They want to be one of The Elect in Holyrood Heaven

They want to be one of The Elect in Holyrood Heaven

They want to be one of The Elect in Holyrood Heaven

 – but some questions need to be answered first

by Ian Mitchell

After Wednesday night’s uninformative television debate between the leaders of the main parties standing in the May election, it is increasingly important to ask candidates what they actually stand for. They work for the voter, so the voter is entitled to know what they believe in.

Every voter should email his or her candidate MSPs to ask them questions which concern that particular voter. I did this to my local SNP candidate—Jenny Minto in Argyll & Bute—and asked for her CV, saying that when you apply for any job you are expected to produce a CV. She is applying to me, and an employment committee of 60,000 in this constituency, for the job of representing us (ahem!) in parliament. Predictably I was not sent a full CV.

I asked other questions, especially about the Hate Crime Bill, and got completely unsatisfactory answers which ignored four of my five questions. I wrote again on more general topics but now this wannabe representative for this constituency simply refused to answer. Clearly, I am an irritation, as ALL VOTERS SHOULD BE!

I then wrote to the Alan Reid of the Liberal party (if that is still their name?) who once used to represent this constituency. I have not been favoured with the courtesy of a reply of any sort. Next I will write to the Conservatives, then the Greens, and so on….

This is a general pattern which I have noticed in Scotland. Nobody in public life – in or out of parliament, in a quango, or in the civil service – will engage in any meaningful way in dialogue with a voter. We are not part of the “unco guid”; we are not one of The Elect; we will never get to Holyrood heaven where salaries are huge, catering lavish, expenses generous, pensions guaranteed, and a leaving bonus is available to compensate the weeping loser in the event that they are chucked out of the magic circle.

It is an unpleasant fact that contempt drips from the emails of those who feel themselves secure inside the bubble. I wrote about this recently in my book, The Justice Factory. I wanted to ask Fiona Hyslop about Catalonia, and I got a completely dismissive reply which was incorrectly informed about international law. Readers can find it on page 382 and after in the book mentioned below. I was shocked to discover her ignorance, but we are getting accustomed to that sort of thing these days.

More entertaining is to recall what happened when I wrote to Alastair Allan MSP, then Ms Hyslop’s deputy as Minister for International Development and Europe. For reasons connected with my interest in Russia, I wrote to ask him about a campaign he was running to co-opt St Andrew, the patron saint of both Russia and Scotland, into the government’s morality programme. It was called “BeLikeStAndrew”. When launching it, on 14 November 2017, Allan said:

“Celebrating St Andrew’s Day presents a powerful opportunity for people across Scotland to keep the spirit of St Andrew alive, by coming together and helping others within their community. Our patron saint, St Andrew, was known for being strong, sociable and fair, encouraging people to share what they had with those in need.”

Since Alasdair Allan used to work full-time as media relations officer of some sort for the Church of Scotland, I thought he might know something I did not about St Andrew’s personality. I wrote to ask what evidence he had for the assertion that St Andrew was strong, sociable, fair, etc., since it is not a description I recognised from material put out by the Russian Orthodox Church, which is silent on his personal behaviour.

After the usual delays and reminders, I received a reply ten weeks after I had written. The reason given was the need to “gather information”. That in itself was odd, since all the information available was contained in a dozen short verses in the Bible. The response came, not from the Minister, but from a Mr Sirrell, in the Scottish Government’s Tourism and Major Events Division:

“Although not aware of any of St Andrew’s attributes, I can confirm that many of the stories which speak of his life point towards his kindness and strong, sociable and fair nature. There are several examples: in Mark 1:16 we are told that Jesus saw Simon and his brother Andrew fishing. He said to them: “Come follow me and I will send you out to fish for the people.” In the parallel incident in the book of Luke, while Andrew is not named, Simon and his fishing partner is (this is according to our research, widely understood to be Andrew). Together with Jesus they provide an abundance of fish for the people who were going hungry due to not being able to catch anything.”

I replied challenging this interpretation and saying that Jesus’s invitation was to follow Him and “become fishers of men”. He did not invite them to go fishing for “the community”, which is a completely different idea. There is nothing in the relevant passage to suggest any social, economic or re-distributional aspect of an unambiguously evangelical proposal.

The verse Mr Sirrell referred me to says: “Now as He [Jesus] walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers.” That is all, though the next two verses say: “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.” Jesus did not say to St Andrew: “Come follow me and I will send you out to fish for the people.” Exactly the opposite. They heard Jesus’s call and abandoned their nets. The original text is clear: there is no evidence that people were going hungry; no evidence of people being unable to fish; no evidence of there now being, after Jesus’s call, an “abundance of fish”.

How it is possible for a well-educated (presumably) government Minister in a Christian country to be so ignorant of scripture, especially one who used to work for the Kirk as a media relations officer? If, on the other hand, Scotland is not to be considered a Christian country, why are we being encouraged to imitate one of Christ’s disciples?

THAT is why we need to interrogate all candidates for elective office in Scotland.

You can read much more of this in “THE JUSTICE FACTORY: CAN THE RULE OF LAW SURVIVE IN 21st CENTURY SCOTLAND?” (Ian Mitchell, 2020)

It is not a party-political screed. The book has been endorsed by both ends of the political spectrum here: Ian (“Stone of Destiny”) Hamilton QC, the renegade nationalist, and Adam Tomkins, who is both an MSP (Tory) and Professor of Constitutional Law in the University of Glasgow. The Foreword is written by Lord Hope of Craighead, ex-Deputy President of the UK Supreme Court and Alan Page, Professor of Public Law at Dundee, who is the author “Constitutional Law of Scotland”, the main reference work, has written an Introduction to Part II. Details of the book here:

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1 Comment on "They want to be one of The Elect in Holyrood Heaven"

  • Jonathan Rainey says

    I’ve been doing practically similar types of ‘interrogation’ by asking many of the SNP & Green MSPs along with the SNP Candidate standing in the Dumbarton Constituency whether they have read both the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers or not and many of them mostly come back with standard PR answers about Holyrood being on recess thus their valid reason for not answering me although Linda Fabiani answered that she did not read it at all and the SNP Dumbarton Candidate replied to me stating that he knows a lot about Federalism in his time of education but stopped short of answering Yes or No about whether he read the aforementioned books or not.

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