Monday, 26 September 2022
The cause of the canonisation of Henry VI would appear to have remained open. And Elizabeth II will be added to the liturgical calendar of the Church of England in short order, the only Supreme Governor other than Charles I to have attained that distinction.
Thus will be canonised everything that had received Royal Assent between 1952 and 2022. Well, of course. Simply being the law of England, on anything, makes something the doctrine of the Church of England at the given time, "the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law", which in turns makes it, in terms of the Coronation Oath, "the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel."
The theological repugnance of this has always been the standard Protestant position. Martin Luther and William Tyndale supported Catherine of Aragon. Again, of course they did. The hardcore Protestant supporters of Lady Jane Grey wanted to write Elizabeth as well as Mary out of the Succession, since while Mary was a Catholic, it was Elizabeth who was a bastard.
From the 1660s at the latest, there have always been at least as many English Protestants outside the Church of England as in it. Successive Protestant consorts maintained private chapels, staffed from back home, rather than join the Church of England. Protestant state churches abroad have always been a bit wary of it. And so on. Whatever else may be said of it, it springs from a tainted source.
As everyone has always known. However badly Peter Hitchens may want the Ladybird Guides of his childhood to have been the last word, they simply are not. Nor were they then, when the facts of Henry VIII's first divorce were universally taught and known, as they always have been. The conduct of the Church of England in relation to the present King's present marriage and in relation to his second son's only marriage makes it perfectly clear that it knows exactly what it is and what it is for. Everyone always has.
For the benefit of a member of the Royal Family, there will be a same-sex Royal Wedding conducted by an Archbishop of Canterbury within 10 years, and no one will bat an eyelid. As the law of England, same-sex marriage is already the doctrine of the Church of England at the given time, "the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law", which in turns makes it, in terms of the Coronation Oath, "the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel."
As with, for example, the Abortion Act 1967, or the Divorce Reform Act 1969, or the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, or the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020, any doubt about that will be dispelled definitively when the name of Elizabeth II was added to the Church of England's liturgical calendar.
Giorgia Meloni is going to become Prime Minister with an awful lot more votes than Liz Truss did. She is going to succeed Mario Draghi because the liberal bourgeoisie always keeps Fascism in reserve for when it might ever face any serious demand to share its economic or social power with anyone who did not have it before the rise of the bourgeois liberal order, or to share its cultural or political power with anyone at all.
In my day, and no doubt still, A-level History students used to have to unlearn the GCSE fiction that Nazism had been a working-class phenomenon. Nor is Fascism a product of traditional conservatism, whatever alliances it may forge, or whatever symbolism it may adopt. Rather, it came as no surprise when Emmanuel Macron's supporters gave two of the six Vice-Presidencies of the National Assembly to Marine Le Pen's.
Consider the growing authoritarianism of Justin Trudeau's Canada. Consider the tendencies of Truss and of Joe Biden. Consider the records of Kamala Harris and of Keir Starmer. Such is the Franco-American republican tradition that arose from the international transmission of English Whiggery through the Masonic Lodges.
Meloni wants to leave the Belt and Road Initiative because, like Truss and Biden, she supports the Taiwanese independence that is not the position of Taiwan, and which is a surefire sign of knowing absolutely nothing about the subject.
Like them, she is also is extremely supportive of Volodymyr Zelensky, as well she might be, considering his dependence on Svoboda, Pravy Sektor, the National Corps, C14, the Azov Battalion, the Aidar Battalion, the Donbas Battalion, the Dnipro-1 Battalion, the Dnipro-2 Battalion, and all the rest of them. To side with him is to side with them and to side with her. And so on, in a circle.
Speaking of circles, it is a matter of constitutional significance that the Prime Minister may be a collared sub, with all the obligations under which that would place her. The question needs to be asked on the floor of the House of Commons.
Truss and Meloni are of course also close allies of Narendra Modi, with Truss's party having actively cultivated Hindutva supporters, to considerable electoral benefit. There is now a stated policy of importing as many of them as possible in order to shore up the Conservatives' electoral base, but Starmer is vying to outdo that.
The Right cannot claim to have no side in the communal battles between Hindus and Muslims, battles that never used to be fought in Britain. One side overwhelmingly votes Conservative, while the Labour Party now desperately wants that same side to vote Labour instead. Having imported both the Hindutva of their beloved Modi, and the Wahhabism of their beloved Saudi Arabia, the Conservatives and the Labour Right are on both sides, although they do strongly prefer Hindus to Muslims when the Muslims are South Asian.
Keep saying that both Truss and Starmer want to import Hindutva supporters, as such, both to vote for their parties and to keep those parties ideologically sound. For their numbers, high caste Hindus with links to the BJP and the RSS, the organisations behind the riots in the Midlands, have already had staggering success in attaining Cabinet rank in Britain. Watch out for the same sort of thing in Italy.
Sunday, 25 September 2022
BNP rallies used to look like this. I am not joking, they really did. If you had seen this 10 years ago, then you would have assumed that that was what it was.
Of course Jeremy Corbyn is quite right that it is "very, very odd" to sing the National Anthem at the Labour or any other Party Conference, including those at which it might have happened in the past. As he says, "It's never ever happened at the Labour Conference since the Conferences were first held at the time of the First World War. I find it peculiar and not really necessary.
"There's never been any demand to do it. We don't as a country routinely go around singing the National Anthem at every single event we go to. We don't sing it in schools, we don't have the raising of the flag in schools as they do in the USA and other places."
Will the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail be endorsing the Labour Party because of this? What is the point or purpose of it? Who is it for?
The National Anthem should be sung or played only when the King was present or properly might have been. The Conference of a political party is the textbook definition of an event at which the King's presence would be improper. Unfortunately, it would probably also be so for him to tell them to stop doing it when they already did. But they should. And perhaps, so should he.
Peter Hitchens writes:
What is Britain’s interest in Ukraine? Why are we shovelling weapons and equipment into that country, despite the fact that our national budget is stretched to bursting and our own armed forces have for many years been starved of money, men and kit?
If we were a proper open society, surely this question would be asked all the time. But it is not. So I am asking it now, as the Ukraine war threatens to ignite the whole of Europe and has already brought us closer to actual nuclear warfare than we have ever been.
I ask as a British patriot, whose main concern, above all things, is the ‘safety, honour and welfare of this realm’, as the old Articles of War say. I would not shirk a necessary fight, or desert an ally. But why are we stoking this war instead of trying to bring about peace?
This would once have been a perfectly normal British view. Margaret Thatcher was far from keen on Ukrainian nationalism. On June 9 1990, Mrs Thatcher, still then in power, spoke to what was then the Ukrainian provincial assembly in Kiev.
She briskly batted away a question about opening a British embassy in that city. This, she explained, was as likely as Britain opening an embassy in California or Quebec. ‘I can see you are trying to get me involved in your politics!’ she scolded her questioner, adding:
‘Embassies are only for countries which have full national status. Therefore, we have ambassadorial diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, with the United States, with Canada, with Australia. We do not have embassies for California, for Quebec, for states in Australia.’
Once upon a time, the Americans, likewise, would have stayed out of it. On August 1 1991, President George H W Bush delivered an oration which would later become known derisively among American hawks as ‘The Chicken Kiev Speech’.
Bush was not keen on an independent Ukraine. He told what was still Ukraine’s Soviet puppet parliament, ‘I come here to tell you: We support the struggle in this great country for democracy and economic reform. In Moscow, I outlined our approach. We will support those in the centre and the republics who pursue freedom, democracy and economic liberty.’
But when he used the phrase ‘this great country’, he was talking about the Soviet Union, not Ukraine. He expected and wanted the USSR to continue to exist. During his visit he had refused to meet campaigners for Ukrainian independence.
After praising the reforms of the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, he warned against independence if it only changed a distant despot for a local one, suggesting that this was the outcome he feared. What the Western democracies had wanted was a reformed, free version of the old Soviet Union.
They had never expected or calculated on an explosion of nationalism in the region and did not much like the look of it. It was only after the USSR fell to pieces in 1991 that the unthinkable became the unstoppable. But some people in American politics wanted to push further. They feared that Russia would one day rise again and challenge American power.
Paul Wolfowitz, also one of the authors of the Iraq disaster, set out a policy of diminishing and humiliating Russia back in 1992, long before anyone had ever heard of Vladimir Putin. While it found supporters in the Pentagon and elsewhere, many others, from the brilliant veteran Cold War diplomat George Kennan to the ultimate master of cynical diplomacy Henry Kissinger, opposed the resulting policy of Nato expansion. Kennan prophetically said in 1998, when Putin was an obscure politician, that ‘I think it is the beginning of a new Cold War.’
He warned: ‘I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake.’ He said it was an insult to Russia’s then fledgling democrats, arguing: ‘We are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.’
And so it was. Prominent Russian liberals, such as Yegor Gaidar, begged influential Western friends to challenge the Nato expansion policy. But there is a lot of money in the making of weapons, and a lot of fame to be won in pursuing warlike policies, and so it went ahead, gathering speed and strengthening Russian nationalists and antidemocrats as it did so.
Then in 2008 George W Bush, a pathetic parody of his war veteran father, suggested Ukrainian Nato membership. That was probably the moment at which conflict became inevitable. The prominent American neoconservative Robert Kagan has put the matter well: ‘While it would be obscene to blame the US for Putin’s inhumane attack on Ukraine, to insist that the invasion was entirely unprovoked is misleading.’
The point of all this is that the current policy, of militant and indeed military support for Ukraine, is a very old one, and a very controversial one. There is a serious case against it, made by serious patriotic people in the West. Yet it is seldom heard.
Nearly as important, there simply is no direct British interest here, though the fact is never discussed. We have very little in the way of trade, political or cultural links with Ukraine. Or with Russia, for that matter. We have no territorial conflict with Russia.
Not since the long-ago Crimean War, now recognised by most people as a futile folly which achieved nothing, have British armed forces been active in that region. As long as the war was a distant battle, this perhaps did not matter so much. But even before the Putin invasion those, like me, who opposed goading Russia were defamed as ‘Putin apologists’ (I have for years referred to him as a sinister tyrant) and falsely accused of ‘parroting Russian propaganda’.
Aren’t we supposed to live in a free democracy in which both sides of a question can be discussed, without one side being accused of treachery? Surely it is Putin who regards dissent as treason? Once Putin had invaded, I was constantly accused of ‘justifying’ the action, even though I clearly, and without hesitation, condemned the invasion as barbaric, lawless and stupid, and have never deviated from this view.
Yet not a day goes by without someone smearing me as a traitor of some sort. Actually, anyone who has Russia’s best interests at heart is grinding his teeth in fury at Putin’s idiotic crime, which has done limitless damage to the peace and security of that country for decades to come and perhaps forever. And now it has brought us closer to nuclear war than ever before.
Surely that development – and it would be extreme folly to dismiss Putin’s words as bluff – compels us all to be more thoughtful, not less. I would just like to make a plea for us as a people and a nation to start discussing this in a grown-up fashion, rather than by assuming the present policy is the only right or patriotic one. Perhaps it isn’t. In which case it has never been more important to approach the subject with an open mind.
Saturday, 24 September 2022
Kwasi Kwarteng was coked off his face at the late Queen's funeral, and no one voted for the madness of this Budget, or so few people as to amount to the same thing.
Everyone else is expected to wait for money to trickle down from tax cuts and what have you that will not even kick in until after the already exorbitant energy bills had reached lunatic levels next week. In the meantime, there is to be further kicking of Universal Credit claimants, two in five of whom have jobs. Apparently, they need better-paid jobs. They already knew that.
Kwarteng and Liz Truss have waited 35 years for this. Truss has never been left-wing. Her speech against the monarchy as a youthful Liberal Democrat was Thatcherite to the core. She now leads a party that would behead the King if that were the only way of implementing economic measures such as Kwarteng has just announced.
Or, at least, that is the Conservative Party in the country, in large enough numbers to secure her the Leadership, although she won that by a lot less than had been expected. Even in the final round, only 50 MPs voted for her. If those for seats that were won in 2019, the ones on whom the party depended for its majority, had any sense, even only of self-preservation, then they would have nothing to do with any of this, and would bring about another change of Leader early next year, procedurally avoiding the party membership as was done in 2016.
After all, the loss of those seats would install in government the faction that Al Jazeera's The Labour Files has exposed as everything that some of us had always known it to be. Those people, including at least one of the same individuals, stitched me up in order to send me to prison, where, having already tried to murder me many years earlier, they put a hit on me, but the hitman took such a liking to me that he gave them their money back. That series ought to be the end of the Labour Right, and thus of the Labour Party, which fundamentally and ultimately has always been the Right, and the Right has always been like that.
As it is, that defeat is going to have to be electoral. But the likes of Truss and Kwarteng neither could nor should deliver it. To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power in the next Parliament. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party of the The Labour Files is not. Even compared to Truss and Kwarteng, Keir Starmer and his circle are still the greater evil.
Friday, 23 September 2022
If the referendums are “shams” in parts of Ukraine that it would in fact be difficult for today’s Russian Federation to assimilate in economic or cultural terms, then what about the one in Kosovo?
We may hope for a neutral and denazified Ukraine, eight years after NATO and the EU backed a Nazi putsch against an elected neutralist government. But we should consider how many of those claiming asylum in Britain were from the NATO protectorate of Iraqi Kurdistan, and how very many, ostensibly from the NATO member state and EU candidate country of Albania, were in fact from the NATO protectorate of Kosovo, which is also the major source of the heroin, prostitutes, and illegal guns on our streets.
If it were also a NATO protectorate, then Ukraine, which is already a global centre of the traffic in women, and not unconnectedly of commercial surrogacy, would be like that, only with 20 times more people and 55 times more territory. It is already a candidate for EU membership. Thank heavens that Britain is not.
Russia cannot even subdue Ukraine, much less conquer the whole of Europe. The internal boundaries of the Soviet Union were never designed to be international borders, indeed they were specifically designed to make impossible independence in those forms, and they were never going to last more than one generation as frontiers.
People wanting a homeland for ethnic Ukrainians would therefore be better off without the south and east of the former Ukrainian SSR, while nothing could be less attractive to Russia than the west of it. Accordingly, Russia has never stated any war aim of taking, much less holding, the whole of Ukraine. Crimea is not part of the Ukraine at all. In Galicia, it is Poland that may press a claim to the region centred on one of its principal historical cities, just as it is Hungary that has a thousand-year claim to Carpathian Ruthenia.
The sanctions regime is having no negative impact on Russia. It is pure self-harm. A sovereign state with its own free floating, fiat currency has as much of that currency as it chooses to issue to itself, with readily available fiscal and monetary means of controlling inflation, but that currency is able to purchase only the resources available.
Perhaps everyone who was suffering from the cost of living crisis should move to Ukraine, where the British Government would have no difficulty spending limitless amounts of money on us, with no questions asked, and with Opposition parties demanding only even more of the same? Yet there is no British strategic interest in any of this. We should recognise reality, and get down to freeing up the food and fuel supplies again, while we devoted ourselves to the long-term pursuit of energy independence and of greater self-sufficiency in food, the former a great deal easier than the latter.
Whether we like it or not, and we have no particular reason to care either way, Crimea has gone back to Russia. The parts of the Ukraine that the largely Ukrainian Soviet elite had put into the Ukrainian SSR in order to make its independence impossible are going to become Russian satellite states, although they are economically and culturally too Soviet for today’s Russian Federation.
No additional state, including Sweden or Finland, is ever going to be allowed into NATO. A much more stable and coherent Ukraine will become constitutionally neutral, and all of this will require the denazification that no one any longer disputes is necessary to some extent, nor did anyone dispute that at all until very recently, although denazification is not being made a condition of potential EU membership, because it never is; being in the EU subjected us to the legislative will of many of the most terrifying people.
All of this was on the table before the Russian invasion. This war has been going on for eight years. But in the stage that the world has admitted to having noticed, it is now on the brink of turning out to have been completely avoidable even in its own terms. An enthusiast for it is the worst possible candidate to be Prime Minister. Yet we have a Prime Minister who, as Foreign Secretary, criminally encouraged British citizens to go and fight in Ukraine.
Thankfully, there is a world elsewhere. Neither Argentina nor Brazil signed the World Trade Organisation statement on Ukraine. This Latin American Pope’s nuanced approach is an important example of how this war is usefully compelling us to face the fact of a real world beyond “the international community”.
On 2nd March, more than half the population of the world was represented by those who voted against a United Nations Resolution to deplore the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or who formally abstained, or who recorded no vote. On 7th April, more than half the population of the world was represented by those who voted against a United Nations Resolution to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, or who formally abstained, or who recorded no vote, and the number of countries voting with Russia had increased sixfold, from four to 23.
This is the world of the recently inaugurated BRICS+ Dialogue with Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, and Thailand. If we would not have picked some of those partners, then it is very telling that they have accepted the invitation.
This is the world in which China, India and Russia are trading with each other in currencies that are not the dollar, in which even Saudi Arabia is accepting yuan for oil, in which even Israel has added yuan to its reserves, in which China has signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands of which the late Queen was Head of State and thus technically a signatory to that pact, in which Russian Embassies in Africa are having to thank local men for their goodwill but ask them not to travel to Russia to join up in such numbers, and in which Vietnam has announced new joint military exercises with Russia, let the American sanctions regime be damned.
They are weakening because pompously saying that “we must be prepared to pay the price” is an unerring sign of someone who would never have to do any such thing, but sanctions against Russia have been imposed only by North America, by Australia and New Zealand, by the American military colonies of Japan and South Korea, and by Europe, although obviously not by Europe’s largest country, the capital of which is Europe’s largest city.
77 per cent of Russia’s population lives in its European part. Those 110 million people make Russia Europe’s most populous country as well as its largest. As a major entrepôt to the vast world of emerging Eurasia and to the world of alliances beyond even that, it offers a potentially glittering future to Mariupol and Avozstal. There may also be such for Kherson. Part of the same pattern is the expansion of cryptocurrencies in Africa and Latin America, unwelcome though that is in itself.
From Africa to Southeast Asia and beyond, people remember who stood with them in the liberation struggle, and they remember from whom they were liberated. The same tiresome types who pretend to believe that NATO was founded as an expression of social democracy also pretend to believe that it was and is some sort of liberation movement, but the world should not be run by smirking old Sixth Form and undergraduate debaters who had never grown up. Increasingly, it is not. All this, and the Belt and Road Initiative carries all before it. Like it or not, that is the reality. We need to be at the table, or we shall be on the menu. We need to be on the bus, or we shall be under it.
Thursday, 22 September 2022
Those demonstrations in Russia and Iran would be illegal in Britain. So much for any libertarian Conservatives. Most people in Russia have never heard of Alexei Navalny, but he tweets from prison, and he has just treated his adoring Western fans to a video. Imagine Julian Assange releasing a video from Belmarsh. No, neither can I.
Vladimir Putin understands that if there is not a strong enough case for conscription, then there is not a strong enough case for the war in question. If a country is not under such threat that it needs to mobilise its entire healthy and able-bodied male population of fighting age, then it is not under enough of a threat to justify going to war at all.
If much of the healthy and able-bodied male population of fighting age cannot see that threat, then perhaps it is not really there, as there was obviously never any Vietnamese threat to the United States or any Iraqi threat to Britain, although that may not be the view of many Russian young men if Ukrainian troops entered Russia.
The war in Ukraine ends one way, or it does not end at all. Whether we like it or not, and we have no particular reason to care either way, Crimea goes back to Russia, as firmly understood by the former Special Assistant to President Reagan, while the parts of the Ukraine that the largely Ukrainian Soviet elite had put into the Ukrainian SSR in order to make its independence impossible become Russian satellite states, although they are economically and culturally too Soviet for today's Russian Federation. A much more stable and coherent Ukraine becomes constitutionally neutral, with all of this requiring the denazification that no one any longer disputed was necessary to some extent, nor did anyone dispute that at all until very recently.
Short of that, then there might be a lull of years or, although this would now be wildly improbable, decades, but that would be all that it ever was. Yet there would be, as there is, no reason for us to take any more interest in that than in any other humanitarian emergency. No less so. But no more so, either.
Even the argument that "they look like us" has been blown out of the water by the appointment of a Cabinet that has been designed to beat the other side in a battle that it is not fighting, while sticking the Prime Minister's two fingers up to the people who had elected her because they had thought that the British ought to be running India rather than an Indian running Britain. Ukrainians do not look like James Cleverly.
Do not demean yourself by pretending that you would be prepared to starve or freeze to death in the dark over which country Kupiansk, Izyum or Balaklyia ought to be in. Nor should you be.
More bad news for the McCanns. Well, up to a point. Did they have their other two children taken away from them?
Those twins were two when their parents left them with their not quite four-year-old sister in a foreign country and went out on the town.
People without the McCanns' advantages lose their children for far less.
How the world turns, when a BBC announcer can say to the audience, "You may remember Northern Ireland." Time was when today's news from there, that it now contained more Catholics than Protestants, would have been the only news. But in 2022, it came 45 minutes into an hour-long bulletin, followed by an explanation that it did not really change anything, anyway.
Gerry Adams once said that trying to outbreed Unionists was fun if you had the stamina, but it was not a political strategy. Sinn Féin now advocates an all-Ireland National Health Service. It knows what it needs if its own people are ever going to vote for a real, live 32 County Republic when that was the only question on the ballot paper.
The invitation to Sadhvi Ritambhara to tour Britain has caused violence to break out between Hindu and Muslim communities that had previously lived peaceably side by side. Immense damage is being done by the importation of Wahhabism, which is not South Asian at all, but which is sponsored by the Saudi overlords of the Conservative Party and of the Labour Right. No less damage is being done by the importation of the ideology of their beloved Narendra Modi.
Ritambhara is at least as hostile to Christians as she is to Muslims, and she is very hostile to Muslims. Hindutva types are always like that. I know them of old. Ritambhara ought to be banned from entering this country, as should several other such figures with whom Conservative and right-wing Labour politicians consort, such as Tapan Ghosh.
Instead, though, the Conservatives have regained and then retained at least three marginal seats by means of Operation Dharmic Vote, which promised to repeal the ban on caste discrimination. That promise has been made good. Having been illegal for a time, caste discrimination is once again perfectly legal in the United Kingdom.
Not to be outdone, Keir Starmer keeps the same company. Even the last Labour Government banned discrimination on grounds of caste, but any future Labour Government would not do so. Starmer has also unilaterally abandoned Labour's consistently unanimous Conference policy of self-determination for Kashmir, and now supports the Indian claim instead, which will cost the party a million previously highly reliable votes. All that, and now this, too.
Ritambhara and Ghosh are inciters of the violence that they have now brought to these shores, or even direct participants in it. A South Asian Muslim who was that objectionable, although not a Saudi one, would rightly be excluded as not conducive to the public good. Do not vote either Conservative or Labour. Make our own arrangements.
Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Today is Saint Matthew's Day. Consider that that erstwhile tax-collector is the Patron Saint of Bankers.
Consider also that that strange and increasingly unfashionable thing, Biblical criticism, purports to read the Bible "as if it were any other ancient text", yet in fact subjects it to a series of methods that would be laughed out in any other literary or historical discipline. Those methods are carefully constructed to "prove" the presuppositions of that strange and increasingly unfashionable thing, liberal theology.
Thus, if two Biblical books are word for word alike, as Matthew, Mark and Luke certainly are in parts, then they must have been copied from each other, since there is no way that God could have inspired them all and, funnily enough, done so in such a way that they confirmed each others' accounts.
Hence the theory of Markan Priority, that Saint Mark's Gospel was the first to be written, and that Saint Matthew and Saint Luke copied out great chunks of it word for word. And hence the theory of Q, the compendium of the material found in Matthew and Luke but not in Mark; no copy of Q exists anywhere.
Jesus simply did not claim divinity for Himself, so that rules out John at a stroke. Miracles simply do not happen, a position not even compatible with agnosticism. Style simply does not develop (seriously), so Saint Paul cannot have written several of the Epistles beginning with the words, "From Paul". And so on, and on, and on.
Perhaps a gentle fillip from the wider culture might be in order? Although they differ in length, the different structures of the Gospels mean that they could each be dramatised in 12 episodes of one hour apiece, perhaps running from January to March, i.e., more or less from Christmas to Easter. The order ought to be as in the Bible – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John – exactly as if any other ancient text were the subject.
That might even provide an opportunity to do some taking apart of the ridiculous theories of Markan Priority, of the interpolation of Mark 16, of "the Gospel of Thomas" and other such Dan Brown drivel, and of the historical unreliability of Saint John's Gospel on the grounds that Jesus "never claimed to be divine", the "proof" of which is held to be the historical unreliability of Saint John's Gospel.
All of these pieces of nonsense continue to be peddled by half-formed schoolteachers, and by clergy too old to have been part of the traditionalist revival among Catholics or the Evangelical revival among Protestants. Markan Priority was disproved a very long time ago by Saint Augustine, whose Wikipedia pages in Portuguese and Slovene are significant source of traffic to this site, as is the page on U and non-U English. Make of those facts what you will.
Acts could also be dramatised in this way, and it has some great stories in it. But it looks as if they would do the Ramayana first, and stick to the text if they did. That is not treating the Bible as a work of world literature, which is what they would claim that it was, and which, among other things, it is.
Why not dramatise the Ramayana, exactly as it is? Why not dramatise the Odyssey, exactly as it is? And why not dramatise the Four Canonical Gospels and Acts, exactly as they are? Of what are the television companies afraid? Of what, in practice even though not in principle, would anyone be afraid?
Sunday, 18 September 2022
The Queue rightly enjoys provisions such as are wrongly but routinely denied to the rough sleepers on the same streets. Remember the successful action against rough sleeping during the recent pandemic. All that had ever been lacking had been the political will. Including during 13 years of a Labour Government.
That Labour had promised to end rough sleeping was one of the many grounds on which Jeremy Corbyn was laughed out at the last General Election by the people who are now running both parties. But hope is at hand. We now have a King of the House of Oldenburg, linking us to what Clement Attlee recognised as the exemplary social democratic monarchies of Scandinavia.
The House of Oldenburg has reigned in Sweden in its time, and it reigns in Denmark and Norway to this day. It has also provided Kings of Iceland, Kings of the Hellenes, and Emperors of Russia, but until the eighth of this month it had been pared back to its Danish and Norwegian roots. Then it acquired 15 new Realms, from Saint Lucia to the Solomon Islands, plus an array of Crown Dependencies, Overseas Territories, associated states, and so on.
It has only taken that House 308 years. None of the children of Queen Anne and of Prince George of Denmark survived, so the Throne passed to the House of Hanover. That was largely due to arrangements made by the Spencers, entwining the two dynasties for centuries until they went too far and intermarried. If you thought that the presence of Sarah, Duchess of York in Westminster Abbey tomorrow was going to be awkward, then consider that as the late Queen's godson, Earl Spencer is also expected to attend.
Until recent days, Spencerism was a kind of Whig Jacobitism, demanding that the Succession skip a generation and alight on the sometime Princess Diana's elder son precisely as such. But the Succession has happened seamlessly, because that is what it does. By the way, like Sarah Ferguson, both of Charles III's wives have been descended from the numerous illegitimate children of Charles II. In fact, although there are others in the mix, they have all been descended from the same one, Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond. William V will be the first monarch descended from Charles II, who left no legitimate heir when he died in 1685.
Others, however, have no shortage of legitimate heirs. Although one of them is too young to know, and the other no doubt considers it an honour to two beloved grandparents, there are two patrilineal descendants of Elimar I, Princes of the ancient and illustrious House of Oldenburg, who bear instead the double whammy of "Mountbatten-Windsor", as will their respective sisters until marriage.
Bringing us to John Wheatley's axiom that he there would be "no point in substituting a bourgeois President for a bourgeois King". Attlee echoed George Lansbury that our people were impoverished by capitalism, not by the King, and most members of the House of Windsor, rather than of the House of Oldenburg, do seem to be functioning members of the British capitalist class. But that class has millions of members, and it would provide any President of Britain if such an office were confected this side of radical economic change.
That was why Corbyn described republicanism as "not on my agenda". He had far more pressing things to do, as he still does. 9th September was a Day of National Mourning in Cuba. Yes, Cuba. But the substitution of a bourgeois President for a bourgeois Queen was exactly what Liz Truss and Keir Starmer did want into the recent past, and it is logically what they must still want. Friday's fiscal event will be a very long way from Denmark or Norway, and any Official Opposition to it will be notional at best.
Still, any republican moment that they might ever have had has gone. The late Queen was not Elizabeth the Last, meaning that professional anti-monarchists need to find other things to do. As do professional anti-republicans, since there has turned out to have been no threat to the monarchy after all. They might turn their attention to everything that they bemoaned had gone to decay, when they were not extolling the monarchy as the institution that safeguarded it.
Instead, though, they are likely to cheer on the economic programme that had always been fundamental to that decay. Tax cuts that were of no benefit whatever to the two in five adults whose gross incomes from all sources did not reach one thousand pounds per month. Vicious capping of workers' wages while the cap on bankers' bonuses was lifted. You know the sort of thing. The New York Times may be wrong about porridge and boiled mutton, and it may dislike Britain for the wrong reason of having betrayed liberal globalism (if only), but it has this country's number, and if Fleet Street grandees cannot see it, then that tells you the narrow circles in which they move.
Who is calling for further deregulation of the City? The City itself does compliance. It has it all factored in. It may well cost more to change things than to leave them alone. It often does, doesn't it? But if the pressure really is coming from Shell, where Truss failed, or from JPMorgan Chase, where Kwasi Kwarteng must have been decidedly part-time in between the journalism, the academia and the politics, then it is no doubt in terms of attracting and retaining globally mobile talent. In that case, then New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Singapore, San Francisco, Beijing, Tokyo, Shenzhen and Paris must be awash with English public schoolboys. Are they? I only ask.
Among those in London are no doubt a smattering of the descendants of fairly recent monarchs. But from that same social stratum would be drawn any President of Britain in anything like this country's present economic form. Instead, tomorrow will be a proper, 1952-style Bank Holiday, with everything closed. Play our cards right, and we could be back to half-days on Wednesdays before the other side even realised that we were playing. The resources for the radical restoration are readily at hand. My church will be having a Low Mass of Requiem at 9:30 tomorrow morning, and Lanchester Methodist Church will be livestreaming the funeral itself. This village is entirely typical.
From the heirs of Saint John Fisher and of Saint Thomas More, to the heirs of Martin Luther's and William Tyndale's support for Catherine of Aragon against Henry VIII, of the staunch Protestants who wished to write Elizabeth as well as Mary out of the Succession in favour of Lady Jane Grey, and of those who lost a Civil War for the sake of a thoroughgoing Protestantism but who have accounted for at least half of England's Protestant churchgoers ever since, we know that if we were going to end rough sleeping, then there would be "no point in substituting a bourgeois President for a bourgeois King".
Rather, we now have a monarch who, with all of his successors, binds us dynastically to the countries where Attlee observed "the greatest progress towards democratic socialism". Therefore, God Save The King.
Fair play to the late Queen's grandchildren, and especially to Lady Louise and to Viscount Severn, who are teenagers. Indeed, of the eight, four have jobs, one is a fresher who was on minimum wage at a garden centre over the summer, and one is a schoolboy. I mean, I am not suggesting that they are Breadline Britain. But even so.
More broadly, probably every living descendant of King George V, founder of the Royal House of Windsor, has been in attendance in the last few days, and all except small children will be at the funeral. How many of them can you name? They are just quietly upper-middle-class, presumably somewhere in the South. There are millions of people like that. The House of Windsor's Thames Valley title is no word of a lie.