Bishops, Blyton and BA Drivers

The Germans are getting nasty about Brexit now. They are threatening that if Britain leaves without a deal, they will no longer send us their Sauerkraut, Schweinshaxe (pig’s knuckle to the uninitiated) and other Teutonic delicacies.

Such a threat must surely give Boris Johnson a moment or two to reflect. After all, I am sure we all enjoy a good schweins -whatever sandwich for a weekend treat. Don’t we?

Which brings me to the latest victim of Brexit-induced idiocy, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. He has always seemed a meekly sensible sort of fellow, but he is in danger of being sucked into the hysteria of the liberal political Mafia.

Senior Remain MPs have invited Archbishop Welby to chair a series of ‘citizens’ assemblies’ at Coventry Cathedral, aimed at discussing ‘alternatives to leaving the EU.’ 

The Archbishop announced he’d be glad to do so, provided that such an initiative ‘doesn’t aim to stop or delay Brexit and has cross-party support.’

But any citizens’ assembly – would they be like the ‘Courts’ of the French Revolution I wonder – would inevitably be made up of ardent Remainers without support from the general public. After all, the MPs who invited him — the likes of Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper — are rabid Remainers who have been bleating hysterically since the referendum result was announced.

Then the Bishop of Buckingham stuck his nose into the argument, insisting that clergymen had a duty to ‘challenge the attacks, the xenophobia and the racism that seem to have been felt to be acceptable at least for a while.’

Who in the name of all that is holy does this jumped-up God-botherer think he is? I voted leave and have repeatedly railed against the argumentative delays and apparent official confusion but this sort of rhetoric makes me cross. To attribute Brexit to ‘xenophobia’ and ‘racism’ is politically correct snobbery. Bishops should stick to their pulpits. Preaching politics is not their job.

For the past three years, though, this stuff has been par for the course. Thrashing around in the mad disappointment of their defeat, the Remainers seem to see themselves as holy crusaders, fighting the good fight against the forces of evil.

But why oh why can they not accept reality? They could have won the referendum, but they didn’t. They could have voted for Mother Maybe’s deal, but they didn’t. They had their chance on three separate occasions and they didn’t take it.

If these holier-than-thou nobodies had an ounce of humility, they’d admit it. All most of us want is an end to the political squabbling and chicanery that we have been subjected to for three years. We want out so that life can get back to some semblance of normality. If Johnson with his bombast can achieve that, he will have done well.

Eight stamps featuring images taken during the finals of the Cricket World Cup and the subsequent celebrations are to go on sale next month.

The photos of the England Men’s and Women’s winning teams from this year and 2017 respectively will be presented in two miniature sheets. 

Yes, they did well, but why then did officials from the Royal Mint reject a proposal to feature Enid Blyton on a fifty pence coin? She must surely rank high among Britain’s list of literary greats.

Minutes from a meeting held in 2016 and published at the weekend reveal that a proposal to celebrate Blyton was turned down because someone (he or she remains unnamed) claimed that Ms Blyton ‘is known to have been a racist, sexist, homophobe and not a very well-regarded writer.’

If you look Blyton up on Google, the Wikipedia entry for her uses almost identical wording!

If the unnamed person had bothered to investigate a little more deeply, they would know that there is much more to Enid Blyton than a few troublesome characters. She shaped the world of children’s literature and her stories inspired millions of youngsters (including me) to learn to love books.

Which is why Enid Blyton deserves to be acknowledged in the traditional fashion as a significant 20th-century figure.

Creative people are often deeply troubled individuals (I should know damnit!)  and Blyton was no exception. She was also a product of her era, born in 1897. But with the cultural nonsense that is sweeping through Britain’s major institutions at the moment, the work – however inspiring – produced by any but the most socially unimpeachable -by modern standards anyway – characters just has to be thrown out as politically incorrect.

Some of Enid Blyton’s stories will possibly make the modern reader cringe. Yes, she was politically and culturally out of line with twenty-first century thinking, but so were Billy the Bard, Graham Greene, Conrad and Hemingway. Like them, she was a damn good storyteller who sold more than 600 million copies of 700 titles worldwide.

Whatever else she was, Enid Blyton is part of Britain’s cultural history and should be admired not castigated for her views on life. Good storytelling is very rare and the attitudes and ideas Blyton explores throughout her books — prejudice, punishment, redemption etc — are integral to the lives we lead.

The fact that she managed to put them over in a style of language understood and loved by children is not an indication of wickedness; it is a mark of her genius. She did far more for this nation and many others than winning a sporting tournament.

While almost half a million innocent folk have had their holiday plans ruined or upended through a three-day strike by British Airways pilots, the leader of their Union makes most of the newspapers this week by taking a luxury holiday in the Mediterranean.

Surely this man, Brian Strutton, who takes home a cool £141,000-a-year plus perks is a raging hypocrite? Images of him strolling around the Riviera must be a slap in the face for those families who have lost out both financially and emotionally through the strike. For the record, Strutton is now enjoying a seven-night Mediterranean cruise – costing around £1,000 a person – with his wife and two sons.

Asked why he should enjoy a holiday while threatening the breaks of so many, he told a reporter from The Sun, ‘Hmm, well we are trying not to affect other people’s holidays of course.’

What mealy-mouthed cant is that? The strike will cause the cancellation of around eight hundred and fifty BA flights on each of the three strike dates. There will also be knock-on disruption for days before and after the action. Understandably this has caused widespread alarm among passengers, with many cancelling and booking flights with other airlines.

Pilots working for the airline have rejected an eleven and a half per cent pay rise over three years plus a bonus worth one per cent of this year’s salary. As glorified bus drivers, they are already hugely overpaid so this is pure greed.

Mr Strutton told reporters, ‘I met with BA on Thursday and they said they would not offer any more than the pilots have already massively rejected. Therefore we had little choice but to issue strike dates.’

He added that the union ‘will be there’ if the airline was prepared to negotiate further.

He won’t though. He will be soaking up the sunshine and living the good life with his family. It is alright for some!

One thought on “Bishops, Blyton and BA Drivers

  1. Thank you David – I am beginning to rely on you for news. I agree with your rant, beginning and end. Always thought the Blyton story totally unreal,( on a par with removing well known statues?). Think I must buy a newspapers but they are damned expensive nowadays and anyway, is their news factual?
    My giggle for the day -the early morning newsreader has had his high lights redone – perfect hair again!No tbeing nasty, he has very nice, well cared for hair but yesterday the highlights had all but gone – today there they are, bright and blonde! Cheers.

    Like

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