Saving the Best for Last Competition: Be Careful What You Wish For

1 Conversation

A vision of Hell
The Archbishop of Canterbury

Lambeth Palace

Borough of Lambeth



1st April 2012

Dear Dr Williams

This letter is my attempt to make peace with God. Until a few weeks ago, I didn't really believe in him, and I admit that I didn't think much of you either. I was once heard to pronounce that since the demise of Bin Laden, you now stand unopposed as the holder of the title of the World's Most Dangerous Dress-Wearing Beardy. In fact it's probable that among your lesser recent tribulations has been the unexpected delivery of a trophy marking this achievement. But I digress.

I know why you haven't been seen in public for some time. I know that, improbable and shocking as it may seem, you are afflicted by a strange medical condition whereby your left hand has become stuck up your bottom.

The reason I know this is that I caused it. Things that I've said in anger are all coming true. Now that I have realised that this is happening, I've stopped doing it, but unfortunately there is quite a large backlog still to work out. I believe that these events started happening when my (not especially pious) daughter started saying Grace before our family meals. She adopted this practice as a direct response to my holding forth at the dinner table. She said something like "be careful what you say, because from now on, you've really got God's attention".

This was one Sunday last June. I remember the date well, because the General Secretary of UNISON had just predicted victory in a General Strike over public sector pensions. Of course Mr Prentis disappeared without trace some weeks later. I can tell you now that he will never be found, because I hoped aloud that he would fall into an Icelandic volcano.

As you will surely be aware, Her Majesty's Government is currently embroiled in dispute over the constitutional basis of some of its more radical policies. Indeed we might expect that you would be vigorously engaged in this debate yourself, were you not so unfortunately cheirorectally compromised. I have to confess that I am responsible for at least some of the Coalition's wilder schemes. It was me who proposed the reinstatement of transportation as a punishment. It was me who declared that public sector workers should henceforth not be allowed to retire at all. It was me who demanded that the entire Shadow Cabinet should be charged with treason and incarcerated in the Tower of London.

Now that I have calmed down somewhat, I find many of my rantings incoherent and inexplicable, but this doesn't appear to have precluded their playing out. I think it's maybe my fault that Sepp Blatter has been revealed to be in the pay of Al Qaeda. The unexplained resignation of Angela Merkel might be connected with something I said about unnatural acts with Spanish cucumbers. I'm probably behind the Duchess of Cambridge's odd pleadings to appear on Britain's Got Talent.

Since you are clearly a person who considers his pronouncements with great care, you might find it difficult to understand that so many of us wish for irrational things, and moreover that we do so in a miasma of rage. I used to be one of the millions who habitually think and act in this manner, but I can truthfully say that I have learned my lesson.

For this reason, I have taken steps to correct my sins. As soon as I realised what was going on, I began pleading for a reversal of my more immoderate wishes (at least the ones I can actually remember), with my daughter praying fervently alongside. In the fullness of time, I intend to rescind all of my unintentional edicts, except for the public-spirited and socially-beneficial ones, such as Mr Robert Peston's pathological fear of microphones and Mrs Sarah Palin's sprouting of moose antlers.

It seems to be working, since I've just read that the Government no longer intends to send a National Union of Teachers taskforce to Helmand Province. In a couple of months time therefore, your hand should plop out neatly. Shortly after that, Mr Miliband will emerge blinking and bulgy-eyed into the daylight, along with most of his hopefully-chastened team. I'm sure I can be forgiven for leaving Ed Balls in there for an extra couple of weeks.

Yours etc,


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