Monday, 26 March 2018

Dear Herod - Saturday 24th March

Dear Herod,

I was curious to find, in my "tweets you may have missed" timeline, a tweet from a friend referring to the royal family as the "House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha".  I have noticed that this is often used by people criticizing the royals.  I know of someone else who always refers to the Queen as Mrs Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gl├╝cksburg.  I feel uncomfortable with this.  I am reminded of Zac Goldsmith's mayoral campaign against Sadiq Khan, making much of his Islamic faith, and targeting Hindu voters with with leaflets about him.  It was nothing less than dogwhistle racism, and I fear this is true of my friend's tweet.  It got me thinking more about whether monarchy is or is good, which is a confusing issue for me.

In the afternoon, I went up to the city for a pint (three and a half, shockingly) with Welsh Pal.  I was surprised how full the tube was - it was a Charing Cross branch train, but, unusually, I sat at the front.  Perhaps it is always like that at the front.  There were people standing from Kentish Town onwards.  Maybe it is like this at 2pm on a Saturday.  It was a very good afternoon, with an easy chat ranging over all manner of subjects.  It is good to talk with someone who is moderate, informed, yet passionate and reasonable.  I particularly admired his position on Israel and Palestine.  I am frequently surrounded by people who have a less than helpful view in either direction on that question.  The raging anti-semitism of Momentum which is infecting the Labour party, the raging anti-Israeli sentiment in my church, and the overwhelmingly pro-Israel dispensationalism of the broader church are all guaranteed to continue the hatred.  As the Good Friday agreement starts being unpicked in preparation for Brexit, I am reminded that its commonsense approach, bringing together both sides, has delivered peace for a long time in Northern Ireland.  The Middle East needs a Good Friday agreement (although such a nomenclature would surely be most inappropriate).

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