As Archbishop of Cantebury, Doctor Williams has done much to highlight the plight of those more disadvantaged in society and has not tread too carefully or been too mindful of who he might upset. Of the riots last summer he stated, “Rioting is the choice of young people with nothing to lose” and he used his annual address to focus on the value of young people in our society.
The 61-year-old is no stranger to controversy – from having to deny he backed Sharia Law in 2008, to launching an outspoken attack on the government in 2011 (twice). Williams has had his fair share of media attention.
His politics have led him to clash with the government a number of times, most notably when he guest-edited an issue of the New Statesman last year. Dr Williams used the leader to launch a remarkable attack on the coalition government, warning that it is committing the country to “radical, long-term policies for which no one voted”. Unsurprisingly, this was taken by Conservative MPs as a declaration of hostilities.
However controversial he has been, he has been respected on all sides for his gifts as a ‘preacher of great eloquence and flashes of clarity’. His return to academia as master of Magdalene College, Cambridge might be awaited with trepidation by some but with great excitement by others…