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Over the past few weeks I have been running a series of posts on Percy Dearmer‘s 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, published by Mowbray.

These are the previous posts in the series:

Percy Dearmer on the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 1

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 2

Percy Dearmer on the earliest church service manuscripts

Percy Dearmer’s interpretation of St Paul on prophecy and tongues

Percy Dearmer on elements of worship in the New Testament

In today’s entry, still from Chapter 4, we look at Dearmer’s explanation of how liturgy came to be better defined and codified from the 7th century to the Reformation.

In Dearmer’s time, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer was the only Anglican book in use for communal worship, administering Baptism and Holy Communion, along with special rites such as Confirmation, Matrimony and Ordination.

In the 7th century, books were handwritten and paper was expensive. This situation existed until the printing press eight centuries later. Even then, the price of books was still prohibitive until the 19th century.

From the 7th century until the Reformation, liturgical rites had to be handwritten. Therefore, priests and deacons had small books with only their prayers and incantations. Furthermore, there were books for each type of liturgy:

the Divine Service, the Sacraments, and the Occasional Services, these latter including all the services used upon occasions such as Marriage, Ordination, and the Reconciliation of Penitents.

The Divine Service involved three different books, again, one for each role (e.g. priest, deacon) in that liturgy: the Psalter, the Legend and the Antiphoner. The Legend had the Scripture readings, lives of the saints and sermons. The Antiphoner had the musical accompaniments to the service.

The ancient Anglo-Saxon service for Holy Communion entailed a Missal, a Gospel book and an Epistle book. The Normans had a Missal but their other books were a Gradual and a Troper. Dearmer explains:

The Gradual contained the portions of the Psalter sung between the Epistle and the Gospel, and also those sung for the Introit and at other places in the Mass … The Troper consisted of interpolations into the chant: these additions to the traditional music became very large, but after the twelfth century little except the Sequences (sung after the Gradual and Alleluya, between the Epistle and Gospel) was left of them.

In the late Middle Ages — 13th century — different rites in Britain emerged in the cathedral cities and surrounding areas:

From the 13th century till the Reformation the use of Salisbury Cathedral was followed in the greater part of England (excluding Hereford which had a use of its own, and parts of the North which followed the York use), and also throughout the mainland of Scotland and in parts of Ireland and Wales.

The books used largely remained the same, although another book emerged for the Divine Service, e.g. liturgies which do not feature Communion, such as what we know today as Morning Prayer. The new book was called a Collectar. It had all the Collects (the emphasis is on the first syllable, as in ‘college’)  to be used on particular Sundays and feast days.

Collects are short petitioning prayers. In Morning Prayer, for example, three come at the end of the service. In the Communion service, one Collect is said after the introductory prayers, just before the Epistle is read.

Archbishop Cranmer, who first developed the first Book of Common Prayer, translated the collects from Latin. Dearmer tells us these had been in use for centuries and were in the priest’s liturgy book, the Sacramentary:

The majority of our Prayer Book collects are from three Old Roman Sacramentaries — the Leonine (6th century), the Gelasian (early 8th century), and the Gregorian (c. 800).

For centuries, Communion services used to have an Introit, a Collect and a Gradual. These were particular to specific Sundays and feasts. The Introit (Introitum means ‘entrance’ in Latin) is now called the Entrance Antiphon in Catholic Masses. The Gradual (possibly from gradus, the priest’s mounting the steps to the altar for the Gospel reading) was sung between the Epistle and the Gospel. Today’s liturgies no longer refer to a Gradual. In Protestant services, it is the Psalm for the day. Catholics call it the Responsorial Psalm.

By the late Middle Ages, the church service situation was such that it began to make more sense for these various books to be combined into one. A variety of Masses and other services took place at churches in cities. On the other hand, rural areas had fewer clergy. From this emerged the Breviary, still used in monasteries today, for daily services other than Communion; Missals for Communion services and three books for occasional rites.

The Antiphoner, for the sung parts, was still separate. From it, the hymnal emerged.

Dearmer’s book explains that the Reformation and the printing press in the mid-15th century brought an opportunity to make Protestant worship more communal. Instead of a priest and deacon reciting most of the prayers in Latin, people could worship in their own language and recite more prayers together.

It is also worth remembering that the Bible had been translated into English in the late 14th century, so the pathway was clear for church services to go the same route.

Until then, Latin was used because it was the lingua franca of Europe. All the educated people could speak, write and read it. It was the language of not only the Church but the professions (e.g. law) and diplomacy. People across Europe, including Britain, still had so many local and regional dialects, that it was sometimes difficult for citizens of a nation to understand someone else from another region in their own homeland:

and therefore it is no wonder that learned people wrote in Latin, which was for them a kind of Esperanto amid the babel of tongues.

Dearmer takes us to 16th century England, which led to the proliferation of the English Bible but also the introduction of the English prayer book (emphases mine):

It was therefore possible at the beginning of the 16th century not only to print the services, but to print them in an English which Englishmen all over the country could understand. Before the middle of that century the Bible had been printed in English, and thus became universally accessible and intelligible ; and just before the middle year— in 1549 — the First English Prayer Book was printed. It was no longer necessary to have but short extracts from the Bible in Divine Service; for the whole Bible — now a comparatively cheap book — could be used side by side with the Prayer Book; and these two volumes would supply every one’s need. Formerly the lay folk had only been able to follow the services in little simplified books of their own, and even these were an expensive luxury; but now every one could follow the services word for word, and those who knew their letters could read them in their own books. So the old books that we have described were further condensed into two, the Bible and the Prayer Book.

The last major revision of the Book of Common Prayer was done in 1662. Smaller revisions have been made since then. Most Anglicans probably did not notice much difference. During Dearmer’s time:

The last Lambeth Conference (1908) decided not to recommend the Unction of the Sick, but to allow its use, expressing a hope that the other apostolic act for helping the sick, the Laying on of Hands, might be used with prayers for the restoration of health. Those who are inclined to press the importance of Unction should remember that in the New Testament, and for long afterwards, the Laying on of Hands was used at least as much as Unction for helping the sick. It is therefore rightly to be regarded as an alternative form of the Sacrament of Healing; just as we administer Confirmation by the Laying on of Hands, whereas in the Eastern Church, and in most of the West, Confirmation is administered by anointing.

Dearmer points out that the various hymnals used in Anglican churches have denominational authorisation. To them have been added a few newer hymns from each generation so that the tradition remains, with continuing relevance:

they still keep us in touch with the thought and feeling of our own age, besides having the happy result of enabling Christians of other denominations, Protestant and Catholic, to contribute to our services. Closely allied to hymns are the modern anthems, which in cathedral and collegiate churches are collected in Anthem-books, thus adding a fourth to the volumes required for Divine Service each day. Hymns and anthems together place every form of sacred vocal music at the service of the Church. Nor are they unauthorized additions: the existence of these collections of hymns and anthems which provide Anglicanism with so precious an element of freedom has been sanctioned by authority ever since the 16th century (see pp. 65, 96, 97, 136), and the latter are mentioned in the twice repeated rubric, “In Quires and Places where they sing, here followeth the Anthem.”

Nowadays, it is increasingly difficult to find an Anglican church that offers any type of 1662 BCP service.

A new prayerbook superseded it in 1984 and Common Worship replaced it at the turn of the Millennium.

Although Common Worship’s traditional language liturgies are very close to that of the BCP, nothing compares to the 1662 book. One really feels as if one is worshipping with the many generations that went before us, praising Father, Son and Holy Ghost:

Thus are the needs of each generation brought within the scope of our common intercession and devotion.

I couldn’t agree more.

Next time: how the Reformation and royalty influenced the Prayer Book

On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, Theresa May triggered Article 50 to begin the process of the United Kingdom exiting the European Union.

May signed the letter on March 28 and a British official presented it to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, in Brussels the following day around 12:30 p.m. BST.

This tweet by Financial Times columnist Janan Ganesh is dated March 28, 4:15 p.m.:

Tusk takes receipt of the letter on March 29:

Nigel Farage, former party leader of UKIP who pressed hard for the 2016 referendum, gave an interview earlier that day:

He also discussed it on his talk radio programme in London:

Contents of May’s letter

Bloomberg is one of the few news sites to have the full text of Theresa May’s six-page letter to Donald Tusk.

The first four paragraphs follow (emphases mine):

Dear President Tusk

On 23 June last year, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. As I have said before, that decision was no rejection of the values we share as fellow Europeans. Nor was it an attempt to do harm to the European Union or any of the remaining member states. On the contrary, the United Kingdom wants the European Union to succeed and prosper. Instead, the referendum was a vote to restore, as we see it, our national self-determination. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe – and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent.

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom Parliament confirmed the result of the referendum by voting with clear and convincing majorities in both of its Houses for the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 13 March and it received Royal Assent from Her Majesty The Queen and became an Act of Parliament on 16 March.

Today, therefore, I am writing to give effect to the democratic decision of the people of the United Kingdom. I hereby notify the European Council in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union. In addition, in accordance with the same Article 50(2) as applied by Article 106a of the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, I hereby notify the European Council of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Atomic Energy Community. References in this letter to the European Union should therefore be taken to include a reference to the European Atomic Energy Community.

This letter sets out the approach of Her Majesty’s Government to the discussions we will have about the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and about the deep and special partnership we hope to enjoy – as your closest friend and neighbour – with the European Union once we leave. We believe that these objectives are in the interests not only of the United Kingdom but of the European Union and the wider world too.

Article 50

The European edition of Politico has the full text of Article 50, which is brief and comprised of five provisions. Wikipedia explains it further.

These are the salient items:

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

This means that the UK is still part of the EU until the exit process is complete.

However, we are no longer allowed to participate in European Council discussions. In fact, it was interesting that the English text ‘European Commission’ has been removed from signage in Brussels. It has been replaced with another European language, with the French words underneath.

From March 29 onwards, news reports will refer to 27 EU nations instead of 28.

The UK is in an EU limbo until our exit. We must still pay monies to the EU and are subject to EU law.

Article 50 means simply that the exit process begins.

The Telegraph has more. Briefly:

A withdrawal agreement, covering financial liabilities, citizens’ rights and the border in Ireland, will need to be accepted by a majority of 72 per cent of the EU’s remaining 27 member states.

The agreement would then need to be approved by the European parliament, voting by a simple majority.

The motion makes clear that the UK will remain bound by the rules of the EU and that trade talks with third party countries are not allowed for as long as it remains a member.

The irony of Article 50

There is a certain irony behind Article 50.

It was written by a Briton between 2002 and 2003 to apply to EU countries that could become dictatorships.

Veteran diplomat John Kerr, now Lord Kerr of Kinlochard — a cross-bench peer — told Politico that he never envisaged the UK invoking it. Lord Kerr:

drafted the text that sets out the procedure for leaving the European Union as part of an effort to draw up an EU constitutional treaty in the early 2000s.

That initiative was scuppered by referendum defeats in France and the Netherlands but some elements ended up in the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009.

One of the sections pasted across became Article 50

“I don’t feel guilty about inventing the mechanism. I feel very sad about the U.K. using it,” Kerr told POLITICO. “I didn’t think that the United Kingdom would use it.”

When he was writing the text 14 or 15 years ago:

the rise of Austrian far-right leader Jörg Haider was a big worry for mainstream EU leaders and some southern European EU members had returned to democracy only in recent decades. Kerr imagined that the exit procedure might be triggered after an authoritarian leader took power in a member country and the EU responded by suspending that country’s right to vote on EU decisions.

“It seemed to me very likely that a dictatorial regime would then, in high dudgeon, want to storm out. And to have a procedure for storming out seemed to be quite a sensible thing to do — to avoid the legal chaos of going with no agreement,” Kerr said.

He calls attention to the fifth provision of Article 50, the possibility of reversing a decision to leave the EU:

In other words, during the two-year negotiating period set out in the text, Britain could decide not to leave after all and simply remain an EU member. However, he says he cannot imagine how politics in Britain would allow such a U-turn.

Kerr summed up the exit process simply:

The process outlined in the text is, he noted, “about divorce … about paying the bills, settling one’s commitments, dealing with acquired rights, thinking about the pensions. It’s not an article about the future relationship.”

What is the timetable?

The BBC has a full timetable from now through March 2019. Of course, it is not written in stone, but it is the Brexit objective.

On Thursday, March 30, Brexit Secretary David Davis presented the Great Repeal Bill to Parliament, which will come into force as soon as the UK leaves the EU, i.e. in 2019 (all being well).

On Friday, March 31, Donald Tusk will publish negotiation guidelines that the EU will use.

In April, the 27 remaining EU members will adopt negotiation guidelines at the EU summit.

When Parliament opens again in the Spring, the Great Repeal Bill will be announced in the opening statement.

Michel Barnier, representing the EU, will begin participating in negotiation talks with the UK by late May or early June.

Late this year, Parliament will review the Great Repeal Bill in greater detail. If laws must be passed in certain areas to close any gaps, this will be done by mid-2018.

By the end of 2017, it is expected that Michel Barnier will have concluded the first round of negotiations. He expects to complete the negotiating process by September 2018.

At the beginning of 2019, both the UK and the EU will hold separate votes in Parliament and the EU Council, respectively, on the exit plan.

It is expected that the UK will leave the EU sometime in March 2019.

Impact of negotiations

The next 18 months will require careful negotiation to ensure that the UK is not adversely affected.

Attention to preserving human rights — including those for EU residents living and working in Britain as well as British expatriates living in Europe — will be essential.

Also essential will be negotiations concerning EU-sensitive industries such as farming and fishing.

The Telegraph and the BBC both have good Brexit Q&A on these topics and more (see halfway through).

Trade on food will also be negotiated. Currently, UK supermarkets sell a lot of EU fruit, vegetables and dairy products. We also export comestibles to the EU.

Banking and educational institutions are also weighing up their options. On March 30, Lloyd’s of London confirmed they will be opening a branch in Brussels. Oxford and/or Cambridge might open satellite universities in EU countries.

—————————————————————————————-

I’ll have more on Brexit soon and what we might expect to see over the coming months.

In Britain, Mothering Sunday — Mother’s Day — is always Laetare Sunday.

This year, mums are shortchanged, as our clocks change to British Summer Time on Sunday, March 26, 2017.

Laetare Sunday is the joyful Sunday of Lent. Some traditional Anglican and Catholic clergy wear a pink chasuble. The faithful look towards the promise of the Resurrection on this day.

The traditional Epistle read on this day was from Galatians 4 and included this verse (Gal. 4:26):

But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Hence the ancient tradition called Mothering Sunday, when people made the journey to their ‘mother’ church — often a cathedral but sometimes a large parish church — for worship. Afterward, some congregations ‘clipped’ the church, which involved worshippers gathering outside, forming a ring around the church and holding hands to embrace it.

The notion of the church as spiritual mother began to extend to earthly mothers, which is how Mothering Sunday developed.

Find out more in my post from 2012:

Laetare Sunday is Mothering Sunday

I wish all my British readers who are mothers a very happy day.

On Monday, March 20, 2017, Britain’s singing legend Dame Vera Lynn, celebrated her 100th birthday.

Dame Vera is as iconic as the Queen.

Incredibly, on March 17, Decca Records released her latest album, Vera Lynn 100: We’ll Meet Again. She is thought to be the first centenarian to have a new album on sale.

The London Evening Standard reports (emphases mine below):

The record comes eight years after Dame Vera became the oldest living artist to land a UK number one album and also marks the wartime singer’s 93 years in the industry as she made her stage debut at the age of seven.

New re-orchestrated versions of her most beloved music alongside her original vocals will feature on the music release …

The album also features a previously unreleased version of Sailing – a surprise find as it was not widely known she had recorded the track.

Dame Vera recorded the songs with young British talent, including Alfie Boe and The Ayoub Sisters.

A photo of her with a Happy Birthday message was projected onto the white cliffs of Dover, also the name of one of her greatest wartime hits. Others, too numerous to mention, included We’ll Meet Again and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square:

Dame Vera still lives at home in Ditchling, East Sussex.

Yesterday, the BBC reported that she participated in a Skype call from home with students from her old school, Brampton Primary School in East Ham, east London. The students serenaded her with a selection of her most famous songs.

The Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity held a daytime party on top of the white cliffs of Dover. It was very windy that day, but:

veterans, re-enactors and the Singing Sweethearts serenaded Dame Vera and sang happy birthday.

A military-style salute and flag-waving carried on regardless, all in support of her children’s charity but also celebrating the 100th birthday of our own Forces’ Sweetheart.

The Evening Standard reported:

Dame Vera said: “It is an unprecedented honour to have my birthday marked in such a beautiful way and I am truly thrilled by this wonderful gesture.

“As we look to the white cliffs on Monday, I will be thinking of all our brave boys – the cliffs were the last thing they saw before heading off to war and, for those fortunate enough to return, the first thing they saw upon returning home.

“I feel so blessed to have reached this milestone and I can’t think of a more meaningful way to mark the occasion.”

BBC Radio 2 asked her for her advice on ageing:

… she said: “Be active to your full capabilities.

“Keep interested, read books, watch television and try to keep in touch with life and what people are doing, seeing and enjoying.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 2, she added: “While you can do that, I hope you will continue.”

Finally! Someone who defends television! Thank you, Dame Vera!

Dame Vera gave an exclusive newspaper interview to The Sun:

“I try not to worry too much about anything any more, and enjoy every day as it comes,” she says.

“There is always something we can be concerned about. The secret is to rise above it and do whatever we can to make the world a better place.”

As for the young Second World War troops who loved her and her music:

she is still full of praise for the true Brits who gave up everything to bring peace to future generations.

She adds: “The war was a dark and difficult time but it was quite easy to keep faith when I saw for myself the sacrifices being made by the boys on the front line and everyone on the Home Front.

“The community spirit and collective sense of patriotism saw us all through.”

Also:

“The white cliffs were the last thing they saw before they left for war and, for those fortunate enough to return, the first thing they saw to tell them they were home.”

The Sun reminds us of why Dame Vera was The Forces’ Sweetheart:

To borrow from the familiar lyrics, millions of men and women didn’t have the chance to meet their loved ones again some sunny day.

But at least Vera gave them hope and comfort in the darkness and it explains why she ranks her people’s title of Forces Sweetheart as highly as any official accolade.

“I consider it to be one of my greatest achievements,” she affirms. “I feel very honoured that people regard me in this way.

“I am exceptionally fond of all the brave servicemen and women who have worked, and continue to work, to keep us safe and secure, and protect our values.”

The BBC has a great retrospective, complete with family photos, of Dame Vera’s life and career. Highlights follow:

Vera Welch was born on 20 March 1917 in East Ham in London. Neither of her parents were involved in showbusiness – her father Bertram was a plumber and mother Annie a dressmaker. But by the age of seven, the talented young Vera was singing in working men’s clubs – an audience she described as “great” – and soon became the family’s main breadwinner.

This is my favourite:

When she turned 11, Vera took her grandmother’s maiden name of Lynn as a stage name. She had no formal singing lessons as a child – and just one as an adult. She said: “I thought I could extend my range but when the teacher heard me sing she said ‘I cannot train that voice, it’s not a natural voice’. So I said: ‘Well thank you very much madam’, and left.”

I do wonder what that teacher thought later! You know what they say: ‘Those who can’t do …’

Dame Vera started singing professionally at the age of 15 and released her first single at the age of 19:

By the age of 22 she had sold more than a million records, bought her parents a house and herself a car.

During the Second World War, she went on tour:

it was during World War Two that her reputation was made. She frequently sang to the troops at morale-boosting concerts, becoming known to posterity as The Forces’ Sweetheart.

She married Harry Lewis in 1941. They had a daughter, Virginia. Harry died in 1998. Mother and daughter are still very close.

Dame Vera appeared on radio shows. Below, she is the lady in the fur coat:

Dame Vera’s career and fame continued after the war ended:

She was appointed OBE in 1969, made a Dame in 1975, and a Companion of Honour in 2016. Her wartime fame meant she was never far from the television screens …

She enjoyed meeting new talent:

She made the acquaintance of glam rock band Slade in 1973, when they gathered round a piano at the Melody Maker Awards.

Her records continue to sell very well and she:

holds the record for being the oldest living artist to achieve a top 20 UK album.

Over the years, Dame Vera has participated in many Second World War commemorative events.

In closing, this is what the Queen wrote Dame Vera on her 100th birthday:

You cheered and uplifted us all in the War and after the War, and I am sure that this evening the blue birds of Dover will be flying over to wish you a happy anniversary, Elizabeth R.

Many happy returns, Dame Vera Lynn!

Thankfully, after decades of polite conservative posturing, times are changing.

The old roll-over-and-die conservative commentary is giving way to the Millennial Independent rhetoric.

The word ‘Independent’ there is important. Most Millennials with significant online presence are dissatisfied with both Republican and Democratic parties in the US. Here in the UK, they eschew the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats.

I shy away from using the name alt-right to describe this group of bloggers and video makers, because I’m not happy with the negative characteristics the media apply to these people who are fed up with the Left.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says that a white nationalist, Richard Spencer, coined the term in 2008, however, it was Professor Paul Gottfried, Professor Emeritus of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, who actually invented the label ‘alternative right’.

In August 2016, he wrote a piece for Front Page Magazine on the subject. Excerpts follow, emphases mine:

Last week I was reminded by a call from Associated Press that I had invented the term “Alternative Right.” When I asked about how I had accomplished that, the woman on the other end of the phone referred to a speech I had given in November 2008 in which I urged the creation of an “Alternative Right.” The same caller said that I was considered the “godfather” of what had become Altright, something that the Democratic presidential candidate would be denouncing later in the week. Thereupon I tried to explain in what modest ways I may have inspired the movement that Hillary was about to go after (namely, in a quadrennial ritual in presidential races in which the Democratic candidate accuses her GOP rival of being the second coming of Adolf Hitler).

I pointed out that Altright authors, some of whom I knew, shared my revulsion for the neoconservatives and deplored their influence on the American Right. I also noted that Altright publicists believed that modern liberal democracies had become dangerously fixated on promoting equality; and I’ve made this observation repeatedly in my books …

The professor, rightly, states that he does not consider himself part of the alt-right. However, he says that he shares some of their views. In any event:

They are a breath of fresh air for anyone like me who occasionally forces himself to look at the centrist bilge, ostentatious beating up on Confederate symbols and the shilling for multinational corporations that I encounter on the respectable (non-right) Right. I need hardly add that next to the Never Trump crew laboring directly or indirectly to elect “crooked Hillary” as our next president, my Altright acquaintances are exemplary defenders of the American republic.

Alt-right commentators are not racist or sexist. The_Donald is the best alt-right forum and has many commenters who are Latino/Hispanic and some who are black. Gays and women participate. Everyone gets on well there and, of particular interest, are their members from other countries around the world.

Therefore, when the Southern Poverty Law Center — hardly credible because of their consistent left-wing stances — tags the alt-right with being like Richard Spencer, it’s merely an Alinsky tactic to discredit these Millennials who reject their socio-political outlook. Hardly surprising, then.

Gottfried concludes:

On a more optimistic note: the beginnings of an effective post-neoconservative Right may be taking shape in the form of the Trump movement. At least some of the neoconservative camp has split off from the center to join with the Old Right, younger West Coast Straussians, paleolibertarians and the Altright to support Trump’s candidacy. This is the most promising attempt to create a post-neoconservative Right that I have seen since being exiled from the conservative movement eons ago. I’ve no idea whether the center will hold in what is still a loose, ad hoc alliance. But I welcome its emergence in the last few months. Often in politics, it’s the enemy that unites, and in this case those whom circumstances have brought together, have chosen their adversaries well. They are facing with very limited resources, the ultimate traitors to the Right and to an America that should be spared Hillary’s picks for federal judgeships and her refusal to fight specifically Muslim terrorists.   

Therefore, from that paragraph, we understand that President Donald Trump’s candidacy coalesced this group of Millennials who bring a different perspective. In Britain, Millennials who supported Brexit comprise this group.

There is another characteristic of this independent group of commentators: their willingness to speak out and use the Left’s own tactics on them, as a Return of Kings post advises:

… the long and short of it is this: embracing and amplifying leftist absurdities are an excellent tactic to counter progressives and SJWs, and three of the ways to embrace and amplify are through increasing the frequency of the embraced absurdity, shifting it slightly to something the leftist finds unacceptable, and/or reversing it on the leftist.

Now, will this tactic work on the leftists themselves? Likely not, for their worldview can only survive on incoherence and absurdity, and so they are used to it—although, in fairness, you may convince the odd leftist to change his mind. However, convincing leftists and progressives is not the point. Rather, the point is to rhetorically neuter the leftists while at the same time helping to sway the fence-sitters to be against the leftists, not for them.

And for the purposes of achieving that particular objective, embracing then amplifying leftist absurdities is a good tactic to use.

Vox Day, a Christian blogger and author writes about the effect of Gamergate (2014-2015), which showed the young Left at their worst in revealing their opponents’ identities, harassing them and sending them death threats:

One of the fascinating things about the last few years is the transition of many apolitical Game writers and sites to politically conscious Alt-Right and Alt-Lite perspectives. This is significant, because all of the writers involved are entirely accustomed to being mobbed and assailed by the mainstream media, so they’re not inclined to cuck and run like most conservatives are when faced with criticism.

That is the principal characteristic of this group, never seen before in such numbers until 2016. They understand how the game is played and they engage time and time again.

These people are not white supremacists or white nationalists. On the contrary, they welcome everyone to participate in dialogue promoting and defending traditional values of informed patriotism, family life and personal integrity.

They will not cave and, as this revolution of words unfolds, they will remain in the front line.

On Monday, February 6, 2017, Queen Elizabeth II achieved what no other British monarch has: a Sapphire Jubilee.

The Queen acceded the throne 65 years ago, following the death of her father, King George VI.

Her Majesty celebrated the day privately at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. She attended Sunday service at St Peter and St Paul in West Newton, Norfolk, where she greeted well wishers and accepted bouquets of flowers afterwards.

Military salutes were given in London on Monday. The Telegraph has photos and reported:

Royal gun salutes were staged in London on Accession Day, as is the tradition, with a 41-gun salute by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Green Park at noon.

The Band of the Royal Artillery played a selection of celebratory music close to the firing position as 89 horses pulled six First World War-era 13-pounder field guns into position in the park.

A 62-gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company was fired at the Tower of London at 1pm.

The photo above was taken in 2014. Buckingham Palace re-released it for the Sapphire Jubilee.

Sky News explains:

The picture was taken by the photographer David Bailey in 2014 for the GREAT campaign, a publicity campaign to promote Britain around the world.

In the photograph The Queen is wearing a suite of sapphire jewellery given to her by King George VI as a wedding present in 1947.

It was on the 6 February, 1952 that her father died while at Sandringham. Princess Elizabeth, who was 25, was in Kenya on a royal tour with her husband Prince Philip at the time.

Although no national celebrations are planned this year, the Royal Mint is issuing a set of commemorative coins. Royal Mail has released a £5 commemorative stamp in sapphire blue.

Two years ago, when the Queen became Britain’s longest-ever reigning monarch, she said that achieving that landmark was:

“not one to which I have ever aspired”.

She added: “Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones. My own is no exception.”

Those of us who treasure her give thanks and wish her well for many more years as our monarch.

As Her Majesty is approaching her 91st birthday this year, the Duke of Cambridge — Prince William — is taking on more official royal appearances on her behalf.

With regard to length of reign, Queen Victoria comes second in the list with 63 years. Then we go further back in history to George III, who ruled for 59 years, 96 days (1760-1820). James VI of Scotland served for 57 years, 246 days (1567-1625).

In fifth place — incredibly, given it that this was during the Middle Ages — is Henry III of England and Lord of Ireland, who reigned for 56 years and 29 days between 1216 and 1272.

Sorry to be late to the party with this item, but it was in our two-week Christmas issue of the Radio Times, Britain’s foremost television (and radio) guide.

In the 17-30 December 2016 issue, the back page interview was with Prime Minister Theresa May, also the MP for Maidenhead. She answered a variety of questions from reporter Michael Hodges. Excerpts and a summary follow.

On Christmas Day, she and her husband Philip go to church. Afterwards, they meet up with friends for a drink, then it’s off to an ecumenical lunch for the elderly, where May takes time to talk with her constituents.

The Mays return home where the Prime Minister roasts a goose for Christmas dinner. They haven’t had turkey for several years. Although others consider goose to be extremely fatty, May points out:

if you keep the fat, it makes wonderful roast potatoes for quite a long time thereafter.

Absolutely. We also have goose at Christmas, partly for that reason, and for the unctuous stock from the wings.

May, a practising Anglican, lent the Radio Times a photo of herself as a girl with her late father, the Revd Hubert Brasier. She told Michael Hodges what Christmas past was like:

Throughout my life I have been going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and church on Christmas Day morning. As a child I had to wait until my father had finished his services before I could open my presents.

It felt like a very long wait. Others I knew would be able to open their presents first thing in the morning.

I’m an only child and my mother played the organ. So I would sit alongside her while my father was taking the service.

The interview did not mention that May’s parents died within a year of each other. Her father died just as she completed her studies at Oxford and her mother several months later. It can’t have been easy for her, especially with no siblings for support:

When you first lose your parents, Christmas is hugely, hugely important. Now I enjoy Christmas with my husband Philip and we keep up the tradition of going to church. But, of course, it does remind me of my parents.

During her childhood, she watched only the BBC, until:

one day, my mother managed to jiggle the aerial and we got ITV and I saw Robin Hood. That music and Richard Greene as Robin Hood really grabbed me.

This is the iconic theme to which May refers:

May’s other television favourites included early series of The Avengers with Diana Rigg, then Joanna Lumley, although:

I have never had a female role model — I’ve always just got on with doing what I am doing.

As an adult, she watched the ‘very evocative’ Das Boot. These days, she enjoys Scandinavian dramas Borgen and The Bridge. Christmas Day favourites include Doctor Who and David Suchet as Poirot.

She doesn’t take recommendations for television viewing:

My advisers don’t tell me what to watch on the television — I watch what I want to watch.

May ended the interview by saying she had no idea a year ago that she would be Prime Minister today.

What follows is her four-minute New Year’s message. If her father was as eloquent a speaker as his daughter is, he must have been a splendid vicar. May speaks of the change that Brexit will bring this year but also of the unity of the four nations of the United Kingdom and the shared values and experiences that make us one people:

This is very similar to the first speech she gave as Prime Minister outside No. 10.

She and Donald Trump will get on well. Of that, I have no doubt.

Fireworks Barking Park londonevents2011_comHappy New Year to all my readers!

2016 proved to be the year of the impossible made possible.

The Brexit vote, the Cubs winning the World Series after 108 years and Donald Trump’s election are only three such examples. We lived through ground-breaking history this year.

Hand of God leedsacukMany people — especially agnostics — commented online that the Hand of God was all over various events that took place. Some of those people returned to the Church. Others, previously unchurched, converted. (The best anecdotal evidence can be found in comments at The_Donald.)

2017 looks even more exciting with regard to change and a break with the past. Light will shine on darkness. Those guilty of lying, malfeasance and indecency will be exposed and shamed. Many God-fearing people will be stunned by what they see in the news. The evil of the past revealed — and the power of the good to come — will cause scoffers to repent.

Therefore, I look forward to the New Year for the first time in decades.

I pray that divine grace and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit imbue and guide each of us in the year ahead. May God bless us all.

David Cameron has once more thrown his toys out of the pram!

Summer recess is now over, Parliament is back in session and the former PR man — the self-styled ‘heir to Blair’ — cannot bear being on the back benches.

He announced yesterday — September 12 — that he will be standing down as MP for his beloved Witney constituency in Oxfordshire.

At least he gave us the referendum.

However, he’s still angry about the result: Brexit, baby, Brexit.

A commenter on the aforementioned link from The Spectator clearly explains Witney, Cameron and British society. This is so true (emphases mine):

That constituency is a definite Remain area. The people in the UK who voted Leave weren’t the upper-middle class, which is what Cameron is. That stratum of society are the ones who buy craft beer and shop at Waitrose. The ones who voted Leave were the aristocracy and the working class. Britain exists in them; the upper-middle and middle are too concerned with their status, being “cool” and their bank balances. As long as there is still an aristocracy and a working class, Britain will prevail. That is why Labour detests the aristocracy, and the working class, and seeks to annihilate them both through mass-immigration. Everybody (and I don’t mean individuals, I mean the groupings) outside those two classes is self-seeking and individualistic, with no real concern for Britain.

Readers who live in or near Witney are particularly welcome to comment.

Let’s look at the timeline. Cameron was re-elected as MP only in May 2015. Then he gave us the EU Referendum in June 2016. As soon as the results were made public he announced his resignation as Prime Minister!  Now, after summer break, he is unwilling to continue serving as MP to Witney because Brexit is sticking in his craw. Sad!

What a poor loser.

Not only is he standing down as MP, but he is doing it with ‘immediate effect’:

Spectator columnist James Forsyth surmises that Theresa May’s brand of conservatism is too much of a departure for Cameron:

… I think one of the things that makes it difficult for him to stay on is the extent to which Theresa May is moving away from Cameronism. It’s not just like Brexit is the only issue on which it would be difficult for Cameron to express a view – there are now a whole host of issues because Theresa May has tried to open up clear blue water between herself and Cameron’s government on quite a few things

Thank goodness for that.

However, Cameron’s resignation sets a bad example for the British public. The Spectator‘s editor Fraser Nelson — not someone with whom I agree a lot — rightly points out:

“Brits don’t quit,” he told us a few months ago: now he has quit, twice. After telling us several times that he’d stay, to fulfil a duty to parliament and his constituents.

Indeed. Such a lack of principle will ultimately reflect on him:

Cameron could have been known for so many achievements: record employment, schools revolution, lowering inequality, crime rates plunging, a majority won against the odds – how quickly all of that is forgotten, how quickly Cameron has been reduced to the bad guy whom Theresa May enjoys defining herself against. Blair’s behaviour after leaving No10 trashed the reputation of Blairism – and it seems the self-styled “heir to Blair” had one more tribute act left in him. Now there is pretty much no one to say that Cameron’s premiership wasn’t all bad. No one can be bothered to hang around and defend Cameron’s reputation. Not even Cameron.

Cameron has acted in a pathetic manner. He led the Conservatives for ten years and was Prime Minister for the last five. He could have gone down in history as a compassionate Conservative.

Soon — by his own actions — he will be forgotten. He brought it on himself.

We’ve all heard the expression ‘stubborn as a mule’, but are all mules stubborn?

Before motorised vehicles were invented — and became relatively affordable — American farmers used to rent mules to pull heavy items such as tillers and other equipment.

There was only one problem: instructions from previous renters confused the animals, which, in time, refused to do anything. A commenter at Breitbart explains:

… rented mules were handled by umpteen different people with varying degrees of experience working them. That resulted in the animal being totally confused by what was expected of it, bad habits mounted on top of more bad and when one farmer’s way set the mule up to misbehave, the next found it non-responsive to expectations, thus the animal was abused for not performing. Add to that, greedy rent mule owners overworked the animal, as well, not concerned with its well being.

The predicament of the rented mule reminds me of electorates in various Western countries. We notice that we’re overly taxed, yet disdained by the elite, who laugh at us and, even worse, pretend we don’t exist. Never mind that they rely on our money for their salaries. That includes the media.

This the elite are angry that Britons voted for Brexit. They are angry that millions and millions of Americans are likely to vote for Donald Trump in November.

Check out these poll results from rented mules: the American voters. One is from ABC News and the other is from Wikileaks. They might surprise you.

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