Last week, being a normal work week here in the UK, was pretty abnormal in the Hansen-Tan household. We’ve had repairmen in to fix both the door intercom (which turned out to have burned out because our doorbell button stuck in the “on” position and burned out not only our buzzer but the transformer for the entire block) and the doorlock. On Friday I returned from Tesco’s to find that my key went in only 1/2 way on the outside door. I thought that someone had broken off a key in the lock, but no such luck: it was some problem with the tumbler pins that necessitated taking the entire latch mechanism out (so that we wouldn’t be locked out of our own homes) and a Monday return with a new lock. The landlord proposed getting non-duplicatable keys, but this would mean that HWMBO, our friend Mark across the street who looks after our flat when we’re not around, and our two guest key sets wouldn’t have a front door key, as they’ve had to change the lock to a different key. I raised holy hell, and they backed down.

Enough of domestic matters. I was mildly amused that our Home Secretary, David Blunkett, the protector of the nation’s security and a perennial opponent of lesbian and gay rights (he’s a Methodist lay preacher who has voted against equal ages of consent for straight and gay people, for example) has been nobbled by his former lover for, reportedly, putting the fix in so that her nanny (who is a Filipina) could get expedited indefinite leave to remain. He claims that he merely checked the form for completeness (immigration and naturalisation is in his department). However, I would be quite surprised if he had the technical knowledge to be able to ensure that the form was complete. Blunkett is also involved in a paternity dispute with this woman. Her husband (yes, Blunkett was committing, gasp! adultery!) wishes to keep the children and has acknowledged them as his, even though Blunkett’s paternity of one has been proven by a test. I am hopeful that he will be forced to resign from the government, as he has been a intemperate opponent of individual rights and a champion of the government’s right to protect us through removing our civil rights one, by one, by one, until we have nothing left but security from attack.

In France, of course, this kind of thing wouldn’t raise the political temperature one tenth of one degree. Mitterand managed to have a wife, a mistress, and a daughter by the mistress all at his funeral. He kept the mistress and daughter out of the public eye during his lifetime. No one batted an eye. Here, on the other hand, we’ve had scandal after scandal, some involving sex (the Labour MP who put his ad on gaydar, complete with a picture of him in y-fronts; the Tory MP who was found naked and dead hanging by a garter belt with an orange in his mouth, probably a victim of an autoerotic asphyxiation; the Prime Minister (John Major) who had a long-running affair with another Tory MP (Edwina Currie of salmonella fame); several Tory MPs who had affairs and second families; Boris Johnson, the current Tory scandal, who had an affair with another staff member at his day job, the Spectator magazine, and I could go on and on and on) and some involving money or contributions (the Tory MP who took money in brown envelopes from Saudis; the Labour MP also a cabinet minister twice, who was sacked twice for money scandals and is now a European commissioner; the scandal involving contributions to Labour from Bernie Ecclestone coupled with an exemption from cigarette advertising bans for Formula 1 racing, and I could still go on and on). Some of these scandals involved people from the last Tory parliament, by the way, but some of the subjects of interest are still active in politics.

In general, Tories were involved in sex scandals and Labour with money scandals. I often felt that this is because Tories were much better at economics than sex, and Labour was much better with sex than economics. However, now that Labour has been in power for 7 years, the tide seems to be turning.

The moral of the story is: if you’re going to preach morality to the public, you’ll be caught with your pants down. If you’re going to preach economic rigour to the public, you’re going to be caught with your hand in the cash register. So it’s probably good not to preach, but to lead by example. Not that it will ever happen.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, issued an Advent message over the weekend that, among other items, condemned homophobic and inflammatory remarks from Anglicans worldwide in the wake of the recent dust-ups over ordaining practicing gay bishops and blessing same-sex unions. He cited the case of the gay man who was brutally kicked to death on the Embankment only about 1/2 mile from Lambeth Palace as an example of what homophobia in society promotes. Too little, too late. He’s giving us a drop of comfort while society permits homophobia to reign almost unchecked. The conservative Anglicans, of course, denounced Williams for saying that opposition to lesbian and gay clergy and same-sex union blessing was homophobic–they’re only following the Scriptures, they say. Williams wasn’t saying that principled objections to these matters was homophobic–he was denouncing statements such as the one from the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, who recently said that homosexuality was something that was not found anywhere else in the animal kingdom. This is a manifestly false statement, of course. Williams has lost the plot, and is trying to regain it but cannot keep up. In my opinion, he’s the worst Archbishop of Canterbury in 100 years (even worse than Cosmo Gordon Lang, who kicked the Duke of Windsor while he was down after the Abdication). He should resign immediately and return to academe, where his theological insights were worth their weight in gold. He is not up to the task of administering the Church of England or the Anglican Communion.

Internally, he must be terribly conflicted, since his often-expressed opinions on the morality of same-sex relationships conflict with the public opinions he is bound to express as Archbishop. This kind of conflict puts a tremendous strain on even the most healthy mind, soul, and spirit.

The good news, however, is that the intercom has been fixed as I write. The door next, I hope.

(just a bit later)

The door is fixed and 4 out of the 6 flats have their keys. Now for another installment of that long-running series “The Southwark and Newington Church of England Deanery Synod”, starring yours truly and the Rural Dean.

11 Responses to “Monday”

  1. besskeloid says:

    Here, on the other hand, we’ve had scandal after scandal, some involving sex (the Labour MP who put his ad on gaydar, complete with a picture of him in y-fronts

    Still can’t figure out what was scandalous about that.

  2. ruth_lawrence says:

    I hope all is fixed now.

    I’ll never understand, I don’t think, the way the UK’s scandals differ from ours.

    Our right wing Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was caught in a hotel in an altered state, wandering around with no trousers. If anything, people were surprised he was human.

    Half the popluation knew that right wing PM William McMahon (the actor’s father) was seriously queer.

    Around half our Parliamentarians (according to insiders), are having affairs.

  3. chrishansenhome says:

    While it caused a “scandal” for the general public, I didn’t feel scandalised by it; I was just annoyed that he hadn’t taken a totally nude picture. What are good-looking public servants for, if not to pose for nude pictures?

  4. besskeloid says:

    While it caused a “scandal” for the general public

    And those two screeching f’cknuts in uk.glb.

  5. chrishansenhome says:

    I hardly ever read uk.glb any more. Since Matthew pulled out, it’s been quite thin on the ground with interesting posts. So I think I missed the f*cknuts.

  6. chrishansenhome says:

    And the other half are doing, what exactly?

    So what causes scandal in the Australian Parliament?

  7. ruth_lawrence says:

    Propping up the bar, of course.

  8. chrishansenhome says:

    You’re joking! I thought Australians drank gallons and no one took any notice whatever.

    Here drinking is assumed. When being intoxicated must be referred to, it’s usually called “being tired and emotional”. No one bats an eye.

  9. ruth_lawrence says:


    We say ‘drunk’.

    No, I don’t think Aussie drink more than brits.

  10. boyshapedbox says:

    Thankyou so much Chris for your birthday card and gift 🙂 Just the fact that I had a birthday card, to ME, from London was amazing. Your an amazing guy and I’m really glad that you found my website. Your one of the main reasons I continue to update it with my life because I know atleast someone will read it.

    Thankyou once again 🙂

  11. chrishansenhome says:

    Any time, sweetness. Hopefully someday we will actually be able to meet in person. Anyway, the US dollar is tanking and the few dollars I have in my dollar account had better be added to my pound sterling account soon to keep them from being worthless. So I’m glad they will be going to a good home.

    Hope that your time at home is lovely and I look forward to lots more adventures of the boyshapedbox! Hugs from London