Updated Sunday evening
Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds, has sent a letter about Iraq and IS to the Prime Minister. The bishop has published the text of the letter on his blog with this explanation.
Recognising the complexities of such matters and the difficult role of the Prime Minister in them, I wrote the letter as a constructive stimulus to discussion of the wider questions provoked by what is happening in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. Attempting to fix the immediate will prove costly in every respect, if we don’t have a long-term, overarching and holistic vision for what we – along with other governments, agencies and partners (such as the churches) – need to achieve. The lack of clarity about such a comprehensive and coherent vision is being commonly remarked upon, and my letter seeks concisely and respectfully to elicit some response to these serious questions.
Mark Townsend writes in The Observer today that Church launches bitter attack on PM’s ‘incoherent’ Middle East policy.
The Church of England has delivered a withering critique of David Cameron’s Middle East policy, describing the government’s approach as incoherent, ill-thought-out and determined by “the loudest media voice at any particular time”.
The criticisms are made in an extraordinary letter to the prime minister signed by the bishop of Leeds, Nicholas Baines, and written with the support of the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Seen by the Observer, it describes the UK’s foreign policy as so muddled and reactive that it is “difficult to discern the strategic intentions” of the government’s approach to the region…
[The Observer’s link to the full text of the letter is broken; it should be Dear prime minister: what is the UK government’s strategy in Iraq and Syria?]
The Telegraph has Church of England attacks Government response to Iraq crisis.
This morning’s BBC Radio4 Sunday programme covers this story with an interview with the Bishop of Manchester [starting at 1 minute 6 seconds].
The Church of England website has this page on Iraq.
Symon Hill writes that Nick Baines is mistaken: Cameron’s policy is coherent, but morally foul.
Nick Baines has some “comments of explanation”: As I was saying…