Newly leaked from my Westminster source is what seems to be a scented page of lilac paper torn from the personal diary of a government minister. The text is in Latin and in the florid, bold hand of one with complete confidence of his power and influence. Labour Party sources have denied its authenticity, while demanding how it came to be in the public domain.
A contact at Edinburgh University has offered the following translation:
It is hereby decreed:
I. That the Labour Party was founded by God alone.
II. That Baron Mandelson of Foy and Hartlepool alone can with right be called universal.
III. That He alone can depose or reinstate ministers and diplomats.
IV. That, in a committee His representative, even if a lower grade, is above all other ministers, and can pass sentence of deposition against them.
V. That He may depose the absent.
VI. That, among other things, we ought not to remain in the same house with those excommunicated by Him.
VII. That for Him alone is it lawful, according to the needs of the time, to make new laws.
VIII. That He alone may use the Prime Ministerial insignia.
IX. That of He alone shall all ministers kiss the feet.
X. That His name alone shall be spoken in the ministries and committees.
XI. That this is the only name in the world.
XII. That it may be permitted to Him to depose Prime Ministers.
XIII. That He may be permitted to transfer ministers and diplomats if need be.
XIV. That He has power to ordain a minister of any portfolio He may wish.
XV. That He who is ordained by Him may preside over another ministry, but may not hold a subordinate position; and that such a one may not receive a higher grade from any minister.
XVI. That no election shall be called a general one without His order.
XVII. That no law shall be considered passed without His authority.
XVIII. That a sentence passed by Him may be retracted by no one; and that He himself, alone of all, may retract it.
XIX. That He himself may be judged by no one.
XX. That no one shall dare to condemn one who appeals to His holy chair.
XXI. That to the latter should be referred the more important cases of every ministry.
XXII. That the Labour Party has never erred; nor will it err to all eternity, the Scripture bearing witness.
XXIII. That His Holiness is undoubtedly made a saint by his merits.
XXIV. That, by His command and consent, it may be lawful for subordinates to bring accusations.
XXV. That He may depose and reinstate ministers without assembling the cabinet.
XXVI. That he who is not at peace with Him shall not be considered for any public office.
XXVII. That He may absolve subjects from their fealty to other power-brokers.
OK, SO WHAT IS THIS?
My Edinburgh University contact tells me that this as a corrupted version of Dictatus Papae, a document supposedly written by Pope Gregory VII (Hildebrand) in 1075. It wasn’t made public at the time, and it has been argued by scholars that rather than just the idle scribblings of a power-hungry pope, it was in fact the church’s wish-list for absolute power. At very least it gives a good idea of just how powerful the medieval Christian Church either saw itself, or planned to become.
For those who seek to defend democracy in Britain in the early 21st century, the truly chilling aspect of this discovery is how little has been changed for this journal entry, if indeed it is authentic, which is yet to be verified.