One would expect that Justin Welby, oil trader retrained as the Archbishop of Canterbury, would have a firm grasp of both the sacred and secular realms.
In fact, he struggles to come to terms with either.
The transition from the cutthroat end of private enterprise to Christian ministry must have been too abrupt for his mind to handle. Especially since his mind was already compromised by its leftward slant.
The Archbishop is concerned about the “schism” caused by the deadly combination of Brexit and austerity. That fire-spewing juggernaut is “crushing the weak, the sick and many others”.
As a stickler for rhetorical precision, I’m always worried about open-ended propositions. What kind of “many others”? How many of them? Is their number coextensive with the subscription rolls of The Guardian? The public deserves to know.
Wearing his businessman’s hat, His Grace ought to have checked his numbers. He would have realised that ‘austerity’, as used by Guardian subscribers and the key figures in the Labour party, doesn’t really convey its dictionary definition.
What they mean isn’t penny-pinching austerity, but a slower growth of economically suicidal profligacy. Public spending is still redlining, but not quite so fast.
Putting this in familiar terms, just imagine, Your Grace, that the price of crude grows at $10 a barrel every year until one year it only grows by $8. It has still grown, hasn’t it? Good. Glad we’ve sorted this out.
Now the need for ‘austerity’ arose mainly because aforementioned profligacy brought the country to the brink of disaster. The snowball was rolling to the precipice and, though it couldn’t be stopped, it had to be slowed down.
Of course, the Left know only one cure for any disaster caused by socialist policies: more socialist policies. Hence their assault on ‘austerity’, with the Archbishop in the vanguard.
Wearing his clerical mitre, he should really focus on teaching his flock to concentrate on hard work, thrift and self-reliance – and that goes for the government too. Ministering to the poor is an essential part of the priestly remit, but that doesn’t mean shilling for policies proven to make more people poor.
As to Brexit, His Grace feels that it closely parallels the Second World War, supposedly with hundreds of thousands of Britons killed during Germany’s previous attempt to unite Europe.
One has to assume that the post-Brexit London the Archbishop sees in his mind’s eye will be reduced to smoking ruins, with hungry people digging the charred corpses of their loved ones out of the rubble.
Why, one London building has already suffered such a gruesome fate, and His Grace blames, both explicitly and implicitly, the Grenfell Tower fire on ‘austerity’ combined with Brexit.
The link to Brexit is just cloud cuckoo land, but even the role ‘austerity’ played isn’t immediately clear either. After all, the tower was financed by the public purse – they didn’t call it a council estate for nothing.
So blame the local council by all means, or perhaps the construction company presumably called Jerry Builders. Or even, at a lucid moment, the residents who might have been a bit lax in their fire safety. But what does HMG’s economic policy have to do with anything?
And particularly what does Brexit have to do with that towering inferno? Oh yes: “Brexit has divided the country – and now we need a new narrative… There is a danger that there is a schism in our society into which the most vulnerable are falling.” People can fall into a chasm, not schism, but let’s not quibble.
One can justifiably say that any election, and certainly any referendum, divides the country between those who vote one way and those who vote the other. This normal division has been blown up into a ‘schism’ by the Archbishop’s co-ideologues who despise the will of the people but worship the will of Brussels.
As to the implicit prognosis of the dire effect Brexit will have on ‘the most vulnerable’, here the Archbishop swaps his clerical mitre for his businessman’s hat – with results that bode badly for his mental health.
First, we don’t know what the effect will be on the most or least vulnerable. Let’s wait and see, shall we? And do let’s put a sock into the mouths of naysayers and try to make sure the country, including everyone with varying degrees of vulnerability, thrives after Brexit.
Second and most important, we’re still at least two years away from the actual exit. If Welby’s co-ideologues have their way, we may never get out. One way or another, what on earth, or for matter in heaven, does it have to do with the Grenfell Tower and the current plight of the “the weak, the sick and many others”?
But then Welby, in common with all Remainers, blames Brexit for everything. Perhaps I should become a Remainer too, so that I’ll be able to blame my forthcoming hip operation on that God-awful referendum.
The good Archbishop preaches that “we must be a warm, welcoming nation”, presumably to mitigate the effects of austerity and Brexit:
“Welcoming strangers to our own country and integrating them into our own culture is important. We must be generous and allow ourselves to change with the newcomers and create a deeper, richer way of life.”
Methinks, this is spitting on the graves of those Grenfell Tower victims. After all, had we had less immigration, they’d still be very much alive in their own countries.
But that little logical problem aside, I’m all for welcoming and integrating strangers. But let’s be more specific. How many should we welcome, and how do we integrate them?
Welby’s statement sounds like an open invitation irrespective of numbers. Now, it’s a safe assumption that at least a third of the world’s seven billion inhabitants would rather live in Britain than in their native lands. How many should we welcome? All of them?
May we please be allowed at least to limit the influx of those who stubbornly refuse to be integrated into “our own culture”? And are we sure that “changing with the newcomers” will actually “create a deeper, richer way of life”? Is our life being deepened and enriched by the presence of, say, 200,000 Somalis?
Possibly. But if so, a demonstration is in order, for without it such statements run the risk of sounding like typically asinine bien pensant waffle – the kind of stuff we expect from Blair or Clegg, not from prelates.
His Disgrace shouldn’t overload his brain with such matters – unless he plans to empty out even more Anglican churches. If times are as hard as he claims, then so much more do the people need the solace and eternal hope that only Christianity can provide.
The spectacle of an Archbishop of Canterbury mouthing faddish secular nonsense won’t bring them to the pews. It’ll bring them to cynicism at best, despair at worst.