Vote Whig, vote often!
Goodness! Such goings-on in Barchester now that Mrs. Dismay has announced a snap election – there hasn’t been so much excitement since Bishop Loombucket declared for the king in 1642 and the town was besieged by the parliamentary forces of Major-General ‘Old Piety’ Grimshanks. Since Tuesday’s declaration, there has been a mad rush by all and sundry to declare their candidacy. First off the starting block, quicker than Mo Farah chasing a quorn hot-dog, was Mustafa Fatwah, standing for the ‘Barchester Hezbollah and Associated Trades Collective’, operating from his headquarters in Number 4, Galloway Cottages, Gorgeous George Street, a dubious area of the town much frequented by tent-clad types on welfare. His cause is not ours. Then we have Mr. Bunce from Hiram’s Hospital, representing the ‘Woolcombers, Lummock-wogglers and Posset-dabblers’, under the slogan of ‘Old folk are not just for Christmas’. Indeed they are not, though the frost does thin them out a bit. Our pro-Holy Zollverein candidate, not surprisingly, is Signora Vesey Neroni, but frankly her campaign doesn’t have legs. Mr. Slope was tempted to put himself forward as the Tatchellite alternative, but the threat of maintaining a missionary position in Nyasaland brought him up sharp. So you see, my dear friends, there is so much to choose from in our quiet little corner of England, though which candidate will get my vote is moot.
I see Mr. Osborne is leaving the Westmonster Sewer for a career in journalism. I have it on good authority that he was turned down by Tom Towers at The Jupiter as a purveyor of fake news, by which he means fibs. This can only refer to the whoppers put out at the time of the Neverendum, when the sky was supposed to fall down upon our heads. I must admit to being surprised by Mr. Towers’ sudden conversion to morality – The Jupiter is quite the scurrilous rag, owned now by a certain Australian with strong convictions… pending.
At the midweek gathering at Courcy Castle, the talk was about young Prince Harry baring his soul to the world. The ladies were lavish in their praise of the prince’s courage and honesty in telling us he was rather fed up and that life in the palace had been extremely tough. Countess de Courcy, fully aware that the prince is not yet married to the American gold-digger, has been angling for him to visit the castle, no doubt with the intention of thrusting one of her daughters in his way. Most unseemly, and so is this modern impulse to hang out the emotional washing on the Sigmund Line. ‘Stiff upper lip’ is what serves best, not the Dame aux Camelias flouncing of his sainted mother.
Alas I have little to say on the up-and-coming French elections. My interest in the country died a death when poor King Louis Philippe was ousted by the usual street rabble that bubbles up time and again in French history. It appears to be doing so again, with all sorts of shenanigans being plotted – mostly by the bearded anarchist-types with sweaty-armpits smoking Gauloises and mixing Molotov cocktails. I do wish someone would clarify whether the Front National is of the left or the right – both descriptions are bandied about willy-nilly. Not that I care. You may think I am over-fond of Bourbons, but I assure you that hobnobs are really my favourites.
The Archdeacon also had little comment on the appointment of the second-best Bishop of Sheffield, other than to say the whole business brought discredit, once again, to the Church of England.
“Of course, the gutter press and Bolshevik Broadcasters had a field-day with this,” he snorted, “and all stirred up by a dean, no less. It comes to a pretty pass when a cleric sticks a knife into a fellow cleric – what sort of pew-scorning stackable-chair enthusiast is this un-venerable fellow, this gung-ho leveller with kumbaya-credentials?”
“I am sure the dean acted with the best intentions, as he saw them,” I replied, doing an Osborne.
“Harrumph!” came the reply, as the Archdeacon turned tail and headed to his study for a post-matins sherry.
The Archdeacon, being very much a man of action, has been busy organising Barchester Civil Defence of late, now that the world situation has turned a bit nasty and the prospect of missiles flying hither and thither more likely. The old gentlemen at Hiram’s Hospital have been issued with stirrup pumps to tackle any blazes, and Dr. Thorne has ordered an extra supply of bandages and iodine. I shall be on hand manning the soup kitchen as and when. As chaplain to Barchester Barracks, Mr. Slope has been spending long hours on his knees ministering to the troops – prayer is such a comfort.
Well, the big hand of time has slapped the backside of inactivity, prompting a girding of loins and a frenzy of flapdoodle. Must get on. Until next week, dear friends, may the spectre of Diane Abbott never darken your dreams and the whiskers of Corbyn never tickle your fancy.
Vote Whig, vote often!