Guardian (book excerpt) Archbp Justin Welby Britain's urban crisis

Much of England is experiencing economic crisis. Our economy appears to be, in one sense, a tale of two cities ”“ one being a growing and constantly improving London (and the south-east generally), and the other being most, but not all, other cities, alike in that they are each trapped in apparently inevitable decline.

Of course, London has many economic problems of its own. While on a national level entire cities are being cast aside and left to their own devices, one cannot walk the streets of London for long before realising that this national trend is happening at an individual level in this massive city. There is poverty around the corner from every multimillion and multibillion pound industry ”“ individuals and families similarly trapped in apparently inescapable circles of despair.

This sketch of our current plight will not come as news to many. It is the reality we experience and see on a daily basis. And I believe that many of the prescribed remedies that so often accompany this diagnosis are deeply flawed.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Rural/Town Life, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

4 comments on “Guardian (book excerpt) Archbp Justin Welby Britain's urban crisis

  1. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    [blockquote]While on a national level entire cities are being cast aside[/blockquote]
    Which cities? Who is casting them aside?

  2. MichaelA says:

    The danger for ++Welby is that his comments will be seen as primarily self-indulgent. By the end of the article, it is apparent that his article is long on invective against various government and business, but short on solutions. That’s an easy posture to adopt – its different for politicians who have to balance various competing priorities and actually make a decision.

    In the short term he will gain plaudits from whoever is in political opposition, but you’d have to be very naive about politics to think that will last.

    The nearest he comes to suggesting solutions seems to be: “The report identifies local choices like the creation of new office space for professional services as the driving force behind the regeneration [of Leeds]” and “The decision to move a large part of the BBC’s structures to and the development of “Media City” in Salford have already shown a positive impact on the regeneration of areas outside the centre of Manchester”. That might be so, but it hardly corroborates his earlier strident condemnation of virtually every person and group involved in the process of government.

    One is left thinking that everyone involved in government of the UK is incompetent, and if only they would listen to the glorious expertise and knowledge in these areas possessed by the bishops of the Church of England, solutions will appear.

    The Archbishop then moves to what I suspect is the real point of this article, and of many of his recent pronouncements:
    [blockquote] “Elsewhere there are also signs of hope, with the Church acting as catalyst and convenor….” [/blockquote]

    Okay, so now it becomes clear – the Archbishop tells us that:

    * government activities (including the initiatives of all three major political parties) are misdirected and fundamentally flawed.

    *The solution lies in local solutions, but not decentralised local solutions – rather, they must be guided and stimulated.

    * The body which can do such guiding and stimulating is the Church of England.

    Its not a bad bid for jobs-for-life for the bishops of the CofE. And it carries the potential for them to be paid by the tax-payer, which may be very useful given the current state of CofE finances…

  3. Terry Tee says:

    Pageantmaster, I had asked the same question in an earlier posting, remembering the infamous Bishop of Durham who had said that children in Thatcher’s Britain were going to school barefoot and when asked where could not substantiate. I am surprised that the A of C has not been asked to be specific. I can imagine the wrath of the inhabitants of any city which he claimed, whole and entire, to have been cast aside.

  4. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Indeed Fr Terry, puts me in mind of the reaction of Birmingham to a US terrorism expert informing them that their city was a Muslim no-go area.

    I was discussing with a Liverpudlian friend today the reaction of the artisan readership of ‘The Sun’ to the end of what has been its defining feature, when he reminded me that even today, it is not bought in Liverpool.