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“Take that tent down and  get off my land”
Apologies to El Greco and Billy Connoly  

Saint Paul was a tent maker and we can only speculate what his thoughts might be looking down over the small tented village toward the fools who are running the cathedral that bears his name in London.  As an exercise in complete stupidity, a symphony for a tin ear in public relations, and utter total administrative cackhandedness, the Dean and his Chapter have elevated their game to that of personal best, and in the Dean’s case to that of career breaking ineptitude.  Surely it must be felt, they cannot do worse.

Well I think it can.  I think they could still make a complete Tuesday of this.  I believe there is a once in a professional lifetime’s opportunity for the Bishop of London and the Dean’s new successor to take this game up to the next level.  I truly believe they have it in them to show the Olympic spirit, that special English feeling for missing the way the political wind blows, and just go for it.

I think they could manage a full blown Diplomatic Incident.

Its difficult, I agree.  These things are never easy, but the track record is there for anyone to see.  Some people are talking about Armistice Day, and how the rabble must be moved for Remembrance Sunday.  Certainly, but this is small stuff.  The real occasion for embarrassment and international coverage comes later in November, on the last Thursday. Thanksgiving Day in America.

Every year for over fifty years the cathedral of St Pauls has hosted a special service for Thanksgiving.  It is their way to grease up to the American community who work in the City.   It’s not the biggest event in the crowded calendar of life in the cathedral, it would only draw, what, maybe a couple of thousand, tops.  But those that come are rather posh, representing the upper end of the London American community and this is because the United States Ambassador himself deigns to grace the old pile with his presence.  He usually gives a fairly predictable and anodyne speech on the close links with the US, how the two countries stood shoulder to shoulder through the Second World War and how this relationship endures, nay matures and deepens, with each passing year.  He makes quite an entrance too, what with the honour guard of shaven headed Marines in full ceremonial uniform.

So, we might only imagine how his security staff at the Embassy are viewing the possibility of their Ambassador being required to pick his way past a tented village of smelly, pinko lefty types who can be guaranteed to howl with derision at his presence, laugh loudly and point the finger of derision, or worse, shout awkward questions at him in front of cameras.

So this year special measures will doubtless be required, and so far the only thing we can be certain of is that the Church of England will make a complete horlicks of it.

The annual Thanksgiving ceremony at St Paul’s

Copyright David Macadam 2011