Christian Life 

Democracy under serious threat

The SNP top duo conspicuously failed to attend a service of reconciliation on Sunday following the Scottish referendum outcome.

Salmond and Sturgeon1SNP leader and Scottish First Minister has revealed much about his character since being defeated in the recent referendum on Scottish Independence. But the most concerning aspects from all the media coverage, are the reports that Alex Salmond and his deputy and SNP heir-apparent Nicola Sturgeon seem intend on achieving their aims in spite of the democratic process, and apart from the democratic process which has just run its course.

A high-profile church service of reconciliation was held on the Sunday immediately following the vote, but Salmond and Sturgeon conspicuously failed to attend. Though organised by the national Church of Scotland and with leaders from all the main parties in attendance, the SNP was represented by the Finance Minister John Swinney and only two other SNP MSPs.

Alistair Darling, a Labour MP, who led the Better Together campaign during the referendum, told the Labour Party conference in Manchester: "Some people haven't entirely accepted this result .
"Apparently the first minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, said today, well he'd lost the referendum but never mind, he might be able to seize power some other way."

Mr Darling added: "I say this to Alex Salmond - you lost the argument, you lost the referendum, you've lost office and now you've lost the plot."
"Salmond may regret the result but this reaction is dangerous and wrong."
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said: “Having decisively lost a democratic referendum on independence, Alex Salmond is now suggesting the Nationalists can ignore the sovereign will of the Scottish people. “His words are fundamentally undemocratic and an insult to the people of Scotland.

“Salmond may regret the result but this reaction is dangerous and wrong. Alex Salmond lost. It is not for him to try to overthrow the will of the Scottish people in some sort of coup.”

Ms Lamont called on his likely successor Nicola Sturgeon to “distance herself from these disgraceful remarks”.

She added: “While the rest of us seek reconciliation, Alex Salmond seeks more division. Scotland will not have it.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie urged Mr Salmond to “calm down and take a bit of a breather”.

He said: “On Friday, the First Minister said he would work constructively with other parties. By the time he recorded his interview on Saturday, he had changed his mind. Within hours of a result he said he ­accepted he showed that he just can’t help himself.

“The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition, former prime minister Gordon Brown and senior political figures across the parties have been clear that a No vote at the referendum will not mean no to positive change.

“The First Minister still has a real role to play in the process on more powers that is already under way, as promised. I hope that he will take some time for reflection and embrace the positive agenda for change rather than scrabbling round for a new grievance to nurse.”

The Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw commented: “The First Minister’s grace in defeat barely lasted a day.

Voting figures“He claimed on Friday that he accepted the outcome of what was the largest democratic vote in Scottish political history yet, going by today’s extraordinary outburst, there is anything but acceptance in the Salmond household. Instead, there is petulance, bravado and a crass finger cocked at the majority of Scots. Scotland spoke very clearly and quite decisively: the majority made clear that the ‘sovereign will’ of the people of Scotland is to remain in a UK in which further responsibilities are ­devolved to Holyrood.

“Mr Salmond misunderstood the will of the majority during the campaign and now he seeks to misrepresent it in defeat.”

To put the vote in a geographic context the pro-independence majority areas of Scotland are shown in blue on the map below.

A web-based campaign called “The 45” – referring to the 45 per cent support for Yes in the referendum – has sprung up, supported by, among others, former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars, who urged Yes campaigners to use their “consumer power” to boycott pro-Union businesses. The newly formed campaign group, 'The 45', have released a list of brands, businesses and media organisations that they will be boycotting because they "scared Scotland" in the run up to the referendum. On Facebook, the campaign group wrote that it is time to "send shivers" down the spines of the businesses that apparently scared more than two million people into voting No. Asda, John Lewis, Waitrose, M&S, Sainsbury's and Iceland are among the supermarkets that have faced the wrath of pro-indy Scots.

In effect these developments and the bellicose rhetoric still emanating from Alex Salmond are fuelling the division within Scotland which the whole referendum process has created. In effect what we are witnessing in Scotland is an inverse image of the dynamic which is pulling Ukraine apart. These are critical days which can well do without "dangerous" people in charge of running the country.

Referendum map

Ed. footnote: All site visitors can read the 'Response' mailings; only logged-on site members can post.

The Editor, 22/09/2014

Editor 01/10/2014 15:45
Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh from Inverness is not a site member of Christians Together. He has responded by e-mail to the above article as follows: -

Dear Sir,

The above article is shockingly skewed. Indeed, it is hysteria. Ironically, it exploits a "reconciliation" service as pretext for viciously maligning those with whom you disagree politically.

To reiterate and endorse Alistair Darling's unhinged accusation that Salmond has a "coup" in mind is both inaccurate and beyond irresponsible. As is your closing sentence about "dangerous people in charge of running the country".

The campaign for Scottish independence is not about Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon or the SNP. It is about truth, justice, democracy, and the poor. There is therefore a legitimate Christian case to be articulated in support of independence for Scotland. If you cannot find in your soul sufficient magnanimity to appreciate this, then you really should consider changing the misleading name of your site.

I notice public comments have not been allowed so far for this article. I do hope that is due to at least some modicum of reservation, if not actual shame.

Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh, Inverness.
---- end quote----

Ed. replies:

Dear Fearghas,

Thank you for your e-mail and apologies that I am only now replying: I have been tied up with other matters.

I found your letter helpful in that:

(a) I omitted to put "quotes" around the word "dangerous" in the last sentence of the article. These should have been there as the adjective was drawn from an opinion by Alistair Darling (who is much closer to and better able to judge Mr. Salmond and his actions than I am). I have rectified the omission.

b) Regarding the ability to respond to this article, I apologise for the fact (as you were not to know) that registered site members can respond to the article. I have now inserted a footnote to explain this.

It is also commendable that you regard justice and a concern for the poor as important issues. These are both core Christian values and if society (and its leaders) were to place the same value on these qualities as you do, then our nation would be immessurably the better for it.

The book of Micah states concerning God's will: "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

However I have to doubt your stated concern for democracy as the post-referendum remarks of Mr. Salmond indicate that he is advocating a disregard for the out-turn of the vote and seeking to achieve his aim via "other ways". That doesn't sound very democratic to me; and in fact speaks more of refusal to accept the will of the majority of the people: a "dangerous" stance indeed.

With reference to your concern for "truth", Jesus said: "I am "the Way, and the Truth and the Life". (John 14:6)
And what he says to you and to me is: "Follow me." (Mark 2:14)

God did not send a political party to save the world or Scotland. He sent His Son as a means of reconciliation. And it seemed fairly obvious by their non-appearance at a high profile Christian service dedicated to that purpose that Mr. Salmond and Ms. Sturgeon allied to the former's public statements that neither have a regard for a healing of the divisions that the whole process has created.

And finally concerning your remarks about the name of this website. The 'unity' which Jesus prayed for (John 17:22) is based around his earlier prayer for 'truth' as expressed in God's word (John 17:17). I commend it to you.

NOTICE: - The 'Response' facility on most articles is restricted to CT site members. Site members should login here. Comments/questions from non-site members should be sent to the Editor by e-mail.

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