Goodness! One of the latest fads sweeping Barset, if not the country as a whole, is Spiritualism. I believe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a devotee, and in our own cathedral city Mrs. Mahatma Pentangle does a roaring trade at her esoteric boudoir on Fingerfull Passage every second Tuesday in the month, though of course my Lord the Bishop and I thoroughly disapprove. I understand new-fangled devices are available which receive messages from the ether to the amazement, delight or consternation of those receiving. One such ethereal communication – from the White House no less – has sent the Bolshevik press, bien pensants, Citizen Khan, Church of England and Prime Minister into a frenzy, for it seems the President has pointed out some of the dire atrocities committed across the globe by fanatical Muslims. ‘Racist!’ scream the forever offended, accompanied by a ticking off from the nation’s Head Girl and a demand for an apology from the clerics. How wonderful, then, to learn that a second message was forthcoming from an undeterred Mr. Trumplestiltskin, viz. “Never mind about me, focus on the damage radical Islam is doing to your nation…” It is like the writing on the wall at Balshazzar’s Feast; a warning that our politicians seem determined to ignore. It also sends a second message – the President cares more about this country than those howling in anguish at his words.
But along comes Friday morning and news that the president has not taken kindly to his wigging, thus cancelling his visit to Great Britain. One wonders what Mrs. Dismay’s game really is! There are some, like the Archdeacon, who believe she is deliberately goading the President so that a trade deal with the United States becomes impossible, and therefore she will argue we must have a much closer relationship with the Zollverein to ensure economic stability. She will then blame Trumpelstiltskin for the whole affair. One also wonders if the Prime Minister was ever a member of the Rosa Kleb Collective in her youth, like her good friend Frau Merkin – both daughters of the vicarage, both supposed Conservatives, both EUnatics, both snoopers… I rest my case.
When King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned by a dastardly Austrian, England was called upon to provide a ransom to secure his release. This precedent was clearly in the mind of Mrs. Dismay when she caved in to Junckerdom and agreed to £50 billion or so leaving these shores to ‘get things moving’. She wasn’t so hasty when it came to invoking Article 50, one notes. The Archdeacon is not impressed. I met him on my way back from the Philosophical Society’s annual ‘Pin a conscience on Mr. Blair’ charity event, which, though well attended, always fails to hit the mark.
“Hellfire and damnation! That long-legged leather-panted lip-serving dissemblerette has done exactly what I said she would. Someone should tell her that it is our money, not hers. She makes John Major look like Genghis Khan, David Cameron look like Einstein and Sir Robert Walpole like Mr. Dynamic.”
“I quite agree, Archdeacon, but placed against the rest of the lesbians, bon vivants and Bo-Jo bombastics in the government, she seems a cut above.”
“That’s because she appointed that motley crew in order to make herself look good,” sniffed the Archdeacon, “And as for being a cut above, she’s an irredeemable basket-case who undoubtedly deserves her ‘Marie Antoinette Moment’.”
The Archdeacon can be harsh at times, but this wasn’t one of them.
At a meeting of the Dr. Wortle’s School Managers on Tuesday evening we discussed the implications of Estelle Morris’s proposal to have government inspection of home-schoolers made mandatory. In my humble opinion, this is another blow against the family, who should have every right to decide what and how their children should be taught. It is, in fact, a Snoop and Swoop Charter: snooping into people’s private lives and then swooping down on them when it’s discovered gender equality is not given the prominence government demands. One foresees children being taken away to be re-educated by the state – horrid, horrid thing indeed!
“If parents do not wish to send their children to us,” said Mrs. Arachne Ganderbody (postmistress and chairwoman of the local ‘Ladies for Capital Punishment Society’), “I don’t see why we should be in the slightest concerned.”
“Because it is the thin end of the wedge,” I replied, putting the old besom straight.
“Hah,” snorted Mr. Arquebus Trelawney (the local apothecary, taxidermist and swan-upper), “Surely we passed that part of the wedge long ago. I know I have passed a good many things in my time.”
One has to hold one’s tongue, and one’s nose, at this sort of thing.
But I confess he had a point. What with Morris’s snooper-troupers and Ms. Greening’s ‘Shower-time is fun time just don’t drop the soap’ approach to the curriculum there is something seriously wrong with education. Thank goodness the 39 Articles form the lynch-pin of our own establishment.
Despite all my efforts, Mr. Slope managed to get himself elected to the House of Clergy in time for this coming Synod. He has tabled a motion in favour of discussing same-sex relationships (along with the world and his husband and his husband and his dachshund), something we used to term ‘Sausage Snorkelling’ before the new Puritanism changed the language. I too can change the language, and henceforth I shall refer to this gathering of Libertudinarians as ‘Sin-odd’.
At least the Archbishop of York will be wearing his collar again, a protest nobody paid the slightest attention to but showed due reverence to St. Virtue of the Signals, patron saint of 21st-century England. After all, wasn’t St. George from Syria or some such place, and therefore an illegal?
Goodness! Now I am late for the Mother’s Union Craft Evening. We are learning how to ‘Baste an antelope in Madeira for Advent’, as demonstrated by Lady Effingham-Blinding; and how to weave provocative Nativity figures from Peruvian guano, guided by Mrs. Cleopatra Shovel. It promises to be an instructive and enjoyable event, especially as Signora Neroni is otherwise engaged judging the ‘Britain’s Got Legs’ dance competition at the Town Hall.
So, as the rickety tumbril of destiny carries the night-soil of manifesto promises to the lime-pit of disappointments, and the Argonaut of Decency is crushed between the Scylla and Charybdis of LGBGTQWERTY and Antifa, I bid you all a very fond adieu until next week. Always remember the Barchester motto – ‘Together in Adversity’. I thank you all.