How on earth is one to react to the latest musings of the Archbishop of Canterbury. I was a bit lucky that I was heading out of the country today when BBC Wales rang me. I was boarding the plane when they invited me on to talk about Dr. Rowan Williams' lecture to the Royal Courts of Justice. It would have been walking on very thin ice indeed. It would have been easy if I didn't have such great respect for the man - as a theologian and an academic. But he is not much of a politician. I cannot think of anything more designed to wind up the British people than to suggest that sharia law should apply in some circumstances in our country.
Trouble with Dr. Rowan Williams is that he's a high intellectual. And they are all tend to be the same. Its a bit like when Rhodri Morgan (another intellectual) started going on about the benefits to Welsh tourism that would flow from global warming. He was probably making an interesting point - but it was a stupid commment to make because of the offence it caused. As I understand it, there are already some 'voluntary' concessions to sharia law accepted in the UK - just as there are some concessions to Jewish law. But he's the head of the Church of England. He simply cannot say what he said without causing a storm - especially in the current climate of popular concern about aggressive Islamic fundamentalism. He should have known that he was lighting a very big firework. He knows now.
There are restrictions on what a lot of us can say. This blog has taken the view that the Chief Constable of North Wales shouldn't campaign for the legalisation of all drugs - while he remains in office. There are plenty of things I cannot post on this blog - while I remain a parliamentary candidate. And the Archbishop of Canterbury would have been wise to have not delivered that lecture. Ironically, he has produced a reaction opposite to that which he would have intended.