• Coveting not!


    Above, Vicki Michelle, MBE (Mrs Graham Fowler) in her role as Yvette Carte-Blanche in the sitcom, “’Allo ‘Allo!” that ran from the pilot on Thursday 30th December 1982 to the last ninth and final series of six episodes ending on 14th December 1992.

    Allo ‘Allo! was one of the funniest and best of the BBC’s creations. They are of course far too politically correct to make something similar today. This Monday evening will be the 37th anniversary of the showing of the pilot that Thursday.

    A lot has happened in the 37 years since. We’ve all got older for a start! One of the things that has and has not changed is certain persons, such as the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope using the turn of the year for a New Year message. Other secular luminaries have since jumped on this particular bandwagon. These people like to use the occasion to issue an admonishment or a warning or a combination of both.

    This year we have the outgoing governor of the Bank of England, Mr Mark Carney who has issued a warning to those like your Editor who hold investments in fossil fuel companies. Says the governor, our investments may become worthless! Due to the “climate crisis.”

    For myself, I receive such warnings not only from the secular authorities such as Mr Carney and our local well known former Lib-Dem MPP, Mr Andrew George who failed once again to get elected to Westminster, coming second to Mr Derek Thomas the Tory. I receive such warnings – on the subject of climate change from the clerical authorities locally as well. You see, the far west of Cornwall is a hotbed of environmental activity. There are a number of “Extinction Rebellion” zealots hereabouts!

    Many local residents have two passions; one is walking their dogs.

    The other is proclaiming “The End of the World” due to the “Climate Emergency”!

    A public meeting at a parish church held earlier this year was packed out. I did not attend.


    Well, since there is not a climate emergency, why bother?

    Needless to say, the vicar of the parish (votp) was very much in attendance.

    Yesterday, I attended a “covenant renewal service” in which one pledges to – with the Good Lord’s help – be a good person and do all the right things. At the end of the service the “votp” announced that there would be no service of Holy Communion that Wednesday morning.

    NB: In the parish in which I live, a service of Holy Communion is held regularly at 9:30AM on Wednesday. I don’t attend it but I gather that many do on a regular basis and several locals find it a personal convenience to attend on Wednesday morning so they can give Sunday morning a miss.

    The cleric told us that there were two reasons for the cancellation:

    #1: It would be New Year’s Day and a public holiday.

    BG comment: Curious!

    #2: It will be the “morning after the night before”: The “votp” will be seeing in the New Year the previous evening at one of the three local pubs and might be, let us say, “a little worse for wear” the following morning!

    BG comment: I must say, this brought a smile to my face. You see, as the “votp” pointed out the “covenant renewal service” is a Methodist tradition, and one I am familiar with being brought up by two Methodist parents. Methodism was very much at the centre of my family and inter-alia “temperance”!

    A great uncle of mine was a prominent non-conformist figure in the temperance movement and I can but imagine his reaction had he been sitting next to me in that service!

    So basically, Mark Carney is following in the footsteps of others in the manner of his New Year’s message as it is – like the others – a form of admonishment and warning. He has admonished the financial institutions for not warning their clients against investing in companies, the shares of which (according to Mr Carney) could become worthless in future.

    In recent years prominent clerics like the Archbishop of Canterbury have seen fit to emulate their secular fellow New Year messengers and have admonished and warned their flock of more material matters than spiritual. Their message has let us say, evolved, or rather, that the sins they seek to ward their flocks away from committing have altered. Today we sin if we over indulge in the use of our motor cars. In particular a “very great sin” is permitting one’s car’s engine to idle, pumping out quantities of that planet endangering gas CO2 whilst, to coin a phrase from Rolls Royce, “failing to proceed!” I must to this Oh so 21st century sin, plead guilty! This because I like to demist the car before proceeding.

    Talking of sin and sinning, this brings us at last to the reason for the photograph of the very lovely Vicki Michelle, MBE aka, Mrs Graham Fowler.

    As mentioned, one of the things the covenant renewal service sought to encourage the communicants to do was to seek the Almighty’s help in not sinning. Well, here I’m going to take my cue from President Clinton and start off with “define sin”, or in respect to the picture of Mrs Fowler above, “define the sin.”

    The sin I am thinking about is contained in Exodus Ch. 20, vs. 17: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”

    Now in respect of Mr Graham Fowler’s house, manservant, maidservant, ox, ass, or any other chattel he may possess, I covet them not! À propos Mrs Fowler, my defence is contained in the question: “Define covet.”

    In my opinion, the American English dictionary Merriam-Webster’s definition of covet; “to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably” – fits the bill. In particular the word I would draw the reader’s attention to is the last, “culpably.” This is because in order to be properly accused of covetousness, there must be indication of action or intent of achievement or accomplishment of some kind. Lustful feelings do not in and of themselves, I think, amount to covetousness. And yet this is precisely the stick with which so many clerical authority figures in the past – and continue to do so in the present – beat their flocks with.

    This is controlling behaviour; to inculcate using the threat of dire consequences, to pressure their fellow humans into not thinking certain thoughts, or when doing so, feelings of guilt in so doing. The aim being to enforce a set of attitudes and behaviours.

    What we saw in the past – clerics controlling laity – we see today with the new high priests (and priestesses) of the new religion of “anthropogenic climate change” using the threat of dire consequences (for themselves and the planet), to pressure their fellow humans into not doing certain things and if done, feelings of guilt in the doing of them. The aim being to control – not the panet’s climate but the planet’s humans!

    There is of course another reason for displaying an image of Mrs Fowler as opposed to Mr Carney: she is a damn sight prettier than he!

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