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Snooper’s Charter: does Theresa May want to make windows into men’s souls?

Goodness! There is much disquiet and distress in the Stanhope household, almost equal to the wailing and gnashing of teeth in the Clinton mansion. One’s sympathies for the former are somewhat mixed. The Rev’d Dr. Vesey Stanhope, as you all know, had for many years ministered to the Anglican congregation on the shores of Lake Como (what Anglican  congregation, one asks?) to the neglect of his duties as Rector of Crabtree Canonicorum. That is until my Lord the Bishop recalled him to Barset. Dr. Stanhope has just heard from the steward of his palatial villa that the Italian government, deeming the property unoccupied, have allocated a contingent of some 30 Somalians to bed down there. Should Dr. Stanhope object, or raise the slightest difficulty, he will be arrested and imprisoned the moment he sets foot on Italian soil again. One deplores government high-handed authoritarianism of course, and this has all the hallmarks of Merkelism-by-proxy, but one is also mindful that Dr. S. can no longer be Comotosed and is thus tied to his Barsetshire living – and the pastoral care of his flock – for the foreseeable future.

Despite pressure from Whitehall, we have steadfastly refused to move the old gentlemen out of Hiram’s Hospital to make way for ‘refugees’, but I hear from my Swedish correspondent that this is exactly what is happening in the city of Piteå, where dementia patients and disabled people were turfed out of their home by the Left-Green city council. ‘New Swedes’ have priority, and while all are equal, some are more equal than others. One marvels at the continuing madness and stupidity of the Scandinavians… but there’s more than a touch of cruelty and evil about this decision. One is only surprised the councillors haven’t resorted to compulsory euthanasia. Vote Left, vote eugenics!

Consider the doings of the present Bishop of Rome. One would hesitate to name him Anti-Christ (the Archdeacon wouldn’t hold back for a second) though he certainly enjoys supping with devils. One week he is lachrymose over the passing of Fidel Castrol; the next he is doing shady Concordat deals with Chinese Communists. One much preferred his predecessor, Ratflinger: one knew where he stood, well, more or less. But as for Gaucho Marx, is it slightly to the left of Pol Pot? The jury is out… One thing is certain: ‘tis better to die peacefully in one’s bed like Castrol than screaming in terror and pain like his many victims.

Rome may have its Holy Years, so it is right and proper that we of the true (Reformed) faith have our peculiari anno. Following on from The Year of the Female Eucharist and The Year of LGBTQWERTY, we are going to focus on… Christianity! It’s true, Lambeth has announced it, and I am more startled than Mary was when Gabriel fluttered through the window. Cantuar mentions our Judaeo-Christian heritage and puts forward his views on freedom – the freedom to believe or not, to criticise but not to undermine (one would have thought well-constructed and substantiated arguments can, and sometimes do, undermine the certainties of one’s opponent, but one quibbles). Highlights of this exciting year will include priests preaching the gospel, a renewed emphasis on the XXXIX Articles, Ten Commandments and Salvation… radical stuff certainly, guaranteed to blow the wind up many a cassock. Those worried by this flirting with the traditional will be comforted by the announcement from Dr. Spacely-Trellis that next year the Church will revert to form with an emphasis on Interfaith Transgendered Relativism and the Cuddly Credo of Kumbaya.

What to make of Mrs. Dismay’s Snooper’s Charter? She has certainly donned the bloomers of Big Sisterhood but it is disappointing to have such measures introduced by a vicar’s daughter. Does she want to make windows into men’s souls? If this is about combatting terrorism, why import the blighters in the first place? She will have her work cut out in Barchester, where electronic devices are few and far between. Perhaps she might consider recruiting a team of letter-steamers and eaves-droppers? On the other hand, all she needs to do is send someone to one of Signora Neroni’s soirées, where the county’s gossip bounces off the walls like tennis balls. One disapproves of this sort of thing, which is more suited to Czarist Russia or one of those Latin American tin-pot dictatorships… or, indeed, the Left-Green city council of Piteå.

And so, as my candle splutters and the fire dies down in the grate, I bid you all goodnight. Tomorrow is a busy day, for I have several bundles of tracts to distribute. Mr. Slope normally does the weekly cottaging but is under the blankets with a heavy cold after rubbing his chest with Vic, so I must call to see how he is.  A few spoonfuls of my chicken broth will no doubt stiffen his resolve. Until next week, may your Earl Grey be ever piping hot and your hobnobs stay firm when dunking.