Saturday, April 12, 2008

Archbishop: Welsh devolution settlement is ‘immoral’

So, God supports more devolution, does he? Anglican bishops and archbishops seems to be polarised between the politico-theologically impressive (York, Rochester) and the theological-politically naïve (Oxford, Canterbury), and Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, falls quite firmly in the latter camp. He has stated that the present devolution settlement for Wales is ‘immoral’, and that that only by giving the Welsh Assembly ‘full law-making powers’ can this immorality be rectified.

Immoral? How can a constituent part of the United Kingdom within a liberal democratic framework of freedom, equality and tolerance be in any sense immoral?

Slavery is immoral; prostitution is immoral; what’s going on in Zimbabwe, Darfur and Tibet is immoral. One has to wonder if this archbishop has any clue about the theological meaning of the term. Moral law is the idea of that set of standards outlined in the Decalogue, and Cranmer is intrigued to learn that the Welsh Bible must include ‘Thou shalt not have a devolution settlement inferior to that of the Scots’. Moral requirements have the form of Kantian categorical imperatives which prescribe what is to be done regardless of what one may want.

So what the Archbishop wants is not remotely concerned with morality, and his insistence that devolution is a moral precept is akin to saying that God is a Protestant Unionist.

Of course, in Ulster, he may be.

The Archbishop is right, however, in his insistence that religion could not be ‘separate from life’, and that people in his position ‘can't divorce themselves from the life of politics because politics is about the way we organise ourselves in society and, therefore every single aspect of life ought to have relevance to the Gospel’. But his expression is a personal one, and he is wrong to give the impression that the Anglican Church has a position on Welsh devolution.

Conservative Monmouth MP David Davies criticised the Archbishop saying: ‘What disappoints me is that the most senior member of the Anglican Church in Wales is using his position to put forward a political point of view which he may - and is perfectly entitled to - hold, but he's not making it clear that this is a personal view. He's doing so wearing his crown and mitre, as it were, and frankly I think that's very disappointing, especially when there are so many issues that you would expect the Anglican church to be speaking out at the moment about.’

Cranmer thinks that is load of poppycock as well.

What disappoints Cranmer is that the most senior (namesake-recognised?) Conservative MP in Wales is using his position to put forward a point of view which he may - and is perfectly entitled to - hold, but he's not making it clear that this is a personal view. He's doing so as a member of the House of Commons, as it were, and frankly he thinks that's very disappointing, especially when there are so many issues that you would expect the Conservative Party to be speaking out at the moment about.


Anonymous The Welsh Jacobite said...

His Grace is mistaken if he thinks that Mr Davies is the only Conservative M.P. in Wales ....

12 April 2008 at 09:26  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Welsh Jacobite,

Quite right, quite right. His Grace wrote in haste, and had omitted the great Welsh revival of 2005. He has corrected.

12 April 2008 at 09:32  
Blogger Bert Rustle said...

I wonder if the Archbishop of Wales mentioned that most "British Law" now comes from Brussels and the BBC edited it out?

12 April 2008 at 10:16  
Anonymous Smith Dorrien said...

He made some equally facile remarks about female bishops recently. Why is Anglicanism led by such numpties?

12 April 2008 at 12:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very true your grace.

However the Conservative Party is trying to get elected.

Conservatives saying things that are counterproductive to this obvious primary end, are the only things that should shock.

Unfortunately it has long since been the case that the Conservative Party has become simply a force of reaction against things that socialism is ideologically designed to create. Such as poverty, wars, spiritual confusion and masses of both personal and government debt.

The purpose of a Conservative Party in government, is managing Britons industrial, moral, and other things, decline as best as possible , while paying the banks back with interest.

Expect little of an actual Conservative government and one will not be so disappointed. Just be happy that just about anything at all, is better the a Labour government. It will take far more then a British political party to sort out even half of this countries problems, even given 20 years in which to do so.

12 April 2008 at 18:04  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
i am not sure that wales would benefit by devolution in the same way as scotland thinks . Scotland has number of premium export products which are known through out the world. wales has some marvellous food but it quickly gets consumed in home markets .

the bishop of wales may well be of rowan williams kidney , however i disagree with your post , the bishop of wales has not made any ecnomic case for independent wales , so in some ways he may well be advocating a financial illness for wales , so quite right of david davies to have a go . i think its is right that the banal platitudes of liberation speak is somewhat poor if it is later to be found out as being unecnomically sound ?

we are already struggleing to extarcate our selves from a credit honey trap , encouraged by our labour governement , it appears the archbishop may be thinking another one needs proposing to make us forget ??

12 April 2008 at 23:40  

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