Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Quick and The Right: Lessons for national institutions..

WARNING: This post comes before 8am on a Saturday, with just one coffee in the system!

Two institutions: one problem.

Both the BBC and the Church of England have come in for a drubbing this week. And in what might be a stretch too far I wonder if they actually face a very similar problem.

You see in both spheres- the culture in which these national bodies operate has changed. The news cycle has got faster, someone turning up with a mobile phone will break news faster than getting a TV crew there with all its health and safety checks. The BBC has tried to respond, and in the last few weeks has jumped on the speed bandwagon with pretty disastrous consequences. From allegations about abuse, to wrongly retweeted pictures from war zones, it seems to me that the BBC has lost its integrity as an unbiased news outlet because it has tried to keep up with the less accurate but quicker Skynews. I don't think we can have both.

Enter the Church of England. Again the world in which it operates has changed. Though there is a certain level of hypocrisy in the outrage at inequality (4/31 cabinet members are women) it does clearly show that the UK wants women to be Bishops (wonder how many people know what a Bishop does).

And the Church of England faces a barrage of calls that it does something QUICKLY.. I sort of agree that leaving this for another three or four years would be difficult, not least for hamstringing another Archbishop's tenure. However, rushing to break long established rules which are part of the way it works may not be wise. There will be a huge temptation to do it NOW, but I wonder if it is now more important to do it right.

Whilst I don't particularly hold episcopal aspirations, I think I would like to know its OK to be a Bishop based on a public, thoughtful, agreed decision. Its certainly preferable to a cobbled together something to appease the MP for Basingstoke.

It seems we too can do it quickly or we can take a tiny bit longer and we can do it right.

For both, it would help if people got off our backs a bit while we learn to adapt.

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