30 Apr

Pre-emptive self-abasement

I don’t complain about Muslim attempts to Islamify schools in Birmingham. They are acting in their own perceived interests. Their desire is a Muslim Britain as part of a global Caliphate. Fair enough. I know what they want because they have stated it on numerous occasions. Should I be surprised, therefore, to discover that they are working to achieve their aims? Of course not. I expect to have ideological opponents in this world; and I expect these opponents to oppose my wishes. I expect them to use deception, trickery, smoke and mirrors, spin and all manner of means in their cause. Muslim tradition allows them to  behave quite differently towards non-Muslims from the code they employ in dealing with their co-religionists. No use complaining about this. It is a fact of life and I should just get used to it. And, when Muslims are criticised and reproached, they will play the race-card and make accusations of “Islamophobia.” Of course they will and they do. All the time.

What I do complain about is something else I have come to expect: the pathetic weakness of non-Muslim response to Islamic ideological imperialism. Our authorities handicap themselves by their creed of political-correctness. They cave in. They roll over. They accept the Muslims’ version of events. For the authorities and the “liberal zealots” in the press and the BBC,  the prospect of being dominated by an alien culture is preferable to the consequences of being regarded as “racist” or “Islamophobic.”

Incidentally, “Islamophobia” is a word to which I can attach no meaning at all. A phobia is an irrational fear. But there is nothing irrational about a natural apprehension in the face of the prospect of Sharia and all the other aspects of an alien cultural and ideological imperialism. I do not want my country to be dominated by that culture and that ideology.

But it will be – because we are betrayed by our own side in these culture wars. A century ago, T.E. Hulme explained how our defeat comes about:

“We have been beaten because our enemies’ theories have conquered us. We have played with those to our own undoing. Not until we are hardened again by conviction are we likely to do any good. In accepting the theories of the other side, we are merely repeating a well-known historical phenomenon. The Revolution in France came about not so much because the forces which should have resisted were half-hearted in their resistance. They themselves had been conquered intellectually by the theories of the revolutionary side. The privileged class is beaten only when it has lost faith in itself, when it has been penetrated by the ideas that are working against it.”

29 Apr

Christian? What does that mean?

As posted on The Northern Echo 22nd April 2014

GK CHESTERTON said: “The secret of being a successful journalist is to write one article for the Church Times and another article for The Horseracing Times, address them to the respective editors, then put them in the wrong envelopes.”

Perhaps David Cameron had this advice in mind when he went into print over Easter?

At least he has written a piece for Church Times, but we have yet to wait for his foray into racing tips. Unlike Tony Blair’s government, which, according to Alastair Campbell, “doesn’t do God”, Dave has described himself as “a fairly typical member of the Church of England” – by which he means enthusiastic about good works and community involvement, but more reticent and doubtful when it comes to church dogma.

He wrote: “I believe we should be more confident about our status as a Christian country, more ambitious about expanding the role of faith-based organisations, and frankly more evangelical about a faith that compels us to get out there and make a difference to people’s lives.”

So far so good. But I was surprised to see his use of the word “evangelical”.

I was brought up as an evangelical and I have enjoyed the friendship of evangelicals all my life, so I know what evangelicals stand for. Here are some fundamental beliefs shared by all evangelicals: they all believe that good works are not enough, because we are all sinners and we are justified only by Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. Moreover, this is not gentle Jesus, the Labour member for Galilee South. This is, according to evangelical Christians, Christ who was born of a virgin and rose from the dead.

Evangelicals also believe in the Ten Commandments and that marriage is exclusively a relationship between a man and a woman.

Mr Cameron, by his words and actions, has made it perfectly clear that he doesn’t believe those things. He is like so many thoroughly decent human beings who believe in doing their best, being generally kind and helpful.

This is admirable. But it is not Christianity.

His views are very common. So many liverymen and businessmen in the City of London have told me that, while they don’t actually believe that Christian dogma is true, they regard Christianity as useful in promoting charity and social order. That is pretty much what Mr Cameron believes too.

TS Eliot puts it well: “To justify Christianity because it provides a foundation for morality, instead of showing the necessity of Christian morality from the truth of Christian dogma is a very dangerous inversion. It is not enthusiasm but dogma that differentiates a Christian from a pagan society.” Now there are a lot of good-hearted people – many of them kinder and more generous than some Christians – who just can’t bring themselves to believe in the Virgin Birth, the atoning death of Christ, the resurrection from the dead, the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Communion. Fair enough.

They are good people, but not, by any contortions of the English language, Christians.

Mr Cameron believes in the social gospel, the necessity for good works. So he is happy, as he says, to regard the churches as “partners” and to say that in the end Christians and the rest of the British “have a lot in common”. He speaks perhaps more truly than he knows. Because over the past 50 years, most of those who lead the Church have stopped believing traditional Christian doctrines too.

29 Apr

Sermon for the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, St Sepulchre’s, Remembrance Sunday 2013

Just over sixty years ago, on 9th June 1952 the First Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, under the command of Lt Colonel Dick Stevens marched through the City of London, past the Lord Mayor, on their way to lunch at The Guildhall. A fortnight later they sailed from Liverpool in the ship The Empire Halladale to join the war in Korea.

When they arrived in the Far East six weeks later, Major Terry Donnelly, commanding C Company of mainly Cockney Fusiliers joked with his men, “With a ladder and some glasses you could see the Hackney Marshes, if it wasn’t for the houses in between.”

The Korean War at this stage was mainly a night-time campaign with patrols creeping through the minefields to gather information. By day the soldiers lived a troglodyte existence in a maze of trenches. The major operation involving the battalion was OP PIMLICO. On the night of 24th November 1952, D Company, commanded by Major Mike Chard, were ambushed by a large Chinese force after they had set out to raid enemy lines. Great heroism was displayed by all the Company, but still fourteen were killed, nineteen wounded and eight taken prisoner. Fusilier George Hodkinson, the wireless operator who had taken command when Kit Hoare and all the NCOs had been knocked out, was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his deeds on that night. Before being taken prisoner, and in spite of his wounds, George had calmly reported the battle over the radio and called down artillery and mortar fire on the enemy. His final words before capture were, “This is it. They are coming again in strength. We shall be overrun this time. Nothing can stop them now.”

Early 1953 saw the battalion in Corps reserve but they were soon back in the line again. In late May, the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, on the key strategic position of the Hook, were attacked in force. Ten thousand shells landed on their position on one night alone. The Fusiliers were ordered up to support the Dukes and they took over the hill on 29th May. The Hook battle took place at the same time as the climbing of Mount Everest and the Coronation of Elizabeth II, so there were very few reports back home in the press. But this battle was a major factor in contributing to the armistice which followed two months later. This is yet another example of Korea as “the forgotten war”. And it was not until 1987 that a memorial to those who fell was dedicated by the Queen in St Paul’s.

Now I have never been a soldier. But my father served in the RAF during the Second World War and my father in Law at El Alamein. I have numbered soldiers, sailors and airmen among my dearest friends and colleagues all through my career. In all this time, I have never met a soldier who wanted to go to war. Yet every soldier I have had the honour to meet always knew the truth of Edmund Burke’s saying: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

And I have been sickened in my lifetime to see how Remembrance Sunday has been hijacked in the schools by trendy teachers and in the churches by the sackless pacifist clergy. The only war poetry that gets read is the maudlin, cowardly stuff by Wilfred Owen. And in most churches on Remembrance Sunday, the prayers are always about the horror of war and the evil of war. Now every soldier knows more than these armchair politicos about the horror of war and the evil of war. But what the soldier also knows is that there are worse evils than warfare. Worse than warfare is non-resistance in the face of the aggressor who would kill or enslave you, your family, our nation.

The recently retired Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams thinks that we should not retaliate when attacked. In his book following the September 11th atrocities and called Writing in the Dust, he says, “If I decide to answer in the same terms, that is how the conversation will continue”. Well Dr Williams, bombing the heart of New York is a pretty strange way to start a “conversation”! There is a confusion here between revenge and justice. While I may seek on my own behalf to follow the teaching of Christ to turn the other cheek, I must not do this on behalf of those who have suffered innocently. It is my duty to take up the sword on behalf of the fatherless children and the widow. Not to do this is to concede victory to the aggressors, and that would be unjust. Anyone following Dr Williams’ pacifist line would have to argue that the brave men on 9/11 who first said The Lord’s Prayer and then cried, “Let’s roll!” and fought back against the terrorists in the fourth plane were wrong to do so. But if they had not summoned up oceans of courage and attacked the terrorists, then almost certainly the fourth plane would have been deliberately crashed into a densely populated target and the loss of life would have been catastrophically greater.

I spent a good part of my ministry in Yorkshire, and so I had plenty of opportunity to get acquainted with the York Quaker pacifist ladies. Let me tell you: this sort is not harmless; they are not merely picturesque quaint, high-minded eccentrics. Pacifism is the enemy of peace, because it is the enemy of justice and righteousness. For pacifism always prefers the triumph of evil to necessary resistance. Pacifism and the appeasement of the aggressor always leads to more trouble in the long run. If you appease the crocodile, don’t think he won’t eat you. He will just eat you last. If the governments of the allied nations had listened to Churchill, Harold Nicholson and Duff Cooper in the 1930s instead of to the treacherous Lord Halifax and the lying Rab Butler, Hitler could have been stopped in his tracks and millions of lives would have been saved.

The soldier-poet T.E.Hulme, killed by one of the last shells to fall in the First World War, wrote as follows: “The pacifists’ incapacity to realise the consequences of defeat arises from a relativist, utilitarian ethic. They live securely and comfortably, finding a sufficient support in a sceptical rationalism. But individuals in a condition of danger, when the pseudo-absolutes melt away into a flux require once more a real absolute to enable them to live”.

And a lot of modern churchmen forget that Christ who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” also said, “I come not to send peace but a sword”. I am tired of having to listen to the slander by those clergymen and schoolteachers who make up today’s liberal establishment in which they speak of patriotism, the love of one’s country and the willingness to lay down one’s life as “jingoism”. I cannot abide the fact that the memory of our valiant dead is ungratefully insulted in this way.

Here, from the First World War, is a memory of two soldiers from the seventh battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers:

“Private Bob Young was conscious right to the end. I lay alongside him and said, ‘Can I do anything for you, Bob?’ he said, ‘Straighten my legs, Jack’. But he had no legs. He said, ‘Get my wife’s photograph out of my breast pocket’. I took the photograph out and put it in his hands. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t lift a hand. He couldn’t lift a finger. But he somehow held his wife’s photograph on his chest. And that’s how Bob Young died”.

In short the Christian believes that death is not the worst thing that can happen: worse, far worse, than death is the triumph of wrong. This is why the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion in the now despised Book of Common Prayer – Articles which all the clergy are obliged to recite and affirm – contain these words: “It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrate, to wear weapons and serve in the wars”.

Greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends

May God bless you all and all those who serve in our armed forces.

29 Apr

The New Laodiceans

Archbishop Justin Welby has contributed to the discussion about whether Britain is a Christian country. He says, “The influence of a moderate and careful and generous Christian faith has enabled us to be welcoming to other faiths.”

“Careful” and “generous” I can understand and wholeheartedly support. But what does he mean by “moderate”?

I recall the old joke by Jonathan Miller when he said: “I’m not really a Jew – just jew-ish. Not the whole hog.” Is the Archbishop suggesting that Christians should not be fully-fledged but, as it were, just Christian-ish? What about all those exhortations in the New Testament which tell Christ’s followers to be fervent, to be prepared to suffer and even to give one’s life for the faith? St Paul wrote to the Corinthians:

“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”

Did St Paul really suffer the thirty-nine lashes five times – and all those other privations – for being “moderate”?

Also with characteristic moderation Jesus said, “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

I suppose the prophets were stoned for their being so “moderate”? And the martyrs – crucified, thrown to the lions, burned at the stake, strangled, drowned? No doubt on account of the fact that they were all:

Civilised men of  moderate religion; Of flexible principle and estimable pragmatism; Unrestricted by the petty syllogism; And as easy in agreement as our Justin himself.

Oh how nice it is to be “moderate”! Admittedly, it wasn’t very nice when men such as Bishop Polycarp, Thomas More, Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley and countless other immoderate men were put to the death for their beliefs. But at least these things happened in an age when Christianity had not yet been emptied of serious content.

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth’.”

Spew thee out of my mouth. Oh dear, I do wish the Holy Spirit would learn not to use such immoderate language!

28 Apr

There’s none so blind…

US secretary of state John Kerry is nearly as good at talking as his puppet-master Barak Obama. And he has been talking about Israel again over the weekend, saying, “A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second class citizens – or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state. Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.”

Being interpreted, this prolix gibberish means, I think, that unless Israel agrees to a two-state equality with the Palestinians, then it will be inaugurating regional apartheid and deserve to treated as a pariah.

Why is the US secretary of state oblivious to the fact that Israel has offered the two-states solution over and over again since 1998? That was at the Camp David talks – an event noted for Yasser Arafat’s duplicity and final treachery. His behaviour so appalled Hillary Clinton that, by all accounts, her language turned the air blue over the White House lawn. This is what happened… Arafat agreed to the two-states settlement, then returned to Ramallah and declared the second intifada, a murderous terrorist uprising against Israeli civilians.

Israel does not operate an apartheid system to the detriment of Palestinians. For years, until Arafat’s criminal and disastrous intifadas, the state of Israel was the only place in the region where Palestinians could find gainful employment – their own disgusting regime being so shambolic and economically moribund. Israel took the extreme step of closing its borders to Palestinians only when Arafat’s gangs resumed their pastime of blowing up buses in Jerusalem – the open-air fruit and vegetable market twice – and firing rockets from Gaza at Israel’s southern towns. Many were the days that schoolchildren in Sderot spent more time in air raid shelters than in the classroom. Gaza, ruled by Hamas, is Lord of the Flies with Katyusha rocket launchers.

Israel is the only democratic, civilised state in the region and four times since 1948 has been forced to fight defensive wars against the surrounding barbarians who for sixty-six years have been bent on its destruction. Ben Netanyahu has been excoriated by Obama and Kerry, the Arabists in the British Foreign Office, the BBC and The Guardian endemic for calling off the current round of peace talks. What else was a responsible statesman supposed to do when his conversation partners across the table last week declared their merger with the terrorists of Hamas?

Why does John Kerry find it so hard to understand these things? Mr Kerry: we have a saying in these parts, “There’s none so blind as will not see.”   

25 Apr

Frisk the thrifty, punish the prudent

I’d really like a £180K sports car but I couldn’t attempt the monthly repayments, so I shall have to cut my cloth. Perhaps I’ll buy a cheap second had motor, or maybe just hire a vehicle when I feel like going on  a trip. Imagine the following scenario… A bloke on £22K pa gets ideas above his station and signs up to buy that  Lamborghini. He pays the first instalment but then defaults permanently. Should we expect the dealer to say, “No probs – I’ll just reduce the monthly payments to next-to-nothing. Keep the smart motor, mate!”

Well, of course not.

But this is effectually what has happened in the mortgage market. In 2008 it became clear that mortgage lenders were being irresponsible on an industrial scale, lending purchasers as much as eight to ten times their annual salary. Result: house price crash as part of the general economic slump. What to do about this emergency? The government did something similar to the crazy Lamborghini salesman and reduced interest rates to next to nothing so that irresponsible borrowers could afford their recently-acquired houses.

This had a catastrophic effect on the income and long term financial prospects of savers, especially pensioners and others on low incomes. Thus the profligate were rewarded at the expense of the prudent.

Today we learn that the Financial Conduct Authority is to make new rules concerning mortgage applications and lenders will have to take into more realistic account the income and outgoings of prospective borrowers. Naturally, this has been greeted with squeals of outrage. But irresponsible borrowers don’t need to worry: the scheme will prove unworkable as lenders will find a way to continue lending – because, in most cases, it is in their interests to do so.

So injustice is institutionalised and excessive usuriousness celebrated. I call to mind some words of C.H. Sisson:

“What Ezra Pound exposed in The Cantos is the monstrous aberration of a world in which reality is distorted, down to a degree never so comprehensively indicated before, by the pull of a fictitious money. It is a noble subject and may be the only possible one for a long poem in our age.” 

23 Apr

Blairing the obvious

Today Tony Blair says that extreme Islamism “distorts and warps Islam’s true message and it is spreading across the world. It is destabilising communities and even nations. It is undermining the possibility of peaceful co-existence in an era of globalisation. And in the face of this threat we seem curiously reluctant to acknowledge it and powerless to counter it effectively.”

It is a bit late in the day to issue such a warning. Ten years ago , Professor Marcello Pera, former President of the Italian Senate, said that it is this extremist insurgency which has declared, preached, promised and repeated many times its intention to fight a holy war against the West. And in a more recent lecture Relativism, Christianity and the West Professor Pera, said,

“Is there a war? I answer, yes there is a war and I believe the responsible thing is to recognise it and to say so, regardless of whether the politically-correct thing to do is to keep our mouths shut.

“In Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechnya, Dagestan, Ossetia, the Phillipines, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Morocco and much of the Islamic and Arab world, large groups of fundamentalists, radicals, extremists – the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brothers, Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Armed Group and many more have declared a holy war on the West. This is not my imagination. It is a message they have proclaimed, written, preached, communicated and circulated in black and white. Why should I not take note of it?”

But Mr Blair is mistaken when he says that extreme Islamism is a warped form of Islam. From the start the prophet Mahomet urged Muslimisation of the world at the point of the sword. Many times in the past – thank God – Christians rose up to defend the faith against militant Islam: At Tours, Charles Martel saved northern Europe from Muslim conquest and Don John of Austria and the papal states triumphed at Lepanto. Three hundred years ago Muslim armies were at the gates of Vienna where they were resisted and finally turned back by Christian forces. We must pray and so nerve ourselves that such courage will not be found wanting in us to repel the threats we are facing today.

Those with their eyes open have understood the true nature of the Muslim ideology all along, As long ago as 1831 Samuel Coleridge – a man with his eyes wide open if ever there was one – said:

“That erection of a temporal monarch under the pretence of a spiritual authority was effected in full by Mahomet to the establishment of the most extensive and complete despotism that ever warred against civilisation and the interests of humanity.”

That’s why I used the phrase “Muslim ideology.” As Coleridge pointed out, its supposed “spiritual authority” is “a pretence.”

But Mr Blair is to be commended for recognising at least part of the danger, even when he falls over backwards to be nice to the encroaching barbarism. He is right too to notice that we seem “powerless” to counter the threat – though “unwilling” would be a more accurate description and account for our torpor in the face of extinction.  Unfortunately, the West is unlikely to take any notice and, as Marcello Pera conjectures, the destiny of our civilisation will be to die from political-correctness.

22 Apr

The new wilderness

So like innit tweeted OMG right now issues like it was like Facebook cool as-if process consensual any-time-soon like weird taking-time-out miss-out-on mindful like detoxherbal binge facial like in-touch-with like osteopath total therapy decaffeinated shed-pounds counsellor rebalance like aura diet innit so bloating green like mobile IBS green smoothies rocket spa primal like yoga narrative de-stress chill-out sauna reconnect so juices veggie like tantric-massage so hard-working-people five-a-day obese underprivileged units-of-alcohol like support-group Pilates self-esteem climate-change innit like reset pulsating-rock-score reality-TV social-media focus-group like feisty caring so referendum diversity non-sexist myself partner like accessible transgendered selfie quality-time vulnerable have-it-all attention-span non-judgmental mega meaningful absolutely community online so like download democracy I-pad innit disrespect celeb like pressurise gastropub so-it-never-happens-again worst-case-scenario at-this-moment-in-time chiropractor rehab innit normalcy like….

22 Apr

The state we’re in

More news of casualties from the front line: there are 1200 preventable deaths every month in Britain from kidney malfunction where the cause is usually dehydration, with most of the incidences happening in hospitals. I use the expression “front line” because our hospitals increasingly resemble a war zone. 364 hospital deaths last year from MRSA . And 2053 from clostridium difficile. One in sixteen hospital patients picks up an infection in the course of their stay – a statistic which the National Institute for Clinical Health and Excellence (NICE) unsurprisingly describes as “unacceptably high.” The usual cause of the deaths from dehydration is neglect; and for MRSA and CD it is poor hygiene. It is scandalous that neglect and poor hygiene occur in what are supposed to be caring environments, places where people come to be made better not made worse or put to death.

I was with a friend who is a doctor, now retired from a career during which he was a very eminent surgeon and I wondered aloud how much longer it will be before the British people rise up in outrage against the unsatisfactory conditions in the hospitals. He opined that the scandal is so huge that the public’s dissatisfaction is imminent. I am reluctant to disagree with a professional who has a lifetime’s experience of the NHS, but I do disagree on this matter. There are so many vested interests in the NHS on the part of the political class and the health bureaucrats – extending to a whole tier of the bureaucracy engaged exclusively in public pacification, propaganda and the persecution of whistle-blowers such as the cardiologist Dr Raj Mattu who has spoken of “the dystopian culture” of our hospitals.

The general causes of the inevitable failure of the NHS were laid bare decades ago by Dr Max Gammon  in Gammon’s Law which Milton Friedman described as the “Theory of Bureaucratic Displacement.” Gammon’s Law, developed after a long study of the NHS from the inside, states, “In a bureaucratic system, increase in expenditure will be matched by fall in production. Such systems will act rather like black holes in the economic universe, simultaneously sucking in resources, and shrinking in terms of ’emitted’ production.” Gammon’s Law attracted international attention when it was first announced, with such consequences for Dr Gammon’s career as might be expected. Massive unaccountable bureaucracies do not take kindly to criticism and, as numerous cases have demonstrated, those who draw attention to their failings are persecuted and victimised relentlessly.

The fact is that when any institution becomes too large and very heavily bureaucratised, it ceases to exist for those it was appointed to serve and exists instead for the benefit of the mismanaging bureaucracy itself and the army of highly-unionised employees who earn their living in it. What applies to the NHS applies similarly to state education.

These public bureaucracies are species of totalitarianism, too big to fail – or rather too powerfully self-serving to have their failings exposed.   

21 Apr

The New Whigs

Fifty prominent secularists have written to the Daily Telegraph – of all places – to complain about David Cameron’s assertion that England is a Christian country. The prime minister’s critics say that his words will encourage sectarianism. But the Anglican Settlement was a miraculous creation in the 16th century as  the solution to the very problems of sectarianism and civil wars. Richard Hooker was the inspiration through his “Ecclesiastical Polity” in which he stated “Every man of England a member of the Church of England.” But it was not an odious imposition. You were asked to attend church three times a year – “of which Easter should be one” – and to keep the peace.

Revenants and relics of Christianity persist as shades in the landscape. A cathedral in every city and a parish church in every village. The Queen – Happy Birthday, Ma’am, long may you reign over us – is still head of state and supreme governor of the church. Bishops sit in the Lords. Prayers are said at the opening of parliamentary business. Religious education is still (in theory) required in state schools – though now so diseased by multicultural fads as to be poisonous. Christmas and Easter remain as public holidays. Many of our hospitals and parks are named after saints.

The alternative to that happy Settlement is precisely the sectarian bitterness we have now. The civil war will be along in due course