May 14, 2003

Give Us This Day Our

Give Us This Day Our Local Bread

In a protectionist move against foreign products, the owner of a bakery in the Isle of Man is calling for a ban on the importation of sliced bread. He seem to have support of the Island’s Trade and Industry minister, “who denied that pressure was being brought to bear on the supermarkets but admitted that the government could make importation difficult by insisted that products carried a baking date,” according to the Manx Independent.

The end of the bakery could mean the closure of the government-owned flour mill. The domestic production of baked good has declined dramatically in the IOM. According to Ramsey Bakery owner Jimmy Duncan, in 1972 there were 35 bakeries employing nearly 500 people, or just under one percent of the Island population. It seems to me that 35 bakeries for 60,000 people (the 1972 population) may mean that the Manx were answering the question of who ate all the pies.

I think Mr Duncan is overstating the case when he suggests that “People expect to be able to get fresh bread at a corner store. It would not happen overnight but over the next five years the majority of the Island's 43 convenience stores would go under.” However he is convinced that he has “thrown down the gauntlet to the Manx government. If they want a bakery in the Island they have got to come up with the means of ensuring its survival.”

Have Church, Will Travel

Our local church community is currently without a permanent home. We are dependent on the kindness of strangers to provide us with place to celebrate the Liturgy and other services. I may have found a solution!

The first inflatable church has been developed. It resembles a bouncy castle and holds around 60 people – far more than enough room for us. It includes a blow-up altar, pulpit and pews. I wonder if for the Orthodox these can be inflated separately, as we have no need for pews and the sermons are delivered from the ambo. It would have to be fire resistant as well, what with all the candles around and lampadas around. And of course we need a way to hang all the icons.

Demanding Cultural Conformity

Since it came to power, the Government has been trying to divorce that mainstay of some Asian cultures, the forced marriage. The latest attempt has been to raise the age at which a spouse can be brought to Britain from 16 to 18.

This means that even though 16 is the legal marriage age, not all marriages are equal. According to The Times, studies have shown that as many as 70 percent of marriages in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities are arranged, with the partners being based in the Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Home Office says this is because of mounting concern about the number of girls forced into marriage. This seems rather strange, since if anything, cultural ties are weakening with succeeding generations and if anything there would be fewer forced marriages than in the past.

Of course the new rules effect every marriage with a 16- or 17-year-old spouse because it doesn’t matter whether the marriage is forced, arranged, or true love. And it doesn’t matter what the country of origin of the spouse is. Of course it doesn’t affect marriages involving members of EU countries, since they are not subject to immigration restricts of any kind.

It also doesn’t make much sense, because the horror stories of forced marriage used as the examples by lobbyists are of British young women being tricked into leaving the UK and forced to stay in Asia. These new rules can do nothing to address the real problem.

But with the Government are you really surprised that show they are solving one problem they manufacture a different problem and address that?

Posted by david at May 14, 2003 10:56 PM