Just a few years back, A young woman, a visitor to our church found a seat beside us and we struck up a conversation. Over coffee afterwards, we learned that she worked in politics and was just passing through the city on her way to Edinburgh. We invited her to stay for lunch, we had other guests that day and she spent most of the afternoon with us before catching her train south. She was intelligent interesting and personable and we had a lovely time chatting with the folks who were there. It only slipped out later that she was a relatively newly elected member of the Scottish Parliament.

Since then, we have watched her from time to time speak on the floor of the Parliament and in the media and were always impressed with her clarity, integrity and genuine concern for the people she represented, who I know loved her in return.  In many ways it was a breath of fresh air. The person in the public eye seemed to be the person we had shared that time with.   This is not as common as you might think. Too often the person in the media, (essentially an image) hardly relates to the person you have a conversation with. There is a dichotomy between the two. That is not necessarily deliberate on the part of the celebrity and possibly more to do with the manipulation of the media to support a given message.

Time will tell if she becomes our new First Minster. At this point it seems very unlikely. But who knows. Maybe the vile and brutal attacks against her in the past weeks and her gracious and unflustered response might just turn minds. The reality is that the SNP need the Greens to govern, and they seem to hate her. Her own party are split over it too.

On the other side the continuity character is more likely to get the required majority, but the outcome is no-way certain and his own position is shot through with inconsistencies.  The Scottish Muslim Leaders have made it clear that they would not endorse any of the candidates. When one of the hopefuls is a practising Muslim, this is, at first, curious and it raises the strange conundrum of how a practising Muslim could support policies that fly in the face of the Muslim Faith. The Scottish Association of Mosques made their beliefs pretty clear: “We believe in modesty and sexual relations within the boundaries of marriage. We believe that gender is binary and irrevocably linked to sex. That life is our greatest gift and to be protected. These are our beliefs and we hold fast to them.”  His riposte, that his Muslim faith does not affect his political judgement, seems equally strange as there is no division between the religious and civil authorities in Islam. Submission applies in all sections of life not just the private. The western world owe a lot to the Christian understanding of the different realms of Church and state. The Islamic world on the other hand sees no such distinction.

So, I suspect that the third candidate could well squeeze between the two and win the race. The majority of SNP members could well vote for her because they have difficulty in stomaching the alternatives.

But what do I know? While I voted SNP in the past for the very simple reason that, at that time, they were they only party to show any form of competence, something that has since deserted them, I would not now. I am neither an SNP member nor a supporter of independence for Scotland, so I have no direct interest in the outcome.  My preference would be for another party, one who started to take seriously the perilous state of just about every aspect of our national life, education, health, justice, family, economy, transport, public services, drugs, and the deep divisions in society. An administration which has been founding wanting in all of these areas, as well as yielding to the disastrous covid narrative now unravelling, is one I would find hard to support.

Still, Integrity and honesty, compassion and wisdom shines through and I have nothing but admiration and respect when I see it. In the end, that may yet be the telling point. It is, I think what people are crying out for. Who knows but maybe she has come to the kingdom for such a time as this.

1 thought on “INTEGRITY SHINES

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