As Pope Benedict's visit to the UK comes to an end, I am left with a sense of sadness. Despite the words of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, attempting to paint the visit as he would perhaps have wished it to be – an endorsement of pluralism and a call to quiet dialogue rather than shrill confrontation, it seems hard to imagine a clearer example of differing cultures failing to understand each other than we have observed over the past few days.
The voices that will not be drowned: reflections from a Bank Holiday
“I hear those voices that will not be drowned”. These words from Peter Grimes are pierced through the four metre high sculpture by Maggi Hambling which stands on the beach at Aldeburgh in celebration of the life and work of Benjamin Britten. Read against the Suffolk sky, they go straight to the heart.
Looking a gift horse in the mouth is generally thought graceless and discourteous. But when the donor is a multi-millionaire ex-Prime Minister who took his country into a war of dubious legality and certain immorality, and the recipient is a charitable project for injured service personnel, the convention may justifiably be set aside.