Today I qualify for my State Pension, delayed in recent years from 65 to 66 years old. It was a long time coming. I am sure my mother thought the same when she was finally delivered of her second son at 15 minutes after midnight!
Like the Royals, what do you give to people who have enough already? I have the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour, a good hope of eternal life and sufficient to keep me comfortable at present.
However, it is possible to spoil good occasions, like the disgraceful trolling of Captain Sir Tom Moore in the last year of his long centenarian life, by jealous ne’er-do-wells who envied his celebrity.
Spoiling my birthday
Last year, 22 February marked the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic crash. This year, it is marked by the SNP Scottish administration planning to bring a dark cloud over my declining years. If its Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill becomes law, it will inhibit the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Scotland’s population and to the rising generation who need to know it. This is a serious matter, and just as serious that it is not taught in the SNP educational curriculum, in the country that used to be the most literate country in the world when children were taught to read the Bible in Scottish schools.
Only three days ago I learned that the Scottish Justice Secretary, Hamza Yousaf, was pressing ahead with his discredited Hated Crime Bill with such speed that those who wished to comment on its ‘Freedom of Expression’ provisions – one of the most important and controversial parts of the Bill – had until 10 a.m. today to do so. This is “consultation” SNP-style – 96 hours – and it is preposterous.
It is called “a short timescale call for views”. The consultation ‘welcomes’ replies in “English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language” but only as a Microsoft Word document. What about those who do not use Microsoft Word? Why not PDF? Is the SNP administration unable to use PDFs? Is this not another form of discrimination?
So I did my research on Saturday and took my Sabbath rest “according to the commandment” Lk 23:56. Then I awoke at 6 a.m. to compose my ‘short’ contribution, pausing only for family worship and the necessities of life, then I emailed my hurried contribution at 9:19 a.m. while my good lady’s birthday presents lay unopened on the sittingroom table awaiting a moment that we could call our own. This continues to be delayed while I complete this happy missive to my readers, interspersed by Happy Birthday messages, my son’s phonecall as I write and other calls.
There is, of course, ‘a long contribution’ because MSPs who are elected and paid to do this job are not making a good fist of it. However, I have no time for a long contribution, only the short one. Besides the Call for Views did not want anything longer than “a maximum of 4 to 6 sides of A4”. I gave them two pages of documented deficiencies, publicised for many years by the Scottish Christian Party.
One of the better Conservative MSPs nevertheless cites this Bill to illustrate a good [!!!] cross-party collaboration, while criticising the SNP administration in general. Rather, the whole spirit behind it should have been recognised for what it is and thrown out. Collaboration with bad law does not make it good; it only sanitises it. One should not make poison palatable. This is an illustration, not a statement of equivalence – for the benefit of those who have been failed by our declining Scottish education system, and who have not been taught the difference between substance, illustration and application, or who have not been told the function of an adjective. For illustrative purposes, the Justice Secretary’s letter dated 17 Jan 2021 annexed to the ‘Call for Views’ begins: “Following MSPs members agreement…” Spot the two if not three mistakes. I spare his blushes for the rest of his letter.
Rather, the Christian Institute sees continued failings in this Bill, as well as complaining about the eleventh-hour consultation sprung on an unsuspecting public. It reminds me of Alex Salmond’s hegemony when he thought he could get a Hate Crime Bill through Holyrood inside a week.
What is the hurry for something so important? If it is good law, it will bear revival after the approaching election. This speedy attitude shows the lack of SNP confidence about having the majority they need after the May 2021 Holyrood election – this is good, but the legislation is bad. This legislation is a wrecking ball to Scottish justice and even Jim Sillars goes further than “we ought to be ashamed of those who govern us” and writes: “let me deal separately with the much bigger issue, that failure to achieve an SNP majority will set back when independence will be achieved. So it will. But a set back by a few years in the life of a nation is nothing. Independence will happen. But just as important to that achievement is how it is achieved. [my emphasis] If it is to be in the immediate short term, and the price is to submerge, as if they are of no importance, the bedrock principles of a democracy – law, justice, decency, and fairness, then what kind of Scotland do we think will emerge? [my emphasis] One tarnished by how it was achieved.” I respect such conviction, but it might be much more than merely “tarnished”, especially if Yousaf’s Hate Crime Bill is passed. We do not need an angry Justice Minister proposing a Bill that condemns his own speech.
This whole business should be postponed till after the Holyrood election, but the panic in the SNP camp suggests that it is determined to push this through at all costs – but it might cost the SNP dear, and Scotland and freedom of speech even more.
As a postscript, one cannot find easily the mailing address of the Scottish Parliament on its website and a phonecall to the switchboard informs us that it is closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The SNP administration seems to be in lockdown, but not Humza Yousaf’s rush to push through his Hate Crime Bill.
A better spirit and a better message
The Christian Gospel preaches Law and Gospel, but in an era when the Humanists UK rejoice that Christianity is no longer a majority opinion in Scotland, there are fewer and fewer who know either biblical law or the biblical Gospel. However, my readers have the opportunity and privilege of finding out what secular society hopes to keep hidden from them. Come and welcome to Jesus Christ.