Frankie Fisher: April 2019
There were varied responses to this book by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Some found the vocabulary daunting; others could not get all through; some found it beyond them. But it provoked a really good & passionate discussion.
Welby's picture of the present state of the nation was compelling and the great differences between the super-rich and the poor was graphically described, as was the scape-goating of immigrants and we agreed with his analysis of these. He was scathing about the lack of resources to deal with the problems.
The film "I, Daniel Blake" was strongly recommended by members of the group, as a heart-wrenching picture of our brutal benefit system. Welby was also firm in his indictment of the Popular Press in purveying the dangerous attitudes that were producing so many of the ills he described. He recommended cooperation and not privatisation, cross-party working rather than the following of party interests. He regretted the transforming of education from a study of humanity to the recitation of "fact".
However, he was much less clear about the remedies for this situation. We felt he could re-imagine Britain all right, but was not clear about how to implement his imaginings.
One suggestion he made was to practise subsidiarity, that method of decision-making by the group nearest to the grass-roots. He gave the Church of England as an example of this, which some of us found hard to swallow, associating it as we do with hierarchy!
The much harder part of remedying the present ills is to spell out how it could be done. Welby's pious hopes seemed to rely on the swinging of the pendulum of history. We felt this was not enough
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