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The Holy Spirit of Common Sense inspires the Book of Common Purpose

Goodness! The last thing one expects when attending a concert is rabble-rousing, but that is exactly what was on the programme when my Lord the Bishop and I attended the Duke of Omnium’s annual extravaganza in the grounds of Gatherum Castle this week. As usual, the Barchester String Quartet promised us an evening of Schubert, Vivaldi and Mozart, and the cream of Barchester society was there. The first piece, from the ‘Trout Quintet’, passed without incident, but as the applause died down, a thin, wispy-bearded figure in worker’s cap leapt onto the stage.

“Brothers and Sisters, the time has come to march in solidarity against austerity! A new dawn is… well… dawning, and… erm… we need to call time on those evil and dastardly Tories! The future belongs to the young, and so I call upon all you young persons out there, regardless of gender, to join our Big Bolshevik Breakfast in London next Tuesday, when we shall fortify ourselves with a lentil and quinoa pottage de jour before storming the gates of Number Ten and defenestrating the sycophantic lackeys of capitalist imperialism. Comrades, who is with me?”

Stony silence.

After a moment or two, His Grace the Duke rose to his feet.

“My dear fellow, you seem to be at the wrong concert – perhaps if you had turned right instead of left… Glastonbury is that way.”

“Oh, right-o guv’nr, I’ll be off  then.”

And with that he scuttled away, followed by a tall, foxy-faced fellow wearing an ‘Uncle Joe’ tee-shirt, and a large dusky woman gibbering something about police numbers and how to pay for them whilst shaking an abacus like a tambourine.

I asked my Lord the Bishop who the gangly fellow was.

“Not sure, my dear, but I don’t think it was the Bishop of Bath and Wells.”

How wonderful it is to have an emperor back in France. One would, of course, prefer an Orléans, but these are troubled times and one takes what one can get. Emmanuel I summoned French parliamentarians to Versailles this week and announced he would rule like Jupiter, aloof and dignified, providing France with lashings of gloire and not so much of the liberté. Well, he is no Bonaparte, to be sure, but we will wait and see what he does with his whiff of grape juice. It is said he cancelled the traditional Bastille Day meeting with journalists because his thoughts were ‘too complex’ for them to understand. Quite right – French kings had enough trouble with the Third Estate let alone the Fourth. Like Napoleon, this new emperor married an older woman, but later divorced her for a German-speaking Austrian – looks like Frau Merkin is in with a chance then.

I must report, dear friends, a most disturbing conversation I had on Thursday morning. Mr. Bunce, from Hiram’s Hospital, came to see me, insisting it was a matter of the greatest delicacy. I received him in my Lord’s study, offered him tea and told him I was all ears.

“Well, Ma’am, it’s like this. I was talking to yon bishop’s chaplain the other day and happened to remark, when he asked how I was, that I wasn’t feeling myself. He said he quite understood, and that there were many people like me who felt unhappy in their own bodies. He said, thanks to medical breakthroughs, I could transform myself into a woman ‘on the parish’ so to speak, and that I could even have a womb transplant too, if I wanted one. Well. Ma’am, I don’t know what to do about it – I can’t say I’ve ever had feelings in the crinoline direction, but I dursen’t contradict a learned man like Mr. Slope. Perhaps you could put him straight?”

A challenge indeed.

Poor Bunce. Wait till I see Mr. Slope. We shall have words.

My Lord the Bishop decided against attending Synod this year on account of the rampant sexuality going on there. It has turned into quite a bacchanalia, with every conceivable perversion discussed ad infinitum. No mention of persecuted Christians across the globe. In seeking to be relevant to the modern world, the Church of England is less relevant to Christianity – some would say edging closer to the heresies of the Middle Ages with their ‘Holy Spirit of Common Sense’ and what not. We Britons used to prefer hot water bottles to carnal lust, not to mention cold baths to cool the ardour, (but that was before the Book of Common Prayer was replaced by the Book of Common Purpose). Now it is all out in the open and nobody feels the slightest embarrassment. As for the heretic who prays Prince George will grow up to be a friend of Dorothy, shame on him. A speedy recantation would be advisable lest he finds himself surrounded by faggots of the combustible kind.

Ah well, as the trouser press of experience smooths out the creases in the pantaloons of hope, and the harpoon of Truth skewers the barnacled-Teflon-hide of Moby Blair, I shall bid you adieu before skipping off to the Mechanics Institute to hear a Mr. Soros speak on the theme of ‘If I ruled the world…’.  Such a mad, impetuous dreamer. Adieu, dear friend, adieu.

  • len

    Apparently there is a new sort of human being born. Gender X. Neither male or female.
    The bishops must make sure to include them in their discussion to make sure they can mutually flourish with the rest of us(however we are to be defined now?)
    The world gets a little[lot] crazier every day , and the Synod doesn`t like to be left out of the craziness.

    • David

      Greetings Len. Please note that I’ve updated your information.

      • len

        Thanks David, events are moving so fast today one finds it a job to keep up?.

        • Pubcrawler

          And — vexation to vexillologists — they each seem to have their own garish flag.

    • Royinsouthwest

      What exactly is gender X? A person with only one sex chromosome?

      • len

        Gender X is a denial of the truth, in keeping with secularist doctrine.

        • Linus

          Some people are born with characteristics of both genders. Male and female genitalia, for example. Or genitals that resemble neither. Many intersex individuals even have a mosaic genome, ie. some of their cells have XX chromosomes and some have XY.

          According to you, the existence of these people is a denial of the truth. But as the truth can only be determined by examing what is real, it looks very much as though the denial of the truth comes from you.

          Gender X has always existed. That’s the real truth. Your dogmatic statements to the contrary are just a bunch of deluded lies.

          • Coniston

            True, but extremely rare. Check the medical evidence.

          • Linus

            So these people should be deprived of gender recognition because they’re rare, should they? Swept under the carpet and told to pose as something they’re not.

            And exactly how rare are they? Mosaic genomes occur in 1 in every 1,666 live births. That means there are around 39,000 people with this condition living in the UK today. And that’s just one of the many intersex conditions that are known to exist.

            So if you’re going to deprive 39,000 people of gender recognition on the basis that they’re “rare”, why not do the same for the population of a town like Tonbridge? After all, what do approximately 39,000 people count for in the greater scheme of things? They can safely be ignored if it means our precious theories about what’s “right” will be confirmed.

          • len

            Xtremely rare.
            As you probably know’ the rare’ becomes’ the norm’ with some minorities.

          • Linus

            I see, so in your vicious and uncaring world, rarity justifies the exclusion and dismissal of human beings who, through no fault of their own, don’t comply with your arbitrary notion of how they should be.

            If nearly 40,000 British citizens are treated as belonging to a gender they do not in fact belong to, that’s OK as long as it keeps you happy. Because your happiness is all that counts.

            The evidence of your narcissistic selfishness just keeps piling up. How on earth do you live with yourself? By staring into a looking glass all day and admiring the view, I suppose.

          • IanCad

            Now were getting down to business! Yes, there are people born with incomplete genitalia – I seem to remember a lad in our class who was excused showers. He suffered a lot of teasing at the hands of the crueler boys in the class.
            We had no understanding – I still have little. It would be helpful (speaking for myself) if you were to enlighten the forum as to the nuts and bolts – or lack thereof – relating to sexual incompleteness.
            Life is tough enough without having an abnormality which, rather than being a cause for sympathy and understanding, becomes a magnet for ridicule, contempt and cruelty.

          • Linus

            I don’t know a great deal about intersex conditions, but I know enough to know that tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in the UK, and France, and Germany, and across the world are not truly either male or female. They have ambiguous chromosomes. Some of their cells are XX. Some are XY. They may present as male or female, or they may have ambiguous morphology from which gender cannot be easily determined. But they’re real, they exist, and their condition deserves to be recognised and taken into account.

            The only intersex person I’ve ever met personally (that I know of) was a person whose morphology was entirely female – and very voluptuously so – but whose chromosomes were entirely XY, ie. male. Her condition is known as androgen insensitivity, ie. when a male foetus fails to respond to the androgen that triggers the development of male sexual characteristics.

            This woman (which is what she considers herself to be) was identified as a girl when born because she looked exactly like a girl. She was raised as a girl with all of the expectations of marriage and having children that girls have. At puberty when she failed to begin menstruating, doctors discovered the truth. She had no uterus or ovaries, just two undeveloped and undescended testes. She would never have children because she wasn’t genetically female.

            As you can imagine, the news crushed her. How would you feel if you found out you were a sterile “freak” after a lifetime of being raised in the expectation of marriage and motherhood? Several suicide attempts and years of depression later, she was lucky enough to be put in touch with a support group for people with androgen insensitivity syndrome. There she found the sort of understanding and acceptance that allowed her to start to rebuild her life.

            She grew up in a devout Christian family. Her church’s reaction to her condition? It was the work of the devil and she was an anomaly who would not – should not – exist. That’s real Christian charity at work. Label those who are different as abominations. The spawn of the devil who must acknowledge their inferior status and be looked upon with pity and contempt.

            That’s the fate that would have awaited her had she stayed in that church. She would have been an object of pity for an entire congregation to look down on in disgust. And the reason why god did this to her? So that his works might be made manifest in her. So that she might serve to put the wind up others and make them grateful that he hadn’t turned them or their children into freaks to be pitied and patronised.

            That’s the Christian response to any kind of departure from a male/female heterosexual norm. Demonise the “condition” and pity those who “suffer” from it. The AIS woman I met, once she had come to terms with the reality of what she was, grew to appreciate and value her uniqueness. She is now married and happily childless. Her unusually athletic build for a woman means she excels at sports and the physical activities she loves. She’s successful in her career and an object of pity to no-one who truly knows her. Her Christian parents, who would have preferred to see her don sackcloth and ashes and live in celibate misery being pitied by all and pitying herself into the bargain, think she’s “lost”. She won’t submit to their twisted plan to torture her for the rest of her life, so she’s been rejected.

            And there you have it: real Christian behaviour laid bare for the world to see.

            Is it any wonder you people are held in such contempt?

          • IanCad

            Thanks for the response Linus. Christian charity has to accommodate those such as cited in your sad tale.
            Really, there needs to be a serious discussion about those with abnormal – I assign no pejorative dimension to the term – sexual development.
            I take your point and concede that some – perhaps most – within the faith community have been remiss in their handling of these issues. Some even downright cruel.

          • Linus

            The very fact that you find my tale sad is indictment enough of your outlook.

            The story I told was one of a woman who, having been dealt a challenging hand through no fault of her own by random fate, managed to overcome her own disappointment and the bigotry and hatred of her parents and church to live a happy and successful life. It’s a happy story. It isn’t sad.

            Your problem is that you’re incapable of understanding anything that falls outside the framework of your rigid and dogmatic notion of what should make someone happy. You see my story as sad because the subject of it has left the church and will never have children. Her avowed happiness means nothing to you because it doesn’t accord with what you believe should make her happy.

            And that’s why you’re an emotional and social cripple. You deny the truth and proclaim your dogma no matter who feels what. Actual fact is subordinated to dogmatic fantasy.

            No wonder your kind is disappearing. The only wonder is: how have you survived for so long?

          • IanCad

            Quite obviously you are looking for a scrap.
            I shall not oblige you as you seem either incapable of basic English comprehension, or so angry, that you will lash out at any who may wish to engage with you on a subject that needs thrashing out.

          • Linus

            Which roughly translated means “can’t fink of anyfing to say but I haff to say sumfink so I’ll just tell ‘im ta f*ck off ‘n’ die”.

            You would have been better advised to hold your tongue. But that’s something your self-proclaimed superiority just doesn’t know how to do. You have to say something in order to have the last word. Because then you’re the master, aren’t you?

            In your dreams…

          • len

            Gender X has not always existed.
            Those born with both sets of genitalia already have a definition. ‘ hermaphrodite ‘
            Your answer is less than honest.

          • Linus

            Your ignorance in these days of readily available Internet knowledge is not so much astounding as childishly willful.

            The term “hermaphrodite” applies only to those with both male and female genitalia. I’ve been talking about people with mosaic chromosomes or AIS, who may look entirely male or entirely female, but whose true gender is either a mixture of the two, or the opposite of what their genitals would suggest.

            These people are not hermaphrodites and have never been classed as such. In truth they’re whatever they identify as, which may include gender X.

            Or what other term would you prefer? Chicks with d!cks doesn’t describe masculine-looking men who happen to have a large proportion of XX chromosomes in their bodies very well, now does it? It might be your preferred way of talking about the people whose exclusion from society forces them to appear on the kind of website that tends to clog up the browser history of bigots like you. Abusing “trannies” in public is often just revenge for being aroused by them in private. But I have news for you: you don’t get to tell them what they are any more. You and your kind lost that power years ago. They now get to name themselves and decent citizens respect their right to do so.

            So what does that make you?

    • How can they flourish if they have no gender?

      • len

        Ah, that’s a mystery.

  • David

    I do feel that I must give an update on Len’s report – as news dates so fast in the “progressive” age. For I’ve heard that as the Gender Theorists now claim they’ve discovered over 72 genders, and rising, the ultra-liberals amongst the liturgists are working flat out on producing 72 variants of the “re-christening” service. Furthermore an anonymous spokesperson from Canterbury stated that the House of Bishops, after due reflection, is very likely to be most welcoming towards this “strong expression of the diversity within God’s bountiful creation”. Stand by for further revisions of the first two chapters of Genesis.

    • dannybhoy

      It’s one way of filling the pews I guess.

    • Merchantman

      It’ll be having more than just rolling revisions in the aisles if this goes on.

      • David

        Yes, six stops on from here (which will take no time with the progressives fast express) we’ll have full-on celebrations of Mother Gaia complete with pagan sexuality and bacchanalian orgies, Roman style. As one exceedingly liberal vicar said to me and part of his flock, “what do we need an anchor for, let’s just go with the flow, and see where we end up !” – some of them are that crazy and dismissive of the faith. It will all implode and collapse of course, which is what happens to all heresies. Meanwhile the true Church will steadfastly continue, hanging on here in the west, but growing explosively elsewhere globally.

    • Royinsouthwest

      It is often said that social scientists suffer from “physics envy” and want to pretend that their subjects are as rigorous as the natural sciences.

      Originally there was only one recognised fundamental particle, the atom, then it was recognised that the atom was composed of protons, neutrons and electrons. Later it was realised that those three particles were composed of more fundamental particles and God knows how many fundamental particles are recognised now.

      Can we look forward to a similar explosion in genders? After all academic careers are at stake!

      Is there a gender equivalent of the quark?

      • David

        “Is there a gender equivalent of the quark?”
        I am sure that there soon will be, as unlike real scientists they don’t need empirical, verifiable evidence. These necromancers just make it up as they blunder along – always in the unerringly accurate direction of “progress” of course !

      • Chefofsinners

        Real science is concerned with fundamental particles.
        Social science is obsessed with the fundament.

    • Ian G

      72 genders? One for every nation?
      Alternatively, and in the spirit of “ecumenism” :
      72 gender? They’re all virgins, I presume?

      • David

        Last time I checked there were almost 200 nations, so there’s a long way to go in imagining more genders – ahh ! the sheer diversity of it all !

        “virgins” ? No, only very early on. Gender theorists extol the benefits of very vigorous ‘practical sessions’ at a young age, as as an academic aid to support their theory lectures of course.

        • Ian G

          It’s a Biblical reference. Genesis 10 – Table of the nations.

      • len

        I believe the ’72 virgins’ is a mistranslation, it is in reality ’72 raisins.’
        There are going to be a lot of disillusioned Jihadists with this, even more so when they face the God of the Bible as murderers and they realise the have been deceived on all accounts.

  • Manfarang

    A German speaking Austrian. Grüß Gott.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      You never know. I can imagine a German finding that quite funny.

      • Manfarang

        The Germans have a sense of humour?

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Of course it should read a German-speaking Austrian, though of course the whole thing is superfluous when one mentions ‘Austrian’

    • Royinsouthwest

      It would be astonishing if an Austrian was not Ferman speaking.

    • RobinHMasters

      “Shvimps on die barbie! Und I see ein fair dunkum kangavoo!”

      • Manfarang

        ach du grüne Neune!

  • dannybhoy

    “Well, Ma’am, it’s like this. I was talking to yon bishop’s chaplain the other day and happened to remark, when he asked how I was, that I wasn’t feeling myself. He said he quite understood, and that there were many people like me who felt unhappy in their own bodies. He said, thanks to medical breakthroughs, I could transform myself into a woman ‘on the parish’ so to speak, and that I could even have a womb transplant too, if I wanted one. Well. Ma’am, I don’t know what to do about it – I can’t say I’ve ever had feelings in the crinoline direction, but I dursen’t contradict a learned man like Mr. Slope. Perhaps you could put him straight?”
    Classic!

    • Chefofsinners

      Putting Mr Slope ‘straight’ would require a form of therapy which is no longer available ‘on the parish’, I fear.

      • dannybhoy

        I think he would be appreciative of any ministrations offered from whatever source..

    • Coniston

      I have read that ‘transgender men’ (men pretending to be women) may be offered womb transplants on the NHS. And there was I, thinking the NHS was short of money!

  • bluedog

    The Emperor Micron is indeed an interesting study. Why did nobody buy him a uniform before his 90 minute monologue in the Palace of Versailles? One can scarcely believe that the stylish Brigitte is devoid of ideas on the topic. One cannot resist recalling the comments made by the comely Josephine Weimer, who provided services to both the Emperor Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington, but not at the same time. Mlle Weimer famously observed ‘Monsieur le Duc etait de beaucoup plus fort’. Can history repeat itself, and in what form?

    • Chefofsinners

      He shall indeed rule like Jupiter, for he is giant ball of gas. Let us hope that we do not see a large number of moons.
      Whenever I hear his name the image of Manuel from Fawlty Towers comes to mind. And whenever I see his wife our church’s child protection policy comes to mind.

      • His power is diminishing as it is seeping away to the EU so he has to make a grand show of nothing much really.

    • Linus

      The first duke of Wellington was Irish.

      The current prime minister of Ireland is gay.

      Something tells me he and our president will not be competing for Brigitte’s favours. But even if they were, as European partners, they would of course put all rivalry aside in order to defend the EU against our enemies and competitors. Like Britain.

      • Chefofsinners

        Hope that goes better for you than it did last time.

        • Royinsouthwest

          The EU negotiators would probably be quite happy if the “negotiations” over BREXIT lasted longer than the Hundred Years War!

          • Linus

            Brexit negotiations will last for exactly two years in total. If no deal is reached in that time, which, given the lack of direction of the British government as it tears itself apart in a leadership struggle, seems to be the most likely outcome, Britain leaves the EU with no agreement in place. Hard Brexit. You’re on your own.

            No more access to the Single Market. No more financial passports for British banks. No right for British citizens to live and work in Europe. Massive trade tariffs slapped on all British produce exported to Europe.

            That’s the most likely outcome of this process. And the EU is under no obligation to help you avoid it. You voted to leave. We now have to protect our interests against a country that has become a competitor rather than a partner. And protect them we will without any form of regret at how they may adversely affect a country that is no longer our concern.

            You wanted Brexit. So deal with it. It just isn’t our problem.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Fortress Europe. Now where have I heard that phrase before?

          • bluedog

            ‘Massive trade tariffs slapped on all British produce exported to Europe.’ You’ll learn to love the smell of burning rubber in the morning as French farmers block the auto-routes, in protest at their impending bankruptcy.

          • Linus

            Now that’s typical English logic. Cut price low-quality British produce will be priced out of the market leading to greater opportunities for quality French produce at home, but farmers will be so annoyed at getting all this new business, they’ll go on strike in protest at their new-found prosperity.

            Some who’ve been exporting to Britain may suffer in the short term. We may have to help them until they find new markets. Nobody said that Brexit would be painless. But the pain won’t be our fault. And we won’t suffer anything like as badly as you will.

            You’ve cut off your nose to spite your face and granted, it wasn’t a particularly attractive nose to begin with, all piggy and pudgy and constantly sneezing whenever the slightest grain of pollen drifts by, but it was all you had and, although you were never going to win first prize in any beauty contest, at least you looked vaguely human. Now you’ve just got two bloody holes in the middle of your face. Who’s going to ask you out now?

  • Bernard from Bucks

    “Well, Ma’am, it’s like this. I was talking to yon bishop’s chaplain the other day and happened to remark, when he asked how I was, that I wasn’t feeling myself.”
    As boys we were instructed that ‘feeling oneself’ was not to be encouraged.
    We were informed that it could lead to us being visually impaired in later life?

  • Chefofsinners

    Remarkable that a clergyperson is openly praying for Prince George to acquire an LGBT-alphabet soup orientation.
    Because if he prayed that someone would become straight, he would be summarily defrocked in the market place to cries of ‘bigot fascist fundamentalist’.

    • Jack wonders who he prays too.

      • Chefofsinners

        Chef wonders whether God’s ears are bleeding.

        • He’s done with bleeding.

          • Chefofsinners

            Ah. Then you must be the bleeder.

          • All Christians are.

          • Chefofsinners

            Some more than others.

          • Indeed.

        • David

          “bleeding” ?
          Once was sufficient.

      • David

        David joins Jack at his wondering.

  • Linus

    You? Received at a ducal seat? Even a make-believe pretendy one?

    Oh I think not.

    Unless you flash your National Trust membership card at the front door and then pole-vault over the velvet ropes when the flunkeys aren’t looking, there’s no chance that someone of your ilk could gain access to a duke’s private parts.

    And as for your regrets that an Orléans no longer rules France, I am hardly surprised that a typical representative of the English lower middle class would feel an affinity with the French equivalent.

    We haven’t had an Orléans in the Tuileries since the pear-shaped Louis-Philippe and his greasy Neapolitan wife moved their three piece velvet lounge suite and their inbred children out in 1848.

    We replaced them with a garden gnome, who then had the bad taste to marry a Spaniard, and went on to pick a fight with the Germans, so his dynasty didn’t last long. And when it fell, it took the Tuileries down with it.

    And there you have it: the ultimate reason why France has no monarchy and needs no monarchy. We quite simply don’t have a royal palace to put them in.

    Yes, we have the Elysée. But it’s a tiny little thing. Four up, four down and room for a charwoman – and precious little else. There’s certainly no space for a royal household. One modestly proportioned president and his spouse can just about squeeze in (the lofty de Gaulle had real trouble and hardly ever slept there), but the vast extended families that monarchs cart about with them would quite literally have nowhere to go. They’d be reduced to portakabins in the park, which would make for very awkward garden parties. I mean if you were a royal duke, would you like guests mistaking your bedroom for the lavatory block?

    France can’t have a monarchy because there’s just nowhere to put a monarch. End of story. Nobody in his right mind will touch Versailles with a barge pole and every other palace is full to bursting with art treasures, so a republican form of government is our only choice.

    So no, M. Macron will not be declaring himself emperor any time soon. If we hear of plans afoot to rebuild the Tuileries, then it might be time to start planning a pre-emptive revolution. But as long as he contents himself with his broom cupboard at the Elysée, we’re safe from all that nonsense.

    • Chefofsinners

      How perfectly you blend envy and ennui.

    • IanCad

      Delicious bitchiness, with just enough truth to make it funny.