Goodness! A new bishop for London! Dear Dr. Chartres (who was robbed of Canterbury by the lentil-weaving kumbayistas of the Crown Nominations Commission) will indeed be missed, but who will succeed him in the chair of Nicholas Ridley and Edmund Grindall? Opportunities like this do not come along often, and perhaps one should consider raising one’s head above the clerestory… not my head you understand, but that of my Lord the Bishop of Barchester. Of course, we love the peace and quiet of the Cathedral Close here, but the hustle and bustle of the metropolis would provide so many more opportunities to spread the Word. However, one must be realistic, for time and tide are against traditionalists like us. Knox’s monstrous regimen is demanding doors be opened in the name of equality, their cassocks concealing tattoos and dungarees, their hair clipped short to display earrings à la mode and their unhindered bosoms heaving with LGBTQWERTY outreach. So be it. One is only surprised that Mr. Tatchell will not be considered, as he has every qualification going for a 21st century bishop: lack of belief, a penchant for frocks and an active enthusiasm for the Sermon on the Mounted.
Mr. Slope is somewhat ruffled, having scanned the publication of the New Year’s Honours List in The Jupiter, to find his name omitted yet again. One believes he was hoping for at least an OBE for services to bishops, but such things seldom come a cleric’s way. Honours seem to be handed out to some of the strangest people these days: winning a race or brandishing a tickling stick will bag a knighthood, whereas spending 60 years caring for old people or the disabled might just get you a British Empire Medal, or nothing, whichever is cheaper. Seems that our values system is somewhat skewed. At least His Grace’s ‘Christian of the Year’ award went to someone who deserves it. I am adding to the sparkle by sending that handsome young baker my recipe for hobnobs.
Archdeacon Grantly, too, scours the papers each day to see where we are with Brexit. He has no time for Mrs. Therreason Dismay, and believes she is there to nobble the entire enterprise. He is, however, cheered by the resignation of Sir Ivan Rogers, not so much our ambassador to the EU as the EU’s ambassador to us.
“The bounder had gone native,” spluttered the Archdeacon, “but then what does one expect from a neo-Bolshevik bureaucrat educated at one of those École Normale Supérieure, where they trained him in arrogance, disdain for democracy and how to write petulant resignation letters?”
“Not a fan then, Archdeacon?” I replied, very much tongue in cheek.
The resounding ‘Harrumph!’ was audible even in York, where the bells no longer ring.
It is not often one agrees with John Bold – his enthusiasm for liberal causes and moral high-ground-ism does provoke reflux – but on this issue we are one. To send a 15-year-old boy to a re-education programme designed to de-radicalise potential terrorists, all because he said he didn’t agree with women wearing burkhas, is high-handed totalitarianism, plain and simple. Worse, he said this whilst at school, where he should be kept safe and protected by teachers – instead, these products of Right-think Training Colleges decided to hand him over to Mr. Plod’s ‘Prevent’ strategy. One wonders if the same treatment would have applied if he had said nuns should not wear habits and the Salvation Army should abandon their uniforms. No, of course not. Political Correctness decrees all religions are equal, but one is more equal than others.
Sometimes one despairs. Sitting at my escritoire by candlelight, darkness closing in, one feels the world has taken leave of its senses. Red-robed Santa Clauses kill 39 people at a nightclub in Istanbul, cars are torched in France and Sweden by rioting ethnics, lorries are high-jacked and driven into crowds, and a young white man with learning difficulties is kidnapped and tortured on film by a gang of Afro- Americans because he voted for Mr. Trump. Perhaps these are but signs and portents of the End of Days, and so, as the black dog of cultural Marxism cocks its leg towards the policeman’s trouser leg of civilisation, I bid you all farewell until next week.