Monthly Archives: April 2020





The religion of the Jews is called Judaism. The Jewish people started out in the Middle East. It is probable that they became a distinct people in what is now Iraq.

The holy book of the Jews is the Bible. There are two parts to the Bible: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Jews only believe in the Old Testament. Christians believe in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. They word ‘testament’ is like saying ‘witness statement’ because the prophets were supposedly witnesses of God.

The Bible started to be composed as long ago as 800 BC. It was perhaps an oral document and only written down much later.

The first book of the Bible of the Book of Genesis. In Genesis it says that the Garden of Eden was near the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. These rivers are in Iraq.

It is believed that the Jews migrated through the Fertile Crescent. That means the land where crops grew well. They moved through what is now Syria and Lebanon into what is now Israel and Palestine. The Jews called this area ‘Judea’. The word Jew comes from Judea. The names Judas (for a boy) and Judith (for a girl) are derived from Judea.

The Jews sometimes called themselves the Children of Israel. They believed they were the Chosen People of God. They were almost unique in being monotheistic. They did not make images of God. Most other religions were fertility cults and were polytheistic.

The Jews spent some time in Egypt where they were held in slavery. Pharaoh tried to kill many Jewish boys. A baby boy was born to a Jewish family. His parents made a basket for him and put pitch (tar) on it to waterproof it. The basket was then put on the river and hidden in reeds. The baby’s elder sister was sent to watch over the basket. However, Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the baby. She decided to raise him as her own. She named the infant ‘Moses’ meaning ‘water’ because she found his basket on the water. A baby’s basket is sometimes called a Moses basket.

Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go. So God sent ten plagues to punish the Egyptians.

Moses later led his people out of Egypt to the Promised Land. He told them that God would give them this land. The name of God was so holy that Jews usually did not say it but called him the LORD instead.

The escape from Egypt is commemorated at Pesach (Passover). This festival is called this because the tenth plague came. The Angel of Death took the firstborn of every Egyptian family. But the Israelites had been told by Moses to daub blood on their doorposts. The Angel of Death passed over the Jewish homes and did not cause their firstborns to die.

The Jews fled Egypt in a hurry. They did not have time to leaven their bread before they went. So they ate unleavened bread. That is why in the runup to Passover Jews avoid leaven.

Jews fled through the Red Sea. The chariots of the Egyptians came after them. The sea opened to let the Israelites. Then the sea came in and drowned the Egyptians. The truth behind the story is that they fled through a marshy area of reeds. The tide then came in and soaked the pursuing Egyptians.

The Bible

The first five books of the Bible are called The Books of Moses. They are The 1st Book of Moses commonly called Genesis, the 2nd book of Moses commonly called Exodus, the 3rd book of Moses commonly called Leviticus, the 4th book of Moses commonly called Deuteronomy and the 5th book of Moses commonly called Numbers. Moses dies during the 2nd book of Moses! How can he have written the rest? The oldest of these stories are thought to date to roughly 800 BC but perhaps not to have been written down till later.

The Five Books of Moses are sometimes called the Pentaeuch of the Torah (Law).  It has the name Pentateuch because ‘pente’ in Greek means ‘five.’ Judaism is very textual. The word God is ‘Jehovah’ or ‘Yahweh’ – it is debatable how it should be pronounced. The Jews did not like to say their word for God out loud or even write it. To this day some Jews will not write the English word ‘God’ and only write ‘G-d’. The name is to holy to say or even write!

Genesis begins with the words ‘In the beginning …’ In Greek ‘Genesis’ means ‘beginning’ or ‘origin.’ We call the book Genesis because of its first words. Exodus has that name because it has the Jews fleeing Egypt. That is because ‘Exodus’ means ‘exit’ in Greek. Leviticus has that name because the book contains rules about Levites (priests). Deuteronomy means ‘second law’ in Greek because much of the Jewish Law is repeated in this book. Numbers has that name because it contains a census.

The Jewish dietary laws come from these books. Jews are forbidden to eat pork or shellfish. Shellfish rot very quickly so they can make people ill. They cannot eat rabbits since they eat their faeces. Animals are to be slaughtered in a particular way. The throat must be cut with the heart still pumping so the blood is got rid of. Meat and dairy products cannot be consumed at the same meal. There are separate sets of cutlery, crockery and fridges for meat and dairy products.

Dairy products and meat cannot eaten together because it would be perverse to eat an animal cooked in its mother’s milk.

A schochet is a Jewish butcher. A strict Jew will only eat meat that has been slaughtered by a schochet. This is schechita butchering.

The Jewish people believed that if they kept to their covenant with God then God would bless them with health and wealth. God commanded them to take the land of other people.

Jews consider life sacred. They greet each with ‘Shalom’ meaning ‘peace.’

Jews believed they are descended from Abraham. His wife Rachel could not have children for years. Finally she bore a son named Isaac. He was almost sacrificed. Then the Lord provided Abraham with a ram. The ram was sacrificed instead. Jewish people sometimes have the surname Abraham, Abrahams, Abramovich Isaak, Isaacs or Isaac because of this.

Abraham’s other son was Ishmael. The Arabs are descended from him. Arabs are sometimes called Ishmaelites because of this. They say that Ishmael was the legitimate son and that Isaac was not. The Jews say it was the other way around. The Muslims call Abraham ‘Ibrahim’ and they call Ishmael by the name of ‘Ismail’.

The Jews observed the Sabbath. It is called Shabbos or Shabbat in Hebrew. It is the seventh day because after making the world in six days God then rested. Therefore no work is permitted on this day. It is a day for worship. They were not to cook or prepare food.  Jews greet each other with the word ‘Shabbat Shalom’ on the Sabbath.

Ancient Israel

The Jews traveled through the wilderness for 40 years. They defeated the Canaanites and drave them out. Then the Jews came to inhabit the land that is called Israel. It had formerly called Canaan.

After some time they were defeated by the Babylonians. The Jews were taken into captivity. They were taken to Babylon in what is now Iraq.  A Jewess named Esther married Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon. The king had an evil vizier named Haman. Haman wanted to annihilate the Jews. However, Esther persuaded the king to have Haman’s ears cut off. Haman was then executed. Jews perform a play about Haman every year. Whenever his name is mentioned people boo and jeer. This festival is called Purim. People say of Haman ‘may his bones rot’.

The Jews lamented their exile in Babylon. They wrote songs about their yearning to return to their homeland.

After some decades they were freed and allowed to return home. The Jews used to put all the sins of the nation onto a goat and chase it into the wilderness. It was the scapegoat.

The Israelites asked the Lord for a king. Most other nations had a king. The Lord warned the Children of Israel that kings were sometimes wicked. Nevertheless the people insisted that they wanted a king. Nathan the Prophet and Zadok the Priest annointed Solomon the king. King Solomon built a temple in Jerusalem. He met the Queen of Sheba – she was from Ethiopia. Solomon was a great lawgiver. Solomons is a Jewish surname because of him.

After Solomon came Saul. The next king was David. As a little boy David had defeated and killed the Philistine giant called Goliath. David killed him with only stones and a sling. A David and Goliath contest is when the weak fight the mighty.

Sacrifices were carried out in the temple. Levites (priests) conducted these. There were courts in the Temple in Jerusalem. There was the Court of Gentiles where non Jews were permitted. The  inside that was the Court of Women. Jewish women were allowed there. Inside that was the Court of Men. Only Jewish men were allowed in that. Inside that was the Court of Priests – only levites were allowed in. Inside that was the Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest was allowed there. There was a curtain to separate it from the Court of Priests. People believed that God was present there.

Anyone who went into a court where he was not allowed in the Temple he would be slain on the spot. It would be a sacrilege.

Some Jewish people have the surname Levy or Levi because of the levites in ancient times. There are other Jews with the surname Cohen because it comes from ‘kahin’ meaning ‘priest’ in Hebrew.

The Greeks eventually invaded Judea. The Jews fought back but their fight was unavailing. Many young men gave their lives defending their homeland. Until that point Jews had not believed in an afterlife. But it was hard to accept that so many youths had gone to oblivion. Jews then began to believe in heaven.

A lot of Greek immigrants arrived in Judea. Some Jews adopted Greek customs and the language. These Hellenised Jews were disapproved of by Jews who kept to the old ways. The Greeks are called the Hellenes so being Hellenised means adopting the Greek culture and language.

In time the Romans conquered Judea. The Jews were permitted to keep their religion. The Romans wanted the Jews to worship the Roman Emperor as well as Jehovah. The Jews refused. The Romans looked on Jews as a troublesome people.

Some Jews split off and became Samaritans. They were detested by mainstream Jews.

In the 1st century AD the main Jewish denomination were the Pharisees. They believed in an afterlife. The minority denomination were the Saducees. The Pharisees like to stick rigidly to their laws. They made a great show of abiding by these laws.

The Jews rebelled against the Romans. In 70 AD the Romans defeated the Jewish Revolt. Jerusalem was stormed.  The Temple of Solomon was demolished all except for the Western Wall. Josephus was a Jewish insurgent who changed sides. He wrote an account of it called The Jewish War. He also wrote The Antiquities of the Jews which is a vital source. Both of these tomes are in Latin.

At Masada many Jews committed suicide rather than surrender. The Jews were scattered around the Mediterranean. This is called the Diaspora – the dispersal.

Some Jews clung on in Judea for another 50 years. A second insurrection led to them being expelled too.

The Diaspora 

Jews became a minority in other countries. They settled in Spain and other lands. They learnt other languages.

Christianity became the major language of Europe. Christianity had been founded by Jews. At first people even regarded Christianity as a form of Judaism.

Christians started to be anti-Jewish. They said that Jews had killed Jesus Christ. Christian governments passed laws discriminating against Jews. Guilds were open to Christians only. Jews were often forbidden to farm or engage in forestry. In Europe Jews had to lend money or deal in gold and jewels. This is why Jews sometimes have surnames like Gold, Goldman, Silver, Goldschmid, Goldsmith, Silbermann, Diamond and Kaufman (‘buying man’ in German).

The Bible forbade Jews to lend money for interest to other Jews. However, they were allowed to lend money for interest to non-Jews. Christians believed that they were the new Jews. Therefore Christians were not allowed to lend money for interest to their co-religionists. Those who lent money for interest were called ‘usurers’. The practice of lending money for interest is called usury.

Jews were often blamed for things. Christians false accused Jews of spreading bubonic plague. Jews were regularly set upon and killed by Christians. This particularly happened in the Rhine Valley of Germany in the 14th century.

There were pogroms against Jews. In England Jews were slaughtered in York and at Lincoln. In 1290 Jews were expelled by the Edict of Explusion.

There was the blood libel. Jews were blamed for unsolved murders. People said that Jews kidnapped and murdered a Christian virgin at Passover and mingled it with the flour to make their Passover bread.

In the Islamic World the Jewish community found more acceptance in the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages. Muslims accepted Jews as people of the Book.

Jews moved to far away lands such as India and China. They were a tiny minority in these lands.

In Europe Jews were obliged to live in a ghetto in each city. This was a small walled off area. They could go out in the day but had to be back by nightfall. Jews studied their religious texts intently. This became the most prestigious thing for a man: to be a biblical scholar.

In Venice there was foundry or ‘ghetto’ in  Italian. This was where the Jewish area was concentrated. That is why say ghetto for a poor or crowded area for an ethnic minority.

Poland welcomed the Jewish community. Poland had the largest Jewish community in Europe. 10% of Poland’s population was Jewish. Poland back then included Belarus, Lithuania and half of Ukraine. In time Russia conquered this and so Russia acquired a large Jewish community.

Out of the ghetto

In the 18th century some European lands removed their discriminatory laws against the Jews. Jews acquired legal equality and were allowed out of the ghetto. Some seized educational opportunities avidly.

The 17th century saw a growing fissure in the Jewish community. This was between Orthodox Jews and Reform Jews. Orthodox Jews kept strictly to the laws of Judaism and engaged with Gentile society only a little. Reform Jews believed that Judaism could be modernised and some rules did not need to be adhered to any longer. They became ever more integrated into Gentile society. Reform Jews are sometimes called Liberal Jews. Reform Jews became lax about eating kosher food. Some of them married Christians.

Orthodox Jews tended to wear dark clothes and grow beards. They wore skullcaps always. Reform Jews rarely grew beards and wore the same clothes as most people in their country. They only donned a skullcap in a synagogue.

Orthodox comes from the Greek words meaning ‘straight path’. Orthodox Jews believe they are on the right path and others have turned off in the wrong direction.

Reform Jews often prospered in trade and the professions. Some of them entered politics Reform Jews were usually attracted to liberalism and socialism. These movements had supported the emancipation of the Jews. Orthodox Jews treated politics with suspicion.

There are gradations within Orthodox Judaism. Ultra Orthodox Jews are sometimes called Haredim. They often wear black suits and sometimes dress like they are in 17th century Poland. They grow their hair long in front of their ears. That is because the Bible says ‘you shall not round the corners of your heads.’ They usually refuse to watch television regarding it as iniquitous at worst and at best distraction from their piety. They regard marrying out as an abomination. They want to win back Reform Jews to Orthodoxy.

Ultra Orthodox Jewish women who are married do not show their hair outside the home. They wear wigs. That is because a hair is a woman’s glory. She is not trying to be attractive to other men. Apart from that they dress very modestly. She will dress from her collarbone to her knees at least.

For Ultra Orthodox Jews marriage is an obligation and a couple should have as many children as possible. Ultra Orthodox Jews are the most conservative kind of Orthodox Jews. Ultra Orthodox Jews tend to dress like they are in 17th century Poland. They keep themselves to themselves. Ultra Orthodox study the Bible intensely. Ultra Orthodox Jews are unconcerned with amassing wealth. They tend to marry very young and have as many children

Ultra Orthodox women will not act on stage or sing in the presence of men. That is because the Bible says ‘the female voice is nakedness.’ Ultra Orthodox Jewish men do not cut off the hair in front of their ears. These is called their sidelocks. That is because the Good Book says ‘you shall not round the corners of your heads.’ These men often wear white aprons with tassles. They pray with phyllaceteries – that means leather boxes and leather straps wrapped around their arms and heads. The phyllaceteries contain tiny handwritten scrolls of the law. These are sometimes called ‘tefelin’.  This is because the Bible says ‘bind the word of the Lord to your head and to your arm.’ They often don a white prayer shawl when they pray.

Some Jewish houses have a mezzuzah on the doorpost. It contains a scroll of the law. People touch it as they enter and leave the room.

Some Jews sailed to America, Brazil, Argentina and other countries in the New World. Jewish people moved to Australia and South Africa in the 19th century.


A Jewish place of worship is called a synagogue. It is the Greek word for ‘assembly’. There is an ark (box) which contains the scrolls of the law. This is redolent of the Ark of Covenant. In Orthodox Judaism men and women must be physically separated in the synagogue. In Reform Judaism they can mingle.

When a Jewish boy reaches 12 or so he learns to read the Torah in Hebrew. When he does so in the synagogue for the first time it is a celebration called Bar Mitzvah (son of the law). He becomes a man in religious terms. In Reform Judaism girls are also allowed to do this and she is called Bat Mitzvah (daughter of the law).

A Jewish wedding takes place under a huppa (canopy). A glass is broken to commemorate the destruction of the Temple of Solomon. People say ‘Mazel Tov’ meaning ‘good luck’ because something lucky has happened.

A scroll of the law wears a jacket and breastplate. It might have crowns on it or symbols of that state. People do not touch the text with a finger when reading but use a metal pointer.

Some synagogues have flags in them. A synagogue will not have images of people or animals because that could be idolatry.

A Jewish religious leader is called a rabbi (teacher). Reform Judaism allows women to be rabbis.

An Orthodox rabbi’s wife is a significant figure. She regards herself as the leader of womenfolk and polices their dress and morality.

Sermons can be in Hebrew or the local language.

Some synagogues have a mikvah. This is a ritual bath for women after menstruation.

Jews often say L’chaim meaning ”to life” as a joyful motto. A popular Jewish boy’s name is Chaim (sometimes spelt ‘Haim’). This name means ‘life’.

Judaism has its own 12 month calendar. The Jewish calendar is lunar not solar. The Jewish year falls a bit behind the Christian year of 365 days because a Jewish year is shorter. Every fourth year the Jewish calendar has an extra month to catch up with the Christian calendar.

Hannukah is a Jewish festival a bit before Christmas. It is about candles. Jews only had oil for the candle to be alight for one day but miraculously it stayed aflame for nine days. A menorah is a nine branched Jewish candlestick which is lit at Hannukah. The menorah is a symbol of Judaism.

Pesach or Passover is the most important festival. At the meal a seat is left for the Prophet Elijah. A child has to ask the father ‘why is tonight different from every other night.’ The father then tells the tale of the escape from Egypt. The food is all significant. The bitter herbs remind people of bitter experiences.

In the runup to Passover Jews do not eat anything with leaven in it. That is because at Passover they had to leave quickly and did not have time to let their bread rise.

Purim is the festival when Jews celebrated defeating Haman’s plot.

Holocaust Memorial Day is another Jewish festival.

There is the Festival of Booths. Some Jewish people live in sheds or tents for a week as part of this.

Yom Kippur is in late September or early October. It is the Day of Atonement. It is just before the Jewish New Year. Yom Kippur is for the people to say sorry for their transgressions.

A ram’s horn is blown to signal the start of the Jewish New Year.



In the early 19th century some Jews made aliyah. That meant that they returned to Israel. It was then called Palestine and was part of the Ottoman Empire. Some Jews had drifted back over the centuries. But in 1798 Palestine was about 5% Jewish. The Palestinians were mostly Arabic speaking Muslims.

In the 19th century a Hungarian Jew called Theodor Herzl overheard a crowd chanting ‘Death to the Jews.’ Herzl believed that Jews would never be safe until they had their own homeland. He established the World Zionist Federation. His idea was called Zionism because he wanted Jews to settle around ‘Zion’ which is a mountain in Jerusalem. Some Jews disliked the idea. They were integrated in Western nations. They did not wish to be accused of divided loyalties.

Herzl wrote a novel about his vision of  Jewish homeland. It is entitled ‘Oldnewland’. Israel was the Jews’ old country and it would be their new home. He envisioned the Arabs welcoming Jews.

Herzl died before his ideas gained much ground. In the early 20th century Zionism gained support from Jews and some Gentiles.

Zionists decided they needed a language. Hebrew was an ancient tongue. It was written and not spoken. People read it aloud. But it was the logical choice as the language of a new Israel. Hebrew was then modernised and made to express modern ideas.

Perhaps ironically the German Emperor endorsed the idea of a Jewish Homeland. However, it seemed that Palestine would a province of the Ottoman Empire. Germany and the Ottomans had a good relationship at the time.

Some Jews wondered about living somewhere more fertile. Uganda was even touted as a solution.

In 1917 Palestine was conquered from the Ottomans by the British. The UK Government issued the Balfour Declaration: ‘His Majesty’s Government views with favour the establishment of Palestine as a Jewish national home. This is without prejudice to the right of existing communities.‘ The language was purposively ambiguous. Was this Jewish Homeland to be independent? Would it be a British colony? Or a province of an Arab State?  Britain came to rule Palestine.

In the 1920s more Jews particularly from Eastern Europe shifted to Palestine. The Palestinians became alarmed and started fighting the Jews.  The advent of Nazism made more Jews flee Europe. In the 1930s Jewish immigration spread up. The British were piggy in the middle.

In 1939 the UK declared it would withdraw from Palestine within 10 years. Much of the Arab world was incensed by excessive Jewish immigration to Palestine. They said the Palestinians would be driven out.

In 1942 the Holocaust began. A third of all the Jews in the world were murdered in three years. The Jewish community has only just recovered its number from that time.

Many Holocaust survivors wanted to head to Israel. They were afraid of staying in Europe. The British were trying to appease Arab opinion which said ”no more Jewish immigration to Palestine.” Zionist extremists attacked the British Army. The UK was outraged. The United Kingdom was the only country in Europe that had fought Nazi Germany from 1939 to 1945. The UK was the least anti-Semitic country in the continent. Moderate Zionists said that it was wrong to attack the British.

Much of the Muslim world expressed solidarity for the Palestinians. Non-Muslims Arabs felt likewise.

The United Nations drew up a plan for the Partition of Palestine. Two-thirds of the land was allotted to the Jews and was to be called Israel. The Palestinians got the rest. The Palestinians were irate because they were the majority and they got a third of the land only.

In 1948 the UK granted independence to Palestine and Israel. A war began which Israel won.

Israel declared its capital to be Jerusalem. The Palestinians dispute this and claim Jerusalem as their capital. Israel is the only Jewish majority country in the world. It is 75% Jewish. There are Christians, Muslims and others there too. Most countries have their embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv.

Only about a third of the Jews in the world live in Israel. That is at the conservative end of the definition for who is Jewish. The world Jewish population is anything from 15 000 000 to  70 000 000 depending on who you count as being Jewish.

Israel includes the Western Wall of the Temple of Solomon. People worship there. Some called it the Wailing Wall.






Stalin church army===============


new military church

stalin putin shoigu#

our crimea

sralin. repression.

closed almost all churches. exceuted thousands of proest monks and nuns.#

league of militant godless. gulags. atheusm

genocide. helped nazis. oil. basis nord. NKVD gestap meetings handovers#

german communists

meetong on the elbe. ukrainians. belarussians. moldovans. armenians. azerbaijanis. georgians. kazakhs

do not rewrite history

trump and corona ===============================


2 curses. at same time . exacerbate each other

trump is toxic. literally.

inject disinfectant. subnormal people. children. calling hospitals asking about it

skull on it

caocothes to lie. he wsas joking. did not speak to dr birx

ultra crepidarian.

self esteem. genius. milutary religion

people of faith. evolution. cliate change. racism. low cognitive skills. trust. gullble. trump uni#

conman. fraud.

slow motion car crash#

apopletic when asked a decent question

malice. defenceless against lies. lies are consequential.

psychology – lack of compassion. empowered idiocy

slogans . catchwords. MAGA. emotes, opines never analysi. no ratiocination

under his spell. mindless tools . incapable of perceiving they have been duped

wisdowm. foolishness is a choice for some wilfully purblind.

weaponised imbecility. stupidyty kills.

kills ethnic minorities i.e. democrats.

president spoke 13 hours on briefings. double time promoting hydroxychloroquine

will be upset by death of kim

bite the bullet. lockdown.

3 000 deaths a day 200 days.


India since independence



Founding the state

In 1947 India became independent. At the same time Partition occurred. This involved the severance of a large part of India which became a new country called Pakistan.

The Prime Minister was Nehru. He led the Congress Party. Congress had the most Members of Parliament. There were several minor parties.

Lord Mountbatten was Governor-General of India until 1948. He then left the country. C Rajagopalachari became Governor-General.

India was struggling with several major problems. The after effects of the Second World War were still being felt. India had to accommodate 7 000 000 refugees. They were Hindus and Sikhs who had fled Pakistan. Many of the refugees arrived ill or wounded after their nightmare journey. The creation of Pakistan had caused enormous dislocation. Two provinces – Bengal and the Punjab – had been cut in half by Partition.

In October 1947 Pakistani tribesmen had attacked Kashmir. Kashmir was a northern princely state. The Maharajah of Kashmir was a playboy called Hari Singh. Lord Mountbatten had tried to persuade him to opt for either India or Pakistan before August 1947. The maharajah had refused. He said that Kashmir would be an independent country. He was a Hindu who ruled a mostly Muslim state. The Kashmiri Army was small and lightly armed. It was easily pushed back by the Pakistanis. Some of the Kashmiri Army were of doubtful loyalty. A few wanted to join Pakistan.

The Pakistanis wanted Kashmir because of its Muslim majority. But not all Muslims wanted to join Pakistan. In Gujarat, Bombay Province, the United Provinces, Kerala and Bihar there were tens of millions of Muslims who stayed put in 1947. They were Indian and did not wish to be Pakistani. They saw no contradiction between being Indian and being Muslim.

The Maharajah appealed to India for military assistance to repel the Pakistani tribesmen.  They were advancing on Sriangar the capital of Kashmir. Lord Mountbatten said that India could only send its soldiers if the maharajah signed an instrument of accession – making Kashmir legally part of the new independent India. The maharajah did so.

The Indian Army was airlifted to Srinagar in the nick of time. The tribesmen were repelled. Then the regular Pakistani Army started to fight.

White British officers remained on in the armies of both India and Pakistan for a few years after independence. Therefore there were some Britons on both sides of this conflict. The Pakistani soldiers had all being part of the Indian Army till only two months before!

In January 1948 Gandhi preached reconciliation with Pakistan. The war against Pakistan was still ongoing. He announced a plan to travel to the new nation and work for peace and fraternity. Some Hindu hardliners were outraged by M K Gandhi’s words. They considered this to be aiding the infidel enemy. In January 1948 Gandhi went to Birla House to hold his vesperal prayer meeting. A man went up Gandhi and shot him in the chest. Gandhi exclaimed ”Hey Ram” (”Oh God”) before falling dead.

In 1948 the United Nations brokered a ceasefire. Pakistan had taken control of one-third of Kashmir. The Pakistanis called it ‘Azad Kashmir’ meaning ‘Free Kashmir.’ Delhi insisted that land was under illegal enemy occupation. Two-thirds of Kashmir remained with India. The ceasefire line was called ‘The Line of Actual Control’. That ended the First Indo-Pak War.

The UN said that the whole of Kashmir should be reunited under Indian rule and then a referendum held to determine the future of Kashmir. The Pakistanis said that the referendum should go ahead. India promised to do so but only after the Pakistani occupiers had left. Pakistan refused to budge.

Hyderabad was a large state in South India. The Nizam of Hyderabad was the prince. The Nizam was a Muslim who ruled a 90% Hindu people. He had refused to plump for either India or Pakistan. In 1948 Nehru decided he would simply absorb Hyderabad by force. The Indian Army entered the state. Some of the Hyderabad Army fought against them. The Indian Army quickly won. Hyderabad became part of the new India. Very few Hyderabadis objected. The same thing happened in a tiny state in Gujarat called Junagadh.

The armies of the princely states were integrated into the Indian Army. Some princes became MPs for the Congress Party.

In 1948 the last regiment of the British Army left through the Gateway of India in Bombay (Mumbai). It was the Somerset Light Infantry. A tiny British community remained of businesspeople and plantation owners.

  1. In which year did India become independent?
  2. Why did Pakistan claim Kashmir?
  3. Why was it easy at first for Pakistanis when they invaded Kashmir?
  4. What did the Maharajah of Kashmir do when his land was invaded?
  5. Who was the first Governor-General of India?
  6. What happened in Hyderabad?
  7. Where did the last British troops leave from?


A Republic

On 26 January 1950 India proclaimed a republic. It was 20 years to the day that Congress had stated its goal was not to be a dominion but to be a totally independent country. India thereby cut all links with the British monarchy.  This is celebrated as Republic Day with huge military parades. The Prime Minister delivers a speech at the Red Fort in Delhi.

That same year the Constitution of India was promulgated. It stated that India is a socialist republic and values equality.  Men and women having equality was a major step forward. The constitution was secular. That is to say it did not favour or disfavour any religion. The constitution listed 18 recognised languages. The only principally used as Hindi and English. The provinces were renamed ‘states’.  The Constitution spells out the relationship between the ‘Centre’ (i.e. the government in Delhi) and the government of each state. Every state has a chief minister – he or she is the equivalent of the prime minister of the state. The official title of the Prime Minister of India translates into Hindi as ‘husband of the nation.’ But is the nation female? Or is the PM necessarily male? The Constitution abolished the post of Governor-General and replaced it with President of India. He or she is elected by the legislatures of the states.

Dr Ambedkar wrote the Constitution. He was a Harijan – an outcast. He has overcome discrimination to achieve great things.

In the 1950s many language groups demanded a state for itself. The Government of India reorganised the states. However, India has 2 000 languages. It cannot have 2 000 states! The States Reorganisation Act was passed in 1956. States were created for major languages. Some states have several minor official languages.

The princely states were integrated into the states of India. The princes still carried some sway in their former princely states.

The government strove to reduce poverty and to spread literacy. At first progress was slow on both counts. Nehru wanted the country to industrialise.

India tried to have a planned economy. Socialism was supposed to be more equitable. People had to have licences to produce things. However, economic growth was slow. People called this period the licence Raj.

Nehru declared that India was neutral in the Cold War. He set up the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). He regularly met with other leaders of the NAM. He was a good friend of Tito who was President of Yugoslavia and Nasser President who was of Egypt.

India retained fraternal ties with the United Kingdom. The UK was still an important trading partner. Many spare parts for machines were imported from the United Kingdom. Furthermore, Britain was India’s main export market. Over time that importance to India diminished.

Many countries were still colonies. India pushed for decolonisation. Nehru attended the Bandung Anti-Colonial Conference in Indonesia.

Indira Gandhi (daughter of Nehru) rose up the ranks in Congress. She was an MP. She had split from her husband and had more time to devote to politics.

Prime Minister noticed that the wrong sort of people were joining Congress. Until 1947 those who joined were idealistic. They were committed to the party and were willing to suffer for their platitudes. By the 1950s Congress was ruling the party. Being a member of the party was advantageous and people did not have to sacrifice for the party. Some opportunists were joining the party just for personal gain. A few members of the party were betraying the principles of the party by engaging in corruption.

Hindus are divided into castes. Nehru believed that the caste system was nefarious and declared it abolished. However, a few people still believed in it and felt antipathy towards other castes. He set up a system for the ‘scheduled castes’. He was trying to help those who had been discriminated against.

Nehru had always admired the Chinese. China was ruled by the Communist Party. Nehru was not a communist but did not believe that communists were as wicked as Westerners said. In 1962 Nehru was shocked when China attacked India and took some of India’s northern territory.  People rounded on Nehru saying he had been naive to trust the Chinese so much.

In 1964 Nehru died. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered on the river in his native Allahabad.


  1. When did Nehru die?
  2. When did India become a republic?
  3. What did Nehru think was going wrong with Congress in the 1950s?
  4. What was the Non Aligned Movement?


After Nehru

A new prime minister took over. His name was Lal Bahadur Shastri (meaning ‘Red Brave Teacher’). Congress was still in charge. Shastri was a veteran of the campaign for independence.

In 1964 another war broke out over Pakistan. India achieved a decisive breakthrough in West Pakistan. Indian tanks approached the outskirts of Lahore – Pakistan’s second biggest city. Pakistan sued for peace and talks were arranged. Some Indians were frustrated because they believe they were on the brink of an outright defeat of Pakistan. Shastri was giving this away! Had the Indian jawans died in vain.

Pakistani and Indian delegations went to Tashkent in the USSR. Tashkent is now the capital of Uzbekistan.

The Soviets mediated the talks. This was called the Second Indo-Pakistani War that was ended.

At Tashkent a peace agreement was reached. Within hours of signing the agreement the Prime Minister of India died! The Soviets never released their autopsy. Shastri’s family suspected he was poisoned. His body was flown to India for his funeral. Who would kill Shastri? The Soviets often poisoned their enemies. Did the USSR want Shastri dead? Or was it Pakistan who killed him? Perhaps an Indian killed him because they disliked him for signing the peace agreement.

Indira Gandhi became prime minister. She was the second woman in the world to become prime minister.

Mrs Gandhi was more sympathetic to the USSR than some others. She remembered the USSR had pressed the British to grant independence to India. The USSR sided with India in every dispute. She was not a communist but believed that communism did some good. In some Indian states the communists won elections to head the state government such as West Bengal and Kerala. She visited Moscow several times. There is an Indian School in Moscow. The USSR provided economic aid. The Indian Armed Forces were also trained by the Soviets and bought Soviet equipment. Despite that India did not become a formal Soviet ally. India was also irked at the USA for helping Pakistan so much since the 1950s.

In the 1960s High Yield Varieties of rice were invented. These helped India’s Green Revolution. Rice yields increased. Famines were a thing of the past. DDT was used a lot to kills pests that ate crops. Poverty started to be reduce more. People had a bit more money to spend on other goods. The government was achieving considerable success in spreading literacy.

Not everyone in Congress was happy with Mrs Gandhi. Some of the veterans of the party felt she was overpromoted. They were disturbed by her authoritarian tendencies and her closeness to the USSR. Some people left Congress and set up their own party called Congress (Organisation). Indira’s party was called Congress (Requisitionist) to distinguish it. It was known as Congress (R) for short. Congress (R) was much bigger than Congress (O).

  1. Who was India’s second PM?
  2. When was the Second Indo-Pak War?
  3. What was the green Revolution?
  4. What was suspicious about Shastri’s death?



In 1971 many people in East Pakistan were unhappy with West Pakistani dominance. Some in West Pakistan despised the Easterners and called them racial epithets. A cyclone in the Bay of Bengal wreaked devastation in EP. WP reacted with indifference. The Awami League – an exclusively EP party – won Pakistan’s election. EP had a slight majority of the population. The Pakistani president refused to let the Awami League form a government. The official language of Pakistan is Urdu. In EP many people objected since Bengali was the majority language of Pakistan. Urdu was only the native language of a minority in WP and it was the native language of virtually no-one in EP.

Some Biharis had shifted to EP in 1947. For them EP was closer to their old home than WP. They arrived speaking Urdu. As Urdu speakers they were advantaged. This caused resentment in EP. They were seen as carpet baggers. The Biharis were dedicated to the concept of Pakistan. They had lost everything in leaving Bihar.

In 1971 India signed a treaty of friendship with the USSR. Military aid from the Soviets was to prove crucial.

In EP there was a huge insurrection. Some people from EP crossed into India for military training. The Indian Army provided this. Those men from EP who were determined to break their homeland away from Pakistan were called Mukti Bahini (”Freedom Fighters”). Mukti Bahini wanted to renamed EP ‘Bangladesh.’

Discontent in EP was blamed by the Pakistani Government on the Hindu minority who comprised 20% of the people of EP. Pakistan also said it was India’s fault. They said it was the machinations of Hindustan that has stirred up the trouble.They accused the Bangladesh Movement of being traitors. Islamabad said that Bangladeshi nationalism was un-Islamic. Bangladeshi nationalists said they were not hirelings of Delhi.

There were Hindus on the side of Bangladeshi nationalism. They could feel little allegiance to a country which they were not supposed to live in. They were discriminated against by law. Khawja Nazimuddin formerly PM of Pakistan had said their should suffer inequality. And he was from the East.

Most Bangladeshi nationalists were Muslims. They proclaimed their faith. It was a lie to say that they were apostates. Some mullahs issued fatwas to say that anyone who sought independence for EP was in effect a Hindu. As an infidel he could have be slain, have his goods pillaged and womenfolk subjected to ravishment.

The Pakistani Army recruited Razakars ‘volunteers’ in EP. They were Biharis and religious reactionaries. Madrassas sent fanatics to join Al Shams Brigade and Al Badr Brigade. Al Shams (the sun) was used for static duties. Al Badr was a little more skilled and went on many a razzia with the Pakistani Army. These were men with minimal military training. They wanted EP to remain united with WP because of Muslim unity.

The Pakistani Army was made up overwhelmingly of men from WP. The Pakistani Army committed many huge scale atrocities in EP. Tens of thousands of civilians were slaughtered. Many women were subjected to indecent crimes. The Pak Army targeted the intelligentsia. They raided Dacca University and slew professors and undergraduates. The aim was to lobotomise EP. In an era when many were illiterate graduates were exalted.

Millions of people fled EP into India. India could barely cope with the flood of refugees. Millions more were displaced within EP as they ran away from the ravages of the Pakistani Army.

The US Government refused to speak out about this despite President Nixon being informed by Americans in EP what was going on. Pakistan was an American ally and Nixon was not about to embarrass the Pakistanis. The US Navy to the Bay of Bengal to hint to India that the United States might help Pakistan if India invaded EP.

Pakistan blamed the whole thing on India for arming the Mukti Bahini. When British and American diplomats asked Pakistani Army officers about the many massacres of civilians committed by the Pakistani Army they met with an odd response. The army officers had no hesitation in acknowledging that they were slaying civilians on a huge scale. But they were puzzled that the British or Americans found this objectionable. ”We are not doing this to your people. War is war” was a typical response.

Some people from EP were in WP. Those thought to be sympathetic to Bangaldeshi nationalism were detained.

The world was aware of the situation. British and American diplomats sent reports to their governments saying that the Pakistani Army was committing numerous large scale massacres in EP.

Finally in December 1971 war broke out between India and Pakistan. India had massed troops on the border. Pakistan bombed India. President V V Giri proclaimed war on Pakistan. Within three weeks. Pakistan was thrashed. Over 100 000 Pakistanis in EP surrendered. That ended the Third Indo-Pakistani War.

The Prisoners of War were so detested by the local people that they might have been killed by the local people if the Indian Army did not hold the locals back. The Indian Army was unsure of its ability to protect the Pakistani Prisoners of War (POWs) so even allowed them to retain their weapons so the POWs could defend themselves from local people. The POWs were eventually taken to India and help in camps without their weapons.

Would East Pakistan come home to India? The calamitous error of 1947 could be corrected at least in the east. Mrs Gandhi said she would not forcibly reintegrate East Pakistan. She would allow its people to determine their own destiny. East Pakistan renamed itself Bangladesh. Bangladesh proclaimed its sovereign independence.

The Commonwealth of Nations welcomed Bangladesh in as a member. The Pakistanis took umbrage at this. Pakistan stormed out in high dudgeon.


  1. Why were many in East Pakistan unhappy with how they were treated?
  2. What was the Mukhti Bahini?
  3. Why did India intervene in East Pakistan?
  4. What was East Pakistan renamed?
  5. Why did Pakistan leave the Commonwealth?

Mrs Gandhi triumphant

After this resounding victory over Pakistan the prime minister of India was incredibly popular. She held an election and her slogan was ‘Banish Poverty!‘ Congress won by a landslide. After her victory some people said that Mrs Gandhi was more arrogant than Queen Victoria. Some Congress people were overenthusiastic and said ‘India is Indira’.

In 1972 buoyed up by her election victory Mrs Gandhi abolished privy purses for princely states. The Republic of India would no longer recognise their titles.

Mrs Gandhi’s antipoverty schemes seemed to yield few dividends. Many complained that a lot of officials in her party were taking bribes. More people left Congress (R) in disillusionment. Among them were some luminaries of the anti-colonial struggle.

India began working on nuclear weapons. Several other countries had them. This would be the ultimate guarantor of Indian security. Some people objected to this. It was a colossal waste of money especially when many lived in penury.

Mrs Gandhi’s younger son Sanjay was invovled in politics. His campaign to limit the number of births was unpopular. Sanjay also demolished some slum areas to rebuild better housing. But in some cases the better housing was never constructed.

The PM’s elder son Rajiv had dropped out of Cambridge. He became a pilot for Air India. Finally he too went into politics. His wife Sonia was upset by that.

A Muslim was elected president. Congress was pleased because this proved that India did not discriminate against minority religions.

In 1974 oil prices quadrupled. This hit India very badly. There was widespread suffering. Not many people had cars but trucks were used to transport food and other goods. As truck and ship transport become much costlier so did food and everything else. A minority of people had electricity in 1970s. The electricity mostly came from burning oil. Electricity became a lost more expensive. This hit factories and other places that needed it.

Then a court ruled that Mrs Gandhi had used electricity without paying for it as part of her 1972 election campaign. She was removed as an MP. But she remained as Prime Minister?

  1. Why did Congress win in 1972?
  2. What happened to Sanjay Gandhi?
  3. What happened with oil in 1974?
  4. What happened to Mrs Gandhi in 1974?

State of emergency

Mrs Gandhi declared a state of emergency in 1975. The Supreme Court backed her up on this point. Habeas corpus was suspended. Censorship was introduced in the press.

Opposition politicians spoke out. They said that Mrs Gandhi was creating a dictatorship. They said her rule was worse than that of the British.  Non-Congress politicians called upon the army and police to refuse to obey orders from Mrs Gandhi. The opposition said that Mrs Gandhi was an illegal prime minister. Opposition politicians were arrested and imprisoned without trial. Some people in Congress were deeply unhappy with the way that Mrs Gandhi was governing the country. A few people resigned from Congress and joined minor parties.

Foreign commentators said that democracy had been nice while it lasted in India. But it seemed that India was becoming a dictatorship like almost every other country in Asia.

In 1977 it was time for another election. Many expected that Mrs Gandhi would cancel it and seek to extend her state of emergency. To almost universal surprise she did neither of these things. The elections took place on schedule.

A coalition of opposition parties had been cobbled together. It was called Janata Dal. Its slogan was ‘Banish Indira’. In 1977 Janata Dal won and formed a government. Moraji Desai became Prime Minister. Indira lost her seat.

The parties that formed Janata Dal soon started quarreling with each other. Some parties withdrew from Janata Dal. Moraji Desai knew he could no longer govern. He was obliged to call another election.

  1. What happened with the state of emergency? Five marks.
  2. Who won the 1977 elections?
  3. Who became PM in 1977?
  4. What went wrong with Janata Dal?

Indira is back

In 1980 Congress led by Indira Gandhi won again. Mrs Gandhi was back as Prime Minister.

Then Indira’s son Sanjay was killed in an air crash. She was distraught. Her other son Rajiv was less politically ambitious than his brother. Nonetheless he became seen as his mother’s heir.

The Muslims of the Subcontinent got a country. The Hindus were 80% of India’s people so some said that the Hindus got a country. Some Sikhs said ‘what about us?’ Should they not have a country? Only 2% of the Indian people are Sikhs. The Sikhs live overwhelmingly in Punjab. Some Sikhs said they were discriminated against.

In the late 1970s a small scale insurrection began in Punjab. The Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) was the insurrectionist organisation. The KLF aimed to create an independent Sikh country called Khalistan which means ‘Land of the Pure’ in the Punjabi language. Oddly ‘Land of the Pure’ is the same meaning as Pakistan. The KLF was proclaimed illegal as a terrorist organisation. The Indian Army did battle against the KLF. 20% of Indian soldiers were Sikhs. This was problematic because some of them had divided loyalties.

Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was the doyen of the KLF. This swivel eyed loon murdered Sikhs of other denominations.

Mrs Gandhi insisted that Sikhs were not mistreated. She noted that the President of India Zail Singh was a Sikh.

Pakistan saw a golden opportunity. The loss of East Pakistan suppurated with them. As Islamabad saw it India had caused Pakistan to lose its eastern wing. Pakistan said now it would be payback time. Therefore Pakistan armed, trained and funded the KLF also providing the KLF with a safe haven.

Pakistani support for the KLF was bitterly ironic. There had been very bad blood between Sikhs and Muslims. Hundreds of thousands of Sikhs had been killed in the Partition of India. They had seen the vivisection of their historic heartland.

In the 1980s the KLF rebellion became very serious. The Indian Army had difficulty containing it in the Punjab.

In 1984 the KLF led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale holed up in the Golden Temple in Amritsar. This is Sikhism’s holy of holies. The army was in a bind. The KLF had hundreds of combatants armed to the teeth in the Golden Temple. This could not be tolerated. On the other hand the army was reluctant to fight them there. If the army fought there the KLF said that the Indian Army had desecrated the holiest site in Sikhism. That was the KLF’s plan. It was a win-win situation for them.

Since the British Raj the Government of India tread carefully on religious matters. The military and police did not go into places of worship in uniform. A place of worship provides its own security.

The army surrounded the Golden Temple and asked the KLF to surrender. The KLF gave their answer from the barrels of their guns. A battle broke out. The fight raged from 1 June to 8 June. There were hundreds of pilgrims inside the Golden Temple. Were they there willingly or as hostages. The army asked that they leave. They did not.

The Indian Army sought British advice about how to assault the Golden Temple. This is surprising since the Indian Army was perfectly capable of doing this would outside guidance.

The army took the Golden Temple by storm. It was a battle royal. Hundreds of KLF combatants were killed. The buildings were damaged. Bhindranwale was shot dead.

Sikhs around the world were incensed that there had been fighting in the Golden Temple. Few of them blamed the KLF for turning it into an armed camp.

The celebrated Sikh writer Khushwant Singh returned the medal granted to him by the Government of India. He said that he did this in protest at the attack on the Golden Temple. He likened it to Jallianwala Bagh which had occurred not a stone’s throw from the Hari Mandir.

Mrs Gandhi had some Sikh bodyguards. Some of her advisers told her not to because these men could not be trusted. The prime minister chided these people for their wicked suspicion. She insisted that she trusted her life to these Sikhs. In October 1984 two Sikh soldiers decided they would exact vengeance for the Golden Temple Battle. They shot Mrs Gandhi dead.

One of Mrs Gandhi’s assailants was shot dead by a loyal solider. The other was wounded and arrested. The wounded man was later put on trial for murder. He was found guilty and hanged.

Within hours of Mrs Gandhi’s slaying her son Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as prime minister. He immediately called an election. Congress won by a mile.


  1. When did Indira become PM again?
  2. Who was her second son?
  3. What did the KLF want?
  4. Why did Pakistan back the KLF?
  5. What happened at the Golden Temple in 1984?
  6. Why was Mrs Gandhi shot?



Some people had been infuriated by the murder of Mrs Gandhi. Unfortunately, a few Hindus blamed Sikhs in general. At least a few hundred Sikhs were killed in reprisal despite Rajiv Gandhi pleading with people not to.

The KLF was soon crushed. Very few Sikhs now want the Sikh area to breakaway from India.

Relations with Pakistan improved. Pakistan and India even co-hosted the cricket world cup.

Rajiv saw that the licence Raj was a bad thing. He started to introduce free market reforms. Too much government control had stalled the economy.

Despite moving away from socialism India maintained cordial ties with the Soviet Union. Rajiv Gandhi visited the USSR. India approved of the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan.

By the late 1980s there were numerous corruption scandals in Congress. Some members of the party accepted bribes to make unfair decisions. There was a large scandal about the purchase of Bofors guns from Sweden for the Indian Army. Some members of Congress were disillusioned and left to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It means ‘Indian People’s Party’. They made a point of being especially Indian by not using an English word like Congress did for their name.

There was a conflict in Sri Lanka in the 1980s. India sympathised with the Tamil minority there many of whom wanted an independent country. Those who fought for this called themselves the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).  Eelam was their proposed name for a new homeland. For short they were Tamil Tigers. There are many more Tamils in India than in Sri Lanka. In the State of Tamil Nadu there are tens of millions of Tamils. India was tempted to intervene in the Sri Lanka Civil War.

An agreement was reached with Sri Lanka. The Indian Peacekeeping Force  (IPKF) would go to Sri Lanka to disarm the Tamil rebels. IPKF would separate the Tamils from the Sri Lankan Army.

The IPKF started clashing with the Tamil Tigers. The Tamil Tigers refused to disarm. The IPKF said that if the Tigers did not voluntarily hand over their weapons then the IPKF would take them by force. A conflict started anew. India found itself mired in Sri Lanka. IPKF was not keeping the peace? Eventually IPKF withdrew. The conflict in Sri Lanka resumed. Many Indians blamed the PM for this disaster.

In 1989 a conflict in Afghanistan started to end. Many Islamic fundamentalists had been fighting in Afghanistan. They were buoyed up by their victory over the Soviets. Some of them were Pakistani. Some of them moved to attack the Indian Army in Jammu and Kashmir. It is a conflict which rumbles on to this day.

Various terrorist groups attacked the Indian Army in Kashmir. These were Hizb-ul- Tahrir (Party of Liberation), the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Force and Lakshar e Taiba. They were armed, trained, sheltered and funded by Pakistan. The Pakistani Army even crossed the Line of Control. In the high mountains not many soldiers could be supplied. The fighting between India and Pakistan remained small scale.

Hindu civilians were killed by terrorists in Kashmir. That was because Hindus would always want to be part of India. Many of them fled to other Indian states. Moderate Muslims were also slain if the fundamentalists suspected them of wishing to stay with India.

In 1989 there was an election. Congress was bested. A new government was sworn in under V P Singh. Rajiv Gandhi remained leader of his party. V P Singh led a fissile coalition. Just like in the 70s Congress believed that its opponents would soon start to squabble. Before long that happened. The government fell.

In 1991 another election was called. Rajiv campaigned zealously. The wind was in his sails. He looked set to be swept to victory. The that May a suicide bomber killed Rajiv and 50 other bystanders. It was a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber. Some of those involved in the conspiracy were caught and later hanged.

P V Narasimha Rao became the leader of Congress. He led the party to a smashing victory. There had been a huge wave of sympathy behind Congress.


  1. What does BJP mean?
  2. What did Rajiv achieve?
  3. What went wrong with the IPKF? Five marks
  4. What happened in Kashmir from 1989 onwards? Five marks.
  5. Who killed Rajiv Gandhi?


Congress is back

Rajiv Gandhi’s son Rahul was studying at Harvard. He was granted an Italian passport under an assumed name. He was Italian on his mother’s side so entitled to Italian citizenship. The false name was to protect him from assassins.

The Indian economy started to grow rapidly in the 1990s. The government’s poverty reductions paid off. Cars were becoming affordable for middle class people. State governments subsidised basic foodstuffs like rice and vegetables. This allowed people a disposable income for consumer goods.

The Rashtriya Swamesevak Sangh (‘National Volunteer Union’) is a Hindu organisation that dates back to the British Raj. The RSS had pushed for India to become an explicitly Hindu country. Pakistan is officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Why should India not officially be Hindu Republic of India?

The RSS was concerned about former Hindu temples. The Mughal Empire had ruled India from 1527 into the late 18th century when they were superseded by the British. The Mughals were Urdu speaking Muslims. Some of the Mughal emperors had been viciously anti-Hindu. Aurangzeb was an emperor who was especially oppressive to Hindus. He had seized many Hindu temples. They were either razed to the ground or else rebuilt as mosques.

Some of the RSS joined the BJP. A very prominent figure in the BJP was Lal Krishnan Advani. Advani had good reason to be a Hindu nationalist. He was born in Karachi. At the Partition of India the Advani family had fled for their lives. The BJP did not endorse all of the RSS’s agenda but was undoubtedly influenced by it. The RSS argued that the former Hindu temples that had been turned into mosques centuries before should be confiscated without compensation and returned to the Hindu community.

Ayodhya is a particularly sacred spot to Hindus. Emperor Babur had sequestered the temple and demolished it. He was the first Mughal emperor. A mosque had been built in room of the Hindu place of prayer.  The mosque is called Babri Masjid. This really rubbed the Hindu nose in degradation. The RSS agitated for the site to be returned to the Hindu majority. Thousands of RSS activists camped out outside the mosque. Many gathered materials to be used for the new temple: bricks and concrete. Feeling was running very high across India. The police had to surround the mosque to protect it. Most of the police officers were Hindus. They were in Uttar Pradesh – one of the most Hindu states. The Hindu police officers were insulted and called betrayers of their faith. It stretched their loyalty to defend the mosque. Some of the officers will have wondered if they were wrong to be protecting Babri Masjid.

Many Hindus argued that the site had been stolen from them and ought to be returned. That location was unimportant to Muslims. But it was extremely important to Hindus. Muslims had thousands of other mosques. They could rebuild the mosque elsewhere. Hindus said that under Muslim rule the Hindu nose had been rubbed into the dirt. Was it not time for Hindus to rise in dignity? Some scorned Nehruvian secularism as dishonouring Hinduism.

In 1992 a group of RSS and other hardline Hindu activists burst into the Babri Masjid. The mosque was demolished by them. They were jubilant. The police managed to regain control of the mosque area and arrest those who had destroyed it. Therefore the RSS and other kindred organisations were unable to build their temple.

There were riots across India after the destruction of Babri Masjid. Many Muslims were irate that their place of worship had been demolished. The Kashmir Conflict was heating up. This inflamed communal tensions further. The RSS accused the Muslims of being fifth columnists.

Pakistan gleefully exploited the controversy. The Pakistanis said that the Ayodhya dispute proved that India was anti-Muslim. This justified the creation of Pakistan so they said. In reprisal 30 Hindu temples in Pakistan were attacked. Pakistan’s tiny Hindu community felt very beleaguered. In other Muslims lands Hindus suffered a backlash.

Most Muslims voted for Congress. Virtually no Muslims voted for the BJP.

In 1993 several bombs exploded in Bombay in one day. Hundreds of people were killed. The Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility. They said they had set off the bombs in reprisal for the demolition of Babri Masjid. Some Bombay gangsters liked Dawood Ibrahim were believed to have been involved. Ibrahim later turned up in Pakistan. He runs a criminal syndicate called D Company.

  1. Why was Rahul given a false name?
  2. What does the RSS believe in?
  3. Why did some Hindus want Babri Masjid demolished? Five marks
  4. What happened regarding Babri Masjid? Five marks.




trump urges people to inject disinfectant ====================


April 24 not april fools

inject disinfectant

lead by example

disinfectant will prevent pregnancy, grey hair and growing odl.

toxic imbecility.


what scientific basis? after briefing with docs

21 min news conference. did nt say it wa sa joke

coroan is no laughing matter.

said it was a gag. blinking like mad. more flagrant falsehoods.

the war on trtuh. evidence. reason, science.

no apology.

pernicious. criminal insanity.

as much harm in as few words as possible

imagine if Obama had done it

careless talk costs ives. this is a war.

mental contortionists republicans – saying trump is ok

trump said he will only call back governors if they heap praise on him – so he can use it in election

owes money to bank of china. sucking up to cathay


RIP Eric Anderson ===================


Dr W E K Anderson has died.

Sir Eric Anderson was born in Edinburgh in 1936. His family were kiltmakers. He attended one of the city’s best schools. Then he went on to read English at the University of St Andrews. After that he went to Oxford. He enrolled at the most Scots college in the university: Balliol.  He did a D.Phil on the novels of Sir Walter Scott. Scott was a native of the same city as Eric. A teacher who served under Eric said the man was a romantic right winger which explained his enthusiasm for Scott.

It was time to choose a career. He turned his hand to teaching. In those days independent schools were almost totally outside the purview of the government. There was no need to do a teacher training course. He taught at Gordonstoun and other independent schools. One of his pupils at Gordonstoun was the Prince of Wales.

In the 1970s he taught at Fettes College. He was housemaster of a certain Tony Blair. At Fettes Eric’s head was Anthony Chenevix-Trench was a former headmaster of Eton.

In 1980 Eric was appointed head master of Eton. He was the first men to be so appointed who had not been an undergraduate at either Oxford or Cambridge.

In 1994 he was due to retire. He had done much for rowing. Therefore a tribute was planned. He was brought somewhere on the river and presented with a jolly boat. He then took this and rowed his wife Poppy back to school. He rounded the corner at Lower Hope to be greeted by about 200 rowing boats of all sizes. Every boat Eton had was on the river to greet him! VIIIs, IVs and single sculls. It was all a complete surprise to him. I had been kept secret from him. The announcement was verbal not written so we would not see anything.

There was then the most horrific traffic jam on the river. For the only time in my life I saw a IV that had capsized. The occupants giggled as they doggy paddled in the Thames.

In 1994 Eric stood down as head master. No other head has served that long since. He was the longest serving head in the 20th century which is a measure of his success.

presence. authoritative. bass voice. mild North British accent.  church of scotland.

son daughter. grandson.

gauche. more comfortable with an audience.

candid. class of 91. people not religious.

lincoln. hotel.


caring. taught lessons. drugs. expulsions. no caning.

approachable. reasonable.

retired 2009.

RIP Fr David Johnson


The Reverend Father David William Johnson M.A. (Cantab) has died at the age of 66. Johnson was a troubled and troublesome figure of fun. His death in an Abingdon nursing home ends a maelstrom of mirth, mischief and malice. David will be remembered as very unwise, very unholy and very dirty old man. He was a most scabrous, splenetic, squiffy, scapegrace, sybaritic, scandal-struck scoundrel. David was so often uproariously funny and outrageously rude. His liver shall be buried separately with full military honours. His rabelaisian rodomontades, xenophobic screeds and waspish wit were inimitable. David was a most irreverent reverend. As David liked a joke at anyone else’s expense this obituary shall continue in that spirit. Here was a priest who committed every sin in the Decalogue except perhaps willful murder. Verily, David was the Anglican answer to a Borgia pope. The main consequence of his death is that Guinness’ share price has plunged!

Rev Fr David Johnson was a puzzling and wearying amalgam of good and bad traits. I shall not stint from showing him warts and all. To show the whole man I have to put the bitch into obituary. It was as though his entire life was a harlequinade of performance art. There are those who say nil nisi bonum de mortuis. David can scarcely be said to have been oversensitive. Therefore it is meet to write candidly about his riotously funny life. He was never one to pull punches. David always hit a man when he was down. His Edwardian dress sense and studied mannerisms will be sorely missed. It was as though he lived a life of conscious self-parody. He was playing up to the stereotype of a dirty vicar. It seemed as if he had stepped from a production of Gilbert and Sullivan.  He really ought to have been a music hall impresario. Therefore, I offer my remembrances of this man whose virtues and vices were always on a grand scale. He did nothing by half measures – especially drink.

It is staggering that a man of such puerilities and grotesqueries had the appellation father. He was as unpaternal as may be imagined. 

Despite being a priest he was a man for whom the seven deadly sins were his ten commandments. Envy, lechery, gluttony, sloth, pride, vanity – these were a few of his favourite things! It is a minor miracle that the NHS managed to keep someone alive after such a madcap career of sozzled iniquity. As David liked to quote Cyril Connolly, ”whom the gods wish to destroy they first call promising.”


David was born at Leicester in the year of grace 1953. He grew up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. His father was a small time civil servant. His mother was a Scots housewife. Despite being half Scots he identified as completely South British. David had one sister to whom he was not close. His relations with his family appear to have been cool. When he was born his father asked the doctor ‘does he have footballers’ legs?’ He did not measure up in this and other regards. His pater has been hoping to sire a sportsman. In other regards David seems to have disappointed his parents. David only stood 5’3” and was not well built. Being a sporting disaster was a cross to bear in football obsessed Newcastle.

David was also a Conservative. His father was a Labour man and his mother was a Liberal. That was because she said one must always stick up for the underdog plus Jo Grimond was nice. His political orientation was another bone of contention at home. Being a teenage Tory in a rock solid Labour city was another difficulty.

The only anecdote that he related to me of his childhood was of being told they were going to have a picnic. As a little boy he was exhilarated by this. At the last minute he was told they were cancelling it. Why? To teach him to cope with disappointment. Whether they were so cruel I do not know. But it clearly signifies his lack of love for his parents.

Many of the apercus that follow come from the horse’s mouth. David was rarely guilty of veracity. Therefore you must take these with a large pinch of salt. If these stories are false they still reveal much about the man. This is what he would have liked to have happened and what he would have us believe.

The family belonged to a Nonconformist church. David found it judgmental and uninspiring. He came to the Church of England which seemed life affirming to him. It was filled with light and colour and everything uplifting and positive. He remained a zealous Anglican for the rest of his days. The Evangelical wing of the church did not hold much appeal for him with its tendency to teetotalism. His sexual awakening cannot have endeared him to a strain of Christianity that was so censorious. 

Dame Allen’s School was the one that David attended. Most boys there spoke with mild Geordie accents. David affected a stratospherically posh accent. He explained this by saying his headmaster was Churchill’s aide de campe and his mother was an elocution teacher. In the end he sounded more like a Dalek.  Thought when he wanted to he could put on a Geordie accent so thick as to be impenetrable. He spoke in the BBC accent circa 1939. It was indicative of his melodramatic and endlessly creative character. That was what he was to do for the rest of his life. Flamboyant and sanguine; he was a fireball of energy and emotion. He was forever reinventing himself and playing a part as if on stage. So much of his persona was performative.

At school his textbooks were from the 1930s. They assured people that there could never possibly be another war because of the League of Nations collective security. As David later commented, ‘well ha, bloody, ha.’

Growing up in the shadow of the Second World War he was acutely aware that most of his schoolfellows were the sons of veterans. His father on the other hand had spent the war as a functionary. That must have taken some living down. Presumably he was bullied. By early adolescence he was a homosexualist in self-understanding. How much of a choice was it to be gay? If he were a hetero he would not have got many girls being the runt of the litter as he was. Despite his diminutive stature he never lacked for self-assurance. It simply never occurred to David that people might be displeased to see him. 

David won a twist and shout competition as an adolescent.  That was principally due to elan vital and not technical accuracy. He was also a champion debater. I surmise this was more owing to ebullience and panache then logical reasoning.

An undersized, queer, bookish and bespectacled sort who is useless at games is apt to be bullied especially if his father was a ‘shirker’ in the war. I wonder if alcohol was him self-medicating for childhood angst and sorrow. He was not given to self-pity. But in a rare moment of introspection he told me that his problem was that no one had ever loved him. In fairness he never seemed to have loved anyone else in either the romantic or the familial sense.

If he had been a hetero he would not have got far. A weedy, midget alcoholic was unlikely to be a lothario.

Though David was a fantasist and pathological liar it is telling that he did not embellish his background. He unfailingly kowtowed to the quality. Was it not tempting for him to invent a more chequered or upper crust lineage for himself? 

As an adolescent he began his lifelong romance with alcohol. He tried to conceal this from his parents. But he was found out. He joked, ”My mother never knew I drunk until one night I came home sober.”


David was accepted at Cambridge to read Theology. He went up to Selwyn College in 1973. Despite his lack of height and his modest background he was blessed with boundless self-confidence and a very forward nature. It simply never occurred to him that people might not be pleased to see him. He threw himself into the Cambridge Union. This suited his talents to a T. Though no Shakespearean he surely believed that all the world’s a stage.

When a dosgbody at the Union he was once tasked with meeting a speaker for that evening at the railway station. The speaker was Rev Martin Smyth MP who was an Ulster Unionist. It being the height of the Ulster Troubles the young David was petrified that he would be assassinated by the IRA.

The young David also joined the Conservative Association. David was an ardent monarchist and a sentimental imperialist. At this stage he also developed his lifelong devotion to the demon drink. He also acquired a reputation for being a crashing snob, a shameless social climber and incorrigible name dropper. If it was his aim to make a splash he certainly succeeded. David was also an incurable rouee and rapscallion. Bibito ergo sum ought to have been his motto.

For the first time David was able to mingle with jeunesse doree. It must have been quite an eye opener. I doubt family finances had run to anything in the way of dash. His contrived upper class accent never slipped. He spoke in the clipped cadences and lingering languorous vowels of a 1940s newsreel.

As an undergraduate he had a reputation for being of a bent, well,… bent! Homosexuality had been de-criminialised only a few years before. It was still very much disapproved of and could be an impediment to many a career. As a Ganymede he found many of his ilk at Cambridge. The expression ‘raving homosexual’ might have been invented for him. Despite his incessant filthy talk he did not claim to have bedded many males. Though he said he had some physical encounters so far as I know he never had a boyfriend.

By his own admission David was not too scholarly. But he just about got through the course. In his holidays he worked as a civil servant. It was the sort of virtuous tedium that he reviled.

At Cambridge David was fond of playing pranks on people. According to himself he tricked some freshers into providing urine samples and leaving them on the desk of an unpopular don. He was to continue such japes throughout his life.

One of David’s best practical jokes was the faux ceremony of the bathing of the high professor. People processed in full academic regalia to the Cam where a don ritually dipped one toe into the water. He also chivvied bemused Japanese tourists into standing on one leg for a minute’s silence. 

The acme of his time by the Cam was his election unopposed as President of the Cambridge Union. He served in Easter term 1976. His opposite number at Oxford was Benazir Bhutto who according to himself he came to know well. She later became the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

When David was President of the Union he colluded with the Oxford Union ‘kidnapping’ him. This was a time honoured practice at the farewell debate: the last debate of the term. By tradition the farewell debate is a light hearted debate full of in-jokes. It is all self-indulgent and sparsely attended. Some ‘speeches’ are actually songs. 

The Oxonians drove over to Cambridge and seized him at water pistol point in a public place. David was then driven to Oxford and ‘held prisoner’ at the Oxford Union for a few hours while generously plied with food and booze. The debate commenced that evening. The climax of the debate was having David wheeled into the chamber tied up in a supermarket trolley. The prisoner was then set at liberty to participate in the debate. 

Cambridge exacted revenge by ‘abducting’ David’s Oxonian analogue: the Honourable Rupert Soames. Hon Soames just so happened to be Churchill’s grandson. This was a fact that gratified David no end.  Hon Soames was then tied up and placed in the window of an academic outfitters as though he were a dummy. 40 years after Ruper’s kidnapping he was still on speaking terms with David. 

An exact contemporary of David’s at Cambridge was one Michael Portillo. This London grammar schoolboy was at Peterhouse. At that time the college was a hotbed of homosexuality known as Poofterhouse and the undergraduates – all male – were known by girls’ names. Portillo was known as Polly since it was similar to his surname. By the time I met David people were speaking of Portillo as the Tories great white hope. But Portillo was completely anonymous at Cambridge. He spent most of his time with a don with whom he was in a sexual relationship. David was truthful enough to say he had never heard of Portillo when at Cambridge. It would have been tempting to invent some scandal about Portillo when Portillo was the supposed Conservative saviour. According to David the young Portillo spent most of his time abed with a middle aged don.

As finals approached he was told in advance that they had decided to award him a 2:2. He was no intellectual nor was he diligent. David was more bibulous than bibliophile. But they could not very well fail 25% of the people reading his subject. There were only four on the course. This tale, like the others, comes courtesy of the late D Johnson of happy though inglorious memory. As a real pissant it might have been an uphill struggle to secure a good degree.

Johnson’s sister was at Cambridge at the same time as him. They spent no time together. She was a typical left winger and had no time for his reactionary penchant. Apparently she speaks with a slight Newcastle as one would expect. His sister married a man of the same attitude as herself and they had two children. She went on to become a model civil servant. It was the sort of blameless bourgeois domesticity that David found insufferable. Not for him suffocating conformity!  As an Anglican priest he is supposed to bless marital bliss. To make matters even worse his sister was virtuous enough to qualify as a doctor in middle age.

At Cambridge David got to know Henry Bellingham. This Old Etonian and former Guards officer was the sort of person David adored. Bellingham was later elected MP for Walpole’s old seat: King’s Lynn. Bellingham was of course not a Whig though!

Whilst up he voted Yes to staying in the EEC. He did so because he believed it would lead to cheap booze. At least he had his priorities right. He said France’s motto was liberty, equality and adultery. His own appeared to be vulgarity, venality and drunkenness.

By his early 20s David had started out on a well worn path for a young fogey: High Church, High Tory and High Camp. It was a path from which he never once deviated.

Despite being a practising Anglican David seems to have been utterly devoid of Christian morality or charity. He quoted with approbation a Cambridge contemporary whose motto was: marry for money and fuck for fun. Another of his undergraduate friends was Tucker. David unfailingly called him ”Fucker Tucker.”

What was he to do when he graduated? He applied to Cuddesdon Theological College. The chaplain of Selwyn did not approve of David’s antics. But he loathed Cuddesdon even more. To spite Cuddesdon he provided David with a magnificent reference. The glowing reference did the trick. The aim was to destroy Cuddeson. David did not quite manage it. He tried bloody hard though! An alcoholic catimite is probably not what the Church was hoping for.

What else was David to do? He lacked the intellect or conformity for law. As a teacher he would have been laughed out of the classroom. He did not have the mathematical ability or work ethic for finance. His low boredom threshold ruled out the civil service. As for the diplomatic service: one day with him as a diplomat would have caused the Third World War. 

Into the Church

What attracted him to a clerical career? It might have been the dressing up. I never met a man who so thrilled to dress up. The Church offered him incomparable fashion opportunities. It is probable that he perceived an ecclesiastical career as a 40 year long fancy dress party.  The Church of England with its established status and connection to royalty was irresistible to such a snob and name dropper. It also appealed greatly to the poseur and the showman in him. He adored the sound of his own voice. The church guaranteed him an audience. David was an attention addict which explains his flamboyant sartorial style. It was also a comfortable berth for someone not cut out to make it in a competitive career. David does not seem to have had any genuine spirituality. He almost never talked about religion. I suspect the topic bored him rigid. He would have considered Jesus a long haired leftie drip. In point of fact I never heard him mention Jesus and he seldom alluded to God at all. ‘Meek and mild’ was not exactly David’s style. He was never one to hide his light under a bushel. His reverence was as unchristlike as can be imagined. Not for him a life of sacrifice and self-abnegation. 

David presumably saw High Anglicanism as a life of lace dropped sodomy. This is the gay wing of the C of E. That is not to say that all or even most High Anglican clergy but some are. Gays were very think on the ground in the Low Church back then. There was something indubitably effeminate about the prissiness of High Anglican chasubles, bells and smells etc…

The High Church was David’s faction within Anglicanism. The iconography and nomenclature of Anglo-Catholicism held an irresistible appeal for him. He was all right with latitudinarians. However, he felt disdain for the Low Church. He scorned the Low Church as do gooders, killjoys and loonies. He was also scathing about them for being prudish and regarding his sexual inclination as deviant. By contrast David’s theme tune might as well have been penis angelicus! David felt very much at home with fellow incense wagging misogynists. 

It was the frippery, social status and performance aspects of being a clergyman that gratified David. The Church held an unparalleled appeal to a man of his raging vanity and irrepressible theatricality. David always craved an audience. He had a very forward personality. The Church provided him with a stage to project his self-importance. It also provided him with ample scope to pursue his ruling passions: alcoholism and homosexual ribaldry. To a man so prurient there was no other choice to be made. 

If David worshiped any deities they were Dionysus and Mammon. Though only half Scots he was double Scotch both in his attitude to alcohol and money. His taste for strong water was unquenchable. His moral philosophy appeared to be: I drink therefore I am.

Cuddeson is a few miles outside Oxford. There a grace was said ”may the boys of this college all be learned, wise and sober virgins by the grace of Christ Jesus. Amen”. Learned, wise, sober or virginal could never be said to describe David Johnson.

There was a fire walking duty at Cuddesdon. The college was of course all male: this being long before the days of women priests. Every seminarian had his own room. David liked to the ring bell in the middle of the night. A corridor with 8 bedrooms in it would have 12 students running out of it? Because the male students were bedhopping. The seminarians were often semenarians. 

David was openly gay in middle age. But he never seemed to have had a boyfriend. He vouchsafed that he had once been to a male brothel in the 1980s. As a punter not a rentboy! He recalled the youths there were all colours, shapes and sizes. When I asked him about it again he changed his story and said it was ”nother priest” who had been. I distinctly recall who he had shortened ‘another’ to ‘nother’ in that phrase.

In the 2000s David told me, ”I do not have sex because it destroys relationships. It creates all sorts of petty jealousies and tensions.” The truth may have been more prosaic. By then he was so unappetiting not even an alley cat would bed him. His years of overconsumption of alcohol had presumably rendered him incapable of rising to the occasion. He could of course have made his orifices available. So far as I know he was not active by then. He acknowledged sharing a bed with men. ‘And when you wake up in the morning it is nice to wank off.’ He appears to have had no predeliction for buggery.

In the 1970s he had to be a little discrete about his orientation. It would have been frowned upon as a perverse proctological proclivity. Homosexuality was seen as deviancy at the time. In 2000 he said to me that a third of the Anglican clergy were gay. This was surely a huge overestimate. For David gaiety and gayness came together. He was self-confessedly ”as queer as a three pound note.” David was very much the homosexual’s homosexual. Did I mention that he was gay?

When the Church told David ‘to convert the heathen’ he appears to have misheard this as ‘to pervert the heathen.’ If so then he did so with missionary zeal. I would guess he was a catimite. He quipped that when two gays met and found themselves to be takers rather than givers it was called a ”catamite-astrophe.” So far as I am aware he nver had a boyfriend and never wanted one.

Despite never being a transvestite there was something undoubtedly effeminate about his manner. His timbre, his movements, his languid diction and his fixation with clothing were all unmanly.


After Cuddesdon David was ordained a deacon. He moved to London. There he continued his life’s mission of vulgarity, venality, alcoholism and buggery. He was attached to a parish in Fulham. The first time he served communion he made the pope look like Paisley by comparison. His vicar did not approve of his style and did not attend.

David was not just homosexual he was also homosocial. He did not seem to have any female friends. The one exception was Christine Hamilton. He told me, ‘I would very much like to have married Christine Hamilton. And I did marry her: to Neil!’ Indeed he performed the wedding ceremony of what later became one of Britain’s most notorious couples. Christine was a domineering sort. Did he want a dominatrix? I never knew him to express admiration for a woman’s looks even in an aesthetic sense. He really was a 24 carat gay. Pharasaism was not one of his besetting sins.

It was a matter of much amusement that some of his Cantabrigian contemporaries were struggling to make it in London. These men of thrusting ambition often found themselves underperforming. Rather than reside in the more chi chi boroughs they were forced by pecuniary circumstances to subside in London’s more unsalubrious districts. David skewered them by saying that they would live in Clapham and pronounce it ‘Claam’ to pretend it was somewhere posher or live in Stockwell and call it Saint Okewell. He loved to puncture pomposity despite being egregiously stuck up himself.

Some of David’s Cambridge friends started to get engaged. In those days a man could only become affianced to a female of the species. Some of David’s circle he had assumed were ‘not the marrying type’ in the parlance of those lavender days. But many a man whom he assumed to be a confirmed bachelor became plighted to a young lady. David expressed his cynical ‘surprise’ when this happened. He told me an umbrella was the wedding present that one gave to a queen whom one knew to be marrying simply to disguise his homosexual preference. If a man married a woman for this purpose she was known as a ‘beard’. The trouble was the luckless woman might not even know her husband was gay. Many gays were deep in the closet in those days. It is hard for many people to realise now just how socially unacceptable homosexuality was in the 70s and 80s. Though not a crime it was certainly a sacking offence in most jobs. 

In 1977 he was enthused by the Silver Jubilee. His local publican was an Irish republican. Despite that he bedecked his establishment in Union Flags. David was ever the passionate monarchist.

The Queen was semi-divine in Johnson’s opinion. His other deities in his pantheon were Oenone and Bacchus. Remarkably even in his age he was not especially florid face. 

Whilst in London David produced a spoof edition of the Church Times which is the C of E’s house journal. His publication was entitled Not the Church Times. But apart from the title it was so realistic it could easily have been mistaken for the genuine article. The font and house style were imitated perfecltly in every particular. The headline was bemusing: ‘Church to covenant with Vanuatu headhunters.’ There were many more hair raising and howlingly funny stories like this. It treated the enthronment of a new bishop of London as the most awe striking event since the Resurrection. It was all part of his irrepressible urge to make elaborate practical jokes. He was blessed with an outsized sense of the ridiculous. 

From 1982-87 David worked at Church House.  He was on the Board for Mission and Unity. This is the nexus of the Church of England. He handled relations with the Catholic Church and the black churches. He called them ‘papes and nigs’. It is astonishing that someone as deliberately offensive as David was put in charge of such a delicate issue. Fr Johnson could never be accused of cultural sensitivity. He referred to the Roman Catholic Church as ”The Italian mission to the Irish in this country.” He explained, ”the Italians preached Catholicism but the Irish believed it.” One of his party pieces was to sing ‘Doin the Vatican Rag’ by Tom Lehrer. So often he was a reactionary provocateur.

Fr Johnson found Nonconformists insufferably tedious. He also had to handle relations with them and did not always do so with finesse. He found them frustrating as they were not easy to bait. 

Whilst at the Anglican nerve centre he was a minor canon of Westminster Abbey. He liked politicking. He has status, money, access to booze and boys. The AIDS crisis in the 1980s might have caused him to become a little more circumspect.

As David liked to recall he acted as a chaplain to the Brigade of Guards. He said, ‘I served with but not in’. At least he was honest enough not to pretend to have been a proper forces padre.  I am sure that David was an ornament to the Household Brigade! He remarked that the Irish Guards were the most fun of all the regiments of Foot Guards. He was told when attempting to enter the officers’ mess a sergeant quipped to him in a strong Irish brogue , ”You’re not enough pissed to come in here.” That was astonishing given his insatiable thirst for booze. Bearing in mind he weighed 8 stone ringing wet his capacity to consume alcohol without getting blind drunk was staggering.

His reverence spent some time in Rome. He was thrilled to be presented to His Holiness the Pope. The grandiloquence and the sartorial pretentiousness of the Catholic Church was almost irresistible to him. He must have fantasised about donning the jupes of a silk scarlet soutane and riding side saddle up the Quirinial Hill. How David would have adored being a prince of the church. There is a shade that he hankered after called crushed cardinal. He would have been in his element wearing the red hat. Being borne aloft in Sedia Gestatoria must have been his wet dream. Did his aspirations ever rise to the Throne of St Peter? Humility and mortification of the flesh were not for David!

The Church decided that it was time that David put his dynamism and gregariousness to use in a parish. He was interviewed for a number of posts. ”They have a hilarious way of asking you if you are gay. The interviewer embarrassedly studies his fingernails and says ”So do you have an emotionally supportive relationship?”. I reply, ”Yes, he is big, German, musclar and hairy and he licks me all over in bed.” And the interviewer is a bit shocked until I say, ”I have a German shepherd.” ” Evidently this cut the mustard.

Quite why he was let loose on a rural parish I am unsure. Had he blotted his copybook so badly in London that Church House wanted to get rid of them? They palmed him off on another diocese. Leicestershire was about to get a lot noisier!

A parish

In 1987 David was sent to a parish in Leicestershire. He had to drive around. His alcohol abuse became an unmanageable problem. Before long he was frequently preaching to the police. He was repeatedly pulled over by the police for drink driving. ‘Eventually the magistrates and I agreed that I would not drive anymore.’ David was unashamed about his dypsomania.

Cottaging for the odd blowjob cannot have endeared David to his parishoners. It was discomobobulating to be propositioned by a man of the cloth particularly if you were touching cloth. Curiously, seeking rough trade in a public lavatory was not considered exemplary conduct in the Church. Alcohol also made him the soul of indiscretion about his frolicsome activities. 

On the issue of same sex attraction David was not a hypocrite. He scorned those who engaged in queer bashing. He noted that the books of the Bible that railed against homosexuality also permit slavery and forbid wearing clothes of more than one fibre.

Fr Johnson invited the Right Honourable Enoch Powell MP to preach at his church.  David liked to refer to Powell as ‘the prophet’. It was less than 20 years since Powell’s notorious Rivers of Blood tirade. Nearby Leicester had a lot of Indian immigration. Some thought that Powell would harp on about the wickedness of immigration. In fact he never mentioned the subject. This was the only Sunday the church was packed. The sermon was recorded. Listening it to again later David noticed that there was not a single um or er at all.

At dinner Johnson had hired a cook and butler to serve them. He did not wish to miss a moment of Powell’s conversation.

David later recalled that when another Tory MP came to preach at his church only five people came ”and they were all my servants.” In David’s fantasy he was a well to do 19th century vicar from a landed family.

Colour blind from birth; David once got himself into hot water because of his debility. He bought an RAF overcoat (insignia removed) from a military surplus shop. He went to France to represent the Church of England at a conference. On return to the United Kingdom he took the train home. Aboard the choo choo a man came up to him and said, ”It is fucking disgusting when bastards like you wear that coat.” David suspected he was being accused of wearing an RAF coat to which he was not entitled. David defended himself, ”I shall have you know that I used to be a chaplain at RAF Abingdon so I am entitled to wear this coat.” The man explained, ”I am an expert in Second World War memorabilia. That is an SS overcoat.” David was perplexed, ”but it is RAF blue.” His interlocutor corrected him. ”Are you blind? It is black. It is an SS overcoat!”

In the early 90s he cultivated a beard that he said made him look like George V. Sitting in the Oxford and Cambridge Club one day a man saw him and remarked loudly, ‘these fucking Jews get everywhere!’  This tale may well be apocryphal.

When the Church of England considered ordaining women David was adamantine in his opposition to this. For him the ordination of females was the final horror. However, when the change came this confirmed misogynist did not cross the Tiber. Why would he became a Catholic? ”I do not want to play second fiddle to Fr Seamus O’Pig ”, he said tartly.

David’s contribution to literature was The Spiritual Quest of Francis Wagstaff.  The tome was co-authored with Toby Forward. It consists of silly letters they sent to various public figures. It was David’s answer to the H Rochester Sneath letters of the 1950s.

Francis Wagstaff was a figment of his mischievous imagination. The character lived in Yorkshire and was part of the equally fictitious Old Northern Catholick Church of the East Riding. He described a vagans patriarchate run out of a semi-detatched house. Wagstaff wrote to numerous well known Anglican clergymen. These people replied to Wagtsaff assuming him to be a real person. It was so typically David. His magnum opus is as droll as it is iconoclastic. A letter to a bishop compliments on his toupee and asks where he bought it. The prelate writes back to say ”my hair is my own”. Wagstaff writes once again to say ”surely Christian charity comes before personal vanity?”. In another epistle Francis Wagstaff writes to say to a certain bishop that he met Shagger Reilly who knew the bishop when he was in the Royal Navy. Shagger says the bishop is ”a short arse – forgive the serviceman’s slang.”. It goes on in that vein.

The episcopate failed to see the funny side. Unsurprisingly, the book was not greeted with universal acclamation by his flock either. Some of the proceeds went to charity. This must have been the only time he ever gave a penny to a worthy cause.

As he celebrated one marriage service after he had ”dined well” he pronounced the happy couple man and wife. The groom then asked, ‘May I kiss the bride?’. David did not miss a beat: ‘Why not ? You’ve been fucking her for three years.’

Father Johnson’s thirst grew wver more unquenchable. He had drunk the county dry in terms of alcohol and semen. This was not quite what the old maids of the shire were hoping for in a cleric. 

By the 1990s David’s antics had been brought to the attention of the bishop. His bad language and over drinking were becoming an embarrassment. David was lent upon to retire on ”health grounds”. He was 41! His ill-health was a code word for his raging alcoholism. You would not get such an overgenerous settlement these days. People said that the C of E was paying him off to keep his mouth shut. But stuffing his mouth with gold did not work. He kept blabbing about scandals in the church. He described John Witheridge as ‘a frightful shit.’

The Church tried to help him dry out. He was sent to a clinic to enable him to give up alcohol. Part of the rehabilitation course was going to a pub and ‘learning to say no.’ The trouble was as soon as he set foot in any pub in Leicestershire the barman would start pouring a Guinness extra cold unbidden. He was widely recognised and his order was known.

Fr Johnson was moved to Cogenhoe, Northamptonshire because he had totally alienated his parishoners in Leicestershire. In Northamptonshire he proved to be a walking disaster zone. Though bonhomous he did not love his fellow man. He was the most sociable misanthrope you could ever meet. Running a parish requires a great deal of tact and diplomacy. These were qualities in which he was sorely lacking. Funerals threw his indifference to the suffering of others into embarrassingly sharp relief.

Fr Johnson’s mordant wit meant he was resourceful in terms of one liners or impersonations. These were uncalled for in a rural parish. Jono sometimes forgot he was in a church and not on the standup comedy circuit. People wanted compline not cabaret.

Decades later Fr Johnson asked a friend, ‘Do you think I would have done better at ministry if I had actually liked people?’ Therein lay the rub. He was fundamentally unsuited to being a parish cleric.

The reverend became choleric and cantankerous when his flock did not take kindly to what may charitably be called his eccentricities. Nor did he like rusticating. The one saving grace of bucolic life was getting sheep as natural lawnmowers for his church.

A sybaritic sodomite was possibly not what the very staid elderly parishioners were looking for. Stories surfaced of him getting shit faced in local hostelieries and loudly giving graphic accounts of his incredibly varied gay sex life. If even only a fraction of this were true then it was enough to make an acidulous Anglican apoplectic. Being a Ganymede was not the done thing in Middle England. It might be hard to remember now how radically attitudes have shifted in a quarter of a century.

Asked for his shortest joke he would say, ”He is called the Archbishop of Canterbury.” David pubished a remark about the archbishop (George Carey) ”His schemeing ambition is concealed behind imperfect dentistry.” This hilarious and highly personal insult was not a model of Christian brotherly love.

The Church of England had campaigned zealously against apartheid. Typically in his attention seeking perversity, David said the demise of apartheid was to be mourned. He was an outspoken Tory in the 1980s. This was the time when the C of E produced ‘Faith in the City’ which was a laceration of Thatcherism for causing mass unemployment. Fr Johnson had slaughtered just about every sacred cow that the Church of England had. 

The Church of England found Jono excruciatingly embarrassing. Furious complaint inundated the bishop. The MP for Rutland and Melton, Alan Duncan, was one of those who said to the bishop that Jono needed to be given the old heave ho. Duncan had been President of the Oxford Union just after Jono’s time as his analogue at Cambridge. Duncan had always found Jono too fond of his own voice, unfunny and totally disreputable.

Just before he was removed from his house he got his hands on a photo of his bishop holding up a pint. David had a farewell card printed with this photo on it and a quotation from the Book of Kings, ‘David fled and made good his escape.’


At the positively juvenile age of 41 he was put out to grass. The Church of England let him live in a house in Oxford rent free. Why did he choose to live there? He was ‘not going back to Cambridge and being a professional old boy’ he said. Professional old boys are frightful bores – he said. Oxford was almost the same thing. It is a convivial city and full of like minded people to David. Never once did he voice the least gratitude for the unexampled liberality of the settlement that the Church had granted him.

If the Church believed that by retiring David he would mellow with age then it was sorrily mistaken. David had not the slightest intention of toning down his lifestyle. He blazed a trail for every reprobate. The reverend carried on his notably harum scarum existence. Did he give up the demon drink? Far from it. At Oxford he was very seldom stable. Perhaps once he disgraced himself by appearing in public sober.

The porter soaked popinjay washed up in Oxford. But in terms of his opera buffa he was only just beginning. His inventiveness, energy and meanness knew no bounds. His persiflage was too much for many.

The Oxford Union because the focus of his uber extroversion. He was a soi disant people hater but he could not live without an audience. He became known to a generation for Oxonians for chewing the ear off anyone who would tolerate him. This tireless chatterbox was soon put on an alcohol ban.

David was still fit as a fiddle. He was perfectly capable of working. He found minimum wage work as a tour guide.

Being contra mundum was his trademark. Oxford is 75 miles from the nearest salt water but David still named his house Seaview Cottage. 

Another Anglican said to me that the thing to do for the Church was to unfrock David. The C of E wanted to avoid the negative headlines about defrocking him. However, this other chap argued that the Church should simply have taken it on the chin. The embarrassment of that was less than this loon traipsing from pub to pub in Oxford regaling people with scatological stories and racist epithets all while togged out in full clericals.  The Church’s name was dragged through the mire every time he did this. This caused contempt for the Anglican Church. One Anglican I know crossed the Tiber because of David. This man said that if David represented the Church of England then he would rather become a Catholic than stay in the same church as David. David was as unpriestly as may be imagined. The Church of England was constantly left with egg on its face due to David’s racist rodomontades, ultra Tory philippics and perverse sexual ravings. People did not expect to meet a clergyman who drank them under the table.

More than one undergraduate told me with absolute conviction that David had never been a priest. They said he was a mentally ill man who dressed up as a priest and had even fooled himself into believing that he was one. People simply could not believe that a real priest or even an ex-priest would do this. No one less suitable has ever worn the sacerdotal breastplate. David was a living argument for anti-clericalism. 

In Oxford David was an indefatigable evangelist. He preached a gospel of sodomy and sybaritism. Here he found fertile ground for his unique brand of Anglicanism. It was in no small measure down to him that the Oxford Union became the most outrageous gay bar in Britain. It was his natural habitat and even hunting ground.

It was as though David was playing up to the stereotype of a priest with a penchant for every vice. He made me call to mind the Dirty Vicar Sketch by Monty Python. The man was sordid: bereft of virtue. This bon vivant was in the Church for himself.

In 1995 we went to a Japanese restaurant on the 50th anniversary of Victory of Japan Day. A waiter asked David what he would like. ‘An apology!’ he demanded. He was known to refer to the Japanese as ‘snub nosed, slit eyed little yellow bastards.’ Him calling anyone else ‘little’ was the pot calling the kettle black.  David could not in truth be described as politically correct.

At Oxford David sought out posh freshers. In his late 40s he friends were aged 19. He liked an ingenue. He went weak at the knees for a peer. His reverence always made a beeline for Old Etonians. I could not help surmising that he dearly wished he had been to Eton.

Be it understood that David was not predatory and certainly not a pederast. He mostly got off on merely talking dirty and that was to adults. His vice was liquor not licker.

Knowing David to be dead against female clergy, when he was sent to Oxford the Church put him under the superintendence of a woman priest. David took it as a calculated insult. But even he had to admit that Rosie was reasonable and competent. Yet he scornfully called her ”the priestess”. She did not object to him being a sot and a sod.

As soon as David left home each morning he would walk down to the Union or some other city centre pub in the forenoon. He never took the bus or cycled. The day would be spent drifting from one licensed establishment to another and passing the time of day with whoever’s each he could chew off. There was no purpose or routine other than that. He was profoundly bored and under stimulated. That is partly why he grew ever more mischievous. The devil makes work for idle hands. If you are an alcoholic with nothing to do what are you going to do other than drink? By the late 90s he was on an alcohol ban at the Union. It was never rescinded. 

Fr Johnson held court for OUCA loons. He was their guru. David had been like them: a young man in a hurry. Like him they were attitudinally and sartorially Edwardian. They pined for an irrecoverbale age of imperialism. 

Luncheon found the vicar in an alehouse. He passed the remainder of the day cruising from one licensed establishment to the next. Along the way he would fortify himself with a few liberal swigs from his hip flask. Fr Johnson really was a boozy beggar. But he was not always sloshed. He did not often get drunk. It was just that he never got sober. He could stick it away! The decades of heroic drinking meant that he could outconsume a man twice his size and not be visibly under the influence. He was not permanently pissed. He only drank the juice of the barley when awake.

The reverend father took a lively interest in what he unironically called ‘colonial affairs’. His favourite President of Zimbabwe was the Reverend Canaan Banana. That was partly because he was a churchman but also because of his cartoonish name. Banana’s gayness was another plus.

The vicar addressed the Union and joked ‘Tony Blair invited me to Downing Street. He said ”Dave – you have done more than anyone else for taking alcoholism, foul language, sexual deviancy off the streets – and putting them back into the church where they belong!’‘ David never objected to being identified as a beery swine. Nay, he reveled in it. He was always proud of what he was. His life of unexampled iniquity was spoken about by MPs because he knew a few.

On one occasion I introduced him to someone, ‘This is my brother in law James’ . Next day he called me up to say he had spent all night leafing through Burke’s peerage trying to find which peer of the realm had my surname. He had misheard me saying ‘This is my brother Lord James.’ He was a crashing snob and always kowtowing to the nobility. When I introduced him to Countess Tolstoy he took her hand and gracefully executed a deep bow. I have never witnessed such an obtrusive display of deference to a peeress. Even when stotious – which was any time he was conscious – he was unfailingly obeisant towards the titled. Perhaps he felt they could get away with being an epicurean like him.

In 1999 a ball was held at the Oxford Union that involved seafood being served. A certain undergraduate from St Peter’s ordered oysters and left them in front of a radiator for a few hours before they were served. People unwittingly ate these oysters when they were served later. The results are best not described. Fr Johnson fell victim to food poisoning. He decide to enact vengeance on the witless boy who had accidentally given him food poisoning. Jono sent a parcel to the Union with it addressed to ‘the Secretary. Personal. To be opened strictly only by the secretary.’ The house manager unwisely opened the parcel. He found something made of cloth. Putting his hand in further he felt something squishy and his nostrils were affronted by an overpowering stench. David had sent in his shitty underpants! I later asked him if he really had sent in diarrhoea smeared Y fronts. ‘They were slightly soiled’ the drunkard said grinning wickedly.

In 1999 he held a large celebration for the 20th anniversary of his ordination. By that stage he was already an Oxford character. He was a legend among OUCA loons. I idolised him. His acolytes were often treated to his repertoire of stories. But not everyone was enamoured of his middle aged adolescent posturing, foulmouthedness and alcoholic antics. As one Oxonian said to me of David ‘he is a warning!’ David was a middle aged man who had not grown out of freshers’ week. He was known to his acolytes as ‘the Vicar of Cowley’. Some of gli cognoscenti called him ‘Jono.’ 

OUCA appointed David dean.  He said grace at OUCA termly dinners. Successive presidents of OUCA were at pains not to let him anywhere near the speaker for fear he would mortally offend a Tory grandree. If people were hoping that ‘Father’ Johnson would be a father figure they were to be disappointed. He often attended port and policy. We were often treated to a racist rant by the man in the dog collar. In 2010 OUCA was striving to shake off its bad image. David simply had to spoil this. A journalist came up to see how OUCA had reformed. David was asked how inclusive OUCA was. He answered, ”We are very inclusive these days – look at this boy here. He is Welsh but we let him in anyway.” He was probably not even in a crapulous state when he said that.

In December 1999 at the farwell debate Fr David sang ‘I was a fair young curate then.’ He had a listenable tenor singing voice and carried off his performance with aplomb. Apart from his voice the only instrument he played was the pink oboe.

As a wag David liked writing satirical letters to national publications. The Telegraph published a letter by him saying he was joint master of the Cowley sewer beagles. Like Tony Benn he immatured with age. The reprobate never grew out of a puerile desire to create shockwaves and feel them reverberating back to him.


The Millennium

David would sing for his supper. This gay gadfly was an amusing raconteur. He would regale us with hilarious reminiscences and outrageous accents all embellished with plenty of invention. But this middle aged man demanded that teenagers buy him drinks. Anyone undergraduate who pleaded poverty would be greeted with the words ‘You mean bastard’. By contrast generosity was not among his virtues.

Fr Johnson cadged drinks. He often asked people for cash loans. He would feign amnesia about repaying them. When finally shamed into repaying people he would shout ‘just paying my rentboy’ as he handed over the readies. 

Perhaps David intended to set himself up as an Anglican answer to Monsignor Gilbey. Gilbey died shortly after David moved to Oxford. Fr Gilbey was the Catholic chaplain at Cambridge for decades. Monsignor Gilbey was a guru for young fogies at Cambridge including when David was up. David Johnson liked to dine out on tales about the redoubtable Monsignor Gilbey and his antics. I often heard his repertoire. However, Fr Gilbey was seldom if ever inebriated.

As for his homosexuality by the 2000s he was a non playing captain. Rumour has it that he went to bed with an undergraduate in the 90s whom David later accused of having lumpy sperm. That is the only Oxonian whom I ever heard had touched Johnson’s Johnson. It was as though he was in a Carry On film. I wondered if David consciously played up to the stereotype of the dirty vicar.

In 2002 I filmed him saying in a restaurant, ‘I scored with Steven Doody in a public lavatory in St Giles at 3 o’clock in the morning.’ People’s jaws dropped when they saw the video.

David made cameos in College Girls. This was a documentary on ST Hilda’s broadcast in 2002. He said the election at the Union would be tightly fought and tightly fraught. 

The reverend claimed that a certain gentlemen of colour with dreadful dentistry offered him oral ministrations. Fr Johnson rebuffed him, ”not with teeth like those.”

Fr Johnson was amused by Doody. Doody wished to be what David was. But times had changed and people like Doody did not get into the Church anymore. Jono had apology cards made for Steven: ‘Steven Philip Doody deeply apologises for…’ and then a series of boxes that could be ticked: outing you, exposing himself, passing out or can’t remember.

On one occasion there was a queeny strop in the Macmillan Room. Doody berated David  ‘You are a disgrace to the cloth.’ David retorted ‘well you never even had the cloth.’ The door of the room had been opened and then let swing back to David. David had his back to it. The door pushed David several inches. He was so tiny and light that it swept him along. It is etched onto my memory.

Anthony James (deceased) said of David ‘what he wants is a big 6 foot guardsman to fuck him’. That would have been a social as well as a sexual fantasy. One of David’s favourite parlour games was to conjecture as to which STDs people had. David never evinced the slightest sympathy for the sick or the poor or anyone in suffering. He could not abide do gooders. The vicar scorned philanthropy. He boasted that he never gave a brass farthing to any charity that helped Commonwealth countries. His logic was that these countries wanted independence and they got it. So they could stew in their own juice.

The Oxford Student made the mistake of claiming he had been unfrocked. It was then obliged under threat of libel to publish a grovelling apology. It wrote a piece entitled ‘Without Prejudice’. It wholly and unreservedly apologised for the offence it had caused. The publication accepted that his reverence was a priest in good standing with the Church of England and with specific permission from the Lord Bishop of Oxford to conduct worship. It further accepted that he had never been unfrocked nor had any processes ever been entered into to unfrock him.

The reverend tickled me pink with Irish jokes. Fr Johnson often told me  that I was a bog trotter. And he liked me!  Jono told me he would go to the jungle with me. I assumed that to be flattering. He liked to make catty comments about women’s looks. David had a great gift for mimicry. This was. He was more than passable as accents. As an impressionist he took off facial expressions and hand gestures as effectually as he did the voice and speech patterns. His thespian talents were largely squandered. It was his metier manque.

David spent the days cruising the pubs. He would regale anyone who would listen with his witticisms. This washed up porter soaked popinjay was not everyone’s idea of good company. In the Union Bar he was forever persiflaging people. He ribbed girls about their visible panty lines.

They say a man should only drink when the sun crosses the yardarm. This was the only thing that David stuck to religiously. Except in this case that meant sunrise rather than sunset. I saw him drink beer at 8 in the morning. He was endlessly self-indulgent. His reverence was as fond of his morning dram as he was his night cap.

Of an afternoon he would haunt The Jolly Farmer or the Castle. Those being the only gay pubs in town. There he  sought refreshment as he perused morally disimproving literature called ‘Boyz’.

David hung around the Oxford Union. He was elected to standing committee in 1999. The former President of South Africa came to visit. F W de Klerk addressed the Union. Fr Johnson asked an overly long question. Years later F W de Klerk returned and recalled his previous visit. ‘There was a turbulent priest.’

Another reason that David haunted the Union was the Bursar. Lindsay Warne was the only woman he desired. He may have perceived a dominatrix in her.  David’s sexuality can perhaps be explained by citing his favourite Reverend Sydney Smith quotation, ”There are three sexes: men, women and priests.”

Understandably David was not everyone’s cup of cha. Some considered him noisome, tedious and tiresome. His attention seeking got up people’s noses. Many dismissed him as a poison dwarf. His living in the past made many despise him. Some loathed him for bringing the C of E into disrepute. 

David was always up to mischief. The old rascal ordered Gay and Lesbian Christian Association Literature to be sent to the home address of a troubled fresher.

I shall never forget the first moment I clapped eyes on him.  It was an emergency debate in my first week. The motion before the Oxford Union was that ‘This House Believes that student protest has no effect.’ He made quite an entrance swishing into the debating chamber in full clericals. He gave a speech in which he recalled an apocryphal tale about someone seeing a boat of Papua New Guineans row down a river in a film shown in the 1950s. An Oxford wag shouted ‘well rowed Balliol’. This was an allusion to the considerable number of our Commonwealth cousins at that college. The vicar claimed that this was the only time that student protest had ever had any impact.

I was transfixed as soon as I saw Fr Johnson. I had to find out who he was. I came to know him very well over the next few years. I was staggered to hear a priest swearing his head off and regaling me with vulgar quips. But he was often deliberately offensive. His schadenfreude was unseemly for a putative man of God. He was a living profanation of the priesthood. His wildest antics were often whilst wearing clericals including a dog collar. He often indulged in racist screeds and foul mouthed tirades.

David’s voice was like that of a conceited duck. It was slightly nasal and unwavering. He corrected my pronunciation of Kenya and said it was ‘KEEN-  YAH’. I was soon part of his banter.

By the time I met David was already well established as a dirty old man. This was a magnificent accomplishment by the age of 46. Fr Johnson was a paragon of vice. I could not believe my hear when I heard a priest complete with a dog collar spewing out sexual jokes. In the corridor of the Union I was speaking to him and the Laird of Camster. David said something about ‘grabbing his balls’ and then moved towards to me making a grabbing gesture but deliberately not touching my chaste loins. I backed off hastily. ‘Don’t back away from me!’ he chided. The Laird was in hysterics and said to Fr Johnson ‘well you are the one raving about grabbing people’s balls.’

The reverend father struck me as being like a bitchy version of Kenneth Williams. David was a comedian more than a priest. Much of his mirth was autoparodic. How much of this was consciously so?

Before long David was my confessor. I thought it meet to have a confessor more depraved than myself. He affected to take this duty seriously. It came across to me that he was playing a part. It was as though being a priest was a theatrical role for him. He did not come across as genuine. But he gave it his best shot. I got my iniquities off my chest. He would say, ‘God with all his universe to worry about does not care about a silly little thing like masturbation. But you have to make up with your parents.’ Fr Johnson was not sedulous about his sacerdotal duties but I shall say this for him: he never betrayed the seal of the confessional. I give him his due! This was quite an achievement for a drunken fart. He joked that he had to bite on a lemon to stop himself chortling at my confession. At the end of the sacrament he would always say, ”and pray for me a sinner also.” At least he admitted that he was iniquitous too. I never knew him to offer any orisons.

David swore by the Daily Torygraph. He was always to be seen carrying a carefully folded copy.  I daresay he read it a good deal more than the Bible. In fact I hardly ever heard him allude to Bible. Nor did he know a great deal about politics. He had gone into the Church for worldly and even fleshly reasons. When I once dared broach a religious issue he scorned me, ”There is always a religious nut, isn’t there?” provoking gales of laughter from all around.

Despite consuming copious pints of porter he was not portly. He ate sparsely and walked everywhere. Moreover, David was more than partial to one of Ireland’s most splendid inventions: whiskey. It is odd that as he had such a taste for Liffey Water he never went to Ireland. He had a drop of the crature every morn.

Around that time David spoke of his aspiration to be elected to Parliament. He said he would do it either as a Tory or Monster Raving Loony. Was there a difference? It was typical of his buffoonery.

David was quintessentially British. I never heard of him ever going abroad. He was a monoglot and to some extent a xenophobe. From 1995 he seldom left the Thames Valley. He was an unabashed Islamophobe. He detested women wearing a veil and expressed a desire to rip it off.

When hopping into a taxi David often found it was driven by a man of Pakistani extraction. Upon learning the cabbie was from Pakistan, David would boast of his friendship with Benazir Bhutto. Pakistani opinion on this lady was sharply divided. Half the time he would be let off his fare; the other half he would be told to get out immediately.

His finances stretched to hiring the Lady Ethel a boat on the Thames for a birthday party cruise in 1999. I do not recall what the occasion was. Perhaps it was his birthday as it was early December.

David haunted various pubs. His antics got him banned from many places. He was a staple of gossip columns in newspapers like the Oxford Student and Cherwell. He also appeared on the Oxford Channel with Will Goodhand.

The vicar was in demand as an after dinner speaker. He told me he was paid four figure sums. That is 20 years ago and it was all in cash. There was no nonsense with the taxman. But despite being flush he was not flashing his cash. He never showed a modicum of liberality to the rest of us. I never remember him buying anyone a drink much less giving an ob to the needy.

Fr David often alienated people. A young artist befriended him and helped him out. Fr Johnson then put it around that he had bedded this youth. The young man in question too umbrage at this and cut David off.

David’s badinage was not everyone’s cup of tea. Some found him profoundly unfunny. His egocentricity was  wearisome and exceedingly self-indulgent – so many people felt. Many clergy believed that he was the worst possible advertisement for the Church. Indeed some regarded him as rebarbative. Being a bugger and a beggar for the bottle did not endear him to the more serious minded clergy. By the Noughties David was not exactly the image that the C of E wanted to project.

Evangelicals were a favourite target of David’s. He liked to tell a joke about evangelicals praying over a man with one short leg, rubbing the leg ”and do you know: it grew!”. Then the evangelicals say, ”there was a woman with one arm shorter than the other. We prayed over that arm and we rubbed that arm. And do you know: it grew!”. David then told them about a man with a short penis. ”We prayed over that penis and we rubbed that penis and you know: it grew.”

In the mid 90s David was close to a young heroin addict named Mungo. David claimed that his relationship with Mungo was paternal. If that was his idea of paternalism then it is a mercy that David never had children. In making David childless the Good Lord knew what he was doing. Mungo was rumored to be mainlining his heroin and sharing needles. If so an anal relationship with Mungo might not have been conducive to longevity. David’s outrageous alcoholism had surely rendered him impotent many years before. But perhaps he was a catimite.

One of the only times I knew him to be avuncular is when in 2000 a certain Etonian classicist fresher had got himself blind drunk and gatecrashed an event at the Union where he loudly offended all present. David pushed the boy into the office next day with the sage advice ”go and say sorry.” If even David had to tell you off about you high jinks then you really had overstepped the bounds of propriety. David’s raillery got him into trouble too.

David smoked a pipe. His lighter was in the shape of a naked male torso. He said it was modeled on a classicist from LMH.

On Valetine’s Day 2000 I made some quip to him about love letters. That evening I looked in my pigeonhole in my college. There were several gay valetines there. They were male nudes. I wonder who sent them?

The old rapscallion was irremediably homosexual. One one occasion I was in the Union Bar with him. At the far end were two tables. One one table sat three boys all aged about 21. On another table sat three chicks all aged about 18. I confided in the reverend father ”I would do all three of em.” He looked around and immediately started leering at the boys. I knew of only two undergraduates whom Jono bedded.

In 2002 Fr Johnson organised a mini Glyndebourne at the Union. This opera fest as the damp squib to end all damp squibs. Half a dozen people attended. This did not seem to faze Fr Johnson who sat in the president’s chair sporting a tricorn hat and grinning ear to ear.

In 2002 Anne Widdecombe addressed the Union. Her speech was chaired by the President of OUCA: Edmund Sutton. David asked a question of Miss Widdecombe. A propos of nothing the scoundrel made a remark about Sutton who was half Cypriot, ”He looks like he is here selling cheap olivers.” This crude racial slur fell flat.

David started to openly express withering contempt for the Church of England. When the Laird voiced an interest and seeking ordination David disabused him of the notion that it was a suitable vocation for a man of gifts; ”You can do joined up handwriting? Then you are a dangerous intellectual.”

Dress sense

He always cut a dash around Oxford. He wore old style clericals including a hat. These would be a biretta, a soutane, a black fedora or a shovel hat. What a curious taste in headgear he had.  What a fashion statement it was! David sometimes wore a striped blazer and boater. It was Selwyn summer dress as he said. He wore this at Selwyn in the summer – only in that sense was it Selwyn summer dress.

Father Johnson was often to be seen in a stalking cape and buckled shoes striding with all the celerity  his little legs afforded him along the central streets of Oxford. One of his other favourite getups was a civil servant’s court dress from the 1930s. It was navy blue with gold braid. It must have cost a pretty penny.

All this posing meant that David was so often stagey in his facial expressions and gesticulations. I can remember him staring in mock accusation and pointing at people; leaving his mouth agape and letting his tongue droop in studied astonishment; bowing from the neck as he turned and almost curtseyed as be politely made a point and even putting on his ‘serious’ face to liste to confession.  

David saw himself as a camp and bacchanalian Beau Brummell. He was often accoutred with an umbrella even when it was not raining. He had a confection for millinery.

When in lay dress he was often dressed up to the nines. He boasted of his Cheviot tweed suit. He was seldom without a hat. David favoured a fedora. His style was always eye catching. He almost never dressed down. He would even wear clericals whilst getting rampageously drunk.

David accused a certain artist of offering blowjobs for a Guinness. Are they worth it? I asked. I don’t know I never had one – he replied. I joked: ”Never had one? Oh you are a liar. I have seen you slurping one greedily and the froth dribbling down your chin.” He smirked sardonically.

Fr Johnson was often deliberately insulting. When a certain classicist had a horizontal encounter with an undergraduette from St Peters’s; Fr Johnson disapproved. He thought that this female was not pulchritudinous. He booked the boy an optician’s appointment! David was not afflicted by softheartedness. It was the sort of cruel practical joke that was his metier.

David was bored. He had to organise excursions to London with young men. I went to the Guards Chapel with him in 2001 for Remembrance Day. I also went with him and several others to the College of Arms. 

The only time Fr Johnson showed me the least liberality was in giving me a ticket to a son et lumiere at Blenheim Palace that he did not want to attend. Next day he saw me on the phone. He demanded I ring off immediately to tell him how it was.

OUCA was something he attended regularly. He claimed to be a reciprocal member from CUCA. At OUCA dinner he said grace. Despite that he was put on the naughty table with myself and an obese Yorkshireman: as far away from the guest of honour as possible. We were the  disreputable ones. At OUCA meetings he would preface each question to a Tory MP with ‘In my local pub in a slum area of East Oxford…’ before offering his homespun wisdom. His insight was that working class Britons agreed with the Conservatives on most issues but voted Labour because they believed that Labour was on the side of the working man.

The other activity he liked was beagling. It appealed to his aristocratic pretensions. He took care to say ‘hounds’ not dogs. When out with the Christ Church hounds he wore a flat cap and tweed plus fours.

One Oxford undergraduate publication said that he had been unfrocked. He threatened to issue a writ for libel. The newspaper in question issued a groveling apology  entitled ‘Without Prejudice’ accepting that he was a priest in good standing with the Church of England and with the specific permission of the lord bishop to conduct worship. In fact the vicar had been the one to disseminate the bogus trope that he had been defrocked.

The Oxford Student and the Cherwell often covered his japes.  These are the newspapers of Oxford University. The late Eddie Tomlinson profiled the vicar.

I attended some worship led by him. He did not get to do this often. This was perhaps the only occasion on which he was neither drunk nor suffering from withdrawal symptoms. He cannot be said to have been sedulous with regard to his sacerdotal duties.

In 2000 he broke his leg. He attended Royal Ascot by wheelchair. I was his wheelchair attendant. He did not get many miles to the pint. From the Union we had to stop at two pubs en route the station. He took a hip flask to fortify himself with whisky on the way. The man’s taste for strong water was incredible.

After a day’s drinking at Ascot we came home at midnight. What did he want to do? Go to the pub. 

His house at Seaview Cottage was a mess.  The place was packed with furniture and books. Fr Johnson claimed to be an excellent cook but I never met anyone who had any evidence of this. He claimed ”as a celibate priests I was most discombobulated on one occasion to be awoken in the wee hours by an Irish  burglar once berated me in an Irish accent for ” living in a fockin tip. ” ” As with so many droll tales by David it was probably not entirely factual.

One of his favourite impressions was of Princess Margaret. She would be admonished by the Queen for her uncouth hat. David would then play the princess, ”You look after your kingdom” , tips ash of imaginary ciggie, ”and I’ll look after my fucking hat.” All Princess Margaret impressions included tipping the ash off before the punchline. 

Another Davidism: Prince Philip is at lunch with Lord Jenkins. Lord Jenkins stood to give a speech. He delivered it with trademark aplomb, grace and articulacy. It dawns on the prince’s staff that as Jenkins is Chancellor of Oxford University then the prince will have to reply on behalf of Cambridge. For his oration the prince stands up and simply says ”Why do South African telephonists wear condoms on their ears? Because they don’t want hearing AIDS.” After three seconds of deathly silenced the room is filled with forced courtly laughter. 

David liked Guinness extra cold. He seldom ate. This is the sign of a true alkie. He was the piss artiste to end all piss artistes! With Fr Johnson it was always a liquid lunch. Doubtless he consumed fortified communion wine by the gallon. A pity for him that he missed the wedding at Cana.

Despite drinking porter he was not portly. He ate precious little and walked everywhere.

David was a zealous Freemason. He was very much on the square! Was it the dressing up, the flummery or the sense of exclusivity that appealed to him?  Here was an Anglican who wore a biretta half a century after it went out of fashion in the Universal Church. Perhaps one of the reasons he never crossed the Tiber is that the RC Church does not allow its adherent to be Masons. I spoke to him in Masonic language, ”For the sake of a Mother’s son, Jah Baal On or should I say the Great Architect of the Universe wants you to give me a square deal.” He chided me, ”you know too much.”

On the runup to my 21st I mentioned that I would be having a party. David scoffed, ”that could be held in a phone box.”

Reverend Father attended consultative committee religiously. He went to that more than church. He only set foot in church if he was leading worship. The lack of a pulpit frustrated him. On one occasion he gave a speech in an emergency debate in the lead up to Remembrance Sunday. He remarked how George V had opposed the interment of the Unknown Soldier in the aisle of Westminster Abbey because it obstructed the processional route. David knew this since he worked there a lot. When he sat down he remarked to me that this speech was to have been his sermon for Remembrance Sunday but he had no church to preach in.

He was a member of the Oxford and Cambridge Club. He liked to go on excursions to London and take boys with him. The rapscallion had many tricks up his sleeve.

Jono hated being alone. But at home he had only the bottle for company. 

I recall the first time in the Trinity of 2000 that I met Fr Johnson. It was outside the King’s Arms. He greeted me with ”lazy dons” and held up a copy of a newspaper. The fellows of All Souls were supposed to engage in the mallard hunt at the first Easter of every century. It relates to a legend dating back to All Souls foundation in 1453 when a mallard duck supposedly flew into the drain. The dons are supposed to look for it.

 If I ever wore shorts and the vicar saw me he would excoriate me, ”There is nothing so ridiculous as an Englishman in shorts.” It was at that point that I was obliged to remind him that I am Hibernian. 

In 2000 his father died at the age of 86. David reacted with complete indifference. When he told me his father had died I commisserated with him at this beravement. The mountebank told me dismissively, ”My father and I were never close anyway.” He was always begging his mother for money after that.


Unsentimentality was his style. The only thing that ever got him choked up with emotion was the monarchy. He would speak about Her Majesty the Queen with a lump in the throat. By curious contrast death even of undergraduates was reported by him without a catch in the voice.

His reverence had no affection for children. He did not care a hoot for his nieces. Not for him ”suffer the little children to come unto me.” For him little children were insufferable.

David claimed to be writing a novel about a young Guards officer at Cambridge in the 70s. This youth had a VC for saving someone from a bomb in Northern Ireland. In the story the officer has a gay affair with his valet and is blackmailed. He ends up committing suicide.

David like his life as an unapologetic alcohol. He was also unabashed about his 100% homosexuality. There were some for whom he was a pub bore and exasperating exhibitionist. He was once a cult figure for me. But after several years the joke started to wear off. I had heard all his anecdotes many times over. I began to grow increasingly uncomfortable with his racially themed shtick. Was this really just a drollery? Or perhaps this humourist really was racialist. 

There was some literary talent in dear old David. He composed a droll ditty about a certain President of the Oxford Union wanking on the Oxford tube after a trip to Stringfellow’s. The victim of his poem was not that much of a scallywag. I dearly wish I could have a copy of that comic poem.

David had the unique privilege of being chaplain of Stringfellow’s.  That is the UK’s premier lap dancing club. It might seem odd. He did not engage in blessing of the breasts.

On one occasion he led me and several others into Stringfellow’s. It was a gynaecological education! These girls were holding themselves open inches from the boys’ faces. One of the most hilarious things I ever saw is Mark enjoying a lap dance. I believe that is what turned him gay.

At Stringfellow’s we called him father. ‘Shut up don’t you know the press are onto me’ he chided me. I then pretended to the whores that he was my father. The nude dancer said, ‘you must look more like mum.’

Fr Johnson never evinced the remotest attraction to even the most comely female. He regarded heterosexuality as an incomprehensible, abominable and unforgivable vice. It was odd that he did not like women even socially. He was like a bored housewife him with his nattering. He was an inveterate gossip. 

David was certainly far from politically correct. Fr Johnson called me a bog trotter – and he liked me! He did not hesitate to ask people who had been to India, ”how is the empire?”  Some of his epithets would have you choking on your chai. He referred to Neil Mahapatra as chapati. On another occasion he told an undergraduate of South Asian ancestry ‘fuck off back home to Pakiland you filthy brown wog.’ Passing the erstwhile India Office he remarked to me ‘from there a hundred civil servants ruled four hundred million darkies when the wogs knew their place.’ On another occasion he met an British Indian Oxford graduate who had made a million in banking in only a few years. David greeted him with, ”I hear the corner shop is doing rather well.”

When in Singapore I sent him a postcard I found of a British tank crushing a Japanese soldier with a caption which was a Churchill quotation: ‘Great Britain shall continue the war against Japan until the very end.’ It pleased him immensely. He was Japonophobic. He did not hesitate to call them Nips in a decidedly unchristian tone. David went misty eyed when describing how an officer of the Rajputana Rifles had taken the surrender of thousands of Japanese.

Once he asked me to bring him to chapel in my college. He appeared in a cloud of pipesmoke. He was in academic gowns complete with mortarboard. We went to chapel. When it came to the donations he put something in the offering plate. I caught the guilty grin on his face. I immediately snatched the banknote out. I looked and saw in place of the Queen’s face there was a topless girl. It was a gratuity banknote from Stringfellow’s. My chaplain later asked me ”Was that the Union priest?” David’s infamy had preceded him. Fr Johnson was disgusted that people were allowed to attend formal hall in casuals and I was not plying him with enough booze. He walked out in high dudgeon! He later sent me a handwritten apology.

David was exceptionally fortunate. He had been an undergraduate when there were no fees and there were grants for all. He was allowed into one of the most respected professions despite his disgraceful misconduct. David benefited from the exceptional liberality of the Church. He ponced off friends. But David was a total ingrate. He never voiced appreciation for his elderly widowed mother bailing him out financially when he was in his late 40s. David rarely visited her. He was utterly shameless about exploiting an octagenarian widow. This freeloader did not show the generosity to others in the pecuniary sense or any other that he demanded for himself.

The vicar was friends with another clergyman of his own vintage. This morbidly obese chap strove to be respectable but was handsy. David would crack crude jokes. His chum would giggle girlishly and chide David for his naughtiness. The other priest fought the good fight against his own lust.

By 2003 things were going wrong for him even as a pensioner. He was getting bored of Oxford and Oxford was getting bored of him. He showed up at the Oxford Union on 5 December and announced it was his 50th birthday. Few have closed half a century of life with more wasted opportunities to their name. He had no party and precious little to celebrate. 

In 2004 David organised an event for the 60th anniversary of D Day. It was in a pub called the Far from the Madding Crowd. The Luxembourgish ambassador came. David said this man was straight from central casting. The Canadian High Commissioner also attended. It was a very low key event without orations. The Canadian High Commissioner must have been underwhelmed by such a casual event despite everyone being dressed up. He was in a tailsuit. At this event I chatted to Neil Hamilton who was a pal of David’s since Cambridge. David said that the Hamiltons did not wish to be a circus act which they had been in the late 90s as he was himself. The former Tory MP Neil Hamilton had been a dear friend of David’s since Cambridge.


Sometimes I would see him in the Union Bar first thing in the morning. He would have vomit encrusted on his shirt. David would reek of perspiration and be shaking uncontrollably. His fingernails would be clogged with filth. Clearly irritable he would be speaking 19 to the dozen. I realised it was delirium tremens. He was having withdrawal symptoms from having a dangerously high level of blood in his alcohol stream. He was the alcoholic’s alcoholic. You cannot be an epicurean that long without it catching up with you.

I decided to exact vengeance on David. I called him up posing as a police sergeant telling him to come to the station to be interviewed on suspicion of inciting racial hatred. When I quoted some of his racist outbursts he said ”I never use language of that kind” but agreed to come to the station.

On another occasion a certain Nigerian bishop named Methusaleh Akintunde called David and said he remembered David fondly from his time at Church House. Bishop Methusaleh suggested David come to Nigeria for a well paid post leading the crusade against the sin of Sodom. David did not protest. He was assured ”there is a vast amount of money to be made in service of the Lord!” The bishop asked David how many children he had. The Nigerian was flummoxed to learnt that David had not taken to wife. ‘Does not the good book say be fruitful and multiply?’ Told that David had not spawned he asked if David’s goodwife was barren. The Nigerian prelate suggested meeting for tea at the Randolph Hotel. David was willing to meet but only if the bishop picked up the tab. The good prelate agreed to do so.  The bishop turned out to be yours truly.

I phone David up pretending to be Rowan Williams. It being lunchtime he was of coursed in a licensed establishment. David boastfully called out to his interlocutors, ”Be quiet a moment. I have got the Archbishop of Canterbury on the phone.” I then proceeded to tell him I was dissatisfied with Richard Harries and would like to ask David to take over as Lord Bishop. Tempting though it was to believe even David was not going to fall for that one. ”Ha bloody ha!” he expectorated. 

By the late noughties life was beginning to pall for David. The barfly had been banned from most bears. His decades of alcoholic abuse on a titanic scale had begun to catch up with him. The old magic was vanishing. He felt increasingly alienated from the Church of England. It seemed to want clergy to be left wing social workers. That was never his style.

When I was at Ampleforth I received a handwritten letter from the vicar. He hoped I was not kept awake by black marias wailing across the moors to take monks from the dormitories of the sexually abused.

In 2007 he was suffering pancreatitis. This kills in a few years. It is a miracle that he lasted 13. Of course he might have been lying about that disease as he lied about so much else. His copious consumption of liquor had put him in this state. He did not go off the sauce.

Fr Johnson had some strokes occasioned by his horrendous overdrinking. But he did not slow down. There was little point. In view of his boozing he seemed almost immortal. 

By 2013 David was very frail and had to move into a nursing home aged 59. He had grievously abused alcohol for decades. There was put on the wagon for a while. But he had nothing else to live for but booze. Unlike Churchill alcohol took more out of David than David took out of it. His life of geriatric delinquency began.

Actor though he was David was not a tragedian. He did not feel sorry for himself. He was lucky to have lasted that long. In the late 90s he had been hospitalised a few times when on death’s door from his alcohol dependency. 

On 5 December 2013 he had a 60th birthday party upstairs at the Union. David was himself again. He was remarkably good at getting around on his disability vehicle or ‘invalid carriage’ as he liked to call it. The pensioner managed to get to and around London by train and cab. He drooled and stank. He expression in his voice was going.

Despite being exceptionally sociable David was in a sense not an easy man to know. Though gratingly garrulous it was hard to know the real David. He acted so much. Had he become the act? What was beneath all that bluster? He was in inebriated half the time. In moments of melancholy perhaps then I saw David as he really was – an unhappy and easily bored boy who craved recognition.

Later he went around in a disability vehicle. He drank from an adapted cup. Despite his physical debilities he as compos mentis. Drooling was the only thing he was liberal about. He began to reek. He cut a decidedly pathetic and forlorn figure.Nevertheless it was a plaintive few years.

The reverend father vocalised his fulsome support for the English Defence League. I imagined that he might attend its rallies in clericals. But it was not to be. His vociferation against political correctness was undimmed.

David was absolutely Anglican but in no sense a Christian. There was not one tittle of Christianity goodness in him. He was very insulting and selfish.  I never recall him expressing the least iota of sympathy for anyone who was ill, unemployed, depressed, jilted or otherwise suffering. He was gratuitously offensive to people about their children and about failing exams. David was a disgrace to the cloth. It is astounding that he was ordained. He would not have been accepted nowadays. David seemed more like a disciple of the antichrist than the Nazarene.

There are those who say that David was kind. I seldom saw him do anything for someone else. He was a selfish as can be imagined. He also started to feel sorry for himself. David never felt sorry for anyone else.

So much of his eccentricity was studied. Every man has his foibles. But with David it was hard to know where the posing ended and the real person began. Did I ever get to know the man under that carapace? But a deux he was the same as when on display mode. When he was down in the mouth that is perhaps as close as one got to seeing David unspun. So often he was in his cups that it was hard to find a sober baseline to compare that with.

Perhaps David intended to donate his body to medical science. David took the trouble to preserve his body in alcohol. In the nursing home he was a little forlorn. After two strokes there was not much left to live for. I imagine that he mused on what might have been. Had he squandered his prodigious gifts and the numerous golden opportunities afforded him? He was spending a lugubrious few years of dotage. 

I cannot help reflecting that he was blessed to be born when he did. He was totally unappreciative of his lucky timing.  Had he been born a generation earlier then university would have been financially beyond the grasp of someone as unscholarly as him. Had he been born a generation later then his outrageous antics would not have been tolerated in the Church or any other profession. He was an odd living self- contradiction: a combination of conformist and contrarian traits. 

I have often wondered whether Fr Johnson had a personality disorder. It was clear that he was not entirely sane. 50 years of alcohol abuse cannot have been good for his brain. Being a dotant did nothing to improve his condition.

David’s prodigious gifts had been squandered. It is a shame he did not go on reality TV. He was just the sort of exhibitionist freak they were looking for. 

In March 2020 he was cognizant that he was near his hour of dissolution. He asked Fr Marcus Walker to administer the last rites. David received this. He will have needed absolution. He was struggling to speak or swallow. Yet the Fr Johnson was mentally unimpaired.

Through much of his life he was unrepentant. He said ”never explain, never apologise.” Did he go impenitent to his Maker?  Hypocrite, toady and inebriate – he was going to need some forgiving.

For the last few weeks of his life David drank very little water and no food. It is unclear if he was purposively starving himself. If famishment did not kill him it is possible that dehydration did. It is the supreme irony that a man notorious for his drinking may well have died of thirst. His immune system will have been very frail. He expired at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. It is not thought that he succumbed to that disease.

On April 22 David was called to his reward. It will have been a matter of irritation to him that he did not manage to expire two days earlier: on Hitler’s birthday.

Fr Johnson was by turns bitchy, mean-spirited, sharp tongued, entertaining, quick witted, irascible, infuriating, egotistical, perverted, disreputable but never, ever, ever dull. David lived his life to the full. He was bon vivant par excellence. From his louche lifestyle to his insatiable thirst to his jaw dropping candour he was unapologetically his own man. In that sense at least he is a model to us all. Though I was the target of his cruel comments this perverted popinjay enriched my life. I am very glad I knew such a unique and colourful character. He was worth 100 of those forgettably milksop priests who people the parishes. I miss the filthy old bastard. 

Rev Johnson was a concatenation of contradictions: parsimony and profligacy; effeminacy and misogyny; traditionalism and mocking it; sociability and sociopathy; Anglo-Catholicism yet despising Anglicanism and Catholicism; craving friends but alienating those who were friendly to him; homosexuality yet eschewing sex; dressiness but sometimes looking like a tramp. 

David would have been elated to have been the subject of an obituary in the Daily Telegraph, the Times as well as other broadsheets.  Coronavirus was on and there was little else in the news. The Telegraph opined, ”some saw him as an institution and others thought he should be confined to one.”  As a publicity hunter he would have considered an obit in his favourite newspaper to be Elysian. The newspaper correctly surmised that he was a clergyman the like of which the world shall never see again. The Torygraph wrote with masterful British understatement that Jono ”patronised his local pub assiduously.” He was also remembered in the Church Times: the publication he once lampooned. The Church Times commented on his ‘unquenchable taste for self-destruction.’

How will we remember him? He was a model of egocentricity, insobriety, self-indulgence, and ghoulish schadenfreude. To some he was a hobgoblin of spite, hypocrisy and bigotry. I shall remember him carousing the pubs of Oxford and camping it up. Others will remember his moments of decency and concern for the welfare of others. In my experience these were few and far between. He was the Lord of Misrule and indeed the Queen of Vice. David was a seriously silly man.

They don’t make them like that any more! The Almighty broke the mould once David was fashioned. David is now there in that great big pub in the sky holding forth with tart gossip, playing racism for laughs and indulging in high camp playacting. I do not know if he is wearing a silken scarlet soutane or Selwyn summer dress. But I do know that he has a Guinness extra cold in each hand!

Coronavirus necessitated a burial with only a handful of mourners. He was laid to rest in Cogenhoe his quondam Northamptonshire parish. A full memorial service is planned for a few months hence. There we shall partake of copious vinous glassfuls in memory of this votary of Bacchus and offer him a libation. It is what he would have wanted. What should his epitaph be? I drink therefore I am.

fr d johnson


dead. dec 1953

1 sister. footballers legs. civil servant

dame allens


selwyn. union benazir


church house


retired 1995. peter duncan

david fled and made good

driving licence

learning to say no

sewview cottage.

union. drinks

summer dress

first meting



coronavrus and darwinism ====================


usual expedient of bare faced lying.

divert blame. scapegoat govenrors. and media. nayayers malcontents. ingrates. misdirection. ad personam assaults. insults

seething, raging , boiling over maelstrom of odium and imbecility.


800 000 cases. advanced eu countries had 10% death of cases.

crisis. avoidable.

trump tarried.

dilatory response/

tardy response was criminal negligance. warnings from november

briefings. trump thanked chinese for help

worshiped president for life Xi.

now he blames china. you knew that months ago. poor food hygeine. wet markets

SARS, swine fly avian flu.

civil war. yes. USA did not choose. could have surrendered or negotiated. Lincoln tried to limit loss of life.

economy will not bounce back. unepliyent, bankruptices. low profits.

economy was booming. few were thriving. vagaries of economy. governmental direction

trump said more people die of flu

corona is not vicissitudes of healt

disbelieve in corona and evolution

climate change. disbelieve datta. false beliefs disconforme.f faith#4

believe hard enough. faith the size of a ustard seed

anti vaxxers. smallpox.

natural selection. natural de selection. darwin awards.

irrational. faith

confederacy of dunces. no isolating in the confederacy

not against all people there.

turmp blaming china, new yokr, governors#

frittered away 2 months to stockpile supplies. warn, lockdown.

powers no responsibility

no federal testing. military. VA. health department.

that is what federal govt is there for. 1770s US had no federal government. states tried to co-operate without federal machinery. no president. confederaiton was too loose and feeble

states. USA is not compartmentalised

sates opening and closing.

USA needs a concerted, rapid and logical repsonse

federal government to co orinate. help those who cannot help themselves.

trump maladmin palsied by arrogance

trump has such a conceit of himself.

press conferences. boasting sessions#



ignoring corona almost like Belarus

trump says he has gone a great job. udner control. not enoygh ventilators. PPE. masks

banned chinese people. US xitizens and green card holders came from chian. Corona doe snot respect citizenship. no testing no quarantine

banned flights from EU but not UK whch had no lockdown.

urging people to go to chuch. make it worse. reopen

2.2. trillion . green new deal.

tax the rich.

sticking his hea din the sand. wishing it away.

wilful myopia. lashing out. false accusing others . nasty question

bragging sessions. congratulated pence on circumlocution

dr seem. periphrastination. not answering on ventilators

if US is king of ventilators no thanks to trump

profiteering my companies

federal govt driving up prices. refusing to help. maldistribution of aid.

politicise life saving care.

states like herding cats

problem with excessive localism

”president’s authrity is total”. what happened to states rights. did not order lockdown. cannot end it. make business open. make people work and shop.

no regard for constitution. cannot name a single governor who agrees with him

states rights? washington back off. people in side belt way. back off. do not poke your nose into our affairs

big government. silence is deafening. do not tread on me.

trump underminding faigth in public institutions

fbi. cia . nsa.

hyper partisanship

reproach people for telling the truth

spewing false hoods. deglutition of these untruths by a large gullible minority

zombie lies. will not die. trickle down . republican genius. get working class to vote for their own impoverishment# to make healthcare unaffordable

wold ypu accept federal test federal ventilaor. socialist?

denialism. covid 19. climate change. evolution. gun crime. racism. holocaust denial.

jarde kushner. over promoted. crown prince. born with golden sppoon in his mouth

self laudaiton by trump. crowing over successes as 2 000 die a day. videos of odes to him.

paeans from his craven sycophants no ore than his due. ptrend this was laud for gallant doctrs and nruses# doing batel with coronavirus# laying doinw their lives . no PPE

abject obeisance.

war on truth.

anti vaxxers

125 per million

UK 200 per million

singapore 2 per million.


daily dunciad from trump about how marvelouslyhe is going .