Sunday 25 April 2010


What in the name of...well... I suppose, in the name of God, do the staff in our Foreign and Commonwealth Office get to do with themselves all day?

Well for one thing changing the font on the FCO logo. Yes, for a mere £80 000 the FCO got consultants redesign the logo from the top to the bottom example.

We all have to make sacrifices because of the greed and stupidity of the financial sector and the government, all except the FCO, which needs a new logo. Desperately.

It’s the FCO’s new “brand” you see. I’m sure you’ll have guessed it, but if not, the new “brand” represents: Empowering; Insightful; Principled; Persuasive; Strategic; Intelligent. (You knew it all along.)


So, if they are intelligent, why on earth were they wasting their time... no, our time, with a brain storming (or I was once told by a council official “thought showering... as brain storming might be offensive to people who suffer from epilepsy”. Can you imagine the look I gave her?) on the subject of suitable activities f
or Pope Benedict’s state visit to the UK.

Some half wit wrote a report suggesting all manner of idiotic things like launching an eponymous condom brand, opening an abortion clinic, singing a charity song with the Queen and doing forward rolls with school children.

In fairness there was one very interesting proposal, that he spend the night in a council flat...why not? If he has come to see how his people live in this country, the palaces of the Cardinal Archbishops in Glasgow or London are not likely to give him any indications at all. And it included the suggestion that he should sack some “dodgy bishops”, with which I have a deal of sympathy.

But these two proposals aside, surely the rest of the document is some sort of joke. And in these straitened times, if we have staff with time to produce joke documents, then it is high time we lost them.

For the rest of us there is little time to joke, and frequently little to laugh about.

The British government has of course been fulsome in its apologies to the Vatican State.

The Bishop of Nottingham called the report appalling and Cardinal Renato Martino, former head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said: “The British government has invited the Pope as its guest and he should be treated with respect. To make a mockery of his beliefs and the beliefs of millions of Catholics, not just in Britain but across the world, is very offensive indeed.”

Actually I agree with him. Right now I have no time at all for the Pope. It appears that he has covered up numerous cases of child abuse and has taken a light hand with others who have done the same thing. Saying he is sorry and weeping and praying may be considered to be justice enough in the Vatican State, but it sure as hell (literally) isn’t in Scotland. In my opinion the invitation to visit should be withdrawn until such time as we have a Pope unscarred by any association with this filthy crime.

However, I am also concerned that we are employing, presumably at considerable expense, Oxbridge educated (educated?) staff to write this drivel. And as punishment the writer has been transferred to other duties! Maybe he’ll be redesigning the logo, or weeping with the Pope.

Incidentally, this is the first ever state visit of a Pope to Scotland and England. Pope John-Paul II’s visit in 1982 was financed by the Vatican; this one is costing us millions.

Pics: Old Logo; New logo; Pope Benedict in a red hat


  1. Great point there Tris. I don't see why taxpayers are footing the bill for any religious leader to visit this country. The Vatican is the biggest business in the world!! They must be laughing up their whatevers in Rome.

    It should be a private visit to Catholics and not a public one.

    I think the taxpayer should fund a visit from the Dali Lama - a much more interesting person.

  2. Especially sine the Vaticam has so much, they are swimming in loot! Is that not why Pope John Paul I had to go after only a few weeks, he wanted to reform the Vatican bank. So he woke up one morning dead.

  3. Tris,

    I read the report in the Telegraph today- apparently some joker thought it was appropriate to send a memo round with all that rubbish on it?

    Ask the pope to open an aborton clinic?! Ask him to do forward rolling with children to encourage healthy living?! Ask him to bless a gay civil partnship?! You say not fit for purpose, I say your being polite Tris mate!

  4. As to the resignation of the bishop in belgium, I would also charge him with a crime- mere resignation is not enough for justice to be served.

  5. The difficulty is this mix between religion and state in my opinion (if I can use that expression here).

    He's coming as a head of state, but he's being greeted by "ordinary" people as a religious leader.

    I've always been of the opinion, so accurately described by Sophia the other day, that religion should be a very personal thing. It should be nothing to do with the state. It is, after all, a belief, not a compulsion. The mixing of it with politics is a dangerous game to play.

    I’m not suggesting that political and religious philosophies should never be related. A religious man’s political thought will be guided by the religious philosophy he follows, but the actual linking for state and faith is a bad thing.

  6. Maybe Jim Murphy can have these image consultants in to redesign the Scotland Office logo. He loves wasting Scottish Government money on new carpets giving the place a facelift etc. Presumably because it comes out of our budget and so the more he wastes the less Alex has to spend. And there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it. But Jim it won’t make Alex look bad, it makes you look bad.

    Dean can I wish you and the Tories all the very best (for this one and only time) in East Renfrew. If I lived any nearer I would campaign for you myself.

  7. Yep Munguin. That is the way that it seems. The way that I heard it, John-Paul I was a simple man. He set out quite clearly that he intended to reform many Vatican departments, and then, before he had the time to put any of that into practice, he, as you say, woke up dead.

  8. I was being polite Dean... you know me. Mr Polite. :¬)

    And for all of these biushops who covered up crime I'd have them in the cells. Resignation is not nearly enough.

    I cannot for the life of me see why the police hesitate.

    I think it shows the power that the Church has over the police in strong "Catholic countries".

  9. I know was a bit of a double take when we heard it on the radio. You wait years for a Pope to come along and then in the space of a few weeks you get three.

  10. LOL@ Munguin. If you lived in the constituency I bet you'd vote Tory.

  11. You might like to think that Tris: I couldn't possibly comment!

  12. Ah cannae wait till September, so ah can get ma hands oan that Benedict Ratzinger. Ah've had ma hoose turned upside doon lookin' fer that hat. Ah found the handbag that ah bought tae match it, but nae sign o' the hat. Ah kept it in the big press in the lobby, so ah wis blamin' the meter man fer takin' it (ah've aye thoght he wis a bit funny, he has three rings in the wan ear)

    Ah widnae put it past the auld bugger tae have pinched maist o' his wardrobe, have ye noticed he has mair outfits than the Queen? The last pope managed tae get by wi' jist the wan white frock, which ah've heard he rinsed oot in the sink every night.

    Oh! When ah get near him...

  13. Wi' a bit o' luck he'll take them up oan the 'daein' somersaults wi' the weans' idea an' pit his back oot in the process.

  14. @ Munguin,

    Oh, I will be watching East Ren on the night! I would give my right arm for a victory down there...just so we can all see the look on wee-Jims face....worth it.

    And dont worry, I know you're not one to join 'the party' anytime soon. But your support in this one case is very welcome.

  15. Eastwood's the wan constituency where ah wid urge aw' the Nats tae haud their noses an' put a X by the tories. They can aye deny it later.

    Murphy gettin' his cards wid be like when Teddy Taylor got the bum's rush in Cathcart in '79. Ah had an extra sherry that night, an' ah needed ah'll tell ye.

  16. Oh Sophia. The whole Vatican to clean... the whole country all by yourself and just the moening to do it in. Just as well it wasn't Iceland. Imagine all that dust.

    But not doing the carpet is really inexcusable. I mean, really. I hope you confessed.

    When I saw that hat I thought of you right away. It has Sophia Pangloss written all over it. Well, inside the rim obviously. "If lost please return to...."

    Do you think Benedict does meter reading on the side then?

  17. Dean.

    I might break the habit of a lifetime and vote for Tory in Jim's constituency too.

    Of course him losing would mean he would be top of the list for a seat in the Scottish Parliament next year, and then Gray would have had it.

    I frankly don't rate him. I think he's hopeless, but he's better than Gray. He might provide some opposition. The trouble with Labour in Scotland was they just never thought that this would happen. It was off their radar, outside the box and even good politicians like wee Jock were lost.

    In opposition in Scotland? What? Never.

    They’ve no idea how to cope.

  18. Naw tris, ah dinnae think Ratzinger dis meter-readin', he's no got the qualifications. Naw, ah've got a theory tho.

    Christmas past, ah hung ma stockin' up oan the mantlepiece as per usual, an' put some auld newspaper doon on the carpet tae catch the soot when Santa Claus came. An' as per usual ah hid ahint the livinroom door tae catch a peek, an' sure enough there was an auld man dressed aw in red. But in the mornin', instead o' soot aw ower ma newspapers, there was just a sprinklin' o' fairy dust.

    Ah think Benedict came doon ma lum an' took ma hat. He likely took the flannelette nightie he left for me oaf some puir nun.

  19. Hey, it's not like we're paying for it is it?

    We are?................Oh Damn

  20. Shucks....every last penny.

    All the security, the flights, His Holiness's entourage.... yep. WE all have to cut back, but clearly we're not going to be asking the Pope to get the train, second class, from Edinburgh to Glasgow...

    But cheer up... see my new post...we may be in for a saving... he may not come now.

  21. Awww. Ratzinger is the Christmas Fairy.... ain't that nice Sophia?