Good heavens! A headmaster at an Anglican school has banned a Christian group from taking assemblies, simply because a small band of lemon-sucking Guardianistas decided to raise their scrawny necks and complain? The Dutt-Paukers of this world have a lot to answer for, but the more we give into their incessant demands the more intolerable life becomes for the majority. We brook no such nonsense at Dr. Wortle’s School: I’m pleased to say each morning begins with a recital of the catechism and ends with the beatings… whoops, I mean the Beatitudes. Of course, we do try to keep up with the times without jumping on band wagons: next week the School Managers are meeting to decide upon the implementation of the Revised Code.
The Jupiter reported last week that Her Majesty has decided to take more of a back seat in royal duties and ceremonial, an acknowledgement of a long life of service and advancing years. One senses things will never be the same, a fin de règne, in the same way the smell of wood smoke heralds the onset of autumn. Will we feel the same about her successor? If past form is anything to go by, it will be a very different sort of monarch, and perhaps even monarchy. Signora Vesey Neroni was all too eager to share her opinions during the interval of Die Fledermaus, currently being performed at the Theatre Royal, Barchester, by the Dr. Barnardo’s Old Boys Operatic Minstrel Ensemble, conducted by Sir Parzifal Thightrembler with Dame Cecily Brylcreem on gin and triangle (Sir Parzifal had a very impressive podium which was much admired by all present).
“It may well be time to consider a republic,” she twittered behind her fan.
Honestly, send a perfectly formed English rose to live a while in sunny Italy and she is beguiled by a Garibaldi and comes back legless.
“The stout yeomen of this sceptred isle would never stand for such nonsense,” I retorted, just as the orchestra struck up and we waltzed into Act Two – but then the thought occurred to me that those same yeomen might vote Comrade Corbyn in one day. When the chips are down, who knows which way they’ll swing?
I stopped off at the Wednesday market to buy some fish for my Lord’s Friday supper. Mr. Codswalloper, the fishmonger, was of cheerful disposition and eager to converse.
“It looks like we will be getting our fishing grounds back when we leave this ‘ere foreign empire,” he chortled as he prodded his chub in an effort to stimulate my interest. I was after haddock, so his actions were of no avail.
“It remains to be seen,” I replied. Indeed it does, for Whitehall would trade the Crown Jewels and more beside if it could pick up a few crumbs from Mr. Juncker’s table. There is no honour amongst thieves, nor in the corridors of power.
We get our fish fresh from the docks here in Barchester, for it has been an inland port since medieval times. It is said King Edward II once dangled his rod here whilst entertaining his favourite, Piers Gavescon, behind the sand dunes. The little ships bob in and out, casting their nets this way and that. Why, even Mr. Slope has been known to go trawling with Jolly Jack Tars whilst doing a stint at the Seaman’s Mission: I believe he caught crabs.
“Well, I am sure the Prime Minister will pull out all the stops,” said Mr. Codswalloper.
I had no idea the PM could play the Hammond organ. As for Tereason May fighting our corner, forget it. The Appeaser appears to have caved in, which some of us knew would happen all along. The woman wants to defend ‘the deal’ before the public: she should be defending herself at the Old Bailey on charges of lèse-nation (that’s a bit of your actual French).
My Lord the Bishop and I were invited to a charity fund raiser organised by the Archdeacon on Thursday evening. He is proposing to erect a statue to Mr. Viktor Orban in Magna Carta Square, paid partly by public subscription. It seems a worthy cause.
“Mr. Orban is the beacon to which all freedom-loving peoples should flock,” explained the Archdeacon, raising his glass of Madeira in homage to the great man. “Thanks to him, Hungary has not experienced the same sort of violence and slaughter that we have in London and Manchester, and Hungarians are not embarrassed to champion their own culture and traditions!”
Lots of applause at this point.
“Now I know some amongst you are wondering why I am not putting forward the name of a contemporary politician from these islands for such a prestigious honour… the thing is, I cannot think of one! Not one of them care a jot for the British people – too busy virtue-signalling in support of every swarthy souk-dweller, bearded brigand and ISIS worshipper who sets foot on these shores claiming they’re six years old but a bit big for their age. Oh, they make a point of telling us to open our doors and take these fellows in, but have they? How many of the blighters are enjoying eggs sunnyside-up for breakfast at Yvette Cooper’s mansion, one wonders?’
I coughed discreetly: “You may have overlooked Mr. Rees-Mogg, Archdeacon.”
“As indeed has the nation, lady. But he is as yet a mere backbencher, untried and untested, whilst Mr. Orban carries the torch of Sobieski and Prince Eugene.”
One cannot argue with that – or the Archdeacon.
Nor can one argue with these figures: ‘England Policing Crisis: Crime up 13 Per Cent, Rape up 22 Per Cent, Just One in Nine Burglaries Solved.’ This was the headline in today’s Jupiter, and I must say I was shocked. Fortified by an extra hobnob or two, I decided to go immediately to Barchester Police Station and demand an explanation. Constable Knapweed was on the desk, but there was no point talking to the monkey – I demanded to see the organ-grinder.
Inspector Bertram D. Cuffem ignored my protestations and, when I’d calmed down, gave the official explanation.
“You see, Mrs. Proudie, it all boils down to resources. Thanks to our rudderless leadership at the Home Office, we haven’t so much as a spare farthing to spend on crime stopping as it used to be done. All our time and effort now is directed towards tracking down hate-criminals, those evil-twisted souls who plot and mutter against Common Purpose, diversity and equality. We have to steam open every letter posted in Barchester and check for dangerous content; every telegram sent has to be relayed back here to HQ for political vetting; every piece of graffiti appearing on walls scanned for wrong-think then whitewashed over. A policeman’s lot is not a happy one, I can assure you.”
Well, he looked very happy about it, I must say. Why pound the beat and risk life and limb when you can nab Mrs Snooks of Rose Cottage for singing ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ to her grandson?
How did we come to this?
Well, dear hearts, I must fly. I have promised to visit my old friend Hermione Possett at Great Throbbing-in-the-Meadows, where her husband is rector. She is setting up a protest group, ‘Clergy Wives Against Gary Lineker,’ which seems another worthy cause. So, as the Eisteddfod of Depravity gathers together the druids of Chatham House and the denizens of Dignitas prepare to receive the Conservative Party en masse, I bid you adieu.