I bet they kill this par

But when you open tomorrow’s Guardian there ought to be an analysis on the news pages that starts like this:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, a man whose prose is as luxuriant as his beard, might not have anything in common with the heroes of American tough-guy novelist Elmore Leonard beyond a tendency to interrupt his sentences with “Jesus”. But it was an Elmore Leonard hero he called to mind in his latest speech: the one in Tishimongo Blues, who earns his living by diving from high platforms into tiny pools of water; except that when the Archbishop emerged from his latest feat of public intellectual gymnastics, he was dripping all over with shit.
How could one speech have united against him the liberals, the conservatives, most Muslims, most Christians, all secularists, all the political parties; everyone who only read the headlines, and almost everyone who read beyond the headlines the lecture that he gave? Could any common idiot have written it?

This is why I no longer write news stories.

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3 Responses to I bet they kill this par

  1. mjp says:

    I think Rowan quite genuinely sees himself as a critic of liberalism, and is oblivious to the fact that many people see him as a liberal. So he thought his speech would draw fire from liberal secularists — not realising the need to protect his flank against the much larger body of right-wing opinion that sees him as the ‘dhimmi archbishop’. (I wonder if he ever reads blogs? Probably not.) To anyone who has ever read a line of Melanie Phillips, it was perfectly obvious how this was going to play out — ‘limp-wristed bishop capitulates to Muslim fanatics’, etc — but it obviously caught him completely by surprise.

  2. acb says:

    mjp: Yes. I think you are entirely right. He isn’t a liberal, and he understands himself as a profound conservative critic of liberalism. The person who grasped this best was Matthew Parris in today’s Times.

    As for whether he reads blogs, no one who paid any attention even to the Times could have delivered that speech. And, you know, it’s not as if he had been wholly ignoring some of the concerns of the Nigerian Church over the last five years, either, and they have views on Sharia.

    No, Lambeth operates in a bubble, with no clue as to how the outside world will react, and this is entirely Rowan’s fualt, because he surrounds himself with people who don’t think this is a very urgent question, and then ignores their advice anyway if they do find anything out.

  3. Er, Andrew, that’s Tishomingo Blues.

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