Politics Scotland

An Open Letter to the First Minister of Scotland – Alex Salmond

This is the first of three letters written in the run up to the Scottish Referendum. Whilst the media and politicians are generally concerned with issues of economics, personality and politics, we need to be a prophetic voice to the nation and remind all our leaders that we are all, including them, answerable to God.



  1. You write posts like this, then crow about how theism is winning? Talking out of both sides of your mouth, David!
    People aren’t scared of your God, David! They don’t care! Why can’t that sink in? Your God is a fantasy in your head. It has no power over us.
    We rational, responsible people are concerned about making rules that make sense and have a grounding in Reason – not ancient religious leaders whims.
    Imagine for a moment, David, that God doesn’t exist – how silly does your view seem now?
    You’ll then assert God does exist. OK, what does he want from us? Why doesn’t he tell us? you claim it’s all in the religion you chose as a child…. That’s absurd. We don’t need to listen to David Robertson and his childish beliefs.

  2. Prophecy is a powerful gifting and best used with keen discernment. With great power comes great responsibility. When Jesus communicated with the public, he spoke in parables and when he challenged others about their accountability to God it mostly was toward religious figures.

    Storytelling, something that comedians do and others do in the arts. Do you remember mentioning one time on watching God TV David that the thought occurred to you that preachers had become comedians and comedians had become prophets?

  3. Hi David
    It would be interesting to know if you get a response. I think many of your fears are well-founded and likely to happen in an independent Scotland.

  4. Sorry, David, but as a lifelong Christian and advocate of Scottish independence, I found this particular contribution rather unhelpful, particulary so close to polling day. You say to Salmond: “I know that there are many who will say that we are voting for the principle of independence, and that it is not a personal vote about or for you”, yet your letter seems at variance with that insight. This is all the more germane since, as you will well know, central to “No” propaganda has been a relentless and cynical newspaper-backed strategy to reduce the entire campaign for Scottish independence to a demonised Alex Salmond.

    Latterly, you write: “I will probably still vote for independence because I am not sure that ‘Christian Britain’ exists any more”. One can but ponder therefore whether at this critical juncture a home-truth farewell-note to David Cameron and Ed Milliband might have been more helpful than demoralizing “giants in the land” talk of entering “the surreal world of secular Scotland….a fanciful secular humanist system that totally ignores Scotland’s Christian foundation”. What Christian knees won’t smite one upon the other at that bleak prospect? Where are our Scottish Joshuas and Calebs when we need them?

    With all due respect (and that, let it be said, is very much indeed) I confess to tiring somewhat of the Christian flock’s ubiquitous “bleating” about loss of our “Christian heritage”. As if the average zeitgeist-elected politician can be expected to readily appreciate the merit of portering our unwieldy hand-me-down baggage simply because we snap our fingers and insist it contains great valuables. Of course, so many of these politicians are already trachled with heavy baggage of their own. It is labelled: “Postmodernism”. Which as you know has (ironically) no space for universal explanations of reality, such as Christianity, or indeed doctrinaire high socialism.

    Such Christian heritage as we have is of course due to the fact that our forebears fought the good fight in what was their own fraught “here and now”. As a doughty Joshua-type yourself (if I may say so), you do not not need reminded that hand-wringing over how things “used to be” is a futile response to the massive threats now faced by the Church. You are a seasoned veteran of, as it were, hand-to-hand apologetical combat. In principle this “Open Letter to Alex Salmond” is another demonstration of that major contribution. For our generation of believers, as for every generation, it is a case of “For such a time as this”.

    You use the phrase “philosophy of government”. Evangelicals have a habit, wouldn’t you agree, of reducing politics (and life, forsooth) to moralism. This leads to a limited critique of government which one might mischievously summarize as “pietism-begotten petitionism”. Your letter is of course infinitely more sophisticated, yet it does (impressionistically at least) reduce the millenium-old multifarious struggle for Scottish independence to the single current cause celebre of homosexuality. And if the question arises in anyone’s mind whether Alex Salmond is any more compliant in endorsement than Cameron or Milliband, that is clinchingly pre-empted by your dazzling Tatchell quote that Salmond’s “statement and actions are the most forthright and supportive on LGBTI equality by any leader of any host nation during a major international sporting event. Neither David Cameron nor Boris Johnson did anything similar during the London Olympics. This is a unique, unprecedented initiative for which Alex Salmond and the Scottish government deserve full credit and commendation.”

    Well that’s surely it, isn’t it? Game over. “For lack of a nail the kingdom fell” (Zbigniew Herbert version). Tatchell’s words swing it (inadvertantly) against independence, do they not? Yet to your great credit, for you it is not all over. Apparently, the kingdom can yet be won. You will “probably still vote for independence”. Even if Christian Today readers might be left wondering why so, unless they glance back up the page to your key sentence regarding Salmond (which I repeat): “I know that there are many who will say that we are voting for the principle of independence, and that it is not a personal vote about or for you.”

    Alex Salmond might step down (or, being mortal like the rest of us, fall down) in a year or two. To vote “No” just because of this good man’s contrary view on one moral issue is to deprive ourselves of a historic opportunity (possibly irretrievable, given the machinations of Whitehall) to start to deliver Scotland from chronic, compound, structural injustices. It is patently evident that England and Scotland BOTH face massively secularising forces. Neither a Yes vote nor a No vote will spare us from the pressing challenge to engage. We will simply be parachuted into a different battle-front.

    To return to my main point, I think your trumpet-call here on this momentous occasion makes an uncertain sound. I fear its discordancy will have spooked many Christian switherers towards the crumbling bunker of the No camp.

    So what shall we then pray at this time? Might I suggest two prayers: “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done in Scotland as it is in heaven”. And: “If thy presence go not with us, carry us not up hence.” (Ex 33:15)

    1. Feargas, thanks for your very interesting contribution. I appreciate what you are saying but I disagree with some aspects of it. Hold your horses on the ‘too near to polling day’ comment – I have another article coming out next week ‘an open letter to David Cameron’…..!I agreed with what you say about the demonised Salmond – and I specifically repudiate that in the article – so that criticism is unjust. I also agree with what you say about moralism….however again that was not what I was arguing. I was arguing against a particular political and ethical philosophy, that of secular humanism, which if followed by the new Scottish State will lead to untold disaster. It is my responsibility as part of the church to offer a prophetic critique of that, whatever my personal political views. And I will do so. I agree with the rest of your post though..>Thanks for posting…

      1. David,
        Thanks for getting back to me. I fully accept your pushback. I would wish to clarify that I did not intend to impute “Salmond-demonisation” or “moralist-reductionism” to you personally in the slightest. I know full well your breadth of thought and humanity are entirely beyond that. My concern, clumsily expressed, was that readers susceptible to such biases might read the article through these distorting lenses. But it’s more the timing than anything else. To have the noble sunrise of independence eclipsed at the last moment by a Salmond-shaped mote in the eye would be indeed grievous.

  5. Thanks to all for this most informative exchange. I will vote yes and pray this country is given the full lease of its own strength. Free at last.

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