PETER HITCHENS: My shocking idea for Songs Of Praise? Try some Christianity!

I doubt anyone was surprised when the BBC’s Songs Of Praise featured a same-sex wedding last week. Like lesbian kisses, same-sex weddings are now more or less compulsory in all radio and TV programmes, and I fully expect to encounter one, or both together, in the early morning Shipping Forecast any day now.

After failing to shock anyone, and perhaps disappointed at the lack of fuss, staff at Songs Of Praise said, in words that sound a bit petulant to me, that they were ‘not afraid of controversy’. Aren’t they, though? I’ll come to that in a moment.

These events are all about turning things upside down. They are always aimed at anything which has until now been traditional or conservative. This is why such huge efforts were made to get women to sign up as firefighters or to go to sea in warships, but I have never heard of a similar scheme to persuade women to work on other mainly male tasks, such as crewing council dustcarts, or keeping the sewers running.

I doubt anyone was surprised when the BBC’s Songs Of Praise (pictured) featured a same-sex wedding last week. Like lesbian kisses, same-sex weddings are now more or less compulsory in all radio and TV programmes, and I fully expect to encounter one, or both together, in the early morning Shipping Forecast any day now

I doubt anyone was surprised when the BBC’s Songs Of Praise (pictured) featured a same-sex wedding last week. Like lesbian kisses, same-sex weddings are now more or less compulsory in all radio and TV programmes, and I fully expect to encounter one, or both together, in the early morning Shipping Forecast any day now

So poor old Songs Of Praise, once a tiny refuge for the Christian elderly amid all the swearing and violence of modern TV, was long ago measured up by the Commissars for a new role. It’s years since it adopted a ‘magazine format’ (fewer hymns, less religion).

In the end, it will no doubt be replaced by another panel show, in which Christianity will be just one of many religions, occasionally mentioned as an odd thing that other people do and generally mixed up with child abuse.

But if it’s really ‘not afraid of controversy’, may I suggest that it commissions some special editions with the following themes:

  • A doctor – perhaps the American Dr Anthony Levatino, who used to perform abortions but now doesn’t (and has eloquently explained his decision before a Committee of the US Congress) – describes the procedure and opens a discussion on whether it can be justified.
  • The programme visits an area of one of Britain’s poorer big cities, which has been affected by large-scale migration, and asks the locals how it has changed their lives.
  • It gives a platform to a supporter of traditional lifelong marriage (as prescribed by the Christian church) to explain why such marriages benefit children and society as a whole.

Not afraid of controversy, eh? I think we may have to wait a long time before any of these ever come to our screens. I am used to the dreary Left-wing consensus, and long ago stopped being surprised by it.

But I am still annoyed by its continuing pretence that it is brave, original and radical, when in fact it is now the safe, boring conventional wisdom.

 

Our Prime Minister, the People’s Boar-iss, is praised for a great breakthrough after Germany’s Angela Merkel is alleged to have ‘held out the prospect of a new deal’ if he can come up with a solution to the Northern Irish backstop.

That’s quite an ‘if’ and reminds me of the old song, ‘If we had some eggs, we could have some ham and eggs, if we had some ham’. The Norway option is still, just, open.

 

‘Classic’ film that tainted a generation

The death of Peter Fonda, 50 years after his nasty movie Easy Rider made him rich, brought back strong memories of seeing it when it was first released. Can it really be half a century? Yet it is.

Cruel, pro-marijuana and sexually ‘liberated’, its sinister glamour left a permanent sour taint in the mind, much like an unpleasant taste or smell that will not go away and cannot be masked.

And it became part of the minds of tens of millions of people, who were ever afterwards different (and worse).

This is why I so often decide not to watch certain films or TV programmes. The damage they do is irreparable.

The death of Peter Fonda, 50 years after his nasty movie Easy Rider made him rich, brought back strong memories of seeing it when it was first released. Can it really be half a century? Yet it is

The death of Peter Fonda, 50 years after his nasty movie Easy Rider made him rich, brought back strong memories of seeing it when it was first released. Can it really be half a century? Yet it is

 

Wind power will leave us in the dark

The absurd attempt to minimize the Great Power Cut of August 9 continues, because the truth undermines the Green Dogma swallowed whole by our Government and most media. We are seriously supposed to believe it was caused by lightning, which strikes power cables all the time.

My own research suggest it has more to do with the self-harming policy of scrapping reliable, heavy-duty coal and gas generators. These provide a stabilising force known as ‘inertia’ and can sustain power even if the system comes under stress.

Wind power, unreliable at all times, lacks this inertia. So does the power we suck into Britain through undersea cables from nuclear France, nuclear Belgium and the largely fossil-fuel-powered Netherlands. The Dutch may soon be a less reliable source of power as they have adopted the same mad anti-coal policies we follow.

The first official report from National Grid ESO admits this: ‘Wind generation, solar and interconnectors are different to the conventional electricity generation sources, in that they do not provide much inertia. Today, we operate the system with lower levels of inertia than we have in the past’

The first official report from National Grid ESO admits this: ‘Wind generation, solar and interconnectors are different to the conventional electricity generation sources, in that they do not provide much inertia. Today, we operate the system with lower levels of inertia than we have in the past’

The first official report from National Grid ESO admits this: ‘Wind generation, solar and interconnectors are different to the conventional electricity generation sources, in that they do not provide much inertia. Today, we operate the system with lower levels of inertia than we have in the past.’

How very true. There has been a frantic campaign to destroy coal-fired generation, with perfectly sound stations closed down and irrevocably blown up (why not at least mothball them?).

But what for? On its own terms, the policy is futile. China’s existing coal-burning generation stations have a capacity of 993 gigawatts (GW) of power. Plans are well under way to increase this by 259GW – a total of 1,252GW. India, rapidly expanding, is also increasing coal generation and last March reached 200GW.

The UK’s anti-coal purge will eventually total about 40GW – tiny by comparison with China’s expansion. If the warmists are right about the cause of climate change, we could close every coal and gas station and it would make no difference to the impact of Chinese and Indian coal-burning. We would just spend longer in the dark.

We are like a thirsty man refusing to take a drink from the tap, because of a water shortage, while his local water company leaves hundreds of leaks unrepaired, allowing thousands of gallons to drain away each hour. It is a futile, self-harming gesture. Is there anyone in our political system prepared to end it? Or must we get used to power cuts?

 

The smug face of modern morality

Making my way to the buffet car on an Edinburgh-London express, I passed a sprawled young woman. Her feet (encased in enormous, thick-soled bovver boots) were firmly planted on the seat opposite. She had an expression of unutterable smugness on her face.

On the table in front of her, displayed like a holy relic, was the warmist heroine Greta Thunberg’s book No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference. I think this pretty much sums up modern morality. What you think makes you good, not what you do.

 

Our airports are tougher than jail

We are told that ‘airport-style security’ is now being introduced in prisons, where the authorities are apparently surprised to find that convicted criminals are inclined to smuggle drugs and weapons into their cells. Isn’t this the wrong way round?

In reality, prison-style security (which should long ago have been systematically applied to those found guilty by the courts) has been imposed on innocent travellers at airports for many years. This is the kind of country we live in.

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PETER HITCHENS: My shocking idea for Songs Of Praise? Try some Christianity! 

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