I was tempted. I surely was. There would- apart from anything else- have been money in it.
But I would have had to surrender my independence. And that is dear to me. I need to be able to say exactly what I think- even if it's stupid. Speaking my true mind is what makes me happy. And that's what all the angst has been about- a fear of having that happiness taken away from me, of becoming a corporate stooge, of having to toe the party line.
Because the Church of England is a corporation. Look at Old Beardy, the Archbish- how he has to compromise his private views on- for example- gays- in order to serve the interests of the corporation- to stop it falling apart.
The moment you put the survival of a corporation above what you know to be the truth you have crossed a line- and your name is no longer written in the Book of Life (an extreme and extravagant way of putting it, but you know what I mean).
The people I admire most are the people who refuse to cross that line. They often make asses of themselves, but that doesn't matter. The thing is you can trust them. You know that they mean what they say. They're not ventriloquist's dummies- as most public figures are- telling you what the client is paying them, or the boss is strong-arming them to say. When I think of examples of such admirable, trustworthy figures the first that comes to mind is John Lennon and the second is Germaine Greer. Greer's recent book on Shakespeare's wife was pretty much rubbish- but it was entirely her own rubbish, full of surprises, heartfelt, unique.
So- phew- I believe I passed the test. And can continue to look you all in the eyes.