Radical solutions to change Scotland for the better - Stuart Weir

“Is this working for you?!” This fraught, rhetorical question was addressed to a cantankerous press room by the character CJ Cregg in an episode of US series The West Wing. It’s not unlike the question some in Scottish society are expressing today, given the shape of our nation. Few would describe today’s Scotland as a place of flourishing – a nation that is working exactly as it should be. Allow me with broad brush strokes to tease out radical changes that could affect Scotland for the better if they were embraced at different levels.

First, imagine a Scotland where human life is truly cherished. Whether a human being is not yet born or barely able to function as an adult, they belong. Because of the inherent dignity we all have as human beings created in the image of God, it matters not whether we are single or attached, what our politics are like, or if we have lived our whole lives in a single place. And contrary to the views of some throughout history, those who are vulnerable are of special significance. Societies that care for and cherish the weak are blessed by God.

Imagine a nation that is made up of stable families. Scotland needs an increase of families that stick together and are committed to one another. We all know our families aren’t perfect. Currently, however, Scotland is beset with widespread family breakdown. This results in various other negative consequences, rippling out into many areas of life. What if there was a renewed sense that commitment is paramount? What if people took their marriages or partnerships so seriously that they worked tooth and nail to protect them? Children would be especially helped by this.

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Thirdly, imagine a Scotland where justice is truly served and the oppressed are truly set free from oppression. A just society will thoroughly address what is dark and wrong. Justice is only justice when humans view one another as dignified and precious, rather than commodities. In this alternative Scotland, police strategy and Procurator Fiscals would do more to entrap those who seek to enslave humans for the purposes of exploitation. And they would place these aggressors behind bars, deterring any tempted by such a dark endeavour.

Stuart Weir, national director of CARE for Scotland.Stuart Weir, national director of CARE for Scotland.
Stuart Weir, national director of CARE for Scotland.

Fourthly, imagine a society that truly values women. A culture that teaches men to consider women as equals and not just as sexual objects. It goes without saying that pornography is undermining good and healthy relationships and compounding existing problems. Finally, imagine a Scotland that defends civil liberties – where there is no soft totalitarianism being imposed through various measures. There will always be unpopular opinions, but they should be allowed to exist. All views need to be debated and probed. So-called ‘cancel-culture’ helps nobody.

Societal flourishing will only truly be manifested in Scotland when each person is leading their life well, when the circumstances of people’s lives are genuinely good, and when life also feels good – in other words, when people are joyful. Working towards the objectives outlined above at a government and grassroots level can bring us closer to this brighter picture. A vibrant vision can inform policy making, which in turn will lead to new laws and customs, enshrining positive change. Ultimately, this can only come about through a fresh encounter with heaven.

Stuart Weir is National Director for Christian charity CARE for Scotland

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