Goodness! It’s all very well re-shuffling the pack, but when most of the cards are Jokers, the results remain the same. Mrs. Dismay handled her musical chair interlude with the all the aplomb of a Titanic deck-chair attendant and the look of a desperate housewife, but then the Conservative think-tank is overstocked with minnows so one shouldn’t carp (yes, I am mixing metaphors and don’t give a monkey’s). Now that Axminster-munching is no longer the plat de jour at the Ministry of Education, one hopes children will be taught the traditional alphabet and not the one that begins LGBGTQWERTY, but time will tell. The Revised Code will still prevail at Dr. Wortle’s School, rest assured. I offer a new challenge to Cranmer’s parishioners – can you list what is conservative about this Conservative Party? The prize, as usual, will be virtual hobnobs and the satisfaction of being smug.
With all sorts of germs sweeping the land and laying people low, it is comforting to know that Mr. J. Hunt remains in charge at the Ministry of Health and has added Social Care to his briefs, which I am assured have ample capacity. I called in at Hiram’s Hospital this morning to impart this piece of news to the old wool-carders, all of whom were tucked up in their beds, coughing and sneezing.
“Non-essential operations will henceforth be postponed,” I began, “which in practical terms means your bedpans will only be emptied every second Tuesday.”
“Lord save us, Mrs. P! We’re doomed!” declared Mr. Bunce.
“I’d rather take a stroll down Eugenics Street and be done with it!” croaked Mr. Handy.
“I’d give that weasel a piece of my mind!” said Mr. Moody.
“If only you ‘ad one,” muttered Mr. Skulpit darkly, before hiding under his blanket.
Of course I scolded them most severely, pointing out that Mr. Hunt is a presentable, clean-shaven, snake-eyed young gentleman, the epitome of modern ‘Conservatism’, who would do his utmost to ensure the care and welfare of all… at which point a flock of pigs flew by on their way south.
I read in the Court Circular that the North Koreans are sending a team to this year’s Braemar Gathering, on condition that we pay for the privilege. I suppose it is a step forward in establishing civilised relations and respite from the threat of incineration, but it is a bit of a cheek. What they will make of caber-tossing and sporran-swirling I have no idea. One only hopes there are no ‘slitty-eyed’ comments from the Prince Consort. Signora Neroni, who is always up to speed with things literary, informs me that Mr. Kipling has published a book in honour of the North Korean leadership, entitled ‘Kim’. I believe it contains a chapter headed ‘How to mince your uncle’. I also understand that the choir at Crathie Church are busy practising singing the North Korean national anthem, which I’m told translates as ‘Who let the dogs out?’
Mr. Verhuffenpuff of the Fourth Reich has taken time out from his position on top of Notre Dame Cathedral spouting rainwater to be beastly to the Poles and Hungarians. Either they obey the diktats from Brussels by welcoming the heathen horde or they must leave the Zollverein. No mention of long-winded divorce settlements or ‘interim periods’ for these patriotic folk; just ‘Allez!’. Perhaps Mrs. Dismay could learn something from this and play her cards differently, but whilst Mr. Barmier is poker-savvy, the Prime Minister insists on playing ‘Happy Families’. Speaking of bullying wind-bags, Toy Boy Jupiter has told the French that refusing to accept Islam is to commit treason. Time for another dose of ‘Aux armes, les citoyens’, methinks.
Copying the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy, which is now offering two-for-one tickets to Arabic speakers so they can ‘enjoy’ an ancient culture their religion seeks to obliterate, the Barchester Archaeological Museum has come up with a similar promotion, aimed at Ancient Britons. If you are a native pre-Roman Celtic speaker daubed in woad and mistletoe, the doors are open wide free-gratis. There has been little take-up. Unlike Turin, we cannot stimulate interest by throwing in a child-bride with every purchase… it just didn’t seem right.
The Mayor of Palermo, Sicily, a Signor Orlando I believe, has declared the future belongs “to Google and Ali the Immigrant”. Where, oh where is the Mafia when you need it most?
The Archdeacon attended a regimental dinner at the recently re-named Oscar and Bosie Barracks, hosted jointly by the officers from the Queen’s Own Mounted Diversity Hussars and the Royal Wessex Kumbaya Rifle Brigade. It was explained to him that the old image of HMs forces was not attracting ‘the right sort of mix’, for the army has been ordered to move with the times and reflect the population at large. The traditional Hussars’ scarlet tunics have been replaced by pink ones with lilac facings and a low-slung rainbow-coloured sabretache, and the Rifles now wear frocks.
“Imagine my outrage, dear lady!” blustered the Archdeacon as we strolled back across the Cathedral Close after Matins, “I thought I had set foot inside a Molly House! What on earth are these progressing-towards-the-abyss lunatics up to? The army needs fighting men, soldiers who will face cannons to the left of them and cannons to the right without shirking, not military-two-step dance tutors and strategic flower-arrangers! When I was a lad, camouflage did NOT mean mascara and lippy!”
Having faced the odd canon or two in my time, I could only agree.
Of course, the news that has got all of Barchester agog is the announcement that Mr. Farage is actually mulling over the idea of a second Neverendum ‘to put the thing to bed’. Is this not dancing to the demon Blair’s insidious tune? Of course Mr. Farage believes the outcome of such an event would be a greater majority in favour of leaving, but heavens to Betsy – does he imagine for one moment that the Remainers would not cheat? How can he possibly trust Mrs. Dismay’s Band of No-hopers to play nice? The Archdeacon is convinced he has been ‘nobbled’ by some secret Eunatic hit-squad with negatives of him shifting Château d’Yquem by the bucket load with Jacques Delors at a topless bar in Clochemerle.
Well, I must go and chain myself up to a tree in protest at practically everything that’s going on in Britain at the moment – in truth it is too difficult to pick just one outrage to fulminate against, so I have gone for a job lot. It only remains to say, as the unveiled face of Anna Soubry turns die-hard Brexiteers to stone and ocean-polluting throw-away plastic effluent is recycled and turned into a major five-part series by the BBC, au revoir until next time.