The defence of the Green Report in the Church Times this morning is astonishing.
The Bishop of Manchester accuses critics of ‘mostly playing the man not the ball.’ The Sub-Dean of Westminster suggests that ‘innocent until proven guilty’ had given way to ‘guilt by association.’ The Bishop of Leeds implies that the critics are out solely to be critics: ‘the criticisms still don’t address the question of how we do then invest in ensuring church leaders in the future are better equipped to do what is expected of them.’ The Bishop of Ely, at Synod, stressed that the Green Report was not the business of synod.
All of these comments deny one important and crucial fact: most of those who have spoken out and written about the Green Report did so before the HSBC story broke and in doing so reject the thesis that the Green Report ‘stands on its own merit.’ (This being the line spun by those who know best).
In my own reflections I have always been very deliberate in separating the man from the report,although I have commented that the recommendations are symptomatic of the ‘pathway to the top’ experienced by the lead author (Lord Green) and, that the report is shot through with unacknowledged assumptions. Martyn Percy’s critique is entirely based on the report and so is Justin Lewis Anthony’s.
One further comment: those who have been constant critics do so because they really care for the Church, its mission and the common good. And, yet it is implied that we critique for the sake of it. Why would we do this?To do so would be highly irrational.
The suggestion that serious critiques of the Green Report are a function of a certain distaste for the man himself are disingenuous and misleading and, unworthy of our Bishops.
A number of critics would like to make a positive contribution to the ongoing ‘debate’ but are being denied the opportunity to do so. That is the reality.
I can’t speak for any of the other critics – although Martyn Percy has also rebutted the ‘charge’ – but I can say that no one has contacted me to discuss the concerns I have raised.
I have written directly, in private, to some of the reports sponsors but have yet to receive even an acknowledgement. Those who have expressed legitimate concerns are met with the ‘sound of silence.’ No one, other than my acting Diocesan Bishop (who has been very supportive), has expressed an interest in a working model ‘we’ have been developing which seeks to address the styles of leadership required in different contexts.
Defendants of the Green Report seem to be operating from a perspective of ‘we know best.’ The fact that they refuse to engage perhaps reveals something about their preferred management style and, a fear of accountability. Are these the leadership traits we wish to identify and nurture?