Church of England

Brexit and Gibraltar: Bishop bashes Government for issuing “bland statements of optimism”

The Bishop of Leeds isn’t happy. In a speech to the House of Lords on Brexit and Gibraltar, the Rt Rev’d Nick Baines censures the Government for being optimistic. It seems that looking on the bright side of life isn’t good enough: “Where is the realism that comes from looking through the eyes of those who do not hold the best interests of the UK as their priority?” he asks, demanding that all worst-case scenarios be “stress-tested” to ensure preparedness. And so he asks on behalf of Gibraltar and its people:

What if the Spanish hold out sovereignty, play a long game and say, “We’ll just sit this out. We won’t give equivalence”? What if the EU does not give us equivalent status? What if Spain wants to use sovereignty or cross-border access and frontier issues as a bargaining chip? We cannot simply stand there and say, “Well, you can’t”. I want to know that we are stress-testing this. Who has the power? After all, we have spoken of having a clean Brexit; what if the Spanish take us at our word? That has to be thought through and our response to it considered.

“The government keeps issuing bland statements of optimism,” the Bishop despairs upon his blog, “but neglects to articulate clearly the fact that it has little or no control over delivery of a desired outcome.”

Bland statements of optimism?

<cough>

mutual flourishing

<cough>

good disagreement

<cough>

radical new Christian inclusion

<cough>

Bland statements of optimism are the bread of democratic polity and the wine of fruitful diplomacy. It isn’t that worse or worst-case scenarios haven’t been envisaged or prepared for: it is simply that there is little or nothing to be gained by constantly articulating robust statements of pessimism. Imagine if the Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Governor of the Bank of England went round making doom-and-gloom speeches about the economic outlook and prospects for growth. These things must be ‘talked up’: by words they are inspired and created. Negativity costs jobs. Hesitation and uncertainty breed company closures and heart attacks. We need “bland statements of optimism” to grease the general political discourse: they are as crucial to democratic civility as a handshake is to social intelligence.

The Bishop is of the view that “The referendum result has dumped Gibraltar.” How, exactly? Does he think that our long EEC/EC/EU membership somehow placated Spanish claims to the rock? Has he not seen or read about the past four decades of Spanish threats, blockades and illegal incursions? Gibraltar is more British than Ceuta and Melilla on the north coast of Africa are Spanish: an historic treaty is a legally-binding treaty. Sovereignty rests with the people of Gibraltar: they have not been dumped by anything or anyone, and Theresa May has reiterated her commitment to defend their liberty. That is an expression of her innate optimism, which is borne of her Christian faith.

The alternative to “We will get a good deal” is “We will (/might) get a bad deal”. The antithesis of “We mustn’t compromise on sovereignty” is “We will (/might) surrender sovereignty”. We know it looks like rain, Bishop Nick, but what’s wrong with focusing on the odd beam of sunlight? You can certainly carry your brolly, but we don’t all need to know the detail of how the metal ribs fan out from the metal handle.

“Gibraltar is not a bargaining chip in these negotiations,” states chief minister Fabian Picardo. “Gibraltar belongs to the Gibraltarians and we want to stay British,” he insists. Faced with this, the most robust statement of pessimism has been articulated by Lord (Michael) Howard:  “Thirty-five years ago this week, another woman prime minister sent a taskforce halfway across the world to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country, and I’m absolutely certain that our current prime minister will show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar,” he told Sky News.

Of course it’s an option, but isn’t it preferable to hear “bland statements of optimism” rather than stress-tested warmongering? Isn’t it a little more sophisticated and politically mature (not to say loving and Christian) to remind each other that we are friends, neighbours and NATO allies, rather than rant on about the Treaty of Utrecht and gloat about the fate of the Spanish Armada?

The Bishop of Leeds has also been asking questions “in respect of the environment, agriculture and the ending of subsidies for farming in parts of (his) diocese”. These are all very important matters of great concern, and he is wholly justified in seeking answers for his flock (and other bishops’ flocks). The point, he says, “is that we need all scenarios stress-tested – including the worst-case ones – in order not to feed people with false promises that we cannot deliver”.

Promises that we cannot deliver?

Has the Church of England stress-tested all of its worst-case scenarios? What if it can’t deliver on those “bland statements of optimism” such as “mutual flourishing”, “good disagreement”, and a “radical new Christian inclusion” when it comes to those thorny issues of gender, sexuality and same-sex blessing/marriage? As Bishop Nick writes, “We need to know the best and worst options that lie before us.” Surely, then, we also need to be reassured that the worst-case scenarios are being stress-tested by the Bishops “in the way that they were not before we went into this business in the first place”.

Don’t they owe it to the people of England, not to mention the Worldwide Anglican Communion?

  • vsscoles

    Yet another demonstration that the place for Bishops is not in the House of Lords but at work in their dioceses. This sort of thing is best reserved for the bishop’s little blog where the potential for ridicule is limited.

    • Andrew Carey

      The whole idea of putting Bishops in the House of Lords is to keep them away from the parishes where they might do real damage. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

      • Redrose82

        There’s an even better place for him where he would do no damage at all. On a board with lots of little black and white squares.

  • CliveM

    Several weeks ago, the BBC, the Guardian and various others of a ‘Remaining’ tendency had an attack of the vapours and an emotional breakdown down over Theresa May’s comment that it was better to have no agreement, rather than a bad one. Clearly implying that allowing yourself to be shat on was somehow preferable.

    We are at the start of a long (probably acrimonious) negotiation. If we need to go for a hard Brexit, so be it. But those who feign outrage over the possibility need to be honest as to the cause. It’s not ‘rabid’, xenophobic Brexiteers that will have caused it, but a political class, frightened by the thought that the ordinary people may have different views as to their political future, desperate to send them a message.

    However the stated positions at the start of a negotiation are rarely reflected in the final agreement, so the Government needs to hold its nerve and use every lever it has ruthlessly.

    So if we are to be treated as an enemy to be punished, why continue with existing security and military cooperation?

    You can bet from the howls of outrage last week heard from various European capitals that this would be a concern. They don’t have a CCHQ. They need us on this issue far more than we need them.

    There will be compromise and there will be agreement. A diplomatic version of Via Media. However the path won’t be smooth.

    You would of thought a Bishop of the Church of England, of all people, would understand this.

    • carl jacobs

      Since the combined military power of the Continent couldn’t secure a loan if you spotted them good credit, I suspect there is much to this.

    • Seadog

      Why would a contemporary CofE Bishop understand this? They are a dim witted lot on the whole. My Lord, the Bishop of Salisbury, where I live, is very good at virtue signalling, but ask him to debate the ontological argument for the existence of God and he would be lost.

      • CliveM

        i just thought considering the amount of politicking they do, they’d understand how the politics of negotiations work.

        I maybe wrong of course.

  • john in cheshire

    Stress-test. Is that the word for the week? It sounds ridiculous at the best of times but even more so coming from the mouth of a bishop who probably wouldn’t know a stress test if it hit him on the head.

  • bluedog

    Bishop Nick must be a Guardianista, Your Grace. No other publication trots out such a diet of gloom with so much intolerant fervour; it must be catching.

    Good to see Ceuta and Melilla rating a mention too. Is there no limit to Spanish hypocrisy? Well, it seems not, and wait, there’s more. With Sir Michael Fallon refusing to confirm or deny his plans for the Royal Marines, your communicant decided to draw up a list of really useful things for them to do following Lord Howard’s sabre-rattling speech at the weekend.

    Not only does Spain have an enclave inside France, but the Dons also maintain a considerable number of other out-posts in North Africa and in the western Med., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plazas_de_soberan%C3%ADa

    Then there’s Barcelona, with a football team ripe for the Premier League. Brexit not only means Brexit, but busy, busy too.

  • David

    What a silly, wrong-headed, negative and rather depressing man. Does he not know that the Christian faith is, at bottom, about optimism, based upon faith in a reliable, loving and faithful God ? Yes of course realism is also needed, but then after having cooly assessed situations, you work towards a good solution. And quite where is he demonstrating Christian hope ?
    Voices of alarm costs jobs, and sets up weak political bargaining positions – is he that lacking in basic understanding, both economically and politically ? If so what is he doing in the H of Lords ? Just to spread pessimism and alarm is certainly not helpful to his country, or anyone, when wiser, stauncher and calmer voices are needed; neither is it particularly Christian.
    This slightly pathetic, limp wristed approach reflects much of what is wrong with the basic approach of too many of the C of E hierarchy – they lack courage, conviction and a basic understanding of how both human nature and the wider world functions. These were all qualities that Lord Jesus had in abundance.
    We need leadership not alarmism.

    • Aaron D Highside

      Leadership from Wobbly Welby?

  • isn’t it preferable to hear ‘bland statements of optimism’

    Not when it’s better to hear the truth. In 2011 the Bishop of Bradford, someone called Nick Baines, delivered a masterly bland statement of optimism when he told the General Synod that ‘some parishes in his diocese were 95% Muslim but that this should not be seen as “a problem”.’ Three years later the Diocese of Bradford went out of business.

    In the coming decades, expect bland statements of optimism by the bucketful from the Church of England as she treads her chosen path of graceful decline.

    • Dominic Stockford

      ‘graceful’??

      I though it was a lack of grace that was their problem.

  • len

    Some cannon you’ve got there?. One on the left I mean.

  • Don Benson

    The problem with this and many other bishops is that he lacks imagination. And his lack of ability to comprehend the positive benefits for our nation of regaining its sovereignty prevents him from seeing anything to be gained from the challenges that lie before us – his mind cannot stretch beyond the happy little EU prison where it has always felt safe.

    People who achieve things have to be optimistic or they would give up; entrepreneurs who succeed are notable for their imagination, and that serves optimism which then stimulates more imagination – it’s a virtuous circle.

    And this is not about the absence of realism because imagination looks realism in the face and comes up with ways to produce the best outcome from what your realism tells you; it also includes the courage to take risks, and of course it necessitates that you work out the best way of handling possible negative outcomes, but that is far better done with intelligence and positivity than dull unimaginative gloom.

    In the case of negotiating with the EU nothing is ever set in stone despite what the dull bureaucrats like to pretend. Two years hence is not a cliff edge; whatever deal is delivered (or no deal) we will continue to engage with our European friends, we will continue to negotiate on all manner of things, new politicians will come on the scene, attitudes will change, economic realities will move on, the aspirations and the prejudices of populations will evolve. And through it all we will survive and thrive if we produce great products, act in a friendly and gracious manner and always look to the future with energy and excitement.

    But as far as bishops go, there are very few of them who are well placed to give advice to politicians at present.

    • David

      Well said !

  • Hi,

    Gibraltar is as British as fish n chips. It is typical of the EU bullies to ,well, bully a smaller territory . Therefore Lord Howard was right to say Britain would go to war to defend Gibraltar from this despicable land grab attempt by Spain and the EU. It’s also hypocritical of the EU as they were upset by the apparent threat of Britain re security and defence. . It’s hypocritical of Spain which occupies two parts of Morocco. Well if one day NATO and the EU want Britain to fight for the Baltic States, don’t try and pinch UK sovereignty territory today .

    Incidentally Spain did try to retake Gibraltar and the reason why they said the treaty is abrogated? Well because the Treaty of Utrecht has a clause which asked Britain to forbid Jews from living in Gibraltar ; thankfully such blatant antisemitism was ignored by the British and at one point half of Gibraltar’s population was Jewish . This issue only flared up again only with the Franco Nazi Fascist regime. Before that Spain abided by subsequent treaties of Seville, 1729 and Paris 1783 ( by which America, Britain and Europe came to peace, with recognition by Britain of the USA as an independent state).

    Today Gibraltar in percentage terms has one of the largest Jewish populations (mostly Sephardi and Mizrahi) next to America and Israel with four beautiful synagogues , a school, kosher shops and a thriving community, which historically and unlike Spain , never faced official antisemitism. God save the Queen is sung at the synagogue services, in Hebrew, and prayers are said (as they are in Britain) for the Queen, royal family , country and defence forces.

    Via the telegraph , Rabbi Sacks said :

    “In the dark times of expulsion and inquisition, Gibraltar lit the beacon of tolerance,” and that Gibraltar “is probably the community where Jews have been the most integrated.”

    • dannybhoy

      Do I detect a certain bias here Hannale?

    • Holger

      “…cynical land grab…”

      ’bout sums up how Gibraltar came to be British in the first place.

      If Spain turns the tables on Britain and grabs back what was grabbed from them, who could blame them?

  • Dominic Stockford

    Enough of the politics man, preach the Gospel.

  • 1649again

    What a twat.

    • David

      They refuse to follow their job description don’t they ? It’s all politics, as Carl observes, not preaching the gospel. At least some of the faithful of the C of E have seen through them, and thank God for His Grace’s website which allows their activities to be exposed.

    • Anton

      Again you prove your mastery of English understatement.

      • 1649again

        Actually I don’t think his comments worth as many as nine letters but was struggling to economise any further.

        • CliveM

          How about simply saying “twat”!

          We would know who you meant.

          • 1649again

            I didn’t want to take the chance of misunderstanding.

  • carl jacobs

    This is a politician (yes, the HoL is all about politics) who opposes Brexit trying to undermine Brexit with scary talk. His actual audience is the British public and his real message is “Look where this gov’t is leading you. Repent of this and stop them before it is too late.”

  • dannybhoy

    “I will say in Spain’s defence that some British people, i.e. the attitude of the older teenage and or larger loutish British tourists are a national embarrassment. I’d never want to go to Magaluf. And what gets me is how the Spanish resorts are like mini versions of GB [skegness] with lots of Sun.”
    Absolutely.
    These folk make me ashamed to be English.
    ps Are you thinking about going to ZF’s Yom HaAtzmaut celebration?
    https://zionist.org.uk/event/yh69/
    If you are we should wear something so’s we recognise each other. I’ll buy you a falafel!

  • Merchantman

    Surley the way to settle this is by doing what the USA and French do; incorporate Gibraltar as part of the UK. It is already represented at Westminster by a West Devon MP.

  • The Explorer

    In Chaucer’s hell there is a special shelf for summoners, and an even more ignominious place for friars: whole swathes of religious personnel who have failed in their calling. Had Chaucer lived later, one imagines he would have had some particular niche for C of E bishops.

    A Lutheran friend of mine, musing on the relentless mediocrity of church hierarchy, blamed Satan. Satan, knowing the potential power of the Church, needs to keep it ineffectual. He thus keeps a close eye on the appointment of personnel.

    There may be something in that.

    • betteroffoutofit

      Interesting. Of course, the appointee presently under discussion loves Germany – spends all kinds of time there with his (Lutheran) counterparts. He also knows a lot about Russia: talks the talk and, in the 80s, worked for GCHQ as a translator.

      Quite how it happened that a ‘wapentake’ of Leeds came to fruition as his jurisdiction is something of a mystery. My sympathies reside with West Yorkshire, though, and my prayers extend to the future of York.

  • ChaucerChronicle

    Your Grace

    What we need to do is anchor an aircraft-carrier between Gibraltar and Spain; send a nuclear submarine within striking distance of Madrid and that geezer Salvador Dali; and park a frigate.

    Sorted.

    • Holger

      What a good idea. Give us all the excuse we need to blockade your country, cut your electricity supply (much of which comes from France), round up and expel your citizens and confiscate their property, fill in the tunnel and help the Irish to seal off their land border.

      Britain placed in quarantine, with no empire to save you now. And no allies who’ll come to your rescue either. You know how the international community treats countries that threaten others with nuclear weapons. Think North Korea.

      Kim Jung May better think again. Or rather her crazed and bigoted supporters better think again. I’m sure the woman herself is far too sensible to threaten her neighbours with nuclear arms.

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Are you daft?

        Blockade us with what?

        • Holger

          Close down the tunnel, refuse all British vessels docking rights in any European port, deny all British flights access to European airspace. Freeze all British assets in European banks.

          No more trade with Europe. No more European food or energy imports. No more European travel.

          If we leave you to soak in your shocking climate for a few months eating whatever it is you can grow in your muddy soil (Potatoes? Turnips?) then you should come to your senses. If you don’t die of vitamin deficiencies first, that is.

          Perhaps that’s the key to all your behavioural problems. Scurvey-based dementia. You certainly look like walking corpses. It’s the deathly pallor, the flaccid look you have about you and the weeping sores around the nose and mouth that give you away. Or is that just an acute case of herpes?

          Oh well, whatever it is, we’ll no longer be obliged to treat you in our hospitals. You can rot away in your own rat-infested NHS abbatoirs. No money for drugs, remember. Hope you don’t get a disease that would be treated and cured immediately in a French hospital, but which in Britain condemns you to certain death because your life isn’t worth the cost of the treatment. You already die prematurely in your thousands because your government won’t pay for the drugs that could save you. Hope your condition isn’t the next one to be defunded.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Britain has a long history of dealing with threats from Continental leaders.

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Charlie Croker: You’ll be making a grave error if you kill us.

        Charlie Croker: There are a quarter of a million Italians in Britain and they’ll be made to suffer. Every restaurant, cafe, ice-cream parlor, gambling den and nightclub in London, Liverpool and Glasgow will be smashed.

        The Italian Job

        • Holger

          Do what you like to Italians living in Britain. They decided to move there so they’ll have to deal with the consequences of thelr decison, won’t they?

          I’ve never been a partisan of airlifting expats to safety. And in any case, there are enough Brits living in Europe to make that kind of violence highly unlikely. The first few images of retaliatory action against the elderly and decrepit Brits who pack the Costa del Sol and the Algarve will quieten things down. If you decide to expel European citizens then so be it. Like I say, they went to live in your miserable little country with their eyes open. Let them leave it with them open too.

          • Hi

            Sinking to new depths here!

            So you couldn’t give a shit either way whether the UK or Europe would agree collectively to undertake another bout of property theft and expulsions based on race or religion? Disgusting if so.

            And you are a liberal …. how?

          • Holger

            Nothing to do with race or religion. Citizenship of an enemy country would be the criterion for expulsion. Perfectly justifiable under the circumstances. Enemy aliens are always either kicked out or interned when war breaks out. The same would happen in Britain. Look what you did to Germans and Italians.

      • Hi

        Who is the “we” in this blockade? : the European Union or France or Spain?

        • CliveM

          You have to understand, Linus has self appointed himself as spokesman for a whole continent.

          I’m sure they’re grateful.

          • Pubcrawler

            More like incontinent given his verbal diarrhoea.

          • Hi Clive ,

            To take Linus and his ridiculous wargame scenario to its conclusion:

            The British Prime Minister withdraws the UK forces from Europe and hints at an Anglo Russian rapprochement as their Tsar warmly welcomes a British delegation to the Kremlin.

            Norway a NATO and non EU member agrees to supply us with all the gas and oil we need to import : every single Spanish and French company in the UK is nationalised, including the energy distributors (rather different to suppliers) , with threats we’ll nationalise the lot of the EU investment in the UK .

            The blockade doesn’t work because Britain is a net importer of EU goods. The EU needs to sell Britain her manufactures and foods. But in any case, British subs sink multiple French and Spanish merchant vessels and clears the channel tunnel and blows it up .

            The Germans, Dutch, Scandinavians , Czech Republic , Poland, Greece and Portugal want nothing to do with this : Ireland ‘s neutral. The Czechs and Portuguese (Britain’s oldest alliance- Aliança Luso-Britânica – is with Portugal ) actively support the UK. Others , such as Ireland and Holland, do so so covertly. The lovely Italians would rather make love to the British than fight.

            The French / Spanish try to crush UK by destroying oil platforms.. As this is a direct attack on Scotland, the Scottish people ditch the SNP and rally to the union , under first minister Ruth Davis (later tipped for leadership of the UK).

            Trumps and speaker Ryan in Congress acknowledge their only real friends in the EU and support the UK (the previous POTUS goes on to Twitter and predictably supports the French) . Canada and Australia , New Zealand announce they’re going to send troops to help UK..

            GCHQ hacks French nuclear power stations and cripples the French energy industry….

          • CliveM

            Which all goes to show Linus needs to start taking his anti hysteria pills.

          • Sarky

            Hannah, that would make an awesome movie. Think you should get the script out to Hollywood straight away. I vote Meryl Streep to play teflon Theresa!

          • 1649again

            It’s been tried before = Napoleon’s Continental System. Didn’t work then.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Holger probably thinks that Napoleon won the Battle of Waterloo.

          • CliveM
          • IrishNeanderthal

            Your mention of Ruth Davidson has suggested an even more far-reaching solution.

            C of E bishoprics must be restricted to heterosexual men, while high political office must be reserved for lesbians.

          • Holger

            Load of old bollocks.

            Here’s a more realistic scenario.

            Spain makes any deal between the EU and the UK contingent on shared sovereignty over the territory Britain stole from it in the 18th century.

            The pound starts to plummet and an unnerved May suddenly capitulates to Spain’s demands, selling Gibraltar down the river (or up the Mediterranean) for the sake of a trade deal. Why? Because money is all you Brits care about and you’d sell your grandmother if you thought you could turn a profit on her.

            “Gibraltarian” protests are drowned out by the noise of British companies scrabbling for the limited opportunities given to them under the disadvantageous trade agreement that was the best their government could negotiate with an EU that’s no longer interested in dealing with them. Better than nothing. But beggars can’t be choosers.

            You’ll take whatever you can get and the “Gibraltarians” will just have to live with it. When the Spanish administrators move in there’ll probably be a few hysterical demonstrations. But if they don’t like Spanish rule, they can always bugger off to the UK.

          • Hi

            You just changed the goal posts of the scenario there.

            .

          • carl jacobs

            No, you are too much influenced by Hollywood. The real story would play out like this. Upon announcement of the blockade:

            1. The French fleet would sail to Morocco and promise to scuttle itself before the Germans could seize it.

            2. Three Spanish Frigates would sail north to Brittany, realize they had consumed half their allowed fuel, and return home.

        • Holger

          The EU will support its member state Spain in any conflict with the British.

      • The Explorer

        Brits or Christians: which do you hate more? British Christians, obviously, are in a class of detestability of their own, but if you had a secular Brit and a French Christian in your sights, and only one bullet, who would get it?

        • Holger

          A bullet? Why would I want to kill anyone?

          For someone who’s supposed to believe in mercy and forgiveness, you sure seem to spend a lot of time thinking about killing people.

          • The Explorer

            “Why would I want to kill anyone?” Because, on the evidence of your posts on this thread, you are consumed with hatred.

            “For someone who’s supposed to believe in mercy and forgiveness,” I wasn’t talking about me, I was talking about you. Your mind-set, not mine, was the subject under discussion.

          • Hi

            It’s never been difficult to tell the difference between a Linus with bitterness and a ray of sunshine

          • Anton

            You too like Wodehouse?

          • carl jacobs

            I sampled some of his writing once – allegedly some funny stuff. It wasn’t.

          • Holger

            Typical Christian, reading your own hatred into other people’s remarks.

            If anyone wants to kill, clearly it’s you. You can’t wait for the day when your enemies will burn in hell, or so you hope. Of course you’ll have to die yourself to witness it, and then even eternity won’t sate you when it comes to watching those you hate writhe in eternal flames. While you’re waiting for your ringside seat at that great spectacle however, you’ll content yourself with daydreaming about their pain.

            Luckily it’s all just a fantasy in your head. Luckily the full horror of what goes on in that dark place is known only to you. Others can guess at it by decoding your comments. But the more we see, the less we want to know.

          • Lucius

            I suspect you live in a room with white padded walls.

          • Holger

            Again, typical Christian. Projecting his situation onto everyone else.

          • The Explorer

            “Give us all the excuse we need to blockade your country, cut your electricity supply (much of which comes from France), round up and expel your citizens and confiscate their property,”

            Where do my sentiments come into it? But yours seem pretty clear.

          • Holger

            There are both Brits and Christians in the world, so your question is meaningless.

            Can I wave a magic wand and eliminate one or the other group? No, I cannot. So what point is there in fantasizing about doing so?

            In the real world there are both Brits and Christians. I’m not going to waste my time fantasizing about what the world would be like without them. That would be make-believe, which I’ll leave to you as it’s clearly your favourite pastime.

          • The Explorer

            Not meaningless at all. Eliminate all Christians, and there would still be plenty of Brits left. Eliminate all Brits, and there would still be plenty of Christians left.

            Imagining better worlds is perfectly feasible: Utopians do it all the time, and confuse it with the possible.

            A Christian-free world, or a Brit-free world, might not be an actual possibility, but imagining both would enable you decide which world would be the more desirable, and hence help you to identify which group you hate more.

          • Holger

            A hierarchy of hate, eh?

            You probably do spend your life daydreaming about eliminating your enemies.

            But I’m not you, for which I thank my lucky stars.

          • The Explorer

            “I’m not you, for which I thank my lucky stars.”

            Good to be in agreement on something.

    • carl jacobs

      That idea should cause Jack’s left knee to jerk. I’m sure he would find Just War problems with that suggestion. Plus the fact that he would say it violates the UN charter. Not that violating the UN charter matters much or is even possible for a permanent member.

      [Casually casts bait upon the waters].

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Yes, and he bit. What fun it’s been reading the ensuing posts!

        • Anton

          Where?

          • ChaucerChronicle

            I’ve posted at cross-purposes by reading CJ’s post in haste. The bait was for H.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Of course, if the Spanish keep pushing and threatening, we could always threaten to recognise the independence of Catalunya….that should stir ’em up.

    • Holger

      Ruritania recognising the Banana Republic of Barcelona?

      Ooo, that’ll make us quake in our boots.

      If Catalan independence becomes inevitable, it’ll be done in such a way that Catalogne is seamlessly integrated into the EU. It’s what the Catalans want. Spain is against it for obvious reasons, but a democratically expressed desire for independence will be impossible to ignore so they’ll have to accept it with as much grace as they can muster.

      Catalogne’s case is radically different from Gibraltar’s. Catalogne is an ancient culture with a distinct national identity. It isn’t a tiny sliver of territory stolen from a country and then packed with colonists whose sole purpose is to give democratic legitimacy to a cynical takeover.

      “Gibraltarians”, my eye. They’re British colonists who need to understand that the sun has well and truly set on the British empire.

      May may rattle her sabre, but she won’t commit forces to a conflict she can’t possibly hope to win. Spain is not Argentina. It has the full support of its European allies behind it. And I doubt it will do anything silly like invade. It will merely blockade the place and deny the British use of its airspace. If you want to keep what’s basically no more than a worthless rock to you now you no longer have an empire to protect, it’ll cost you dear. And knowing the British as I know them, after 5 minutes of having to pay for keeping Gibraltar afloat, you do a “Hong Kong” on them and let Spain take over.

      And thus it ever was: hurt the British in the place where they keep their heart (such as it is), i.e. their pocketbook, and they’ll find a solution quicker than you can say “mercenary sell-out”.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Well it rattled your cage good and proper…

        • Holger

          Rattled it with laughter perhaps. You always have been the clowns of Europe. Good for a laugh and not much else.

          • The Explorer

            I’d have said the Italians were the clowns of Europe. Plautus. Goldoni. Commedia del’arte. ‘Il Pagliacci’. Shakespeare looked to the Italians for comedic sources.

      • bluedog

        Blockade is an act of war, as defined. You say of Spain, ‘It has the full support of its European allies behind it.’. In short, you are making an argument that Brexit leads to war with the EU! Good thing the prevailing wind is westerly. Let’s see: Brussels, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Madrid. That should do it. On second thoughts we’ll delete Rome from the list, the Italians are good fun and have the right attitude to the EU. Don’t want to upset HJ either, he’s been having a tough time with FGM. They used to say, ‘It’ll all be over by Christmas’. Make that the evening news. Careful what you wish for, Holger.

        • carl jacobs

          Don’t you know? Europe is the post-war continent. Europeans wouldn’t fight for their own country let alone Gibraltar. Britain is pretty safe.

          The idea of war between NATO allies is pretty silly anyways.

          • CliveM

            All true Carl, however a few strategically targeted missiles on a certain Paris suburb does have its attractions.

          • Holger

            France has just as many warheads as you do.

            The difference is that we wouldn’t be the first to fire them.

          • The Explorer

            France is always playing catch up.

          • Sarky

            I’ve heard they’re pretty hard to fire when your running in the opposite direction.

          • Holger

            What, like the British at Dunkerque, you mean?

          • Sarky

            Well i think we more then made up for that. Otherwise you’d be speaking German.

          • carl jacobs

            Nothing much to make up for. The British ended up at Dunkirk because of the heroic resistance complete collapse of the French Army at the River Meuse. After which, France heroically collaborated with its conquerors until it was liberated. But not to worry. The cream of French manhood heroically redeemed itself by bravely shaving the heads of women.

            Well someone had to atone for the tarnished glory that was France.

          • IanCad

            I agree with little of what you write, but allow me to apologise for the slander written against the French by those on this blog who may never have cracked a history book
            You are a noble people and brave, to say or suggest otherwise is the grossest of false witnessing.

          • carl jacobs

            Apologize for yourself, IanCad. Don’t apologize for me. I will repent of nothing I have written. And you know better than to say I have never cracked a history book.

          • carl jacobs

            Are you out of your mind? If you put a missile into a Paris suburb, the French Gov’t will immediately surrender. Then you’ll be stuck running the place, and you’ll never get away from the EU.

          • CliveM

            Carl,

            I clearly hadn’t thought this through properly.

            Still tempting, but on second thoughts……………

          • bluedog

            Of course it’s silly. But it was the Spanish diplomatic master-sroke that has been the catalyst. Presumably Holger’s declaration of a continental alliance against the UK is circulating in the wilder reaches of France, if that’s where he lives. Now, we can understand the difficulty of the Spanish position. Economy tanking, ever deeper in debt, yoof unemployment where, 40%, 50%, adult unemployment 25%? The traditional antidote to these woes is a successful minor foreign adventure to take the minds of the masses off their misery. So they pick the UK for a fight.

          • IanCad

            Unfortunately the silliest things often come to pass.

        • Holger

          Like your finger is on the button!

          I suppose this is just an extension of your Christian omnipotence fantasy.

          • bluedog

            Does Trump wax lyrical over the EU? He couldn’t even bring himself to shake Merkel by the hand.

          • Holger

            Who cares what Trump thinks? Let him gibber away while others run his country for him. Not a single one of his policies has made it through the checks and balances of the US governmental system. The man was a lame duck the moment he was elected.

            The real power in the US will take a very dim view of any nuclear threat anywhere in the world. Of course Britain won’t go down that road. It’s all in the head of some dimwitted bigots on this blog.

      • “Gibraltarians”, my eye. They’re British colonists who need to understand that the sun has well and truly set on the British empire.”

        Gibraltar is British territory by the terms of the treaty of Utrecht. Spain said that Britain abrogated this treaty by allowing Jews to live in Gibraltar. Britain ignored this evil antisemitism. Most of the population was Jewish and British. This was confirmed by the 1729 treaty of Seville and the 1783 treaty of Paris recognising the independence of the USA. It has only become an issue during the reign of murderer, dictator, fascist and Nazi General Franco. Under international law and treaty Gibraltar is without dispute or question a British territory . They aren’t colonists, but citizens of the UK who have every right to live on the rock as they wish to.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          The one to who you are replying (I tend to avoid him) has appeared before in several guises.

          Having just read up about the Rutans (Doctor Who), I find that they have difficulty assuming a stable human form.

          I was looking them up, because I was wondering if one of the regular pests that turned up on The deed is done : Britain will be free once more might be the green jellyfish-like creature in Horror of Fang Rock.

          • Sarky

            Blimey, nerdfest!!!

          • CliveM

            Loved this one.

        • Paul Greenwood

          1713 Treaty stated

          ARTICLE X[edit]

          The Catholic King does hereby, for himself, his heirs and successors, yield to the Crown of Great Britain the full and entire propriety of the town and castle of Gibraltar, together with the port, fortifications, and forts thereunto belonging; and he gives up the said propriety to be held and enjoyed absolutely with all manner of right for ever, without any exception or impediment whatsoever. But that abuses and frauds may be avoided by importing any kind of goods, the Catholic King wills, and takes it to be understood, that the above-named propriety be yielded to Great Britain without any territorial jurisdiction and without any open communication by land with the country round about. Yet whereas the communication by sea with the coast of Spain may not at all times be safe or open, and thereby it may happen that the garrison and other inhabitants of Gibraltar may be brought to great straits; and as it is the intention of the Catholic King, only that fraudulent importations of goods should, as is above said, be hindered by an inland communications. it is therefore provided that in such cases it may be lawful to purchase, for ready money, in the neighbouring territories of Spain, provisions and other things necessary for the use of the garrison, the inhabitants, and the ships which lie in the harbour. But if any goods be found imported by Gibraltar, either by way of barter for purchasing provisions, or under any other pretence, the same shall be confiscated, and complaint being made thereof, those persons who have acted contrary to the faith of this treaty, shall be severely punished. And Her Britannic Majesty, at the request of the Catholic King, does consent and agree, that no leave shall be given under any pretence whatsoever, either to Jews or Moors, to reside or have their dwellings in the said town of Gibraltar; and that no refuge or shelter shall be allowed to any Moorish ships of war in the harbour of the said town, whereby the communication between Spain and Ceuta may be obstructed, or the coasts of Spain be infested by the excursions of the Moors. But whereas treaties of friendship and a liberty and intercourse of commerce are between the British and certain territories situated on the coast of Africa, it is always to be understood, that the British subjects cannot refuse the Moors and their ships entry into the port of Gibraltar purely upon the account of merchandising. Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain does further promise, that the free exercise of their religion shall be indulged to the Roman Catholic inhabitants of the aforesaid town. And in case it shall hereafter seem meet to the Crown of Great Britain to grant , sell or by any means to alienate therefrom the propriety of the said town of Gibraltar, it is hereby agreed and concluded that the preference of having the sale shall always be given to the Crown of Spain before any others.

          ARTICLE XI

      • ChaucerChronicle
        • Holger

          The British navy is on its way precisely nowhere.

          Can you not read your own language? That article says the navy should go to Gibraltar. It’s a mere opinion from an irrelevant former “advisor to the defence department”. Who knows what he advised them about? The colour of linoleum to put on the lavatory floors, perhaps? Which flavour of tea to serve with the chocolate digestives?

          Whoever this nonentity is, it’s clear from her conciliatory remarks today that Mx. May will not be heeding his advice. She realizes that “sending in the gunboats” would merely inflame an already tense situation. Well, tense from your perspective. Hilariously funny from ours. As if a couple of rusty old tubs with popguns and peeling paint will change anything !

          We stand with Spain, and if Spain chooses to veto a Brexit deal over the issue of Gibraltar, the EU will honour that decision. It’s written into the treaties. We support our own against the aggression of foreign nations. Britain has been occupying Spanish territory for 300 years. It’s time that situation came to an end. If we can help Spain regain sovereignty over its rightful territory, we’ll certainly do so. We’re obliged to by the treaties we signed, which unlike you perfidious Brits, we haven’t reneged on. You’re on your own now. 1 against 27.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Holger

            Have you read The Sun this morning?

            It’s headline reads’ UP YOURS SENORS /!

          • Holger

            So The Sun is responsible for formulating British foreign policy now, is it?

            With Boris Johnson at the Foreign Office, anything is possible.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Holger

            You know, I used to believe that the EU stood for harmony, justice and peace.

    • David

      Good thinking. There’s always more than one way to skin a rabbit ……

  • Inspector General

    One was half listening to the Gibraltar phone-in debate on BBC Radio 5 around 9am. The place is a real plum so they say. A wealthy place and home to quite a few artful tax dodgers for want of a better description of them. All was going well. Two chaps engaged in argument on the subject of said finance and both knew their stuff, and then the station had to bring on another caller: ‘concerned clueless woman’ who (as expected) was of the “I can’t believe it! Talking about war with Spain in the same vein as the Falklands” whiney persuasion and promptly ruined a damned good informative discussion. Dreary thing about two steps away from hysteria she was. Wonder if she’s related to the Bishop of Leeds.

    An annoyed Inspector finished off dressing in silence, thereafter…

    Pah!

  • betteroffoutofit

    Thank you, Your Grace, for showing where this person’s loyalties lie. It’s made my day to find I’m not alone in responding to him as I do.

  • chefofsinners

    We own a lot of fairly pointless bits of rock around the world. They cost a fortune to defend and there is some moral difficulty defending them too.
    The solution is obvious: flog them to the highest bidder and use the proceeds to pay off the national debt. Now, what am I bid for Scotland?

    • Pubcrawler

      Couple of drachmas?

      • chefofsinners

        Sold.

        • Pubcrawler

          Arse. That wasn’t meant to happen.

          Anyone know any rich Qataris?

          • chefofsinners

            You are assessed for street repairs…

          • Pubcrawler

            Clive? Scotland’s yours for a fiver.

          • chefofsinners

            You might try Sir Philip Green.

          • 1649again

            He’s a bit short right now but the Queen needs a new Royal Yacht.

          • CliveM

            Snort I left for a reason. So no deal.

          • Pubcrawler

            Hmmm. Maybe The Donald is looking to expand his golf course. ..

    • 1649again

      With or without the SNP? If with it’s a negative equity situation I’m afraid.

      • Pubcrawler

        I was thinking some dim but fabulously wealthy Qatari might be induced to pay through the nose for those Scotch delicacies, Sturgeon and Salmond.

    • carl jacobs

      Jack lives in Scotland. You wouldn’t sell Jack. Would you?

      • chefofsinners

        That sounds like an offer.

      • Sarky

        That would be like putting an offer in for a house, then realising is got subsidence!!

        • 1649again

          Not that bad, more like death watch beetle surely?

          • Sarky

            Damp???

          • 1649again

            Rising?

    • David

      Owning a rock gives ownership rights to the surrounding seas, so in the unending contest for resources that can be rather useful. I’ll keep our rocks thank you. And that’s quite apart from any possible future strategic importance.

      • chefofsinners

        Those factors would be reflected in the price which others would pay. Hence the bid of 2 drachmas for Scotland (below).

        • Paul Greenwood

          They can pay in blood……gallons of it

    • Paul Greenwood

      I will trade you Essex

  • Mike Stallard

    You know, your Grace, when you were busy studying all that boring stuff about Calcedon, justification, the indelibility of ordination and the sexual politics of the Church among the Cathars? Well, Dr ~Richard North has been doing the same sort of research on the EU.
    And just as nobody outside the Chuch of England is remotely interested in theology of any kind, so nobody – up to now – has shown a jot of interest in his blog eureferendum.com
    Which is a pity. Because he has got it right all along. I am sure the Bishop of Leeds ++ would be well advised to take a sneaky peek…

    • “Because he has got it right all along.” Not quite. Despite his knowledge, experience and manifest intelligence, his stance during the Referendum was unremittingly negative (to put it politely) – against organisations, individuals, strategies and objectives. Day after day, week after week he poured out scorn and contempt. While many of us were busy travelling to the four corners of the Kingdom to change hearts and minds one by one, he was convening conferences in London to speak to his followership. Everybody was wrong except him. Nobody understood the issues but him. At one point he even tweeted that Vote Leave was so delinquent, all was lost. He was wrong: we won, and we won well. But it was despite Dr North’s efforts, not because of them.

      • Simon Platt

        “Everybody was wrong except him” and Christopher Booker.

        • 1649again

          And millions of normal people up and down the country who had been denied a voice on what was happening to their country for decades. And Nigel Farage.

          Being a brilliant analyst is a very different skill from being able to construct a workable solution.

          • David

            Yes indeed. Analysis requires a strong intelligence, whereas constructing workable solutions requires practical intelligence and much understanding of people and the real world. The two sets of skills are not necessarily found in the same person.

          • Mike Stallard

            Dr North provided a comprehensive plan for exit, taking into account all the possibilities. It is easily available on his blog as it has been for a couple of years. It is called Flexcit.

            Secondly he has correctly foretold for some time what is likely to happen now that the terms and conditions of the EU negotiations have been published by Brussels.
            Knowledge actually brings help. It is the pure ignorance of the press and tv that is so terribly depressing. Yesterday, for example, it was all about Gibraltar when it should have been about Mrs May’s negotiating plans being simply forbidden! Now she is either going to have to walk away or present us with yet another lying fudge.
            You read it here first!

          • Paul Greenwood

            You are doing a lot of advertising for Richard North’s competition prize entry which did not win. You have the unfortunate teacher view that there is a “right answer” which will get full marks. This is political power. The string-pullers in the EU have a problem. They have a nation paying €18 billion into the Community Chest gross each year and taking €100 billion more in goods from the EU than it sends to them.

            That is a nice business proposition. 20% German cars are exported to an island which is its 3rd largest export market overall.

            Now it wants to leave. Well it should leave but keep paying to fund the party for the rest of them. That is the bottom line. You can Flexcit to your heart’s content but without the UK the EU cannot function because its economy is the size of Italy + Spain, only Russia spends more on Defence in Europe.

            Three German Laender fund the German State – Hessen, Bayern, Baden-Wuerttemberg and they depend on exports to UK. Without UK taking in exports from Germany the whole structure implodes and Germany carries €900 billion in TARGET2 liabilities at BUBA through funding its one exports to the EuroZone.

            There is €1 Trillion in Bad Debts inside the EuroZone banking system. 40% loans in Italian banks are non-performing and Italy is No3 Borrower in earth. UK is No3 shareholder in ECB.

            If the UK stopped paying €18 billion a year into EU and stopped exporting to EU and stopped importing from EU it would not have a €100 billion trade deficit and could makre its own products. There are 5000 Porsches for sale on AutoTrader, do we really need to import more ?

            Denmark won’t lie 45% tariffs on meat exports nor will Netherlands but pork can be produced in UK and mushrooms do not need to come from Poland. Exports to Belgium – N Sea Gas and Gold; to Netherlands N Sea Oil and anything exported to rest of world via Rotterdam.

            What does UK physically export to Germany ? To France ? So UK flights won’t be allowed to land in EU airports ? Well EU flights won’t be able to land in UK either and London is the major hub. So Deutsche Bank will need to apply for a UK banking licence rather than passporting its Frankfurt licence.

            German businesses using Ltd & Co. KG will need to go through expensive restructuring in German law which is sclerotic. Anyone sensible will set up an Irish company.

            Richard North burrows away in EU regulations which was what Farage hired him to do, but they are irrelevant. What is relevant is that Italy has not grown for 20 years, that the Depression in the EU has been longer than in 1930s and don’t spin trash about Germany until you look at empty factories and see how Hoechst the great chemical firm looks now its facilities are torn down buy its French owners so it starts to loo like Bitterfeld.

            Flexcit is theoretical. Within a decade the car industry will be defunct in Western Europe. Germany is way behind on electric cars; Chinese have bought Volvo and Opel to develop the technology. Russia is the lucrative market of the future which is why Mercedes is building new plants there and why Italian cheese producers are setting up factories there. The EU is sclerotic and headed for oblivion.

            North and Booker have focused on the same game for two decades and failed to see how the wider world has developed. No4 car exporter is Mexico where BMW is building a world-scale plant for 3-series to replace German production. Demographics are dire in most EU countries and Merkel spent €22 billion last year on her imported population and only €35 billion on Defence. Germany has 30 combat ready aircraft, no ammunition in depots, just merged its tank builder KMW into a French company Nexter. Germany is de-industrialising at warp speed and China is buying up every technology it can.

            North and Booker are obsessed with the EU and have failed to see it is a bubble filled with yesterday’s dreams. I doubt there will be a negotiated solution because the EU cannot negotiate – it is institutionally unable so to do. Look at Ukraine and what a pig’s ear they have made there and will have to pay for unless they want millions of Ukrainians as refugees.

            The EU is the Ottoman Empire – corroding and unable to function.

          • David

            That’s a scenario I agree with. Their negotiating position is far weaker than perhaps even they realise. What worries most me is that May will underplay her strengths and overestimate theirs.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Truth is they don’t have “a position”. They are stumped. All those summits were about fudging a communique. Since Kohl and Mitterand they have had no policy. The GFC 2008 has exploded their myths completely and they continually ask for what they hope will be refused……more central control, transfer union, political union……these men are failures and need to posture

          • David

            “these men are failures and need to posture”
            That becomes clearer day by day.

          • Mike Stallard

            Actually they have written down their negotiating position. Among other things it includes the fact that UK will be a “third country” outside the Common Market. This means that all exports to and from the EU have to go through customs. It also means that we are expected to pay an undisclosed sum to keep any form of relationship going. In addition, the dear old ECJ is being mentioned as arbitrator – after we have left. there are other delights in their statement too.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Why export to the EU at all ? The balance is NEGATIVE €100,000,000,000. Why would you bother selling into a headwind ?

            I simply cannot understand why you buy more of their stuff than you sell them and pay them for the privilege of belonging to their trading club

          • Mike Stallard

            I want to thank you for an extremely learned and interesting break-down of the European economic problem. I must admit I have not seen such a thorough investigation and it is much appreciated.
            Today I had the pleasure (that is ironic by the way) of looking at the actual terms laid down by the EU on which discussions take place. Trade (what we call the economy) is dealt with “second” after the details of the separation.
            It is such an important document that I have yellow marked in the bits which I consider important. If you would like a copy, please do e mail me on [email protected]
            That goes for anyone else who is interested too, of course.

          • 1649again

            Good comment and all correct. We’re cutting loose just in time (as always). The EU’s underlying position is dire, it’s currency, banking system and financial systems massively flawed, a growing proportion of its population increasingly hostile, dependent on others for its defence and now importing third world savages at an alarming rate. It’s only the political fanaticism of its elite that is keeping it going. When it goes it will be shocking to everyone in its speed of denouement. Either that or become a naked tyranny (a quite likely possibility).

            We should just walk away at the end of the two year period if a good trade deal is not agreed very quickly. Business will already be reconfiguring in preparation.

            The World Bank and others are already increasing their weightings of Sterling reserves at the expense of the EU, a sign that international investors are yet again revising upwards their value of the UK’s safe haven status. Many analysts are now saying that Sterling is 15% or more undervalued versus the dollar and Euro.

          • David

            Understood. I agree that the media is dire, dysfunctional, which largely explains how very poor politicians survive.

          • Paul Greenwood

            not so much a brilliant analyst and a dedicated researcher as if history is made by researchers as opposed to men of action

          • Dave

            Actually I would suggest that while North styles himself as an ‘analyst’ and ‘researcher’, what he actually does is dream up a clever-sounding (to him) thesis then select and assemble (diligently certainly) whatever information he can find to prove himself right. He is incapable of exploring ideas in an open-minded way because everything he writes is guided by his need to be right and show off.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Good point !

        • David

          Some people are so busy projecting their own ‘wisdom’ to those like them, they fail to hear the word on the narrower streets; in a democracy it is what the whispering, and often shy, people are saying that usually counts. Give me the common sense of the plain man every time over the unproven theories of those who consider themselves educated.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Yes because they liked following Jim Slater’s “Zulu Principle” and being fringe experts and were horrified when the public voted Leave because it destroyed their life’s work

        • Mike Stallard

          Still are. Were you terribly hurt yourself?

          • Simon Platt

            No.

      • Anton

        It is difficult to disagree. But Brexiteers owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his work in the past.

        • O yes, indeed. He and Booker have been magisterial. His knowledge and intellect aren’t in question. But his attitude toward Vote Leave was deeply destructive: he prophesied doom and defeat even while platoons were marching forward. He contributed very little to that victory, because he was utterly convinced that it could not be attained. He was wrong.

          • Paul Greenwood

            He seems to have no ability to attract followers and win public support which is strange. Isn’t that why he was removed as a UKIP candidate ?

          • Mike Stallard

            Have you been on the blog recently? As Nigel Farage once did, he is building up quite a decent lot of support now.

          • Paul Greenwood

            I know his blog and his retinue. He has no traction and complains he is ignored by all but his groupies

          • Mike Stallard

            OK that is the normal view. However recently he has certainly gained traction. 265 comments today. The number of visitors plummeted when he was talking about the third country status, I admit, but recently with the negotiations about to begin, numbers seem to be picking up. The “groupie” remark is unworthy.

      • dannybhoy

        His theology is pants too..

      • David

        At a local level a parallel process took place. The pro-remain establishment politicians held rallies in the main local towns, if indeed they did anything at all except rely on the national performers and the television; meanwhile the two teams of Ukip and Vote Leave worked in parallel, setting up street stalls on Saturdays, trawling the streets of towns, villages and hamlets leafleting, talking and persuading, doorstep by doorstep by footsore doorstep. This latter approach was cheap, used the volunteer armies and reached out to the hitherto politically alienated and inactive. Our approach reached out to all the people and won !

        • Dominic Stockford

          Yup, it was the likes of those of us who used our shoe leather to encourage a mere (but significant) 35% of the London voters to vote leave wot wun it.

          • David

            Yes 35% of London’s electorate is a lot of votes ! As this was a national race all the Vote Leaves counted towards the grand national total. You have my sympathies, because unlike many of us, we provincials had the satisfaction of seeing a majority won in our areas, or constituencies known to us. But your 35 % was vital. Well done all gallant Brexiteers ! However it’s a pity May seems to be making a mess of the job after that democratic victory though. But that’s another story.

    • Manfarang

      “And just as nobody outside the Chuch of England is remotely interested in theology of any kind”
      I don’t think so.

    • betteroffoutofit

      Unfortunately, the person+ responsible for destroying Leeds/Yorksinre isn’t likely to care about the kind of work Dr. North has produced, albeit in Bradford.

      Just take a look at Bainsey’s own blog. There, his delight in things euro (included in his participation in church government) has manifested itself for several years. And he brooks no argument or discussion; if Dr. N is known for “always being right,’ then the two of them share that trait.

      Note also how few comments Bainsovich musters.

      All in complete contrast to His Grace or Dr. North.

    • David

      Well, having had a “peek” at the euro-link I certainly think that May, through lack of both foresight and decisive leadership, is turning the victory of the referendum result, delivered largely by Farage, into a weak withdrawal. Why does she leave the EU rather tamely, using their rules of engagement, namely Article 50 ? A bold decisive exit, announced within days of the referendum, under the Royal Perogative, would have saved months of expensive time, and treated the matter as a treaty, which is what our relationship always was. It would have seized the initiative from the off. We have a Chamberlain in charge when what we need, for times such as these, is a Churchill.

      • Paul Greenwood

        Chamberlain was the man who reversed Churchill’s Defence Cuts as Chancellor. It was Churchill that stripped Singapore of its fortifications enabling Japan to inflict the worst military defeat in British history. It was Churchill who formulated the “Ten Year Rule” that no war would occur in 10 years so Defence Spending could be cut.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Year_Rule

        Churchill as Chancellor left the country defenceless, Chamberlain reversed this disastrous policy after 1932 and funded the Merlin engine, radar, shadow factories, four-engined bombers, spitfires and hurricanes. Churchill made his 10 Year Rule perpetual in 1928…..Thank God Baldwin put Chamberlain as Chancellor instead of the charlatan

        • David

          This is about leadership in times of crisis, not handling money well. No one claims Churchill was good with money, including his own. You’ve missed the point, deliberately I suspect.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Not at all. You made a cheap slur against Chamberlain as is common with people who swallowed Churchill’s self-promotional memoirs. He rendered the country defenceless and is personally responsible for the loss of Singapore and Australians have two reasons to feel aggrieved at his actions in two wars. Leadership in times of crisis ? Not Churchill……he was on the way to the exit in May 1940 until he sent the RAF to bomb Moenchengladbach 11 May and Cologne 12 May to block the Dahlerus peace talks with Lord Halifax and RAB Butler at Foreign Office

          • CliveM

            Peace talks? He was right to stop them.

            The world was a different place in 1928 then it was in 1933.

          • Paul Greenwood

            No it was not. It was a rolling 10 year plan. 1928+10 =1938 an uneventful year you might think

          • CliveM

            are you being deliberately obtuse?

          • Paul Greenwood

            No I am being factually correct and assailing your besotted approach to childhood heroes

          • Did you have a Stalin teddy care to cuddle at night?

          • carl jacobs

            Ummm … Teddy bear.

            Interesting, however. Did you pick up those undertones as well? I thought it might just be me.

          • Paul Greenwood

            No. Where did you buy yours ?

          • Paul Greenwood

            He was right to stop them.

            Ah, and running out of foreign exchange by Dec 1940 and selling off all overseas assets of private companies to pay for US oil and weapons, and leaving a bankrupt country where 50% GDP in 1947 was Marshall Aid and bread rationing and clothes and furniture rationing and foreign exchange controls 1947-1979 were all worthwhile ? The UK would not be in its current predicament but for bad choices made decades earlier delivering the UK to the US as a sidekick

          • CliveM

            I note with interest your priorities.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Yes, I believe being able to pay for oil imports and food to be essential. I also think seizing British companies overseas assets and selling them is unusual……

            Henry Morgenthau, Roosevelt’s Treasury Secretary spelt out the position to the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Britain having by then been forced to open up its most closely-kept financial secrets to prove the depth of her need.

            Some samples from this statement:

            Britain’s current (January 1941) debt to US manufacturers – $1,400,000,000 (1941 values)

            British total assets (including private holdings in dollars, gold and marketable securities) $2,167,000,000 – of which $1,811,000,000 were actually available for use. (1941 values)

            Britain’s gold and dollar reserves had already dropped by $2,250,000,000 (1941 values)in the first sixteen months of the war. The war was now costing Britain $48,000,000 a day (1941 values) – the cost of the war was 60% of national income, much of which was being raised by crippling taxation.

            Morgenthau told the sceptical senators that of course Britain had resources all over the world, but she could not turn them into dollars, so they were of no use in buying weapons.

            ‘I am convinced’, he told the Senators, ‘they have no dollar assets beyond those they have disclosed to me. Lacking a formula by which Great Britain can continue to buy supplies here, I think they will just have to stop fighting, that’s all’.

            “When Sir Frederick Phillips, a British Treasury official, visited Washington in July 1940, Morgenthau had presented him with a list of British holdings in the United States. At the top of the list—above Shell Oil, Lever Brothers, Dunlop Tire & Rubber, and Brown & Williamson Tobacco—was American Viscose. All were worth $833 million combined.

            “How could Americans justify providing assistance to the British when the latter had such important assets in the United States?” Morgenthau asked.

            Initially, Phillips didn’t take the question seriously. But when he returned in December, the treasury secretary was more insistent. “He had to demonstrate to a still-isolationist U.S. public and Congress that Great Britain was not asking for funds from Americans while it had its own sizable resources in this country,” wrote historian Mira Wilkins.

            The British capitulated. In London, Churchill assigned Lord Thomas S. Catto—governor of the Bank of England and a Morgan partner—to deliver the news. Chairman Samuel Courtauld behaved “in exemplary fashion,” wrote Chernow. “He asked only one question: ‘Was the sale essential in the national interest, whatever the hardship on him and his company?’”

            Catto said that it was. At J.P. Morgan’s recommendation, the sale was managed by Morgan Stanley and another firm.”

          • CliveM

            Yes I suppose surrendering to a mass murdering psychopath and handing over our Jewish population would be a small price to pay for improved balance of payments.

            Gosh if we were really, really lucky, we might have been allowed to delude ourself that we were a free, independent nation.

            Somethings don’t have a price.

          • Paul Greenwood

            I think your childlike approach suggests a limited grasp of fact. Whenever did anyone propose handing over Jews in the UK to anyone. It was Roosevelt who deported German Jews to Germany. I think your cavalier attitude to having foreign exchange to pay for imports suggests you have no grasp of the dire situation this country faces today when having to fire Royal Marines to find US Dollars to pay for F-35 aircraft to sit on the flat tops ordered by Munificent Blair

          • bluedog

            Complete revisionism. There was no alternative to Lend-Lease although the US drove a very hard bargain, consistent with its desire to break the European empires. Apart from the US, there was no other banker or industrial power that could have supported Britain against Nazi Germany. The dilemma faced by Britain was that both the US and the USSR were anti-imperialist with de-colonisation as a fundamental objective. Our alliance with both was always going to be uncomfortable. British global power was under-pinned by India, and the US actively supported the independence drive of the Congress Party even when India faced being over-run by the Japanese. Strip out the Empire and Britain was simply too small with a population of just 40 million to face the combined might of Germany and Japan in say, 1942.

          • Paul Greenwood

            So Britain fought desert war to protect Suez Canal and within 4 years had lost India

          • carl jacobs

            Your English is pretty good for a non-native English speaker. Where are you from?

          • Paul Greenwood

            Your prejudice leads you astray yet again

          • carl jacobs

            No, you make interesting little errors in your grammar that a native speaker would not make. I have observed this in many of your posts. Where are you from?

          • Paul Greenwood

            an offshore island to the left of Denmark and France

          • Paul Greenwood

            The country that developed the language you profess to call your own

          • David

            You clearly see things differently to the commonly promoted narrative. Not being an expert in the history of that period, I shall note your point and move on. But perhaps you need to write, or make more available, your alternative history ?

          • Paul Greenwood

            try Graham Stewart “Burying Caesar” or books by John Charmley

        • carl jacobs

          You have an interesting lens by which you view history – a lens that might be described as “Churchill was an evil malignant incompetent sonofabitch”. Strange words to use about the man who saved Europe from a thousand years of night.

          • Paul Greenwood

            You clearly have little grasp of history and know nothing of the Chamberlain – Churchill rivalry – between their fathers – which carried on into the sons who did not like each other. Spencer-Churchill to give him his real name was a self-promoter and engaged in some treacherous politics interwar especially over Home Rule for India. I certainly never used your puerile description you place in inverted commas and suggest you reflect on your own stupidity for writing such drivel. The man who “saved Europe” was Josef Stalin who was fighting on the European mainland from June 1941 during which time USA was neutral and the British had taken a 3 year leave of absence from Mainland Europe

          • carl jacobs

            You clearly have little grasp of history …

            People who have been around this blog awhile might dispute that assertion.

            If the will of the British Gov’t to fight collapses at the end of May 1940, Hitler wins the war – Stalin or no Stalin. It’s that simple. That Britain stayed in the war is down to Churchill.

            And you might ask the populations of Eastern Europe how “saved” they felt. Hell, just ask a Ukrainian. Stalin didn’t manage to kill them all, you know.

          • “People who have been around this blog awhile might dispute that assertion.”

            Hmm …. they might. Jack will make no further comment.

          • carl jacobs

            I’m defending your guy, and this is the thanks I get. How shaper than a serpent’s tooth is an ungrateful grapefruit rind.

          • Paul Greenwood

            “your guy” ?????

          • carl jacobs

            I’m not British.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Spencer-Churchill was half-American so you can salivate

          • carl jacobs

            Do you think maybe you could make a post without being abusive?

          • CliveM

            Nah, he thinks being a prat exhibits his intellectual superiority.

            Besides its covers up His shallow analysis and an inability to contextualise.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Most certainly, but you do invite it

          • He’s right about Chamberlain. Radar saved Britain from the Luftwaffe. As for the rest of his views … shite springs to mind.

          • CliveM

            Dowding was most responsible for winning the Battle of Britain.

          • Funding had to be secured. Jack actually meant Baldwin – an underestimated Prime Minister.

          • CliveM

            Yes funding had to be secured, but Dowding developed the defensive system that won the battle.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Poles felt so grateful to Churchill……..and Ukrainians did not exist until Stalin gave them their borders including parts of Poland, and Churchill did create Belarus from those eastern provinces of Poland taken under Molotov-Ribbentrop. Churchill did however agree to cede 33% Germany to compensate Poland and agree to 12 million ethnic Germans being expelled from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland with > 2 million dying. He was quite happy for the Morgenthau Plan to reduce German living standards to 1932 levels and 1000 calories a day even though it was calculated 25 million would die of starvation.

          • carl jacobs

            Not a single word of which is responsive. Are you as well one of those people who believes Roosevelt knew about Pearl Harbor and let it happen?

          • Paul Greenwood

            I did not mention Pearl Harbour you drew in that red herring because it is the chapter with illustrations in your Potted World History issued in US High Schools

          • carl jacobs

            I mentioned Pearl Harbor to illustrate the crank nature of the history you are spouting. It wasn’t a red herring. It was an implicit analogy.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Not at all. You have no grounding in history except your Us fantasy books

          • Paul Greenwood

            It was 1st Ukrainian Front that took Berlin meanwhile it was 14th Waffen-SS Galician Brigade that saw Ukrainians fight with Hitler as Banderites did murdering Poles

          • carl jacobs

            That wouldn’t include the 9 million Ukrainians who were starved to death by deliberate state policy in 1932-33, then, would it. Let see. Who was running the Soviet Union in 1932? Who needed to break the will of the peasants to collectivization? Oh, yes. Stalin.

            What exactly do you think Stalin “saved” Europe for? What do you think he planned to do with it?

          • Paul Greenwood
        • Step11Recovery

          He was far from perfect, sure. But you have to love a man who confronted tyranny with blunt defiance, sustained only by champagne, brandy and large cigars.

          • Paul Greenwood

            He wrote lots of letters praising Mussolini pre-war. He was on the payroll of Czech Government interwar and certain individuals around Shell Transport & Trading.

    • Paul Greenwood

      I think His Grace is very familiar with Richard North and I believe their swords crossed if you would care to google Jesuits

      • *Removes hat and scratches head*

        So was the EU a Catholic plot or a CIA plot – or were both acting together with secularists to combat Communism?

        Happy Jack says it was plotted by the Lizards – comprising Jews-Masons and Jesuits.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Actually it was to facilitate German Rearmament when Us and Uk had to withdraw troops to fight in Korea and needed 10 German Divisions to safeguard Germany. France was given the Schumann Plan to bring German heavy industry under French control. German Rearmament came in 1955 and France rejected European Defence plan so Treaty Messina 1956 laid groundwork for Treaty of Rome 1957. Same year D-Mark made convertible.

          • That was the Lizards – they control Russia. The “cold war” was their idea too.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Cold War was George Kennan’s idea

          • Where do you think the so called Wise Men got their ideas from? Kennan broke ranks with them in the late 1940’s.

  • chefofsinners

    I see the Archbishops of Yorkie and Cadbury are at each other’s throats again. This time it’s over dropping the name of fertility goddess Eostre from the annual children’s type 2 diabetes hunt. Whatever next? Removing the Sun God from Sunday? Woden from Ash Wednesday, Thor from Maundy Thursday, Freya from Good Friday? Thank the Lord we have Sentamu to defend our Christian heritage.

    • Anton

      Discussion about this on the BBC Radio 4 news programme today (April 4th), including an interview with the Meaningful Easter Egg guy:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08ksc8k#play

      From 33:20.

      • chefofsinners

        Some meaningful comments from the Meaningful Easter Egg Co. , but I remain unconvinced by the chocolate for Christ movement.
        I will shortly be launching a new range, ‘confectionary from the lectionary’:

        St Peter Rock, which comes with the words “Happy Jack is infallible” all through the middle.

        Linus love hearts (fudge flavour) carrying the message “Rot in hell which doesn’t exist”. And

        Inspector Jellyroll, a tightly wound pudding.

        • Pubcrawler

          Don’t forge the LGBTYMCAQUERTYETAIONSHRDLU Rainbow It-takes Allsorts.

          • chefofsinners

            Thank you. Anyone else care to join the product development focus group?

          • Pubcrawler

            Sarky’s Acid Drops?

          • chefofsinners

            Holger’s Finger of Fudge

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Tacky…

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, it probably is.

          • David

            If there are free liquorice “All Sorts” thrown in – yes !
            Oh and lashings of ginger beer for me !

          • David

            Boiled in Hell Sweets from The Inspector !

        • Rainbow coloured Chef of Sinners Candyfloss – lacking in strength and solidity, flimsy, indigestible and full of sugar.

          [To avoid breaching the Trades Description Act, St Peter’s Rock should have ENNS through the middle]

          • carl jacobs

            St Peter’s Rock should have ENNS through the middle

            ENNS? Is this the new-and-improved version if the dogma?

          • Thank you for pointing out the typo before production. Now corrected.

            Carl’s product: a line of medium and long rang smart thermo-nuclear missiles, with the caption Peace at any Price.

          • carl jacobs

            ROFL! You get a point for that.

          • chefofsinners

            Bitterscotch, anyone?

        • Sarky

          You’ll all be pleased to know I’ll be launching my ‘tastiest atheist’ range on good Friday. The Dawkins, or as i call it ‘the chocolate dick’ is predicted to be a best seller.

          • chefofsinners

            You’re a Revel without a cause.

          • Linus is sure to order some.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Can you make me some confectionery? I’d be so grateful.

          • chefofsinners

            Sugar coated Dom-Doms? Available from the Protestant Sweet Tooth Society.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Yum, yum. I’ll have a quarter please.

          • chefofsinners

            By-election candied date.

          • Sarky

            Dont worry if he doesn’t pay. He’s used to not getting his deposit back.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Very healthy, I’ll have a half of those (lb) please.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Did John Cadbury’s descendant point out that the reason why Quakers don’t celebrate Easter, or Christmas (except as a secular festival) is that they believe that events like the Crucifiction and Resurrection, and the Incarnation, should be kept in mind all year?

      The National Trust obviously doesn’t believe in keeping such events in mind at any time if the year. Does John Cadbury’s descendant?

  • Paul Greenwood

    Can B ishop Nick explain why the Anglican Church in Wiesbaden in the so-called EU Diocese had to be funded by ECUSA because Canterbury would not fund it ? Could he clarify why this church has been left in pitiful condition and why the Church of England has not looked after this church which was central to the British population of Wiesbaden from the 19th Century, a church confiscated by the Nazis and used to store motorbikes but now a church trying to thrive with an interesting congregation but without the TLC the Church of England offers everyone else but its congregations ?

  • David

    If His Grace may permit a deviation from this ageing article, I see that Mrs May has criticised the National Trust for taking the word “Easter” out of its advertising of a seasonal egg hunt over the Easter period. She is right to do so, of course. The N.T., like many organisations in this sector, is under the influence of the left. In the trust’s case changes have been taking place for some time reflecting this.
    Given the mature nature of the large volunteer component of its workforce such a move culturally leftwards may have adverse repercussions. Some two years ago, when the early signs were showing, I cancelled my longstanding annual membership of the NT. I suspect that now its intentions are becoming ever more obvious, many more may not renew their membership.
    An anti-tradition stance seems an odd one to take for an organisation that must surely be about
    heritage ? However as with the universities, where similar dissonance is found, with the thwarting of free speech contradicting their underlying purposes of intellectual inquiry, organisational incoherence would appear to be of little concern to these soft left organisations. But then with both organisations, perhaps it is more about a shallow following of cultural fashion than developing any coherent
    policies ?

    • Paul Greenwood

      See who runs the NT – Helen Ghosh

      • David

        Yes, say no more.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I met her the other day.

        • chefofsinners

          In the name of the Father, the Son and the Helen Ghosh…
          What was she like?

        • David

          My sympathies.

    • Sarky

      Nothing to do with the national trust. The change was made by cadburys, who sponsor the event.
      Alot has been made of cadburys christian heritage, although as far as i understand, quakers don’t celebrate easter.

      • David

        Do Quakers celebrate ?
        I get the impression that contemporary Quakers are very different from the industrialist Quaker families of the past. Some I’ve met are very into trendy, lefty “good causes”, such as the claims regarding man-made climate change, or ecological concerns, but with very little substantive Christian doctrine and faith. Their newly built meeting rooms are still very spartan though.

        • Anton

          Really? Do you know what they got up to in Sparta?

          • David

            Nah ! Not really !
            They trekked north to colder climes, because,
            All that pugilism and fighting turned them pacifist by the 16th C.
            Didn’t you realise that ?

          • chefofsinners

            Played a lot of spart?

          • Anton

            Please see the history documentary known as “300”.

          • Pubcrawler

            I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

        • Step11Recovery

          Do Quakers celebrate ?

          They do, but not in their meetings for worship. These are held in silence until any member of the meeting ‘is moved to speak’.

          I’ve been to a few Quaker meetings. They are fine people who take their faith very seriously. Their meetings are solemn and frequently moving occasions.

          That said, their outlook is very much along the lines of all faiths are but different paths to God. If you are looking for a robust faith centred on the person of Jesus, and his death and resurrection, you would have to look elsewhere.

        • Manfarang

          They celebrate the inward light.

          • David

            Yes, led by the Spirit and all that.
            They are a classic example of what happens to a Christian origin faith when there is next to no established doctrine or fixed boundaries to the faith. Undefined by liturgy, Creed or doctrine, rooted in the Bible, but led by “their” individual inner light they just evolve, influenced by whatever is the passing theme of the age.
            Don’t misunderstand me. Many are, in the conventional sense good people, but Trinitarian Christians they certainly are not.

          • Royinsouthwest

            I think the early Quakers were definitely good Christians.

    • Anton

      The National Trust got on board the Climate Change bandwagon some time ago rather than get on with its mandate. It needs cleansing of this nonsense. Certainly it won’t get a penny of my money on top of entry fees until that happens, and I shall explain why every time.

      • David

        Quite ! Me too. My annual subscription was ended. They were a fine institution but they too, are now infected with the destructive bug of PC. But PM Mrs May is a hypocrite. She was one of those that worked with the EU to import into the UK the confusion in the nature and meaning of marriage, which is causing such confusion and difficulties to many of the faith. She poses as a defender of the faith whilst attacking it. It is not just what you say, but also what you do that announces your faith.

    • chefofsinners

      No more about chocolate. You’re going off Topic.

      • Sarky

        He is a bit of a drifter.

        • David

          No, not a “Drifter”, I never liked them, but I’m more of a Yorkie Bar I’d say.

          • Sarky

            But they’re ‘not for girls’.

      • David

        Right chief !
        We follow your lead !

        • chefofsinners

          I apologise. I have led my brethren astray. It’s not good to take such a pick ‘n’ mix approach. Cranmer might throw me out by the curly wurlies. Apparently he has a short Fuse.

          • David

            Humbly confess and all will be forgiven.
            Alternatively, Jack will sell, woops I mean send, an indulgence round in a jiffy-bag !

      • Dominic Stockford

        (Snickers to himself, quietly).

        • Anton

          You deserve a Bounty on your head for that.

      • Anton

        You should be exiled to Mars for that.

        • Sarky

          He should go on a double decker, might give him a bit of a boost.

      • CliveM

        This thread is turning into a bit of a Marathon (for those who remember!)

  • Sarky

    Loved Rachael Weisz in constantine!! And Catherine Z J in zorro was awesome!! Not so good in dads army though!!!

  • Sarky

    She was the best bit of ‘batman vs superman. The wonderwoman film looks pretty awesome though.