Will no-one rid me of this turbulent priest?
Now 'Light, Bright, and Right' is getting off the ground, if we're going to get to know each other – you and I – there’s something you need to know. Every Englishwoman has one or two things which, though irrelevant to anything and everyone else, make her spectacularly angry. The sort of swivel-eyed, irrational anger that far outweighs the annoyance caused or the wider importance of the issue.
I suppose it’s what ‘da yoof’ would call ‘being triggered’. Well today, dear reader, I am doubly triggered. Because no fewer than two of the people who I simply cannot stand have now been put together in a grotesque new documentary series for Radio 4. It was on the wireless as I was driving. I had to pull over into a lay-by and do quite a lot of swearing.
What is it that has taken such a naturally placid, mild-mannered person like me from zero to window-licking fury in the time it takes a hooker to down a dozen tequilas or a priest to say "We stand to sing hymn number 353"?
Well, it’s “The Archbishop Interviews”. Just have a listen. Justin Welby, talking to Tony Blair. Think Ricky Gervais interviewing Pol Pot, but without the sense of irony or self-awareness.
For a long time now, I have utterly loathed the present incumbent of the Archbishopric of Cantuar. Clearly a fan of capitalism – as a very wealthy oil baron – he seems to have converted. Not, perhaps, on the road to Damascus, but certainly on the way back from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Now, he offers the sort of leadership you’d find in a sixth-form debating society comprising Communists, to the worldwide Anglican Communion and, in particular, to the Church of England.
You can't move in an Anglican church now for the amount of virtue-signalling. If it's not statuettes of Marcus Rashford fashioned from recycled toilet tissue and the tears of orphans, it's some evangelical vicar speaking like he's the host of an American talk show whilst getting a little closer to the Sunday School children than most of us would like.
In just a few short years, this pencil-necked priest with the speaking voice of a broken cheese grater has systematically broken down and laid waste to a dignified institution, known for its ceremony and ability to ‘know what to do’ in a crisis. As a result of his tenure, the organisation once known as the ‘Conservative Party at prayer’ has instead become the spiritual home of Marxism, and has been debased to the point where it is now little more than yet another lobbying group throwing mud at the elected government of the day.
This is the man who - during the Covid crisis - celebrated mass live on the internet in his kitchen, presumably to show how ordinary he is, just like us he is, what a man of the people he is. He lives in Lambeth Palace. He's literally got his own personal, private chapel just down the bastard corridor!
In centuries past, we were able to murder (with impunity) turbulent priests. Sadly, the sort of decisive leadership exhibited by Henry II is now somewhat frowned upon, so it appears we’re stuck with Welby whose media bleatings are reminiscent of a constipated sheep – and about as ineffective.
You’re probably developing some sense, by now, of the extent to which I dislike Justin Welby. BBC Radio Four giving him his own series was always going to irritate me, and in this mission, the BBC has succeeded manyfold.
“Who can we get Justin to interview?” said the producer. “Which guest would double… quadruple… Felacia’s annoyance?” he/she/they/non-binary added. “I’ve got it” said some keen young researcher: “What about TONY BLAIR?”
Oil baron talks to warmonger. About his faith. Seriously? This is very much the sort of thinking that suggests Hitler must have been a nice guy because he painted beautiful watercolours. Or maybe Imelda Marcos wasn’t a total bitch because she had quite a lot of nice shoes. Tony Blair and religious faith go together about as well as a horse and marriage.
You only have to look at Tony Blair to see the madness behind the eyes: the same insanity we now see in Putin. The fake smile, the insincere voice, the patches of sweat belying the consummate liar. The man should be in chains in the Hague, not talking to the Archbishop of Canterbury about God. Jesus wept.
What the fuck, BBC? What the actual fuck? This time, it's personal.
If you're looking for a truly emetic experience then do give "The Archbishop Interviews" a try. There simply isn't enough vomit contained in the entire universe to adequately convey the sheer awfulness of it all.