Brexit has unleashed ‘nostalgic triumphalist Englishness’ says former Archbishop of Canterbury

Rowan Williams visits The National Assembly for Wales. Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0).

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams fears that Brexit has led to the expression of a “nostalgic triumphalist Englishness” and that the rifts caused by the crisis will be very difficult to heal.

And in a revealing interview with broadcast journalist Guto Harri to be a red on the S4C current affairs programme Y Byd yn ei Le tonight (Tuesday, 16 April, 9.00pm, English subtitles available), he says the Labour Party should adopt the proposed Working Definition of anti-Semitism.

When asked if he feels the divisions caused by Brexit be healed, he said;

“I am not very confident to be brutally honest with you, but as a Christian and a priest, I am truly hoping and praying this will happen,” says Rowan Williams, aged 68, and Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 to 2012.

“A lot of people has seen it [Brexit] as giving permission to express a nostalgic triumphalist Englishness that hasn’t done anybody any favours but of course you have to remember that lots of people in Wales voted for Brexit as well and we have to try to understand why,” added Lord Williams, of Oystermouth, who was brought up in Swansea.

”What I would not like to see is the next five years being dominated by one issue. We have a confused situation with welfare, we have a problem with education funding, we have a problem with the health service, we have the overwhelming issue of climate change and we really can’t afford to park these questions.”


In the interview, he also calls on Jeremy Corbyn to get to grips with the anti-Semitism in the Labour Parry.

“In the European and the British left, there is a strand of anti-Semitism and it just has to be named consistently and dealt with firmly. It would have helped if the party had adopted the definition of anti-Semitism that was proposed simply because of the prejudice people have experienced at that level.”

And Lord Williams adds, “Careless talk costs lives. People come up with prejudice comments and they can actually cost lives.”


We can’t run Nation.Cymru without your help! If you support the development of an independent Welsh media for the people of Wales, please donate now!

Facebook Comments

Articles via Email

Get instant updates to your inbox