Interview with leading Orange Order member after three members of the loyal order resigned in the wake of the Michaela McAreavey scandal.
– Good morning.
– No surrender.
– Sorry, been a busy couple of weeks, what with the Centenary 100 and Her Majesty’s birthday.
– Platinum Jubilee, actually.
– Sorry, that’s correct. As I say, lot going on. I’ve been hanging like Pat Butcher’s earrings for four days in a row.
– I’d like to talk to you for a bit about the Michaela McAreavey incident.
– Shocking. Vile. Abhorrent. Inexcusable.
– Says here in your statement that the actions of those involved... let’s see now... ah, yes... “certainly do not reflect the ethos of our organisation”.
– Your ethos is a religious one, right?
– A Christian one?
– Spot on.
– An anti-Catholic one?
– Absolutely not. We are upholders of the reformed faith and that is a positive thing. There is no place for anti-Catholicism in our organisation.
– I have here in my hand a copy of ‘The Qualifications of an Orangeman’. You’ve read it, I expect.
– Read it? It’s on my bedside table.
– So you’ll know that Orangeman are required to “strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome.”
– Your point being?
– Well, you say you’re not anti-Catholic, but you can only be an Orangeman if you oppose the Catholic Church.
– You’re splitting hairs there, mate.
– In the dictionary ‘oppose’ is defined as ‘to act against or provide resistance to; to stand in the way of; to set as an opponent or adversary; to be hostile or adverse to.’
– Go on.
– And ‘anti’ is defined in the same dictionary as ‘a person who is opposed to a particular practice, party, policy, action etc.’
– Which means?
– Simply that ‘oppose’ and ‘anti’ are the same things.
– Not necessarily.
– If you oppose the Church of Rome you’re anti-Church of Rome, correct?
– You’re giving me a headache now.
– The Qualifications of an Orangemen also require you to “scrupulously avoid countenancing (by your presence or otherwise) any act or ceremony of Popish worship”.
– Just right too.
– So if the McAreavey family had been your neighbours you couldn’t have gone to Michaela’s funeral, isn’t that so?
– A true Orangeman will never condone all that smoke and beads and wine and mumbo-jumbo.
– And that would be described as being anti-...?
– Catholic. It’s anti-Catholic not to pay your respects because of someone’s religion.
– Says you.
– But you can go to a Jewish service, yes?
– Of course.
– A Muslim one?
– A Moonie one?
– You’re just being silly now.
– So you’re anti-Catholic Church...
– ’Scuse me, opposed to.
– Okay, opposed to the Catholic Church.
– And you won’t go near a Catholic service.
– Wouldn’t dream of it.
– You’re not allowed to marry a Catholic?
– Perish the thought.
– So the ethos of the Orange Order is in large part an anti-Catholic one.
– ’Scuse me, an opposed-to-Catholics one.
– Fair enough. And if one of the reasons for your existence is not liking the Catholic Church, can you really be gobsmacked when some members live that gospel rather more aggressively than others?
– You’ve left out the bit in The Qualifications of an Orangeman about a member’s behaviour being guided at all times by “wisdom and prudence and marked by honesty, temperance and sobriety”. That’s the Orange Order I know and love.
– Not much wisdom in staying in a room where a viciously anti-Catholic song was being sung.
– Not everybody was singing it.
– Not much prudence in staying put and saying nothing.
– Is this going to take much longer?
– Not much temperance and sobriety in a room with more cans of beer than a Wineflair warehouse.
– That’s a cheap shot. And I have to go now.
– Another appointment?
– Nah. Hangover from hell, mate.
Happy Platinum Jubilee, Your Majesty
OUR royal correspondent writes:
“My heart has been with you all.” So spoke the Queen – or rather, so wrote one of her aides – in explaining that while she didn’t actually turn up at any of the events, she was with us in spirit as we celebrated 70 years of Platinum Pride.
Across four days of joy and love we have celebrated a lifetime of selfless service. In song and ceremony, on the streets and in our homes, we have given thanks for our good fortune in having at the helm of our ship of state a woman who has guided us through seas rough and calm for seven decades across an ocean of change and upheaval with no thought of personal gain, aside from her £90 mill Civil List wedge and her 14 palaces and residences.
But what’s not so well-known about our Queen of Hearts is that she never, ever stops. Away from the public gaze she works energetically and tirelessly on a range of subjects close to her heart.
Any chance, Ma’am?
Any ordinary monarch would be spending too much time drinking bubbly and eating swan to worry about boring matters like her personal finances. But Queen Elizabeth, no doubt exhausted after a long day of waving her gloved hand at urchins and toothless peasants with a scented handkerchief at her nose, examines proposed legislation handed to her by the government of the day. By way of a mechanism known as ‘Queen’s Consent’, she reads through new laws that could have a direct bearing on her personal finances and her private estates such as Sandringham and Balmoral. And anything she doesn’t like comes out. The arcane mechanism dates from the 17th century, but, ever the traditionalist, the Queen has dusted it off. Tens of thousands of ungrateful wretches have signed a petition urging a parliamentary investigation. Off with their heads, say I.
Red, WHITE and blue
“Coloured immigrants” were banned from clerical roles in the royal household for the first two decades of the Queen’s reign. Racism played no part in this – Her Majesty has made it known that brown and black people clashed with the palace décor. As a series of laws outlawing racial discrimination came into force in the 70s and 80s, the Queen’s advisers successfully lobbied to be exempted from the legislation and thus for four decades the Queen has been able to employ anybody she jolly wants. Which is how it was meant to be. Papers uncovered at the National Archives show that the Queen’s chief financial officer told the Civil Service that “it was not, in fact, the practice to appoint coloured immigrants or foreigners” to clerical roles at the palace, although he helpfully pointed out that black and brown people were cleared to work as cleaners and domestics. That’s the royal spirit.
In 2017, rent-to-own High Street retailer BrightHouse was fined £15 million for ripping off a quarter of a million down-on-their-luck customers. The firm had charged exorbitant rates for household items such as washing machines and fridges. The Financial Conduct Authority ruled that Brighthouse had not acted as a “responsible lender” because of the massive rates of repayment and interest charged to customers too poor to access more traditional credit facilities. The Queen was so incensed by this outrageous rip-off that she did what every self-respecting billionaire in her position would do – she invested in it. And not with money from her current account or the credit union. She invested with money she had invested in a dodgy and secretive Cayman Islands fund which was part of her extensive offshore (ie untaxed) portfolio. The fund was revealed as part of the shocking ‘Paradise Papers’ leak of the shady financial details of the rich and powerful. What the disloyal critics of Her Majesty failed to mention was that tens of thousands of people on benefits and the minimum wage were for the first time in their lives able to access modern household items. At three times the going rate. Hip, hip...
Who among us hasn’t visited a billionaire paedophile to tell him we can’t be friends any more – and spend three days in his palatial New York mansion doing so with young women popping in and out? Who among us hasn’t lost the ability to sweat after getting a bit of a scare? Which innocent among us hasn’t paid £12 million to a woman who has accused us of child sex trafficking and who we haven’t met? Not only was Her Majesty the only person in Britain to recognise the essential truth of what her son, Prince Andrew, said in his brave 2019 interview with Emily Maitlis, she also provided a bolt-hole for her favourite son to avoid the fury of the public – at public expense. Her courageous decision to have Andrew accompany her to a memorial service for Prince Philip was such a massive hit with the public that the Queen ordered Andrew to contract Covid before her Platinum Jubilee celebrations at the weekend. Cough, cough.