"With remarkable speed, we are being committed to radical, long-term policies for which no one voted," he writes. "At the very least, there is an understandable anxiety about what democracy means in such a context."
"[T]he comprehensive reworking of the Education Act 1944 that is now going forward might well be regarded as a proper matter for open probing in the context of election debates."
Williams also launches a sustained attack on the government's welfare reforms, complaining of a "quiet resurgence of the seductive language of "deserving" and "undeserving" poor". In comments aimed at the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, the Archbishop criticises "the steady pressure" to increase "punitive responses to alleged abuses of the system"
A new YouGov poll for Channel 4 News yesterday found strong public support for many of the government’s planned cuts to benefits. 73% of respondents supported the idea of making the long term unemployed do compulsory work placements or risk losing benefits, 66% supported withdrawing jobseekers allowance from people who turn down job offers or interviews, 69% supported more stringent testing of people claiming disability living allowance and 68% supported capping housing benefit at £400 a week, “even if this means people are forced to move house if they live in an area where the rent is high”. In all these cases the policies weren’t just popular amongst Conservative and Liberal Democrat supporters, they were also backed by a majority of Labour voters.
The Archbishop also questions David Cameron's "big society" agenda, a phrase which he describes as "painfully stale". He writes that the policy is viewed with "widespread suspicion" as an "opportunistic" cover for spending cuts, adding that is not credible for ministers to blame the last Labour government for Britain's problems.
"The positive side of the big society agenda in the present Government's language is I think not just about saving money or cutting corners - it's about some kind of effort to get hold of a strong sense of civic responsibility".