Dundee Evangelism Politics Scotland

The World Turned Upside Down? – Scotland says No

Ok – this is my last political comment (at least until next week!). Those of you who think a Christian should not make political comment, look away now. But this is my personal blog – and I feel free to express my feelings and thoughts honestly here (and you can feel free to respond). None of this is personal about any individual. Nor is any of it the official opinion of my Church or Solas – which is why this article is not on their web pages, although I know many who share these thoughts. I am talking about the current political situation we find ourselves in and how I feel about it. It is for me highly personal. There are some details here that some will find disturbing. If you are of a sensitive nature then I would suggest you stop reading now!

If you want a musical version then this song by that great British band, The Who is a fairly accurate summary of my feelings: Watch and weep!

Thatcher and Tears
There are two times I have wept over a political result – first in 1979 when Mrs Thatcher was elected. Even as a 17 year old I was a bit of a political geek and had read her whole manifesto – I believed it. I knew she meant it and was a woman of conviction. I knew the devastation she would wreck on some parts of an already devastated Britain. And this morning I weep tears for Scotland. Why?

You’ve Had Your Chance
Perhaps one day I will explain why I think Britain is broken and Scotland has rejected a great chance to create a better society. But for now this quote from Radio 4 this morning sums up what we have just done. Two journalists from the Times and the Telegraph were discussing the result and then opined “this is not the end of the independence debate for a generation, but forever” before going on to explain that in the future Scots would be too old and too poor to vote for independence. One admitted that the time to vote for Independence would have been now because of the oil. But in the future we would be too late. So there you have it. According to the Elites in London we’ve had our chance! We have just voted for an eternal dependency culture! This was only made worse by a classic BBC headline from this morning – ‘London remains the capital of the UK’! And then added to by Nigel Farage tweeting a picture of himself sending a letter to every Scottish MP telling them not to vote in the British parliament on English matters.

I Told You So
I hate to say I told you so but I told you so. Those who voted emotionally for the Union because they like being British (like those who voted for independence because they like being Scottish) were in my view both wrong. Likewise those who voted No because of the feared economic consequences or those who voted Yes because they perceived greater riches. This was about political control and democracy. We tasted it. It felt good. But we have decided not to hold the glass for ourselves and we now wait to be spoonfed by our masters. As one disillusioned voter in Inverness stated, it is ‘the same old, same old” (despite all the fine soundbites of the politicians). Thats why the currency market speculators raised the pound to a two year high this morning (Britains balance of payments can still be underwritten by North Sea oil) and thats why the city is exultant. The Huffington Post reported “The markets couldn’t be happier with the outcome, and the British pound is on the rise”. It’s why NATO announced their joy and why RBS welcomed it. It is business as usual. I realise that for some people (especially those who are doing well out of the system), that is good news. But for others it is just another kick in the teeth – a lesson that they should not let their hopes be raised. Ever. For me it is heartbreaking. My whole point in this from the beginning was noting to do with narrow nationalism but that we were allowing Britain to be governed by the markets at the expense of the poor and so it has proved to be. We protect the Banks and we create Food banks.

Patronising Politicians
I don’t believe the politicians (and that includes Mr Salmond, for whom I am no apologist, although to be fair it is important to realise the independence movement had moved way beyond him). I think David Cameron is being patronising when he goes on about the wonderful example of democracy we have just seen in Scotland (which it was) and how we must ‘keep that spirit’. Does he not realise that the reason people were so engaged was because they saw an opportunity of taking power away from the elites like himself? They really hoped they could make a difference. That hope is gone. Walk the streets of the schemes in Dundee this morning and ask people how exultant they are that the politicians are going to get more devolved power from other politicians – all under the watchful eye of the markets! I think David Cameron believes as much in giving power to ordinary people as he does in marriage – his assurances and profession of both are totally meaningless.

Are the Poor too Stupid to Vote?
I heard one patronizing person ask why the turnout in Dundee and Glasgow was not as high as some other areas. Were the people stupid? Did they not really care? Actually the turn out was far higher than in previous elections. Dundee alone had 7,000 newly registered voters. I thought it was wonderful that so many previously disengaged people got involved. But there were some who still held on to the cynical position ‘don’t vote, it only encourages them, voting is not for people like us….it never makes any difference anyway’. This morning they will be turning to their neighbours and saying ‘see, we told you so..nothing ever changes’.

Broken Britain
I don’t have faith in Britain because I believe Britain is broken. I think our central institutions are in many ways corrupt and that society is governed by the elites for the elites. I believe we really do need healing. And not healing from the referendum campaign which has in general been great for the nation – although I accept that it may have shaken up some of us our of our comfort zones and disturbed one or two dinner parties. But the real healing that is needed is so much deeper. It will not happen until what has caused that brokenness is dealt with. Bread and circuses does not cut it. Holding multifaith ‘services of reconciliation’ for the Establishment or encouraging people to ‘take a selfie with someone who voted different’ does not cut it. Such gimmicks are a shallow and superficial attempt to say that ‘things are ok, everything carries on as normal’. I don’t believe in that Establishment faith. I don’t want to put an elastoplast on the wound. I want heart not plastic surgery.

A Free Church Minister and a Socialist
This week I was sent the blog of a rather mocking American Christian commentator who was making fun of my being a Free Church minister and a socialist. I confess to being the former but I am not sure why he called me the latter. Actually I am – (‘sure’ that is…not a socialist). He read my comments in my earlier blogs about how our priority in society has to be the poor, and so in his eyes this makes me a socialist, which is to him equivalent to a Satanist. Well I don’t believe in socialism without Christ nor do I believe in capitalism without Christ. But I do believe in Christ and I take his words seriously. He came to preach the Good News to the poor – not many wise, not many influential, not many rich were called. He came to heal the broken and challenge the idolatries of society – not prop them up.

Preaching Politics
I don’t preach politics from the pulpit. I don’t make political disagreements a matter of fellowship. I don’t questions others ministry or Christianity because of their political views. I am happy to fellowship with Conservatives and Socialists, Republicans and Democrats, Nationalists and Unionists. Can I make a simple request that those of my Christian brothers and sisters who do regard their political views as synonymous with their Christianity, that they learn to make the distinction and that they lay off!? Not just the out and out ‘Jesus was a Conservative/Communist’ people, but also the more pious, ‘I don’t think a minister of the Gospel should be expressing political opinions in public’ crew. That sounds wise and holy until you realize that they never write this on the FB pages of those who they agree with politically! If you are the kind of person who thinks a minister should not either a) have political opinions or b) not express them on his own blog then why are you reading this? You were warned at the beginning!

I Could Be Wrong
I confess my opinion about Scottish independence may be wrong, but my Christian motivation is not. I want whatever system best helps the poor and brings justice to all. It may be that the United Kingdom will do that. Although I can’t see how any system based on the gambling of the City of London can, but I stress again I could be wrong. I pray with all my heart that I am. I cannot help what I see but if the Lord spares me I hope that in ten years time I am writing an apology for being blind and not seeing it as it really is – as Britain makes a return to Christian principles, the poor are treated with dignity, the sick cared for, the orphans given homes, and we no longer subsidise the rich and demonise the poor into a dependency culture.

A More Radical Solution
In 1979 I had just become a Christian – I saw in the Gospel a far deeper hope and more radical solution that even Mrs Thatcher was offering and, as I wept, I dedicated myself to proclaiming the cause of Christ, where-ever He called me. Today I weep again for my country and I rededicate myself to that same cause. I don’t want to spend my time trying to steady the sinking ship. I want to man the lifeboats and rescue the drowning. I want to turn the world upside down. Is that so wrong?!


  1. Well said! and the last para re sinking ship I would include the status quo of the church in Scotland.
    I am still reeling and very hurt 1) by the result of the referendum 2) by remarks made by a fellow christian this morning who was so relieved that we are still in UK. I mentioned that the parts where ‘yes; prevailed were where the poorest in Scotland live and the nub of the response was ‘ they believed the politicians who offered them more – I’m all right jack’ . I hope to find a way of staying engaged with Scotland changing but wonder how much longer I can worship week by week with the self-satsfied? I don’t feel able to be a one-woman agitateur – if that’s even a word.

  2. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, David. Just for the banter, here are a couple reflections of my own on the first part of this post.

    I come to this referendum as a Canadian ex-pat who watched on during the Quebec referendum of 1995. That one (as I’m guessing you know) finished as close to the edge of the razor as it could get: 49.4% as “Yes” (Quebec should be a sovereign nation), and 50.6% “No”.

    Perhaps counter-intuitively, although aspirations to independence have not wholly disappeared, neither have they escalated. That incredibly close result was not the foundation for a growing commitment to independence. In fact, since then appetite for “sovereignty” has waned significantly. In recent years, it’s down to roughly a third of the electorate, even while there remains a desire for further devolution.

    Will Scotland go the same way? Only time will tell – but it is one possibility.

    My sense (for what it’s worth – very little!) is that the result of #indyref will be far-reaching in ways that The Question itself was not interested in. Speaking of the Union, you more than once styled it “past its sell-by date” – not a judgement I shared, as it happens! (And, to my mind, the weakest of your arguments in the “political” blog posts.) But, the morning after, that impression looks more perceptive that I granted a few days ago. There is a need to re-think the union, although for me the emphasis falls on rethinking the union, rather than jettisoning it and starting again.

    (Hope you had a good day by the Mound, btw.)

  3. This has been a difficult issue for many people, including Christians, and I’m sure many have agonised over which way to vote, as we all want to do what we feel is right in the eyes of God. Sadly, there is no way of knowing in advance what effect independence would have on every aspect of our lives. That, in itself, is not a reason to vote ‘No’ but it concentrates the mind on just why we would want to be independent, and what we would stand to lose as well as gain.

    You say that the Westminster politicians, in all areas of their lives, leave a lot to be desired and I would certainly agree with that. However, what makes you think that Scotland would be any more moral in their dealings if they were to run their own affairs? I see no leaders stepping up to the mark who would fight for what I, as a Christian, prefer to see and, in fact, I already see serious issues which helped shape my decision to vote ‘No.’ I don’t want to have a guardian assigned to every child, to snoop on family life. That is really quite sinister and is open to all sorts of abuse. We also know that the Scottish Parliament ignored the voices of 670,000 people who voted not to have the same-sex marriage bill in the sham consultation, yet an online petition open worldwide, with no controls, was included because it said what they wanted to hear. If they can blatantly dismiss the opinions of such a large proportion of the population who cared enough to register their opposition, what else would they do in future ‘consultations’ on other issues? We also know that in 2009 Salmond was urging ‘greater use of islamic finance’ for Scottish infrastructure.

    Then we were told that there was the desire to have a more open border, encouraging further immigration. And lastly, the parliament is ‘Pro European’ and has no intention of even asking us if we want to remain in the EU. Can no one see the irony of wanting to become independent from the UK but continue in a much larger, more corrupt organisation which cares even less about us?

    It is simply living in a dream world to imagine that, once independent, Scotland is going to return to her Christian culture. If there had been even an inkling of that being evident, I’m sure many Christians would have happily voted ‘Yes’, myself included.

    Scottish independence has its attractions, and at times I was nearly persuaded, but I see no point in simply swapping one evil for another.

  4. David

    I too want to turn the world upside down for Christ, but the way to achive this is to celebrate the No decision and just think how great – Britain is.

    I served as an official at a Polling Station for 16 hours on Thursday and I was impressed at the number of good country folk that tuned up to vote, 96% of the voting number. Now these folk were not rich by any way of counting but really wanted to remain in the UK and enjoy their local world

    One of the best quotes that I heard today from the chief of the Whisky Association, was that the upturn in Whisky sales world wide had improved their profitability and he stated that this needed to be widened out to the wider population and that this was going to be aided by a new UK Government approach to the regions.

    And as chairman of Perth & Kinross Foodbank I can assure you that it is equally Labour and Conservative who have made this a necessity in UK and Scotland and the SNP are no better at reducing the necessity either.

    They have ALL decided that a return to the 1920’s should be made, when folk wanted food, they went to the Church for help and if they wanted their children to be educated they went to the Church and if they wanted some new friends again they should go to Church. But is the Church still willing to entertain them ?

    But as a Reader in the CofS I fully realise that our churches will, on the whole, ignore the pleas from the needy, they have been inward looking for far too long and need to have the confidence to look out onto the streets, to put Christ’s plans for us into action, to become vulnerable, to have a secure faith in Christ

    Out on the streets as a Street Pastor tomorrow we shall meet many who think that the end of the world has come due to the NO vote ( although that is no bad thing ) but when we commiserate with them, what many really wanted from nationalism was just what they were promised -more money – but realistically none of our politics is able to produce more money

    It is good, local, succesful entrepreneurs that produce more money and are able spread this locally and widely – not political wizzards

    Maybe you are a bit hard on our Politicians, who seldom go into Politics for the money, so can I intoduce you to the Conservative Christian Society who do sterling work for Christ with their political brothers and sisters. Their newsletter is a breath of fresh air.

    So fret not, your feelings of gloom are not well placed,

    Why don’t we teach Christianity alongside Entrepreneurship in our schools, both are marginalised due to narrow politicians or over politically correct attitudes.

    Shalom Michael Archibald

    1. Michael – whilst I agree with many of your comments I am stunned by your opening remark ‘ “David I too want to turn the world upside down for Christ, but the way to achieve this is to celebrate the No decision and just think how great – Britain is.” I think on reflection you might want to withdraw that. It is the most stunning example of confusing Christianity and politics that I have come across!

  5. David, there are more important things to weep over than a lost election. British, and Scottish, society are broken. Politics is broken because society is broken. The only way politics can be fixed is to fix society and that’s done by changing people. The only way to fix people and society is with the gospel. So carry on what you’re doing so well, preach the cross, defend the faith.

    Be encouraged, the gospel hasn’t changed, it’s still the power of God.

    Change peoples lives with the gospel and society will change. Only when people have been changed by the gospel will society and politics be changed.

  6. Thanks for bearing the burden of publicly articulating what I, and many others, feel as Christians but cannot phrase in Christian principles as well as we’d like. So often, and not least in this election, I struggle to bridge internal instincts for justice, self-determination and accountability (partially but not perfectly realised in the form of Scottish independence) to Biblical principles (which direct my every behaviour and belief.) Does that make sense? A desire for independence because it is a pathway to political accountability and a louder Christian voice is so hard to defend in the face of accusations that Christians should not support independence. And I struggle to find the words (but not the internal beliefs and Biblical convictions) to defend how terribly sad this wasted opportunity is. So thanks for bearing the burden if doing much if it for me and others (and taking the abuse).

  7. And the backtracking begins. Parcel of Rogues is being kind. Oh and the pro-Union Loyalists have started a fight in george Square according to the BBC.

  8. You wept at Thatcher’s 1979 manifesto? What was it about trade union reform, cutting income tax, encouraging home ownership and private enterprising that you found most distressing? Did you prefer a continuation of industrial dispute, crippling taxes and dependency on the State?

    You again assert that the ‘poor’ voted Yes without ever providing any evidence. The fact is that the Yes vote was only 4 councils away from being completely whitewashed in Scotland. They got their own question, their own choice in the ballot, their own timing, their own party in power, they got 2 years to build up steam and they still lost. They were beaten fair and square and the people of Scotland have made it clear they don’t want it. People wanted to be part of the UK, part of one of the most successful, stable, peaceful and resourceful nations in human history.

    Get your hankies out all you want.

    1. 45% is almost whitewashed? What an interesting understanding….

      Re Mrs Thatcher – I knew she would destroy much traditional industry, harm Scotland, reduce council housing and encourage a move towards the City of London…and so it happened.

      1. Well, tbf, he did say “only 4 councils away from being completely whitewashed” – i.e., there’s only four tiny bits of blue on this otherwise red map:


        In “first past the post”, that would have constituted a “whitewash”: no council having declared a majority for “Yes”. Of course the 45/55 split represents the total vote. And far from a “whitewash”, illustrating one of the problems with the FPTP system.

  9. Some people consider the result is a triumph of Fear over Hope. But I would characterise it more positively; a Silent Majority has acknowledged an appreciation for history, for pragmatism and for modern interdependence.
    I’m impressed that in difficult times Scotland has not sought scapegoats in “the City” or “the English”. As a collective, we have rejected the fallacious promises and fantasy economics of hand-outs and profligacy. Progress comes from equality of opportunity not centrally planned equality of outcomes.
    Scotland’s newfound political engagement can be a powerful force but aggressive, parochial, blinkered and schismatic Nationalism is definitively not the answer.

    1. Fear certainly played its part for many; greed too (some might call that ‘pragmatism’). Who was putting forward ‘aggressive, parochial, blinkered and schismatic Nationalism’? Sadly, contrary to your assertion, there seems to be an attraction to ‘hand-outs’, if many politicians in the south’s interpretation of the Barnett formula is to be believed.

    2. Dear Tag
      What a load of rubbish! It is precisely “The City” and vested interests that have reduced Scotland to economic ruin and despair, yes, despair. Let’s all be thankful for what we’ve got from the master’s table and enjoy our fish and chips with the occasional mushy peas as a side order as prescribed by George Osborne.

      Oh dear! What have we been reduced to?

  10. I hope that you get over your disappointment quickly.

    Reading your piece I was struck by the level of faith that you seem to have in a change of the political system to transform society or the culture. You clearly wish for:

    “a return to Christian principles, the poor are treated with dignity, the sick cared for, the orphans given homes, and we no longer subsidise the rich and demonise the poor into a dependency culture”.

    Expecting politics or a change in the political system to deliver this seems to me to be utterly unrealistic. If we look around the world we don’t see many examples of corrupt rule being swept away by a nationalist independence movement. In generaly if you’re lucky you get the same level of corruption as the status quo ante, if not you get more. An independent Scotland would be run by the same people that currently run Holyrood, which I presume you don’t consider as running a Caledonian utopia..

    Theologically you seem to believe in the Calvinist idea of total depravity, yet politically you’re almost Pelagian. Don’t put your trust in princes!

  11. It’s as well to get economic facts correct if you’re going to make them. As Scottish Government figures show, Scotland has a balance of payments deficit of between 2 and 5 per cent of GDP. That’s therefore not why speculators raised the pound to a two year high. It’s because: a. The political and currency union remains. B. The 160 bn of foreign exchange reserves that Scotland would need to run its currency management is not needed either and c that nasty drop in the price of oil which would have given an independent Scotland a fiscal deficit of 9 % of GDP , more than the total NHS budget, is shared more generally. And d, if you can bear it, what about the fair share of debt, minimum of 120 bn, according to a left leaning think tank. No wonder: “The markets couldn’t be happier with the outcome, and the British pound is on the rise”. No wonder also the FM resigned.

  12. You weep for this country over the decision made with independence as you did with Thatcher gaining power. Isn’t that a little dramatic David?

    With the greatest of respect brother yes Jesus wept over Jerusalem but it was because of their rejection of him and the stoning of prophets. This is hardly a like for like with Scotland not gaining independence.There are Christians on both side of this and just as there will be a lo of people feeling discouraged, many others will be celebrating and relieved. This doesn’t necessarily make one group more in tune with Christ than the other.

    The people of Scotland have decided and we work with what we have. The time now (once emotions have died down over the decision) will be to address what unifies for good and to be working for that for all.

    As you echo the words of Cameron “the broken society is back at the top of my agenda” http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2011/08/society-fight-work-rights after the riots down south let’s hope that whatever political affiliation there can be the will and the means by which to address that.

    Thatcher when gaining power said “I would just like to remember some words of St. Francis of Assisi which I think are really just particularly apt at the moment. ‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope’ and to all the British people—howsoever they voted—may I say this. Now that the Election is over, may we get together and strive to serve and strengthen the country of which we’re so proud to be a part. And finally, one last thing: in the words of Airey Neave whom we had hoped to bring here with us, ‘There is now work to be done’.”

    Which just goes to show there is nothing new under the sun – harmony, truth, faith, hope in keeping with the words of St Francis of Assisi serving and strengthening the country and there being work to be done. Seems rather centred on Christ or at least not dissimilar doesn’t it?

    I’m sorry for your weeping. Let’s get on and be excited about what Christ has in store!

  13. David, did consider the impact of the vast numbers of Scots who would have moved away from Scotland, had the result of the referendum been different? How, in your opinion, would the country have coped with this brain drain and loss of expertise? Scotland is already in need of more doctors, nurses, social workers, carers and educators, to name but a few. What would have happened if so many qualified, experienced and dedicated figures had left? How could the country have afforded to train up huge numbers of new ones? Would they have had to attract workers from other countries? Would non-Scots workers have been enthusiastic to move here? I read that during the referendum campaign there were no overseas applicants for what were normally attractive posts in the field of medicine, as they did not wish to move to a country with an uncertain future. Would they have been more enthusiastic after a yes vote? Would the poor not have been hit the hardest by this shortfall of professional figures? Wouldn’t they have missed having more fellow Scots in these professions who understand their struggles, their background and even their dialect?

    Yet on a more personal level, did the yes voters consider (or care) that a significant proportion of their colleagues, friends and even members of their family would have moved away? Did they consider that a yes vote would not only break up the United Kingdom but also the Scottish nation? Would the yes voters have been happier without us in ‘their’ country? I wept with joy and relief on Friday morning, as I knew that with this result no-one would be leaving our country.

    Our Scottish ‘family’ is staying together. Shouldn’t we be incredibly grateful to God for this?

    1. Hi Vicky – thanks for your comment. I was not aware that vast numbers of Scots were going to move away from Scotland if Scotland became independent. I am aware that there is currently a brain drain and who knows but that an independent prosperous state might actually have attracted many back. I actually know no-one of my family, friends, church etc who would have moved away. I do however know several who have moved away because they could not get work here under the current system.

      1. Companies cannot store their data, particularly customer data, in foreign countries. Hence any large company currently taking advantage of lower costs in Scotland would have to move any such operations south. Not only did large companies in Scotland have to have contingency plans for the immediate financial carnage of a Yes vote, but also longer term plans to move complete operations south. For banks simple systems like Link on ATMs and Faster Payments are no designed for international transactions. Also Euo-area agreements such as the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) of which the UK is part would not apply to Scotland. Simply, operation in Scotland becomes very expensive for large companies. In my office I can see banks and banks of desks of people who’s job would move south in the medium term. Thankfully we’ve put this craziness behind us and Scotland can deal with actual problems. I’ve yet to hear an argument that explains what Westminster is doing to stop Scotland doing something about poverty and other important issues. Why do we need Westminster’s permission? Are we that low in ambition? Are that afraid? Can we not take responsibility instead of demanding “the City” to fix things?

      2. Well, I can assure you that there were vast numbers. The majority of no voters kept silent until it was our time to vote, and the silent majority won. I don’t believe “we bottled it”…I believe that so many of us kept our opinions to ourselves during the campaign that even the opinion polls weren’t wholly accurate. We did not fear so much the warnings of the Better Together campaign. We feared intimidation by bullies or being subtly excluded from groups of friends and colleagues. We only shared such thoughts between ourselves. I personally know individuals who lied to their families about their voting intentions in order to avoid confrontation. A friend of mine feared that his brother would never speak to him again if he been honest with him, given that he was effectively intending to ‘cancel out’ his brother’s vote. And finally, you say that you did not know of anyone in your circle of friends or in your church who would have left. Yet I know some of your friends and church members, and a surprising number of them would almost certainly have left the country had Scotland become independent. I have no doubt that you will say that this would have been an ‘unchristian’ thing to do, to abandon their country and witness in their local area, and perhaps you are right. Christians opposed to independence would have had a difficult decision to make, they would have had to have considered God’s will in such a move. Yet what would have held the huge numbers of non-Christian no voters here in an independent Scotland? Not much, I believe.

      3. VIcky – you say that you know a ‘surprising number of my friends and church members’ who would almost certainly have left the country had Scotland become independent. I don’t know of any. It may be that you know my friends and church members better than I do – but you will forgive me for being a wee bit sceptical!

      4. I wasn’t aware of this survey before writing my comment, but it has since been brought to my attention. The Sunday Times found that 17% of adults living in Scotland would have considered leaving the country. That is 700,000 – in my opinion this is a vast number. This is compared to the 5% of yes voters who would have considered emigrating (200,000). So perhaps it works both ways, but I think you would agree that it was a much stronger feeling among no voters.

      5. Vicky – there is a world of difference between ‘have considered’ and ‘will’. I have often considered leaving the country and yet am still here!

  14. Dear David,

    Thank you. I’ve very much enjoyed your contribution during the referendum. Your comments have been valuable and a breath of fresh air. We would have benefitted from more voices with equally well-measured opinion.

    I was married by Derek Lamont as my wife attended Rosskeen FC. We now go to an independent fellowship in Dornoch. Whilst members discussed the referendum amongst ourselves, it would have been good to have had some more guidance. Hence why I found what you said very helpful.

    The whole period has awoken something of an identity crisis for me and I’m now trying to decide how a Christian should effectively (and off course prayerfully) interact with politics. I definitely feel there is a need for more of us to do so. I’m considering joining the Scottish Green Party – but need to find out more about them.

    Anyway, thank you and I hope we will all benefit from this and perhaps one day we’ll understand why the result was what it was!


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  15. The People of Scotland have spoken – and it is incumbent on everyone to accept the outcome (as we would have done had it gone the other way).

    I thought the Church of Scotland today played an important & vital role in trying to foster national reconciliation – and I was applauded at narrow Free Church propaganda snipes attacking such a proposal – citing wee Free minsters X and Y as not needing such a ministry – but ignoring the more obvious fact that Scotland could be dangerously divided. Scotland is in one heck of a mess!

    But the stark reality is this – the battle for social justice or “socialism” would have been just as much of an uphill struggle under a Yes vote as it will be under a No vote!

    Attacks against people on benefits, the ideological assault of austerity, the demand to commit trident Nuclear WMD to the history books – all these can be fought for in broad campaigns within the current constitutional framework!

    Don’t give up just because your nationalist ideals haven’t been realised, but rather campaign for social justice not only in Scotland but in England and Wales also!

  16. David

    I am about to retire as a doctor after 40+ years in medicine. I have had a good career and have helped cure thousands, and eased the passing of many.

    However as I look back I am aware that in the end I have just been treating bodies and that in the end all will die and enter eternity. In that sense my career has been futile. With what time I have left I now want to devote my time to saving souls rather than bodies.

    Although it is good and right for Christians to be involved in politics, in the end that is also futile since only Christ can change the human heart. Whatever political hat you put on it will be of no eternal value.

    God has called you to preach the gospel. That is inestimably of more value and importance than yes or no votes which, in the long term, will change nothing.

    Every blessing


  17. Simon the Zealot gave up his struggle to overturn the existing constitutional arrangements when he became a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. Would that more Christians in Scotland would follow his example.

  18. I’ve read many of your blog posts in the past and, though not agreeing with all of them, I’ve found many to be well written, informative and encouraging. However, I’ve watched with growing dismay and latterly anger as I’ve read your thoughts and tweets on the referendum. Can I make clear that I have no problem with a Christian voting Yes to independence, just as I have no problem with a Christian voting No. Neither do I think that Christians should never voice an opinion on such matters, rather it’s the increasingly condescending and now bitter tone of your remarks, many of which have stooped to a personal level, that’s concerning. Let me give just one example, though I could have cited many:

    On 15/9/14 you tweeted: “David Beckham has written a letter (impressive!) telling Scots to vote No-guess that’s the campaign over then!” What a nasty, ignorant remark. You then go on to retweet a picture of a childish letter in an attempt to further belittle what you perceive to be Beckham’s lack of literary skill. This, like many of your remarks, has nothing to do with wanting a better future for Scotland, it’s simply nasty.

    If you really are committed to “communicating the Good News to the people of Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales” as you claim, do you really think this is the way to go about it? Is this what you mean by “persuasive evangelism”? Our political views may not be synonymous with our Christianity but how we express those views most certainly is!

    I would urge you to go back over your tweets and articles of late (and not just relating to the referendum) and ask what “respect and honour” you have shown people who believe we are better together and, indeed, what respect you have shown to people in general who disagree with your posts and comments.

    1. Angela,

      Thanks but ouch! I am really sorry that you take my posts as being personal and bitter. I am not really aware of that but will look over them just to make sure. Please feel free to give me any more examples.

      The one example you do give I don’t accept. DAvid Beckham is a public figure who is marketed as a celebrity. Why his contribution should be considered as a significant contribution is beyond me. I accept totally that the ‘letter’ was humourous and mocking….and I think it is entirely deserved. Beckham is not known for his political or constitutional knowledge – it is perfectly fair to point that out.

      I think I have shown a great deal of respect to those who think we are better together – you will find many expressions of that. It strikes me though that some people really struggle with their being any criticism of their position and take any such to be personal. The number of abusive e-mails I have received from Christians in the past week has actually made me feel ill.

      I think that I show people at least the same ‘respect’ that you have shown me in your post. You are perfectly entitled to disagree with me and to point it out. If however you wish to be a wee bit more biblical then perhaps next time you should write me personally and try to correct the error of my ways. What you have done here is just simply attack me in public and provide yourself with the classic self-defence of accusing me in advance for lack of respect for not agreeing with you! Do you not think it is possible to have public discourse without taking everything personally and accusing people who disagree with us of being a bad witness, nasty, ignorant etc? And given the criteria you use, why do you think it is ok and a good witness for you to call me nasty and ignorant, and yet wrong of me to point out that David Beckham is not qualified to comment on the Scottish referendum as a celebrity expert?

      I am however interested in your other examples – because if that is true that I will repent and correct. So please let me know. But be warned – I don’t regard disagreeing with people as being ‘disrespectful’…

      I am sorry to have upset you,


      1. That tweet did not mock his perspective, as that of an incredibly rich celebrity who would not be impacted by the vote, but instead suggested he was stupid. Beckham’s opinion doesn’t matter but that is hardly cause to label him an idiot.

      2. David,

        What an astonishing reply. I made no mention of my political views, nor will I. Neither do I care which way you voted, both are irrelevant. My reason for commenting had nothing to do with political disagreement, which I have no problem with, but everything to do with how you expressed some of your views. With regard to your comment concerning a bad witness, I merely asked if your remarks aligned with your stated aims concerning evangelism and the communication of the gospel to all in the UK, a question which I feel was entirely reasonable to ask.

        I don’t believe I was acting in an unbiblical manner when I responded to your comments; you chose to share your thoughts using a public forum and clearly stated that we should feel free to respond here (you also didn’t give a private email address to do otherwise!). However, if you were so concerned that I was in violation of Matthew 18:15-17, why did you criticise my comments publicly rather than writing to me personally, giving me the chance to ‘correct the error of my ways’? And on the same point, although I agree with your views concerning most of the following people, may I ask if you wrote to Janet Mefferd privately before publicly calling her actions ‘obsessive’, ‘petty’, ‘ludicrous’ and ‘bitter’? Did you personally write to the Moderator of the C of S, Dr John Chalmers, before accusing him of preaching heresy in your blog post of the 29/8/14? Did you contact Mark Driscoll to share your concerns privately before rebuking some of his behaviour in ‘Christian Today’? Did you first share your views privately with Josh Williamson and Tony Miano before attacking their behaviour in public? And what of the C of S ministers that you rebuked in your articles, to name but a few?

        David, if you have a problem with English based celebrity sportsmen who lack, in your opinion, sufficient constitutional knowledge, interfering in the debate, why did you retweet Andy Murray’s tweet, and praising him for it? You presumably realise that Murray has 2.7 million followers and he admits that he doesn’t ‘know a whole lot about politics’? Was Murray arrogant to think that we would listen to him because he is a celebrity, as you stated Beckham was? For the record, I believe both had a right to comment, as did everyone in the UK as all would be affected by the outcome of the referendum not just those of us living in Scotland.

        How very sad that you can’t (or wont) acknowledge that your remarks were out of order. Solas has encouraged us to discuss and debate in a God-honouring way; assuming you agree with this statement, can you please explain why you consider your self-confessed mocking to be God honouring? Perhaps we all need to remember to ‘conduct [ourselves] with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let [our] speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that [we] will know how [we] should respond to each person’.


      3. Angela. Thanks. First of all I accept your points that it is perfectly fair for you to share your thoughts and criticisms in public on my public comments if you wish to do so. Just as I feel free to comment on public comments made by others. And I agree that you are right to question whether my writing reflects my own stated aims – which I accept that often it does not. However I understood your complaint to be that I should not have said anything in public which came across to you in a bad tone. I would simply point out there is nothing I can do about how you interpret tone. And that you seemed quite happy to accuse me of being a bad witness etc. I also wonder why you have not responded to my genuine request to identify particular comments which you found a bad witness. It seems to me that you are quite happy to criticise my comments in very strong language and yet find my criticisms of others to be a ‘bad witness’. I’m not sure why your public criticism of me is ok, but mine of others is bad? Can you see where I am coming from?

        On the minor matter of David Beckham – I disagree. He did not send a tweet to his followers – who I presume are interested in his opinions because they follow him – he did send an open letter to the people of Scotland. The equivalent for Andy Murray would have been if he had sent an open letter to the people of England. I only retweeted Andy Murray’s tweet because I wanted to show the level of abuse he got – to illustrate that it was not just those on the No side who received vile abuse.

        Incidentally I have contacted a number of the people you suggest in your post in private (though not all), but you will understand that as it is in private it will remain so.

  19. David,
    As a Christian I found it very hard to know ‘what God wanted for Scotland’ in the Referendum as far as a simple Yes or No was concerned. Britain and Scotland are broken because we have rejected God’s Word as important. However, I decided to vote Yes, largely because I do not believe that UK Governments have reflected what would seem to be the desires of the people of Scotland for at least 35 years. On Friday19th September at 7.05am – an hour after the result became clear – we, in Scotland, were ‘shafted’ by a British Prime Minister who proclaimed that English political reform had to happen at the same pace as the delivery of the Scottish ‘promises’. The reason he did this was because he knew that in doing so he was setting a trap for the Labour Party – in other words, playing fast and loose with the Scottish people in the name of Party Politics. This is precisely why I voted Yes. My only hope is that he will be judged for this by finding that he will be unable to form a government because the Party that holds the balance of power in the UK Parliament will be the SNP.

    1. Yes, Ian, I think you touch on a very good point here. But it’s impossible to know how things are going to work out. It is a very reasonable prediction to see next year’s UK General Election producing a minority government or another coalition. Yet we can’t even be sure who would form that government or enter into coalition. At present you could see Labour suffering pretty badly in Scotland – but with the first past the post system it would probably not convert into more than a few SNP gains. Personally I was gutted by the referendum result – the single greatest cultural and political event in my life and the result went the wrong way. But I also believe in a Sovereign God and one thing is for sure, it is far from clear what the outcome of the debates energised by the 2014 Referendum will be. So I refuse to despair in the short-term (my life time) or the long-term (eternity). Neither will I become embittered against fellow Scots who voted ‘No’ – I might struggle in some cases (!) but it’s an internal battle worth fighting.
      David, keep writing; it’s always interesting and stimulating. I see some wisdom in Angela’s comments though.

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