Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jerry Brotton, Trevor Phillips and the Armada

I suggested yesterday that Dr Brotton's theory seemed to be less than watertight, unless evidence existed that Walsingham's letter not only produced concrete Turkish action, but action which materially affected the Armada's chances of victory. I also doubted if any contribution of Mediterranean vessels could have affected the outcome.

In the strong version of the theory which Dr Brotton and Phillips set forth, the actions of the Grande Porte were not only material, but decisive.

Phillips - "It was the Turks who saved us".

Brotton - "Walsingham's plan was ultimately successful. Ottoman fleet movements in the eastern Mediterranean fatally split Philip II's armada" - although he immediately qualifies this by saying that "alongside all the stories we're told at school about why the Spanish Armada failed to conquer Britain and destroy Protestantism, we should add another reason: the Anglo-Ottoman alliance brokered by Elizabeth, Walsingham [and others]"

Conservative Party Reptile found this reheated Reuters report, in which Dr Brotton gives more information.

An academic argued on Tuesday that the Armada had been weakened before it even set sail for England because the Spanish had been forced to keep some ships in the Mediterranean to deal with the troublesome Turkish navy.

"If the Armada had been bigger it would have taken Britain," said Dr Jerry Brotton.

"The Armada was fatally weakened by having to leave some of its ships in the Mediterranean," added Brotton, a lecturer in Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. "Correspondence shows that Walsingham (Queen Elizabeth's spymaster) used diplomats to keep the Turks fighting the Spanish," he told Reuters.

I must say the argument is looking weaker and weaker. If it's a question of ships, as explained yesterday, the fighting vessels of the Spanish Mediterranean fleet would have been little help in the Channel or North Sea, even conceding the point (for which no evidence seems to be offered) that Walsingham's letter produced any Turkish action.

The Reuters report also includes this :

Dr Simon Adams, co-author of "England, Spain and the Grand Armada" argues the Ottoman Turks were not threatening the Spanish in the Mediterranean. "The Walsingham letter had been sent in 1584 or 1585 and although England might have hoped the Turks would cause the Spanish problems, nothing really happened," he told Reuters. "The Turks were not really doing anything (against Spain) in 1588. They were busy in the near east," added the University of Strathclyde academic. Adams said the Armada failed because the expedition was poorly planned and the English had an effective navy helped by favourable weather.

This would imply that there's no evidence of the letter producing any response. The thesis looks extremely weak.

I wrote to Dr Brotton as follows two days ago. I'll let you know.

Dear Dr Brotton,

Your 2004 Hay Festival lecture is in the news again, via Trevor Phillips' interpretation. But all I know of it is the 2004 Guardian report which boils down to :

"Walsingham hoped that Islamic forces might keep the Spanish forces "thoroughly occupied" by "some incursions from the coast of Africa", or by attacking his Italian territories from the sea."

Followed by "Walsingham's plan was ultimately successful. Ottoman fleet movements in the eastern Mediterranean fatally split Philip II's armada".

It sounds as if the Guardian report missed out the crucial link - the evidence that

a) Harborne successfully induced the Turks to harass Spanish possessions or otherwise threaten Spain, over and above the existing semi-endemic warfare
b) that this had a material impact on the Armada

Have you a transcript or copy of the lecture - or references to the evidence for a) and b) ? If so could you please mail me copies/references ?



UPDATE - Six months on and Dr Brotton has not replied. They say the best way to sustain a poor argument is never to offer any evidence in its defence.

Thought Crime

I think Peter Black AM says pretty much what I want to say about the decision of Trevor Phillips' CRE to take legal action aganist a man who raised a petition against the possible siting of a "travellers" site near his home.

The decision by the Commission for Racial Equality to take legal action under the Race Relations Act against a local resident who collected 953 signatures on a petition against a possible official travellers’ site near his home is one of the most bizarre I have come across for some time. It just flies in the face of commonsense ...

This intervention by the CRE in my view is a perverse and unwelcome intrusion on this process.

Whatever one’s views on this matter, the prosecution of local residents who are using legitimate and democratic means to bring their concerns to the attention of the local Council, will set a dangerous and unwelcome precedent. If for example the Council were to proceed with an official site and lodged a planning application would the CRE determine that anybody who objected to it, and any Councillor who spoke against it, were acting in breach of the Race Relations Act?

To which the answer is "yes, probably".

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Bit Of Muslim History

That Trev didn't mention.

(some confusion in the reporting - apparently the ship was a North African slaver which "was sunk off Salcombe during the 17th Century after being attacked by pirates hunting white slaves". The Channel must have been a dangerous place indeed if the slavers were attacking one another.)

New Liberal Myth Gets Half Way Round World

It was way back in 2004 that I spotted what appeared to be a new liberal myth, decanted by an English lecturer called Jerry Brotton at the Hay literary festival.

"Of course what we're seeing here is a liberal myth in embryo - that the Turks rather than Drake and Effingham beat the Armada."

This embryonic myth was repeated by Trevor Phillips a couple of months later (along with the "Islamic King Offa" myth). No one took any notice. He seems to have got a bit more attention this time.

British history should be rewritten to make it "more inclusive", says Trevor Phillips, the head of the new human rights and equality commission. He said Muslims were also part of the national story and "sometimes we have to go back into the tapestry and insert some threads that were lost".

He quoted the example of the Spanish Armada, which was held up by the Turks at the request of Queen Elizabeth I.

"When we talk about the Armada it's only now that we are beginning to realise that part of it is Muslims," Mr Phillips told a Labour fringe meeting. "It was the Turks who saved us, because they held up Armada at the request of Elizabeth I. Now let's rewrite that story, let's use our heritage to rewrite that story so it is truly inclusive. "That's the reason for this so we have an identity which brings us together, which binds us in the stormy times that we are going to have in the next century."

As far as I know, the only "evidence" for this theory is that Queen Elizabeth's security head, Francis Walsingham, sent a letter to her ambassador at the Ottoman court, asking him to do all in his power to get the Turks to threaten Spain in the Mediterranean :

The letter, which ordered the ambassador, William Harborne, to incite the Turks to harry the Spanish navy, was written in the mid-1580s and has been buried in archives ever since because it did not apparently relate to any major historical event.

But Mr Brotton told the festival: "Walsingham's plan was ultimately successful. Ottoman fleet movements in the eastern Mediterranean fatally split Philip II's armada - So alongside all the stories we're told at school about why the Spanish Armada failed to conquer Britain and destroy Protestantism, we should add another reason: the Anglo-Ottoman alliance brokered by Elizabeth, Walsingham [and others]."

In his letter to Harborne, Walsingham wrote: "Her Majesty being, upon the success of the said King of Spain's affairs in the Low Countries, now fully resolved to oppose herself against his proceedings in defence of that distressed nation, whereof it is not otherwise likely but hot wars between him and us, wills me again to require you effectually to use all your endeavour and industry in that behalf."

Walsingham hoped that Islamic forces might keep the Spanish forces "thoroughly occupied" by "some incursions from the coast of Africa", or by attacking his Italian territories from the sea.

Now between Walsingham's letter and "Walsingham's plan was ultimately successful. Ottoman fleet movements in the eastern Mediterranean fatally split Philip II's armada" lies the small question of some missing evidence.

Is there evidence that Harborne persuaded the Turks to any action they might not otherwise have taken ?

Did these actions have any impact on the Armada ? There are many possible impacts - manpower, ship-power, weapon-power, stores and supplies.

On these questions the Guardian report is silent. I've mailed Dr Brotton to ask him.

My knowledge of this period's naval history is limited to copies of Garret Mattingley's The Spanish Armada and Ernle Bradford's The Great Siege. From this admittedly limited base a few reasonably solid conclusions can be drawn.

1/ Any impact of Ottoman naval movements was unlikely to have affected the Armada as far as its complement of ships was concerned. Mediterranean fighting vessels on both the Ottoman and Spanish sides were oar-driven galleys, and as such totally unsuited to Atlantic and North Sea warfare. Original plans for the Armada called for forty galleys, but in the end only four were sent. All four were turned back in the Bay of Biscay by the storm of July 28th, one being lost. Five galleasses - higher-built galleys with a gundeck - fared ill, three (Mattingly says two) being lost. The Spanish could probably have sent their entire Mediterranean galley fleet for no greater result than lowering the price of firewood along the French coast.

2/ Most historians conclude that the battle was lost because

a) the Spanish tactics - of attempting to close and board - could not cope with the English tactics of standing off and using their superior range cannon at distances where the Spanish could not reply.

b) a Spanish failure either to take the few opportunities the English offered - when the fleet held the weather gauge on July 30th, or to wait in the shelter of the Isle of Wight for the Duke of Parma's forces to be ready. Instead they found themselves waiting off Gravelines for Parma - and they couldn't wait long enough without being attacked.

Unless the Turks managed to divert a large number of ship-smashing cannon away from the Armada - unlikely given that the galley's main armament was a single long gun at the bow and light deck anti-personnel guns for closing and boarding, I'm not sure that either of these reasons would have been affected by anything the Ottomans did.

You never know though - I may be completely wrong. Let's see what Dr Brotton has to say.

UPDATE - no reply as yet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Siege of Lucknow 2007

Once again, 150 years after the previous unpleasantness, a gallant band of Brits again defend themselves against violent racists.

A group of British veterans are barricaded inside an Indian hotel this evening after they were attacked by a violent group of Indian nationalists during a trip to pay homage to British soldiers killed during the 1857 Indian Mutiny. Indian authorities have told Britons in India to stay away from the historic site due to protests.

Dozens of retired British soldiers and civilians were holed up in a hotel behind a police cordon today in Lucknow. They had had planned to visit the site of a siege that was a key event of what is known in India as the First War of Independence and in Britain as the Sepoy Mutiny. During the siege, hundreds of British soldiers and their families defended the Residency of Lucknow against thousands of Indian soldiers - or sepoys - rebelling against the colonial occupiers. Hundreds died in the fighting.

Small but vocal protests have been led by local members of India's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party. Some protesters pelted the visitors' bus with rubbish and a bottle filled with dirty water when they arrived in the city on yesterday. "A thick security net around them saved the situation from taking any ugly turn," said district magistrate Chandra Bhanu. "Though we have no objection to their visit as ordinary tourists, we cannot take any chances and expose them to any kind of risk under the prevailing volatile circumstances" he said.

May they show the same courage and unity as their forebears, and may their country succour them as it did then.

The 1857 mutiny was commemorated a month or two back in India with much ceremony as a "shining example of national unity". As the BBC put it :

"It is known in India as the first war of India's independence, while in the UK it is usually called a mutiny. So we'll call it an uprising."

Now you can't really blame the Indian government for playing the national unity card for all it's worth. After all, theirs is what the BBCs Jim Muir would call an ethnic and confessional patchwork, with all the potential for lack of unity that implies. Not only that, but before the Raj there was no nation of India, although the Mughal Empire had at one stage encompassed almost the whole subcontinent. You get your national myths where you find them and as you need them - and India, always struggling to keep a vastly diverse nation intact (and succeeding remarkably well) - needs a national narrative more than most.

In Britain however we can take a more clear eyed view of the Mutiny, which was an uprising not solely against the forces of the British Empire, the soldiers and administrators, but a vast racist pogrom against all Europeans, the 'Feringhees' or 'gora log', without distinction of age, sex or employment, although Indian Christians were also killed. While for obvious reasons it was necessary to strike down British military resistance where found, the wholesale slaughter of unarmed men, women and children took place wherever the mutineers had gained control, although there are many instances of Indians saving lives at the risk of their own. The testimonies of massacre from Meerut, Delhi, Lucknow, Cawnpore are many and vivid.

"Gough came in. He is a pensioner. He was in the 19th Regiment and directly after landing in England after the Crimea War volunteered to go to India at the time of the Indian Mutiny. He landed in Calcutta and his regiment marched through Cawnpore 48 hours after the Massacre. He said the scene was horrible, so horrible, shocking and disgusting that it could not be explained or described. Women's breasts had been chopped and sliced off and were still lying about with their other parts. Women had been cut to pieces and mutilated in a vile and shocking manner. The most devilish and beastly ingenuity had been at work in mutilating the persons and violating and dishonouring the parts of the poor creatures. A child's head had been cut off and was lying on the ground with the lips placed by a devilish jest as if sucking the breast of a woman which had also been chopped off. Numbers of the poor women had jumped down the great well with their children to avoid the horrors which were being perpetrated on the bodies of women all over the place.

The soldiers were furious, almost ungovernable, as they marched through Cawnpore and saw those shameful sights."

Francis Kilvert's Diary, Wednesday, 22nd January 1873

"Captain Orr, before allowing the sepoys to accompany them, as well as himself and his family, first made them swear on the head of a Brahmin jemadar, or native officer, the most sacred oath a Hindoo can take, that they would not touch a hair of their heads. They had scarcely set out a short distance, however, when the sepoys obliged the ladies and children to leave their carriages and to walk. The gentlemen, fourteen in number, were murdered one by one, near Mithowly, and the whole of the ladies and children, certain of their coming fate, assembling together in one body, were shot down while kneeling and singing a hymn."
- A personal narrative of the siege of Lucknow By L E Ruutz Rees (1858)

"They knew that stabbing was inefficient, that hacking at their victim's necks would be the quickest way of accomplishing their mission. If the ladies protected their necks with their arms, then their arms would simply be severed as well; the effect was the same, they would bleed to death. Slashing right and left at all who were standing, chopping downward at the fallen with their heavy blades, the five proceeded methodically, spreading a pool of blood ... The few defiant boys were cut down quickly, as was every child who tried to make a run for it through the phalanx of swordsmen. Mothers kept pulling their children close to them and pushing them back into the corners of the building, and in the sweltering heat and the crush of bodies, children suffocated to death under their dying mothers' skirts."
Andrew Ward - Our Bones Are Scattered - Cawnpore Massacres and the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

Mrs Captain McDonald, Mrs Captain Chambers, Mrs Dawson and two children, Mrs Courtenay and two children, Mr. V. Tregear, Pensioners McKinley and Blanco, Corporals Mortimer (Rifles), Edwards and Fitzpatrick and wives, Mr Newland (Photographer), Overseers Segeants Law and two children, McPhee, Binglee, Grant, Brooks and wives, Gunners Donohoe, Connolly, Benson and Cairns (Horse Artillery), Riding Master Langdale's child
- some of the dead from the first day at Meerut - Robert Dunlop - Service and Adventure with the Meerut Volunteer Horse (1858)

You can also see why this kind of stuff gets passed by in India. No nation likes to be reminded of its bad deeds, England excepted, but in India stuff about massacring innocents strikes a bit too close to home. The slaughter of defenceless people isn't exactly something that stopped in 1857. While 1947 set a standard that (God willing) is unlikely to be surpassed in the immediate future, the events of 1984 and 2002 remind us that it hasn't gone away. And those are only the ones we hear about. I was surprised when googling 'Meerut Massacre' to find that it's the '87 rather than the '57 massacre at the top. That's 1987.

Of course Delhi could never have been recaptured and the Mutiny suppressed without the soldiers from the Punjab and elsewhere who remained loyal. The force which retook Delhi contained Punjabis of all faiths, Baluchis, Gurkhas, Pashtuns - something else that the Indian Government and nationalist historians would rather forget. And while the rebel defenders of Delhi were killed to a man, the reactions of the British forces, memories of the dead innocents fresh in their minds, to their orders stand in stark contrast to the shameful barbarities of the rebels.

"By the light of a lantern the orders for the assault were then read to the men. They were to the following purport: any man who might be wounded was to be left where he fell; no one was to step from the ranks to help him, as there were no men to spare ... no prisoners were to be made, as we had no one to guard them, and care was to be taken that no women or children were injured. To this the men answered at once, by 'No fear, Sir'. The officers now pledged their honours on their swords to abide by these orders and the men then promised to follow their example."

Labour Discover The Culture War

By 9 pm it's usually time to accept that whatever you're working on isn't going to get any better if you stay another hour, although driving home there's always something you realise you should have added ... get home and the blogging energy is low. So I'll be late in this morning ...

It was entertaining to see the mighty Smeato get a standing ovation at the Labour Party Conference, from an audience most of whom would rather see him as a violent Islamophobe who deliberately ignores Health and Safety procedures. This time last year they were deriding Cameron for wanting to reach out to the excluded hoodie community.

At Harry's Place there's a transcript of a fascinating Labour fringe address by Alan Johnson, of all people. Despite his clumsy concept of a 'framing war' (he means a culture war) and the sociological jargon, he's actually looking at the cultural side of things. Someone in the Labour Party has opened his eyes.

"What the Islamists have understood but we have not, is that the driving force behind every large-scale cultural and attitudinal change of the last 30 years has been a social movement. A social movement or network brings together intellectual-cum-educational activity, political organising, life-style pioneering, artistic work and cultural production, social entrepreneurship. All these activities are means to wage and win the ‘framing war’.

We see this when we study the rise of ecological awareness or the rise of a new feminist consciousness. For that matter, we see it when we look at the rise of Islamist extremism. In each case there was a sustained process of political and cultural and intellectual activism - ‘cognitive praxis’ we call it in the academic jargon, ‘organising’ we call it in the labour movement. In each case there was a social movement. "

So far so good. He disses what he calls the "Academic-Media Complex", the Chomskys and Mad Dog Milnes, in fine style. Then he asks the question that I don't like the answer to.

"Times have changed. Stalin once famously asked ‘And how many divisions does the Pope have?’ Today, the new totalitarians, the Islamists, ask ‘And how many activists do the democrats have? And it's a good question. Where are our websites, blogs, DVDs, bookshops, magazines, training programmes, and organised retreats? Where are our networks of community centres that reach out to youth? Where is our global network of moderation able to match their global network of extremism? And where is our zeal? It feels sometimes - to steal a quip from Mark Twain – that the Islamists have run half way round the world and we are still tying our shoelaces."

There's an activist network of sorts - the Eustonites and bloggers to the right of them. But you wouldn't call that a social movement. I don't see Norm Geras and Brownie fronting up the white-water rafting expeditions. The fact is there's not much there. We saw in the cartoon dispute that the brave and transgressive arty types, the Stewart Lee's, were just as uncomfortable about being stabbed or decapitated as anyone else. People aren't prepared to die for "moderation" - which appears to be what Brit culture in 2007 boils down to.

Ah well. At least he's identified the problem. But as I've said before, the solutions will be the entertaining bit.

"Too late, mate. The solutions will be the entertaining bit. Having knocked down Britishness over 40 years, they're arrogant enough to believe they can rebuild it with a few citizenship lessons, a rebuild of the history curriculum and some media pressure. They'll find destruction is much easier than construction."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Today's Early Release Killer - Christopher Beresford

Christopher Beresford, 18, was let out of jail just six weeks before the accident which brought chaos to the M4. He was driving the wrong way down the motorway to escape police when he hit James and Bridget Stafford's car head-on. Beresford and the Staffords were killed in the accident last Monday, in Newport, South Wales. Two of Beresford's passengers, Sam Case, 19, and Lee Maggs, 27, also died.

Yesterday it emerged that Beresford had been released from Parc Prison, in Bridgend, only last month. He had served six months of a one-year detention and training order - given to persistent or high-risk offenders. It was imposed by Newport Youth Court in February after Beresford failed to comply with non-custodial sentences. His convictions included dangerous driving and taking a car without consent. Beresford, who was 17 at the time, did not hold a driving licence and was banned from having a licence for two years. Young offenders are routinely released at the halfway point of their sentence.

There'll be more soon. This has been a joint production of the Probation "Service" and the Youth "Justice" Board.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hell Hath No Fury ...

I know nowt about Andrew Pelling, Tory MP for Croydon, save what I've been reading in the press. "All publicity is good publicity" may apply in showbiz, but not in politics.

The Tory council seat that fell to Labour last week on a 17% swing, prompting talk of an early election and the influence of Worcester Woman is a case in point. It turned out that the Tory defeat was less due to Sure Start and the Brown Bounce than to some good old fashioned electioneering. Somehow, and much to the surprise and shock of Labour, it became known to electors that the Tory candidate, the improbably named Lisa Ventura, was the proprietess of this erotica and sex-toy website (not terribly work-friendly). She probably sounded like the ideal Nu Tory candidate, but the electors of Worcester turned out to be not quite as cool and metrosexual as they thought, delivering an electoral rogering to Ms Ventura worthy of any Anna Span video.

Where was I ? Mr Pelling. He sure can pick 'em, or is it the effect he has ? The late Alan Clark philandered his way round Westminster with nary a public peep from the lovely Jane. Jeffrey Archer's dirty linen got a good scrubbing in various papers - and the fragrant Mary stood by him, albeit with a rolling pin hidden behind her back.

Mr Pelling's current and previous wives aren't so forgiving.

Wife 2 : "I didn't realise what I was taking on but from that point I became the driving force behind him. I even took him shopping for clothes because he looked such a mess. He would always wear this scruffy green anorak. He was a wreck and his house was a dump. The first time we went round to his house there was cat mess and cat sick all over the carpet. No one had done the washing up for weeks. There must have been 50 dirty pans stacked up in the kitchen.

"When I moved in I looked after the house and his children." she said. But she soon found he had "some very strange habits". "He was very close to his mother. She died in her 40s and he has never really got over it. But he loved his mum so much he kept her ashes in the lounge near the ashes of his dead cat, Fluffy," says Lucy. "I found that very peculiar." Lucy claims she "basically held his life together" while Pelling fought depression. "He was on and off anti-depressants for two years," she said. "I did everything for him. There were days that he would take his sleeping pills and wouldn't be able to drag himself out of bed."

It's these little touches that make all the difference.

What does wife 1 say ?

"In public, we pretended to be a normal, happy family because it was necessary for his political image. But we had not been intimate for a couple of years. Andrew was only focused on becoming an MP. He acted like a lodger and treated me like his servant. I was little more than a housekeeper, chauffeur and personal assistant. He was the silent partner in the marriage. I stayed with him until I could take no more. He was hardly ever at home and even then it was just to eat and sleep. He barely talked to me or the children. We were just there for show. But this is essentially about me and him. He has not behaved like an honourable man. That's why I'm so angry with him."

Mr Pelling might not be the nicest chap in the Tory Party. But if we all got what we deserved twould be a bleak world. Strangely, after reading those two stories I feel more sympathetic to him than I did before. Admittedly that wasn't much.

UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights of Indigenous Peoples

As adopted by the General Assembly on 13th September 2007.

The Declaration establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity, well-being and rights of the world's indigenous peoples. The Declaration addresses both individual and collective rights; cultural rights and identity; rights to education, health, employment, language, and others. It outlaws discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them. It also ensures their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own priorities in economic, social and cultural development.

Includes :

Article 7.2 "Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples"

Article 8.1 "Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture."

Article 8.2 "States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:
(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
(d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration;

Someone had better tell the UK government about the fast-vanishing tribe of the English.

Is That All ?

More than one crime in five in London is now committed by a foreign national, raising fresh fears over the impact of immigration. Around a third of all sex offences and a half of all frauds in the capital are carried out by non-British citizens.

I must admit those figures seem too low to me. Are they saying the foreign population of London is less than 20% ?

Romania seems to be the one to watch - straight in at number 5 with a 700% increase.

High Noon For Rasputin

The Mad Monk will have to choose.

Just a short walk from the muddy waters of the Mississippi, the Anglican bishops of the United States have gathered to decide whether they will provoke the biggest schism in the Church of England since its foundation by Henry VIII.

At issue is the role of gays in the Anglican Communion and the status of Gene Robinson, a homosexual father of two daughters who was elevated three years ago to become the Bishop of New Hampshire. On Tuesday, the American bishops, the majority of whom are liberals, are expected to vote to support a greater role for gays and lesbians in the Church, both with regard to the creation of new bishops and the blessing of same-sex relationships.

Unless they can be persuaded otherwise, it seems certain the move will irrevocably split the Church, ending the Anglican Communion and creating an alternative alliance between Africa and conservatives in the US. It could not be more appropriate that the final battle is set for New Orleans, a city so steeped in its reputation for sin and debauchery that the fire-and-brimstone wing of America's Christian Right attributed the destruction of Hurricane Katrina to the cleansing wrath of the Almighty.

Will he get out of town with his true love, the uber-liberals of the US Episcopal Church, or will he take the steep and narrow way of duty, turn from his path and blow away the idolaters, though they be as many as the grains of sand on the seashore ?

Your guess is as good as mine. What's a foregone conclusion is that both sides will end up hating him - which in the end is a tragedy. Like Neville Chamberlain, he "ran into tides the force of which he could not measure, and hurricanes from which he did not flinch, but was unable to cope".