To pardonable glee from the press, the new archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has got his crozier stuck in a cowpat, after suggesting that the Church of England could set up in business as rivals to payday lending firms. The church commissioners, who nurture the Church of England’s £5.5 billion-odd of assets, ‘manage a well-diversified investment portfolio’; in pursuit of this diversity they forked £75,000 to Wonga – generally seen as a ravenous great white among loan sharks, which last year was caught charging students interest at over 4200 per cent. Still, seventy-five grand out of five and a half billion is barely a drop in the font.
In words that the secretary of state for education has caused to be placed in every school in the land, ‘He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord’ (Deuteronomy 23.1, King James Version). Like the rest of the good book, this instils a useful lesson for life: it never rains but it pours. You get kneed in the nuts behind the bike shed, only to learn you’re not going to heaven either.