Goodness! Still doubt the world has gone insane? Consider this: the Sentencing Council for Great Britain (who the hell are they?) are proposing harsher sentences for those promoting ‘hostility’ towards transgendered people, religious folk or women who seek abortions. You may think boys have penises and girls have vaginas, but if you say as much you will get six years. The problem with Marxist quangos and a permanent legislature seeking to justify its existence by criminalising everything under the sun is that, sooner or later, we are all bound to transgress. Sir Abraham Haphazzard has what I think is the perfect solution, one that I commend to whomever is the Home Secretary this week. Sir Abraham’s ‘Reversable Criminality and Sanctuary for the Innocent’ Bill, which he intends tabling in The Commons, proposes to declare the entire population guilty of criminality – it being no more than a recognition of the truth. In consultation with President Trumpelstiltskin, a wall will be build around the entire coastline of the British Isles to prevent any escape. Existing prisons will become ‘Safe Havens’ for those innocent of any crime, though this must be proven (back to the fourth generation on both sides of the family) in front of a panel of judges before admission. The United Kingdom will henceforth be known as HMS Prison Great Britain. With one swoop, the government can incarcerate illegal immigrants, shoplifters, careless drivers, bankers, naughty vicars and bloggers of every shape, size, colour and creed. Mrs. Dismay’s Tories will love it – ‘Tough on Crime, Tough on the Population at Large’, and so will the Gulag-minded crew who sit opposite. Every sentence will be a life sentence – how good is that?
Miss Evadne Forceps, an enthusiastic disciple of purple-haired ‘sexuality expert’ Deanne Carson, recently spoke to the Barchester ‘Save a Fallen Woman for Mr. Gladstone’ Society AGM on the subject of ‘Consent in the Home’. Miss Forceps believes good parenting involves asking a baby’s permission to change its nappy, wash its face, clean its teeth and comb its hair. She recognises that a baby cannot give a verbal reply, so parents will need to read its ‘body language’. One wonders what interpretation she gives to the breaking of wind from either direction? When it came to question time, I raised my hand.
“Should babies in the womb be asked to consent to their termination?”
I was shown the door.
It appears the Blair government was guilty of ‘Rendition unto Caesar’ after all, the Caesar in question being Teflon Tony’s bosom buddy, George W. Bush. Mrs. Dismay has done the apologising, of course, for the Man of Blood himself is busy working as a body double for one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and has his hands full (he’ll do anything to skip rissole night with Cherie). It was gratifying to watch Mr. Straw look uncomfortable when we switched on the electric magic lantern on Thursday night – almost worth the licence fee. Almost, but not quite.
It was Ascension Day on Thursday, of course, which the Germans call ‘Christi Himmelfahrt’ (this always makes me giggle). Mr. Slope gave a spirited sermon in the Cathedral to mark the occasion. To add colour and imagery to the occasion he wore a splendid rainbow cope, woven in Barchester by the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Hairdo, and a pectoral cross previously owned by Sir Cliff Richard. On reflection it was perhaps a mistake to adapt one’s language to be inclusive – the included in this case being the scruffy urchins of the Bluecoat School. The inevitable happened.
“Excuse me, mister,” said a gangly youth with long legs and a husky voice.
“Yes, what is it?” said the unflappable Slope.
“What do you mean when you say Jesus assented?”
“The word is ascended, and it means he went up.”
“Went up what?” said the small boy.
“Went up into heaven,” said Mr. Slope, expecting to move on now curiosity was satisfied.
“Isn’t heaven a nightclub?” continued the child, who, judging from his moustache and beard, must have been in his early thirties. That accent too… not Barset surely… more Middle Eastern.
“How on earth do you know that?” said Mr. Slope, turning a little pale and twiddling his tippet.
“We’ve got your number,” said the inquisitive youngster, turning around in his pew and nodding to a figure lurking by the Undercroft door. It was Mustafa Fatwah. He scribbled something in his book and then melted into the shadows. Wonder what that could have been about?
When the nation abandoned Mrs. Beeton and opted instead for Spud-u-like convenience and fast food MacLard, waistlines expanded in direct proportion to the contracting boundaries of the British Empire. Then Mr. Oliver, no longer naked but full of his own bumptiousness, decided to improve the lunchtime lot of British schoolchildren by substituting lentil vichysoisse and quinoa parfait for sausage and chips. It didn’t work. Now we have a new gastronomic saviour – the Mayor of London! In the midst of the capital’s greatest crime wave, with acid attacks and drive by shootings galore, Mr. Khan has time to decree that London Transport will no longer carry unhealthy advertisements but promote healthy options instead. One wonders if these will be halal?
“Picture the scene, dear lady,” chortled the Archdeacon, who always finds the Mayor worth laughing at, “Along comes a Number 23 omnibus, passing a group of burger-gorging London youths. As the wheels churn water up from the gutter thus splashing the little darlings, they look up and see Mr. Khan’s dish of the day advertised in big bold Arabic letters.”
“Cor, luv- a-duck!” one of them exclaims, “Where Mr. Khan leads we must follow! Throw away your homogenised pre-digested grease-on-a-stick and turn towards the lettuce!”
I gave the Archdeacon a quizzical look. “So, you thing this campaign will work?”
“Not a cat in hell’s, Mrs. P., not a cat in hell’s.”
“At least the poor man’s trying,” I replied.
“I agree he should be tried,” said the Archdeacon, a wide grin breaking out between his ears.
The way of the world is indeed baffling and my trusty Baedeker is long out of date. I shall leave you all to ponder the fate of the nation in the comfort of your own homes. I shall be out gathering nuts in May as the weather is uncommonly clement this afternoon. So, as the seagull of vested interest dive bombs the picnic table of populism and the bindweed of Euro-regulation chokes the seedlings of free trade, I bid you au revoir for this week.