There has been much heat but very little light generated by the debate on independence. The discussion has largely focused on the process and the economy.
There has been too little regard paid to the spiritual dimension. There is this important question to answer: is the Treaty of Union in harmony with Scotland’s previous spiritual heritage? The Solemn League and Covenant was approved by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1643. It was also approved and ratified by the Scottish Parliament on July 1644. It was also signed by the King and approved by the English Parliament. By these Acts, involving oaths, the Church and the State committed themselves and their successors to the descending obligations of that Covenant in perpetuity. This Covenant therefore continues as a constitutional standard for both the Church and the State in Scotland. Indeed, as a covenant before the Almighty God, it must be viewed as the supreme constitutional document respecting both Church and State in Scotland. The Covenant committed those who subscribed to it to ‘endeavour to bring the Churches of God in the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion, confession of faith, form of Church government, directory for worship and catechising, that we, and our posterity after us, may, as brethren, live in faith and in love, and the Lord may delight to dwell in the midst of us.’ The Act of Union, as passed by the Scottish Parliament in 1707, states that ‘the true Protestant Religion as presently professed within this Kingdom with the Worship Discipline and Government of this Church should be effectually and unalterably secured.’ This was manifestly designed to secure the Reformed and Presbyterian identity of the Church in Scotland. However, the Act of Union, as passed by the Westminster Parliament in 1706, states that ‘the true Protestant religion professed and established by Law in the Church of England and the Doctrine Worship Discipline and Government thereof should be effectually and unalterably secured’. This was manifestly designed to secure the Episcopalian (church governed by Bishops) and Erastian (Monarch as the Head of the Church) identity of the church in England. Put simply, the first Act enshrines Presbyterianism in perpetuity; the second Act enshrines Prelacy in perpetuity. It is quite evident then that the Treaty of Union is a violation of the Solemn League and Covenant. A Settlement for Union which permanently enshrines two mutually exclusive systems of doctrine, worship, government and discipline cannot be reconciled to a previous covenantal obligation to ‘endeavour to bring the Churches of God in the three kingdoms to the nearest conjunction and uniformity in religion’. It is to be regretted that the Reformed churches in Scotland have forsaken their covenantal heritage. The State has also long forgotten her primary constitutional standard. For ourselves today we are left facing this question: should Scotland of the Covenant remain in the Union? Donald Mackay 0/2 87 Minard Road Glasgow G41 2EJ LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE In a world with news headlines often heralding doom and gloom, it was fantastic to see Scottish funnyman, Donald Macleod, joke his way into the Guinness Book of Records for telling the most number of jokes in an hour (6th March). He not only beat, but smashed the previous record of 549 set by Australian Michael Lehman nine years ago, telling 580 jokes, the equivalent of around one joke every six seconds. Such an event was not only being done so that he could get into the record books, but so he could raise money for four charities in his native Isle of Lewis, which he has already raised tens of thousands of pounds for. It is fantastic that in an often dark world there are such acts of kindness taking place, proving that laughter is indeed the best medicine. Alex Orr 77/2 Leamington Terrace Edinburgh EH10 4JT NOT TAUGHT OUR HISTORY The present unrest in the Ukraine brought to mind that the port of Sebastopol was founded by Rear Admiral Thomas MacKenzie of the Russian Navy whose progenitors came from the Isle of Lewis, Western Isles. There is a MacKenzie Hill in Sebastopol and the Battle of Balaclava was fought in the vicinity of MacKenzie’s farm. The Scots are taught little of their country’s history and therefore I am not surprised that I have never met even one Scottish historian who ever heard of MacKenzie, whom I believe was the third generation of his family to serve with distinction in the Russian Navy. Donald J. MacLeod 49 Woodcroft Avenue Bridge of Don, AB22 8WY ETONIANS AT WESTMINSTER We have recently heard about Scots complaining about the number of ‘toffs’ in David Cameron’s Conservative Government, but criticism has now come from a surprising source - the Party’s own back-bench MPs. Reports have recently appeared in The Financial Times, The Mirror and The Times of murmurings within Conservative ranks, but now Tory MP Pauline Latham has lashed out with the words: “David Cameron does surround himself with people who are like him. Everything is looked at through the prism of London, by people from London.” Another (unnamed) Tory MP has highlighted the Eton network at play within the highest echelons of the Conservative Party, saying: “There are six people writing the (Conservative) manifesto, and five of them went to Eton, the other went to St. Pauls.” It is hard to believe how this elite can still rule the UK, who, by privilege, have wanted for nothing since the day they were born. They might as well be living on another planet, so far removed are they from the needs of ordinary people, thousands of whom are having to rely on Food Banks for their next meal. At least Scots will have the opportunity to end this relic from the Middle Ages by voting ‘YES’ for Scottish Independence on September 18th. John S. Jappy Moy Bridge Cottage Marybank Muir of Ord IV6 7UY COMPETITION DETAILS The Stornoway Gazette is giving you, our readers, the chance to have your photographs included in our popular annual summer magazine Island Life.
If successful, photographers, budding or serious, will have their pictures which capture Island life, adorn the magazine with a full credit. The ten best images - chosen by the Editor, Melinda Gillen - will be included in the magazine, with the overall winning image used on the cover page.
Last year’s winning image pictured above on the cover was a stunning shot of Hebridean machair flowers taken in Berneray, North Uist by Katie Barrett of Inverurie. Images could be of a scene featuring one of the Western Isles most recognisable monuments, some of our breath-taking scenery, perhaps a shot of the stunning Auroras recently experienced, a display of the Harris Hills and the Clisham maybe or it could be anything which inspires you and is recognisable as life in the Western Isles. Please include a caption with your images to explain where the image was taken and what inspired you to capture the scene. The closing date for entries is March 21st. You don’t need to be an Island resident to take part. Entries should be sent via email, should be 1MB or upwards in size. No more than two entries may be submitted per person. Send your entries to: email@example.com andmark your entry ‘Island Life Competition’.
Please include your daytime contact details with your entry.