St Albion Parish News

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St Albion Parish News was a regular feature in the British satirical magazine Private Eye during the premiership of Tony Blair. It was in the Private Eye tradition of featuring a fortnightly column lampooning the Prime Minister of the day and their close associates, seemingly written in a gossipy style by an insider. This has taken either of two broad formats. Mrs Wilson's Diary and Dear Bill were supposedly the observations of spouses Mary Wilson and Denis Thatcher respectively. Heathco - A Message from the Managing Director was a motivational newsletter sent to staff of a small company from the boss (Edward Heath, nicknamed "Grocer"), and St Albion Parish News was in this broad style.

The format was a spoof of the Parish Magazine typically published by English churches. Prime Minister Tony Blair was depicted as the earnest and trendy young vicar of St Albion, "Rev ARP Blair, MA (Oxon)". Leading political figures were given satirical roles within a typical Anglican community, for example, Gordon Brown was the PCC Treasurer, John Prescott was in charge of the working men's club and the Home Secretary was Chairman of Neighbourhood Watch. Foreign dignitaries were described as Ministers in other Churches: for example, George W. Bush usually appeared in the Parish News each week as "Rev Dubya Bush of the Church of the Latter-Day Morons" (or, in some issues in 2003—during the Invasion of Iraq and early Iraq War—the Latter-Day Morbombs), in reference to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Bill Clinton belonged to the Church of the Seventh Day Fornicators. Great play was made in the issue of 4 August 2006 of Bush's greeting, "Yo, Blair", to the Prime Minister at the "G8" summit in St Petersburg.

Contents

Structure and general tone

The general structure was a message from the vicar, i.e. Prime Minister, plus a few smaller, varying columns. These usually included the Parish Postbag, often containing a letter from a parish member (i.e. minister) complaining about something or other but cut short "for reasons of space" by the editor (in the past this was Alastair Campbell).

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