What’s in a word? For instance, when we say somebody is evil, what do we really mean?
It was reported at the weekend that my SNP colleague Roseanna Cunningham could be in trouble for calling a fellow MSP an “evil Tory”. The Conservatives in Scotland must be in the deepest of trouble if they moan to the tabloids after a bout of name-calling. That they are moribund is not in question – need I remind you that right now we have more giant pandas in Scotland than Tory Westminster MPs?
But is being Tory intrinsically evil? I have never believed that, not least because I have known many fine decent Conservative people, some of whom were even politicians.
The old “One Nation” Conservatives had a lot to recommend them, and there are still a few of them around, so being Tory is not automatically evil.
It is not what people are, but what they do which allows you to judge them as good or evil. I am no moral universalist, as I do not believe that there is some overriding definition of evil applicable to the whole human race, nor do I believe in the existence of evil as a separate force, the province of Satan.
Yet clearly if someone or some government, for example, carries out a profoundly immoral – the dictionary definition of evil – activity, then we can legitimately say that at the very least it is tending towards evil. And what is more immoral than attacking the poor?
In conversations around the city over the past few months, I have become increasingly convinced that we are heading for some type of serious chaos across the UK as a result of the immoral policies which this coalition government is introducing over the course of this year.
In no uncertain terms, I have been told by people in Edinburgh who are best placed to know about these things that the bedroom tax, the changeover to universal credit and caps on benefits, the switch to Personal Independence Payments from Disability Living Allowance and the existing and forthcoming attacks on workers’ rights, are going to create a perfect storm of anger and despair among people who do not have a full share in our society, usually through no fault of their own.
Added to that, the real reduction in living standards for the majority of the population due to the inept handling of the economy means that this coalition government is as unpopular as any in living memory, and unlike Margaret Thatcher in early 1982, who was similarly reviled, there is no populist war on the horizon to rescue CamClegg and co.
Last week’s by-election result in South Shields and the ousting of coalition councillors across England was merely the proof of the growing revulsion against the posh toffs in the cabinet and their policies which line the pockets of the rich at the expense of the poor.
I used to think that this coalition government was inadvertently bad because its assault on the poor derived from their sheer ignorance of what it’s like to live in poverty.
But now I believe that they are motivated by their profoundly immoral views that capitalism must triumph over conscience. That is why I say that this coalition government is evil.
Do not wait until 2015, CamClegg. In the name of God and humanity, go now.
Make school a touch of class
The news that the council is considering building an entirely new primary school in the south of the city has been greeted in some quarters as proof that Edinburgh is defying the recession and actually beginning to boom again.
There is no doubt that the Capital has ridden out the recession better than most cities in the UK, but the need for a new school is as much to do with population shift as any perceived expansion in the local economy.
I suspect the need for the school is more to do with demographics, immigration and the birth rate than expanding incomes.
Just one plea – can we make it a child-friendly cracker of a building and not some architectural nightmare?
Northern Lights shining bright
I went to see the film We are Northern Lights at Cineworld at Fountain Park at the weekend, and thoroughly enjoyed this iconoclastic people’s view of Scotland.
Thanks to Cineworld for supporting a Scottish film and thanks to director Mike Higgins for once again proving that Scotland has so much creativity to offer. Go and see it – I promise you won’t forget it in a hurry.
STING IN TAIL
The Scottish Government has announced that it will give £200,000 to help restock commercial beehives. Hope
they don’t forgot
the famous beekeeper of Effen.
Formula won for Castlebrae
AS someone who supported the campaign to retain Castlebrae High School, my old heart just about leapt for joy when I saw that the replacement for the school may well become a centre of scientific excellence.
OK, it will not be built until 2020, but if you’ll pardon the pun, at last someone at the council is showing 20-20 vision about Craigmillar and its future.
What a change from the blinkered
attitude of last year. Now this
deserving area of the city at least has the glimmer of a hopeful future, and that is surely something to be warmly welcomed.