The next Archbishop, reshuffling Wales and Salmond's canny U-turn
January 25, 2012
The next Archbishop

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, is believed to be standing down in the next year. Graham James, the Bishop of Norwich, is tipped by church insiders to replace him. Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, is also in contention. He is a close friend of Prince Charles and wants the job, but his backing of the eviction of Occupy protesters outside St. Paul’s may count against him. Bishop James, a friend of Williams’s with a similar outlook, was formerly chaplain to Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury during the 1980s.

Giles Fraser’s occupation

Meanwhile, what future for Giles Fraser, the canon of St Paul’s who resigned over the prospect of evicting the “Occupy” protesters? One Labour official says Fraser would make a fine MP. A friend confirms Fraser is interested.

Blair’s downtime

Tony Blair’s tenure as Middle East envoy of the UN Quartet is getting less comfortable. Palestinian leaders are openly disparaging; during a recent briefing, President Mahmoud Abbas declared that Blair shouldn’t bother to call “until he has something to say.”

Last year, Blair moved out of the elegant American Colony hotel, which is just on the Palestinian side of the “green line” in East Jerusalem, to a dreary office block up the road. He now relaxes at the Notre Dame restaurant and bar, which overlooks the old city’s Dome of the Rock. “Yes, he comes here a lot,” says a waiter at Notre Dame. “He likes the sea bass and Italian wines.”

Reshuffling Wales

Cheryl Gillan, the Welsh Secretary, has annoyed David Cameron with her stance against the planned high-speed railway. A Conservative adviser told Prospect that Stephen Crabb, the MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, is a candidate to replace her in any reshuffle. Downing Street is taking the Welsh Secretary role more seriously now that the Silk Commission is looking into whether the Welsh Assembly should have tax-varying powers.

Too many guardians

On 16th January, the Guardian relaunched itself; to prepare for this editorial overhaul, executives spent several weeks last summer meeting at country houses, followed by trips to Sweden to learn from the innovative newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. When the day came, the paper ran a front-page story on proposals for a new royal yacht—immediately below a large picture of the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship.

Campbell vs Clegg

Alastair Campbell was a guest on 17th January at a reception on mental health, hosted by Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister. When Campbell arrived, a woman asked him, “are you Nick Clegg?” Campbell relayed this to Clegg, who replied: “It’s probably worse for you.”

Change at the LSE

Craig Calhoun, the incoming director of the London School of Economics has views on capitalism that depart significantly from those of his predecessor Howard Davies (brought down last year by the university’s links to the Gaddafis). Calhoun is a globalisation sceptic and defends national identity as vociferously as his predecessors questioned it.

Greenspan redux

Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, is busy writing a book. His last effort, The Age of Turbulence, was long on the Fed’s post-9/11 economic heroics, but short on the subject of catastrophic asset price bubbles. There is no title yet for his new volume, but might it correct the omission?

Salmond’s canny U-turn

Alex Salmond now wants a later referendum on Scottish independence, in “autumn 2014” (see James Macintyre's piece in this issue). Yet last May, he told Prospect that when it came to independence, “the sooner the better.”

One to watch

Having been given a clean bill of health after a cancer scare, Cristina Kirchner, president of Argentina, is putting pressure on Britain over the Falkland Islands. In February—the 30th anniversary of the war—Prince William’s RAF squadron will go to the islands. Kirchner, who barred ships flying the “illegal” Falklands flag from ports last year along with other South American nations, has called Britain a “crude colonial power in decline.” In December, she accused Britain of not respecting “a single” UN resolution, and is fully aware the US does not back Britain. She may want to revive the 2010 offer by Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, to mediate between Britain and Argentina.