A. N. Wilson

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Was it luck, that she was personally so well-suited to the role of constitutional monarch? Or did she make herself become the figure who performed this modest office so well? Nearly all other jobs in the world can be defined in the positive terms of what is required. For the constitutional monarch, the job qualifications seem to emphasise the negative: not politically active, but politically astute; not the object of a cult of personality, but nonetheless on frequent display; not obviously a member of any cosy club or interest group.

All her surviving prime ministers speak of how useful they found their weekly meetings with the sovereign.…  Seguir leyendo »

The images and clichés came spluttering out of the laptops of church people and religious affairs correspondents on Tuesday: The pope has parked his tanks on the Church of England’s lawn; Rome has made a hostile takeover bid for Canterbury. It is understandable if people are at a loss for words, since the move has been made so decisively and so without warning. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, knew nothing of the plan until a few days ago.

What has happened? Basically, it seems that Pope Benedict XVI has offered disgruntled Anglicans the opportunity to come over to Roman Catholicism en masse.…  Seguir leyendo »

A little over a decade after he came in as the young hope of a New Britain, Tony Blair, who is expected to announce his resignation date today, is a figure vilified and loathed by his own party and disliked by people in Britain at large.

There is, however, one good legacy he bequeaths us, and we should not be ungenerous in recognizing it. That is peace in Ireland. Both sides in the Northern Irish dispute hate the English, and both have good reason to do so. This hatred was a substantial reason successive British prime ministers, many of them doing their very best to undo the mistakes of the past, got nowhere with the Irish.…  Seguir leyendo »