I’ll keep this brief, but can the BBC please replace Ed Stourton as presenter of Radio 4’s Sunday programme? He is an old Amplefordian from one of the great recusant families who, like many elderly Catholic toffs, holds ‘progressive’ views on faith and morals (though not education – he sent his sons to Eton). Fair enough, but he might at least go through the motions of hiding his bias when addressing Catholic issues on his dreary programme.
Stourton has a particular downer on Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, one of only two non-Magic Circle bishops who slipped through Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s net (the other is Mark Davies of Shrewsbury). Ed is a friend of Cormac’s, and I’m sure His Eminence will have relished the rough treatment Egan received – again – on the Sunday programme today for insisting that his priests support only charities compatible with Church teaching. Normally someone from the Tablet is wheeled out to attack Catholic conservatives but, conveniently for Ed, the Bishop of Portsmouth has fallen out with a Tory backbencher who’s always happy to administer a kicking. You can read the details here. For more on Stourton’s bias, read this blog post I wrote when he started trashing the Ordinariate, a favourite target of the Tablet. Honestly, you’d almost think Ed had some formal connection to that organ…