The Curmudgeon


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: Luke 14 vii-xxiv

While dining at the house of a leading Pharisee, Jesus states that during formal occasions one should take the humblest place, on the eminently worldly grounds that it is better to court promotion from a lower position than to risk demotion from a higher. He then relates a parable about a rich man who holds a banquet, but finds that those he has invited are too preoccupied with worldly matters to attend. The rich man eventually orders his servant to compel the destitute to attend instead.

In the kingdom of heaven, modesty is not a virtue but a tactic to achieve greater honour. Jesus advises His listeners to throw parties for the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind, because such people cannot return the favour and therefore God will provide the reward. In other words, one should not show generosity to one's family, one's friends or one's social equals, because such inconsiderate behaviour leaves no room for God to show off His power. According to Jesus, we should humble ourselves in order to be exalted, as befits dedicated sycophants who flatter a whimsical tyrant in the hope of advancement, or at least of avoiding arbitrary punishment.

The parable of the banquet is a cynical joke at the expense of those who imagine that Jesus and His Father will reward them with anything better than slavery and degradation. Not satisfied with inviting those who cannot reward him, the rich man in the parable invites those who cannot even attend: everyone has some reason for staying away. Even when the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind have been asked, there is still so much room to spare that the host orders his slave to force people to come.

Why should a rich man encounter such difficulties in getting people to attend his banquet? As soon as we recognise that the rich man represents the jealous, arbitrary and murderous Father, the answer becomes clear. The guests make their excuses because they know how the banquet will taste: how poisonous to the mind, how disgusting to the senses, how repulsive to the morals it will be. So awful is the menu that even the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind have heard of its reputation and stay away in humiliating numbers. At last, like every tyrant, the spurned host is reduced to ordering people to put up with him.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Astounding Findings Amaze Experts

Experts amazed by astounding findings

Healthcare experts across the country have been astounded by the amazing revelation that spending vast sums on management consultants tends to reduce available resources for healthcare.

In a further astonishing development which instantly reduced gibbering pondlife to Health Ministry spokespersons, it also emerged that forcing health trusts to compete against one another resulted in further expense from duplication of effort.

"These are astounding revelations that have completely astounded us," said healthcare expert Bradley Ichneumon, of the Brown, Cameron and Clegg Serpentine Unguent management consultancy.

"It's going to take a lot of time and a lot of research to appropriately process these resultifications and forward-boot a model for re-dynamicised ongoingness," Dr Ichneumon said. "Mostly, it will take a lot of money."

Junior health minister Pudgey Gambit, who recently failed her 72-hour Wikipedia degree in brain surgery for the third time, said that there was no cause for undue concern as the findings had only occurred in the "real world".

"What is clear in all this is that further efficiency savings will have to be made," she said. "That's what every non-traitor agrees is most important about the NHS, and that's something we will never allow to change."

Friday, July 20, 2018

This Mothering Country

It will no doubt come as a relief to the great British nation that the use of living children, besides dead ones, as police and intelligence assets occurs only when Her Majesty's Government finds it appropriate. Juvenile covert human intelligence sources (children, in Standard English) are being assigned to collect information about gangs and drug dealers, which naturally involves keeping them in the milieu rather than anything so namby-pamby as taking them out; so it is certainly fortunate that this happens only when that repository of cool-headed competence, the British Home Office, considers it a good idea. According to the dead-eyed warden's spokesbeing, utilisation of currently viable juvenile covert intelligence sources is "governed by a very strict legal framework" which the Home Office has naturally been trying to undermine: at the moment agencies can only utilise the juveniles for a month at a time before applying to re-register the asset in question, but Her Majesty's Government is concerned that intelligence target throughput is not being appropriately facilitated, and believes that four months represents a fairer chance for the resources to pay their debt.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Honourable Pairings

By one of those charming little accidents that seem so often to smooth the snouts and slick the trotters at the Parliamentary trough, a Conservative expenses claimant had a lapse of memory in a tight vote, and unintentionally if conveniently breached his agreement with a Deputy Conservative counterpart who was unable to attend the session. The squeals of righteous indignation might sound a little more convincing were it not for the Deputy Conservatives' own relaxed approach, even with regard to the sole party policy which they failed to stay in office long enough to abandon. Opposition to Brexit has now replaced proportional representation and tuition fees as the hill on which the Deputy Conservatives will surrender if thrown a red box in a minor government department; but that didn't stop two former party leaders having better things to do than make life more difficult for Tumbledown Tessie. George Osborne's former Minister for Mates' Rates had an Important Meeting, and the Reverend Tim Farron was delivering a sermon about the challenges of serving his Big Constituent, the great heterosexual sky-daddy, while posturing as a liberal politician. Still, it is reassuring that, despite five years on the receiving end of the Bullingdon Club's sniggering thugliness, the Deputy Conservatives are still capable of registering surprise, and even annoyance, when their fellow austerity fanatics toddle a cleated brogue or two casually over their faces.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Jolly Good Wheeze

British expendables are being detrimented in record numbers by increasingly severe and increasingly prevalent asthma, and this in the very midst of such brilliant incumbencies as those of Owen Patterson, Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove and Jeremy C Hunt. Over the past decade, the annual number of deaths from asthma has risen by more than twenty-five per cent, despite the improving effects of all that talk about leading the world, to say nothing of all those efficiency savings at the NHS. Indeed, mere experts are already seeking to pin the blame on a combination of deteriorating public healthcare and Britain's proudly illegal levels of air pollution. Doubtless they hope thereby to resurrect the long-discredited, borderline-antisemitic idea that the Government bears some sort of responsibility for the health of the country's citizens, and that deserving and undeserving alike should be entitled to endless, economically unsustainable non-contributory privileges of respiration.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Plumbing Depths

Only a citizen of nowhere could fail to be moved by the undiluted Britishness of this: the water company which has just ordered a hosepipe ban in the Northern Poorhouse has the second-worst record in the country for leaking pipes; only Thames Water is more abject. United Utilities (a corporatonym on which even the founder of National Consolidated Solutions would be hard-put to improve) loses almost exactly as much water from leakage as it spares for its moisture consumption client base. The company takes the loss just seriously enough to meet the rigorous targets set by the Government, whose fondness for all things infrastructural is such that its own advisers have hinted at toddling towards some sort of leakage reduction thingy by about the middle of the century. Reduction has largely stalled in the past decade, despite the Conservatives being in office for most of the time; and the National Infrastructure Commission has demonstrated a commendable degree of realism by advising the Government to favour the taxpayers rather than the water companies with its constructive criticism, thereby keeping future directorships nice and dry for later.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Gove Talks Turkey

Although the plebs have only one will, which they exercised two years ago and for all eternity, there are certain special people who are allowed to change their minds. Among this élite is apparently the jabbering homunculus Michael Gove who, with the Government floundering and the Imperial Haystack returned to his chickenfeed, has been stroking what passes for his chin in what he presumably intends to pass for a display of intellectual adequacy. Specifically, the jabbering homunculus has been pontificating upon the errors of his wogs-out campaign, which with the benefit of hindsight he would now manage slightly differently; apparently because he believes that the country has become slightly more migrant-friendly and egalitarian as a result. Should the jabbering homunculus have his time over again, there would be slightly less squealing about an invasion from Turkey and perhaps a slight hint that, in the event of our remaining part of the EU, the resulting apocalyptic deluge of Islamic terrorists might number slightly less than seventy-seven million. Perhaps the jabbering homunculus would even prefer some slightly smaller echt-Nazi posters than his allies chose to display, depicting slightly fewer swarthy young males preparing slightly less ghastly fates for virtuous white women and Sarah Vine. It is all frightfully statesmanlike.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: Matthew 6 i-iv

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus orders His disciples not to publicise their gifts to the needy, because their Father in Heaven will only reward them if their giving is done in secret and does not attract praise from other people.

Although Jesus advocated healing the sick and casting out devils as a useful means of announcing the coming of His kingdom, He did not consider helping one's fellow human beings a virtuous end in itself. His attitude towards the widow's gift amply demonstrates His satisfaction at the idea that those with very little should to no earthly purpose give away even what they have; and in any case He famously regarded the vast majority of the human race as merely chaff to be burned and forgotten when the Father imposes His régime of religious cleansing.

Human beings are essentially social and conformist: in a society where generosity was genuinely practised and praised, more generosity would probably be forthcoming, to the moral and practical benefit of everyone. However, Jesus had not the slightest interest in bettering conditions on earth, and arguably no real interest in bettering human behaviour. Given that those who are to be saved have been arbitrarily chosen by God, presumably since the beginning of time, there can hardly be much point in wasting time and energy trying to cure the tares of those faults which their Father has seen fit to bestow upon them.

Rather, Jesus required dedication at all costs to Himself and to His Father. Almsgiving in His view was merely a convenient way in which to purify one's life by divesting it of worldly wealth; in other words, giving to the poor was an act to be undertaken for the benefit of one's own soul and not for the good of the recipient. Accordingly, in the interests of focusing His disciples' attention on the things of God and not of humanity, where helping the poor is concerned Jesus forbids the elect to lead by example.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

As We Forgive Those That Trespass Against Others

Where survivors of abuse are spiritually unprepared to forgive their abusers, the Christian churches are commendably willing to step in and perform that holy office on their behalf. Catholic policy, before the scandal broke and the Vatican resorted to blaming Judaeo-leftist conspiracies of journalism, was to exact a religious penitence and then shunt the culprit into a new position where he could wrestle temptation anew. The Church of England, as befits its moral position as whining hypocrite to the Vatican's bargain-basement Machiavelli, takes a more nuanced approach, temporarily suspending those responsible for covering up the abuses and later inviting them back to officiate without, apparently a stain on their reputation. Such is the case with Lord Carey of Blathering-in-the-Dotage, who stepped down last year at the "request" of the Archbishop of Canterbury after criticism of his role in covering for a sexually abusive bishop. As with the Vatican's policy, it is possible that, left to itself over the Biblically-prescribed seventy times seven repetitions, this might bring about the most touching and penetrating results.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Knell

No pleas for the pardon of those who were lost;
No hint of the lessons we learned at their cost;
No scorn for the fools who thought war was ended
While businessmen prudently had it suspended.
Instead let us march! Let us strut and parade
Past compassionate stone, in our hearts' image made:
With all jubilation and thanks let us plod
Our nation's salute to the Englishman, God.

Trenchard Clanger