Mrs Proudie
Meditation and Reflection

Germans stockpiling food and water? What do they know that we don't?

 

Goodness! The Bishop and I travelled to London the other day to see the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Try as we might, we couldn’t find any works by Landseer or Holman Hunt on display, just innumerable blotches of paint on huge canvasses and some scribbles by Tracy Emin, though at least we were spared her dirty sheets and sanitary accoutrements. As for the Gilbert and George montage, words fail me (but obviously not for long!). My Lord remarked (and I agreed with him) that the art world is gripped by ‘Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome’, where nobody is prepared to stand up and say ‘Rubbish!’ for fear of being ridiculed. Increasingly one feels out of step with the world, and London doesn’t seem to belong to us any more, if indeed it ever did. A relief then to get back to Barchester and The Palace, where stands the clock at ten to three and there are hobnobs still for tea.

At the Barchester Goethe Institute on Saturday evening, the guest speaker, a Baron Munchausen, informed us how the German populace has been warned to stock up on food and water in the event of a terrorist attack. It begs the question – what do they know that we don’t? This caused considerable distress amongst the ladies, some of whom – like the Dear Queen – have relatives living over there. What good does it do tackling the symptom and ignoring the cause? I have packed up several boxes of hobnobs and will shortly post them off to Berlin. I’m sure they will be a welcome change from würst and sauerkraut.

Mr. Slope has taken to visiting the YMCA Swimming Pool on Gusset Makers’ Alley each morning, where he enjoys several lengths before breakfast. He’s bought a pair of Speedos like Tom Daley, but I doubt if they improve his stroke, nor indeed his ‘look’, which redefines the word ‘scrawny’ (he’d do us all a favour if he wore a Burkini, but I digress). This is not the sum total of his fitness campaign however, for he can be seen circling the city walls at twilight on a penny farthing à la Jason Kenny, thus combining exercise with evangelical mission. Many a young man late at night has benefitted from Mr. Slope’s ministrations, which leaves them with a wondrous sense of fulfilment and Mr. S. with an aching jaw.

As you know, I am a manager at Dr. Wortle’s School, where Christian principles are drilled into receptive noddles on a daily basis: lots of ‘Thou shalt nots’ and no mention of ‘begats’, providing young people with backbone and bottom. Well now, the good doctor was recently approached by none other than the Secretary of State for Education (sorry, the name escapes me as they change so often) to take in a quota of ‘refugee children’. He is worried about the impact this will surely have on the curriculum, not to mention the danger of some of the poppets exploding, as has been reported in the news of late – one can never be too vigilant when it comes to these ISIS blighters. Tried to reassure him that Barchester was unlikely to be high up on their list of primary targets, to no avail.

“It’s all very well you saying that, madam,” said Dr. W., “but it is only a matter of time. First they come for the Saturday people, then the Sunday people. We are all doomed…”

I suppose we are. Still, stiff upper lip and all that. We can but hope that education is the way forward and so applaud the University of Bristol’s decision to offer free scholarships to the invaders. I hear their Ph.D. course in Semtex Studies is already over-subscribed…

One wonders if, as the Titanic slowly went down, there was a last-minute vote amongst the crew to decide whether or not to replace Captain Smith with the First Officer? Either way, it would have made little difference to the outcome. Perhaps another Mr. Smith, and a certain comrade, might ponder on this and draw the appropriate lesson (though I understand the comrade in question prefers travelling by rail, provided he can find a seat).

After Wednesday’s news, I join with the Stanhopes and Signora Neroni in mourning for the poor people of Umbria, Lazio and Marche, stricken by the terrible earthquake. It is many years since the earth moved for me, but for the people of those regions tremors are but regular occurrences. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. On that sombre note, dear friends, I bid you all adieu, until next week.

  • David

    Once again many thanks Mrs Proudie for your gripping, amusing and topical digest of the week’s horrors.
    Regarding German’s being advised to stockpile essentials it is claimed that this is Mother Merkel’s ruse for reversing her falling support amongst the populace by frightening them into voting for her, again, in the forthcoming elections. Quite how the psychology of that would work in the German brain is beyond me, but there you have it.
    My reaction to my former University, Bristol, offering free scholarships to refugees is challenged by a number of factors; not least amongst which is the fact that, unlike my now ancient degree, a current “education” sadly, but all too often, teaches the young not how to think, but what to think. Too many of the “leaders” of our society value left wing mantras and soundbites over well reasoned, evidenced arguments I fear.

    However I join with Mrs Proudie in sympathy with all those damaged physically, mentally, economically or spiritually by the Italian earthquake.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Dear David, as ever you are too kind. I have long given up trying to understand the German mind after listening to a Carl Orff concert.

  • Dreadnaught

    One of our most vulnerable areas is our water supply. It has been long known that poisoning an adversary’s well is a sure way to make a devastating impact for little risk. I too have my own stored supply and have done for a long time.

    • Inspector General

      Dredders, is it true that you are a fellow more than capable of drinking his own urine should the need arise…

      • sarky

        He’s defo an expert at taking the p##s.

      • Dreadnaught

        Damn your impertinence Sir – doesn’t everyone?

        • Inspector General

          Apparently not their own anymore, sir. One now hears that the urine of choice must now come from a celebrity…

          • Dreadnaught

            Nnnnnoooooooo…

    • dannybhoy

      “I too have my own stored supply and have done for a long time.”
      Makes it difficult to get around though, and you need a loose fitting trouser…

      • Anton

        Well, well, well…

  • Inspector General

    Of more concern to the Inspector is the Germans stockpiling of muslim immigrants, Mrs Proudie. Obviously they are not to remain indefinitely (they have ways of ensuring that no doubt) so where are they headed?

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I hope you are braced, dear Inspector. They will no doubt turn up at railway stations with little labels attached to them, waiting to be billeted on some poor unsuspecting British family.

      • bluedog

        Send them to darkest Peru, Mrs P.

    • dannybhoy

      You’ll get one free with your new Mercedes.. two if you buy the luxury pack with the extra large boot…

  • Uncle Brian

    Memo to Frau Merkel. Do you remember who said this?—

    I have started steadily buying things like tinned food. I have started to buy things which I know we shall need in five to ten years’ time—things like sheets and towels and things. … I am of the wartime generation. We did this at the beginning of the war and I can remember my mother still had tins left at the end. They were very good indeed. I am doing the same thing now.

    http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/102055

  • preacher

    The reference to the R.A reminds me of the late Tony Hancock’s response to his critics in the film ‘ The Rebel ‘, who once applauded his daubs as genius, but soon moved on to pastures new, ” You’re all raving mad ! ” he roared. Quite appropriate I thought.

    • dannybhoy

      A lovely talented, tormented chap Tony Hancock. He typified the post war Britain of the ’50s and ’60s.

      • bluedog

        Not forgetting the inimitable Charlie Drake.

        • Inspector General

          Indeed blue. One remembers the fellow out in the Australian desert with his boomerang in his hand…

          • dannybhoy

            My boomerang won’t come back, my boomerang won’t come back.
            Well I’ve waved the thing all over the place; practiced ’til I was black in the face….

          • Inspector General

            “I’m a big disgrace to the aboriginal race…”

          • dannybhoy

            All join in the chorus –
            “My boomerang wo-on’t come back!

          • Inspector General

            “If you want your boomerang to come back, then first you have to throw it…”

        • dannybhoy

          Yes. also one of my favourites of the period.

          • bluedog

            ‘Allo, my darlins…’

      • Pubcrawler

        Still available weekly on Radio 4Extra.

  • bluedog

    ‘the German populace has been warned to stock up on food and water…’.

    Perhaps they’re just preparing to sit through Parsifal.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I know what you mean. The bishop, Mr. Slope and I went to Bayreuth a couple of years back as Mr. Slope wanted to see Wagner’s Ring. For hours we sat as Valkyries warbled and Wotan waved his shaft at us.

      • dannybhoy

        You are very very naughty, Mrs Proudie. Have you ever thought of trying your hand at a novel?

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Well, I did start one once, called ‘Withering Looks’ but Miss Bronte swiped and modified the title for one of her turgid stories…

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Hoe about “50 Shades of Slope”?

          • Pubcrawler

            A comic drama, I think. Something like “The Importance of Being Euston”.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Don’t you mean “Eustace”?

          • Pubcrawler

            That would be “Impotence”.

          • Redrose82

            Or the Burkini saga -“Much ado about clothing”.

      • Anton

        You prefer Gilbert and Sullivan?

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          To Gilbert and George, most definitely…

  • len

    Is a terrorist attack likely by’ the religion of peace’?’ Inevitable’ one must assume?. Islamic terrorists seem to be working on the principle that if they kill everyone on the planet who disagrees with their religion then Islamic terrorists will be the only ones left?.
    ‘Inevitable ‘they will carry on….Until some sort of’ light goes on’ that they are directly opposed to the God of the bible?.

  • dannybhoy

    “and some scribbles by Tracy Emin, though at least we were spared her dirty sheets and sanitary accoutrements.”

    Gasps!!
    Sounds like the beginning of a smear campaign..

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      The very idea!

  • dannybhoy

    ” Increasingly one feels out of step with the world, and London doesn’t seem to belong to us any more, if indeed it ever did. A relief then to get back to Barchester and The Palace, where stands the clock at ten to three and there are hobnobs still for tea.”
    Quite true that, London is no longer a part of the UK. Reminds one of ‘Passport to Pimlico’, but without the indigenous English.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      More like Bhowani Junction methinks…

      • dannybhoy

        Good film that.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Yes indeed, heart-breaking stories…many felt totally abandoned when the Raj came to an end, neither fish nor fowl so to speak,,,

          • bluedog

            Some of them had good voices, ‘We’re all going on a summer holiday’.

  • The Explorer

    “It is many years since the earth moved for me.” That’s not what you said last week!

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      A week is a long time in politics and Barchester…

  • Inspector General

    Mrs Proudie. It has come to the Inspector’s attention that someone has whacked Mr Branson. Have you seen the shiner he’s sporting? Reminds the Inspector of a typical Saturday night in the arse end part of Gloucester.

    Perhaps he’ll think twice about doubting Mr Corbyn’s word in future…

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I think one of Comrade Corbynski’s bully-boys has nobbled him.

  • Bernard from Bucks

    “… nobody is prepared to stand up and say ‘Rubbish!’ ”

    I’ve got a pile of rubbish
    That doesn’t mean a thing,
    In fact, each time I look at it
    My eyes begin to sting.
    Despite its dreary presence
    I’ve come to realise
    It really would be suitable
    To win the “Turner Prize!”

    J Robertson

  • bluedog

    The trip to the RA Summer Exhibition must have been thrilling, Mrs P.

    Did you perchance espy the stunning portrait of Lady Horsey de Horsey among the Winterhalters loaned by dear Albert? She scandalised by riding unchaperoned in the Park with poor Lord Cardigan, who has so much to regret, before dislodging his first countess to become his bride. After the death of of Lord C, she remarried a Portuguese gentleman yet retained her late husband’s charger, stuffed and mounted, in the hall of her London home. One suspects that Mr Slope would be able to offer a compelling explanation of this remarkable initiative.

  • DP111

    Stock up on 10 days supply of food and water! No conventional terror attack could do such a thing, unless the water supply is contaminated.

    There are three other possibilities

    1. A dirty nuke by Jihadis

    2. A conventional war with Russia, that leads to a tactical nuke exchange.

    3. Civic unrest.

    I think it is the last. Germany is a smoothly functioning society. Exactly the kind that will disintegrate if key system are attacked by discontented Germans, angry with what Merkel has done to Germany. They know the where and the how.

  • Eustace

    The anticipatory Schadenfreude of Mx Proudie’s latest clutch of threadbare quips and mauvais mots tells us all we need to know about her attitude towards her European neighbours.

    “Oh goody! An impending disaster in Germany. This should be fun to watch from the safety of our moated citadel. Let’s hope it’s something massive that takes out the entire country. That diddy little Italian earthquake nobody cares about was hardly worth a cursory call to prayer. But thousands of the Hun gased or nuked, now that would be really be worth a good gloat.”

    It’s what Mx Proudie clearly lives for. Not so much to be right, rather than to spurn and scorn and harangue those who are wrong, or at least less fortunate than herself.

    As such, she represents rather well the sneering and retributive Victorian type of Christianity practiced on this blog.

    But think for a moment, Mx Proudie. Perhaps the German government is advising laying in stores because it’s studied prevailing weather patterns and realises that anything unpleasant carried on the wind is most likely to come from the west at this time of the year. You know, from the other side of the North Sea.

    If you find the Netherlands and Denmark battening down the hatches in the next day or two, put on a lead-lined crinoline and flee to your coal cellar. I make no predictions of course. But if the Germans are encouraging their populace to be ready for a situation in which they may be forced to stay indoors for a couple of weeks…

    • The prevailing wind in Germany this time of year comes from the Middle Eastern desert Eustace. Until last year it only usually brought sand with it, now it brings terrorists, ak47s and God knows what else.

      You leave MRS Proudie and her delightfully English epistles alone, just because you don’t understand her wit no need to be spiteful.

      • Eustace

        Mx Proudie’s woefully English epistles are apparently written by the bastard offspring of the Widow Twankey and Benny Hill.

        Clumsy innuendo coupled with High Victorian slapstick haven’t been “delightful” since the days of the “Carry On” films. And even then the delight was limited to a certain social class. And below.

        As two bitter and complaining viragos of socio-economic origin so obvious as to be politely called “indeterminate”, you and Mx Proudie are clearly on the same wavelength. Your litanies of outrage and acid condemnation certainly draw on very similar sources. Ever thought of submitting your work to the Daily Wail? Or might Katie Hopkins object to the blatant plagiarism?

        • The Explorer

          What a bitter and complaining response. “two bitter and complaining viragos.” Surely you mean three?

          • Eustace

            If you want to include yourself in the bitter and complaining virago category, by all means go ahead.

            I thought you were a man, but if transgender feelings have come upon you in the night, who am I to deny your new gender identity?

          • The Explorer

            As Feste puts it in ‘Twelfth Night’, “Did you never see the picture of ‘we three’?” It would appear you did not.

        • If you could produce something at least as clever and as amusing yet serious as MRS Proudie does you might be qualified to complain, but seeing as all you ever produce are dreary, derogatory and denigrating lectures here.

        • Anton

          Ever thought of not reading Mrs Proudie? Once I’ve decided I don’t like an author I simply stop reading him or her. You must have a great deal of time on your hands.

          • Eustace

            No more time than you. Judging by the number and frequency of your posts, the study of physics is clearly not a particularly time-consuming vocation.

            My work day is structured in a way that leaves me a great deal of time that isn’t so much “free” as “not otherwise occupied”. Which means that as long as I’m on hand to deal with matters as they arise, if matters don’t arise, I can amuse myself as I see fit.

            As there’s a certain amount of amusement to be found in observing that bad can indeed go to worse (and generally does), my weekly perusal of l’Orgueilleuse’s column should be interpreted as an act of Schadenfreude. I keep thinking it can’t get any worse than last week’s indigestible serving of tittering double entendre, and every week I am proved wrong.

          • Anton

            You need not justify how you spend your time to me, just as I shan’t to you about my time. I’m simply observing that you are blessed with a great deal of it if you choose to read posts by (for instance) Mrs Proudie that you expect to dislike. In that case, why not read the Bible instead…?

          • Eustace

            There’s no question of me justifying myself to anyone. I’m my own master and owe no explanations to you. However by inference you laid a charge of indolence at my door, which can just as easily be laid at yours. A charge that needed refuting.

            I wonder, where does this compulsion that Christians feel to accuse, if not directly then at least by inference, come from? Attack is the best form of defence, I suppose.

            And as for the Bible, I’ve read it. A very dull tome it is too. L’Orgueilleuse on the other hand produces original, if rather repetitive and hackneyed, work. It’s always on the same theme of being shocked and horrified, throwing about a few snide insinuations, denigrating a person or class of people she hates and then predicting doom if her will is not immediately acted upon. Indeed it’s rather like watching an am-dram version of an episode of “Keeping Up Appearances”. The same ridiculous premise repeated over and over again, and then we snigger out of pure habit. Until we start to yawn.

            Patricia Routledge managed to keep the character of Hyacinth Bucket going for three whole series before her audience lost interest. But then she was an accomplished actress. Does l’Orgueilleuse have the same degree of talent? Clearly not. So I’ll get bored with her soon enough, as will you all. In the meantime, let her present us with the same threadbare jokes every week, over and over again. As this is a Christian site, the ritualistic aspect of it seems quite appropriate. But all ritual pales in the end. It’s the inevitable outcome of the law of diminishing returns.

          • Anton

            If you started to yawn several columns of Mrs Proudie’s ago, why keep reading her and commenting? I quite understand your wish to comment here about religion, for whatever your views it is an important subject. But all-out attack on light satire? I was not, by the way, accusing you of indolence, even implicitly; it is your priorities that I am bringing into question.

          • Eustace

            If you think my views on l’Orgueilleuse’s “light satire” are an all-out attack, you clearly lead a sheltered life.

            And in what way can you criticise the priorities of someone who prefers contemporary fiction to ancient myth?

          • Anton

            You have a certain talent for satire yourself, but you prefer all-out attack. There is no significant difference in tone between your comments on Mrs Proudie and your comments here on many aspects of Christianity.

          • Eustace

            I respond to all Christian bigots in the same way.

            L’Orgueilleuse has merely draped a lacy crinoline or, dare I say it, veil over her judgmental and homophobic condemnation. It’s the same poisonous and vicious attack as anything a Jack or an IG could launch. It just feels a bit less pointed because she pads it out with twitterings and witterings and faux-Trollopian jeux de mots.

            She won’t find me quite so insincere. However much she wants to beat about the bush, she’ll find that I cut right through it to expose the rot underneath. That’s what you don’t like. Being reminded that the stench leaking out from under that frilly crinoline is primarily the odour of bigotry.

          • Anton

            Then just keep on wasting your time; it’s fine by me.

          • Eustace

            You seem to have spent an inordinate amount of your time dealing with something that you claim not to care about. Clearly you have a lot of time to waste if such unimportant matters can monopolise so much of your attention.

            Come up with a unified theory of everything fully supported by peer-reviewed and verified data, have you? Identified dark matter and dark energy and solved the riddle that unsettled Einstein so terribly when he talked about “spooky action at a distance”, eh? If so, I assume you’ve taken early retirement on the proceeds of the multiple Nobel prizes you’ve scooped, and are now devoting your time to setting a random atheist straight about Christianity.

            Odd that I haven’t heard anything about your prize-winning efforts though, but I suppose science is a dry and uninspiring subject for many, so perhaps I should just wait for the next installment of PBS Nova to find out from one of your more media-friendly colleagues just what a genius you are.

            I’m not holding my breath…

          • Anton

            “Odd that I haven’t heard anything about your prize-winning efforts though”

            Since I intend to preserve my anonymity here, that would be difficult.

          • Eustace

            Ah, so you’re holding back your earth-shattering discoveries in order to preserve your anonymity on this site, are you?

            Now who’s got his priorities wrong?

          • Anton

            Odd that you think I don’t publish my scientific research because of anything to do with my activities on this blog. That is untrue. But my scientific publications give my full name and affiliation, which is by my choice not the case here. I prefer to remain anonymous here, possibly for similar reasons to you.

          • Eustace

            Had you made any of the earth-shattering discoveries I mentioned, your name would be everywhere. As it is not, and nor is anyone else’s, I can only assume those discoveries have not yet been made.

            So, as all these things are still out there to be discovered, why are you spending all your time “correcting” atheists on a blog instead of chasing down dark matter and dark energy and developing a reliable method of teleportation?

            The only possible conclusion I can reach is that you have indeed made these wondrous discoveries, but are sitting on them, because if you publish, you’ll never be anonymous again.

            It’s either that, or these sorts of things are above your pay-grade.

            Hmmm, which is the most likely of those two possibilities, do you think?

          • Anton

            Of course those discoveries have not yet been made. You have shown yourself well enough informed about physics to be aware of that. I do not intend to disclose what areas of physics I work in, but the fact that I have not made a Nobel-winning breakthrough does not cause me despair either for my career or for physics. Making such an advance is a privilege reserved for a very few men in each generation and nobody knows who they are. Each of us simply does our best. You have no idea what is already on my CV, and neither of us has any idea what will be on it in ten years time. Meanwhile, I consider it a joy to see the richness and beauty of the laws of physics. “Intelligent design” cannot be concluded in biology because not enough is known, but it is staring us in the face in physics.

          • Eustace

            “Intelligent design”?

            Oh dear, now I know who I’m talking to. Not the individual of course. Just the type.

            Time to bow out of this conversation, I think. There’s just no reasoning with Kalam-ity Jane and her determination to submit to her big Wild Bill Hickok in the sky…

          • Anton

            You’ve only ever heard of it in biology, where I am probably as sceptical of it as you are. In physics, though, the beauty of the laws of physics is remarkable.

      • Uncle Brian

        Erdogan is now the one with his hand on the tap, able to turn on or off the flow of refugees into Europe. He has recently shown signs of stepping up Turkey’s share in the fighting in Syria, though he has made it clear that supporting the allies against the Islamic State is not his top priority. Above all, his purpose is to make sure that the Kurds don’t gain too much independence in Syria and Iraq.

        • Putin’s got him in hand UB, he’ll be kept a close eye on.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Bless you Marie…hobnobs on there way my dear!

    • The Explorer

      Why don’t you go and shag Sharon of Swindon?

      • Eustace

        Because I’m gay. I don’t “shag” women. Neither do I show them special favours and praise their puerile attempts to parody authors far more talented that themselves.

        Women are people just like everyone else. They are not worthy of any kind of special regard or gallantry. If they write something stupid, they should be prepared to be accused of stupidity.

        • The Explorer

          Poor old Sharon didn’t even write anything.

        • Dreadnaught

          You claim to be ‘gay’ but you sound like a real miserable bastard most of the time.

    • David

      My Lord you sound like a bitter, defeated man desperately clutching at the last of this harvest’s straws, which in your deluded mind alone become powerful weapons.

      • Eustace

        Bitter and defeated? When every piece of legislation designed to ensure equality for the LGBT community has been passed with large margins, and every attempt of Christians to block its passage completely thwarted?

        I’d say I’m a contented and victorious man. You’re the ones still dining on sour grapes following your historic defeats over the Civil Partnership law, Equal Marriage and other liberalising pieces of legislation.

        When I point that out, you accuse me of bitterness in defeat. Again you project your own feelings onto me. Apparently that’s all Christians know how to do.

        • The Explorer

          Germany has sanctioned civil partnerships, but not same-sex marriage. Any thoughts?

        • David

          Who mentioned homosexuality ?
          You obviously did.
          Enjoy the legal pretence of “marriage”.

        • Anton

          How sure are you that EU policy on Islamic migration will lead to a gay paradise?

          • Eustace

            The EU doesn’t have a policy on Islamic migration. This would contravene Human Rights legislation, which forbids discrimination on the grounds of religion.

            In order for there to be a policy on Islamic immigration, the law would have to be changed in order to make discrimination on the grounds of religion possible.

            In countries like France, where all laws must conform to the Constitution, such a change in the law would be immediately struck down. In Britain, with its less demanding legislative process where a single vote majority can overturn any principle of law no matter how ancient and fundamental it may be, it would probably be easier to implement an anti-Muslim policy. But you would still have to get that single vote majority, which if you look at the current composition of Parliament, clearly is not the case at the moment.

            By all means campaign for the introduction of religious discrimination. But if you succeed in electing a government that’s happy to pass laws against Muslims, don’t be surprised if it then decides to target Christianity as well.

            As somebody actively campaigning for an end to religious freedom, how could you object if they started to pass Test Acts forbidding Christians from holding office, or outlawing Christian immigration, or forcing Christians to bake cakes for gay couples?

            Your problem is that you want to discriminate against those you hate and exclude, but if anyone tries to discriminate against you, you’re the first to scream blue murder and play the victim.

            Hypocrite, thy name is Christian.

          • Anton

            No, I want Islam recognised and treated as a political movement, as its scriptures clearly reveal it to be. The secular West understands how to deal with subversive political movements but hasn’t a clue about religion (as your own comments often show). Before you call me a hypocrite you should take note that I have repeatedly argued here against politicised Christianity (on scriptural grounds – no, all religions are NOT the same) and am happy to have Christianity represented in public life entirely through whatever Christian faith is held by individuals in politics.

            There is more to EU policy than gets written down. Ever heard of a tacit consensus between Merkel and Hollande?

          • Eustace

            So Christianity should not be considered as a political movement even though your bishops have seats in Parliament and your priests/pastors tell people how to vote from the pulpit?

            Christianity is every bit as political as Islam. And if Christian MPs can push a Christian agenda, why can’t Muslim MPs push a Muslim agenda?

            Your position is indefensible because it’s entirely subjective and totally partisan. You think your religion should dominate because it’s your religion. But secular society does not recognize the validity of any religious position and must therefore treat them ALL in the same manner. If Muslim immigration is banned, so must Christian immigration be. Which is fine by me, although I certainly won’t be voting for any government that proposes such a policy.

          • Anton

            Authentic Christianity is not a political movement. Do not suppose that what you are familiar with in European history is gospel Christianity. You will be aware that Christ explicitly declined to start a political movement and insisted that his kingdom was not of this world. Contrast that with the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad according to Islam’s own sacred writings. (Before you start pouring scorn on the veracity of scriptures, these are what their adherents are willing to be held to, which is all that is relevant for the purposes of this discussion.)

            I do not support church-State links and I am happy in our democratic society that Christian MPs should push for legislation inspired by the Bible and for Muslim MPs to push for legislation inspired, presumably, by the Quran.

            “secular society does not recognize the validity of any religious position and must therefore treat them ALL in the same manner.”

            Oh, really? What if one hypothetical religion instructs its adherents to keep the local laws and another instructs them to overthrow those laws as soon as they can? Would you not legislate them differently (perhaps by labelling the latter as a subversive political movement)?

          • Eustace

            Existing law deals with lawbreakers and those who incite others to break the law perfectly adequately. And in any case, Islam does not “instruct (its believers) to overthrow laws” any more than Christianity does.

            Individual Muslim preachers may well incite their followers to commit crimes, in which case they should be dealt with under existing legislation. But the moment you target a religion as a whole, you’ve crossed a line from keeping the peace into religious discrimination.

            If that’s the line you think we should cross, don’t be surprised when, once they’ve finished with the Muslims, they start coming after you. By giving them permission to act against another faith, you give them permission to act against yours.

          • Anton

            Would you like me to quote the verses from the Quran instructing adherents to forcibly take control where the message is not received freely? These should be a concern for secular people as much as for Christians, should they not?

            The New Testament nowhere instructs Christians to behave like that; instead it instructs them to peaceably accept persecution for their faith. In case you doubt these assertions, please provide verses to the contrary.

          • Eustace

            The Bible also says many things that, if not read in the context of an overall appreciation of the biblical message, can incite acts of violence.

            If you read the passages regarding homosexuality without taking account of Christ’s command to leave judgment to God, you can justify many of the violent acts that have been perpetrated against members of the gay community throughout history.

            The Bible was used to justify slavery and anti-Semitism. In fact, by some groups it still is. So who’s to say that your interpretation is any better than theirs? And who’s to say that Muslims who interpret the Qur’an as carte blanche to commit violent acts are interpreting what it has to say any more (or less) accurately than those who say that Islam is a non-violent religion?

            What you’re doing is taking one group’s interpretation and claiming it characterizes the entire religion. Yet if I do the same and say that Christianity is homophobic, anti-Semitic and justifies enslavement and all sorts of other discriminatory acts, you’ll shout me down and claim that your religion is not like that.

            Yours may not be (except perhaps for the homophobia). But you do not define Christianity.

            The State cannot know what “real” Christianity and “real” Islam are, therefore it must remain neutral in its attitude to all religions. If someone acts to break the law or to incite illegal acts, he must be dealt with under existing legislation and not some kind of discriminatory anti-Muslim witch-hunt laws that you want to impose on us in order to persecute another religion while favouring your own.

            Terrorists are terrorists whether they be Muslim, Christian, Jewish or secular. Incitement to violence is incitement to violence regardless of the religious affiliation of the inciter.

          • Anton

            Your last paragraph is entirely correct. Not so the others. Anybody, including secular people and those who inform the State, can read and understand scriptures, because these were written for semi-literate agriculturalists not academic philosophers. You sometimes need knowledge of the ancient culture involved, but that too can be got from secular historians and archaeologists. Why is it that you understand scripture perfectly well when insisting what nonsense it is, but retreat into talk about difficulties of interpretation when discussing whether religions can be equated? One or two passages are difficult to understand, as in most pieces of writing, but these are the exception rather than the rule.

            The Roman Empire and many other empires were happy to let their subject peoples practice their various religions provided that they stayed peaceful and paid taxes. Those who didn’t got crushed. In other words, most major secular rulers throughout history have distinguished between religions that advocate peace and war. When you insist that all religions are the same and deserve protection, you are actually showing exaggerated respect for “religion”; did you realise that? Under your position, what is to stop somebody coldbloodedly inventing their own religion specifically to license practices that would otherwise be illegal?

            As for Christian interpretation of the Bible, the New Testament states very clearly that the laws in the Old Testament were the legal code of ancient Israel and not binding on the church (just the parts Jesus repeated to his followers and some explicit further regulations of St Paul). Christians are to obey the local law unless it directly commands, for instance, the worship of pagan deities, in which case they are to refuse it peaceably. Chapter and verses on request. You claim that there is incitement to violence in the NT; please state where. Christians are of course permitted self-defence if they are beset by ruffians on the road, but you will find no verse commending violence or even legal coercion in furtherance of the Christian faith. If you dispute this, don’t waffle on about interpretations: tell me where.

            Slavery was always contrary to Jesus’ exhortation in the Sermon on the Mount (in Matthew and Luke) to treat others as you would wish them to treat you in their shoes. If you think the Bible justifies it for Christians, please say where.

          • Eustace

            I’m not getting involved in your game of “my biblical interpretation is better than yours”. I don’t need to. All I need to know is that different groups of Christians interpret the Bible differently and reach different conclusions. I don’t care what conclusions they reach. It isn’t up to me to say who the real Christians are, or to acknowledge one group over another. It isn’t the role of the State to recognize one Christian sect and not another.

            Be you a Muslim or a Christian or whatever, as long as you agree to respect the laws of the country you’re immigrating to, your religion should be immaterial. If you break those laws, your religion will be no defence.

            What I’m talking about is a truly secular state that recognizes no religion. Therefore you can hold any religious views you like. If that causes tension between the civil law and your religious beliefs, this is your problem to deal with, not the State’s. You must obey civil laws and as long as you do, you’ll be left alone. Break them and you’ll be pursued as a lawbreaker no matter what religious excuses you offer.

            That’s true religious freedom. If the State has nothing to do with your religion, you’re free to believe what you like.

          • Anton

            What I’m talking about is a truly secular state that recognizes no religion. Therefore you can hold any religious views you like. If that causes tension between the civil law and your religious beliefs, this is your problem to deal with, not the State’s. You must obey civil laws and as long as you do, you’ll be left alone. Break them and you’ll be pursued as a lawbreaker no matter what religious excuses you offer.

            You will be familiar with the maxim that if you owe the bank a million, it’s your problem, but if you owe it a billion, it’s the bank’s problem. Same here. Let in a few immigrants who hold a religion commanding takeover by force where it is not accepted peaceably, and it’s their problem. Let in a lot and it’s the State’s problem.

            I’m not getting involved in your game of “my biblical interpretation is better than yours”.

            That’s your excuse? A phrase appears in the newspapers and you are perfectly willing to discuss it. It appears in the Bible and you say you aren’t competent to, even though you are familiar with the meaning of every word and with the rules of grammar, all of which are unchanging between secular and religious contexts. That is absurd. You understand the Bible pretty well when claiming that it’s nonsense, don’t you? The reader here will also note that you have failed to back up your assertions about it when asked for chapter and verse.

          • Eustace

            I try not to get involved in proof-texting arguments because they really don’t interest me. They certainly NEVER change anyone’s mind.

            What you’re saying is that your interpretation of the Bible is better than anyone else’s because of A, B and C. And someone else will say that’s nonsense because of D, E and F. And back and forth you’ll argue, each merely becoming more entrenched in your own argument without shifting the other from his by even a fraction.

            I have no view on biblical interpretation because it’s all just meaningless mumbo-jumbo to me. The best I could do would be to speculate about the author’s intent when he wrote the passage under discussion, but this would be pure guesswork.

            As I don’t believe there is a God behind the Bible, it’s utterly pointless to speculate on what his intent might have been had he existed. He doesn’t. Or if he does, we have no proof of it, nor do we have proof that he’s behind anything in the Bible. So there an be no argument. There are no valid grounds for one.

            Does it matter what some Bronze Age or Roman tribesman intended to convey in a particular Bible passage? His thoughts are no more proscriptive or authoritative than anyone else’s. I’ll let you waste your time interpreting them and in doing so stamping your own beliefs and prejudices on them so they become not just the word of God, but the word of God as interpreted by Anton.

            It’s that last bit you hold so dear. Because God speaks most truly through you, doesn’t he?

            This is the kind of lunacy that proof texting always descends to. And what does it prove? How clever you are at twisting words to mean what you want them to mean. No more. Your interpretations can’t provide any proof that God really exists and the Bible is his word. All they serve to do is to puff you up with pride at “being right” and “winning the argument”.

            I on the other hand have no desire to win any kind of argument about how the Bible should be interpreted. It’s all nonsense to me, and whether one or five hundred angels can dance on the head of a pin is of no interest to me. Where are all these angels anyway? Show them to me or provide convincing proof they exist and then we can talk about their dancing habits. Until then, I’m just not interested.

            You might as well be a Tolkien nut berating me for suggesting that a Noldo who wasn’t part of the House of Finarfin could have blond hair. Who gives a flying f^<£ what colour a fictitious character's hair should be? I certainly don't. More importantly, why do you? Is your life so empty you have to fill it with fantasy and then work out every last detail of that fantasy in order to keep the illusion alive and vivid? Go play Dungeons and Dragons, or take part in an historical re-enactment. At least that way you might grt out of the house a bit more.

          • Anton

            You made assertions about what the Bible says, so it is up to you to back them up with chapter and verse. Saying that other Christians might disagree with me is just an attempt to wriggle out of your inability to do so. You are of course free to inform yourself by reading the views of as many Christians as you like, but this discussion is between you and me, not them and me.

          • Eustace

            There are plenty of references to violence in the Bible. Your God ordained terrible punishments for all sorts of transgressions. Stoning, genocide, the dashing out of babies’ brains against rocks … these all figure in your holy book.

            Christians often counter these accusations by saying that the New Testament preaches a gospel of peace and non-violence, but this didn’t stop Christians slaughtering others on an industrial scale during the Crusades. It didn’t stop the Church cooperating in the murder of hundreds during the Inquisition, nor did it prevent the growth of the slave trade or pogroms against the Jews in Christian Tsarist Russia.

            You’ll say the perpetrators weren’t interpreting Christ’s message correctly. They would probably say they were. Who should I believe? I have no intention of wasting my time studying the Bible myself because any conclusions I reach would merely be my own personal opinion.

            That the Bible can be interpreted to support violence is proven by the fact that people who have committed violence have used it as justification. That you say this is a false interpretation is merely your own personal opinion.

            The only people who could have told us what their intentions were in writing the Bible are long dead, so it remains as a work of fiction that each individual must interpret for himself. Some say that only their particular Church is competent to interpret it, and that they will believe whatever that Church says about it. Others, like me, dismiss the entire story as ancient myth that isn’t worth taking the time to interpret.

            In the face of all these possible interpretations only one thing is sure: the Bible can be and has been used to support terrible acts of violence by those who interpreted it to say what they wanted it to say. Just like you do. On nobody’s authority but your own.

            Go right ahead and invent your own idea of God and tell me he’s better than everyone else’s idea of God. But until you can supply me with convincing proof that the Bible you believe in is the work of a God whose existence you cannot demonstrate, I will continue to view your interpretation as your own personal opinion supported by no facts and nothing more than your own desire to believe.

          • Anton

            Christians often counter these accusations by saying that the New Testament preaches a gospel of peace and non-violence, but this didn’t stop Christians slaughtering others on an industrial scale during the Crusades. It didn’t stop the Church cooperating in the murder of hundreds during the Inquisition, nor did it prevent the growth of the slave trade or pogroms against the Jews in Christian Tsarist Russia. You’ll say the perpetrators weren’t interpreting Christ’s message correctly. They would probably say they were. Who should I believe?

            Who you believe is up to you, but you are in discussion with me. I don’t say that the perpetrators were interpreting Christ’s message incorrectly. I say they were ignoring it. How many of them will find salvation is an interesting question, although one I shall have to wait to find out. I’d add, though, that viewed as an episode in the ebb and flow of civilisations the Crusades were simply a matching response to centuries of Islamic aggression against Europe; what was wrong with the Crusades was the religious motivation provided by the papacy – to recover for Christendom the land where Christ walked. Christ’s followers believe that he said his kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). So what’s wrong with my argument here?

            That the Bible can be interpreted to support violence is proven by the fact that people who have committed violence have used it as justification. That you say this is a false interpretation is merely your own personal opinion.

            And all that you say is merely your own personal opinion. Such comments do not move the discussion forward; they merely conceal lack of argument.

          • Eustace

            A phrase that appears in a newspaper can generally be independently verified and therefore be established as fact or fiction. If it can’t be,
            then it remains as an unsubstantiated claim to be treated with suspicion.

            In the absence of independent verification the Bible is no more than a series of unsubstantiated claims that you can choose to interpret any way you like. If I choose to set other interpretations against yours, it’s merely to highlight the fact that other interpretations exist and, given the lack of independent verification of any New Testament event, are just as valid as your interpretation, resting as it does solely on your own personal opinion.

            That’s where my interest in biblical interpretation stops. I have no reason to want to delve into your interpretation any further to find out why you reach the conclusions you reach. I have no more interest in doing so than I have in adjudicating quarrels between Tolkien fans who believe that Celeborn was a Teleri who followed Galadriel over the sea from Aman, and those who believe he was Sindarin and had always been in Middle-earth. Who cares? And why is it important? The only person who can supply the details of Tolkien’s mythos is Tolkien himself, and he’s dead, so unless he wrote it down somewhere on a manuscript that can be accurately verified via handwriting and literary analysis, we will never know where Celeborn came from, and most of us, including me, won’t care.

            Only obsessive Tolkien fans worry about such things and form hard and fast opinions based in their own wants and prejudices. In this they are exactly like Christians. Let a fantasy story dominate the reality of your life and you’ll never want for moonshine.

            Keep in believing what you like about the Bible. The mere fact of believing it doesn’t make it a universal truth. It just makes it your opinion. Shared by some. Refuted by others. If I quote those who refute it, I am not obliged to explain why they refute it. All I’m doing is pointing out that other viewpoints exist, and as all Christian viewpoints are based upon personal opinion backed up by no facts, they must all be equally plausible to a general public that views the lot of them as myth and legend.

          • Anton

            An adroit little change of subject!

    • Royinsouthwest

      Anyone reading your latest rant would think that Mrs Proudie (not “Mx Proudie”) has done more damage to Europe than Angela Merkel has. Why don’t you complain about mass youth unemployment in southern Europe ,caused by the imposition of the single currency, the contempt for democracy which Merkel shares with many EU leaders and officials, the open door and free movement policy for terrorists, the attempts to censor news of crimes resulting from that open door policy, and the threats to the freedom of speech of people who criticise Merkel’s policies?

      • David

        Well said, Sir. Your short list skilfully captures the worst of that deranged EU-Crazy leader’s disastrous policies that are hurting the various fine peoples and cultures of the true Europe. Her actions are criminal !

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Thank you Roy

    • len

      Sooooo predictable…’.Eustace’ is feeling neglected again, and is seeking attention the only way he knows how…..
      Why
      does he keep coming back if he hates this blog, Christians, Mrs
      Proudie, free speech etc or does he get some sort of thrill from being ‘
      a very naught boy?.
      Its all a bit tiresome and very predictable though….

      • David

        I fear that the fine nation which gave us Luther, and many other good things, has quite lost its senses. Their national characteristic towards excessive obedience and conformity to political authority is their main weakness. From time to time this overrides their ability to reason, which in turn then leads to their defeat.
        There’s an election approaching when they will dump her. But by then it may be too late. At best they will have a generational struggle to rebuild their Christian derived culture. We are in a far better position but certainly not one, despite the referendum result, to celebrate.

    • The Explorer

      What is your definition of Victorian-type Christianity?

      • Uncle Brian

        Of the handful of eminent Victorian Christians whose names spring to mind, I can’t think of any offhand who went in for sneering in a big way. Wilberforce didn’t sneer, did he? Or Baring-Gould in Onward Christian Soldiers? Or Cardinal Manning? Or Newman? There’s Kingsley, though, whose attacks on Newman came pretty close. Any others?

        • The Explorer

          WIlliam Booth? Pusey? Gladstone? The thing is, Eustace aside, I can’t offhand think of anyone sneering on this Blog either. But we’ll see what Eustace knows that we don’t.

        • Rhoda

          George Muller, Thomas Barnado and Lord Shaftesbury?

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          I don’t think I sneer…

          • The Explorer

            You don’t. It’s strange. Linus/Eustace complains that God is invisible, but constantly sees things that none of the rest of us can see. Why? Because e they aren’t there.

          • Uncle Brian

            Unimaginable, Mrs P. Unthinkable. I don’t think you have ever sneered, not even when you were a young maiden still waiting to be discovered by that nice Mr Trollope.

          • chefofsinners

            Repent, for the end i sneer.

        • Anton

          Have you read the dissection of the relations between Manning and Newman in Strachey’s Eminent Victorians?

  • len

    Some people are eagerly anticipating the demise of Christianity.Satan undoubtedly stood at the Cross of Christ thinking “at last I have won and there can be no salvation for humanity I have destroyed any hope of this race of slaves ever being set free”.
    But; when all seemed lost Gods plan which was created before time began was brought into effect.
    Fallen man is now being given’ free rein ‘ because God has lifted His Hand of restraint on evil and evil is now spreading like a deadly virus.

    ‘Why do the nations conspire
    and the peoples plot in vain?
    The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
    against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
    “Let us break their chains
    and throw off their shackles.”(psalm 2)

    Fallen man is by nature a rebel and in his rebellion against God has come under the full authority of Satan. This rebellion is the cause of all the evil which is afflicting this world in the past and in the present.

    The old creation became corrupted and cannot go forward into the new Creation which Christ initiated through the resurrection and the New Birth.

  • chefofsinners

    What does Fritz know that we don’t? How to brew beer, fashion a sausage, digest rye bread and, unsurprisingly after that lot, how to bypass emissions legislation.
    They also know how to follow a disastrously bad leader like lemmings. Merkel’s ‘vorsprung durch ethnic’ policy has spread a Teutonic towel of terrorism across every sun lounger in Europe. Little wonder the very rocks do quake. Nor that the art-du-jour represents chaos and insecurity. If you are still struggling with Tracy Emin, I would point out that an anagram of her name is ‘try cinema’.

    • Uncle Brian

      Ain’t mercy
      Creamy tin
      Amy Cretin

    • Let’s keep German sausages out of this or “you know who” will appear.

      • chefofsinners

        I fear the wurst.

        • To be frank, he’s just a brat … and not a weiner.

          • chefofsinners

            Er ist ein berliner.

          • Er liebt europäischen Würstchen verschlingen …..

    • Pubcrawler

      “What does Fritz know that we don’t? How to brew beer,”

      Erm…

      • chefofsinners

        I shall bow to your expertise in this area and edit accordingly.

        • Pubcrawler

          Well done, that man.

          • Uncle Brian

            Pubcrawler, as you are probably aware, several of the biggest German breweries, including Löwenbräu and Franziskaner, are now under Brazilian management, along with Bass in the UK, Budweiser in the U.S., and many others around the world. Saúde !

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anheuser-Busch_InBev

          • Pubcrawler

            Yes, well I don’t drink their stuff anyway.

            There is a thriving homebrew scene in Brazil. I used to work with one such; we had a number of very pleasant evenings drinking what he’d brought over with him side by side with what he was trying to emulate. I was most impressed. Must get back in touch with him…

      • Anton

        How to start world wars?

    • David

      Yes it is their over-obedience to the point of following disastrously bad leaders like lemmings that is their greatest weakness, and seems to lead them again and again into danger. Moreover with Germany as the effective leader of the collective EU, that weakness is now being magnified and projected across an entire continent thanks to the lack of borders. Merkel’s irresponsible and dangerous actions will either break the EU, or even the european nations themselves, or maybe both.

    • Anton

      Too bad that she’s Tracey. But in that case an anagram is Ye Can Mitre. Women bishops anyone?

      • chefofsinners

        I believe Eustace has a predilection for Traceys. Perhaps he has been ‘inside the tent’ and can explain the finer points to us.