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Although God’s voice is a fiery flame (Ps 29:7), modern society is fire-retardant

Goodness! Isn’t it amazing what a scrap of paper can do? Mrs. Dismay has duly signed and sent off her letter to Tusker the Rotter, invoking Article 50 and so launching HMS Britannia back on the open seas of national sovereignty and free trade. Well, almost. We have two years of negotiations to put up with, coupled with all the squawking and protesting from the discontents given breathing space by the Bolshevik Broadcasters. Here in Barchester the flags are out. The cross of St. George flies proudly atop the cathedral and all our parish churches, and there is an air of jollity and optimism about the place. The Archdeacon is in a particularly good mood, which in itself is quite remarkable.

“Oh, frabjous day, Mrs. P., frabjous day!” he chortled after morning prayers. “The dithering is over, the blazing sun of liberty dispels the bureaucratic fog of Berlaymont, and the eyes of the world are upon us! We have finally extricated ourselves from the stinking EUrinal of Common Purposedom, bleaching the drains with common sense and throwing out the Junck(er).”

“Indeed, Archdeacon, indeed. But I advise caution. There are those in the Tory Party – and others – who would sell their own grandmothers for halal meat if the price was right, and that which they term ‘the national interest’ means the interest of politicians, not people. There was ever a slithy tove (or ten) in Parliament, and until we have a root-and-branch spring clean of our institutions, from the civil service downwards, I fear there is every opportunity for sabotage. Napoleon once described Talleyrand as something unpleasant in silk stockings. I believe Mr. Carswell’s come from the same sewer.”

“Perhaps, dear lady,” he replied. Then his expression changed.

“As for that mitred mischief-maker who thinks the Church of England is too English, words fail me. He clearly wants a rebranding – the Church of Ethnics – to reflect our inflicted diversity. Well, what is wrong with being English? Some are born diverse, some achieve diversity, and some have had diversity thrust upon them.”

“Hush now, Archdeacon, or the constabulary will be knocking on your door. They have eyes and ears everywhere, thanks to Forever Amber Rudderless’s new snooping powers. Doubtless Constable Knapweed is even now reassuring Barchester’s divers-insanistas that everything will be done to protect them from a far-right backlash… meaning the likes of you, Archdeacon. It’s hunting season for white, middle-aged Englishmen out there, and that’s a fact.”

With that – and a loud ‘Hurrumph!’ – he tipped his hat and went off to back-comb his chasuble. However does he cope?

Mr. Slope was keen to show me a letter he had received from Sir Richard Burton, an explorer no less, who has offered to take him up the Limpopo. Mr. Slope is beside himself with excitement and anticipation, and wonders if I would speak to my Lord the Bishop to secure a sabbatical. The letter contained a curious paragraph which explained how Sir Richard, indulging in some amateur archaeology in the Maghreb, was able to determine the sex of the various skeletons unearthed from the size of their respective pelvises. Thus it seems that despite the valiant efforts of our transitioning and transgendered community to become one thing or another, in death they will forever be what they were originally. Who said God didn’t have a sense of humour?

I have heard very little recently from my American correspondent, Mrs. Cornelia Vanderbilge, other than the Hildabeast’s announcement that she ‘…is coming out of the woods’. It begs the question what was she doing in there in the first place, and did she take a pizza pack-up?

A family bereavement prevented me from writing last week, but perhaps it was just as well. The dreadful events on Westminster Bridge were too ghastly to contemplate and best left to His Grace for comment. It left me wondering – what is it about Islam that stirs up such violent passions when an Anglican has all-on to stir his teacup? It seems to me, although ‘God’s voice is a fiery flame’ (Ps 29:7), modern society is fire-retardant. However, I am somewhat bewildered by this ‘solidarity’ thing that all and sundry keep expressing. The Bishop of Rome, for example, tells us he is in solidarity with us… What does it mean? What is the purpose of it? What practical use is it? What about the Grand Mufti of London, Mr. Khan, who tells us we must get used to terrorism if we live in a big city… Why does defeatist nonsense pass for wisdom these days?

Well, I mustn’t dawdle. I have to go and hose down the old gentlemen at Hiram’s Hospital before delivering my latest tract – ‘The Labourer in the Vineyard: should we call the police?’ – to the drink-sodden cottages on Ganderpoke Lane. So, as the rotating windmill of Brexit knocks the dusky miller of mischief off her Gucci-clad feet, and the dung-spattered camel corps of Whitehall take the inevitable hump, I bid you all ‘Happy Brexitide’ and adieu (that’s your actual French). Until next week.