Ok, so the Archbishop has made a few headlines with his New Statesman editorial. Looking at the response that it is getting in certain circles you would think he had announced that the Church of England was going to vote as a bloc for the opposition come the next election. If you take the time to read the article you discover that as is usually the case with Archbishop Williams it is a carefully nuanced, thoughtful piece (though composed of reather dense prose). It is certainly not partisan – he notes that the Left at present seem lacking in ideas as to the way forward. I’d recommend the whole thing, but this seems to me to represent the heart of the article:
I dont think that the governments commitment to localism and devolved power is simply a cynical walking-away from the problem. But I do think that there is confusion about the means that have to be willed in order to achieve the end. If civil society organisations are going to have to pick up responsibilities shed by government, the crucial questions are these. First, what services must have cast-iron guarantees of nationwide standards, parity and continuity? Look at what is happening to youth services, surely a strategic priority. Second, how, therefore, does national government underwrite these strategic “absolutes” so as to make sure that, even in a straitened financial climate, there is a continuing investment in the long term, a continuing response to what most would see as root issues: child poverty, poor literacy, the deficit in access to educational excellence, sustainable infrastructure in poorer communities rural as well as urban, and so on? What is too important to be left to even the most resourceful localism?