Meeting date: Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Meeting of the Parliament 08 May 2018
Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Scottish National Investment Bank, Budget Process (Written Agreement), Standing Orders (Budget Process), Point of Order, Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) (Amendment) Bill, Decision Time, Dog Attacks
- Time for Reflection
- Topical Question Time
- Scottish National Investment Bank
- Budget Process (Written Agreement)
- Standing Orders (Budget Process)
- Point of Order
- Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) (Amendment) Bill
- Decision Time
- Dog Attacks
Time for Reflection
Good afternoon. The first item of business this afternoon is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is the Rev Sang Cha, minister at St Mungo’s parish church in Alloa.
The skies of Clackmannanshire are often sullen and overcast, with storms brewing above, but it is a place where the people who live under its foreboding skies are illuminated by a heady resilience. It is a place mingled with great sadness, loveliness and passion. It has the fourth lowest employment level in Scotland, with a high dependency on out-of-work benefits. Since my first days in the wee county, seven years ago, I have seen all kinds of people and things: high school students, all full of undisciplined energy; the high street, blighted by bookies; and people fighting on boxing day with too much drink and ruining each other’s lives.
However, Clackmannanshire is also a place where people are striving. Each day, I see the people of this smallest county trying to transpose its challenges into something good. St. Mungo’s and, indeed, the Church of Scotland have been and continue to be an important part of that narrative and conversation. I say this often, but I cannot say it often enough: we may be the smallest county, but we are a pretty good one, too.
My friends, my betters, the people of Scotland are looking to you for moral leadership in this period of uncertainty and geopolitical change. It is often said that politics is a blood sport. It is my prayer that, no matter what our political differences, we do not lose the civility in the nature of our public discourse.
Several years ago, I visited a young mother who had given birth to a baby boy the day before. The parents had decided to call this baby boy Magnus, after the great king Charlemagne. Have you ever held a day-old baby in your arms? As I held this child, I was reminded of what President Clinton once said. It dawned on me that coursing through his blood, and my blood, is our DNA—the stuff of life—which is 99.999 per cent identical. It is a reminder that what we share in common is so much more than the sum of our collective differences. Perhaps it is a matter of blood.
I am certain that we, together as an ancient and great nation, will rise once more to face the challenges that confront us as a people in this hour, for the glory of God and for the glory of Scotland.