Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The fly in the fishing

(very sensitive photo of a fly fisherMAN intended to avoid unpleasant riots, church ransackings, car burnings and murders of priests. One cannot be too sensitive these days.)

Regular readers of this blog know that I am a policy wonk for an unnamed provincial government. As a matter of personal survival, ..... er, policy ...... I stay away from that very fertile ground of blogging madness. It is not for lack of courage, I assure you, but my children must eat.

Not to fear. Other governments supply me with an endless fodder for JtM. From the United Kingdom (courtesy of Political Correctness Watch), we read the following:

It is Britain's most popular participation sport and crosses the class divide. The four million people who enjoy a quiet afternoon on the river bank are, according to the Government, too white, too male and too middle-aged. The Environment Agency, which protects waterways, has decided to spread the message about coarse and fly fishing to ethnic minorities and women. The agency's 10-year campaign will use money from the 19 million pounds raised each year by the sale of fishing licences, and a leaflet has already been produced covering "10 things you should know about angling". These include: "Angling does not discriminate against gender, race, age or athletic ability", and the "Government is interested in angling in the context of social inclusion in deprived urban areas.?
It is hard to top that story for monumental policy wackiness. I can visualize my counterparts in the UK writing the briefing materials for Cabinet and coming up with those (bolded) communications messages. I can surmise it happened after a four beer lunch (something this PW would never ever do, as he is much too responsible and loyal to Her Majesty's unknown government here in the Dominion).

Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps it was a British Cabinet minister who drank the beer and came up with the line (hiccup) in the presence of his astonished ministry staff during a pre-Cabinet meeting briefing. Perhaps the policy wonks merely scribbled the "communications messaging" down in order to capture it in all its pristine weirdness and replicate it in their Cabinet submission. Policy wonks are good scribblers and can be a tad slavish in their devotion to ministerial utterances, even when uttered by the drunk or the insane.

At least British wonks are. I couldn't possibly comment on a certain unknown wonk in an unknown government, though it is said that he only scribbles the sane utterances of his betters. He believes that the first principle of philosophy is that something cannot be and not be at the same time. Which is one reason why he may never rise to command others; a situation which is no doubt a small mercy to others. But I digress.

In the Swansea pilot scheme, Muslim women and children are taken by coach to a lake and learn to fish for trout. The project is run by Nica Prichard, 68, the international president of the Ladies Flyfishing Association. She said: "A couple of hours out in the countryside and you come back a new woman. If you could just see their faces when we're teaching them, you'd know we're really on to something."

Women's faces? If you can see their faces, Bin Laden and the mullahs must be really pissed. What kind of Muslim woman goes fly fishing without her Burkha? Are there no mullahs worth a damn in Swansea? Are they all scouring Afghanistan looking for Abdul Rahman to cut off his head because he converted to Catholicism? Before you accuse me of bigotry here, please note that it is mullahs that are demanding Mr. Rahman's head be severed from his body, not me. I think Catholic bodies should be left connected to their respective Catholic brain stems, but as a strict professional matter, I admit to a conflict of interest on the issue.

Or are the mullahs in Swansea in a pub drinking beer with that unnamed British cabinet minister? Did my English confreres not advise the right honourable minister that this faces thing could be an unintended and most unfortunate outcome of the initiative? Did he ignore the advice? Lots of time they do. I bet he did here. Drink does that to a man.

Faces! On Muslim women! Yea gods and little fishes. It is a truism in government that scandals arise because insufficient policy work is done in the planning stages. That is why policy wonks are indispensable and why we need more of them and why they need to be paid more so we don't lose the ones we already have. I can produce studies by consultants to prove this contention, given a big enough project budget and time to massage the results. I can I tell you.

Another thing. As a policy wonk, I think it is obvious that the Swansea mullahs need government funded remedial training to learn how to properly treat their women. If you allow those women to participate in government teaching fly fishing in hip waders, they may next demand the right to quaff ale in the pubs in the company of tipsy mullahs and British politicians about to attend meetings of Cabinet. Next thing you know they are attending Cabinet meetings.

It happened to Anglican women in Britain and the next thing we knew Maggie Thatcher was going to war against Argentina. That will never do. Islam is a religion of peace and must be kept so. Withdraw the hip waders and reissue the burkhas. World peace depends on it.

It starts as a trickle of beer in a pub and ends in a trout stream in Swansea. In policy, as in law, the devil is in the details.


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