church of england

Jim Pickard

It is always dangerous for a senior churchman to stray into political matters, just as it is risky for politicians to stray into religion. (Thus the firm advice from Alastair Campbell to Tony Blair that he shouldn’t ‘do God’.)

And the criticism of the coalition by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has already prompted a backlash from senior cabinet ministers. Dr Williams has signalled his displeasure with the cuts programme before but this intervention (most notably November) in the New Statesman, is the most passionate and extensive – arguing that “nobody voted for” the coalition’s policies. He also dismissed the Big Society idea as “painfully stale“. It is the most outspoken attack on the government by the church since Robert Runcie criticised Margaret Thatcher in the mid-1980s. Read more

Jim Pickard

News just in from the culture department where many of its 55 public bodies are to be abolished, merged or streamlined.

The most eye-catching is the abolition of the UK Film Council, which invests government grants and Lottery money in film development. (Although Jeremy Hunt, culture secretary, insists that ‘government and Lottery support for film will continue’).

The body has helped to fund 900 films since it was set up in 2000, although it’s not exactly clear from its website which ones they were. (The BBC tells us that they include Bend it Like Beckham and the Last King of Scotland – pictured).

Also to be abolished is the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. Ditto the Advisory Council on Libraries and the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel. And the Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites. Read more