24 Jul 2023 ‘There is Something Amiss’: Article in The Country Squire Magazine
There is Something Amiss (published in The Country Squire Magazine)
Blessed with silly middle names since a young age, St. Clair walked the damp, post-
pandemic streets of Jericho in pursuit of a croissant and a spot of Crème anglaise. There was
something queer about his pronominal usage that morning. He had been calling non-non
binary folk ‘we’, and not the ‘Royal we’ (the pluralis majestatis) before you rush to opine. He
was reminded of those infamous, hypercorrecting words of Margaret Thatcher: ‘we have
become a grandmother’ and chuckled to himself all the way down to Port Meadow where
he took solace in watching the cows which seemed comparatively ‘normal’ in this new,
topsy-turvy world of ours.
When all was said and done, Jericho wasn’t the place it used to be: the ladies of the night
had long been replaced by gender neutral baristas (but note it is gender-specific when plural
in Italian – oh, dear. What a fog!), the toad-in-the-hole by Chicken Kiev (or Kyiv for The
Guardian lovelies) and there wasn’t a Chelsea bun in sight. Salva me Domine. St. Clair, once
an oar of some repute, was fresh back from the country – sub rosa beagling and polo: ‘he’,
‘she’ and the occasional colourful vocative such as ‘oih, tosser’. It had been a rather scratch
affair admittedly but he had to escape to the fields of Gloucestershire occasionally to eke
out a conversation or two where the retinue’s ‘preferred names’ ranged from Soapy and
Sponge to Master Bates and Nimrod.
It is fair to say that St. Clair felt somewhat dissatisfied with the world in general that
morning. The last two chukkas at the Duke of Beaufort’s had been decent enough, the
thrushes had taken up their normal lieu de pèlerinage in the Pyracantha making love
through the month of June and the lawns of England freshly mowed in boustrophedon
fashion smelt once again of sfatcheem (if you will forgive the Bronx slang), but something
was amiss. Something was deeply amiss. The place, Oxford that is – but it could just as well
be Bristol, Liverpool, St Andrews or even Larkin’s Hull – had been taken over by
propagandists – the kind of which we have never seen before. They covered church altars in
Rainbow flags whilst reporting Catholics to the police; they employed Drag Queens to
entertain toddlers and they glued themselves to the floor when they didn’t get their way or
if somebody questioned their ever so considerate ‘inclusion’ tactics. ‘This is it, folks’,
chuckled St. Clair. ‘We have arrived. Oh, yes. That great apotheosis of human civilisation
that we have been craving since the time of Michaelangelo and Raphael who epitomised
that great zenith of High Renaissance’. ‘Oh, what fun…’
Well, poor old St. Clair, for one, certainly felt ‘excluded’ from all the ‘inclusion’, perhaps that
is because he understood all too well that you were only ‘included’ if you did not question
the relentless LGBTQ propaganda whose improbable acronym expanded and contracted like
an excitable accordion. ‘Inclusion was surely just the wokerati’s code for accepting their
definition of Self. Nothing more. That is why they were so obsessive about it’ ventured forth
a fellow beagler. ‘That is how this kind of propaganda works after all: deligitimise all
alternative conceptions of Self and keep ramming home the message until the hoi polloi no
longer question these apparent secular revealed truths’. ‘Yes, indeed, Peregrine’. ‘Yes,
indeed, quite so’, muttered St. Clair who was lost in fuzzy thought as the boys wondered
past OUP’s triumphal stone portico.
Even though it was no longer February, it was Pride month again (just for good measure)
and everyone was talking about ‘common purpose’. Oh, how lovely. And the ‘common
purpose’ meant the collective discarding of the last remaining Biblical taboos. As with so
many of his vintage, St. Clair was taught as a child how to avoid gutter language in the
playground, and had been taught respect, decency, standards and how to navigate the
plethora of ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of everyday life but now British children aged 3 were being
told at school that sodomy was the norm. ‘Oh, forgive me, Reggie. I am probably being old-
fashioned’, offered St. Clair as the gents passed Carfax already long draped in Rainbow flags
for some months now. Then, fresh out of Kindergarten, the little lovelies whose ideologised
mothers called their offspring of unspecified gender ‘ze’ would face an onslaught of LGBTQ
propaganda and all going well by the time they came up, they would be all signed-up non-
binaries and could revel in all the cuddly but somewhat paradoxically binary… ‘inclusion’.
And, indeed the propaganda seemed to be working rather well. ‘Twenty-five per cent of
Australian students now identify as LGBTQ’ ran the morning Torygraph news headline.
‘Now, that is “progress” for you…Haha’, chortled St. Clair as they worked their way along the
High, bypassing crowds of green-haired, non-binaries en route to their Pronouns 101
sessions at the local Pride Centre. Deciding to give the Trans Wellness Conference a miss, St.
Clair headed back to College in search of that once familiar world of his – now rapidly in
retreat – where not everyone had to be a ‘bit of both’. It was a lost cause.
Unable to find any of his ilk in the Senior Common Room (George – the other last remaining
heterosexual amongst the Fellowship was fulfilling a request for an assignation) and the
sherry long since expunged, St. Clair decided to repair to the country to dine on bubble and
squeak and Eton Mess and to ponder the broader vicissitudes of the human condition.
Reggie returned to Catullus’ dirty love poetry. There was still a freedom to be found there,
out there on the Shropshire Hills that is. Oh yes, indeed, a freedom that is from all the
‘inclusion’. ‘Ubi dubium ibi libertas’ shouted Reggie as he headed back to the Bod. St. Clair
nodded knowingly and was soon enough on his way back to the country, bouncing around in
the Landy. Happy as a sandboy again.