They say that you should never meet your heroes and that everything has its shelf life. So, it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I went to see one of my biggest musical and political influences on Wednesday evening. Billy Bragg has become something of a national treasure with his musical output complemented by a number of books and television programmes. As with artists with a significant back catalogue, the audience at the gig were urging Billy to play his early work. For me, my initiation into the world of Bragg was an anthemic number entitled ‘Between the Wars’ Despite it appearing to incite listeners to take part in radical politics the most poignant lyric is:

“Sweet moderation, heart of this nation.
Desert us not we are between the wars”.

With our country and world as it currently stands these lines that took ‘Between the Wars’ to the heady heights of number 15 in the 1985 singles chart are salient and have added currency.

Partnership through challenging times was the theme of our kick-off event that launched our Excellence in Partnership programme. A room of nearly 50 leaders from across the diocese listened to a range of speakers including our own Bishop Alan Wilson, Dame Kate Dethridge the new Regional Schools’ Commissioner and Andy Wolfe the Deputy Chief Education Officer for the Church of England. It is our hope that this event will spark closer collaboration with and between our Multi Academy Trust partners. Our vision for the next decade has partnership working at its core and we believe that the evening in the delightful setting of the Henley River and Rowing Museum was an excellent step in this direction.

Till next week.
Tony