The London Review of Books published my response to Fraser MacDonald’s article on Kate Forbes and the Free Church – here
In Time of Schism
I was somewhat surprised to find my name mentioned in Fraser MacDonald’s article about Kate Forbes and the Free Church of Scotland (LRB, 16 March). Apparently, MacDonald thinks that I am a right-wing influence on the Free Church. I realise that it is de rigueur in certain progressive circles to label anyone who disagrees with you as ‘far right’, thus sidestepping the need to answer any criticism. MacDonald has tweeted that he will not engage with me because I am ‘far right’, though I doubt he could name one ‘far-right’ policy I support. I would like to correct the record.
I do not engage in clickbait or culture wars. I try to write serious comment on the issues of the day on my blog, the Wee Flea. I have not been a ‘serial reply-guy’ to Humza Yousaf. I wrote a couple of articles on his attempts to reintroduce a blasphemy law into Scotland under the guise of his authoritarian hate crime bill. I wrote one article criticising Tommy Robinson but defending his right to speak. Citing Jordan Peterson is not amplifying the ‘radical right’. I also cite Lenin, Stalin, Benn, Corbyn, Obama, Trump and many others.
Any person ignorant of the Free Church reading MacDonald’s article would come away with the impression that it is a predominantly Highland church, an inbred, reactionary, right-wing group of hypocrites, followers of American evangelicalism, threatening a theocracy, unstable, repressed, racist, slavery-defending, exclusive, wild, weird, disputatious, schismatic, anti-LGBTQ, Sabbatarian.
The piece is a polemic against Kate Forbes through an attack on her church (the SNP establishment has already seized on it as ‘proof’ in its anti-Forbes campaign). But it is historically wrong, logically flawed and hysterically inaccurate in its description of today’s Free Church. For those who are interested I have written a full response on my blog. MacDonald’s article is witty, erudite and interesting. But I am reminded of the words of John Donne: ‘Thy giant wit o’erthrows me, I am gone;/And rather than read all, I would read none.’
Rev. David A. Robertson
Sydney, New South Wales