It was a poor summer and Alan Edwards’ holiday did not improve his grumpiness

The news that an African Islamic court is ordering floggings for women wearing trousers caused much indignation. However, before flaying the ftoggers, ponder the aesthetic gain if a similar fashion critique reached Britain. Few female figures are aerodynamically adjusted to trouser wearing, the less so now that obesity has replaced Christianity as the established religion.

Justice also demands flogging for British males who pour beer bellies into shorts at the first sunshine of summer. The only male fashion horror equalling short wearing in the High Street is lace trimmed vestments in the chancel. Percy Dearmer rightly maintained that lace belonged on lingerie not vestments. ‘My love in her attire doth show her wit’ sang a seventeenth century madrigalist. Witlessness, rather, is shown by urban tracksuit wearers whose physical condition suggests they couldn’t stagger onto a track, let alone run round it.

Those shorts and jeans

Overlarge ladies in jeans, knobbly knees in shorts, are examples of how modern Britain has lost its sense of restraint. More evidence? Flower-bedecked shrines at the site of accidents, grief-sharing hugging (provided a TV camera is near), the Barmy Army, and the extension of the Peace to a magical mystery tour.

Step back in time and look at a photograph of Britain in those golden Victorian summers. See our ancestors on the beach, suits, collar and ties, demure dresses – not a pair of shorts in sight, even at the water’s edge. Yet from such folk came the first man to swim the Channel. Also the red-jacketed heroes, buttons brightly polished, who held the ground at Rorke’s Drift.

Flick the photo album pages and see a group of Victorian clergy. Low, Central or Anglo-Catholic, all were equally neat. If short wearers and other dress-downers have captured the streets, standards may still strike back in the sanctuary

Think 2012. Not the Olympics – more lack of restraint – but the 350th anniversary of the 1662 BCP It restored standards after the dressing down of the Commonwealth.

Get ready for the 2012 celebrations in 2011, the 400th anniversary of the Authorized Version. Make 2011 the year to bin the modern PC revisions which have enriched publishers but impoverished worship.
So two years to send to recyclingboth CTVand the modern Roman Rite. The former is the liturgical equivalent of a large lady twisting and turning herself into a pair of jeans. Using the Roman Rite, while not being in communion with the Roman bishop, the same as wearing a trackie while not being in the Athletics Club.

Reclothe the CofE with the classical English tailoring of the BCP and AV This pair, together with the Navy, kept the nation safe, our trousers pressed, and our hems straight, in our years of greatness.