Reimagining reimagined – a review of Justin Welby’s ‘Reimagining Britain’

Apr 4, 2018 by

By Martin Davie.

[…] Contrary to what is said in the blurb on the back cover of the book, the Archbishop is not offering ‘a radical vision for 21st century Britain.’ If all that he proposes came to pass, British society would not actually change that much. What he is offering is a modest proposal for the development of existing British society and government policy along lines that have also been put forward by a large number of other writers on this topic.

What is helpful about the Archbishop’s proposal is that he identifies a number of key issues which anyone concerned with the development of British society needs to bear in mind.

  • Practices must reflect values and virtues.
  • In order to flourish Britain needs to be a society marked by the practice of love and by the values of community, courage and stability.
  • There need to be Intermediate institutions (including households and religious groups) that exist between the individual and the state.
  • Families, education, health, housing, and economics and finance are the basic building blocks of British society and problems in these five areas need to be addressed.
  • Britain needs to express its values in relation to immigration and integration, foreign policy and climate change.
  • It is important that churches and other religious groups should be given the freedom to challenge a liberal hegemony and be encouraged to bless society through their activities…

…Where the book is unhelpful is that there are a number of very important issues that it does not address at all.

For example, while the book address the issue of pay differentials it says nothing at all about the fact that there are many people in this country who lack sufficient income to feed themselves and their families. It says nothing about the problem of the chronic shortage of affordable rental accommodation. It says nothing the growing problems of pornography, or modern day slavery. It says nothing about what would constitute a reasonable level of immigration into this country and how we should decide what categories of people should be admitted. It talks about our responsibility for those as yet unborn in the context of climate change and yet is totally silent about abortion. Most importantly of all from a Christian perspective, the book does not address the problem of the predominantly secular nature of contemporary British society…

….Archbishop Welby is right to say that we need to reimagine Britain, but our imagining needs to be more Christian and more radical than the vision he puts forward.

Read here

See also this in depth but very disappointing interview (Guardian) with the Archbishop from Easter Monday in which very little about the Christian faith is mentioned

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