Brief Reports

The next Archbishop of Canterbury has vowed that the ordination of women bishops will go ahead despite a minority of the General Synod returning a No vote blocking the move. Justin Welby announced that he had received a vision in which God showed him how to fix the Synod voting system to get a Yes result next time: ‘It was rather silly of us to have a consensus voting system, when God clearly would have preferred a simple majority. We just need one small change and then hopefully we can drag the Anglican Church kicking and screaming into the twentieth century.” Opponents were unrepentant, however, saying that Christian faith must sometimes take a brave stand against the world, public opinion, common sense and universal ridicule. A spokesman for the House of Laity said last week: ‘We don’t think our views are unreasonable. Has anyone proved scientifically that women have got souls, after all? And if you put them in water, don’t they float? I mean, doesn’t that suggest they are spiritually empty?” The progressives have powerful friends, however. David Cameron has stated he supports women bishops: ‘The Anglican Church has clearly got a serious credibility deficit, and that’s a subject I feel very concerned about, as do all my colleagues in the Coalition.’


The firm carrying out fitness-for-work assessments for the government lacks disabled access at a quarter of its premises, MPs have heard. Employment minister Mark Hoban said 31 of 123 centres used by Atos lacked ground-floor access for wheelchairs. He added that there was ‘no truth whatsoever’ in the rumour that these were all government-approved buildings and that Atos had been put there expressly to fail all applicants: “I object very strongly to the story being put about that these centres are actually tree-houses in municipal parks. They are in fact open-plan elevations in greenscaped locations.” A disabled user who wished to remain anonymous, on the grounds that she would be passed fit for work if she could remember her name, stated: ‘These centres have only got one form, for non-attendance. If you actually manage to climb up the tree they close the office and swing away on creepers. I don’t think it’s fair at all.”


A Norwich City player has been fined for carrying a police-style baton in his car. Defender Sebastien Bassong, 26, was stopped by police near King’s Cross in London in September. In mitigation his lawyer explained that Bassong is a French Cameroonian: “When he was first signed to play for an English club he enquired into racist violence against black people in this country, and was told that the police were heavily on the case. That’s why he got the baton, in case they arrested him.” A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police declined to comment.

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