Rowan Williams: a New Statesman reader

Ten of the best pieces on the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury from the NS archive.

1. Leader: The government needs to know how afraid people are (June 2011)

Published in the special edition of the magazine he guest-edited, Williams's celebrated leader accused the government of committing the country to "radical, long-term policies for which no one voted."

2. Interview: Rowan Williams (December 2008)

James Macintyre's long interview-profile of Williams included the Archbishop's reflections on sharia law, capitalism and the disestablishment of the Church.

3. Rowan Williams in conversation with William Hague (June 2011)

Williams's conversation with the Foreign Secretary ranged from the assassination of Osama Bin Laden to the Libyan intervention and the role of moral values in foreign policy.

4. Editor's Note -- after Rowan Williams (June 2011)

New Statesman editor Jason Cowley reflects on the remarkable fallout from Williams's political intervention.

5. It could have been me (February 2007)

In 2007, Williams reported on the plight of fellow Christian leader Samba Momesori, imprisoned for life without trial in Equatorial Guinea.

6. The week I was fired by the nicest man I know (July 2011)

George Pitcher explains the "schoolboy allusion" that led to his departure as Williams's public affairs secretary.

7. Leader: In praise of Rowan Williams (October 2011)

An NS editorial praised Williams's "admirable fearlessness" after he visited Zimbabwe to challenge Robert Mugabe's religious oppression.

8. Lethally polite bafflement (March 2012)

The New Statesman's culture editor Jonathan Derbyshire reviews Williams's "dialogue" (not "debate") with his fellow NS guest editor Richard Dawkins.

9. Leader: A global big society (June 2011)

In his second leader for the NS, Williams explores how the "democratic deficit" in Africa can be addressed.

10. Choosing an archbishop (September 2011)

The NS's religion blogger Nelson Jones asks why the appointment of Williams's successor should be left to "a faceless committee".

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Zac Goldsmith has bitten off more than he can chew

In standing as an independent, Goldsmith may face the worst of both worlds. 

After just 48 years, we can announce the very late arrival of the third runway at Heathrow. Assuming, that is, that it makes its way past the legal challenge from five local councils and Greenpeace, the consultation with local residents, and the financial worries of the big airlines. And that's not counting the political struggles...

While the Times leads with the logistical headaches - "Heathrow runway may be built over motorway" is their splash, the political hurdles dominate most of this morning’s papers

"Tory rebels let fly on Heathrow" says the i's frontpage, while the FT goes for "Prominent Tories lead challenge to May on Heathrow expansion". Although Justine Greening, a May loyalist to her fingertips, has limited herself to a critical blogpost, Boris Johnson has said the project is "undeliverable" and will lead to London becoming "a city of planes". 

But May’s real headache is Zac Goldsmith, who has quit, triggering a by-election in his seat of Richmond Park, in which he will stand as an anti-Heathrow candidate.  "Heathrow forces May into Brexit by-election" is the Telegraph's splash. 

CCHQ has decided to duck out of the contest entirely, leaving Goldsmith running as the Conservative candidate in all but name, against the Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney. 

What are Goldsmith's chances? To win the seat, the Liberal Democrats would need a 19.3 per cent swing from the Conservatives - and in Witney, they got exactly that.

They will also find it easier to squeeze the third-placed Labour vote than they did in Witney, where they started the race in fourth place. They will find that task all the easier if the calls for Labour to stand aside are heeded by the party leadership. In any case, that Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy and Jonathan Reynolds have all declared that they should will be a boost for Olney even if she does face a Labour candidate.  

The Liberal Democrats are fond of leaflets warning that their rivals “cannot win here” and thanks to Witney they have one ready made.  

Goldsmith risks having the worst of all worlds. I'm waiting to hear whether or not the Conservatives will make their resources freely available to Goldsmith, but it is hard to see how, without taking an axe to data protection laws, he can make use of Conservative VoterID or information gathered in his doomed mayoral campaign. 

But in any case, the Liberal Democrats will still be able to paint him as the Brexit candidate and the preferred choice of the pro-Heathrow Prime Minister, as he is. I think Goldsmith will find he has bitten more than he can chew this time.

This article originally appeared in today's Morning Call, your essential email covering everything you need to know about British politics and today's news. You can subscribe for free here.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.