The Last Chronicle of Barset


Well my dears, here we are. The end of a year and, sadly, the end of my weekly missives. If I have managed to raise a smile, or even a chuckle over the last couple of years, then I feel blessed. Who knows what the New Year will bring?

But what of Barchester? I’m pleased to say it remains a bastion of the traditional in a world gone mad. Here there are but two genders, marriage is as it always was, and social justice warriors are sent to the workhouse in double-quick time.

My Lord the Bishop and I spent a very merry Christmas in The Palace, and my Christmas Eve soirée was, I think, a success. Our guests sat down to a five-course dinner in the Blue Salon served by Spasm, our butler, who was momentarily thrown off his stride when Signora Neroni indicated she wanted stuffing. Afterwards, our eldest daughter Olivia entertained the company on the spinet and my other daughter, Augusta, gave us a selection of Schubert’s Lieder to great applause. Mr. Slope played a very convincing Father Christmas, handling a very full sack with aplomb and dropping a few surprises into people’s stockings. Such fun.

On a wider canvas, I am sure we can all give thanks to Mr. Jeremy Hunt’s sudden and inexplicable conversion to humanity. Who would have thought that behind that goggle-eyed iceman exterior there beats a heart filled with concern and compassion for persecuted Christians around the globe? I fear he will have his job cut out in trying to get the Camel Corps to change tack, for like the Home Office myrmidons of Mr. Javid, they have been beguiled and bewitched by Eastern Promise, a whiff of halal and a ‘Get out of Jail’ card for when the Caliphate is secured. Such is the backwash of Empire. However, I am all in favour of Mr. Hunt’s new direction, and hope his wishes are carried out without the usual mandarinesque tampering.

I see the German Supreme Court has ruled that child-marriages are not unconstitutional. This is what results from a diet of bratwurst, beer and sauerkraut and a history of dubious morality – a desire for the exotic – but, of course, this is all about ‘the New Germans’. One is appalled, of course. Protests from the churches have been somewhat muted: when Lutherans delude themselves there are more than two genders, and Roman Catholics seek Anschluss with the Vienna Boys Choir, it is hardly surprising. One more step on the progressive autobahn to Sodom-am-Rhine.

Did you catch the heart-warming tale of ‘the little ships’? No? Well, it seems that our gallant coastguards have ‘rescued’ a group of forty invaders (all healthy young men bar one woman and a child) from the Cruel Sea and brought them safely to Blighty. This sort of thing goes on all the time, of course, which is why there is such a (Soros- mandated) housing boom across the shires of Old England (soon to be rebranded as ‘New Anglistan’). Mrs. Dismay is no doubt delighted, having signed up to this sort of thing in Marrakesh – but I am sure there is no truth in the rumour that she has ‘converted’, or that her husband has sucked many a hookah on his Bilderbergian wanderings). Sadly, I see no end to this madness. Our Lord taught us about the Good Samaritan, but nowhere in that parable was there an injunction to commit national suicide.

Spare a thought for Bishop Burrows, ‘Our Man in Rome’. What better ambassador for Mullallyite Anglicanism could there be? A U-turn advocate of abortion and same-sexary, he will cross-dress the Tiber in the rainbow vestments of Holy Transgenderisation, spreading the Gospel of St. Marx and the Good (Pink) News for Modern Personkind amongst the as-yet unconverted. A splendid example of Canterbury Outreach.

Thy Welby done, Lord, thy Welby done.

There is an old saying about ducks. You know the one: “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck”, or words to that effect. Well, according to Friday morning’s Jupiter, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre has been doing a spot of duck identification, and has found our dear old Magic Grandad, Comrade Corbynov, spouting quackery. He now has the distinction of being our first political party leader to be placed on the Centre’s list of anti-Semites, being held responsible for doing nothing to quash the growing anti-semitism of the Islamic Party of Great Britain (aka the Labour Party). He should be thoroughly ashamed of himself but won’t be. Mind you, he is not the only politician who should be on the naughty step, for the CONmaybotive Party are in hock to the Desert Kingdom of Sawdi Headoff and continue to turn a blind eye to their nefarious doings. One only has to read Dame Fragrant Starker’s seminal work The Incest Coast to appreciate the horrors of cousin marriages, Wahhabism and under-cooked kebabs, which I fear are coming to a town like yours fairly soon.

The Archdeacon was in full chortle when I met him by chance at the annual St. Enuresis Fayre on Boxing Day. “Isn’t the news splendid, dear lady?” he cried. I had to ask which piece of news had caused such delight. “Why, the discomfiture of the Boy Macron, of course! He’s made a pig’s ear of governing the French, with thousands taking to the streets in protest at his lunatic policies and signing up to the Migration Compact. Now he’s being criticised by the Eurocrats in Brussels for his granting concessions and being told to stick to his guns.”

“Are they turning on him?” I replied.

“That’s the Zollverein for you!” he exclaimed triumphantly. “The thing is, the Eurocrats themselves are getting things wrong – their interference is hardly going to go down well with the Yellow Vest protesters, is it? Who do these mayonnaise-on-chips mollusc-abusing absinthe-makes-the-farts-grow-stronger pen pushers think they are?”

“Quite,” I replied, making a mental note to thoroughly scrub my brain clean of that set of images.

I have sent a box of hobnobs to President Trumpelstiltskin, who is down in the dumps ever since Congress said he couldn’t have his wall. Those pesky Demoncrats have had it in for him from the very beginning, with noises-off from Mr. O’Barmey and the Hilldabeast, both of whom should be behind bars by now. As a result, government has shut down. I think this is a splendid state of affairs – can we not shut ours down too?

Do be careful when visiting Brighton and Hove, my dears, for once over the civic boundary you may not be who you think you are. What am I going on about? Well, local school guidance there has come up with this beauty: “Trans boys and men and non-binary people may have periods”, and “menstruation must be inclusive of all genders”.

This Lucasian Doctrine insists on sanitary towels and bins being placed in all public lavatories (at a cost to local council-tax payers). Of course, it must be said that the Prince of Wales is far ahead of the game here, as he once self-identified with a tampon. Therefore, gentlemen, be not surprised or taken aback if, when promenading along the sea front or pier, some well-meaning and thoroughly-indoctrinated urchin hails you with a hearty, “Oi missus, wanna free sanny?” Just rejoice in the rainbow-coloured diversity of it all.

Spare a thought for the Scottish man who has just been jailed for two weeks for sending his next-door neighbour a saucy Christmas card. It may have been distasteful, and was certainly not a nice thing to do, but really, two weeks in the clink? The prodnoses are gathering strength, Scottish prodnoses doubly so.

Sitting at my escritoire with Earl Grey and hobnobs to hand, a thought occurred to me: is not the current obsession with virtue-signalling – everything from anti-calorie food Nazism to recyclable shopping bags, migrant-welcoming and saving the newt – simply a substitute for organised religion? I mean, if the middle-classes no longer fill up the pews in their Sunday best, how else can they show their moral superiority to the lower-classes?

Well, I suppose I have come to the end – the ‘Last Chronicle of Barset’, and I fear His Grace’s blog will shortly follow (saving a miracle, of course). So, as the school atlas of Empire drops into the remainder bin of history and the arsenic of political correctness flows through the varicose veins of the body politic, I lay down the quill.

One can never thank His Grace enough for granting me the privilege of scribbling each week. Bless you. As for all the comments, quips and observations from you, my fellow communicants, I am humbled. I feel I know you all, and will certainly miss you.

From the Old Gentlemen of Hiram’s Hospital, the ever vivacious Signora Vesey Neroni, Archdeacon Grantly, Sir Abraham Haphazzard, Doctor Thorne and Mr. Slope, My Lord the Bishop and I, farewell. It has been fun, my dears.