Eccleston Square popemobile

As has been widely reported, the Scots have produced a new "St Ninian's Day Tartan" for the Papal Visit. The Holy Father will be in Scotland on 16 September which is the feast of St Ninian. (Chief Sub of the Week award goes to the writer of the headline in the Scotsman: They've plaid it well ahead of papal visit.)

The tartan was designed by Matthew Newsome: all 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament have been given either a tie or a scarf with the tartan. It is woven with symbolism: the white line on blue field draws upon Scotland's national colours. The green reflects the lichens growing on the stones of Whithorn in Galloway, where St Ninian first brought the gospel to Scotland over 1,600 years ago. The white lines are also accompanied by a pair of red lines, reflecting the colours of Cardinal Newman's crest. The thin yellow lines in the tartan, together with the white, reflect the colours of the Vatican.

Each white line on the green contains exactly eight threads, one for each Catholic diocese in Scotland. There are 452 threads in the design from pivot to pivot, representing the number of Catholic parishes.

The Rt Hon Alex Fergusson MSP said;
“I am very pleased that the Scottish Parliament is to be presented with this special tartan in recognition of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Scotland on St Ninian's Day. It is clear that a lot of thought has gone into producing this unique tartan and it is sure to guarantee a colourful, Scottish welcome for the papal visit."
What have we done in England? I hear you asking. For those doubting Thomases among you, here is an exclusive photo taken today at the traffic lights at New Eltham. (I was the passenger, I hasten to add.) It shows the Popemobile specially obtained by Eccleston Square. Unfortunately, since the CBCEW have run out of money, the suggested popemobile had to be obtained from Dodgy Duncan's Superior Autos ("come and haggle with me over a cup of tea and a fairy cake".)


The gestalt, the overall form, evokes the high level of preparation enthusiastically embraced by the Catholic establishment in England for the historic visit of the Holy Father. The rust patches and bashed out windows symbolise the moral state of the London metropolis, while the non-functioning rear lights are a subtle reference to the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death. The orange high visibility vest trailing suggestively at the rear of the ensemble is a cheeky postmodern reference to the policy of "wait and see" in reference to gay marriage, women priests and whatever else we "just don't know" about the future of the Church.

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