Letter from Australia – The Scottish Government Feeding the Middle Class and Destroying the Family
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Whilst it is a joy and privilege to be in a different part of the world and to be part of a ‘new’ country, that does not mean that you cease to care about your native country. I still rejoice when Scotland win, still love seeing the beauty of the country online and still care passionately about its people and how we are governed. But watching from afar just now is like watching an all-consuming fire approaching your house and feeling that sense of despair as everything you love is about to be wrecked. To change the analogy, I saw the train wreck coming round the bend a few years ago. That is not the reason I left – and in one sense I would love to be back and challenge what is happening. But to be honest I can do that as easily from Australia as I ever could in Scotland. And I am persona non grata in Scotland anyway. The Scottish government has an increasing stranglehold on all aspects of civic life in Scotland and my only way of speaking is through this medium – which can be done as easily from Down Under as from Dundee.
Why am I writing about this just now? Because another twist on the line which is heading for the inevitable train wreck was turned this week. This tweet from the SNP is as depressing as any I have read from them.
At first glance that seems a ridiculous thing to say. How can free school meals for every child be seen as a portent for disaster? Why, even the Scottish Tories apparently support this idea – in fact Douglas Ross is claiming it as his! There was a time when the SNP would run a million miles from any policy that received Tory approval but now they are just copying each other. But what is wrong with this policy? Where has my ‘inner Marcus Rashford’ gone? Don’t we all want children to be fed properly and receive adequate nutrition? Who but the most callous could be against such an enlightened and progressive policy? Steve Chalke thinks this is ‘creating a blanket of care for all’ and is ‘great leadership’.
But we need to stop and think. We need to ask questions and try to work out where this is heading. Well-meaning policies that are not well thought out can have devastating consequences. This policy will cost at least £1 billion over the next four years. That’s £1 billion that won’t go to the NHS, or the poor? Who is going to pay? Why should millionaire families get free meals? Why stop there? Why just primary school children? Why not secondary school? And indeed, why not all adults as well? Everyone has a right to be fed, so surely the State should pay for everyone’s meals? Why just on school days and holidays? Don’t children get hungry at weekends? And why just food? What about clothing? Housing? Holidays? Entertainment? Mobile Phones? Why doesn’t the State pay for everything that we need?
To even ask the question is to show the level of ridiculousness that we have fallen to. Is anyone going to ask how a government in Holyrood which has overseen an exponential rise in the number of foodbanks in use in Scotland, is going to provide free food for middle class children – as well as the children of the poor (who are already entitled to free school meals). This is yet another subsidy for the middle classes, which will, like the free prescription middle class subsidy, have inevitable harmful consequences. Remember that the poor are already entitled to free schools meals. This just increases the entitlement to those who can afford to pay for their own children.
What will be the results? More State control, less individual responsibility, more corruption, more abuse, more harm to children- especially to the poor. There are times when the State needs to intervene with poor parents but in general the State itself is a poor parent – and a poor substitute for the means God has ordained for bringing up children – the family.
We had a Chinese family in here today and when I told them about what was being proposed they said ‘wow, that’s just like the time of Mao and the Cultural Revolution’. Again, to some that will appear ridiculous, but you need to see the bigger picture.
C S Lewis saw it: : “I believe a man is happier, and happy in a richer way, if he has ‘the freeborn mind’. But I doubt whether he can have this without economic independence, which the new society is abolishing. For economic independence allows an education not controlled by Government; and in adult life it is the man who needs, and asks, nothing of Government who can criticise its acts and snap his fingers at its ideology.”
This is hard to grasp but it is the reality that the SNP’s new ‘progressive’ ideology, which has replaced the old civic nationalism, means that to all intents and purposes the SNP are now an anti-independence party. They no longer believe in the independence of Scotland (we cannot survive without being tied to the EU); the independence of local communities (which must bow down to the superior wisdom of the centralised bureaucracy); the independence of the Church (the government has now had a taste of regulating how and when we worship – and that is likely to become an acquired taste – for the ‘common good’); and the independence of the poor (is there any party that has been more paternalistic and more useless for Scotland’s poor?); and most dangerous of all, the family. In all of these respects the new SNP operates on a ‘Mammie knows best’ policy – with Scotland’s ‘Chief Mammie’ as the figurehead and fount of all well-being. We have replaced the recipient of our prayers for daily bread, from ‘Our Father in Heaven’, to ‘Our Mammie in Edinburgh’. The SNP have become like a religious cult – complete with its priesthood, regulations, meaningless trite language, and its blasphemy laws.
The SNP no longer believe in independence. They believe in dependence. On the Almighty State. And that is most dangerous in terms of the family. The SNP (like most of the other political parties) struggle to define what the family is. They use the words, but they don’t understand the concept. I recall a panel of politicians being unable to define what a woman is – what hope do they have of defining a family!
I have seen the consequences of this well-meaning but unproven and irrational ideology, in so many ways – as it wreaks havoc in Scotland’s housing schemes. I think of the man who told me that he had 13 children by 7 different women – and that was fine because the State will look after them! He had the right to have sex with who he wanted and to have as many children as he wanted – but he had no responsibility to provide for them. He was an extreme case – but not so extreme that his attitude is not replicated elsewhere. His children, women and community suffer because of this irresponsible and heartless selfishness. Children don’t just need food – they need fathers – and mothers – and so much more – that the State cannot provide.
There is a patronising paternalism about this progressive ideology. I don’t think it is a conspiracy (it’s not that well thought out), it’s just incompetence based on prejudice, hubris and ignorance. But it is also inevitably leads to a despotic, harmful authoritarianism – hence the horrified response of my Chinese guests. The Scottish government are proposing not only providing the food for families, but also the morals, teaching and discipline. Humza Yousaf’s proposed Hate Crime bill which will penalise people for what they say in the privacy of their own homes, is an indication of what is to come. The government will allow adults to do whatever they wish in the bedroom, providing they don’t say anything hateful about any of the pre-approved protected categories! We have a government which rightly (in my view) supports a methadone programme but won’t invest in real long term rehabilitation treatments. In their Brave New World, they are prepared to give people their Soma, to keep them off the streets – but they don’t really help them. Drug deaths are just delayed. This year in Dundee the figures are already well over 100.
Sadly, this is not just the SNP and please don’t take this as one of those anti-SNP rants. I actually believe in real independence and I hope that those who share that belief will take back control of their own party before the Greens Progressives destroy it forever. Just as the Independence party have ceased to believe in independence; so the Conservatives no longer believe in conservatism; the Liberals no longer hold to liberalism (Matthew Parris’s latest article in the Spectator points out just how statist and the once community Liberals have become); and the Socialists have forgotten about socialism. I was so disappointed to hear that the wonderful Labour MSP Jenny Marra is about to retire. She was someone who stood up for the poor. Now we have all the parties being fundamentally the same in their fundamental ideology – they are ‘progressives’, regressing to the pre-Christian Greco-Roman Pagan view of the world. The only choice the electorate get is what shade of progressive beige we want!
The dream of the progressives and radicals of the 19th Century, was the same as that of the communists and fascists of the 20th, and now the Progressives of the 21st – the abolition of private property, the church and the family. They are moving towards their object. Who will stand in the gap and stop the flood? Incidentally there is a reason that so many MSP’s are retiring early – it’s because they realise that they are just being used as lobby fodder and they can’t beat the system. I know that there are some hardworking, rational, intelligent MSPs who see what is going on. But do any of them have the ability and courage to challenge an Establishment which now effectively has a stranglehold on most of Scotland’s institutions – including the Church?
What really bothers me is not me, or those like me. We don’t trust in politicians, nor do we believe in political salvation. We look elsewhere for salvation. My concern is for those who do not have our faith and instead may well either give up in despair, or turn to more extreme solutions.
I have just been reading Ross Douthat’s The Decadent Society – which is a stunning work. He describes what is happening in Scotland (and other Western societies heading down the same regressive route) as “a police state with liberal characteristics’. I leave you with this perceptive paragraph.
“The civil liberties to be protected and encouraged in this new order are the liberties of pleasure and consumption, and the freedom to be ‘safe’ – broadly defined – from threats to bodily integrity, personal expression and psychological well-being. The liberties to be limited are the liberties that enable resistance, both personal and political: the freedoms of religion and speech, and the ability to participate fully in the culture without sacrificing your privacy, without having your life be a kind of open book.”
See you next week,
Here is another great quote from CS Lewis…
“Is there any possibility of getting the super Welfare State’s honey and avoiding the sting? Let us make no mistake about the sting. The Swedish sadness is only a foretaste. To live his life in his own way, to call his house his castle, to enjoy the fruits of his own labour, to educate his children as his conscience directs, to save for their prosperity after his death—these are wishes deeply ingrained in civilised man. Their realization is almost as necessary to our virtues as to our happiness. From their total frustration disastrous results both moral and psychological might follow.”