Equality Ethics Food Politics Scotland The Church in Scotland

Letter from Australia 71 – The Scottish Government, Feeding the Middle Class and Destroying the Family

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.”

The End of Scottish Independence?

Letter from Australia 70 – Buyers Regret and Sellers Joy




  1. David, I have enjoyed your articles this week with their usual penetrating analysis.

    You have many times mentioned Scottish Independence and I wondered if you had made the case for it anywhere. I haven’t come across a sound case for Independence (especially now that oil is no longer a foundation) which would not impoverish Scotland. From South of the border I can’t work out how people would possibly entrust their future to SNP incompetence unless it is motivated by intense dislike of the English. I must say I have never met intense dislike of Scots from people here. Thanks.

  2. I guess as an Australian I’m not used to the idea of the state providing school lunches (although some schools have breakfast programs and arrangements where children can get a free lunch from the canteen if needed), so I don’t really know how it works in practice. I’m wondering if it’s an attempt to de-stigmatise free lunches by everyone getting them.

    One thing, though, which never seems to be considered by those who promote this type of thing, is the loss of everyday skills due to children not learning to prepare their own meals in the way they would in the home. We’re becoming more and more dependent on ‘professionals’ to provide really basic things we used to do for ourselves. This is just one example – the list of (possibly) unintended consequences is enormous.

    1. I grew up in Sixties England with school meals at first universal and free, then progressively paid-for with free meals reserved for the poor – and yes, you are spot on. It’s inevitable that recipients are identified and stigmatised – a classic one where children are punished for their parents’ “sins”. Which may be nothing worse, especially this year, than failing to predict the economic winds a decade or more ahead when planning their family.

      I don’t recall that provision discouraging my father from starting his own business and employing others, or later becoming a Conservative councillor. Or my mother and grandmother from teaching me to cook – which the high schools also did.

      But in those days the country as a whole, with living memories of mass slaughter where everyone really was “all in it together”, still felt every British child was a valuable new life and a potential worker and taxpayer worth investing in in its own right – not a self-indulgent personal luxury of its parents.

      A punitive régime on “irresponsible breeding” not only fails to prevent pregnancies and penalises the children – it’s a direct incentive to abortion. We already had a world 100 years ago where abortion was illegal and both the mothers and the “bastards” themselves were punished mercilessly. It didn’t prevent the creation of new lives, especially when the last resort of mothers desperate to feed existing children could always be prostitution: it merely ensured a larger population of misery and suffering.

      And there’s another self-respect preserving (for some) alternative to benefits: I do not think an “independent” criminal more admirable than someone who may have previously paid in to the public purse claiming back their side of the bargain. Or another forced to beg for charity, adding a further tax of shame to whatever misfortune has hit them.

      The children of *none of them* owe a debt entitling the more fortunate to tell them they shouldn’t exist, or refuse to help. Time to judge the poor little beasts when they are old enough to be “deserving” or not for themselves!

  3. Good article David.
    During the last six years in my Police career I became increasingly aware of the revolving door cycle in the lives of those labelled by virtue of a Court appearance to be a ‘criminal’. Put simply, the ‘System’ that all too many find themselves in, appears to exist on handouts for this that and the other. Consequently, to the extent that when options are exhausted the ‘criminal’ has not gained any meaningful ability to cope in Society other than staying on the treadmill to use or abuse the ‘System’.

    Can I suggest that this is similar to what you are saying in your article -i.e. yet another ‘handout’ with no sense of real value by many recipients.
    I should perhaps clarify that this is not simply about so called ‘criminals’, but rather the whole spectrum of society regardless of their individual needs. I used the example of ‘criminals,’ based on my own personal experience through work etc .
    There are many needy cases, but I suspect that such policies are only going to make them needier!!
    I apologise if I have picked you up incorrectly.

  4. You “persona non grata in Scotland” David? Who would have thought? (I’m being playful). Seriously though I can see how you might perceive what is happening here in Scotland metaphorically as an “all-consuming fire approaching your house.” But this happened literally for many people in Australia, and just as folks have dealt with it in your new home, folks will deal with this issue in your old home.

    I did think it rather odd for meals to be made available for all children whether needed or not rather than for children that otherwise would have gone without food. So I hear you about having the “ability and courage to challenge an Establishment” and this indeed is much needed.

    “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world.” (Eph 6:12).

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Interestingly Nelson Mandela called what he experienced “the struggle”. He said “I will not leave South Africa, nor will I surrender. Only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can freedom be won. The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.” https://www.un.org/en/events/mandeladay/struggle.shtml

    Is this any different in principle for Scotland with truth freeing, love never failing and “fighting the good fight?”

  5. David, another well researched and written piece of prose..!

    Having calculated Scotland’s numbers, back of envelope stuff, Scotland would become bust and bankrupt within 12-18 months of Independence, and become just another ‘Banana Republic’..!
    In the event that Schiehallion (The Munro at the geographical centre of mainland Scotland…) is made of solid gold, then Scotland would have a chance..! However…

    Scotland’s biggest export is not food nor Scotch Whisky (SW accounts for c.£4.3bn of exports, that is at cost, not after duties, vat’s etc…) is simply brains, it’s people..!

    It is mostly a public sector (ps) economy now (Cooncils, Gov, NHS and Education) and most bright and educated people leave unless they are in the ps…

    80% of my daughter’s friends all left to go ‘down south’, to places such as Bristol, Derby (Rolls Royce jet engines…) and mostly London, since Scotland doesn’t really offer ‘opportunity ‘ any more…The other 20% are in the public sector….Mere lip service is paid by this by the ruling state party….(Incidentally, ‘Mammie’ aka ‘Wee Jimmy Crankie’ and Humza Yousef are dangerous policies people, as we have ‘sleepwalked’ through an authoritarian towards a fascist state..!)

    If Scotland had any chance of Independence, it would need to have been in the early 1970’s with the discovery of North Sea Oil, Forties field flowing well, and then Scotland would be more akin to Norway, wealth wise. The Norweigans are sitting on a Sovereign wealth fund of a few Trillion Dollars- not bad for a country with a population of circa 4 million people ..!

  6. Surely the greatest danger of an ‘independant Scotland’ is their probable reliance on borrowed money. (Of course all nations borrow but at different rates and for different amounts). Without much in the way of guarantees such borrowings may have to come from foreign powers. The price may well be a stake in the country.
    So – is it possible that (for example) Russia, China, North Korea etc could provide cash in exchange for some real estate. Such real estate being Faslane or any other military base.
    Therefore Britain?, UK?, British Isles?, England & Wales & NI? have a very real threat right on their doorstep.
    Fanciful? Of course.
    Probable? Unlikely.
    Possible? Most certainly.

  7. Re ‘Destroying the Family” , here’s an interesting opinion which covers , inter alia , that anti – human subject :


    As has been well – documented in the mainstream media , the author of the above was fired from his position as a master ( or whatever they call them nowadays) at Eton.

  8. Ancient Rome had a grain dole (the “Cura Annonae”). This was present in Rome during the first century. It was a law that provided free bread to the needy. None of the NT writers speak about it negatively. In fact they don’t mention it at all. This is important because the book of Romans, written to the Christians in Rome, did not require them to oppose it.

    If Paul thought that Christians should pay taxes, knowing that the money would be spent on buying food for the poor, and didn’t say anything about it, then perhaps we shouldn’t really worry about any modern country that decides to raise taxes for a universal food benefit.

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