Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Post-election ruminations

I am minded, at least for the moment, not to become yet another instant expert on election analysis, PR in its numerous forms or historic precedents - other than perhaps to point out that similarities to the 1970s are not very relevant: if we want similar circumstances we need to look at the 1920s.

However I was struck by hearing part of Clifford Longley's Thought for the Day on Radio 4's Today this morning. He quoted prayers from the Coronation service, pointing out the way in which they outline a vision of good governance. This I thought timely in that lacking a written constitution it is to such formularies that we need to look. To the modern secular eye they may appear antiquated, yet they are not at all - therein lies a set of values we either take for granted, or disregard, and we do both at our peril. History, theology, liturgy will not tell us what will happen next, but they will tell us where we have come from as a community, and what has guided us along the way. Maybe Her Majesty should give the text of her Coronation service to her incoming ministers as serious food for thought. In case you want to read it the text is here.

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