Adrian Hilton

In praise of the Church of England

The Church of England, like all churches, has always struggled with the tension between the affirmation or assimilation of culture, and the call of the gospel to confront and transform it. Its raison d’etre – its social vocation – is to mediate between the extremes. This was originally between Wittenberg and Zurich (not Wittenberg and

A School of Anti-Semitism?

As a teacher and lecturer, I’ve had a fair amount of indirect contact with Soas — the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University. I first met one of its doctoral students in 2001, around the time I began to send my A-level students to join its impressive list of alumni, which includes

No, David Lidington: EU subsidiarity is not a ‘new principle’

David Lidington’s letter to Conservative Party members on ‘reform in Europe’ tells us not very much about almost nothing at all. It is measured, upbeat and polite, but that is the essential optimism and generous disposition of the man himself. The only interesting glimpse it offered into current thinking was confirmation of his ignorance of

Revd Dr Alan Clifford’s ‘homophobic’ comments referred to the CPS

You’re at home, enjoying a summery Saturday afternoon with the bees and nasturtiums on the patio, when the doorbell intrudes. You’re greeted by an impeccably courteous, fresh-faced police officer from the Norfolk Constabulary – ‘Dedicated to this neighbourhood’, according to their website – and he’s come to speak to you because there’s been a complaint.

Spotify Christmas: Joy to the World

We normally run these Spotify playlists on Sundays, but, as it’s Christmas tomorrow, we thought we’d make an exception for Adrian’s selection of festive music. Don’t forget Pete Hoskin’s selection of more recent Christmas songs, from a couple of weeks ago, too. Distilling your Christmas favourites into a succinct playlist is like trying to cram

A new ending

“What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?” lamented Wilfred Owen in his Anthem for Doomed Youth. When RC Sherriff wrote his play Journey’s End just a decade after the Great War, he never set out to answer this haunting question or justify what he had witnessed at Passchendaele. But he was the first to

Cutting the arts and decimating culture

Rationing Mammon emaciates the Muses. Plato knew it, and so does Polly Toynbee: it’s just simple cause and effect. And government cuts tend to be cyclical: seven fat years of abundance are invariably followed by lean years of famine. Unlike health and overseas development, the arts seem to have no divine right of exemption from

Everything but the inspiration

Whenever the BBC broadcast a major national celebration or royal event, they wheel out a Dimbleby to maintain the hereditary principle. If they want a probing political interview, they sacrifice the victim to the snarls of Paxman or the claws of Humphries. If they want election night gravitas, up pops the psephologically effervescent Peter Snow.

Render unto the Pope…

This realm of England is an Empire …governed by one Supreme Head and King.’ So proclaimed Thomas Cromwell in his most critical piece of legislation, the Act in Restraint of Appeals in 1533. By calling England an empire, he designated it a sovereign state, with a king who owed no submission to any other human