Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Eric Pickles marks "the importance of the birth of Christ"

His Grace looks forward every year to Eric Pickles' Christmas card: it is invariably Christian in both character and sentiment. This year it even features a church!

And there's an interesting DCLG response to a Parliamentary Question to accompany it:
Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his private ministerial office spent on sending Christmas cards in 2012. [168676]

Brandon Lewis: I refer the hon. Member to the answer by my hon. Friend, the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst, of 20 December 2010, Official Report, Column 941W. That answer outlines that whereas the last Administration was spending £2,855 a year on departmental cards, Ministers in this Government have spent nothing; instead, we have produced in-house and sent an electronic Christmas card each year.

Notwithstanding, that answer also outlines this Government's support for celebrating Christmas and marking the importance of the birth of Christ. By contrast, as outlined in the answer of 10 December 2007, Official Report, column 116W, to my right hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles), the last Administration otherwise did nothing to support the public celebration of Christmas. Since I do not have access to papers of the last Administration, I am unable to ascertain whether this was because Labour Ministers were (a) Scrooges or (b) Grinches.


Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! From the cloisters and transepts of Barchester, may I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year! I am bidding you all a very fond adieu, for my Lord the Bishop feels, and I agree with him, that I have outstayed my welcome. Humour is something I have tried to bring, and yes, perhaps I have occasionally offended, but never with malice...I shall continue to read His Grace's blog now and then, but will leave the debate to you. God bless.

18 December 2013 at 19:14  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Dear Mrs Proudie of Barchester,

All our lives here will be greatly diminished by your departure for calmer waters, so I deeply, sorrowfully regret your departure. But I say, speed you well in your Episcopal Carriage, and do have a safe return to His Lordship's Cathedra, or whatever you repose yourself upon, when not busying yourself, doing much good for the local ne'er do wells.

Do have, my dear Mrs Proudie, a most uplifting Christmas and a long life thereafter.

18 December 2013 at 19:27  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Your Grace,

Thank you for a lighter topic, a relief after the heavy ones earlier.

Fat man Pickles has his heart in the right place, being a patriot and a defender of the faith, and all that, in his own rotund way. But regarding his grasp of complex land -use policy issues, well let's just say in the vernacular, much beloved by Dave, his boss, "he doesn't get it".
But then none of them understand the big issues anymore, in the now dysfunctional Tory party , well very few of them anyway. There is no point to the Conservative Party anymore, as they not conservative, at all.

18 December 2013 at 19:34  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear David, how terribly kind...I am...much moved...and need a box of tissues

18 December 2013 at 19:40  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Mrs Proudie:

Sorry to see you go. Your recipe for cooking a witch was a classic.

From my own experience, I know that a whole range of reasons may underlie such a decision. I hope that you may return at some stage, as I was able to.

If not, then thank you for making us laugh. Retain your sense of humour; it's a treasure.

18 December 2013 at 20:01  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear Explorer, many thanks - I fear I managed to upset Happy Jack, quite unintentionally, and felt perhaps it was time to go. I am so grateful for your kind words...
I am a devoted follower of this bog, and a devoted Anglican too (though sometimes I struggle with this) but I have been blessed (or cursed!) with the sense of humour
I have.

18 December 2013 at 20:08  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Mrs Proudie, Happy Jack says:



(excuse me for raising my voice)

Jack was upset because of Jack and your words, dear lady. Indeed, you helped Jack by helping him get that out of his system.

Jack will miss your tales of goings and comings in Barchester and how he know what that bad Mr Slope is up to? And the hobnobs? And you keeping the Lord Bishop in line?

18 December 2013 at 20:21  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

"NOT your words" - a typing error above.

18 December 2013 at 20:23  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

oh goodness...I thought I had upset you truly... so many kind words and so many friends...

18 December 2013 at 20:28  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Mrs Prodie, Happy Jack shared with you his reasons for feeling upset - and then removed them as they were private. Jack remembers you warning him twice not to get involved in a talk about Calvin and babies but he ignored you when he should have listened. It was all this that upset Jack and not you. So many bad memories came back that needed to be sorted out in Jack's head - and they were. So you see, you helped Jack.

If Happy Jack is the cause of you leaving then Jack will go.

18 December 2013 at 20:41  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! I am upset that I have hijacked this thread, which is not what I intended. No Happy jack, you will not go! And neither will I, thanks to your kind words and those of Mr. Explorer and dear David Hussell. Now I feel incredibly foolish...please excuse the obvious hysteria...dear Jack, I would not wish to upset you for the world. I will sit down with a hot toddy and a hobnob...

18 December 2013 at 20:49  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

but I will stay...and bless you all my dear friends

18 December 2013 at 20:49  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

And, dear Explorer, I have yet to share my recipe for cooking a socialist...

18 December 2013 at 20:52  
Blogger Len said...

Mrs proudie ,
The blog would not be the same without you... please stay.
Things can get a bit heated here now and then but that is just the nature of the place and your humour lightens the mood.
So have another hobnob and a cup of earl grey and please remain seated.

18 December 2013 at 20:52  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

Good Lord Mrs Proudie this will never do. You must remain at your station forthwith.

Britain, nay, the World needs you more than ever...

18 December 2013 at 21:00  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Mrs Proudie, Happy Jack says his is chuffed to bits you have recovered from that attack of the vapours which Jack understands is common amongst certain ladies of a sensitive disposition. You must not let it happen again!

Now, return to your duties dear woman and keep a sharp eye on the naughty Mr Slope who will have been getting up to all sorts whilst you have been distracted.

God Bless and have a joyous Christmas.

18 December 2013 at 21:02  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

(Jack was going to say whilst your back was turned but thought it would be open to misunderstanding)


18 December 2013 at 21:04  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear friends, now I feel foolish...thank you... I shall tighten my corset, have a couple of hobnobs and an odd Garibaldi and remain, as ever, a fixture. Please please ignore my witterings from now on (in this thread) and focus on His Grace's theme, which I fear I have hijacked...mea culpa.

18 December 2013 at 21:06  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

and thank you all...especially you, Happy Jack

18 December 2013 at 21:07  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

and thank you all...especially you, Happy Jack

18 December 2013 at 21:07  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says, Good old Eric!

He has supported the country by: "this Government's support for celebrating Christmas and marking the importance of the birth of Christ."

And Jack says he also showed Labour up by pointing out they: "did nothing to support the public celebration of Christmas ... because Labour Ministers were (a) Scrooges or (b) Grinches."

Jack says they were classic Grinches - ideologically opposed to Christmas celebrations because of 'political correctness' and meanness. Odd when one thinks their leaders expressed a faith in Christ.

18 December 2013 at 21:32  
Blogger Len said...

Well eventually even Scrooge saw his failings and changed his attitude.
Any of us can be truly transformed through the redemptive work of Christ at Calvary.Therefore the most important birth in the World deserves recognition.
Isaiah 9:6-7
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

18 December 2013 at 23:31  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Dear, dear Mrs Proudie,

What a bleak future was staring us in the face for a moment there! However were we going to get through the day without our regular updates on diocesan affairs? Thank you for reconsidering.

With my best wishes for Christmas to yourself, to His Lordship, to Archdeacon Grantly, Signora Negroni and everyone else in the cathedral and close,

Your affectionate uncle,

18 December 2013 at 23:57  
Blogger non mouse said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

19 December 2013 at 01:11  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Mrs Proudie, by order of the Elders of Zion you are commanded to remain at your duties here. This order cannot be discussed or appealed.

19 December 2013 at 01:22  
Blogger non mouse said...

Dear Mrs. Proudie -- I came late to this little drama, and I'm much relieved that you've all resolved it!

It's wonderful that you're to stay with us. It's wonderful also that you continue to breathe life into British humour. As with everything else in our beleaguered land, it is an endangered species. So, like the communicants here, and (methinks) the Cranmer blog, Britain needs you! And that means the world does too :))


PS - on Christmas Cards ---- I think tptb would phase them out altogether if they could. At my Supermarket, Hallmark's are on sale as a "twofer," along with an educational note that "Christmas Day is on Wednesday, December 25th." Alternatively, they clearly don't consider that anyone needs reminding when New Year will fall.

19 December 2013 at 01:42  
Blogger William Lewis said...

Goodness! This thread reads like the denouement of a Jane Austen novel. Damn those onions.

19 December 2013 at 07:52  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Mrs Proudie @ 20:52

The previous lot of socialists seem to have had some pretty good recipes for cooking the books.

And they subjected all of us to the subsequent fare.

19 December 2013 at 08:31  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Mrs Proudie,

Absolutely delighted that you are staying here with us. There are many erudite and wise people on this thread, with more than half being obviously males, and we do, or at least I do, get a tad serious about well, serious things. We need you to lighten us up a bit, with tales of Barchester, and such like. So yes I'm delighted you're staying, quite delighted.

And a big thanks to Happy Jack in Durham, our resident, wise Orthodox Jewish friend in Canada, the imperious Inspector and of course Uncle Brian for all their assistance in prevailing upon you, to stay and feed us wonderful biscuits "and remain at your station". Dear me I'm becoming uncharacteristically effusive ... this will never do.

19 December 2013 at 08:34  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Poor Misguided Eric. I am sure that in his school reports it was written "Tries Hard".
Eric has been applauded for doing what the common would think was write on a number of issues but he does not know why he did them. Eric is the nice cuddly guy who wants to be loved, particularly by David Cameron.
Having met on a few occasions I can assure you that he has not a clue when it comes to Christianity as his record on voting on Same Sex Marriage shows. He even 'came out' on question time as a supporter of SSM and his correspondence with his constituents was contemptible. It is time to say Good Bye to Mr. Pickles.

19 December 2013 at 10:51  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Mrs. Proudie,
I do hope that we will be blessed with your continuing contributions not only into the next year but for the next Century. You are an eternal blessing in contrast to some of the Sauerkraut that congregates here.
Had I formed my party of Integrity, you would have been my first honouree member.

19 December 2013 at 11:07  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! Now I really am blushing - fear not, I have put all thoughts of departure aside and am busy decking the halls with boughs of holly! Barchester is looking particularly beautiful this morning, with a blue sky up above and a hard frost glittering on the cobbles. I have sent Mr. Slope out on a mission of mercy, handing out hot nuts to those in need of a little something. It gets him out of the palace for an hour or two and gives me a breather. Off to Gatherum Castle this evening for supper with Duchess Glencora...the young Marquess of Silverbridge is looking for a wife and I have two daughters...who know what may transpire. Keep an eye open for my Christmas card - you will recognise it from the depiction of the Massacre of the Innocents by Van Klomp. You can't get more Christmassy than that...

19 December 2013 at 12:04  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Mrs Proudie @ 12:04

Just don't blush pink, Mrs P: or the Inspector might misunderstand.

Remember to congratulate him on his promotion.

19 December 2013 at 12:31  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Indeed I will congratulate the Inspector -I must have missed his post announcing the he Grand Inquisitor General now by any chance?

19 December 2013 at 18:12  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Mrs Proudie, Happy Jack says its good to see you busying yourself about the Cathedral and getting things in shape for Christmas.

Jack understands the Inspector has been given an his award for being a defender of the faith. Jack thinks his special mission is to evangelise the homosexuals, although he may see his job differently. Jack wonders if perhaps that Slope man could lend a hand. You might be able to help the Inspector by fortifying him with a special recipe or two.

Jack says do not work too hard and save yourself for Christmas Day. Will you be having turkey or goose?

19 December 2013 at 19:11  
Blogger Inspector General in Ordinary said...

On the subject of Christmas cards, for those of you fine folk who enjoy a touch of the surreal, google on ‘Presents opening children’ and select ‘Images’.

Ghastly and gruesome !

19 December 2013 at 19:22  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Good heavens! So Mr Inspector, you are Inspector General in Ordinary, presumably to Her Majesty...such an honour. Dear Happy Jack, at The Palace we serve goose on Christmas Day, with all the trimmings of course. Mr. Slope has been busy doing something special with the choirboys in the Back Passage, whilst poor Mr. Harding nurses a nasty cold; he promises a sensual experience come one come all, but I have no idea what he is talking about. If the Inspector would like to borrow Mr. Slope as a special adviser on matters Rainbow I am sure my Lord the Bishop would release him. Now you must excuse me - I am dashing this off in the powder room at Gatherum Castle where the party is in full swing. I'm keeping my distance from that rascal Bertie Stanhope who managed to tear my dress at the soiree I organised on our arrival at Barchester. I have not forgiven him.

19 December 2013 at 22:33  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Mrs Proudie, Happy Jack says it is good to hear you are up and about enjoying yourself.

Jack knows a bit about your parish as we street folk have eyes and ears everywhere.

You watch that Bertie Stanhope. Accident in tearing your dress, indeed. He is a bounder out for money and gratification. His treatment of ladies is a disgrace. Keep him away from poor Eleanor who has already had an unfortunate experience with slimy Slope. Do you think Francis Arabin a suitable match for her? Will sweet Mr and Mrs Quiverful be at the party? Poor things must be worn out with 14 children! Imagine! Do pass on Jack's regards if they are there.

Jack is pleased you'll be goosed for Christmas and trusts the Bishop will be doing the necessaries with the knife and fork.

Do let us all know how the party goes.

19 December 2013 at 23:16  

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