Now that the House of Commons has given its blessing to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, the focus will soon turn to the House of Lords and the final consummation. Even if the Bill emerges from its Committee stage largely unscathed, it is so badly drawn-up that it is unlikely to survive the scrutiny of those in the Upper House who are tasked with applying their philosophical and theological expertise to expose all legislative shortcomings.
And don’t think for one minute that the opposition will come only from the Conservatives: many unreconstituted Labour peers and a fair smattering of Liberal Democrats and Cross-benchers are likely to unite in a strategy of filibustering and frustration. There is a determined cross-party consensus among Their Lordships that the case for same-sex marriage has simply not adequately been made. Continue reading →
“The archbishop / Is the King’s hand and tongue; and who dare speak / One syllable against him?”
So asked Sir Thomas Lovell in conversation with Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII.
We know, of course, how things turned out for that King’s ‘hand and tongue’ under the next Queen – ‘Bloody’ Mary.
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, architect of the Church of England’s XXXIX Articles and author of the vernacular Book of Common Prayer, went on to have a great many syllables spoken against him, principally by those who were suddenly aware that royal patronage had shifted, religion reverted, and those whose theology and beliefs were once in favour became the new outcasts and heretics – ‘a pestilence/That does infect the land’. Such is the ebb and flow of spiritual myopia and religious fanaticism. Continue reading →
The name of Adonis will go down in the history of education in England as one of the most reforming and far-reaching ever – right up there with Forster, Balfour, Butler and Boyle; names which have become synonymous over the years with their respective legislative acts. This achievement is all the more astonishing since Andrew Adonis was only an advisor, then head of policy, and then a minister: he was never Secretary of State, and yet his name eclipses dozens of those who have carried that brief.
While Tony Blair and Gordon Brown steadily gnawed their way through six education secretaries who issued 14 separate acts of parliament, along with a seemingly endless stream of white papers, green papers and flowery reports, Adonis was quietly beavering away in the background to forge the academies programme – a new breed of quasi-independent state schools, designed to replace the failing, mediocre, inadequate ‘bog standard’ comprehensives, with the sole objective of raising student attainment in areas of high social deprivation. Continue reading →