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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Regaining the vision for Great Britain

Archbishop Regaining a big vision for Britain

Dr Sentamu has called for Britain to use the credit crunch as a time to reassess its priorities as a country and to rediscover its vision as a nation. He proposed a three fold approach based upon "freedom, social fellowship and service" in a lecture to the Smith Institute.

Stressing the need for an interdependent approach the Archbishop said: "any analysis of society which treats people either as just individuals with no collective responsibility or on the other hand, as mere objects of economic and social forces is bound to fail. We are not just individuals confronted by the state. Instead, we belong to society through many different communities, geographical, ideological, faith and in many other ways."

Commenting on the loss of vision, the Archbishop criticised the policies of successive Governments which led to "over-cautious policy-formation, fear and irritation" linked to multiculturalism. Using an analogy developed by the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Archbishop said

"With the decline of the empire and the growth of significant immigration to England from the Commonwealth, Chief Rabbi Sacks discerns a new approach which he compares this to a hotel. Guests are entitled to stay if they can pay their way, are free to choose their hotel and receive basic services in return for their payment. But they are guests – they do not belong. In the same way, migrants to Britain from the 1960s onwards have made their home with their cultural rights protected under legislation framed under a multi-cultural perspective. Consequently any sense of a shared common culture is eroded risking increasing segregation."