6/5: Scottish Elections: Should Catholics Withhold Vote in Protest at Tyranny?

6/5: Scottish Elections: Should Catholics Withhold Vote in Protest at Tyranny?

A general view of the Scottish Parliament Building 

Scottish Parliament Election 2021 – Putting Human Life and Dignity at the Centre

A letter from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This election [6 May, 2021] presents us with an opportunity to play our part in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland’s political discourse.

We often see politics through a party prism, which can create a divisive, and occasionally fractious, political environment. Whilst party politics can be an important consideration, particularly in the Scottish Parliament list system, it is individuals who will make up the parliament and form a government; and some of the most important issues, including abortion and assisted suicide, are commonly decided by a conscience, or free, vote. Therefore, it is critical to ascertain candidates’ personal values and opinions and not concentrate solely on party policies.

As Catholics we have a duty: to share the Gospel and to help form the public conscience on key moral issues. It is a duty of both faith and citizenship.  This election is an opportunity to be the effective witness our Baptism calls us to be.

The new parliament and government will be tasked with leading the recovery from the damage wrought by the current health crisis and to tackle the significant impact it has had on many aspects of life including health care, mental health and wellbeing, religious freedom, and care for the poor. It must also build on the positives arising from the Pandemic, including caring for the most vulnerable, and a renewed sense of respect for human life, human dignity, and the value of community.

These are some of the issues you may want to consider in the forthcoming election:

 Beginning and end of life

It is the duty of parliamentarians to uphold the most basic and fundamental human right to life. Elected representatives ought to recognise the existence of human life from the moment of conception and be committed to the protection of human life at every stage. Caring for the unborn and their mothers is a fundamental measure of a caring and compassionate society; a society which puts human dignity at the centre.

We ought to be mindful of a further attempt to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland, likely to happen in this parliament. Legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia suggests that some lives are not worth living, contrary to the Christian belief that every life has equal dignity and value. It is incumbent upon our parliamentarians to show compassion for the sick and dying. This is not achieved by assisted suicide or euthanasia but by ensuring support is provided through caring and attentive politics, including investment in palliative care.

Family and Work

Society relies on the building block of the family to exist and flourish. The love of man and woman in marriage and openness to new life is the basic, fundamental cell upon which every society is built. The wellbeing of Scotland and its future depends on the flourishing of family life and government should respond to this reality with policies creating economic and fiscal advantages for families with children.

The pandemic has placed immeasurable pressure on businesses and many people have lost their livelihood. The state has a duty to sustain business activities by creating conditions which will ensure job opportunities, especially in times of crisis. This must be accompanied by a just wage to provide a dignified livelihood for the worker and their family.

 Poverty, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

Sadly, poverty remains a scourge for too many people. The marginalised, the homeless, and the lonely and isolated have been cast further adrift because of the pandemic. And poverty now affects 24% of children in Scotland. We need elected representatives who respect a preferential option for the poor, who are willing to prioritise their need and respect their human dignity.

Our government must also work with the international community to adopt an even more effective strategy against human trafficking and modern slavery, so that in every part of the world, men and women may no longer be used as a means to an end, and that their inviolable dignity will always be respected.


The next group of MSPs will be tasked with protecting our neighbours at home and abroad from the poverty and climate crises which continue to rage on. In November Glasgow will play host to the COP26 international climate change summit. We should listen to Pope Francis’ call to ‘hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’ by lifting up the voices of the global south and coming together to rebuild our Common Home in a way that leaves no-one behind. Scotland can also demonstrate global leadership by strengthening its commitment to becoming a carbon neutral country.

 Free speech, free expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion

If Scotland is to be a tolerant, open, diverse country then we must be free to discuss and debate ideas, even those which are deemed by some to be controversial. Whilst being mindful of the need to protect citizens from hate, government must not overstep into the realm of unjust restrictions on free speech, free expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This must include, among others, the freedom to express belief in the biological reality of sex and gender.

 Catholic schools

The right of parents to choose a school for their children which corresponds to their own convictions is fundamental. Public authorities have a duty to guarantee this parental right and to ensure the concrete conditions for its exercise. Thus, parliamentarians ought to continue to support an open and diverse state education system which includes Catholic schools.

We pray that this election will put human life and the dignity of the human person at the centre, and that candidates will ensure debate is respectful and courteous.

We urge you to visit the website rcpolitics.org and to use the resources there to help you in your consideration of election issues and to use the tools available to question candidates.

+ Hugh Gilbert, President, Bishop of Aberdeen

+ John Keenan, Vice President, Bishop of Paisley

+ Brian McGee, Episcopal Secretary, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles

+ Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh

+ Joseph Toal, Bishop of Motherwell

+ Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld

+ William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway

Monsignor Hugh Bradley, Archdiocesan Administrator, Archdiocese of Glasgow. Ends.


Our Lady of Aberdeen pray for us!

I usually leave an outspoken message on my ballot paper since, in conscience, I cannot vote for any of the political parties on offer. All of them support the evil abortion legislation currently on the statute book, and  my reading of the Church’s teaching on abortion convinces me that it is unconscionable for any Catholic to support a system of governance which legislates to allow the State sanctioned murder of the unborn child. 

Additionally, this time there is the issue of the introduction of totalitarian governance under which we have been living for the past year. To reward the politicians responsible for this by voting them back into power, is unthinkable – I want no part in it. What about you? 

If, however, you know of any 100% pro-life party worthy of the votes of Catholics, let us know.  The chances are, such a party would also be keen to fight back against the ongoing lockdown lunacy. Over to thee!

St Andrew, pray for us!  Queen (Saint) Margaret of Scotland, pray for us!
St Ninian, pray for us! St John Ogilvie, pray for us! 


Comments (94)

  • wendywalker95

    Please read above urgently Matt Hancock MP is going to speak at A PRO EUTHANASIA MEETING …the -e -mail above is from a pro death group …what a disgraceful despicable man he is ……how low can you killed thousands of pre born babies have been killed through him andJohnson ..now hes targeting the elderly /sick please share widely

    April 21, 2021 at 11:48 am
  • Lily

    This is a very good comment from Nigel Farage on “Scottish independence”. He makes the case that what Sturgeon and Salmond are offering is not independence, at all. I agree.

    April 22, 2021 at 11:57 pm
  • Lily

    I’m not sure if this is the right thread for this but I can’t find a recent “lockdown” thread so I’ll post the news here that there was an anti-lockdown protest in Glasgow today, George Square (and also I think Kelvingrove Park)

    I think there were also protests in other places, e.g. London, so I’d love to know how people find out about these protests. If you’re not on Facebook or Twitter, then there seems to be no way of knowing about them.

    April 24, 2021 at 5:05 pm
  • Lily

    I’ve checked out the website of the Catholic Parliamentary Party and I thought this was worth posting – it’s quite helpful in deciding who to vote for.

    Pope John Paul II reminds us that the command never to kill establishes a minimum which we must respect and from which we must start out “in order to say ‘yes’ over and over again, a ‘yes’ which will gradually embrace the entire horizon of the good.”

    In the Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding The Participation of Catholics in Political Life, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith states that when political activities come up against moral principles that do not admit of exception, compromise or derogation, the Catholic commitment becomes more laden with responsibility. This, it notes, is the case with:

    Laws concerning abortion and euthanasia. Such laws must defend the basic right to life from conception to natural death. In the same way, it is necessary to recall the duty to respect and protect the rights of the human embryo.
    The family needs to be safeguarded and promoted, based on monogamous marriage between a man and a woman, and protected in its unity and stability in the face of modern laws on divorce: in no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such.
    Parents should have the freedom to choose an education for their children.
    Society must protect minors and freedom from human trafficking and modern forms of slavery.
    The right to religious freedom and the development of an economy that is at the service of the human person and of the common good, with respect for social justice, the principles of human solidarity and subsidiarity, according to which “the rights of all individuals, families, and organisations and their practical implementation must be acknowledged.”
    Peace. This demands the absolute radical rejection of violence and terrorism and requires a constant and vigilant commitment on the part of all political leaders.

    Add to this the call to care for our Common Home and to protect God’s gift of Creation.

    What if no candidates or parties fit with my own values?

    As Catholics we are called to work for the greatest good. We ought to properly exercise our conscience and good sense. If there is no ‘perfect’ candidate then we may vote for the candidate who most closely fits our moral ideal.

    Closing Thoughts

    St Thomas More, the patron saint of statesmen and politicians, gave witness by his martyrdom to the inalienable dignity of the human conscience. He refused to bow to the pressures of men and refused to compromise his fidelity to God. He remained loyal to his Catholic faith.

    As we think about our own loyalties at this election, consider this quote from Avery Dulles, American Jesuit and Cardinal, who said: “the greatest danger facing the Church in our [world] today is that of an excessive and indiscreet accommodation.” In other words, as Jacques Maritain put it, we risk “kneeling before the world”, instead of kneeling before Christ.

    We cannot turn a blind eye to injustice. We need to elect parliamentarians who will stand up and be counted and who will stand up for what is right. We need parliamentarians who will: no longer tolerate the killing of innocent babies in the womb; reject assisted suicide and its implicit acceptance that some lives are not worth living; stand up for religious freedom; recognise the importance of monogamous marriage of man and woman and their openness to new life as the bedrock of society; stand up for the poor and prioritise their need; stand up for all children and ensure that their educational needs are met. Since all these things matter, so too does the candidate with whom you entrust your vote.

    April 26, 2021 at 5:11 pm
  • Charles McEwan

    The Scottish Family Party are the only pro-life party and I am the South Scotland candidate for the List system i.e. the second vote. We also have candidates standing as the main constituency candidate in some places. For example, we are standing on the first vote to unseat John Swinney. That surely must be supported. We oppose abortion from conception to birth. If a proposal were to arise in Holyrood to reduce the age limit to 16 weeks, I will vote for it as it is a step in the right direction. None of the other parties will raise the issues of abortion, assisted suicide etc. and if we do not get in, the death dealers will continue with the slaughter. We surely must do what we can to change this.I think, will be our last chance to turn the tide. All over the world the killers are in charge and are manipulating the legal systems to expand the culture of death. Can I suggest that you contact your Scottish Family Party candidate and ask them their view. We are not pro-abortion.

    April 29, 2021 at 8:57 am
    • Laura

      Charles McEwan,

      I was disappointed when I visited the SFP website for two reasons.

      Firstly, their stance on abortion is weak. I understand the temptation not to rock the boat too much and try to change things gradually but that would only work if you took a totally blank approach – i.e. you don’t mention abortion at all. Then, if you get in, you can raise the issue. Nothing that I can see in the SFP statement about “valuing life” is in any way threatening to the status quo. There are already discussions in schools about abortion and so on, but the fact that most people now think it’s OK because it’s legal and nobody is challenging that (including the supposed pro-life groups) means that those discussions lead nowhere.

      The other concern is IVF – I was truly shocked to see that being promoted on the SFP site. I thought Editor nailed it when she pointed out the contradiction by saying the SFP are pro-marriage and then rewarding cohabitation. Also, she quoted Catholic teaching on IVF in her email to the SFP but his reply was disappointing, saying that sticking to Catholic teaching would narrow the appeal of his party. This party doesn’t have God behind it, so it won’t succeed, IMHO. As Editor pointed out, it’s God’s moral law, not “Catholic teaching”.

      I would love to be able to vote for a truly pro-life party but I’m afraid the Scottish Family Party isn’t truly pro-life.

      April 29, 2021 at 10:52 am
      • Michaela


        I agree. I would dearly love to vote for the Scottish Family Party but I’ve read through this whole thread and I’ve checked out their website and the IVF issue was the final straw. I couldn’t believe it. Why did they need to include that – it’s mind-blowing.

        I think I’m going to spoil my ballot again. It’s frustrating.

        April 29, 2021 at 8:13 pm
  • Athanasius

    I voted for a single issue party opposing lockdowns. It’s called the freedom Alliance Party and it allowed me to cast a meaningful vote for the common good while avoiding all the evil pro-abort, pro-LGBT parties who act against the common good.

    May 2, 2021 at 1:27 am
  • Laura

    Here is Nicola Sturgeon being interviewed by Sky News – with a massive Black Lives Matter poster in the background! I think she’s quite short-tempered in this interview, so maybe the pressure of the Covid scam is taking its toll.

    May 3, 2021 at 8:38 pm
  • editor

    Read the commentary on the Election Results published on Lockdown Sceptics…

    “A Note on the Election Result

    By Toby Young

    The consensus among the commentariat is that Britain’s leaders benefited from an ‘incumbency effect’ last Thursday, with voters rewarding those parties that have been in power during the pandemic and punishing those that haven’t. Does this mean the cause of lockdown scepticism is a busted flush? Anti-lockdown candidates were trounced wherever they stood. Leo Kearse, who ran against Humza Yousaf in Glasgow Pollock on behalf of the Reclaim Party, got just 114 votes.

    But before we fold up our tent and go home, it’s worth pausing to consider the advantage that the incumbent, pro-lockdown parties had. For one thing, Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford were able to spend tens of millions of pounds – in Boris’s case, hundreds of millions – on ads to encourage people to comply with their social distancing policies. Ostensibly apolitical, which is why taxpayers’ money could be spent on them, these ads indirectly endorsed the approach these leaders have taken to managing the pandemic. After all, an ad telling you how important it is to wear a mask on public transport may not be an explicit invitation to vote for the politician that introduced mask mandates, but the subtext is that the politician in question made exactly the right call – he or she is saving lives by insisting we all wear masks. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the governments of all three nations are buying up space across the media, including in newspapers, and paying ‘rate card’, i.e. full whack, which no other advertisers do. Not that there have been many other advertisers for the past year, at least not for concerts or films or exhibitions. That will have created a powerful financial disincentive for editors to criticise the lockdowns or the politicians that introduced them.

    The same sleight of hand – messaging that on the face of it is apolitical, but has the indirect effect of boosting political incumbents – was in evidence during the televised ‘briefings’ that have dominated media coverage of the pandemic – in Nicola Sturgeon’s case, daily briefings until a few weeks ago. Indeed, Sturgeon suspended her daily briefings during the Scottish election campaign on the grounds that they could give the SNP an unfair advantage over the other parties, more or less acknowledging that she’s reaped a political dividend from giving them. Needless to say, Ofcom dismissed complaints earlier in the year that Sturgeon was using her daily briefings to promote her political standing.

    To see how this worked in Boris’s favour, take the Government’s relentless pro-NHS propaganda. Nothing overtly political about every senior member of the Government from the Prime Minister on down praising the NHS, urging people to protect the NHS, telling the public how lucky we are to have the wonderful NHS. But scratch the surface and of course it’s political. This is a Conservative Government disabusing the public of any suspicion they might have that the NHS isn’t safe in Tory hands, which, for decades, has been the Party’s biggest political weakness, ruthlessly exploited by Labour at every opportunity. Not safe? Au contraire, general public. We love the NHS. We want to protect and nurture the NHS. In fact, we are the true custodians of the NHS.

    And don’t doubt for a second that this was a cold, political calculation. It was Dominic Cummings, after all, who came up with the slogan: “Stay home. Save lives. Protect the NHS.” That’s the same Dominic Cummings who put the NHS front and centre of the Leave campaign – remember the £350 million a week we would be able to spend on new hospitals after we’d left the EU? Dom will have realised that every time the Prime Minister appeared on the television standing behind a podium bearing that slogan he was boosting the Tories’ electoral chances. The Downing Street press briefings, so slavishly covered by the BBC, ITV, Sky News and Channel 4, were misnamed. They should have been called Party Political Broadcasts for the Conservative Party.

    Not that Keir Starmer is blameless. The problem with a national crisis, from the opposition’s point of view, is that normal political life is suspended and all the party leaders are supposed to rally round the Prime Minister. But did Starmer have to be quite so supine in his support of the Government’s decision to impose three lockdowns? His ‘opposition’ consisted of urging Boris to lockdown sooner than he did – which, if you think about it, is a tacit endorsement of the policy, effectively acknowledging that Boris got the one big decision of his premiership spot on. Starmer’s position for over a year has been: Really good decision Prime Minister, exactly right, well done. Little wonder he hasn’t had much cut through with the general public. He might as well be another member of the Cabinet.

    So, yes, the incumbents probably did get a boost from their handling of the pandemic, but not because they handled it well. They got a boost because they spent hundreds of millions pounds of taxpayers’ money telling the electorate they were doing exactly what they should be doing to keep us safe, and opposition politicians, as well as the mainstream media, enthusiastically endorsed their approach.

    At one point I hoped that when life returns to normal, the furlough scheme ends and the catastrophic damage of the lockdowns becomes apparent, the public might begin to question whether Boris, Nicola, et al did in fact make the right call. Could that create an opportunity for a well-organised anti-lockdown party with a charismatic leader to start building support? But given the boost the incumbents have got from the crisis, it’s clearly in their interests to extend it for as long as they can, which means ‘normal’ may still be some distance away. Oh, and the Government has just agreed a contract with a media buying agency to spend a further £320 million of taxpayers’ money on pro-Boris propaganda. So don’t expect a revolt any time soon. There will be a reckoning, but it will be some time coming.”

    In other words, we have a truly stupid population in the UK right now – entirely uncritical and easily fooled. Clowns.

    May 10, 2021 at 10:57 am
  • editor

    Below, a follow up article on the election results from Lockdown Sceptics…

    A Lockdown Sceptics reader called Keith Anderson has taken issue with my note on the election result. He thinks I was being too pessimistic.

    In respect of Tory success in the local elections/by-election, the fact that people choose the lesser of two evils in no way means they endorse or support the same – in this case they were faced with opting between the Conservative lockdown party, or the Labour would-have-been-a-worse lockdown party!

    As for the failure of anti-lockdown parties and candidates to make headway, to the mind of most, to elect someone to combat something that’s going to end in a month anyway holds little attraction – better to vote for a brand they understand and has stated positions on other ongoing/future issues whilst, tactically, preventing the other, more lamentable set of cretins/phoneys from taking control by splitting the vote.

    In short, we used to live in a two-party state. That now has become a one-party state by dint of hollow/woke opposition.

    Another reader and occasional contributor, who wishes to remain anonymous, is more gloomy.

    I think the problem is lack of opposition and media monoculture. Lockdowns are contentious in U.S. politics. Ron DeSantis is going to run in 2024 on his anti-lockdown policies and their success in Florida, for example. And large percentages of the population are awake to their dangers. But most importantly opposition is basically ingrained on one side of the isle.

    I think this is telling us that political and media monoculture in the U.K. is becoming downright dangerous. To the extent that democracy works it relies on competition. There’s none of that now. So it doesn’t work. I really hope something shifts, or we’re in for a troubled decade or two.
    The article also produced some good comments below the line, such as this one from Stephensceptic:

    The populations of western countries are getting what they have asked for. It is the old axiom that you get the government that you deserve.

    Most people got deeply scared in March 2020. We can debate the role of the media, Imperial College and other so-called “experts”, as well as the novelty of a daily death count in creating this fear but it was real. They demanded that government “do something” and so governments did. They had no clue what to do and copied China. Johnson started out rightly by saying that nothing would really stop this but he got destroyed in the Press and by public opinion. He took the message and did an about face.

    Many people have then stayed scared. Governments have realised that their activist measures are still popular, given the fear, and have no incentive to unravel them or to assuage the fear. Indeed, they see more political risk in unrolling the measures because they will then be blamed if Covid comes back. They will also lose their “rally round the government” political calling card.

    First World War analogies kind of work best for me. It was begat by mutual fear of other countries, rather than of a virus of course. The war was then actually popular for most of its period in all belligerent countries. Even the generals were popular despite the casualties. Ending the war would have taken far more political courage than continuing it. Just like now. It took a long time for the popularity of the First World War to unravel as people woke up to the reality of the disaster it truly was. This happened quickest in places such as Russia and only really happened afterwards in countries such as Britain.

    I agree with Toby that the awakening from this man made disaster will be slow. But when it comes it will be all the more vicious for that. My instinct is that deep down many members of governments realise this and will continue to perpetuate the emergency and the fear. Stopping it will bring the whole deck of cards crashing down.

    And finally, a word of encouragement form a commentator who describes themselves as A.N. Other Lockdown Sceptic:

    As my wise 87 year-old Mum said at the start of this shit show, “They told us that WW2 would be over by Christmas.”

    Sadly, we need to be in this fight for the long haul. The truth will come out, we just need to put our shoulders to the wheel to ensure that it does.

    Keep up the good fight, fellow courageous lockdown sceptics.

    That “wise 87 year old…” is right. WW2 was certainly NOT over by Christmas. And this war will not be over soon, either. That is a simple fact.

    May 11, 2021 at 10:05 am

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