One of the sad facts of our time is that when it comes to calling out evil in society the church is so often strangely silent. There is a curious reticence to get involved, fearing being dragged into some political dogfight and cornered in a dead end of moral equivalence. Behind this, it has to be said, is the worry over being unpopular, disliked or even ridiculed. The pull to be well thought off and held in good standing by the world is very seductive and there is a seldom admitted dread of being called names or made guilty by association with the lunatic fringe. It’s easier to keep the head down, the mouth shut and duck the straight question with a less than convincing appeal to complications and nuance. 

True, in the ecclesiastical echo chamber, things are much sharper. We are confident on where we stand and clear about what is right and wrong, but outside that safe zone we become suddenly diffident, hesitant and almost timid  so as not to offend and harm the cause.  So often the issues are met with a shrug of the shoulders and a “This has nothing to do with me”, when it has everything to do with me.  No one wants to ruffle feathers or rock the boat and so we keep quiet. I am speaking of the church, the people of God the followers of Jesus, of course, not the clergy not the ministers and pastors with whom she is often confused.

In our local church we have one of the finest preachers I have ever known. His devotion and solid commitment to his calling to preach the Gospel is astonishing, so that he won’t get diverted or side tracked into any side alley and jealously protects the time he needs to prepare. There is a doggedness to get to the bones of the matter which is remarkable and through which we are greatly blessed and indebted. His task is to make clear the Word of God and let others work out what that means in the all the different strands of society, where we find themselves. But it is up to us, the people, to make our voices heard and actions seen. The sad fact is that in the market place of ideas these voices are seldom heard and actions barely visible.

Into this vacuum others have stepped up to the mark and it is not necessarily those we would expect. Time and time again it is the outliers, those who have come from atheistic, non-religious, backgrounds, onetime Marxists, radicals and feminists who speak up, who stand against the tide, put their heads above the parapet and shout for the truth. Because in the end, the truth is the truth and no amount of lies, fabrications deceptions and deceit will ever be able to silence or deny what is true.  So many would never claim to be believers, yet they will often use spiritual language in a unashamed forthright way. Kelly Jay keen says she is not a religious person but describes the state sponsored mutilation of young girl’s bodies as “demonic”[1]. Eva Vlaardingerbroek the political firebrand and scourge of the Dutch government is defiant in bringing God into almost all her conversations “We need something greater than globalism, something greater than transhumanism we need God”[2]. Laurence Fox one time actor, politician and broadcaster calls the transgender crusade “satanic”[3]. Neil Oliver and James Delingpole come to the same conclusion[4]. Tucker Carlson describes Transgenderism as a theological not a political phenomenon, which when fully exposed is evil and he calls, astonishingly, for people to take time out each day to pray for the future.[5] Mary Harrington says much the same of Progressivism and Transhumanism, calling them cyborg theologies with their own priest class.[6]

Then there is Louise Perry on the sexual revolution[7], which was a disaster for women and for men and for children- especially children. Her chapter headings alone, which might sound, at one time as sensible and wise advice, would, today, read like a catalogue of prudish stuffy fiats from out-of-touch parents – titles like “Sex must be taken seriously”, ”Men and women are different”, “Some desires are bad”, “Consent is not enough”, “Violence is not love”, ”Marriage is good” and “Listen to your mother”.

And then there is Abigail Shrier[1] with her horrific revelations on where the transgender capture has led. She exposes the sinister latent ideology masquerading as love and respect. “Where a measure taken to fix a problem goes so far in excess of remedy, it becomes clear that a simple remedy was not primarily what the fixer wanted” and she gives this devastating critiqueon the institutions “Which were built up to keep young people from making irreparable mistakes have failed them. The universities, the schools, the doctors, the therapists, and even the churches have been won over by a dogged ideology that claims to speak for a more important class of victim.”

I was brought up sharp, when I read that last quote and I immediately thought of the sailors caught in that terrifying biblical storm when they discover that God was behind it and the guilty man Jonah, was one of their passengers on board with them. “Who are you and what have you done?” they scream. If it takes those who claim to have no faith to inculpate the church, then we know we are in trouble.

Like the sailors, what this motley crew seem to be screaming for is not a religious war, or a return to some ideal of the past that never was, but a simple acknowledgment of what it is that we are watching. “Look” they all seem to be saying, “it is super obvious this is not a political debate, an argument over ideas, where reason and rational can bring us to some resolution, this is not left v right, this is a battle with spiritual forces with the powers of darkness whose aim and sole aim is destruction.”

In a spiritual battle we need spiritual weapons. This is why it is so revealing that it takes a sacked TV chat show host to call for prayer “Maybe we should all take ten minutes a day to pray about the future… I am serious…take time out of your busy schedule to say a pray for the future…and I hope you do”

[1] In conversation with Winston Marshall Spectator TV https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8e83KoJb00&t=2166s (from 33.34)

[1] Address at the Brussels National Conservatism conference 2022 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7HUpc-jIiY&t=703s(from11.23)

[1] GB News https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmQdCm37Hfc&t=114s (from 2.58)

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0Y24Kw_dqo&t=3826s  (from1.03.00)

[1] Address to the heritage Foundation days before (and possibly why) he was sacked by Fox news https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N32UPXGChgo&list=PPSV  (from24.35)

[1] Mary Harrington “Feminists against progress” 2023 Forum [1] Louise Perry, “The case against the sexual revolution, a new guide to sex in the 21st century” 2022 Polity

[1] Abigail Shrier, “Irreversible damage, teenager girls and the transgender craze” 2021 Swift press


The lockdown files, like the Nixon tapes before it, have revealed, in embarrassing and shocking detail, the appalling behaviour, language, trickery and abuse that people lost in their own hubris, intoxicated with power, infected with the worst sort of moral superiority and dangerous over confidence have felt free to spout, not realising that they will be condemned by their own words.  It was Nixon who had the idea of recording all the conversation for his memoirs to display his own glory in much the same way that our former health secretary did.  But pride comes before a fall.

Although there is nothing new that has been revealed in the leaked messages, the fact that government policy was carried out, in the middle of a crisis, on a platform like Whatsapp still shocks.  Parliament and even the cabinet were side-lined by the Quad, and it shows in graphic detail how degenerate our politicians have become, how they have held the public in total contempt and brought their high office into disrepute.  I really wanted to believe that these weighty issues, which would have a devasting effect on just about everyone, would have been conducted with dignity, calling on wisdom and integrity, justice and compassion, in the decorum and kudos of meetings around a table, an agenda, discussions, proposals, decisions arrived at and notes taken. I did really want to believe that. But it was an illusion. The five were acting like selfish grubby bores in an undignified scramble for power and protection of reputations. I guess that this is what we have now come to accept and expect from our elected representative. We get the politicians we deserve, they say. It wasn’t just that we were taken for fools, we were fools. It is yet another nail in our national coffin.

But setting aside the duplicity, the folly and the cruelty, the debacle raises another issue and shows how unsuited and inappropriate the digital media (whatsapp, zoom, facetime, teams etc) is for the making of collective decisions at almost any level. True, there are some benefits in using such platforms. When the issue is relatively simple or technical or logistical and when the individuals are some distance apart. That makes sense and can be a great help. But the value is clearly limited and having seen it work we now know how open it can be to all kinds of abuse and bad behaviour.

One of our friends has an important job within the health service and for the past 2+ years she has been working from home. She made an interesting observation. She found that the flat images she was constantly dealing with in mundane rooms with prints and bric-a-brac, fake bookshelves and the odd plant, pointed up her colleagues’ eccentricities, speech defects and annoying mannerisms which she was not aware of before. In a short time, they seemed to become caricatures of themselves. Rather than the person she was communicating with, she found she was communicating with an image of the person. And images are just that, they are not the real thing. All the intricate body language, the nuances, the reflection and the expansive view that the eye takes it, and the camera does not, are lost and the result can be bad communication, bad discussions and very often bad decisions.

Theres a darker side too. Like pornography, the substitution of the real person with an image can create a disconnect. It can open up a chasm between, gratification and responsibility, between lust and love, between the fear of being caught and knowing you can get away with it, between right and wrong. In the team room, the roving eye can find plenty of interest in the knowledge that no one can see what it is leering at.  The sense of propriety and modesty and politeness which so often restrains vulgar impulses, in real life, can be lost in the digital one. With every giant leap in technology, we can be so enthralled by the new and amazing possibilities for good, that we lose sight of the tremendous potential for evil. We forget that out of the heart comes evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. Casting off the restrictions and barriers, letting it all hang out, can lead to a dark place. Like the miracle drugs that have such astonishing powers to assist in healing, they can be extremely dangerous. We should be careful to recognise the danger of interactions on these platforms and treat them with care and respect.   That’s one lesson we can learn.


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.


That she and her party were a disaster for Scotland, there can be little doubt. The catastrophic list of abysmal failures in just about every aspect of our national life are testament to an administration that was impotent in the face of the deep problems they had to face. It is invidious to repeat, because we know what they are, but it seems that the failure was catastrophic in everything they touched and these failures are only amplified when we scramble around to identify what might be the achievements.  

Perhaps the biggest failure, in common with so many administrations, was their inability to see the limitations of their office. A lack of appreciation of the first responsibilities of government, which is to protect the citizens from bullies outside and in. There was a naïve aspiration to reach beyond these responsibilities and pursue impossible dreams without the qualifications or the authority to do so. So that, rather than focus on things they could do, they got lost in pursuing things that they never could. It is not in the gift of any governments to solve the deep problems that afflict our society. The problem is thinking that they can.

Many people including some of her fiercest critics have paid tribute to her management of the Covid crisis where she showed a level of leadership when others, notably the Westminster government, were dithering.  It is hard to deny, but there is an underlying assumption that that there was in fact a real crisis and a real pandemic. Leadership, in itself, is of no advantage if the narrative is suspect and this one certainly was.

I believe it was a disaster for Scotland, but then, I am not convinced anyone could have done better, perhaps worse. Equally I am not necessarily convinced that the new incumbent, whoever that might be, will be able to turn things round in any significant or meaningful way. So, for those who are, metaphorically, ‘dancing on graves’ be careful what you wish for.

I met her once, chatting with folk over tea following a funeral. She was pleasant charming and, in many ways, an ordinary likeable person.  But that’s the world we live in. The person in the media and in the public eye turns out not to be the person in real life. She will be 53 this year. She has been ‘Nicola Sturgeon the politician’ all her life and wants to spend a bit of time on ‘Nicola Sturgeon the human being’. I hope she can do that and, despite my sense of foreboding, wish her heir every success in governing with Wisdom, Integrity, Justice and Compassion.


Waiting on a friend at an outside café I shared a table with a stranger and we engaged in conversation. It started with the devastation in the high street. Most shops were closed or boarded up save for the odd phone repair centre, nail bar, vape shop and this café. Without asking, the reason he gave was Lockdown. So quickly we were on to Covid and all the theories of how we got to where we are.  “How can you tell” I asked, “what is a conspiracy theory and what is knowing the truth? What is the difference?”. “The difference” he said “was about 9 months” I guess it may take longer but the switching has already begun. In fact, it began some time ago, when people who saw that the truth would out, slipped over to the other side. Rishi Sunak’s confession, now forgotten, being a very public example of this. The truth is out there and it is not hard to find, provided you see past the first tranche of links which the search engines offers you and you recognise the not-too-subtle messages in the main stream media.

Now, there are a number of writers, thinkers, commentators, theologians and even journalists who have helped me make sense of our current situation, helped me sift through the competing stories and the especially the past two extraordinary years. I am thinking of a disparate gang of personalities: Peter Hitchins, John Waters, Luara Perrins, Cathy Gyngell, Dave Rubin, Mark Steyn, William Phillip, James Delingpole, Neil Oliver, Paul Joseph Watson, Konstantin Kissin and others, most of whom seldom appear in the main stream media, or if they do, only to have their work deposited in the conspiracy theory, covid denier, anti-vaxxer bin.  It goes without saying that I do not agree with all or even most of what these individuals say, their style of presenting them or the principles they live by, but all have touched on something that has been hard for me to ignore and has given clarity to my own understanding and made me believe that I was maybe not totally mad after all.

Others have had the time and presence of mind to write books:  Peter and Ginger Breggan with their carefully and dogged research in “Covid-19 and the global predators”, Mark Woolhouse “The year the world went mad”  with his assertion in that “lockdown was a monumental mistake on a truly global scale…..with its unintended but predictable consequences of trying to control a novel coronavirus by shutting down society” Ian Miller in his meticulously investigation into the use of face coverings “Unmasked” and Laura Dodsworth in her shocking revelation of how the government weaponised fear “A state of fear”. More recently Naomi Wolf has published her own response in “The bodies of others”.

If you are a someone who fully respects and believes the prevailing narrative in relation to Covid-19, posited by most governments of the world and relayed effectively through the main media platforms, if you see those who make the decisions as basically honourable and trustworthy, who have our best interests at heart and who are not corrupted by the influence of Big Tech, Big Pharma, Big Data or Big Business and who listen to all the arguments carefully before making a judgement, then this book is not for you. You would only find it unsettling, annoying, even make you angry and I would want to spare you that.

Now, Naoim Wolf is not someone who I would be naturally drawn to or would have taken any great interest in the subjects she has chosen to focus on, but like so many others, prophets come from strange camps. And the truth is buried in surprising places. For me it was an easy read, comprehensive but concise, universal yet personal, simply compiled yet fully and carefully referenced.  Above all it was a personal story and remarkably similar to others who have come from a solid background in the classical liberal post-war world to a sense that things are not what they appear to be and that the ideology which gave us succour for so long was fundamentally flawed. Most importantly, for me, is her admission, which comes late in the book, that she had come to recognise, perhaps for the first time, the true reality and horror of evil and that there was a spiritual being behind the forces of darkness. This drew her finally and logically to an acceptance of the reality of God. 

“I asked a renowned medical-freedom activist how he stayed strong in his mission as his name was besmirched and he faced career attacks and social ostracism. He replied with Ephesians 6:12 “ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”

After many years of thinking that my spiritual life was not that important, I started to pray again.. I was now willing to speak about God publicly. Why? Because I had looked at what had descended on us from every angle, using my normal critical training yet found that it was so elaborate in its construction and so cruel, with an almost super human, flamboyant, baroque imagination made from the essence of cruelty itself, that I could not conceive that it had been accomplished by mere humans working on the bumbling human level in the dumb political space.”

“In the magnitude of evil around us; in its awe-inspiring level of darkness and inhumanity; in the policies aimed at killing children’s joy, restricting their breath, speech and laughter; at killing ties between families and extended families; at killing churches and synagogues and mosques; and, from the highest levels, from the president’s own bully pulpit, demanding people to collude in excluding, rejecting, dismissing, shunning, hating their neighbours and loved ones and friends all of this the presence of such rampant, elemental evil, I felt a darkness beyond anything human. I don’t think humans are smart or powerful enough to have come up with this horror alone.”

“Grounded postmodern intellectuals are not supposed to talk of believe in spiritual matters…we are to be shy about referencing God himself… we Jews, though, do have a history and literature that lets us talk about spiritual battle between the forces of God and negative forces that debase, that profane, that seek to ensnare our soul. We have seen this drama before, and not that long ago.”

So, I am left with the conundrum which I face almost every day, with friends and family who find it unbelievable that I should be so contrary and perverse to swallow the “conspiracy theory” narrative. We seem to be miles apart. It is a great divide and a hard one to get across. I know that the gracious and loving thing to do would be to tell the truth as I firmly believe it to be so, but the fear of causing upset, trouble, or even anger, trumps it, and to my shame I keep quiet most of the time.

But the in the end, as one of the thinkers above suggested, we shouldn’t get tied up in knots over conspiracy theories. The reality is there is a genuine conspiracy, the one Naomi Wolfe’s friend alluded to and the one that the writer exposes in the second Psalm. It is the ridiculous and even comical picture of the great kings of earth plotting against God the creator who simply laughs at them. He holds them in derision and the writer warns the rulers of the earth to serve the Lord with fear, to celebrate his rule with trembling and to kiss the Son, or they will be destroyed. For this conspiracy will fail, of that there can be no doubt. It is something that the rulers of the nations and the supranational bodies, the UN, EU, WEF, WWF, WHO, WFP, IMF and the World Bank should pay careful attention to.

This is not, however, a charter for laziness, for lying back or coping out, we have to be vigilant, as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. We have to be salt and light and when we can, we have to speak out, stand up and resist evil wherever it comes from.


It’s hard not to have sympathy for Liz Truss. Forces stronger than her had decided that her policies, which diverted from the path dictated by the big players, could not be allowed.  It was not going to happen. The markets, real or imagined, were in turmoil, the pound on the run and she panicked like her predecessor had done over Covid. The pile-on of pressure from the multinational potencies was just too much and with the first U-turn you know it was the end for her. It reminded me of Jeremy Corbin, who despite being the legitimate leader of his party couldn’t somehow get his policies through. He had gone to far, buckled over Brexit and more surprisingly, when he had absolutely nothing to lose, fell in line over Covid. He should have listened to his brother.  It reminded me, too, of Michel Gorbachev when away at his dacha on the black sea, his enemies ceased the moment, declared a state of emergency and an effective coup. He had gone too far and he had to be stopped. The coup failed because Yeltsin took charge, stormed the white house, jumped on a tank and defied the conservative cabal so that the legitimate leader Gorbachev was able to return to Moscow alive though dishevelled and missing a tie. Truss had no Yeltsin.

What would it have taken for Liz Truss to hold her ground and her nerve?  I don’t know and I am not sure if I would have acted any differently. It wasn’t tanks on the street, but the heavy emotional blackmail that was incessantly poured over her which made Lizz crumble. Her Trussonomics are now held up to ridicule and contempt. Perhaps they were flawed, but whether or not, she did have the mandate to see them through. She should have been given the chance to do that, even if they failed. The fact that she couldn’t, speaks volumes and says so much about who is actually in charge and who holds the reins of power.  The intervention of the IMF (who elects them?) and the US president (Maybe he is not as dopey as he seems) effectively interfering in our domestic economic policy, with their lackeys Hunt and Shapps, demonstrates so clearly that there are some things you cannot do. You cannot upset markets and you cannot deviate from the supranational agencies plan of how things should go. The alternative is to push your nation into the wilderness with the prospects of decades of isolation and decline.

When I was supportive of independence for Scotland (I dithered several times on that one), I felt the financial considerations were irrelevant. If you believed in it, you would say “yes, I do” and for richer or poorer. Let’s get our sovereignty and we can work it out from there.  I felt the same about Brexit. But now it seems that there are forces stronger than our little nation who will decide what we can and cannot do. Unless, of course, we have someone who will put their political life on the line, live by the strength of their convictions and get up onto that tank. I don’t have anyone in mind.

The Planet Groans

More by accident than anything we watched the BBC’s Frozen Planet II on Sunday evening, watching the intimate lives of creatures and how they survived or succumbed to the merciless cold on the mountains in some of the most extreme environments on the planet. The astonishing photography made possible by fast moving drones, the subtle incidental music, and the up-close encounters with wild animals, unaware of humans watching their every mood, even in the dark, made for stunning viewing. We were following avalanches racing down the mountains crushing all in their path, eagles seizing chamois in their claws and dropping them over high cliffs and a lone puma trying unsuccessfully to pick off a guanaco in the Andes. It was spectacular. It was also savage and brutal. The young flamingos left by their elders to die in the frozen waist or struggling to fly weighed down with heavy lumps of ice. The predator and the prey.

Inevitably there was the barely concealed sermon on the evils of global warming and climate change. The extremely complex issue of the environment was reduced, once again, to a very simple narrative. It didn’t need an exposition; it was there in the words and the things unsaid. We all know what it means.  The almost certain cataclysm, that is soon to come, is a direct result of selfish human activity and wrapped up in, what many describe, with good reason, as a religion. The belief is that a reckoning is coming, (a final judgement) it has been caused by us (humanity) it is a result of who we are and what we are born with (original sin) and the only way that the coming catastrophe can be averted is by a singular sacrifice (redemption). The little sacrifices we might make, like turning the heating down or eating less meat are not enough to appease this god, it has to be something big, momentous and for all time. What that might be is not clear, but the abandoning of nation states with one central world government, the abolition of capitalism and consumerism and the culling of humanity has been muted.

As is so often the case, the prophets of this religion are clearly on to something. There is certainly some truth in it and the bible seems to confirm it, pointing to the state of the natural world suffering, and humanity with it, as a direct result of the human sin. Paul’s says something like that in his letter to the Romans (Romans 8:18-25). But there is a fatal flaw in this false religion. It misses out the creator (God) and it rejects the saviour (Jesus Christ). We have to be our own saviours. All we have is ourselves.  It is only by acting together that we can save the planet.

Now none of this was actually said or spelled out in the programme, but it didn’t need to be. Simply to mention the vague terms “Global warming” or “Climate change” the message gets through and there was, and there is, no room for any other alternative explanation of why things happen.

Later in the week we slipped into watching that national treasure Michael Palin on his trip through Iraq. It was fascinating, but sure enough Global warming had to get a mention. The struggles of the Iraqis in one region was not as a result of the brutal inhumanity of Saddam Hussein or the terrible devastation visited upon the nation by the West, no, it was because the climate was changing.

Both programmes were followed by a long advert for the BBC, that is currently running. It explaining how we must trust the organisation because it is rigorously searching for the truth.

It isn’t just the planet that groans.


What was astonishing about the funeral services was that in form and content they were thoroughly Christian, in a way that was strange and surprising.  Afterall, we live in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-coloured society with many religions and a rich variety of allegiances. Why should prominence, on a national occasion such as this, be given to one? Why should the Christian religion have pre-eminence?  Was this archaic pomp and pageantry not something that we thought we had left behind and progressed beyond, an aberration, an anachronism? Where were the creative minds who could design something more appropriate and apposite to the spirit of our age?

We can only surmise that this was deliberate. In all the services, as far as I was aware, there was no nod or reference to other faiths or no-faiths or supra-faiths, the kind of thing we have grown to expect.   I suspect that this was not down to the clergy who sometimes seem to be mildly apologetic about what they were saying or reading. You can never be sure when someone is reading from a script and hardly glancing above the lectern if they actually believe what they are saying.  This is another conundrum, given this single and unique opportunity to declare the radical gospel of Jesus Christ, to possibly the biggest audience ever, something Billy Graham could never dream of, the, established church declared its allegiance, not to Christ, but to the establishment. As someone has said “The established church never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity”.

From what we understand, the tone and content and even detail of the service may well have been a specific request by the late Queen. It was maybe exactly what she wanted. Being relatively shy and modest about her faith in life she wanted to say, in death, what she truly believed. 

What made it thoroughly Christian was not the homilies and tributes but the words, the scripture, the hymns and the psalms transported on the melodies and harmonies of some of our greatest composers from the lyrical singing of the Gaelic psalm to James Macmillan’s magnificent “Who shall separate us”. There was nothing faintly apologetic or reticent about them. In the hymns we had “All my hope on God is founded” exposing the vanity of human pride and the futility of earthly glory “Sword and crown betray his trust”. In the setting there was a lot of swords, as we were to see, and crowns too. There was the challenge to all people “that on earth do dwell” to “sing to the Lord with cheerful voice” and to everyone “Christ calls one and all to follow”. There was the prayer for the kindling of the desire to “work and speak and think for thee”  and there was the assurance that nothing can separate us from the love of God death nor life…and that “Goodness and mercy all my life, shall surely follow me/and in Gods house forevermore my dwelling place shall be”

There was a strange irony in all of this with the serried ranks of scarlet soldiers white hatted sailors, feathers and plumes, the world leaders in sombre black and the baubles looking very much trinkets but carrying the weighty symbolism of power and authority in the stupendous setting of the fan vaulted abbey. I wonder if the irony was lost on the congregation of the “Great and the Good” if the significance of the orb with its declaration that Christ is King of kings and Lord of Lords was understood or if they listened to themselves sing “Tower and temple fall to dust”

Now I don’t know, but I suspect there was nothing contradictory or conflicting in the Queens own mind as she accepted the passing of her own life, and in the final verse of the final hymn “Till in heaven we take our place/till we lay our crowns before you/lost in wonder, love and praise.” For her it all made sense she was simply a servant, and a subject of her lord. there was no contradiction in that. And there was nothing conflicting in showing the deepest respect love, kindness and genuine care for all of her subjects, whatever god they may worship, welcoming them wholeheartedly, while, at the same time, declaring without embarrassment or compromise what she believed was the true faith, the faith she had vowed to defend.


I was never sure if I was a royalist or a republican, a unionist, a nationalist or an internationalist and not even sure if it really mattered. Maybe I have been all of them at some point.  But there have been moments in time when a dormant emotion breaks through and feelings come to the surface, feelings I never knew were there. It was one such occasion late afternoon yesterday.  I never thought much about our late Queen, yet when I heard of her passing, which you can hardly say was unexpected, I was pulling back the tears and was at a loss to know why.  

What was it that triggered something deep within me? It was not the loss of someone, for I never knew her. It was not giving way to the power of collective grief or the possible impact that it might have on my individual insignificant life. It was something else. It was the beauty, the beauty of a life, a flawed life, that pointed to, and aspired to, a greater beauty, to the virtues of dignity, honesty, truthfulness, faithfulness, loyalty, justice, integrity, humility and compassion.

And if it was indeed loss that moved me, it was an awareness that we had already lost so much of these virtues in our national life and the symbol that seemed still to retain them was now gone.   

It’s beauty that makes me want to cry.


Many people have pointed out the absurdity of outlawing a human emotion – Hate. Apart from the fact that, like the opposite emotion -love, it is a word which is lost without its object. You have to define what is to hated and what is to be loved for it to be rooted in any meaningful reality. Of course, we know that the people who drafted the law were clearly not thinking about hatred of bad things like war or violence or cruelty or slavery or child abuse etc. it was hatred of people with certain innate characteristics. These categories could be defined but could also be enlarged and broadened to include many other groupings, who could be victims. The idea could also be expanded to include other undesirable human emotions such as greed, lust, anger, rage or vengeance.  But it is absurd, because who can tell what is in a person’s heart. Who can decide what it is I am thinking? Yet that is the direction that this move is taking.

The policeman who interviewed Harry Miller, a suspect in a “non-crime hate incident” reportedly said “I need to check your thinking”. He had clearly overstretched his arm as the courts later found in Millers’ favour, but the officer was simply following the logic of the thing. It’s easy to mock this of course, but it’s not difficult to see where it comes from and that those moving and creating the legislation are clearly on to something. For the reality is that actions follow words, which in turn follow the thoughts in our head. So, if you really want to get to the root of criminal behaviour, it has to start with thinking. Racist violence is often preceded by racist language and from racist thinking. Domestic abuse from misogyny, Adultery from lust, Murder from hatred of someone.  Evil comes not from outside but from inside the person. Jesus said that.  You don’t just steal something from the supermarket shelf or cheat on someone, if you hadn’t already cherished and embraced the desire in your heart. Then when we get the opportunity, we think we can get away with it and no one will know, we take it. It is only when we are found out, when we are exposed, that we come out with our regrets and remorse, with fake repentance and the disingenuous plea “I don’t know what came over me” “I don’t know how it happened” “It was an aberration totally out of character”. And many will believe it. But, if we examine our own hearts, we know the truth, that it was not an aberration, it was totally in character. This is what we are like. It’s called sin.

So, it is perfectly understandable that a government should make laws to root out bigotry and racism and all the evils of society by addressing what is in our heads. But there is a deep flaw in this. And there are two reasons why it is not in any human agency’s  gift to examine and direct what is in our minds. Human institutions have neither the qualifications nor the authority to do so. They are not qualified because no one knows what is in a person heart. Only God does. And they don’t have the authority, because they are under a higher authority and there’s is a limited one;  limited to their responsibility to govern, to protect against bullies from outside and within, to uphold justice, to punish evil actions and to defend the poor and the innocent. They are neither qualified nor have the authority to tamper with what the creator has ordered and any attempt to try is futile and will sooner or later end in failure. The Bolsheviks tried to abolish marriage and the family and to re-order the week into ten days, but that didn’t last long. In our day it is the re-defining of marriage, male and female, the beginning and the end of life and for some that two plus two could equal five. We know it will end in tears and the tragedy is that, while focusing on things out with our control and authority, we fail in the very things we are able to do. Witness the Scottish Government’s flirting with these things and their abysmal failure in just about everything else they touch.

But the ideology of progressivism is deep rooted and strong. It is also perfectly logical and reasonable because, If there is no God then we have to somehow take on his role. God is dead, long live humanity.

The same can be said of critical race theory with its dogma of whiteness – white privilege, white supremacy, white complicity, white equilibrium, white fragility and white denial.  Because if you seek to justify yourself, you are in denial. Despite your personal circumstances and background, despite how desperate or disadvantaged or poor you are, if you don’t see it, it is because you are blind to its reality. You are guilty, it seems by virtue of being born into a particular race. It almost sounds as if the principle has been borrowed from the traditional doctrine of original sin-  tainted and suffering under the sin of Adam. The difference with critical race theory is that it only applies to the sin of whiteness and there is no redemption, no salvation, only perpetual penance, continual sacrifices and reparations that will never be enough. 

So like progressivism, critical race theory and the canon of climate change, for that matter, there are truths that cannot be denied. Bad thoughts lead to bad actions, privileged is real and the abuse of creation will bring about terrible results, but all expose the stark reality that we cannot save ourselves. No amount of legislation, no amount of self-flagellation, no amount of personal sacrifice will do the trick. We need a saviour.