mr Craige has nothing to comment on the fact that statistically, in America, you are more likely to be a victim of terrorism by a white, Christian group.

Again, Mr Craige, why aren’t you writing in about these people?

Craige’s own grape analogy can used against him here against white people, against Christians to conclude they are all terrorists and probably rapists too? Sadly, Mr Craige appears oblivious to this implication.

Name and address supplied

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The dangers of identity cards

Mr Tristram C Llewellyn Jones [an island resident and frequent contributor to our letters pages] had an interesting letter in the December 15 edition of the London Daily Telegraph, on the subject of identity cards.

As he says, some MPs think these would be a good idea for the British population, but as Mr Llewellyn Jones notes, ‘these days the ID cards could carry far too much information on each citizen and the government would be able to track all of us throughout our daily lives as we used the electronic card’.

In fact it could go further than this.

An identity card could be used for every aspect of our life.

Without one we might be unable to enter our place of work, use a bank account, pay mortgage, rent or in fact pay for anything: transport, clothes and, above all, food.

This way, the government would have us completely under their thumb.

‘Do as we say or we shall cancel your identity card!’

And without an identity card we should be come ‘unpersons’, completely cowed and, in fact, slaves to the State.

Sonya Porter, Woking, Surrey.

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We need a drama on television

You asked for opinions on the new video ‘Come to your senses’ (iomtoday.co.im) that is supposed to encourage visitors to come to the island.

Personally I don’t think much of it – it is too ‘bitty’ and does not explain to people what they are seeing.

I have said for a long time that what this island needs to attract visitors is to feature prominently in a popular TV docu-drama series.

Look at the effect on visitor numbers that Heartbeat has had on Goathland and parts of North Yorkshire – similar has happened at Barry in south Wales after the screening of Gavin and Stacey and in Northern Ireland with Game of Thrones.

And there is a unique story here that would be ideal for forming the basis of such a series – the story of the World War Two civilian internment.

And much of the infrastructure associated with that (hotels, the steam railway, etc) survives to this day.

The books by Connery Chappell and Rosemarie Dalheim would make a great starting point.

Peter Jordan, Ballabeg, Arbory.

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