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BRITS WEEK IN REVIEW

Trailing all the little oysters of the press, Tony Blair said in Sedgefield that he was going to retire. I couldn’t help thinking the scene reminiscent of “The Walrus and the Carpenter”. Indeed, Blair’s speech had much in common with that of the Walrus –


"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes – and ships – and sealing-wax –
Of cabbages – and kings –
And why the sea is boiling hot –
And whether pigs have wings."

"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"

Wonderful Lewis Carroll. The PM has fed on the Press for years. It is now rumoured that he will sign away Britain’s sovereignty to the EU just before he leaves to assure himself fine feeding on the continent. There are ways of remedying this situation, but they are unlikely to occur to oysters.

There was victory for Neil Herron, British Weights & Measures, and the Metric Martyrs as the European Union "allowed" Britain to continue using British measures along with metric. The champions of pounds and feet refused to let the subject die, and were assisted by America's preference for British measures.

The Queen was in America to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown and the partnership of Britain and America in times of peril. She spoke eloquently in the video we posted. Americans were happy to see her. President Bush recalled the planting of British ideals of freedom.

The Lord Chancellor told teachers they could insist on a dress code that did not include Islamic dress. We have not learned whether he will protect them when they do. Dr James Le Fanu described how bored teenagers were in school even as their teachers grow desperate with all the government-imposed plans, papers, tests, and regulations. A government that does not trust its people to make wise decisions on their own. . .a government that believes it must be constantly passing down new rules, many of them dictated by the EU. . .a government that is constantly raising taxes, even as other countries are reducing theirs to encourage private enterprise and job creation. . .is a government that does not deserve the British people.

Along these lines we published a brilliant description by CS Lewis of the type of person who would work for the government or the EU. Alas, it was not a satire.

The EU’s plans to seize Britain’s territorial waters proceed apace. Anne Palmer challenges the idea as senseless and treasonous. On a slightly more positive note, the people of Northern Ireland have entered into peaceable arrangements to share power in their assembly at Stormont. Ancient enmities have been reconciled, at least for the nonce. Tony Blair deserves some credit.

Julian of Norwich's feast day was May 8. She was a Christian mystic, and the first woman to write a book in English. The Queen Mother adopted one of her maxims. Julian's times were deadly and dangerous. Her insights into God’s love were exceptional.

Ellen MacArthur has been sailing with a team. John Higgins became Snooker World Champion. Britain's airports lead in international flights. The Tate is raising money in America. The G-Wiz is annoying transport panjandrums who, ferried about by chauffeurs, have little conception what a convenient vehicle the Wiz is in London. A large number of young iPod listeners are tuning in to classical music, unaware, perhaps, that British designer Jonathan Ive created the iPod for Apple. The Royal Windsor Horse Show was in good form, but the weather was uncooperative.

Reality lacking inspiration, there were eccentric installations at Belsay, the opening of A Matter of Life and Death at the National, and Rafta, Rafta, also at the National. David also comments on Charlie Chaplin, whose old movie camera goes to auction.

Our week ended with an appreciation of Constable, who just refused to give up and left his nation its most beautiful paintings of the English countryside; a brief excerpt of Jacqueline du Pré playing Elgar’s cello concerto; and climbers Alison Hargreaves and Peter Hillary. They can all be found in the Archives or by scrolling down.

May your week be good.

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