‘God rest ye merry gentlethings, Let gender not dismay…’

Goodness! What an interesting week and no mistake.

Mr. Harding and the Cathedral choir have been out and about wassailing, bringing good cheer to the inhabitants of our little town, rattling their collection plates under dripping noses and threatening another verse of ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas…’ unless folk stump up. His contemporary setting of that old Seasonal favourite, ‘God rest ye merry…’ is, however, raising a few eyebrows:

God rest ye merry gentlethings
Let gender not dismay,
Remember Christ our Saviour
Created you this way.
To self-identify is king
A plant-pot you may be
Oh-o good tidings of di-versity – versity
Oh-o tidings of di-vers-sity!

Somehow, I don’t think Mr. Harding’s heart was in it, but one cannot ignore all directives from Lambeth, can one?

So, what of the big wide world?

Well, Mrs. Chamber-Dismay returned from meeting the German Chancellor in Bad Godesberg without so much as a scrap of paper to wave at the crowds, so we are still ‘Fleeced in Our Time’. I thought Chancellor Rosa Kleb-Merkin looked particularly fetching in the sombre grey Mao suit which fitted like an iron glove stretched over the EU butter mountain. I believe the Prime Minister was treated, during her brief stay, to a performance of Goldsmith’s ‘She stoops to Conquerors’ performed by the Reich Actorsbund SS (Show Stoppers). Nothing like rubbing it in, is there?

How galling for her to return to a leadership challenge? I’m sure she never expected a member of the Conservative Party to develop a backbone, but not all Tories are invertebrates. The palace coup did not work, however, and with 200 votes against 117 Mrs. Dismay is untouchable for another year (unless, of course, there is a vote of no confidence in the House). I hope you are all making your preparations for Mrs. Dismay’s Babylonian Captivity, for if her wretched half-baked concoction goes through, we shall never escape the clutches of Berlaymont, and I believe there is a whole legion of nasties buried in the Lisbon Treaty that will come into effect in 2020, two years before the scheduled election.

Having just returned from the Christmas Market in Nuremberg, I was particularly shocked and saddened by the dreadful attack in Strasbourg, and my sympathies go to the poor victims and their families. Just imagine, you are wandering through the stalls sipping your gluhwein and admiring the baubles when somebody runs amok and the killing begins. Why are we expected to put up with this sort of horror and accept it as part and parcel of living in a big city? Why is there no correlation between fanatics shouting ‘Alluha Akbar’ and the long-term political aspirations of the religion that must not be named? Why do the authorities lie? What exactly are the benefits of multiculturalism and diversity, for no-one has yet fully explained. Are we to happily surrender our culture and birthright simply because Mr. Fatwah’s ‘Corner Shop and Halal Bistro’ stays open until 11 o’clock at night? A sorry bargain indeed.

The Archdeacon was most put out the other day when I saw him outside Mr. Silverside’s ‘Meat and Fancy Pies’ shop on Gullysucker’s Lane.

“You look most agitated, Archdeacon,” I remarked.

“Indeed so, dear lady, indeed so. A father should not be harangued at the breakfast table by his own daughter!”

“How distressing,” I replied, “Do tell.”

“I merely mentioned I was going to Mr. Silverside’s to buy a nice piece of beef for our Sunday roast, when my daughter objected. It seems cattle are guilty of producing an excess of methane, which pollutes the atmosphere and hastens this global warbling thingummy. In her opinion, Mrs. Grantly and I should become vegetarians, which is ‘the healthier option’.”

“It does seem to be the fashionable thing. There are so many charities these days promoting healthy living – why, the newspapers are full of it. I must say it does seem that the world is full of prodnoses who want to tell you what to do. Most distressing!”

“Charities? Hah! Charities for whom, exactly? These on-the-surface goody-two-shoes organisations, with their ‘save the whale.. the coconut.. the Kinnocks’, rake in vast sums from the gullible and pay their senior executives vast sums of money, leaving hardly a bean for the whale and the coconut (the Kinnocks are quite another matter). They have no political mandate but are instrumental in shaping public opinion. One is reminded of the sale of indulgences – give to this charity so that you might feel good about yourself! Well, all I can say is, leave the Great British Sunday roast alone!”

The Church of England may be in a parlous state, as His Grace often dwells upon in his excellent column, but spare a thought for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, where faith and reason have been hung out to dry. The Rev’d Nadia Bolz-Weber has launched a protest against the ‘evangelical purity culture’ also known as adherence to scriptural teaching or, in other words, Christianity. She declares she wants to ‘take down’ the church’s teaching about sex and is asking Lutheran girls to send her their purity rings so they can be melted down to make a golden vagina. In return, the Rev’d Nadia will send them an ‘Impurity ring’ and a certificate celebrating female sexuality. A prime candidate for the Chair of St. Augustine, I think.

Here’s a thought: if men are from Mars and women from Venus, do the diverse brigade come from Uranus?

At Dr. Wortle’s School, we make it a firm principle to treat every child the same, the watchwords being fairness and consistency. I do feel a similar principle is missing from the corridors of Brussels. Both Italy and now France have failed to set budgets agreeable to the Eurotyrants, but whilst Italy is admonished and sent to the naughty step, France is let off with a pat on the head. Of course, this is splendid fuel for Signor Salvini, who quite rightly can point a finger and say, “hypocrites!” I have sent dear Matteo a box of freshly-baked Garibaldis in the hope that he will find inspiration therein.

Well, I must leave you there. I was going to mention the kerfuffle in France with the yellow vests, but as most of the action takes place at the weekend we shall just have to wait. As yet, the Great British yellow string vest movement has yet to make its mark, probably on account of the weather. So, as the erstwhile stout yeomen characters of Ambridge throw caution to the wind and become a leftist-lentil-expressionist-free-love collective, and Herr Juncker runs his hip-bath of Verve Cliquot whilst wearing the snorkel intransigence and the flippers of trembling madness, I bid you adieu.

PS Only two more missives before the New Year!