Let the Synod debate

Tomorrow the Synod of the Church of England meets.
It has the power to change its agenda to deal with topical matters.
It should organise an early debate on the remarks of the Archbishop.

The Archbishop himself should suggest this, and should lead it. It would give him the chance to explain his "nuanced" positon to the Church, and to correct the more extreme claims of his critics. He after all wanted this debate, so it would be strange not to use the Church’s very own Parliament to further the debate.

The Archbishop could show wisdom if he apologised for allowing many of us to think he wanted to introduce features of Sharia law here with a parallel legal system, and could withdraw the phrases and statements that led to that belief.

Alternatively, he could use the platform to make his case in his own way, explaining why he thinks he was right all along, whatever his critics may say.

I fear the Synod instead will ignore this. That will lead to more fevered speculaiton in the press. It will lead some to ask why did he start this debate if he does not mean to carry it on? And why complain that the debate is not being conducted in the way you would like, if you yourself are not prepared to join in?

It is time for Dr Williams to emerge from hiding behind websites and spin doctors, and to take to the airwaves himself. The Synod would give him a fine platform – I bet the cameras and microphones would turn up if he agreed to put on a show. The Church should grasp such an opportuntiy with welcoming hands.

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4 Comments

  1. The Black Fingernail
    Posted February 10, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    "It is time for Dr Williams to emerge from hiding behind websites and spin doctors, and to take to the airwaves himself. "

    Err, no, that's what led to this sorry state of affairs.

    If this fiasco has taught him anything, it is that he has no ability to speak in the vernacular, and his musings belong in the hallowed halls of academia. He is incapable of speaking to the masses in terms they can understand, and the simply gospel message is confused and unclear.

    It's not what he said that matters, but what people think he said. Putting him on the airwaves will only let him dig his hole even deeper.

  2. mikestallard
    Posted February 10, 2008 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Shades of poor old David Willett over "Grammar Schools". Or Jacqui Smith over not daring to go out at night. Or Jim Callaghan saying "Crisis? What Crisis?"
    I bet you have been misquoted a lot too, haven't you?
    Down here in little Wisbech, I have to do several press releases. I NEVER do it unless I have something important to say. I ALWAYS put it into writing. If I possibly can, I do it face to face with the reporter and make sure that we are on christian name terms by the end of the interview.
    The Archbishop is someone who is like a small insect stinging the complacent. He has always been like that. He is not able to say anything definite. That isn't his way at all.
    When he lectured us at Lincoln Theological College, he always left us wondering exactly what he was on about.
    He would make an ideal school Chaplain or even a College Chaplain. he has been overpromoted.
    The problem is that the C of E is run by people like that.
    That is why I am now a happy roman Catholic.

  3. Jonathan Sheppard
    Posted February 11, 2008 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    I agree with John on this one. If he feels that a selective piece of what he was saying was jumped on then now he has a chance to say what he really meant.

    Now I have to say that I would have expected someone is his position to know exactly what would be made of his comments.

    In a way I think I am lucky that I am not invovled in the CoE as I think I would seriously be questioning the leadership of it at the moment.

  4. Rose
    Posted February 12, 2008 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Now that he is supposed to have apologised I feel much more annoyed with him than before: his words of excuse were Clintonesque. How did they strike other people?

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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