Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Price of a Drink

I like a drink as much as the next person. I like the fact that Scotland has its own distinctive drinks that are part of our story as a nation. What I don’t like is our drinks culture which is literally killing some our fellow citizens. It is that dark side of our alcohol culture that needs to be changed. But this is not about someone else changing. It’s about all of us.

The Church and Society Council is offering its contribution by supporting the use of “price mechanisms” which is a fancy phrase for putting up the price of some drinks to help reduce the damage alcohol makes to our society. We want every congregation to write to those who make the stuff to encourage them to agree to this change.

It might look odd for people to write to producers to get them to put up the price but it's the right thing to do. Perhaps we will have to pay a wee bit more for our favourite tipple but if that helps reduce the pain brought about by alcohol abuse, it's  a small price to pay.

Monday, 7 December 2009

P45 for Banking Fraternity

I continue to remain shocked by the astonishing attitude of the banking fraternity over bonuses. To those who say “we'll resign if we don’t get our bonuses” I would say ok, here’s your P45, we don’t need your greed here. The Church of Scotland has been a strong supporter of the living wage campaign which argues that, in Scotland, the absolute minimum required for survival is £7 per hour. Achieving that for the poorest of workers in our country is far more important than protecting million pound bonuses for those who just don’t get what’s happening here on planet earth.

The Nativity Play

If ever there was evidence that some folk didn't get it it's the news
that parents are paying up to £150 for their child's nativity outfit.
The nativity story is about poverty, exclusion, struggle and hope and nothing to do with wealth, status and self importance. If these
parents want their children to grow up feeling good about themselves they should teach them the importance of loving their enemy not their outfits.

Nativity Play picture by Matt Adams.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

A Manifesto for Mike Russell?

I see that Fiona Hyslop has been given her P45 as Education Secretary
I have no axe to grind about Ms Hyslop. In fact she often sounded like she knew about the issues of education. Her problem was delivery. If I was Mike Russell (the new Education secretary), I’d be focusing on three things:

• Getting jobs for the thousands of already qualified and trainee teachers out there who are champing at the bit to get into classrooms
• Getting real cash into schools to make sure teachers can get the time and training to deliver Curriculum for Excellence
• Promising to find the cash for new buildings

And I’d resist the temptation of bringing about even more change when what is needed is stability for children and those who teach them.