Voices: Archbishop Justin Welby is the ultimate speed demon

 (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)
(PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

So now Britain has the ultimate “ton up vicar”, the most reverend Justin Welby, who has been caught breaking secular law.

Even in these days of debased standards in public life, it’s a shocker. Mind you, having once been similarly done for overdoing it in a new low speed section next to South Circular, I’m very much with the vicar on this one.

You need divine powers to navigate Britain’s congested over-regulated highways these days.

I once attended a lunch with the Archbishop of Canterbury, at which he said grace, and found him to be a thoughtful, compassionate and deeply committed man of faith.

I certainly didn’t have this saintly figure down as some sort of speed demon. Yet it seems that is precisely what he is, albeit not quite in the Ayrton Senna class.

He was booked for doing 25mph in a 20mph zone in his Volkswagen Golf, hardly the most ungodly of acts, and, after some mixups on the paperwork, was eventually handed three penalty points on his licence and ordered to cough up £510.

Perhaps his grace was busy when the notice came in the post, say chairing an ecclesiastical committee or crowning a new monarch, as you do. Mercifully, the great man wasn’t required to attend in person at Lavender Hill magistrates court in south London, though it would have been an amusing spectacle to have the Anglican prelate turning up in full fig, complete with oversized mitre and golden crozier.

When he swore by almighty God to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth, he’d probably be more sincere than the average felon, and his contrition, albeit tempered by impatience with official bureaucracy, equally meant. It’ll make for some excellent material for his next sermon or appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.

As we all sometimes wonder, what would Jesus do? I mean there’s no doubt he’d try to avoid breaching the Holy Highway Code, which does contain rather more than Ten Commandments.

I’d like to think he wouldn’t drive a Golf like his Archbishop, very much a default and fairly unimaginative choice of wheels. I see our Lord and Saviour behind the wheel of a green Citroen 2CV, perhaps converted to run on battery power, an outward and manifest sign of his humility and respect for his dad’s work in creating this lovely planet of ours.

If he were to be stopped by the forces of law and order doing a truly miraculous speed in his tin snail, then he too would surrender unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, ie five hundred and ten quid, and do so with alacrity and forgiveness, for the Metropolitan Police know not what they do.

One can only hope they’d not pick on him for having long hair and sandals. Welby, as is the norm now, was caught by speed camera and thus escaped the humiliation of a copper pulling him over, asking his name and then replying to Welby: “Yeah sure you’re the Archbishop of Canterbury. And I am Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome, sovereign of the Vatican City State and God’s representative on Earth. Licence, please, sir.”