Saturday, 11 June 2011

Williams the Amateur

Obviously I have heard the news about Rowan Williams and his commentary on government, and how it was highlighted in the media. What seemed odd on television was an apparent criticism of Ian Duncan Smith and his welfare to work policy, a sort of anti-poverty policy, and yet he had been invited by the guest editor Williams to write in the New Statesman magazine. The answer, of course, is that Williams was not criticising him and his policies, but making statements about a coalition government producing those policies for which no one had voted (NHS reform is the obvious one) and a matter of fear over what the government was doing.

The problem with the Ian Duncan Smith policy is that it won't work unless there are jobs to fill; and this 'payment by results' business seems just more of the same crap those of us inhabiting the system have seen before. How many times can you tell someone how to produce a CV? What would be the point of giving me literacy lessons or how to switch on a computer? So if the policy is useless, at least make it cheap (no results equals no payment), and private firms will just be going out of business doing this silly merry go round of placements and apparent activity.

What this government has done is attacked the poor financially, as well as all but the rich, and the rapid shrinking of public employment could cause an economic heart attack on an already weak patient. The IMF is imposing this medicine elsewhere, so we got in first on the basis that doing it ourselves impresses the bankrupters and keeps our interest rates down. So the economic world is bust. So there will be more unemployment here (along with fiddled statistics: I believe none of them). Fundamentally, then, the problem is that so much finance now is a Mickey Mouse reshuffling the pack; the scandal of the Southern Cross residential homes under this sort of capital-releasing bonus paying nonsense that puts real lives at risk is part of the brokenness that is today's capitalism. Capitalism is bust and we need a new way to organise human essentials.

Now if the Archbishop had said that, it would have been something. But he did not. And once upon a time there was an output of Christian social theology, in Anglican terms lasting for around a generation more after William Temple. Now it is the Archbishop acting as a happy amateur in a field not his own, whose opinion on this matter is no more worthwhile than mine.

But as many point out, he hardly preaches or practises what he preaches to the public at large: he lacks legitimacy himself. He has no democratic backing, and represents privilege into the House of Lords. He acts in an authoritarian manner, and seeks exemptions from equality legislation and anything else his own Church desires. He even acts like a politician with the same devious and manipulative methods as suits.


Anonymous said...

"Capitalism is bust and we need a new way to organise human essentials."

If you've any ideas yourself, then let's hear them.

Fr David Cloake said...

I think that Anglicans would claim his legitimacy as given by God, as is the legitimacy of the calling and ministry of every bishop, priest, deacon, and lay minister (and indeed every Christian). None of us are voted in - and we all seem to work with the legitimacy of acceptance from our flocks.

Just a thought ...