The Archbishop of Canterbury has accused the Coalition Government of threatening democracy by pushing through reforms "for which no one voted".
In his most notable step into politics yet, Dr Rowan Williams said that policies drawn up on health and education were being met by feelings of "bafflement and indignation" among the public. He also claimed that "anxiety and anger" were being provoked by the lack of debate or probing of changes.
"With remarkable speed, we are being committed to radical, long-term policies for which no one voted," the head of the Church of England wrote in New Statesman magazine, while serving as a guest editor. "At the very least, there is an understandable anxiety about what democracy means in such a context."
He extended his attack to David Cameron's flagship Big Society initiative, calling it a "stale" slogan that aroused "widespread suspicion". Dr Williams added that cuts to housing benefits and the emphasis placed on the harm being done by benefit cheats were the result of "steady pressure to increase what look like punitive responses to alleged abuses of the system".