Friday, 12 August 2011

Archbishops, Riots and Police

You can read the full text of the Archbishop of Canterbury's speech in the House of Lords on the Bishop of Bradford's blog, together with a comment from Bishop Nick who is on holiday in the USA, trying to keep up with developments here.

I thought the Archbishop's speech was one of the more positive contributions I've heard to the debate - 'Seeking explanations is not the same as seeking excuses...'  He is so right to point out that education has become too 'instrumentalist' - striving for a narrow range of competencies and skills rather than to create character and the practice of virtue and good citizenship.  I also thought Archbishop Sentamu was good on Newsnight last night, avoiding the  'I told you so'  line and the woolly liberal line and managing to make some positive comments about how moral education could be different and about how we can generate among younger people a belief in a future to which they can contribute. Bishop Nick is right to say that it is really for the bishops of the areas affected to comment in detail on what happened during the riots themselves - they have the local information. Talking to friends around the country, what happened in each of the different cities and towns was distinctive. 

I agree with ++Rowan in wanting to thank the police for the courageous job they did in impossible circumstances, especially before the COBRA meeting could be convened. I am sure that mistakes were made in places but, had they gone in with greater force, we could have been looking at the loss of many more lives and, frankly, a much, much worse situation, escalating into widespread, deliberate violence against large numbers of people as well as property. Also, we should thank the fire and ambulance services for their courage in facing both threat from the rioters and danger due to the fires and damage to buildings.

Our thoughts continue to be with all who have lost lives or loved ones, those who have been injured or lost homes or property, and those who have to continue with their businesses and pay their staff while unable to open their premises as usual.  

(See yesterday's post Riots on British Streets (11th August) for more opinion.)

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