Everyone was pretty exhausted at lunchtime. The significant things seem to me to be:
- the session has had to be extended into the afternoon, because we didn’t get through all the amendments
- there’s been some twitchiness about people calling for electronic votes – will they help the future process by being a kind of ‘straw vote’ so we know what might and might not be acceptable at Final Approval (bearing in mind 2/3 majorities will be needed for whatever we end up with)? Or are they a device to flush out and name people?
- ‘I agree with Pete’ has become a bit of a mantra – indicating the great respect and affection the Bishop of Willesden is held in – and support for his proposal that we do the Steering and Revision Committee processes that follow on from today in a different, inclusive, listening way, rather than merely being formal (and adversarial).
- there is a visible ‘block vote’ of (I imagine) mainly Catholic traditionalists, who vote as one in favour of, or against particular amendments. They also seem to require a modification to my clapometer: they clap loudly together when applause elsewhere is sometimes thin and scattered.
- the Archbishop of Canterbury has been attentive but silent. So far. (writing this at 2.35 p.m.)
For those who want to catch up on the detail of this morning, there’s a judicious account by Jeremy Fletcher here
My table at lunch felt that we are going to end up with “Option 1.999 recurring” on my Richter Scale. It will be Option 2 in all but name, in order to keep the fiercer ends of WATCH on side. Otherwise, lunchtime conversations seemed to keep off the subject – other than the various groupings, who I suspect held tactical discussions about how to proceed. Now we’re back in the hall, I sense people are a bit weary. Speeches on the current amendment (about ensuring preventing legal challenge of decisions about alternative oversight, etc)) are not being listened to with the same attentiveness as this morning. But the amendment failed by 10 votes, with 15 abstentions.So there are substantial bodies of people on each side of any discussion, and the Baldrick/Broadbent extended Steering and Revision process will have a lot of ground to cover. The last amendment was insisting on facilitated conversations during the Committees, which everyone seems happy about.
It’s time to get on with it. And lo and behold, at 3.00 up stands the Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking clearly and firmly against setting up detailed ‘arrangements’ – they didn’t work with the banks, they won’t work for us. He strongly agrees with Pete – providing space, imagination and an inclusive decision process. He wants an Option 1.75. Let’s set a clear general direction, while leaving space for discussion on the way.
I’ll post again when we get a result and there initial reactions are clearer.
*Afternoon Delight: Starland Vocal Band – American close harmony group 1976