The common people are without definite religious belief, and have been so for centuries. The Anglican Church never had a real hold on them, it was simply a preserve of the landed gentry, and the Nonconformist sects only influenced minorities. And yet they have retained a deep tinge of Christian feeling, while almost forgetting the name of Christ.
That was I am sure true 70 years ago when Orwell wrote it. My Dad, a stone atheist four years older than Orwell, never hesitated to drag in a Biblical verse to support his arguments. The England of today is a different matter: more deep binge than deep tinge.
Only 42 percent of Britons currently identify as Christian, according to this survey — a drop of eight percent in just the last three years, they say, though with N = 3,000, you can figure some three or four percent error margins in there.
So what is Her Majesty doing, preaching the Christian message to a nation in which the most salient form of religious passion is fundamentalist Islam (thanks to the idiotic one-worldism to which she, and the rest of Britain’s ruling classes, have subscribed for the past 50 years)?
What’s she doing? Standing athwart history crying “Stop!” that’s what. Long may she reign.
There still is Christianity in England, though, and it still has some vitality. A fight broke out during midnight mass at a church in Southampton.
Father Vincent Harvey, the priest at St Edmund’s Church in The Avenue, Southampton, was forced to stop the midnight Mass service until the police arrived. A steward received hand injuries when he tried to stop one man throwing a metal chair down an aisle.
That’s the England I know and love: a nation of hooligans. Alas (well, depending on your point of view, I suppose), they have no-one to be hooliganly to nowadays but each other.
The one and only.