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Rendition: “It is not the sort of thing the British Empire should be involved in. Someone should be held accountable”

Goodness! Well thinks do seem to be hotting up, what with the glorious weather and the fires sweeping across the moorland ‘Up North’ sparked off by all the hot air coming out of Convocation. My Lord the Bishop has given up on York for this year and has returned to balmy Barchester, where everything is more or less as it should be.

Do spare a thought for beleaguered Frau Kanzler Merkin, who is clinging on to power by her fingertips. It must be daunting to wake up each morning in the knowledge that you are the most hated woman in Europe, for despite the warm embraces of the Boy Jupiter and the plaudits of the Europhiles, there are many in Germany and Eastern Europe who believe she is the worst thing to happen to Germany since the Austrian house-painter. Having said that, the woman demonstrates a remarkable capacity for survival – one is reminded of the annual greased pig competition at Much Crackling-in-the-Wolds, where strapping lads try to catch a slippery trotter for three minutes and pin it down without letting go. How many have tried to pin down the Slippery Trot of Berlin over the years and failed?

Apart from the Boy Jupiter, of course, and he has a penchant…

I had an interesting conversation with Major-General Sir Roderick Blastem at Courcy Castle on Thursday, when I attended a sumptuous dinner party given by the Earl and Countess to mark their 35th wedding anniversary. He was not at all surprised at the revelation that HM Government had been an active partner in the horrid business of rendition. I confess I thought ‘rendition’ was something to do with singing a song or reciting a poem, but no.

“My dear good woman,” said the Colonel, “we’ve been doing this sort of thing since the Battle of Crecy. Why, during the American Revolution we handed over lots of Continental troops to the Hessians, who knew how to extract information… and teeth… and fingernails, come to that. Only now it seems, in this age of enforced equality and human rights, are such procedures frowned upon.”

“Well even so, Colonel, it is not right,” I ventured, metaphorically putting my head in the Lion’s mouth. “It is not the sort of thing the British Empire should be involved in. Someone should be held accountable, and I do believe the finger points at Mr. Blair, along with Messrs. Straw, Hoon, Scarlett and Dearlove.”

“That would be five fingers, Madam,” snorted the Colonel, delighted at tripping me up.

“Whatever,” I replied, “but we clearly need to do a Warren Hastings on these people and put them on trial.”

The Colonel laughed long and loud.

“That will never, ever happen. Trials are for little people, the Robinsons of this world, not the Elite. No prime minister would ever allow a predecessor to face trial and possible gaol. It sends the wrong message and scares the effluent out of them!”

I fear the Colonel is quite right: sending Mr. Blair to the dock would be a decisive action, and such things are to Mrs. Dismay what garlic and sunlight are to Michael Heseltine.

Having said all that, it must be admitted that judges are not what they were. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for what some of them get up to. Take Judges Kareena, Rasib and Razi – fine Home Counties names; three immigration and civil legal eagles trusted with the responsible job of deciding whether or not to allow residency status to incomers. All three, together with some others equally well-placed, have been caught giving the nod to fraudulent applications and raking off a fortune. I questioned Sir Abraham Haphazzard about the case. He looked up from his Blackstone and considered.

“In a sane world, Mrs. Proudie, one would not set a fox to guard a henhouse. Alas, the world today is not sane: they have closed down the asylums and we have care in the community. Look where that has led – the lunatics are all in Westminster.”

One has to admire Sir Abraham – he doesn’t mince his words. He would make an excellent Supreme court Judge… I shall write and tell President Trumpelstiltskin so at once.

Which brings me onto our domestic chaplain, Mr. Slope, who is busy making preparations for his forthcoming summer holiday in Sweden. The Swedes have opened their first LGBGTQWERTY Sports Stadium, declaring ‘Sport is for everyone regardless of race, gender etc. etc.’, and Mr. Slope has suddenly become a ‘hearty’.

“Isn’t it a ripping idea?” He trilled, packing his neck-to-toe rainbow-flannelled swimming costume into his tattered Gladstone.

“I daresay it will be,” I replied, thinking about Sweden’s changing demographics.

Sports Arenas can be put to all sorts of uses. Some of them bloody.

I have ordered a portrait of Signor Salvini to hang in the Long Gallery of the Palace. He will take his place alongside several bishops of Barchester and a few of my personal heroes, such as Archbishop Cranmer (I know, I know), Elizabeth I and the Bottomless Pitt. I envisage him standing on a beach, pushing back a boat that is trying to dock whilst trampling underfoot the blue starry duster that flies over Berlaymont. Signora Neroni is heading back to the Stanhope Villa on the shores of Lake Como and is hoping to invite him to stay for a weekend. I am sure she will tell all upon her return in the autumn.

Well, I hope you enjoy my pick-and-mix potpourri this week. One cannot cover everything, as Emily Thornberry’s dressmaker once said, so I will leave it there. May the barbeque of happiness sizzle the beefsteak of contentment and the lettuce of determination stay crisp despite the humid fugg of British politics.

And give thanks that the European fisheries policy did not regulate Our Lord’s miracle by the Sea of Galilee.