Dundee Equality Europe Justice Liberalism Politics Scotland

Wealth, Health, Happiness and Holiness – The Vision and SIN of Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon recently gave a Ted Talk which is interesting, revealing and a real help in understanding where some of our political and cultural leaders are heading.  It’s only ten minutes but well worth listening to…


The message is simple and compelling.  We can no longer measure our country’s success by GDP (Gross Domestic Product).  We need to think about how happy and healthy a population is, rather than just how wealthy is.  We need to focus on well being and ask what really matters to us.  Scotland together with Iceland and New Zealand have started to measure happiness and other factors.  We need, in the tradition of the Enlightenment, need to create a happier, fairer and healthier society.   What a wonderful vision!  As our friend Alastair McIntosh tweeted:


Screenshot 2019-07-31 at 05.48.57

There are many things I would agree with in this talk – as I hope would any biblical Christian. 

It is good that our focus is not entirely on economic well being – and that Mammon is not our idol.  Man (or woman) does not live by bread alone.  It is good to see that at least in this the FM is following Jesus.

It is good that we focus on areas such as health in general and mental health in particular.

It is good that we look for a happier, healthier and juster society.

I have no doubt at all that the FM means what she says –  but the problem is that this speech actually says very little.  It is not the fluent, cogent and life-giving vision that Alastair exults in.  It is not the Gettysburg address.  It is not the Sermon on the Mount.

If there had been a question time at TED (which there usually is not because TED talks are secular sermons delivered from on high to a worshipping congregation and cannot be questioned) then I would have asked the FM the following questions.

What do you mean by happier, healthier and fairer?

Its as though she is offering to use a tape measure with no measurements.  Who is going to be opposed to these things? They are easy words to say but really hard to define.  I suspect that the FM is a bit like Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Happiness, healthiness and fairness are all defined by our government.  If we don’t accept their values then we are not ‘Scotland’.  We are healthier, we are happier, we are a more just society – we must be, because the government says we are.   To be mistress – that is all.

From my perspective, Scotland under Sturgeon’s government is becoming a more miserable, sicker and unjust society.  We have just had the announcement that we are now the drugs death capital of the world.  Mental ill health is on the rise.  The gap between those who live in Morningside and Bearsden compared with those who live in Drumchapel and Charleston (Dundee) is as large as ever – if not increasing.  The NHS is heading for a major crisis which will affect the poor more than ever.  Schools engage in social engineering rather than education – again affecting the poor more than anyone.  Shouting “it’s the Tooorries’ works well for the political troops – but doesn’t take away from the reality that even by her own standards the FM is presiding over a country that fails on all these levels.

Why do you say that economics are not the only or even the main criteria and yet your arguments against Brexit are all about economics?

There is a great hypocrisy here.   Every day we hear from the Scottish government what a disaster Brexit will be – and yet that ‘disaster’ is only expressed in economic terms.  It is hypocritical not just because of this talk but also because it is highly likely that using the same criteria would mean the SNP would no longer support Scotland leaving the UK – which is after all far more important economically to us than the EU.   Yet the SNP would (at least in theory – although in practice that is becoming less likely) be prepared to pay that price in order to get the greater prize of independence.

It is interesting that in the follow up session Sturgeon, apart from mocking Johnson (again sowing the seeds of ‘division’ – the ‘them and us’ absolutely essential to any virtue signalling moralists !), says that independence is about self-government.  But she knows that her policy of Scotland being in the EU is about the giving up of self-government in order to have a seat at the supranational collective corporate EU table.

What really does matter for our country?

There are many of us who feel disaffected and alienated – precisely because we do not share the FM’s narrow, fundamentalist, progressive views.  We think that it does not add to the health and happiness of the weakest to kill them in the womb. Nor incidentally, does it help the wealth or population of the nation compelling the government to plead for more immigrants to cover the population loss!   We don’t think it adds to the health of the family to promote a view of marriage which turns it solely into a civil contract.  We do not think that Sturgeon’s obsession with the identity ideology which her government proposes to enforce through their Gender Recognition Act is healthy or will promote happiness.  Telling our children that gender is a social construct unconnected with biology, is not only scientific illiteracy, it is also state-sponsored child abuse.

It’s all very well to boast about the three countries having three women prime ministers but the FM proposes to make the term ‘woman’ meaningless.  Under her legislation, Boris Johnson could just announce that he is a woman and she would have to accept him as part of the gang of female leaders who are civilising the world.

We don’t think that it makes our fishing communities happy that the number of fish they can catch is determined from Brussels. We don’t think the increased waiting lists, or the exodus of qualified doctors and nurses from our NHS – adds to our happiness and health.   What about the food banks?  the drug deaths? the lack of work in our housing schemes?  the hopelessness and helplessness felt by so many people?

Are you aware of what Adam Smith said about Christianity?  Or John Gray says about the Enlightenment?

Sturgeon, like many others, has a somewhat simplistic view of The Enlightenment – which in its Christian forms did being a great deal of light, but in its non-Christian forms was also responsible for great darkness. The atheist philosopher John Gray in his book Black Mass offers an alternative view of the Enlightenment, suggesting that Hitler and the Third Reich were its consummate end product.    Adam Smith, the Scottish inventor of modern capitalism, argued that without Christianity capitalism would be destructive and horrendous.

The FM in seeking to build a society without God is attempting the impossible.  Every such attempt has ended with hell on earth.  Why should Scotland be any different?

Looking for happiness, health (of every kind)  and justice without God is like looking for equality whilst seeking to remove the foundation upon which that equality is based – the biblical teaching that all human beings are equally made in the image of God. 

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness… (Jefferson)

You spoke of sin.  Do you believe in sin?  What about holiness?

Sturgeon referred to her wee alliance of Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand as the SIN countries.  It’s a neat joke (I think).  But it did set me thinking about a deeper truth.  Scotland was once known as the people of the Book.  Not any more.  What does the Book say?   “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach (condemns) to any people” (Proverbs 14:35).

That is my great fear.   We are led by a First Minister who, although well-meaning, has such a lack of self-awareness, that she believes her own myths.  Scotland is not progressing towards a secular Nirvana – we are heading into the ‘reproach’ that alienates us from each other – because we are alienated from God.  Thinking they were wise – they became fools.

Only repentance, reformation and revival can lead us to real well being – real justice, real joy and real life.  It is the words of Christ that are ‘life giving’ not the messianic dreams of Sturgeon.   Like Joshua we all need to choose this day who we will serve.  Some will believe and follow the Sermon on Ted – but as for me and my household – we will follow the Sermon on the Mount!

The Ultimate April Fool – An Open Letter to Nicola Sturgeon






  1. This is exactly what Democratic Presidential candidate Yang is promoting here in the States. It was new to me when I heard him speak of Life and Happiness as factors of GDP and was compelled by the future potential of it. But on the other hand, in the secular view of these values, I saw the future of the world State and humanities hubris.

  2. Repentance and revival will not happen until Christ returns (soon I hope) We are in the midst of the great falling away – as spoken off by Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians (Chapter 2). God has removed His restraining power from the world of mankind and the latter, under unbridled satanic (SIN) rule, is in fast meltdown – as witnessed in by the lawlessness, disorder and confusion in every aspect of human life – not least in the corrupt and corrupting constitution of the Scottish Government.

    1. Where did you get the idea that repentance and revival will not happen until Christ returns? Did you get if from Scripture (if so where?) and if not are you adding to Scripture?

      1. Apologies, when I referred to ‘repentance and revival’ I meant at a community/national level. Obviously, God’s Spirit will continue to redeem individuals until Christ’s return – and so personal repentance and revival will continue.

    2. My friend – repentance is an on-going absolute both within the church and outwith. It is a function that every believer needs to be aware of as he/she studies scripture and aligns themselves with the requirements of God. It is not something God has removed from our midst.
      As for Revival – it should be our daily cry out to our Father that He firstly revives us in the church that we are driven by His love to flood our streets sharing the reality and saving power of Christ and as Paul shares with us ‘not in word only, but in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit’.
      Insightful article about our FM – one can only liken her others to the Pied Piper – playing a deceitful tune!

  3. The First Minister,her party and the Scottish chattering classes are ultimately blind to their own responsibility in creating a demoralised populace. Anti family policies,abortion,identity politics are their reason for living.They worship the state and talk incessantly about Scotland. The problem is they worship at the altar of progressivism,which will not only destroy society but will ultimately render Scotland and Scottishness meaningless. Christianity was the glue that held us together. God have mercy on us once again!

  4. her policy of Scotland being in the EU is about the giving up of self-government in order to have a seat at the supranational collective corporate EU table

    She intends that she will occupy the seat, holding Scotland as her benefice.

  5. I take a rather different view from you on this. Firstly the ‘happiness indicators’ measured by various states which follow this type of policy are often very valid. Measures of economic inequality, of medically poor health, and the subjective, of asking people themselves if they are happy.

    Of course those can be twisted by a malicious state, but so can everything else about government. See historical arguments about standing armies, democracy plus rabble rousing used to legitimise corrupt regimes, religions used to justify oppression…

    It is factually wrong to say the pro EU arguments have been painted as economic. There has been a lot more (perhaps too much!) focus on freedom of movement, easy holidays abroad. And plenty on food safety, animal welfare, eco impact of importing from halfway round the world, long distance from alternative markets, the xenophobic overtones of an isolationist brexit.

    As a Christian I share your objections to a range of ‘progressive’ policies espoused by many SNP policy makers.

    But this general policy, of a wider concern for the wellbeing of the nation, is one any Christian should surely approve?

    In so far as you highlight the horrors of secular ‘enlightenment’ this is true. As Scots we have ourselves to blame. But that blame lies over the past two centuries and can no more be pinned on Nicola Sturgeon than the existence of popes can be blamed on the current generation of Roman Catholics.

    We are in an era where the argument could be taken further. That gdp must actually decrease, to reverse the eco debt doom we as a species have been building since 1970. That is a tougher stance for a politician to take.

    I don’t believe this policy is confined to women leaders, although the fact that gdp is so ingrained as a narrow measure of success, points to a surprising lack of development in international politics. It may be that a female perspective has been a driver in widening these definitions.

    You have a personal view regarding EU versus UK influence which I do not share. And if fish stocks can be increased by EU controls that is no bad thing. The euphemism ‘fishermen’ often refers to the half dozen families controlling that industry rather than the nostalgic image of wee boats and coastal communities. Fishing rights have been traded between Westminster and the EU such that Holyrood is unlikely to make a worse job of it.

    Does Nicola Sturgeon come at the whole issue from a secular perspective? Yes. But should we applaud her for confessing that we need to discuss meaning, happiness, contentment, wellbeing? Also yes.

    If she realises that ‘a man’s life consists not in the number of his possessions’, is that not the opening for us, for Christians, for the church, to offer the good news of the gospel?

    Known as SIN, but focused on wellbeing. Christ CAME to call sinners, not respectable people. Perhaps it is only as Scotland tries, and fails, to find this wellbeing in herself that she will seek and find the ‘solid joys and lasting treasure’ that we have been blessed to receive?

    1. Thanks Louise. Helpful comment. Just a couple of things.

      1). Yes the vast majority of arguments put forward by the Scottish government have been about the economy. Over 90%

      2). No one is disputing that it is a good idea to consider the ‘well being’ of the nation. But the question is what that actually means?

      3). I’m not blaming Nicola for secularism. But I am arguing against her naive and shallow view of the Enlightenment

      4). Don’t buy into the propaganda. Scotland’s fishermen are not ‘half a dozen families’. And the argument is not about conservation but about whether the large Dutch, French and Spanish fleets should have access to Scotland’s fish.

      5) my problem with Sturgeon and sin is that she does not recognise it! .

      1. sin is a lack of righteousness – which then leads to asking what is righteousness? Sin goes against God’s law – leads to evil, injustice and destruction of self, family, society and creation.

    2. Also Louise, Brexit is not isolationist at all but being free to trade across the WHOLE world including the EU. But they of course are terrified of other EU countries seeing us making a successful exit and wanting to follow suit hence the desire to punish us. By the way do you punish your friends?!

      1. I don’t recognise any punishment in the attitude of the EU so far. They’ve been fair when the temptation must be to impatience with the UK’s dithering and pestering.

      2. Thats an interesting perception….could you give us some examples of the ways that the EU has been fair. Barnier, Juncker and others have indicated that the UK must be punished in order to discourage others from thinking they can leave. The EU loves the way the UK has behaved – because it justifies their hardline and punitive stand. The UK is showing itself to be weak – whereas the EU appears strong – although to be fair the people making the decisions on behalf of the EU don’t have to worry about an electorate so they can play hardball without costs…

  6. Only repentance, reformation and revival can lead us to real well being – real justice, real joy and real life.

    How do you think this affects the billions who are not Christian?
    Are they then excluded because their own particular faith does not conform to your specific Christian ideology?
    Or, if you believe that your statement has nothing to do with Christianity per se what do consider will be the ultimate fate of the billions who are not Christian?

      1. Why do you think Yahweh does not command Hindus, for example, but merely those who adhere to the Abrahamic faith?
        And why do you think there Yahweh required three different Abrahamic faiths when one would surely have sufficed?

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