Rowan Williams’s would-be successors have begun jostling for position. One stands outWho shall be the next Archbishop of Canterbury, do you suppose? They are jockeying for position at the moment, suffused with godliness and the distinct suspicion that old beardie has had more than enough and may wish to shuffle off to a warm university sinecure some time soon. The more cynical among you might not give a monkey’s and, indeed, suggest that jockeying for position to inherit Rowan’s mantle is akin to jockeying within the Romanov family to inherit Nicholas II’s mantle in about 1915.
At next week’s General Synod, the plotters-in-chief will be out in force, but this gossiping and manoeuvring is not just a sign of the archbishop’s demise. Throughout his time in office, Rowan Williams has been isolated and undermined — not by the media, but by his own clergy. The case for him stepping down early was made privately by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, to a few friends at last summer’s York Synod.
The last politically correct form of prejudice is against football’s working-class supportersThere is a brilliant irony to the campaign to ‘kick racism out of football’: its backers — the commentators and FA suits driving this petit-bourgeois push to clean up footie — think in a similar way and use very similar lingo to the football-terrace racists they claim to hate.Indeed, they have fully appropriated the racial thinking of those dumb blokes who used to hurl bananas at black football players.
Is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee a cause for jubilation? Certainly her reign has been a personal triumph: her iron sense of duty, gracefully performed, has been exemplary, if not an example often followed. For 60 years she has exercised a self-control that most of us find difficult even for 60 minutes; her recent state visit to Ireland put all our public figures of the past decades in the shade.
What does superstardom look like? Well, nothing at all. Like anonymity personified. The seriously big celebs, the ones for whom walking down the street is either irksome or potentially hazardous, develop a knack for blending into the background. When Patrick Stewart arrives to meet me at the Young Vic, I scarcely notice him. The jacket and scarf are regulation winterwear. His blue jeans are unexceptional, and his natty trilby is hoiked downwards to conceal his face.
To everything there is a season, says the Bible. And, as I have been discovering, to every season there are certain things. To autumn belongs the wet shiny streets, the brollies and the macs, the brightly coloured soups, the quiet squares where both trees and grass are emblazoned with gold leaves. Then, as autumn moves to winter, there are the fleecy collars and fluffy hats, the steamy breaths, the ferrous skies.