An Independent Protestant Scotland…

An Independent Protestant Scotland…

One of the Treasures of the National Archives of Scotland, the Declaration of Arbroath was written to the Pope in 1320, on behalf of the barons and community of the realm of Scotland. This eloquent letter, written in support of King Robert Bruce (Robert I) and an independent Scotland, is still regarded as a spirited statement of a nation’s claim to freedom. Click here to read the Declaration of Arbroath


With the SNP once again calling for a referendum on Scottish independence, it is worth reflecting on Scotland’s deeply Catholic roots in order to consider the question of  “freedom”. Outside the Catholic Church, can there BE true freedom for Scotland?  Think “gay marriage”; think Named Person Scheme; think the Freemasonic roots of the EU, which the SNP wish to rejoin after Brexit/and (they hope) a successful independence referendum.  Take note of the  reference to “poor Scotland” in the Declaration – a description so apt in our times. Poor, poor Scotland.

In short, knowing that the original call for Scotland’s independence was made by loyal sons of the Church, is it permissible today for  Catholics to vote in good conscience for an independent (Protestant) Scotland?  

Comments (51)

  • IslamicCrusader

    But would it be a Protestant World it would be coming to? more likely a mix pot secular state even worse than we have already unfixed to any firm thing that would be able to protect us to from the Wrath of God. The country split into many Sects fighting each other until the country is destroyed and absorbed into a World State.

    March 18, 2017 at 1:05 pm
  • Pat Langan

    We are certainly living in troubled times both for church and state! However the political choice we face is stark, as you state to vote in good conscience for living in a Protestant Scotland or to remain in a Protestant U.K. with no changes in the list of issues you rightly stated. The only good outcome might be the end of this Protestant Union which has brought these issues into being. St Andrew and all the saint of Scotland pray for us!!!

    March 18, 2017 at 1:07 pm
    • Josephine

      I think there’s a difference between a Protestant Scotland and a Protestant UK. The English drifted into the new Reformation church, and to this day they are less anti-Catholic, but in Scotland, the NP is SNP used to stand for “No Popery”!

      I couldn’t vote for independence after reading the Declaration of Arbroath. Once we’ve re-converted our fellow Scots, then I’d consider it!

      March 18, 2017 at 2:14 pm
      • Pat Langan

        Sorry to say but in all charity the sentiments you attribute to Scots can be found throughout the UK and in my experience it would be delusional to believe otherwise!

        March 18, 2017 at 2:25 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Pat Langan,

        There is something in what you say but the fact is that the bigotry in Scotland is of a different order altogether to that in England. I’ve never even heard of an Orange Walk in England, for example, although I have family and friends who live in various parts.

        March 18, 2017 at 4:49 pm
      • Patrick Langan

        There are indeed Orange order lodges and marches in England, Liverpool and Manchester that I know of.

        March 18, 2017 at 6:25 pm
      • Nicky

        “I couldn’t vote for independence after reading the Declaration of Arbroath. Once we’ve re-converted our fellow Scots, then I’d consider it!


        March 18, 2017 at 6:30 pm
      • Vianney

        Josephine, there were Catholics among the founding members of the SNP and it has always had a large number of Catholics among it’s membership.

        March 18, 2017 at 8:40 pm
      • Athanasius


        The SNP is now, and always has been, as Catholic as the naughty hellfire club. If there were/are Catholics involved with that organisation then they are pretty poor Catholics. The Catholic Church has never been supportive of left wing Socialist Parties, nor indeed of totalitarian nationalism. Patriotism, yes. Nationalism, no.

        One of my great sorrows as a Scot is that too many of my fellow Scots have too long supported the Socialist cause. The Popes were very clear about the terrible fate of nations that adopt Socialism, which is just a polite name for Communism. For that reason it was declared that one cannot be at the same time Catholic and Socialist. The Popes were so wise in these matters, and so prophetic.

        March 18, 2017 at 9:39 pm
      • Josephine


        I think you have to be careful not to confuse “Socialism” with “true Socialism” which is what the popes said, to the best of my memory. The encyclicals I’ve read make it clear that Catholics may vote for parties which are “capitalist” and “socialists” as long as not at the extremes of either spectrum. I’ve put it as simply as I can from memory, but I know some people who are so narrow in their definitions of “Socialism” that the only alternative left is to vote Conservative – no thanks! LOL!

        March 18, 2017 at 9:47 pm
      • Athanasius


        I see what you’re saying and I took that into account when I wrote my comments. The Popes were quite clear that Communism is quite capable of adapting to, and operating within, a Capitalist system. They therefore presented to us one central tenet that we should be vigilant for, the one unchangeable tenet that sets Communist Socialism apart from Christian Socialism, which is atheism. When Socialism presents itself as secular and atheist, you know that you are dealing with Communism by any other name.

        The alternative for us in the UK is not, as you dread, the Conservative Party, for that Party, too, presents itself today as secular and atheistic. It’s difficult for us Catholics, I admit, but we have no choice but to exercise our vote in favour of the political party, however marginalised, that best represents Christian moral principles. In the absence of such a clear choice we can either spoil our vote or choose the lesser of evils, which would definitely not be the SNP.

        March 18, 2017 at 10:10 pm
      • Josephine


        Tommy Sheppard SNP MP, who is a Humanist, was recorded saying they could get rid of Catholic schools by chipping away at them

        I don’t trust the SNP at all. They are dictatorial and dishonest, IMHO. Not that that makes them much different from the other parties, LOL!

        March 18, 2017 at 9:44 pm
      • Chris McLaughlin

        Tommy Shepherd is a defector to the SNP from the Labour party.

        March 20, 2017 at 12:37 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      Pat Langam,

      I can’t see how anyone can vote for independence when the Judges in the Supreme Court actually said that the Named Person scheme was the sort of thing you expect to find in a totalitarian state. That’s what we’d get with the SNP in charge – totalitarianism. I can’t, as a Catholic, vote for that.

      March 18, 2017 at 4:50 pm
  • Laura

    I don’t really think Protestantism as such would be a problem, as ecumenism has affected them as well, and everyone now is so wishy washy. I just don’t see the sense in breaking from London only to hand over powers to Brussels! That strikes me as completely mad. Where’s the independence in that?

    I was mesmerized by the Declaration of Arbroath which I’d never read before. It was just incredible to read such a Catholic letter. This piece near the end is worth quoting – telling Pope not to believe “the tales the English tell” made me actually LOL!

    “But if your Holiness puts too much faith in the tales the English tell and will not give sincere belief to all this, nor refrain from favouring them to our undoing, then the slaughter of bodies, the perdition of souls, and all the other misfortunes that will follow, inflicted by them on us and by us on them, will, we believe, be surely laid by the Most High to your charge.

    To conclude, we are and shall ever be, as far as duty calls us, ready to do your will in all things, as obedient sons to you as His Vicar, and to Him as the Supreme King and Judge we commit the maintenance of our cause, casting our cares upon Him and firmly trusting that He will inspire us with courage and bring our enemies to nothing.

    May the Most High preserve you to His Holy Church in holiness and health for many days to come.”

    I never thought of Scotland’s Catholic past as being that strong so it was educational to read those words and the rest of the Declaration.

    March 18, 2017 at 5:17 pm
    • Nicky


      I agree with your first paragraph.

      It was quite startling to read the Declaration of Arbroath and realise how Catholic Scotland’s roots are. I am really surprised at that. Your quote shows that perfectly.

      March 18, 2017 at 6:31 pm
      • Michaela

        I wonder how many Scots have read the Declaration of Arbroath and realised how Catholic Scotland used to be? Not many, I’d wager!

        March 25, 2017 at 9:48 pm
  • marysong

    Beautiful Declaration! I didn’t know that Scotland was once Catholic, either …. A Scotland Catholic Confessional State would be a wonderful miracle. Don’t think the world would agree ……Thanks for posting this!

    March 18, 2017 at 6:37 pm
  • Athanasius


    I cannot remember off the top of my head whcih Pope it was, but one of the Popes once declared Scotland to be “the dearest daughter of the Church”. That’s how Catholic our nation was at one time.

    As regards the SNP’s fixation with breaking up the Union, I’m sure we all suspect that this destructive Party does not envisage an Independent Protestant Scotland. Rather, it has set its sights on an Independent atheist Scotland in which Christianity of any flavour will be sidelined under totalitarian secular rule. This is why Protestants in general and Orangemen in particular are of paramount importance in the cause of protecting the Union from this Communist group that seeks to divide and conquer.

    Protestants are generally Unionists, identifying with both a Protestant monarchy and a Protestant Parliament in London. Misguided as they are in their religious errors, these people are nevertheless essential in the fight to preserve the UK. I would suggest, then, that in this one issue of preserving the Union we have common ground with Protestants and Orangemen. I hasten to add that this is not a call for an ecumenical get together!

    March 18, 2017 at 7:50 pm
    • Petrus


      You left your bowler hat, sash and flute at my house. I will bring them for you tomorrow!

      March 18, 2017 at 8:46 pm
      • Athanasius


        I don’t suppose my white gloves are at your place as well, are they? I distinctly remember having them on when I was thumping my big drum outside the Archdiocesan offices, but it’s all a blank after that!

        I particularly need that sash back because it’s the sash my father wore!

        March 18, 2017 at 9:17 pm
      • Petrus


        I will bring the sash today – it’s auld but it is beautiful and it’s colours they are fine !

        March 19, 2017 at 7:05 am
      • Therese

        Athanasius and Petrus

        Thanks for the laugh! Your patter brought back memories of an interesting train journey I made from Edinburgh to Newcastle, some years ago. I’d obviously been spotted being seen off on my journey by a priest, and the “gentlemen” who sat in the next seats sang:

        “No Catholics for me,
        No chapel to sadden my eyes,
        No priests and no nuns and no Rosary beads,
        Every day is the 12th of July”.

        They kept this up for 2 hours, bless ’em! Sad, really.

        March 19, 2017 at 10:34 pm
      • gabriel syme


        That song is a favourite among supporters of the despicable Glasgow Rangers FC (or rather, its modern tribute act, given the original club went bust).

        It borrows the tune from a cowboy song called “Home on the Range”.

        Whereas the cowboys sang “Home, home on the range” for the chorus, the rangers fans sang “No, no Pope of Rome”.

        Recently my infant daughter inherited one of these kids activity toys which plays jingles and makes noises etc, when the child press buttons or complete actions.

        There was this one tune it would play, which seemed somehow familiar to me, but I could never quite put my finger on it.

        That is, until I caught the chorus one day – and the words “No, no Pope of Rome” suddenly came to me, would you believe it?

        Who would have thought cowboy songs would be mixed in with nursery rhymes etc. Saints preserve us.

        I went rigid and thought “What the blazes!?”, (that’s the sanitised version!), but saw the funny side before the toy exited our home via the nearest window! haha! 😛

        (I haven’t said anything to my nominally protestant wife, as the toy was passed over from her family. Hmmm…….)

        March 20, 2017 at 10:04 pm
    • Prognosticum

      I have noticed recently how in certain people of my ken, staunch Protestantism has given was to atheism.

      I am thinking here of a couple of examples in my wider family in which people of a staunch Protestant bent, members of the Orange Order in their day, ended up having humanist funerals.

      One is tempted to be aghast at such a development, but closer reflection leads one to realize just to what extent our culture has changed in what is a relatively short space of time. Not so long ago, staunch Protestants were regarded as pillars of the establishment. With the rise of cultural atheism, they are regarded as prize pillocks, shunned too by mainstream Protestantism.

      In the past, my wider family also comprised a number of practising Protestants of a non-Orange bent, but these are now all but non existent as their sons, daughters and their grandchildren have succumbed to the prevailing atheistic trend. When I was younger–much younger–I used to think that we Catholics would be largely immune to this, but now I know that we are, at best, only very slightly less susceptible, if at all.

      Scottish Protestantism in its presbyterian austerity was always going to be vulnerable to the rise of a visual culture. However, it is sad that Catholicism, which was far more robust in many ways, should have followed Protestantism into a self-inflicted liberal implosion.

      March 19, 2017 at 1:25 am
  • Margaret USA

    What would happen to Balmoral castle if the Scots did vote for independence? Would it revert to Scotland or would it be extraterritorial property of the Queen? (If I remember right, Queen Elizabeth II begged the Scots not to vote for independence the last time around.)

    March 19, 2017 at 1:30 am
    • Josephine

      Margaret USA,

      It’s the oddest ever type of “independence”. We’d be free from London but still ruled by Brussels because we’d have rejoined the European Union. And we’d still keep the Queen, who would still take holidays at Balmoral Castle ! In other words, we’d not be citizens of an independent Scotland at all, but subjects of Queen Elizabeth 11 of England, 1 of Scotland.

      I think that’s some kind of “independence”! LOL!

      March 19, 2017 at 7:18 pm
      • Margaret USA

        Just like King James was King James VI of Scotland and James I of England? (Did I get that right? My Scottish history is practically nil.)

        March 19, 2017 at 8:48 pm
      • editor

        Ten out of Ten Margaret! James VI of Scotland, was James 1 of England. If only I could get to be Queen Patricia 1 of both. I’d scrap all tax laws and close the border to all except Americans 😀

        No reason. I’d do that, as they say thee days, just because I COULD!

        March 19, 2017 at 10:01 pm
    • crofterlady

      Margaret USA I’m not an expert but I don’t remember the Queen begging for such a result. I think she just passed an obscure pro union remark regarding the union when attending a service at her church in Craithie, near Ballater.

      March 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm
      • Margaret USA

        I was thinking of the first referendum for Scottish independence. I think she made a public appeal on TV.

        March 19, 2017 at 8:46 pm
      • editor

        No, Margaret – the Queen is not permitted to take any active part in politics. There was no public appeal on TV. My memory of it is that she made a comment to David Cameron, the then Prime Minister who let it slip, but I’m ready to be corrected on this, as I don’t have a clear memory on the subject. Heavens, I don’t have a clear memory of where I left my diary ten minutes ago 😀

        March 19, 2017 at 9:56 pm
      • Petrus


        She said to the crowds outside Crathie Kirk, “I hope the Scottish people will think long and hard about the decision they have to make.” David Cameron then let slip that she “purred” down the phone when he told her the final result.

        March 20, 2017 at 6:45 am
      • editor

        Thank you Petrus. Yes, I remember the “purred…” remark now.
        In any event, the remark outside Crathie kirk could hardly be described as an “appeal” whether televised or not. Somebody’s been telling Margaret USA porky pies, methinks…

        March 20, 2017 at 9:38 am
    • Vianney

      Margaret USA, Balmoral is not a royal palace but a private home of the Queen and is owned by her personally. Nobody actually heard Queen Elizabeth I (she’s only the second in England) say anything about the referendum. It was reported that she had said something to a lady standing outside the kirk and that the lady told the press. Bearing in mind that the Queen is forbidden from making political statements, and that it was apparently reported in the Daily Mail, there is probably no truth in the story at all.

      March 19, 2017 at 11:12 pm
  • Chris McLaughlin

    I am not going to try and argue the SNP is pro-Catholic, but is less anti-Catholic than say the Conservative & Unionist party – Google the anti-Catholic antics of Ruth Davidson’s former advisors to see for yourself. There is of course the Scottish Green Party – which seems to me to be the most anti-Catholic party on the British mainland.

    It is reasonable to ask if a Catholic can vote for independence, but shouldn’t we also ask if a Catholic can vote for the Union? The Union, was from its outset an explicitly Protestant alliance for defence against Catholic Spain and France and as a coalition for colonialism. The UK is still an officially Protestant state, with an established Anglican “church”, giving the Anglican “bishops” seats in the House of Lords, for example, precluding Catholics from ascending the throne, and maintaining the occupation of six counties of Ireland.

    My own view is that religiously speaking, Scotland will be little changed whether it is in the UK or not.

    March 20, 2017 at 12:44 pm
  • gabriel syme

    In my opinion, an independent Scotland would be atheistic / secular, as opposed to Protestant.

    Mainstream Scottish Protestantism is in its twilight years and will likely pass into history within my own lifetime. Indeed, at its current rate of decline, the Church of Scotland is expected to become extinct sometime around the 2030s.

    And so if we became independent, we would be led by those who are Godless, ignorant and amoral, as opposed to the simply heretical.

    If Protestantism was still strong, at least it might get some things right – just as a stopped clock tells the right time, twice a day. Look at Northern Ireland, where the Protestant Unionists vote for parties which uphold certain aspects of Christian morality, (e.g. Christian marriage), whereas the Catholic Republicans vote for Marxists (Sinn Fein) who despise Christianity and actively work against it.

    The gullible collection of meek individuals who comprise the Scottish Episcopate believe they have a close and respectful relationship with the SNP. In reality, the SNP see them as useful idiots, a means to wangle votes from Catholics who were traditionally strong labour voters. Every so often the SNP mask slips, as it did with Rosanna Cunningham MSP before, (she claimed the sight of a Catholic blessing themselves could genuinely be considered offensive to some people), and with Tommy Shepherd MSP (wants rid of Catholic schools) more recently.

    Alex Salmond was happy to throw the Bishops a bone now and again, and so they could point to his praise of Catholic schools, for example. But Nicola Sturgeon has been much more reserved in her approach to Scotland’s Catholics and I hope the Bishops have taken cognisance of that fact.

    Scottish Protestantism has been a total failure. In less than 500 years, it has taken our nation with its near 1,500 years of Christian heritage and turned it into a Godless wasteland. (In light of this, who could possibly suggest with a straight face that Protestantism comes from God? No-one say Pope Francis, which goes without saying of course!).

    And so Scottish Society is currently undergoing its second major reinvention in only a few centuries. This time towards an atheistic, secular culture. This constant flux is why so many modern Scots are so ignorant of their roots and have such a weak sense of identity.

    What both these reinventions have in common is that the societies they produce both hate Christ and His Church (albeit for different reasons) and they will both ultimately be failures (1 down, 1 to go in that regard).

    It is my belief that, for whatever reason, England is a more reasonable and tolerant place than Scotland and, through this, I think being part of the UK helps to anchor and bring balance to Scotland. And so I personally do not see how any Scottish Catholic in his or her right mind could possible vote for independence.

    March 20, 2017 at 9:52 pm
    • Prognosticum

      I agree with so much of what you say.

      A Catholic acquaintance of mine who has had a long and distinguished life in public service recently described Scottish culture as ‘dark’. When I asked what he meant by this, he said he had in mind the culture’s total repudiation of truth which, he said, necessarily takes with it goodness and beauty. Food for thought, indeed.

      But I go back to what I raised in my post above. What is it about Protestantism that opens the way to atheism? A Protestant might object that we Catholics are hardly fairing much better as a bulwark against atheism, but that would be a superficial reading since the demise of traditional Catholic nations has a great deal to do with poison leaching out of Protestant countries like Britain and America.

      When I was an undergraduate, I remember a lecturer saying that he thought that Britain’s membership of the Common Market was not a good thing. Why? Because he said that it would hasten the demise of the continent’s morality, although in this regard I think he inderestimated the role of German Protestantism and of French freemasonry.

      Going back to Scotland, I cannot absolve the Labour Party for our cultural demise. Their transformation of the Protestant work ethic of self-reliance into a welfare culture has to go down as one of the most important cultural transformations in history. And it has left a social mess of staggering proportions.

      March 22, 2017 at 2:24 am
      • editor


        Not sure how to explain the link between Protestantism and atheism except that one error is as good as another, so to speak.

        As for your final paragraph; of course nobody could defend a “welfare culture” such as we see, unfortunately, all too often on these shores, but I am always unwilling to have a go at those culprits without condemning, too, the greed of those who, like one senior MP who began life in government as one of the 19 millionaires in the Cameron cabinet, and who continues to draw his salary as a back bench MP, is completely unfazed by the scandal he is causing. Why? Well, on top of his MP’s salary he holds a series of lucrative positions which include academic fellowships, after-dinner speaking, and advising the financial giant BlackRock. Now, despite the fact that he represents a constituency some 136 miles outside London, he has announced that he will become the editor of London’s daily newspaper, the Evening Standard. And that although he has no journalistic experience.

        It’s too easy to have a go at those who have very little and try to play the welfare system, but not so easy to listen to those who have expressed themselves in admiration of the above MP, telling us that he is so talented and therefore in great demand, so we shouldn’t begrudge him his good fortune! As one cynic said in discussion on a news programme, his talent has been to come from a well-heeled background and know how to use the old boys’ network to his own great advantage. Got it in one…

        So, yes, down with those who abuse the welfare system and yes, down with those who greedily pile up riches in this world while telling the rest of us that “we are all in [the austerity measures] together” and so we all have to tighten our financial belts – whether it’s a mother who must give her children less food to eat to keep within her budget, or whether it’s a millionaire ++++ like himself, who might need to well… not do anything, really, cos he’s got so much money in the bank that he’s never going to spend it all! Oops, did I mention – said greedy MP is our former UK chancellor, George Osborne MP!

        March 22, 2017 at 11:39 pm
  • Prognosticum

    Yes, of course … sorry I spoke.

    March 24, 2017 at 2:47 am
    • editor


      I didn’t mean to make you “sorry you spoke” – it’s just that we have a daily string of TV programmes “exposing” the “benefit cheats” and it has come to the point where I’ve spoken to people who are genuinely on benefits but trying to cover up the fact because it is now such a stigma; yet nobody thinks anything of the “fat cat” culture – there are no documentaries on a daily basis about that. Hence, I think it is important to point out the imbalance. I believe George Osborne is receiving – for ONE of his several jobs – a cool £650,000 for 4 days work a month (from memory – it’s something obscene like that) so it seems harsh that the only “cheats” ever highlighted are those on welfare payments.

      But please… continue to speak … UP!

      March 24, 2017 at 10:23 am
  • Therese

    Dear Ed

    I cannot but agree with Prognosticum’s comment. If you know of mothers who must give their children less food in order to stay within their budget, then I accept your word – although I wasn’t clear if you meant that these mothers are on “welfare” or not. If that is the case then it is a disgrace. My own experience is different. I live in what is termed a “deprived” area, and I know a number of people who are milking the system – to the tune of hundreds of thousands annually – although not all of them are young mothers. When I retired I did some volunteer work, some with single mothers, and I was speedily disillusioned about their actual “needs”. Perhaps things are different in Scotland, but it is galling to see the system being systematically abused for years by those who simply will not work and who expect – even demand – that the “state”, ie thee and me, take care of them. I would very happily give to those in genuine need, as I’m sure we here all would – but in my experience, those who really could do with a hand up are the least likely to ask for one (or indeed to receive one!) and those who are only too happy to take everything offered are in the majority.

    March 24, 2017 at 7:33 pm
    • editor


      I have not disputed the fact that there are people who abuse the welfare system, although it is a simple matter of fact that the amount of money lost through benefit cheating is nothing like the amount lost through tax cheating. My point was that we do not hear the same condemnation of those who are abusing the system at the other end. Click here to read some facts about who is costing the taxpayer most…

      Do you feel as strongly about the tax cheats, and about the abuse of his position by George Osborne MP, millionaire?

      March 24, 2017 at 8:30 pm
  • Therese


    Yes, I feel strongly about any cheats, whoever they are, and in whatever socio-economic band they fit. I haven’t forgotten David Cameron’s interest-free loan of hundreds of thousands of pounds – not technically – or legally – a cheat, apparently, but in my opinion, it was unconscionable. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many, from all walks of life, with their snouts in the trough.

    I don’t know whether it is a simple matter of fact that “the amount of money lost through benefit cheating is nothing like the amount lost through tax cheating”. I think it’s comparatively easier to calculate the latter and to come up with an approximate figure, whereas with benefit cheating I think much of it is not so quantifiable. Many of the examples in my own limited experience would not be considered as cheating, per se, but cheating is what it is, in my own, admittedly humble, opinion. One doesn’t need to come from a well-heeled background to know how to use and abuse the system; in that area the millionaire cheats and the benefits cheats are as one.

    March 24, 2017 at 8:59 pm
    • Lily


      It’s a fact that a lot of the money that the DWP counts as “fraud” is really mistakes made by the staff, wrong over-payments, not somebody directly cheating. It’s really nothing like the money lost through tax evasion. There really is a double standard in Britain, and personally I think it is because people don’t look up the facts, they just believe the propaganda, which is always against ordinary people. It’s also important to remember that a lot of benefits are “in-work benefits” i.e. encouraging employers to pay lower wages so that they can be topped up by the welfare system. That’s not the fault of the employee.

      The reason so many of us gets the impression that benefit fraud is a huge problem is that it is only the benefits frauds that are highlighted in the media. The Channel 5 series is terrible, on every week, giving the impression that loads of people with huge families are claiming a fortune, when the truth is that the majority of people on benefits are not cheats, but these programmes and Daily Mail reports have caused a culture of snobbishness, so that people are looked down at for being on benefits and everyone is considered a cheat. I only know a small number of people on benefits but they are honest citizens who hate being on benefits. I know one young single mother who is doing everything she can to find work. I Googled “Benefit frauds” and this was near the top – it made me think hard, although I have never looked down on anyone for being on benefits.

      I also thought this one was interesting.

      I agree that cheating from wherever and whoever is wrong, but it’s not like that in the public debate, it’s always only the “welfare culture” that is mentioned and hammered home. The wealthy making themselves wealthier, are admired for their cheating, even if nobody will say it openly. For those at the top, it’s clever to cheat the tax system, but if you’re on benefits, you’re lazy etc. It’s really not fair.

      March 24, 2017 at 10:16 pm
  • Therese


    All I can say is that your experience and mine are vastly different. Where I come from, people have no problem in decrying the rich cheats; in fact it’s a common occurrence to hear people decrying the “fat cats”. I’ve only seen a couple of the Channel 5 programmes, and I avoid them now as I want to keep my blood pressure at a healthy level; it’s all very well to say that those cases are in the minority (which I would like to see proven btw). We are agreed that cheating, by anyone, is wrong.

    The cheats at both ends of the spectrum are much cleverer and more diligent in their determination to get everything they can than I; they know how to work the system to their best advantage. On the only occasion (thank God) for which I was obliged to seek financial assistance, I found the process exhausting, and was eventually rewarded with 2 weeks of “dole” money, the third week being refused because I was deemed to be self-employed (I was temping at the time and as it was Christmas the firm I was working for closed down, so no pay). Tough luck for me. I won on appeal several weeks later, so my 49 years of non-stop work did get me a total of 3 weeks of assistance. If I hadn’t had a family member to help me out I’d have been in real trouble, so please believe me when I say that I don’t take genuine cases of want lightly; I’m fortunate in that for most of my life I’ve been able to work, but it is a fact that far too many layabouts do take advantage, and the fact that they do shouldn’t be excused or their guilt diminished because a lot of rich people cheat as well. They’re all scoundrels.

    March 24, 2017 at 11:19 pm
    • editor


      I think it’s fair to say that while the people where you live decry the rich cheats, the media and the government don’t. I think that’s the key difference. There are no TV documentaries on with monotonous regularly exposing tax cheats. There just ain’t.

      I’m interested in your own experience of trying to get benefits because it’s well known (certainly here in Scotland) that the system now is really strict. Every claimant is monitored and has to prove that they are looking for work. And sanctions are applied for the least infraction. There are horror stories of the genuinely poor being a minute or two late for an appointment (due to a late bus) and having to go without money for a week or such like. Scandalous.

      So, yes, we all decry cheating where it occurs, without fear or favour. However, those with the power to effect changes, don’t treat all cheats the same. And they must love it when their plan comes together, to have the minority of benefit cheats lambasted at every level, while the tax cheats are presumed, wrongly, to be the minority and, well, with posh voices and NOT living in “deprived areas” they can’t possibly be as bad as those on benefits.

      Anyway, I think we’re a tad off topic here, so – since we seem to be in broad agreement that we all disapprove of cheating from whichever social class – we might return to the question of whether an independent Scotland would be Protestant or atheist – or just toddle along, as is…

      I tend to go with “toddle along as is…”

      March 24, 2017 at 11:40 pm
    • Lily


      Your blood pressure goes up watching the channel 5 programmes because they are deliberately biased to make that happen! I thought I would give yo some facts from a well sourced report that helped me to get my head straight on this.

      “The Joseph Rowntree Foundation published a study in December testing whether there were three generations of the same family that had never worked. Despite dogged searching, researchers were unable to find such families. If they exist, they account for a minuscule fraction of workless people. Under 1% of workless households might have two generations who have never worked – about 15,000 households in the UK. Families with three such generations will therefore be even fewer.
      The graphic shows this broken down. Importantly, families experiencing long-term worklessness remained committed to the value of work and preferred to be in jobs rather than on benefits. There was no evidence of “a culture of worklessness” – values, attitudes and behaviours discouraging employment and encouraging welfare dependence – in the families being passed down the generations. The long-term worklessness of parents in these families was a result of complex problems (particularly related to ill-health) associated with living in long-term and deep poverty. In an already tight labour market, multiple problems combined to place people at the back of a long queue for jobs. ”

      Now I’d better duck out after editor’s warning to return to the topic. Sorry! Just wanted to post this information before being obedient, LOL!

      March 25, 2017 at 10:43 am
  • Lily

    On the topic, I think I agree that an independent Scotland would just “toddle along” as a secular state. We would keep the Queen and therefore the C of S would continue as the “national church” for state events, but apart from that, we would continue to be secular as we are right now.

    The only difference might be (I’m not sure) that the SNP would target schools to try to end the system of Catholic schools paid for by taxpayers alongside the non-denominational schools. Already one of the SNP MEPs, Tommy Sheppard has suggested that.

    March 25, 2017 at 10:47 am
    • editor


      I doubt if they’d bother. I think it’s an open secret that Catholic schools are about as Catholic as the nearest mosque or Sikh temple. “Wee Nicola” (Mzzz Sturgeon) praised Catholic schools recently, so that tells us all we need to know about their Catholicity. No, I don’t think, on reflection, that’s of any serious concern.

      March 25, 2017 at 5:19 pm
      • Michaela

        I agree. Catholic schools are no threat these days, so the SNP won’t open that can of worms.

        March 25, 2017 at 9:44 pm

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