Saturday 9 November 2013


Ah, it’s that time of the year when one of the UK’s tabloid newspapers (probably the ‘Daily Mail’) publishes an article about an Anglican vicar who doesn’t like the patriotic hymn ‘I Vow To Thee My Country' (Thaxted).

Everyone’s a winner here: The vicar gets off his chest all his angst about this particular patriotic hymn and wins some kudos from right-on types; the newspaper gets a story it knows will excite (i.e. wind up) its traditional readership; the newspaper’s readers (duly wound up) get to enjoy giving the lefty, right-on, neer-do-well vicar a good slagging off; a Conservative MP rushes to the defence of the hymn, winning himself a few populist plaudits in the process; and fans of ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ [like me] get to continue hearing it being sung across the country for another year.

The ‘Daily Mail’ must have scoured the internet to find the article in the ‘Church Times’ by Rev Gordon Giles. So well done them for having found it so quickly.

So far everything’s going swimmingly for all concerned.

Actually, come to think of it, an even even bigger - and far older - annual British tradition is approaching – one which truly seems to have been around since time immemorial: The yearly moan that Christmas is becoming far too commercial.

Having just thought that very thing, I happened to clicked onto the ‘Independent’ website and, lo and behold, heading their Comment section found a piece by Natalie Haynes headlined:
John Lewis advert: Ah the spirit of Christmas, brought to you by huge department stores

It used to be the vicar. Now ads are deciding the tone of Christmas
Yep, Christmas is well-and-truly coming! 

Just to prove this is 2013 rather than 1913 though, Natalie adds the buzz-words “multinational companies”. This is the 'Independent' after all.

[That reminds me. Must check if Amazon has any Xmas bargains later this afternoon.]

It was also heartening to hear that people in our former colonies are helping keep this proud British tradition alive too, albeit adapting it to their own circumstances. 

There was a report on Radio 4's PM earlier this week from Calcutta about how harder economic times in India are leading to less generous offerings to the Hindu gods and goddesses this year and, in the course of the report, appeared a splendid chap complaining that Diwali was becoming too commercial these days. Too many adverts! 

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