31 May

Darkness Visible

We have a terrific capacity for producing trash: nearly everything in Tate Modern, so-called Britart, “poetry” so banal it wouldn’t even serve to be adapted for the chorus in a happy-clappy “worship song”; voyeuristic nuts ‘n’ sluts shows and such as Britain’s Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing for pleb telly; and, as a constant backdrop – like a toothache – to daily life, ubiquitous audible filth in the form of amplified electronic pop music; and everybody in thrall to self-promoting narcissists such as Prince and David Bowie.

All this is bad enough, but what is truly satanic is our penchant not just for producing wall-to-wall muck, but infiltrating work of outstanding quality and perversely appropriating it to the general junk culture. This is the gesture – akin to sprinkling a Rembrandt painting with bleach or pissing in the chalice – which turns out a version of Don Giovanni with a cast of leather-clad punks and druggies in a New York skyscraper apartment or importing pop and rock into The Promenade Concerts.

Here, for example, are a few extracts from a review by Vicki Power, The Daily Telegraph’s TV critic, of a recent BBC production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

“The director has re-invented the play as a children’s action adventure full of scary fairies, chase scenes and rousing Indiana Jones style music…Theseus is rebranded as a dictator and the warrior Hippolyta is his prisoner rather than his willing bride…he has also taken a scythe to the text and reshaped lines…the action fizzes along…the verse-speaking is uneven…”

Now what I find interesting about this review is that the Telegraph’s critic doesn’t conclude: “So it’s crap then – an atrocity.”

She entirely approves of this scurrilous travesty: “It is a production that might well direct a younger generation to the Bard.”

How could it possibly do that, except by false pretences? Ms Power thinks that we might be attracted to Shakespeare by what is not Shakespeare; by something to which Shakespeare is the antidote.

This sort of corruption is everywhere perpetrated by those who think it clever – charlatans who, being unable to appreciate and give thanks for the wonderful creations of artistic genius, resort to doing dirt on them instead.

Waste and void, waste and void. And darkness over the face of the deep.

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28 May

The horse has bolted

Lord West, the former-First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, has called for a blockade of the coast of Libya. He said that such a measure would require ten Navy frigates and destroyers, along with helicopters, drones and other intelligence and surveillance capability.

He added that the plan outlined by Prime Minister David Cameron to send one warship to the area was “not really the way to go about things. It’s no good having ships in the Mediterranean picking up refugees before they drown, because that actually is causing the problem to be worse.

“I know from the people smugglers in southern Nigeria that what they say to people is: ‘Give us your $2,000, we’ll get you across the Sahara, and put you on a boat. Here is a number, phone it on your mobile – that’s the Italian coastguard. You’ll be picked up by a British ship and taken to  Italy.”

Lord West’s description of the immigration crisis is refreshingly at odds with the lies we hear constantly from our government and most of the mass media. According to the government, most of the non-EU immigrants to Europe are refugees fleeing war zones and places where they are persecuted. Everyone from Angelina Jolie to the Pope says we should make the immigrants welcome.

But most of the incomers are not escapees from wars and persecution.

Actually, it’s not only Lord West who is spilling the beans the government doesn’t want spilt. He gave the example of Nigerian immigrants, but Nigeria is not the only source of the massive influx.

Credit where it’s due: sometimes we hear snippets of truth, even from the BBC. On The Today Programme this morning, an African correspondent reported that she was standing “on a stunning hillside in Eritrea.” She then told us that last year 34,000 Eritreans arrived in Italy.

Why do they come?

“Actually, British foreign aid facilitates immigration. If you look around the hillside where I’m standing, you’ll see many houses with satellite dishes. Local people receive hundreds of television channels which feature news, documentaries and soap operas about the west and these portray a glamourised lifestyle which encourages Africans from a score of countries to try to get to Europe. These people are not the very poor: they have money with which to pay the unscrupulous traffickers.”

Isn’t it also likely that among the economic immigrants there will be jihadists and terrorists?

Of course. And we are rendering ourselves impotent to prevent their coming.

This presents a dangerous threat to the lives of our civilian populations, and it is scandalous. It is more than scandalous: it is treacherous on the part of our government to frame no effective policy to stop it.

But in the great scheme of things, the terrorist threat is merely a side issue.

The main threat – but it is more than a threat, it is an actuality – is from what amounts to the latest in one of the periodic mass migrations of populations which revolutionise political realities and obliterate civilisations and cultures – such as the massive invasions of the eastern tribes as the Roman Empire declined.

The reality in such monumental shifts is the abolition of one way of life and its replacement by something that is alien.

With due respect to Lord West, it will take more than ten frigates, destroyers and a few helicopters and drones to stop it. The problem requires a whole new defence and foreign policy.

That noise you can hear is the sound of the stable door been slammed. Unfortunately, it is now too late in the day to halt the destruction of our European homeland.

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22 May

“Mind your manners, St Paul!”

Archbishop Justin Welby has told Christians firmly that we should not “proselytise” or talk about our faith to non-Christians until they invite us to do so.

It is a pity that St Paul didn’t have the benefit of the Archbishop’s guidance before he set out – without being asked – on his three missionary voyages in which he founded churches among the pagans in such as Philippi, Ephesus and Corinth. The presence of the finger-wagging, politically-correct Mr Welby on the quayside before St Paul boarded his ship would have saved the Apostle a great deal of trouble: the thirty-nine lashes he received (five times), an attempt to stone him and his shipwreck.

How ironic that Welby should choose the season of Pentecost to issue his injunction for, according to chapter two of The Acts of the Apostles, this was the day when the disciples of Jesus experienced the rushing mighty wind of the Holy Ghost and tongues of fire upon their heads and immediately rushed – all uninvited – out into the Jerusalem streets to preach to members of every race under the sun: Parthians, Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia, Cretes and Arabians and all the rest.

If only the wise, admonitory and well-mannered Mr Welby had been there to say, “Never mind the promptings of the Holy Ghost, St Peter! Mind your P’s and Q’s! Wait till you’re asked!”

And if we go back a little earlier to the life of Our Lord himself, we can imagine – if only Welby had been there to quieten Jesus’ enthusiasm – his command “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” would never have been given. Or at the very least Jesus would surely have toned down his command to something more polite such as, “Go and ask those pagans if they’d like to join an Alpha course! Tell them there’s  red wine and pizza afterwards!”

Christian history would have turned out quite differently, if only Jesus had minded his manners.

But Welby’s verbal facility is not limited to the occasional sound-bite, such as “Don’t proselytise!” He is capable of quite extraordinary prolixity. How’s this for an example of what Humpty Dumpty called “Impenetrability”? In his Pentecost speech, he went on to say:

“I draw the line in terms of respect for the other; in starting by listening before you speak; in terms of love that is unconditional and not conditional to one iota, to one single element, on how the person responds to your own declaration of faith; and of not speaking about faith unless you are asked about faith.”

That is an utterance so syntactically obscure that Welby’s predecessor, the Great Obfuscator, Rowan Williams himself, would have been proud of it. 

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21 May

Is the Pope a Catholic?

Some words from a recent interview given by Pope Francis to the French newspaper La Croix make me wonder. He said:

“Today, I don’t think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam. It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”

The Pope also said he “dreaded” hearing about the “Christian roots of Europe” because they take on “colonialist overtones” and he called on European nations to “integrate” Muslim migrants into the continent:

“This integration is all the more necessary today since, as a result of a selfish search for well-being, Europe is experiencing the grave problem of a declining birth rate,” he stated. “A demographic emptiness is developing.”

What is the range of possible interpretations of these bizarre utterances? First, that the Pope has lost what marbles he had in the first place. Secondly, that he only joking. Thirdly, that he is the Antichrist. Finally, that he has spoken the truth.

I shall consider the last interpretation first. Did Pope Francis speak the truth?

No. There is not a shred of truth in any of his statements.

Jesus did not send forth his disciples “In terms of the same idea of conquest.” He said, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19)

Is the Pope’s “dread” of hearing about Christian roots derived from “colonialist overtones”? Of course not. Christianity did not colonise Europe: Christianity created European civilisation, culture, art, literature, music and its fundamental social and political institutions.

What about his injunction to “integrate” Muslims into European society? Has the Pope not noticed that Muslims do not wish to be integrated into Europe: they desire only to conquer Europe, destroy it and recreate it in the image of the age old Islamic shambles.

My inclination, in the interests of trying to be as charitable as I can, is that Francis was only joking, or that he has indeed lost his marbles – though I wish I could rule out the third possibility: that he might be the Antichrist. 

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18 May

A world fit for narcissists to live in

I was, as my custom is, doing not much purposefully, when I stumbled across the end of an exciting film on TV. It was called Safari (1956). It seemed to have everything: a rugged, intelligent hero – a white hunter – Victor Mature, and a pretty female lead, Janet Leigh who wore a variety of glamorous costumes; elephants, lions, giraffes, crocodiles and hippos; and, of course a murderous cad with a blackly beautiful alcoholic mistress. A terrific adventure. The whole panoply of the Masai Mara before my very eyes.

I pressed the information button on the TV remote to find out a few more details. These were helpfully supplied. There was also a health warning: This film shows scenes of hunting and colonial attitudes.

And a useful warning it was too! Who, turning up a film from sixty years ago about a white hunter in deepest Africa would have expected to come across hunting and colonial attitudes emanating from colonisers! I could easily have been offended. In fact, we are all these days at risk of being offended all day long and so we require the provision of “safe spaces” – hermetically-sealed cultural hideouts where we can be assured no one will upset us

What a wonderful civilising innovation is the concept of the safe space – quite the best thing to happen since the invention of health and safety and universal political correctness!

It is particularly important that our elite – the university students – should never have their ideas and prejudices challenged. They could easily burst into tears , for instance, if a speaker turned up to suggest that global warming is not going to bring about the end of the world, and very soon. Or, if some evil, insensitive chauvinist came along and declared that gentlemen who have their willies cut off and pump themselves full of oestrogen do not thereby turn into ladies – why, it would be more than enough to produce a panic attack in our young people, or to bring on an episode of their fashionable eating disorder.

On no account must our universities become places for the exchange of ideas.

But back to Safari. There is no reason at all why a film about a white hunter should actually feature hunting. And there is no excuse for showing wild animals on the Masai Mara – which ought to be revealed only in its full vegetarian splendour. They could have done without the cad. The femme fatale was an example of sexism at its worst. And to cast her as an alcoholic might encourage viewers to exceed their permitted daily allowance.

Persuaded of these principles and their extension to cover all aspects of our lives would improve our quality of life immeasurably. Anything by Ken Loach, for example, might carry the warning: Beware: scenes of excessive mawkishness. Or the European Song Contest: Consists of limitless puerility. Or Strictly Come Dancing: Caution: relentless vulgarity

Won’t you join me in my task of trying to create a better world in which can all enjoy our infantilisation from the cradle to the grave?  

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11 May

Howzat?

They’re funny folk in Manchester. This week they staged an anti-terrorism practice in a shopping centre – a pointless exercise if ever there was one. Afterwards Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan from Greater Manchester Police said:

“The scenario for this exercise is based on a suicide attack by an extremist Daesh-style organisation.However, on reflection we acknowledge that it was unacceptable to use the religious phrase Allahu Akbar immediately before the mock suicide bombing, which so vocally linked this exercise with Islam. We recognise and apologise for the offence that this has caused.”

And there was I thinking that quite a bit of the terrorism perpetrated in Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Yemen, Nigeria, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia – to mention just a selection of preferred venues – is by Muslims.

Furthermore, I seem to remember that Allahu Akbar is the terrorists’ preferred manner of address while they are killing us.

But in the light of ACC Garry’s grovelling apology, I realise I must amend my thinking.

If I’ve only ever seen white swans, this doesn’t mean there are no black ones. And even if all the terrorist attacks I’ve seen reported involve the shout Allahu Akbar from the attacking Muslims, this does not entitle me to associate that particular war cry with Islam.

Next time a night club is attacked or a shopping centre bombed, I should bear in mind that the murderers might be Methodists. In which case, they might very well accompany their murderings with the blood-curdling cry, “The Women’s Bright Hour will meet on Wednesday afternoon.”

Or a terror attack might at any moment come from members of Sussex County Cricket Second Eleven with the shout of “Howzat?”

Or, if the terrorists were from Yorkshire Cricket, there would certainly be the more formal injunction, “Bang it in – yon bugger dunt like the short stuff!”

Or fans of the much-missed Ronnie Corbett screaming as they wield their machetes, “And it’s goodnight from me!”

But no – Garry is quite right to apologise to Muslims. Associating an attack with Islam could well damage community relations.

And perhaps damage them even more severely than any terrorist attack

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09 May

Hold very tight, please…

Coming soon to a bus near you: SUBHAN ALLAH – GLORY TO ALLAH. That slogan will be written on the sides of busses in London, Manchester, Bradford and Leeds. This outbreak of idolatry will be paid for by the charity Islamic relief – the organisation which recently had its HSBC account removed after suspicion that some of the donated funds were destined for Muslim terrorist groups.

Anyone left in any doubt about which religious group alone receives deference and preferential treatment in Britain today should reflect that, while the Muslim buses get the all clear, the established Church of England – Supreme Governor Queen Elizabeth II – was forbidden to screen a one minute advert for the Lord’s Prayer in cinemas.

The chief executive of Islamic Relief, Imran Madden, said he hoped the buses bedecked with these slogans would help start a “conversation” in Britain but he did not comment on the supremacist nature of the phrase “Glory to Allah” – often mistranslated as “Glory to God” by Western media outlets. This slogan is in the same tradition as “Allahu Akbar” which, rather than the meaning usually given, “God is Great,” actually means, “Our God (Allah) is greater than yours.”

Imran Madden certainly maddens me. The “conversation” he claims he wishes to start began rather more violently on 7th July 2005 when Muslim terrorists slaughtered fifty-two people on London transport.

How preposterous then that London buses are to be emblazoned with a triumphalist slogan which glorifies the religion of our murderers.

It is more than preposterous: it is blasphemous.

This is only one of the most blatant – so far – examples of the Islamic colonialisation of our country.

I go to London from time to time, so now I shall have to ponder whether I ought to ride on one of these idolatrous buses. For I am a Christian and the Ten Commandments – given by Moses and endorsed by Jesus Christ – are at the heart of my faith. The first of these Commandments – and they are Commandments, not suggestions – says, “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Such gods were and are no gods and that is why their worship is described in the Bible as idolatry.

The Christian religion is no mere matter of preference and whim. It is a matter if truth. What would it mean for a Christian to say the Christian faith is only partly true or only probable?

The Christian God is the only true God: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

To Him, the only God, Christians are commanded to bear witness. The old word for such a witness is martyr

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08 May

Has Ruth Davidson got a Willie?

Ruth Davidson, leader of the Conservative Party in Scotland, has so improved the standing of Scottish Tories that they have risen to surpass Labour and take second position to the SNP – their best performance since 1959.

It is being suggested that Ms Davidson is “the new Maggie.” And we know this is true, because it is the Daily Mail sez it.

Ms Davidson says that Tories should ditch the toff image and be more like John Major – more “ordinary” and more “normal.”

But David Cameron has described Ruth as “extraordinary.” So how ordinary and normal is she – for a Tory, I mean, or even for your ordinary-normal woman?

She is is a squat, beefy, serial lesbian with close-cropped hair, and certainly she is a person-of-many-parts:

Kick-boxer, soccer-player, bagpiper, ice hockey player with a penchant for the photo-opportunity – riding a tank, for example.

I’m not sure how many of these accomplishments were possessed by Margaret Thatcher. I can imagine Maggie riding a tank but not playing the bagpipes or doing her hair as Ms Davidson does hers. And if she had conducted a series of lesbian love-affairs, I’m sure the Daily Mail would have reported the fact – before Denis put a stop to such goings on.

Before you harrumph at comparisons between Ms Davidson and the Iron Lady, I have done some delving and discovered that Maggie did in fact conduct a secret life. In 1979 – the year she became prime minister, Margaret was the striker for Grantham Town FC and led them to be champions of the premier division of the Northern League.

Maggie did indeed aspire to play the bagpipes, until Denis was heard to exclaim, “Either that b****y pussycat goes, or I do.” So she settled for playing the sax at Ronnie Scott’s in Soho.

She might not have been a kick-boxer or an ice hockey player but for two seasons she was scrum half for Dewsbury Rugby League Club, before she transferred to Bradford Northern where she distinguished herself on the right wing.

Will Ms Davidson become leader of the Tory party, as the Daily Mail suggests? I must say, I have my doubts. For over many years, Margaret Thatcher received the strong support of William Whitelaw, which she famously acknowledged with the words, “Every prime minister needs a Willie!”

And I know for sure that Ms Davidson doesn’t have a Willie.

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02 May

No dumbing down in the C. of E.

    The Church of England has been accused of dumbing down after drawing up a new service in which worshippers use Post-it notes, clap like football fans and move their fingers like “twinkling stars.” This new pantomime – sorry, this creative invention of the Church’s Liturgical Commission – was performed in parishes for the first time at services on 1st May. So what is it meant to do? Answer: “to celebrate the role of godparents.”
    Acting true to character, the former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, has criticised this innovation as “reflecting the Church’s now familiar desire for being trendy.”

Surely it is long past time for so-called traditionalists and reactionary backwoodsmen such as Bishop Michael to cease their endless carping? Can’t you get it into your head, Michael, that this new service for godparents was produced by some of the finest minds in the Church of England?

He mocks the service, saying, “It’s like a game of bingo.”

This is a typically elitist remark and an insult to members of the Liturgical Commission who, as a matter of fact, enjoy nothing better than a game of bingo on a Saturday evening after watching Strictly Come Dancing.

The new service is redolent with intellectual and theological substance and it is yet another example of the erudite and scholarly productions we have come to expect from the Liturgical Commission. For instance, worshippers are urged to write their thoughts about godparents on notes to stick on a “memory wall” and to tie ribbons to a “prayer tree.”

This is in the same glorious tradition we noticed in the Commission’s worship suggestions for Lent – such as arranging a Christian line dance for the Lord or cutting out bits of yellow paper and pasting these on larger pieces of blue paper.

It is hard to imagine anything more spiritually significant than this.

At the opening of the service, the congregation is told to act like a football crowd and in response to the call “God is great!” – a nice ecumenical touch expressing Christian solidarity with our jihadist brothers and sisters – perform “a double clap with an arm raise” as they shout out “Let the people praise you!” 

In case the congregation has difficulty in appreciating the sacramental profundity of these gestures, the priest is instructed to get them to repeat the exercise “as often as feels right.”

Then everyone should “Shout ‘bingo’ or ‘housey housey’ really loudly!”

(Sorry, I misread that. They should, of course, shout “Hallelujah”)

Then they are all asked to touch their feet and put their hands over their ears in a prayer asking for God’s help “during life’s journey.”

They are then invited to draw a heart shape over the front of their bodies, and think of members of the community such as teachers or social workers.

Worshippers should then hold up their hands and move their fingers “like twinkling stars” to honour people that shine in their lives.

How dare Bishop Michael suggest there is anything dumbed down about all this!

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