Sometimes, blogging has to take second place to other life experiences. But the world carries on regardless, it seems.
I see that Melanie Phillips, a woman for whom each day must start with the astonishing and not altogether welcome realisation that decadent Western society has still failed to implode under the weight of its own depravity, continues to be concerned at Europe's capitulation to Islamic values.
This is indeed a worrying trend. The authorities in the Czech republic, for example, have caved in to pressure from Prague's radical Muslim clerics and passed a bill legalising civil partnerships for same-sex couples. Even worse, the Netherlands, once a beacon for Western principles, has pretty much enshrined Sharia law into the national way of life - a DVD it produces for foreigners wishing to settle in the country now cites as part of essential Dutch values such fundamentalist Isalmist practices as topless bathing and gay couples snogging in fields. Compulsory burkha wearing must surely be the logical conclusion of this.
Elsewhere, I see that Rod Liddle, former Today editor, continues to defy the normal rules of biology by becoming more adolescent the older he gets. Now he's a fully paid-up member of the 'I'm a victim of the great left wing conspiracy' society. The poor lamb. Of course, sometimes, he has a point. He complains that it is impossible to get a 'right-of-centre novelist up for the Booker prize'. The dominance of subversive, transgressive and pseudo-trendy writing in British fiction is something that has long troubled me.
I've been reading a novel recently that just reeks of this kind of trend. The main character is, of course, a woman, and one of those feisty females so beloved of the left. The traditional values that have served previous generations so well count nothing for her - personal satisfaction is all. The characters in this novel that represent those tried-and-tested traditions are either grotesque - like the main character's ridiculous mother - or unfeeling harridans - the one member of the British aristocracy that is presented to the unwitting reader is so devoid of redeeming features as to be scarcely human. Were previous generations of writers this disrespectful to their elders and betters? I think not.
Worse is the outrageous caricature the novelist gives us of religious attitudes. The Church of England clergyman who embodies them is simply a comic buffoon whom we are clearly invited to ridicule and scorn. It is a sign of the moral slump in the Anglican church that I have not heard a single word from the mouth of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, or, indeed, of his predecessor, condemning this novel's outright slander. No wonder church attendance is down.
It goes without saying, of course, that the novel is a favourite of the terminally iconoclastic BBC who have used it repeatedly as a vehicle to denigrate the established British way of life.
Should you wish to complain to the publishers or to the BBC about this novel, which I heartily recommend that you do, its name is Pride and Prejudice and it is by some woman (of course!) called Jane Austen. Next on my reading list is yet another of these tedious women's rights tracts - something called Jane Eyre, written by another female. Is there any hope left for traditional British values?