Brexit – letting go of Nanny’s hand

Nanny Welby wags his finger at the Brexiteers

Nanny knows best?

There are varieties of fatuity – and then we come to Archbishop Justin Welby.

Yet again this week he offered to the nation the benefit of his boundless wisdom and called for a cross-party commission to negotiate Britain’s departure from the European Union. He said major decisions should be “taken off the political table.”

Even someone with less perspicuity than Welby – always supposing such a person could be found outside Bishopthorpe Palace – would understand that Brexit and the whole business of Britain’s negotiations with the EU are political  issues and so it is nonsense to suggest that they be removed from the political realm.

We might as well suggest that when Welby sits down with his fellow bishops to discuss, say, a fresh translation of The Athanasian Creed, the matter should be “taken off the theological table.”

Besides, when Welby wades in as he has with his dazzling moral superiority on full beam, you would think that even he would understand that such an intervention is itself a political act. Thus incoherently he uses a political statement to declare that the matter should not be political.

The Archbishop’s first language is gibberish

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Can the politicians not put at the front of their minds the needs of the United Kingdom to come out with a functional, working system for Brexit, and agree that certain things are, as it were, off the political table and will be decided separately in an expert commission, or commission of senior politicians led by someone that (sic) is trusted in the political world?”

Welby would benefit from reading the well-known primer for infants and juniors Janet and John Look at Polity. For the decision to leave the EU was a political choice made by the British electorate. What we did in the referendum of 2016 was to express our will and then hand the matter over to the politicians whose job it is to work out the details

He wants “an expert commission” or “a commission of senior politicians led by someone that (sic again) is trusted in the political world.”

Does such a paragon exist?

What he really wants is a nanny – someone who knows best.

I wonder that Welby hasn’t noticed that Brexit is a divisive issue and a sizeable minority of the electorate voted against it. Any “expert commission” would of course itself be contentious from its appointment, with one side claiming it to be independent and the other side accusing it of bias

Crying for nanny is of course a characteristic of the infantile mind.

Like weak men everywhere, Welby has a craving for authority, for someone to tell him what to think and what to do. Plato would have provided him with such figures. Plato called them Guardians which the Latin philosophers translated as Custodes.

And they immediately asked the question, Quis custodiet ipsos Custodes?

Who Will Guard the Guardians?

Round of applause, please everyone. Let’s hear it for the Archbishop of Cant.

3 Comments on Brexit – letting go of Nanny’s hand

  1. At the commemoration of the Battle of the Somme in 2016 Welby gave an address in which he declared that ‘Europe must speak with one voice’. He laid heavy emphasis on the word ‘one’. This was clearly a reference to the EU. The same thing has been said in the past by various politicians.

    Welby must realise the difficulty of getting the consensus he wants, considering his discussions with the Bishop of Uganda about other matters. If only the Church of England had the sort of leadership that Welby wants in relation to Brexit. If he wants Platonic guardians they already exist in the form of the European Commission.

    Not all Nannies infantilised their charges. Queen Wilhelmina’s English nanny – governess, really – told her that her intention was to make the future queen into a ‘bold and noble woman’.

    However, even if a consensus over Brexit was possible, it’s far too late to achieve that now. If Welby were more clued-up politically he would be having the bells of every church in England rung to sound the alarm of the likelihood of the approach of a chaotic Brexit.

  2. Bishopsthorpe Palace? I suspect the writer means Lambeth Palace unless he is taking a not altogether inappropriate side swipe at the Archbishop of York.

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