Archbishop attracts vocal criticism for his concerns re Government policy – is that a sign he’s right?

Janet Downs's picture
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams , has attacked government policies, particularly education, describing Mr Gove’s reform programme as a “comprehensive reworking of the Education Act 1944“.

Even The Telegraph , commenting on the Archbishop’s article, wrote “Mr Gove’s free school reforms passed through Parliament last summer with little debate, using a timetable previously reserved for emergency anti-terrorism laws.”

The Archbishop calls for “a long-term education policy at every level that will deliver the critical tools for democratic involvement, not simply skills that serve the economy.”

The Archbishop’s words have attracted widespread, vociferous condemnation – perhaps that indicates he’s hit a nerve.
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Allan Beavis's picture
Thu, 09/06/2011 - 13:40

The vociferous condemnation (or bafflement in the case of Vince Cable) is the usual outrage of the Coalition government and it's Right-wing supporters when their incompetence, lack of vision or divisive agenda is revealed.

I don't actually think the Archbishop is being political and the clergy having a go at governments is nothing new anyway. But do I believe he is extremely concerned that these policies will have a degenerative effect on society and the conduct of the government is immoral, regardless of whether you view morality through a religious or humanist perspective. The schools "reform" policy is equally applicable to all of the government's initiatives - free markets, unfair division of advantages, dismantling of public services, bullying prescription from the top masked as choice or giving help to the poor - and the worse thing about it is that it is embedding into schoolchildren the notion of segregation, division, superiority, self-interest. A whole generation - perhaps more - will grow up with this mind set (and it is supposed to be the liberal left wing who indoctrinate, according to the more rabid elements of society germinating in the Telegraph blogs) so we can expect more of the type of depressing, selfish, self-aggrandising and mean-spirited personalities we have seen recently here on the Grammar School posts. I hope many of them will grow up and see the errors of their youth and properly contribute to Society, not just Cameron's "Big Society", whatever that is.

caroline's picture
Thu, 09/06/2011 - 19:15

Great litmus test of whether someone is right or not - whether they are roundly condemned by the vested interests!

Try this test of your logic...

Toby Young’s "words have attracted widespread, vociferous condemnation – perhaps that indicates he’s hit a nerve."

Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 10/06/2011 - 08:04

So you are saying that the Archbishop has been "condemned by the vested interests". I would agree with that statement.

Caroline is, of course, correct that Toby Young's words have been condemned, and much of this has been inappropriate - personal attacks rather than engaging with the argument about free schools. However, there is a difference between those attacking Toby Young's arguments and those attacking the Archbishop. The latter are high-ranking politicians whose remarks are widely reported in the media. Those attacking Toby Young do not command such publicity - although those supporting him do.

Perhaps I should amend my remark: "The Archbishop's words have attracted widespread, vociferous condemnation from the Government and its supporters - perhaps that indicates he's hit a nerve."

Thank you for alerting me to the omission of the words "from the Government...".

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