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Gibraltar: the Treaty of Utrecht has no Article 50

Goodness! What a busy week, spring-cleaning the Palace and visiting the sick and needy. It’s not all fun being a bishop’s wife, let me tell you. However, I am taking a break, fortified by Earl Grey and a plate of hobnobs, to pen a few lines to you, my dear friends.

We do seem to have trouble with deans. Poor Bishop Hever at St. Ogg’s is blighted by the prodnosing of Dean Pugh-Critchley, and one never knows whether Dean Trefoil is going to a better place or staying put until the last trump. Christ Church, Oxford, is graced by a thoroughly-modern go-ahead dean in Mr. Percy (good to see that old northern dynasty re-establishing itself), champion of priestesses, promoter of cardinalesses and LGBTQWERTY knight-errant, not so much tilting at windmills as blowing hot air. He is above all a SJW (Sacerdotal Justice Warrior) who, despite his place in the Anglican hierarchy, advocates equality for all and Dante’s third ring of hell for traditionalists. No point in going to Christ Church to hear the Word of the Lord – it’s neo-Marxist Frankfurtism topped with Greer-ist sprinkles, or nothing. At least he wears appropriate garb when mounting the pulpit and not a rainbow-coloured boiler suit with jaunty Maoist hat. Yet.

Mr. Slope went to a football match last Saturday, Barchester Rovers v Silverbridge United. I’m not sure what kind of support he was offering, but with scarf, bobbly hat and wooden rattle he looked quite the part. On his return he recounted a strange tale. Behind the opposite goal post stood a whole row of muscly labouring fellows, each with their face covered by a niqab, clearly to avoid identification should trouble break out. It is something which started in Sweden, apparently, where the law forbids face covering, though legislators keen on submission to the caliphate inserted a clause exempting religious face covering.  Now big, burly Swedes are telling police they have opted to be Moslem women (as thanks to transitional transgenderisation, it seems what you declare yourself to be, you are) and so refuse to unveil when stopped. The Swedish judiciary have countered this by ruling they will judge these obviously male miscreants on a case-by-case basis, which in turn conflicts with Swedish equality laws. It is heart-warming to see political correctness turned upon itself, is it not?

At Plumstead Episcopi yesterday afternoon I found the Archdeacon much ruffled by reports coming out of the Holy Zollverein, where the word is that Mr. Verhoffenpuff will play hard ball in the so-called Brexit negotiations. Such an ungallant little Phlegm.

“This ridiculous man is taking the Mannekin Pis! Just who does he think he is?” spluttered Dr. Grantly.

“The former Prime Minister of Belgium,” I replied.

“Belgium? BELGIUM?” he roared, “We invented Belgium – admittedly as a joke! All part of the post-Waterloo job creation scheme for unemployed Saxe-Coburgs. This bloated mayonnaise-smearing, snail-taunting waffle-peddler has no business threatening Her Majesty’s Government, demanding money to settle Juncker’s bar bills. They’ve had enough out of us already!”

“Indeed they have, my dear,” said the saintly Mrs. Grantly, entering the drawing room with a fresh flower arrangement she’d been working on all morning.

“And Johnny Spaniard has his eyes on Gibraltar too. The Prime Minister should point out that the Treaty of Utrecht has no Article 50, so what was signed up for then counts now. I fear Mrs. Dismay hasn’t the stomach for hard negotiations. She lacks bottom.”

“Not from what I’ve seen, dearest,” said Mrs. Grantly with a smile, “I mean, those leather trousers… such a mistake.”

“On so many levels…” I agreed. We laughed. The Archdeacon didn’t.

“Have you seen the latest Bradshaw’s Railway Guide with its free pull-out engraving of Michael Portillo?” asked Mrs. Grantly, sweetly, “His dundrearies are spectacular!”

“I will send Slope out to order a copy as soon as I return to Barchester, he is an admirer of the well-crafted frontispiece,” I replied.

Our inattentive musings prompted the Archdeacon to explode with fury, castigating the workings of the female mind and moving on to the iniquities of Berlaymont and the threats made to Poland and Hungary concerning migrant quotas. I took this as an opportune moment to say farewell and make my way to the door.

I have chosen to avoid gloomy things this week, dear hearts. Bombs on St. Petersburg trains, much slaughter in Mosul, old folk murdered and raped by cultural enrichers in Germany, riots in Paris… the world does seem somewhat out of sorts these days. I have come to the conclusion we need a Common-Sense Party to counter Common Purpose and all the other lunacies the Left has bequeathed us. Who could lead such a party I wonder? I throw that out as a challenge – who would you nominate?  Let’s make it harder by setting Mr. Farage aside. With that thought, I shall bid you adieu… until next time.