It is a little-known fact that Mrs. Dismay began her career as a probationary teacher at Dr. Wortle’s School here in Barset. It was there that she perfected the art of the wagging finger – the one she is currently brandishing in the face of President Trumpelstiltskin. Of course, being a good progressive, Mrs. Dismay is appalled that migrant children caught crossing the border are being locked up in cages (better than being sent up chimneys, I would have thought) but in doing so she ignores the plank in her own eye. What concern has she shown over the hundreds of child-abuse cases in Great Britain at the hands of paedophile gangs? At most a polite ‘tut-tut’ before shifting her position on the EU negotiations for the umpteenth time. (As for the ‘caging’ of children, the policy was originally introduced by President O’Barmey and not a squeak of protest was heard from the bien pensant media and Hollywood radical chic). Mrs. Dismay is a prime candidate for the Nobel Prodnose Prize – a fussy old besom who has yet to sweep out her own Augean Stable; a woman who is to statecraft what Jenny Lind was to spot-welding.
It is, of course, a distraction. The real story – one of skulduggery, intrigue, conspiracy and treason – is still being played out on Capitol Hill now that the Inspector General’s Report (no, not you, dear Inspector – the US Inspector General) has been submitted to Congress. Heads should be rolling by now but they are not. There are those who will stop at nothing to undermine the President, just as there are those here who are determined to scupper Brexit and keep us within the Unholy Remainer’s Empire. I grieve for Great Britain, I really do.
But all of this is of little concern to us here in Barchester. The weather has been a little inclement of late, with showers interrupting vicarage tea parties and flattening the delphiniums. Mr. Slope assures me it is all down to this Global Warming thingummy we hear so much about, but I am not convinced. Mr. Slope says it must be true as he heard it from the lips of St. David of Attenborough, patron saint of eugenicists and sea urchins, who knows a thing or two.
My Lord the Bishop is in York for Convocation, where matters spiritual are consigned to the dustbin while debate rages interminably on matters temporal, everything from de-genderised toad-sexing and non-violent swan upping to soak the rich taxation, should women priests wear thongs under their cassocks and did Cliff Richard make criminal records? The more they do this the more people leave the church. In their accommodation of women priests and transgendered curates, do they not realise they simply alienate huge swathes of ordinary men and women who seek the comfort and divine inspiration in traditional forms of worship? No, they do not. All must be up-to-date and fit in with contemporary values to keep the leftist banshees assuaged.
As for this adoration of Bishop Curry, the American Episcopalian and social justice cushion-thumper who performed so dramatically at the recent royal wedding, I think it a huge mistake. We English are a little more reserved, a little less flashy than our transatlantic cousins, and we like our sermons to be at least Christian in content. Archbishop Welby reportedly said he was ‘Blown away’ by what he heard, but despite the blast of curried hot air I see he is very much with us. Let us remember the words of Bishop Butler of Bristol in response to Wesley’s conversion: “Enthusiasm, sir, is a horrid thing; a very horrid thing indeed.”
At St. Euthanasia’s Hospital for Gentlewomen here in Barchester they have boldly adopted the ‘Gosport Solution’ to the ever-present bed-blocking problem, sponsored by Mrs. Lovett’s Pies Ltd. of Fleet Street. It is a marvellous example of what Health Secretary Mr. Hunt calls ‘Industrialised Progressive Privatisation’. I always make my visits mid-morning, distributing hobnobs and tracts of comfort, for by supper time the wards are all empty, ready for a new batch of suffering souls the next day. Such an amazing success rate.
The Jupiter reports that Herr Juncker is currently visiting the Irish, who have wisely stocked up on Merlot and Montepulciano for the occasion. “I’m not drunk,” he announced, but nobody believed him. What the crafty old Luxembugger is really after, of course, is to annex Northern Ireland to the EU. Of course, he also wants to get his hands on the legendary crock of gold which lies at the foot of Mr. Varadker’s rainbow to make up the Brexit deficit, but like all fairy stories, it is just a figment of the imagination.
Did you know Mr. Varadker won the Inter-Parliamentary Wet Taoiseach Competition?
Isn’t it rather strange that Brussels-am-Berlin want no truck with walls and borders and yet have provided Turkey with billions to build a wall along their border with Syria? Could this be an example of the famous Eurodeceit we experienced in 1973, or have the Eurocrats learned the art of taqiyya from their new best friends? The Archdeacon has no illusions;
“It’s no good buttering up the Ottoman; he won’t thank you for it and it will inevitably backfire, as Mr. Slope found out on his last visit to Constantinople (where he supplied the Anglican Mission for a fortnight, though what he supplied I’m not sure). Having said that, Islam has been a part of Europe for centuries, just as Frau Merkin maintains – but as an intermittent invader, coastal pirate raider and unrepentant slave trader. It’s all in the history books for those who care to read, but they must hurry before the progressives get around to bonfire-building.”
“But Archdeacon, as Christians are we not duty bound to extend the hand of friendship to our Islamic fellow-citizens?” I asked.
“Not if you want to lose it,” he sniffed.
I was then treated to a lecture on the Battle of Tours – what happened to the little Irish fishing village of Baltimore in the 1630s and Lepanto.
I saw Lepanto once.
Oh no you didn’t…
Oh yes I did…
Sorry about that – my sense of humour got the better of me. I need to get a grip, but then I have gardeners to do that.
Anyway, the sun is shining this Friday afternoon and I am minded to go for a stroll along the banks of the River Bar, watching the punters from Bishop Lackwind’s College drift by as they read their Karl Marx and listening to the reed warblers warble. O, to be in Barchester now that summer is here! Be good my dears, be good, and pour a decent glass for yourselves this evening.
Oh yes, did you know, this missive marks my centenary? Barring special editions, this is my 100th ‘Portrait of the Week’, my very own ‘Old 100th’. Time to buy a new nib, I think…