THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury’s angst over rising homelessness and intolerance towards minority groups will, to some, appear churlish in the immediate aftermath of Boris Johnson’s landslide election win.
However the leader of the Church of England is right to speak out – he would be failing his mission, and social conscience, if he did not – and the rise in rough sleeping, and use of food banks, should concern all.
But rather than Conservative politicians dismissing the Archbishop for not acknowledging the significance of the changes to Britain’s political and electoral landscape, they should be embracing the challenge that Justin Welby effectively sets them today.
A genuine ‘One Nation Conservative Government’ – Boris Johnson’s new post-election mantra – will realise that it has a moral duty to help the most vulnerable members of society and should be willing to be judged on the effectiveness of measures, in conjunction with others, to reduce homelessness.
Equally, an inclusive government will lead by example when it comes to tackling the prejudice, intolerance and racism which, regrettably, is still prevalent in society – the Tory leader should, as a start, commit to his promised inquiry on Islamophobia.
And, at a time when Labour and the Liberal Democrats are in complete disarray, Mr Johnson, and his team, will welcome the spirit of the interventions that senior clerics, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, choose to make. For too long, the Church and Tory politicians have viewed each other with suspicion. That must change as Britain prepares for a fresh start.