9 November 2020

Cuddly Clubbability versus Prickly Principle


The first of the four Sundays on which the Mass is 'locked down' has passed without any evidence so far that Bojo is a gentleman. 

On Wednesday, our legislature approved, after debate, the regulations for our current lock-down.

Before the debate, the Prime Minister sidled up to Sir Edward Leigh, and ...

Leigh's account, which he put on the record subsequently, is in the unredacted running account in Hansard. I now narrate from memory ...

"Edward ... I'm going to do my best to get the churches open for you."

Leigh is chairman of a Catholic lay organisation, which has been trying to persuade the regime not to ban public worship again. So far, they have secured only powerful verbal expressions of immense grief.

He replied "When?"  "Soon ..." There was some hinting that talks were arranged with the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster (vide quoque the subsequent speech, a bit further down in Hansard, by the Health Secretary).

Among English Gentlemen, this sort of thing is sometimes associated with 'clubbability'. Within this nebulous concept, much is context, including personal warmth, the implication that most matters are best adjusted quietly among chaps like us, body language, style of address, implicit appeal to an implicit relationship, allusion to family connections or a common background at School or Oxbridge or Staff College, personal favours, the quid pro quo ...

You may well feel that such a system inevitably must have certain, er, fragilities built into it. I couldn't possibly comment.

Sir Edward subsequently did vote with his government.

The alternative to clubbability is Prickly Principle: which means sticking to what is austerely correct, combined with a lofty indifference to the flicker of an eyelid or a light touch on the shoulder or the second brandy in the library. Instead: your weapons are sharp rhetoric and brilliant put-downs and public knock-outs. Minds end up even more unmet than they were before.

The question, I suppose, is often which of the two produces practical results.

If, in the next two or three days, the Regulations are indeed adjusted to permit Public Worship, Clubbability's claim to be the appropriate tactic will have won. (Possibly, 'Remembrance Sunday' might provide a formula getting the regime off the hook with minimal loss of face.)

Otherwise ... Sir Edward Leigh has been had.

1 comment:

Liam Ronan said...

How do the facts of these events differ from an interdict, Father? Since the Government has no authority in the governance of the Catholic Church, is not Archbishop Nichol's instruction to Catholics that they must comply with the Government's lock down in regard to Mass, administration of the Sacraments, etc., effectively Archbishop Nichol's personal interdict on Catholics in the UK?