A little improbably, Sir Stuart Bell (sometime author of the steamy Paris 69) was answering questions on behalf of the Church Commissioners. Here is the supplementary from Mark Pritchard, Tory MP for The Wrekin:
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that bishops should be appointed on their spiritual and administrative attributes and skills, not time served? If so, what is the Church doing to recognise such skills earlier in those clergymen who have not served 20 or30 years?Where to begin? Perhaps by asking what "spiritual skills" are supposed to be. And if you must have bishops, isn't wisdom one of the attributes they ought to possess? And doesn't that usually come with age?
That is the sort of truth that Conservatives used to understand. No longer apparently. Instead, Pritchard dreams of fast-tracking thrusting young vicars into mitres before they turn 30.
The man is a fool. I predict he will be in the shadow cabinet before the year is out.