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Quotes of the week

15 December 2023


I remind the House that this is not an issue of boats: it is an issue of people

Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, House of Lords, 11 December

Seeking to legislate by assertion that Rwanda is safe is as ridiculous as it is dangerous. You can’t sign a quick treaty one week and then legislate the next to make a country safe, when the highest court in the land has said just the opposite. It is the facts on the ground that matter. . . Legislation to say Parliament believes something to be true does not make it so

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP, House of Commons, debate on the Safety of Rwanda Bill, 12 December

When we pray or celebrate the sacraments of the new creation or sing Advent carols, we affirm just this promised reality: heaven and earth are not mutually remote territories but closer to one another than we could think. Once we have been healed from that lethal wound that has broken our connection with living truth, healed from the terrible fiction that freedom is separation rather than communion, the world is made new

Rowan Williams, Plough magazine, 8 December

Great praise is due too to the actors, who wrestled manfully with the insipid and foolish parts of the pairs of lovers who get so tiresomely mixed up. There is nothing so poor in all Shakespeare. . . Anyhow we look forward to seeing Olivier play Touchstone, or Falstaff, or Mercutio with pleasure and anticipation

G. C. Richards, cleric, reviewing a school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream starring a teenage Laurence Olivier in December 1923, quoted in The Times, 12 December


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