Day 8: Lower Shuckburgh to Weedon Beck

Honours and Shame

Another roasting day and wandering around in circles. It could be worse. I might be Michael Fawcett, Chief advisor to Prince Charles. No one told Fawcett the way to extract millions from Mahfouz Mubarack in exchange for honours without breaking the 1925 Act. This act was passed to stem the gross activities of Lloyd George’s fixer called Maundy Gregory. Gregory was shame-faced in that he had a list with price tags: I recall that a knighthood cost £15k – big money in those days.

Fifteen or so years ago, Yates of the Yard carried out a full-scale police investigation into what was called then “The cash for honours” scandal into whether Labour’s fixer, Lord Levy, had broken the law in dishing out honours for party funds. I knew from the start Yates would fail because all the political parties know the ropes. What is criminal is to write to a donor: “If you give us money, we will then give you a gong or enoble you.” So what the mover and shakers do today is say to prospective donors, “Give us a generous donation and just wait and see what happens.”
No one told this to the Prince’s team, and they have apparently written a candid letter to a Saudi billionaire, Mahfouz Mubarak, setting out the deal with no finesse.

I presume poor Fawcett will join Yates of the Yard in Outer Mongolia.

The Sins of Our Fathers

Jane told me the real reason why so many of today’s uneducated clots presume to condemn past generations for their links to slavery. It comes down to a lack of forgiveness. 

To my mind, it’s bleeding obvious why the evil trade of slavery flourished all those years ago and I am sure that many of us would have supported it too back then. At that time, most thinking people believed Africans to be what the Germans labelled the Jews, the Untermensch, which translates roughly as less than fully human. Once you believe that, all sorts of inhumanity – and such a sentiment was not unknown at the time of our empire – and cruelty is bound to follow.

They further believed that slaves labouring in say, Jamaica, were bound to be better off than if they were living in Africa.

As communications were hopeless, the stories of atrocities were not widely known. Anyway, few people cared two hoots about slavery at the time. Anyone who raised the subject of banning the trade would have been met with the sort of eye rolling that Remainers used to offer Brexiteers. For commercial reasons, everyone wanted to believe the lies about the trade and so they got on with their lives. When they were faced with the tragic truth of what was going on – mainly from the Christian movement – the trade was slowly abolished. By todays’ standards, we now know that the trade was of course a manifest evil but that was then, and this is now, and surely – and this is the point – we should forgive our ancestors? However, Jane pointed out that forgiveness is a Christian concept. It is not well understood today as people are ignorant about the gospel.

Shifting Sands

Because the statue puller-downers appear to have limited imaginations, I wonder if they realise how future generations may regard some of today’s practices? Let’s take the matter of abortion, for example. Each year, over 200,000 children are aborted. That’s two million in 10 years. Few people discuss this or want to know – I cannot recall the last time I read press comments about it. I have no wish to get involved in the rights and wrongs of this subject, which of course are complex and often about the lesser of evils, except to make my point. In 200 years’ time, views are bound to have undergone radical changes. Perhaps the slaughter of the unborn may be considered to be just as wrong by our great-great grandchildren as slavery is to us today?

Then they may wonder why we allowed a few super-rich “captains of industry” to be paid 50 times more than generals and admirals, and 100 times more than head teachers?

Who knows what future generations may think of us today, but I contend that it’s the height of arrogance and ignorance for one generation to condemn an earlier one! We should forgive our ancestors in the hope that we in our turn will be forgiven by our great-grandchildren.      

Life Lessons

Poor Harry Markle will, I fear, be learning some harsh lessons.

The first is that the gilt does come off the gingerbread – and perhaps the day job wasn’t so bad after all? Second, Meghan’s blood relatives – including her father – apparently can’t stand her and they may not all be wrong. The third is that all the functionaries in Buckingham Palace claim she is a spoiled bully, and they may be right. Fourth, calling their daughter “Lilibet” might not have been such a good idea after all.

And the fifth? Forever is a long, long time.    


    • Anthony Reynolds on September 12, 2021 at 6:48 pm
    • Reply

    Yes! I wrote an evangelistic tract called The Verdict – you are the judge, and you have to judge Jesus. As I finished, a thought came into my head, and I still wonder if it came from God:

    • Simon Westmacott on October 12, 2021 at 8:18 pm
    • Reply

    What can one say? Entertaining, witty and amusing as ever. Thank you!

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