Catholic Exclusion

Are there no limits to the endogenous inhumanity of the #HomeOffice?

The Sunday Times recounts today that there is a severe shortage of home-grown #CatholicPriests, yet dozens of foreign priests have been refused visas. In some cases their English was not good enough; in others their jobs had not been adequately advertised at home.

I wonder if anyone tells the #HomeSecretary about these cases. Or are they too far down the food chain for him to take notice?


Cloud Cuckoo Archbishop

Archbishop Justin Welby this evening on Channel 4 News urged the country to reunite post-Brexit.

Could he not make a start by promoting unity in his own backyard?

After two exhaustive reports on allegations against Bishop George Bell found that the church’s procedures had been shambolic and the allegations without any legal merit, the Archbishop should have gratefully jumped at the opportunity to close the whole sad affair.

Instead he said that there remained a cloud over Bell’s name, and has since refused to withdraw or apologise for the remark. This has upset many church men and women, some of them influential, and unnecessarily caused angry disunity.

It is never too late. Could he not now concentrate on his immediate responsibilities and help his church to reunite by abandoning stubbornness and issuing a recantation of his ‘cloud’ remark?

Brexit Put in its Place

I was explaining Brexit yesterday to a Zimbabwean friend here in South Africa. At first he had difficulty, because he could not see why MPs had been behaving so weirdly, particularly in the past few days.

But then he saw the point. “Ah yes” he said, I understand, it’s like Zimbabwe trying to leave SADC” (Southern African Development Community).

Brexitolene Supply Chain

There is rather mixed news today on the Brexitosis front. The European Medical Agency, which has recently moved from London to Amsterdam, is being a little slow to give final approval to Brexitolene, the new medication.

It is hoped that this obstacle will be removed in the next few days, and that it will be possible to establish a stockpile in a disused, and newly refrigerated, section of Wandsworth Prison. In that case the danger of delay at Dover will be removed, at least temporarily.

Stop Press on Brexitosis

I hear from an eminent Brexitologist (she took time off from a short holiday in The Gambia to reply to my post about #Brexitosis) that a cure may be available much sooner than had been expected.

It seems that a vaccine has been developed in France, and has undergone trials in #Cornwall and #Sunderland. The trials were conducted with great discretion, but I understand that they have been so unequivocally successful that the manufacturers are putting other plans to one side in order to concentrate on producing the new vaccine. It is simple to take, dripped onto a lump of sugar, and one dose is enough.

There are two difficulties. First, the mixture is going to be so expensive that it is unlikely to be approved for prescription on the #NationalHealthService. Secondly, it is not yet known for how long it will stay fresh, even when refrigerated. It is to be produced in France, and there are fears that it may lose its efficacy, if held up at Dover for any significant period.

New Medical Syndrome

This really is a useful concept BREXITOSIS. It can be used to cover a wide range of the disorder from the quite mild to the very severe.

Now that the syndrome has been identified it is up to researchers to categorise its various degrees of severity. A ten point scale will probably be developed, with lists of symptoms commonly associated with each point on the scale.

Don’t Try to Understand

I recently tried to send some desperately needed money from South Africa to friends in #Zimbabwe.

First I tried the bank, #FNB, expecting the transaction to be routine. Not a bit of it.

A helpful clerk looked at my passport, did some paper work, and led me to a machine, from which to send a “Moneygram”. The machine refused.

We went to see a more senior person, a Teller, who pronounced that I had the wrong type of account, which did not match the standard ninety day visitor’s visa in my passport. “Every detail” he rather gleefully told the bewildered clerk, “must be scrutinised.”

I went on to the manager, who was relieved to discover that I had the right type of account, but that, according to the bank’s records, I had once had a temporary residence permit (different from the standard ninety visa) which had now expired. The Moneygram machine had refused to operate because it had noticed the expiry, and was not allowed to send money on behalf of the holder of a tourist visa. Nobody could explain why this prohibition was in place.

I then tried #WesternUnion, taking the required proof of residence, and got another refusal. This time the official explained that the holder of a visitor’s visa was not allowed to send money out of the country without proving that he had first brought it in. The point was to prevent the export of money generated in South Africa. He thought permission might be granted if I could produce a bank statement showing that funds had been brought into the country, but he was not sure. At this point I gave up.

The moral of this tiresome story? Be obedient; don’t try to understand the rules, but accept that “they are for your own protection”; don’t even contemplate helping friends outside South Africa; enjoy being a tourist.

Disappointing Marmite

One of the disappointments of South Africa is that the #Marmite tastes nothing like the British original. It tastes more like #Bovril, and is runny.

This unhappy observation reminds me of 1960, when I was working in HM Consulate-General in Frankfurt. We had access to the American PX, which seemed a palace of luxury to our austerity-accustomed eyes, even fifteen years after the war. But we still needed to be kept afloat by the monthly NAAFI van from Bonn, which used to bring essential supplies of items unknown to the PX: Marmite, #Guinness, #Rose’sLimeJuice and #Gentleman’sRelish.


Dope on Sunday

This morning, at the nursery (plants, not children) in whose cafe I generally have Sunday breakfast when in Cape Town, I spotted labels reading

“Marijuana Grow Bags for Sale, with Instructions”