Breaking the ice
EVERY Christmas Day hundreds of hardy souls plunge into the icy sea in Lowestoft in aid of charity. The event has been running for more than 40 years. This video from 2009 should make you feel glad to be indoors.
Christmas Day in the Wokehouse
By Weaver Sheridan
It was Christmas Day in the wokehouse
And on the walls were a series of pics
Of Greta the Goblin in full flow
Effing and blinding at COP26.
The Advent Calendar for Atheists
Lay open at ‘Winterfest’
Thus this fatuous family of hypocrites
Marked a day they professed to detest.
As the Chosen arrived for the party
They wore badges that said they’d been jabbed
You could don a biodegradable face mask
Or just turn up fully hijabbed.
The guest list was chock full of poseurs
With names like Tarquin, Persephone and Gaia
Along with three token migrants
– Jehoshaphat, Jess, Obadiah.
In the corner sat old Auntie Rosalind
Slurping a thick green liqueur
While boring the young wokeists rigid
With tales of her protesting yore.
She said: ‘I was the demon of demos
The Press called me Young Ranting Roz
In ’56 I screamed about Suez
Though I wasn’t quite sure where it was.
‘In ’58 I marched to Aldermaston
Clad in my black duffel coat
Michael Foot started twiggling my toggles
Boy, he was a randy old goat.
‘From Vietnam to Greenham Common
I’ve opposed all, I’ve got the T-shirt
Been tear-gassed and water-cannoned
As for rubber bullets, they bloody hurt.’
But the young sprigs rudely pooh-poohed her
And recounted their own virtue-spree
They’d joined every set of initials
From BLM to XR and IB.
Said Tarquin: ‘I’ve got painful arthritis
From knee-taking in rain and cold
And gluing my face to the North Circular
Has left my right cheek badly holed.’
Said Gaia: ‘Colston’s statue it grazed me
As into Bristol Harbour it fell
And since I dug up Trinity College’s lawn
My poor back’s been hurting like hell.’
With a sneer of contempt old Roz told them:
‘Today’s snowflake cops serve you luncheon
But back in my protesting heyday
They’d serve up a blow from a truncheon.’
Then through the French doors mine host entered
And told everyone with a groan
The wind turbine on the orangery roof
Had been demolished by young Byron’s drone.
The heat pump had also conked out
And as for the solar panel array
On it a Tit Warbler had nested
And he didn’t dare shoo it away.
Now in their cellar the Wokes hid a secret,
A generator with wattage world-beating
It would wreck their eco-credentials to use it
But they simply had to have lighting and heating.
As mine host gripped the tug-cable starter
His wife cried: ‘Don’t do it, don’t pull!
I’ll give the guests those chunky warm jumpers
I knitted with responsibly-farmed wool.’
As for light, Uncle Perseus went to the greenhouse
And foraged among the fork handles
Returning with ten jars full of glow worms
He exclaimed: ‘There we are – Nature’s candles!’
So all took their seats round the artisan-built table
To partake of the Winterfest feast
It was veggie, of course, with a pungent brown sauce
And an overpowering odour of yeast.
Over the tofu and lentils they chatted
Of Tuscany, trust funds and taxes
But as parsnips they buttered, they mainly tut-tutted
At the antics of those daft anti-vaxxers.
Then two latecomers interrupted their bleatings
Giving rise to much huff and much puff
And a whisper sped round the table:
‘It’s Jacintha with her new bit of rough.’
Named Jake, he was red-faced and burly
Shaven-headed, he’d make strong men qualm
Two of his front teeth were missing
He had a Millwall tattoo on his arm.
Jacintha, a bit of an airhead,
Showed off her working-class trophy with glee
But the guests switched swiftly to mockery mode
Patronising and taking the pee.
‘You live in a council house, Jake? Well, how thrilling!
And you work as a binman? How quaint!
But my, you’re doing your bit for recycling!
Jacintha, you’re dating a saint!’
‘You’re a carnivore Jake, so they tell me
Loving boiled beef, pig’s feet and black pud
That’s the food of a bumpkin, try tortellini and pumpkin
With chickpeas it’s ever so good.’
‘What’s that Jake, you still drive fossil-fuelled?
But that’s now well out of sync with the Tao
Look, I know a chap who can get you a Tesla
At a knockdown price – sixty thou.’
‘Well, Jake,’ said Persephone, smirking
As he toyed with a dish of steamed sprout
‘I’m sure Jacintha adores you
But you should know that she puts it about.
‘Last year six navvies dug up her garden
To install heat-pump pipes in the soil
They found she was always obliging
When they wanted relief from their toil.’
But the guests soon got bored with Jake-baiting
He was an oik, just a joke of a bloke,
So they turned gabby gobs to each other
And wallowed in their smug world of woke.
‘The maid? Oh, we gave her the day off
She thanked us in her native Croatian
We pay her a pound over the minimum wage
Well, you’ve got to avoid exploitation.’
‘The market is starting to perk up
Any tips? Well, one can’t really tell
But I’ll be dipping my toe in Moderna
And I’m bullish on Pfizer as well.’
‘Darling, we must write that list for the college
Of lecturers we’ll deplatform next year
We’ll get rid of that awful transphobic
And the one who says it’s a sin to be queer.’
‘And let’s make plans for April’s big protest
XR want all Britain to stop
We’ll book that boutique hotel near Harrods
After the demo we’ll shop till we drop.’
As the vacuous prattle got louder
Jake mumbled in tones grim and gruff
Then with a face that curdled the butternut squash,
He stood up and bellowed: ‘Enough!’
The guests they all recoiled in horror
Some choked on their seared blackbean pods
As Jake’s roar swept over the table:
‘Shut your cakeholes, you miserable sods!’
‘Oh, do sit down Jake,’ hissed Jacintha,
Glaring and tugging his sleeve
Then her jaw dropped, as did all others
What they saw next they couldn’t believe.
Jake gently floated up on to the table,
Bathed by light from ethereal strobes
He grew ten feet tall, was transformed overall
With long beard and fur-lined green robes.
His head was a holly-wreathed vision
With frosted curls cascading in glory
‘Hey, I know you,’ shouted half-sozzled Aunt Roz
‘You’re the bloke from that old Yuletide story.’
‘That’s right,’ he boomed, grinning widely
As guests stumbled like headless chickens
‘The Ghost of Christmas Present, that’s me
Made famous by Mr Charles Dickens.’
Persephone said: ‘What a hunk, who’d have thunk?
Your Jake disguise didn’t half lull me.
Let’s see what you’re packing under that cloak
I’ll be your Christmas cracker – please pull me.’
‘Quiet!’ said Jake, as he was formerly known,
‘I’ve no time for your antics, young lassie
I’ve come here to warn of a fate worse than death
And I don’t mean that turnip fricassée.
#You lot gathered here are fools, fakes and frauds
Weekend warriors with crass culture wars
You claim to be caring, compassionate, concerned
But you’re bigots and braggarts and boors.
‘You’ve been blessed with material good fortune
And a modicum of intelligence beside
Are you grateful for success in life’s lottery?
No, you’re self-satisfied, sneering and snide.
‘You’re contemptuous of your own country
You despise those who aren’t PLU
Yet you proclaim liberality ad nauseam
When virtue signalling, you’re first in the queue.
‘You jump aboard every bandwagon
And promote people-power with a yell
But you don’t really mean it – I know, I’ve seen it
You hate the Great Unwashed, how they smell!
‘Take that conwoman old Auntie Rosalind
She built a myth as a doughty pleb battler
But after each demo she’d retreat to her pile
For a bubble bath, reading the Tatler.
‘And Tarquin, our intrepid face-sticker
Seems a rebel from IB’s most militant quarter
But while others superglued their gobs to the road,
I know he only used flour and water.
‘You lot don’t inhabit the real world
Where folk are struggling with worry and woe
You shouldn’t reject them, but embrace and respect them
Remember, there but for fortune you go.
‘If you don’t mend your ways from now onward,
I’d grab one of those worms while they’re glowing
Take this from me – aye, you’ll need one to see by
Because it’s awfully dark where you’re going.
‘I’m not talking of Hell, but a worse place
That you can only avoid with catharsis
If you get any more woke, and this is definitely no joke
You’ll disappear up your own ar**s.
‘I could condemn you sinners to damnation right now
But I’m giving you one final chance
I’ll come back here next Christmas Day
In the hope that you’ve all changed your stance.
‘If you have, I’ll serve up finest champagne
And give thanks for the prodigals reborn
I’ll lay on a banquet of real food
And I promise you – no bloody Quorn.
‘So let’s hear from you now a vow solemn
That your bad ways are over and done
And paraphrasing young Tiny Tim, you can all shout:
“God unwoke us, every one!”’
* With thanks to TCW Defending Freedom commenter salus populi for suggesting the title last Christmas.
We’re not alone, so raise a glass to new friends
By Kathy Gyngell
2021 will go down in history as the year our sceptred isle turned into a new dystopia. The hysteria which, as Lord Sumption so acutely observed, drove the Government’s irrational and disproportionate lockdown policies last year has morphed this year into something worse. A self-destructive – indeed suicidal – mass conformism and compliance previously associated only with Soviet Russia, North Korea or the pages of Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm plagues our land. People will die prematurely or unnecessarily from cancer, accept others dying of neglect and children being abused, sacrifice their own liberty and health, anything but question the Government’s ever-changing scaremongering Covid diktats and psychological abuse.
This mass psychogenic illness has been coming a long time in the West, in fact since Orwell put pen to paper. The logic of the ‘liberal’ hyper individualistic progression of the late sixties was always its antithesis: the mass abdication of responsibility to authority, to state dependency and control. We are in a parlous state. Our country, paralleling its bloated, benighted and power-addicted Prime Minister, is close to hitting rock bottom. That’s the bad news.
But realisation amongst some at least is also dawning. And that is the good news. More and more people are coming to realise that we cannot keep on feeding the beast. Jordan Peterson’s honestly angry ‘comeback’ was the best of news. He has a worldwide profile and influence.
There’s also an awakening to the lies we have been living with for too long, in the friendships and acquaintances we’ve sustained for years, but not so friendly after all when the chips were down. ‘Friends’ whom we lazily assumed shared our own moral compass and view of the world, our understanding of rationality, risk or scientific method, of personal and social responsibility – values and principles we never checked, dissonance between their ‘virtue signalling’ and their ‘I’m all right Jack’ self-oriented consumerist lifestyles we ignored. How often did we guiltily defer to their niceties of progressive thought to avoid accusations of being ‘Right wing’ and suchlike?
This year our fundamental differences in values and principles have been brutally exposed. A chasm breaking out across the social landscape has divided family from family and friends from friends in the rudest of awakenings.
It’s a social upheaval that’s left many feeling cruelly isolated and alone, poignantly described by Andy Thomas here, mentally as well as physically cut off from families or indeed any social contact. This year I have heard one heartbreaking story after another of parents’ hurt and anxiety when their healthy children, swayed by peer pressure or wanting to travel, have disregarded their vaccine warnings; husbands telling how their scepticism has threatened their marriage, communication with their wives all but broken down; grown sons telling me that they’ve been rejected by their parents and called mad for refusing the vaccine; young men dropped by conformist girlfriends; non-vaccinated wives whose husbands have taken to separate bedrooms. Even more frequent are the stories of the collapse of age-old friendships, the vaccinated excluded by former colleagues, the unvaccinated generally treated like social pariahs.
And yet, and yet . . . the very fact of this has thrown people together who would never have otherwise met or got to know each other. It has led to the discovery (and joy) of shared principles and a common understanding that has breached age, sex, race and class divides, creating the basis of newer, truer and more purposeful friendships of an order and quality that certainly I have never experienced in my life before.
The psychological harm and social confusion is horrible, but Michael Fahey’s message that ‘you are not alone’ has to be right. Everyone can find a Stand in the Park. Everyone can sign up to the Together Declaration. No one is alone in the sense that a new community of thought and purpose has arisen – people with the wisdom, the confidence and character not to be duped by what’s undoubtedly a politically manipulated threat, not to be gulled by the Covid cult mentality described here, here and here.
The huge crowds that gathered in London last Saturday to protest against mandatory vaccine and vaccine passports showed how strong the groundswell of opinion is. Whether you believe it is a criminal conspiracy, incompetence or weak politicians in the thrall of a corrupt and many-tentacled Big Pharma, the fact is that we are being monumentally ‘played’ and lied to by the most hubristic and reckless government this country has ever known.
For me, the common cause I’ve found with others defending freedom and resisting this irrational tyranny, has proved, after the birth of my children, to be my most life-affirming experience yet. I know this is a feeling shared by our readers as well as our writers. Two weeks ago Janice Davis wrote to me after the publication of her 100th article saying: ‘I can honestly say that TCW has changed my life. It has served to firm up my understanding, which had been tentatively developing in isolation; but most of all because it has generously given me a voice’.
That is exactly what we are here to do.
So I do have good news to share with you this Christmas. It is the simple fact of all the wonderful people that editing TCW has brought me into contact with. From the very special TCW team of Margaret, Alan, Emma, Priscilla and Tom, to our ever-growing band of intelligent, informed, principled and witty writers we’ve attracted, to the wonderful readers who keep us informed and my batteries charged daily, to the many courageous doctors, scientists and campaigners who’ve refused to be collaborators or co-dependents with whom we have allied: they are all to be celebrated. I can honestly say, I have never before, in such a short period, met with more principled people, with whom I have so much in common.
That is something truly to celebrate. Their goodness gives me great hope for the resurgence of humanity.
So finally, thank you, compatriots all, and this Christmas I raise my glass to you, to our new friendships and old/real/enduring values. To courage, hope and above all faith.
O Come All Ye Faithful
HERE is the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, with the sixth verse for Christmas Day and David Willcocks’s glorious descant on the fifth verse, and the congregation.
‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’
By Peter Mullen
I HEARD one of those soapy modern parsons on the wireless telling us, ‘Christmas offers a break from politics.’
Really? The first one didn’t: ‘Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth and went forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.’
Christmas is the festival which celebrates Christ’s Incarnation. Bluntly, this means that the transcendent, eternal world entered this world. The Hebrew people of Old Testament were forbidden to utter the name of God and depicted God’s name in the unpronounceable consonants of the tetragrammaton YHVH. The New Testament opens with a moment of high drama in which God’s name is spoken: She brought forth her firstborn son and called his name Jesus. How dramatic can you get? The unpronounceable God of the Old Testament is suddenly known by his name. And it is his first name. We might even say his Christian name.
This change, this new revelation, gets yet more dramatic, even more shocking. St John describes Jesus Christ, the Son of God as the Word: logos. It is a word used by Plato for something pure, abstract, exalted, the divine rationality. Logos – the word from which we derive logical. Astonishingly, St John’s gospel announces that in the birth of Jesus the logos became flesh. Can it get even more shocking? Yes, it can. For the word John uses for flesh is not soma which means body but sarx. This is the word for our animal nature with all its lusts, ambitions and cravings.
The revolution is complete. God our creator with the unpronounceable name takes our nature upon him enters the realm of time and space and asks us to call him by his first name. And the world of time and space, of movement and change, is the world of politics. Because, as John Donne said, no man is an island. We do not live singly but in a community with all its aims and ambitions, its hope and dread, its wars and its deadly viruses, its palaces and its stables. This is the world Christ entered once and for all and that is the reason why Christians cannot take a break from politics.
The point was rammed home mercilessly in the New Testament’s very first chapter with the slaughter of all those children – the massacre of the innocents. The God who once went by an unpronounceable name now tells us to call him by his Christian name. The transcendent God, high and mighty lifted up, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only ruler of princes, gets mixed up in the mess of our lives. This is the most amazing demonstration of political solidarity ever.
And the Incarnation is not a flash-in-the-pan. Jesus really does join in our mess. And he stays in our mess all his life, through thick and thin. He eats, drinks, walks, talks, gets angry, loses and weeps. Jesus never exempted himself from our griefs and pains, the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh – that’s sarx, remember – is heir to.
When his family are anxious to see him because they’re worried sick about him, he loses his temper with them: But he answered, ‘Who is my mother and who are my brethren?’ Yes, this is Jesus speaking of the Virgin Mary!
It’s all here for us to see, like pictures at an exhibition. All we have to do is open our eyes. Jesus really is one of us. He has the joy of close friendship. Then one of his friends betrays him to the Temple Police. Worse, he has a best friend in Simon Peter in whom he invests his whole purpose future: the reason he came here in the first place. Thou art Peter and on this rock I will build my church. Then Peter, cursing and swearing, disowns him three times. Some rock!
Then Jesus gets himself crucified . . . And they set up over his head the superscription of his accusation THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Stretched out on a hill near Gehenna – that’s the Jerusalem rubbish tip – in agony he cries out to his Father who had declared publicly at the Mount of Transfiguration ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased’. But his Father doesn’t answer. So he cries out again, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Yes, I know, it’s Christmas Day and not Good Friday. But walk with the Magi and ask with them:
Were we led all that way for
Birth or death?
It is all of a piece. In Jesus’s beginning is his end. And in his end is his beginning. He is Emmanuel, God with us. And we have his promise he will never leave us:
Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
Begone all fear and banish sorrow
By Janice Davis
J S Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is performed every Christmas in Leipzig, and you have to queue very early to be assured of a seat, because there is no booking ahead, and all of Leipzig turns out for the event. We normally go every year to hear it and be uplifted by its joyful message.
But there was no Leipzig for us last year, nor this, and the sense of loss goes on. Maybe next year? The words on the cantata encourage a few minutes of optimism:
Rejoice and be glad, all hail to the Day;
Honour all that the Highest has done on this Day.
Begone all fear and banish sorrow.
Sing with joy and exultation.
Glory to the Highest with heavenly choirs,
And honour the name of the Lord.
The work was first performed in 1734 in the St Nicholas Church in Leipzig, where Bach was musical director, jointly with the Thomaskirche. This performance is sung by the Thomaner Choir, and accompanied by members of the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
Let there be light
TCW’s American commenter Audre Myers sent this fascinating film about the creation of a stained glass window for Washington National Cathedral, which seems an apt subject for Christmas Day.
The icing on the cake
THERE are lots of videos on YouTube demonstrating how to ice a cake. We thought this one about Christmas cakes was a suitable conclusion for today’s selection. We hope you enjoy the rest of the day.