That's Telling Us
Readers may recall that the great Spike Milligan left an instruction that his gravestone should feature the line...
"I told you I was ill"
...and that the Diocese of Chichester, a sub-department of the English State Church (Mrs. E. Saxe-Coburg Gotha von Battenburg, prop.) refused - in its customary po-faced humourlessness - to 'permit' this. Which led to Milligna's family substituting the same phrase in Irish, viz.:
"Dúirt me leat go raibh me breoite"
(It's surprising that even that was allowed, given that the Christian Establishment of England (where the second word of that description always seems to over-ride the first, leading the late Jan Morris once to opine that their god only seemed to be invited to services in his capacity as landlord) has form when it comes to expressing its cultural arrogance by means of footling pig-ignorance).
It was slightly refreshing, therefore, to find that other parts of the Anglican Self-Communion aren't quite as devoid of human sensibility, as illustrated by the tombstone placed on the last resting place of the ashes (*) of Captain Tom Moore today. By his own express wish, the stone bears just his name (though not, perhaps significantly, his military rank), his dates, and the line:
"I told you I was old"
I salute him for this simple act of good humour, especially on a day in which the emetic hypocrisy of the régime whose piddling parsimony he showed up day after toddling day decides that the Health Service workers who have been traduced and insulted by them with a real-terms pay cut should instead each get a one-in-one-point-five-million share of a George Cross. Non-fungible, of course.
This from a 'government' (I use the term in its broadest sense, encompassing as that wider definition does the words 'corrupt' and 'sociopathic' amongst others) which has stated that it couldn't support athletes and others taking the knee as a protest against the murdering of non-melanin-challenged people by cops and other military personnel because they 'don't do gesture politics'.
So why the GC for the NHS? Well, there is historical precedent for it; the entire population of the Maltese archipelago was awarded such a bangle for their usefulness in The Wo-Wah In The Mediterranean, but still found themselves being ruled as an English colony for over twenty years thereafter.
In other words, it's cheap. In all senses of that word.
And in drawing attention - however unwittingly - to the yawning ethical vacuity at the sclerotic heart of the way we are ruled, Captain Moore has perhaps done one final duty to the people of his land.
A round of applause may be appropriate.
* While we're on that subject, can we at all times avoid the use of the word 'cremains', please? I'm all in favour of softening the sentiments in times of tribulation, but my objection is not semantic, but aesthetic; it's simply an ugly word.