Friday, June 11, 2010

Archbishop of Canterbury criticises 'delinquent' politicians

Cranmer is a little distracted and pressed for time. This from Martin Beckford in The Daily Telegraph:

Dr Rowan Williams said that the “remarkable” general election shows the historic identities of the country’s political groups “are not making much sense to a lot of the electorate”.

He claimed that in the past 30 years both left- and right-wing administrations have created “odd growths” that either took too much power for the state or gave too much away to unaccountable private interests.

The Archbishop, the most senior cleric in the Church of England, also said that one of the “tragedies” of the past 30 years has been the reduction of every interaction to one of producer and consumer.

He hopes that the Coalition might lead to the development of “strong citizens” and “shared dignity” in society, and the restoration of trust in politics following the MPs’ expenses scandal.

His comments in a sermon to the new Parliament at St Margaret's, Westminster, on Tuesday mark the first time Dr Williams – a self-styled “hairy lefty” who nevertheless was critical of Gordon Brown’s attempts to tackle the recession through higher state spending – has discussed politics publicly since the election was called.

He said: “We react against certain kinds of strong government or ‘big’ government on the grounds that we don’t want to be patronised or bullied or stripped of the fruits of our own work. And the mistake is then to hand over all responsibility to non-state agents – which in practice often means non-accountable interests. Or, on the other hand, we try to make sure that government controls all outcomes and averts all risks by law and regulation. And this produces a culture of obsessional legislation, paralysis of initiative and pervasive anxiety.”

Referring to Margaret Thatcher’s economic guru and one of the founding fathers of the Labour Party, the Archbishop said: “The last three decades have seen plenty of both these odd growths – the delinquent children of Milton Friedman and Sidney Webb.”

“Is it a fantasy to think that we just might be on the verge of discovering another register for talking politics and doing politics? One thing that the remarkable recent election has surely told us is that some of the historic party identities of British politics are not making much sense to a lot of the electorate; party loyalties are not what they were, because people have been unclear about what the arguments really are (despite the high-profile debating).”

Dr Williams said the new Government has the chance to create strong citizens by encouraging them to co-operate rather than just consume goods from the state or private enterprise.

In an apparent reference to the much-debated moment during the election campaign when Gordon Brown described a widow who complained about immigration as “bigoted”, the Archbishop said: “here were telling points in the election campaign where it was clear that the relentless negativity of coverage and the relish with which individuals, including individuals of stature and integrity, were demonised or trivialised or both began to repel the public. No one should look back on the campaign as a good moment for the dignity of our public life.”


Anonymous Tony B said...

He's almost always right, and he is again here.

11 June 2010 at 08:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From David Lonsdale

Does any one know what Williams thinks about Jesus?

11 June 2010 at 09:26  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Anon, Jesus thinks whatever you want him to!

11 June 2010 at 09:51  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Whilst my opinion of hairy Willie is pretty low (I just met a girl named Sharia) he makes one comment that I agree with and that is the old tribal isms of British politics are now meaningless to most of the electorate. Left and right, who cares? Many issues cross those old boundaries.

This coalition government may hasten the demise of the old left right debate but I suppose if it collapses it might just rekindle the old embers for a while. There will always be diehards on both sides and some of them post here but they are out of touch with the prevailing public view.

The western democracies are in the twilight of their power and influence, there is and end of an epoch feel about things, the old certainties are fading or gone (including Christianity in many countries). We are all aware that we are on the cusp of a new era where others will make the running. We can squabble as posters here do about whether Dave is a true Conservative or rush off to UKIP but in the end it will make no difference.

Despite all its many deficiencies the last several hundred years of first European and later American domination has seen a steady improvement in what we normally describe as civilisation. The independence of the judiciary and the removal of oppressive regimes has meant that for the most who were alive in the 16th Century, today would seem a blissful time.

The future is less certain with emerging superpowers that have not been refined by long periods of democratic government, the competition for global resources and the threat from Islam, my bet is that living in a hundred years from now will be far less pleasant than it is now although I shall not be around to see if I’m right.

11 June 2010 at 10:22  
Blogger Dave said...

And who is this bearded bloke?
And why should we take any notice of what he says?

11 June 2010 at 10:42  
Blogger said...

What "Anonymous" David Lonsdale said.

Tribal loyalties maybe diminishing but - as my experience as a candidate this time round proved - believe me, we've still got a hell of a long way to go!

11 June 2010 at 11:28  
Blogger Scrigg said...

It's all a bit late in the day really. The UK is F***ed. If I had the resources I would escape with no hesitation.

11 June 2010 at 11:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is he so concerned about the British government, does he not realise thay the majority of decision making no longer happens there

11 June 2010 at 12:19  
Blogger English Viking said...

The first semi-sensible thing I've heard the Arch-Wizard say, although a discourse on politics is not 'a sermon'.


Get out while you can.

11 June 2010 at 12:51  
Anonymous People's Republic of England said...

Davis said "Anon, Jesus thinks whatever you want him to!"

If only we could get Graham Davis to be likewise....

11 June 2010 at 15:06  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

People's Republic of England said...
Davis said "Anon, Jesus thinks whatever you want him to!"

If only we could get Graham Davis to be likewise....

You can create the myth of Jesus for yourself and many have done before. You can have him perform magic like walking on water and you can even have him defy death. You don’t have to bother with boring old reality, whereas I am a tangible (if irritating) reality who has just this one life defined by the laws of nature.

11 June 2010 at 15:28  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Perhaps we should understand that he doesnt really do politics , but apart from that , he might have a point spanning Thatcher to Brown.Again he has a go ecnomics , but what is this other thing than consumer/producer . Interesting question indeed.

11 June 2010 at 16:59  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

The 30yrs bit I can go with, although strong citizens and shared dignity, now where do we start.

What would be deemed dignified to one culture is not to another, does he mean multi-culturalism has failed, does he propose a Christian culture as the model for a shared dignity.

Yet again I would say a strong citizen would require we jettison the current, degrading one size fits all Americanization of our culture, junk values must go, pulp fiction entertainment has to end.

Why have African American rap when we can have our own Bardic Rhapsody.

11 June 2010 at 17:16  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

Rowan Williams, anti-Christian dickhead who appears to prefer islam and is quite content for a cult of hatred to be embedded in this country, to the detriment of the indigenous peoples.

11 June 2010 at 18:05  
Anonymous Voyager said...

has just this one life defined by the laws of nature.

Your Life does not define the Universe nor preclude the Supernatural

11 June 2010 at 18:28  
Blogger Scrigg said...

The church is just so God Dam boring. It shouldn't be. The Christian religion has become like this because it has tried to align its self with the governing policies of the day, when it should be more dynamic in challenging the status quo about its failings. Instead it sucks the dick of politics and grovels on its knees instead of fighting the Christian battle.

Jesus would be far more radical in His approach. The Jesus character in the bible was a radical figure who said things as they were, not sweetened with honey. What we have here representing Jesus is just a watered down wishy-washy bunch of government appeasers. Basically the church is an old fuddy-duddy boring crap house, full of boring old farts who plod along with the status quo.

11 June 2010 at 20:18  
Blogger JamesD'Troy said...

Half the time Rowan Williams comes across as an obtuse boring academic, the other half as someone who can't figure out if he wants to be the Archbishop of Cantebury or the Archdruid of Glastonbury. I wish he and his ilk would do more about spreading the good news about Christ's mission and message. A message, despite the rantings of people like Mssrs Davis, is still very relevant in our era. In fact, I'd like to take a moment and thank Mr. Davis for his vigorous criticisms because it helps me test and define my faith.

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
John 7:37-38

As for the nattering nabobs of impending doom for Britain and the Anglican church...NUTZ!!! Britain has faced far worse than incompetent pikers like Rowan Williams or Gordon Brown. It will carry on.

It should also be noted that today is June 11th. The date, according to Eratosthenes that Troy was sacked and burned after ten years of war by the Greeks.

Troy rose again as Rome.

There's a lesson in there if one looks for it.

11 June 2010 at 20:58  
Blogger Scrigg said...

I mean, he goes on about politicians not making much sense, and you hear it on here quite often about how nobody can quite ascertain whether this man is a druid, a Christian or some strange green-fingered hybrid Goblin throwback from a bye gone era. He makes about as much sense as wet dream after a skin full of whiskey. Boring twat.

Ok he is an intelligent man and he likes to pontificate and show off a bit with his intellectual grasp of all things theological, but at the end of the day he is the leader of the Christian church that has a gospel message of resurrection and certain life after death --- never mind farting about with Islam and global warming and Christ knows what else he waffles on about. Why can't he spell out the Christian message and say what is going wrong with society, and do it every day in a radical way? We are talking Jesus Christ here for Christ sakes.

11 June 2010 at 20:59  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Hey Scrigg if the man is a Druid then it is perfectly reasonable for some strange green-fingered hybrid Goblin throwback from a bye gone era, to be an ancestoral spirit, or spirit of the woods.

Sprite like Ignition, I think the mans blown himself out, hardly going to set the World on fire now is he.

I am sure the New Advent will come with more of a BANG!

11 June 2010 at 21:53  
Anonymous Simon Icke said...

Anon asks Does anyone know what Williams thinks about Jesus?
I would like to reverse the question and ask does anyone know what Jesus thinks about Williams?
Answer: probably something like; 'is this the best man Anglican Christians could come up with?'
'No'! was the cry, 'this is the best man the atheistic politically correct New Labour Government could come up with!'

12 June 2010 at 04:43  
Anonymous Tony B said...

>Why can't he spell out the Christian message and say what is going wrong with society, and do it every day in a radical way?

I think that's exactly what he does do, and what he is doing here, and what he does in his books.

12 June 2010 at 07:36  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Eureka! Mr Graham Davis @ 10.22 has hit the nail on the head with his comment,"(I just met a girl named Sharia)" in the context of Rowan Cantuar's latest intellectual ramble. Could it be that the Arch-druid secretly yearns for the structure and certainty of Sharia? Oh Gawd, next stop Catholic dogma.

And Your Grace, Rowan's ramble is implicitly critical of Milton Friedman whose contribution to economics is rivalled by his capacity for original philsophical insight: "The basic confusion between descriptive accuracy and analytical relevance that underlies most criticisms of economic theory on the grounds that its assumptions are unrealistic as well as the plausibility of the views that lead to this confusion are both strikingly illustrated by a seemingly innocuous remark in an article on business-cycle theory that “economic phenomena are varied and complex, so any comprehensive theory of the business cycle that can apply closely to reality must be very complicated.” A fundamental hypothesis of science is that appearances are deceptive and that there is a way of looking at or interpreting or organising the evidence that will reveal superficially disconnected and diverse phenomena to be manifestations of a more fundamental and relatively simple structure. And the test of this hypothesis, as of any other, is its fruits — a test that science has so far met with dramatic success. If a class of “economic phenomena” appears varied and complex, it is, we must suppose, because we have no adequate theory to explain them. Known facts cannot be set on one side; a theory to apply “closely to reality,” on the other. A theory is the way we perceive “facts,” and we cannot perceive “facts” without a theory. Any assertion that economic phenomena are varied and complex denies the tentative state of knowledge that alone makes scientific activity meaningful; it is in a class with John Stuart Mill's justly ridiculed statement that “happily, there is nothing in the laws of value which remains [1848] for the present or any future writer to clear up; the theory of the subject is complete.”

Observations that may have been a precursor to the much maligned Donald Rumsfeld's brilliant comment about the known and the unknown.

12 June 2010 at 09:51  
Anonymous len said...

The 'hairy one' has spoken but it`s vague rambling and apparently meaningless to the man in the street ( if he could even be bothered to listen)
To state the problem is a start I suppose but it would be far more meaningful if someone in Dr Williams privileged position did his job and preached the solution to the problem-Jesus Christ.

15 June 2010 at 08:08  

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