O calamity! What can one say about the election other than a debacle, a disaster and a right royal mess! I never thought Mrs. Dismay to be as sure-footed and ‘sound’ as some made out – her track record at the Home Office speaks for itself – but I didn’t expect her to shoot herself between the temples so spectacularly. The ripples have reached Barchester of course, and the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth are manifold and legion. The Archdeacon certainly has a broad and pithy command of Anglo-Saxon, not to mention the ability to project from as far away as Plumstead, and one finds oneself (rather naughtily) praying that the laryngitis fairy knocks on his door before too long.
One does have some sympathy for poor Mr. Farron, who has resigned this week. The poor dear has found bending over backwards to lead a political party and still be a Christian too difficult in these modern, secular times, and there are only so many brickbats one can take. Alas, the days of Mr. Gladstone thundering from the pulpit, saving fallen women and leading the British Empire are long gone. I am sending the poor dear a box of freshly-baked hobnobs and a copy of my latest tract, ‘Sod ‘em and Begorrah: the DUP stand on Gay Marriage’, to let him know he is not alone.
Comrade Corbynov, fresh from a whistle-stop tour of Diane Abbott, proclaims he really won the election after all and should now be in Number 10. In my opinion, he should be in Room 101, but that is another story. Perhaps the duskily fragrant yet bizarrely innumerate Caribbeanette has been adding up the votes for him. It never ceases to amaze how people can fall for a goatishly be-whiskered Trotskyite pied piper promising rainbows and unicorns, but they do. Signora Neroni is one of them: I’m sure she believes if Corbynov would only facilitate a laying on of hands, she would take up her bed and walk. Well, as far as I’m concerned, he’s not the Messiah: he’s a very dangerous Marxist-Leninist agitator who knows some very naughty boys. Very naughty indeed.
Mr. Bunce stopped me in the High Street this morning to say the Old Gentlemen of Hiram’s Hospital are delighted that the Age of Austerity – as proclaimed by Mrs. Dismay – is over, and would the Warden see fit to raise their weekly allowance by a few more groats. I pointed out this was a matter for Mr. Harding, to whom all such supplications should be made, but I couldn’t help thinking this is the first request of many, and where will it end? Will the Old Gentlemen demand feather mattresses and china tea pots? Will they want holidays in Mablethorpe and a ration of rum per day? Such material excesses are not good for the soul, let alone diocesan finances, as I said to my Lord the Bishop this evening after we had finished our venison roast and post-prandial port.
Mr. Slope has returned, somewhat battered and bruised, from Manchester, where I believe he took part in a demonstration against Sharia Law. I only found out later that the march was organised by the LGBTQWERTY community with their rainbow flags and heavy makeup, and opposed by (gasp!) the LGBTQWERTY ‘bused-in’ community with their bricks, batons and heavy lesbians. It seems protesting about a system of justice that seeks to throw all Friends of Dorothy from high buildings or set them alight in cages is ‘Islamophobic’, and that hard-wired Muslims have every right to kill if they want to. The Jupiter claimed it was a ‘right-wing’ event organised by the EDL, but it seems they got it wrong. So much fakery going about these days. At least Mr. Slope came back in one piece – or rather in a fetching one-piece with matching hat and sling-backs. One really does worry about him.
Recently the police have warned churches and cathedrals to be especially vigilant as they may be targets for terrorist attacks. My Lord the Bishop was rather worried by this, and sought out Dean Trefoil to enquire what sort of security measures Barchester Cathedral had in place. The Dean, who is surely not destined to be on this earth much longer, was unable to elucidate, so the Archdeacon stepped it.
“Allow me to explain, my Lord,” said the Archdeacon. “We have taken this warning very seriously and have adopted the most appropriate precautions, as recommended by Cantuar himself. You will note the hand-embroidered banners hanging along the nave with the message, ‘Please leave your guns with the verger on duty’, and ‘Feeling miffed? It helps to talk it through’. The three Sisters of the Holy Paraclete have been trained in the art of turning the other cheek by Mr. Slope, whom I believe is very good at it.”
My Lord the Bishop turned a little pale and asked if the Archdeacon felt these moderate, Anglican measures were enough, considering the threat facing us.
“Of course not!” spluttered the Archdeacon, reverting to his usual manner of bluster, froth and purpleness. “Therefore, I have armed each choirboy with an automatic sub-machine gun which they can secrete under their surplices, and the minor canons are currently being coached by the SAS in survival tactics. The Mothers’ Union are stationed in various niches, keeping their eyes and ears open ready to strike if need be, armed with several hundred Molotov cocktails made from empty wine bottles collected by the Band of Hope and the Temperance League. We have stashed a few anti-personnel devices up in the clerestory and early-warning trip wires are installed in the north and south transepts. No anti-Christian weapon-toting fanatic is going to get into this cathedral and live, and that includes the BBC.”
The Bishop and I felt totally reassured.
And so, as another week slips down the sluice of time and the charivari that is politics trundles towards the toll booth of extortion along the boulevard of empty promises, I bid you all adieu.