Displaying items by tag: Scotland

Friday, 02 March 2018 11:12

Scotland: church and smacking ban

Scotland’s Catholic Church was savaged by children's rights campaigners for opposing a ban on smacking. A top church official said plans to outlaw the physical punishment of children would ‘criminalise parents’, and it is not the role of the state to interfere in parenting. Scotland's children and young people's commissioner, Bruce Adamson, said that many nations with Catholic majorities - such as Ireland, Spain and Portugal - had already outlawed hitting children. Green MSP John Finnie, who introduced the ‘ban smacking’ bill, said the church is out of step with international opinion, adding, ‘Smacking is banned in the Pope’s home country Argentina’. The SNP government confirmed that the bill will become law.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 23 February 2018 10:37

Many cities face grave flood danger

New research from Newcastle University published in the academic journal Environmental Research Letters reveals that nearly sixty UK cities will battle flooding by 2051, with Glasgow and Aberdeen among the worst-hit. The changes in flooding, droughts and heatwaves for European cities are blamed on climate change and the effect of greenhouse gases on global temperature. Experts are now calling for improved flood defences in order to prevent severe damage in future. The most optimistic scenario showed that 85% of UK cities with a river would face increased flooding. Some areas in the UK and Ireland could see the amount of water per flood as much as double.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 12 January 2018 11:37

Scotland: battle over fracking

Petrochemicals giant Ineos is taking SNP ministers to court, to overturn their ‘unlawful’ fracking ban. The SNP faces a protracted legal fight, potentially spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money, to keep Scotland free of fracking. In England, there are currently ten more fracking applications. Global fracking is driven by the depletion of fossil fuels, leading to the exploitation of increasingly harder-to-extract resources that can have a damaging effect on communities. Evidence (increasingly hard to ignore) from the USA, Canada, and Australia, where tens of thousands of wells have already been drilled, is that fracking destroys water supplies, air quality, and people’s health. Beyond these issues lurk local and regional impacts like ‘orphaned wells’ (abandoned wells sending toxic pollutants into the environment). It is believed that financially successful UK fracking would require tens of thousands of wells to be drilled. See also the previous article, on Cleaner greener Britain, and

Published in British Isles
Friday, 08 December 2017 12:34

Pray for Scotland

Numbers are falling in the Church in Scotland, church buildings are closing, and in a recent survey 51% said that they have no religion. However, there is a ‘stirring’ going on under the surface. The Church has often been called the ‘sleeping giant’. We may be experiencing a reduction in numbers but, as the story of Gideon’s army tells us, numbers are not everything when it comes to accomplishing the plans and purposes of God for a people and a nation. The sleeping giant is starting to awake from its slumber! There have been many local outreaches, summer missions, etc, which, together with the excellent Alpha courses, have borne fruit with folk coming to Christ. With Ffald y Brenin, we can pray, ‘O High King of heaven, have mercy on our land. Revive Your church. Send the Holy Spirit for the sake of the lost, the least and the broken. May Your Kingdom come to our nation. In Jesus’ mighty Name. Amen.’

Published in British Isles
Friday, 17 November 2017 10:50

Scotland launches consultation on transgenderism

On 9 November, the Scottish government launched a consultation exercise on proposed amendments to the Gender Recognition Act 2004. The suggested changes include creating a third gender, neither male nor female; allowing children as young as 12 to become transgender through the courts (even without parental consent); and removing the need to provide medical evidence of transgenderism, which will now be self-declared. Thomas Pascoe of the Coalition for Marriage said, ‘These proposals are terrifying. Making it easier to change gender removes all protection against medical manipulation. One academic study found that doctors in Oxfordshire were stopping male paedophiles from transitioning in order to win the confidence of children by appearing to be women. If the law changes, there will be no grounds to prevent abuses like this taking place.’ He said it is an attack on the family when children of 12 can change gender without parental consent; they are too young to understand the long-term effects of the decision. To see the paper go to

Published in British Isles
Friday, 06 October 2017 09:01

Scotland bans fracking

A decision by the Scottish government to ban fracking has been welcomed by the Church of Scotland. Church leaders said the vast majority of congregations oppose this controversial practice. They have now called for more opportunities to exploit greener energy sources, like wind. Adrian Shaw, the Church of Scotland's climate change officer said the Church is against fracking ‘primarily because of a need to build a low carbon economy’, adding, ‘Continuing dependence on fossil fuels, coal, and gas delays a low-carbon economy.’ He also said that the Church believes in the potential for Scotland to be fully green. ‘Our resources for wind power, hydropower, and tidal power are enormous here.’

Published in British Isles
Friday, 08 September 2017 10:21

Scotland: education gap

Nicola Sturgeon often says that she wishes to be judged as first minister on her government's record in education. She cares passionately about trying to close the attainment gap which sees pupils from better off homes performing better in school than children from more deprived backgrounds. But nearly three years after she became first minister, standards in Scottish schools have been judged by international measures to be slipping in reading, writing and maths. Her political opponents say she should be embarrassed by her record. On 5 September she said that education is the ‘defining mission’ of her government.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 04 August 2017 10:43

NHS: Drink deaths surge in Scotland

Alcohol deaths are at their highest level since the peak of the recession. Health boards that have slashed funding for problem drinking are the worst hit. Six of the seven Scottish health boards cut spending on Alcohol and Drug Partnerships by around £700,000 last year, causing a surge in the number of people dying as a result of alcohol abuse. NHS Lanarkshire, which cut funding by 10% in 2016/17 experienced a 14% year-on-year increase in alcohol-related deaths, the highest number in the region for a decade. The statistics, produced by the National Records of Scotland, exclude suicides and accidental deaths where alcohol may have played a part. Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said, ‘I will be refreshing our Alcohol Strategy later this year’ and promised to consider taking steps to tackle alcohol-related harm.

Published in British Isles

Economic experts warn that Scotland could be entering a recession. Scottish GDP performance lags behind the rest of Britain. Experts at the Fraser of Allander Institute say that the debate about Scotland's economy could easily be side-tracked by constitutional wrangling and discussions around the prospects for a second independence referendum. They fear politicians will use Brexit as an excuse for not undertaking an urgent and frank assessment of the best policies to support the Scottish economy. On the ecclesiastical front Scotland is becoming a post-religious society, with a clear majority of people abandoning organised faith. Six out of ten Scots identify as having no religion, while dwindling congregations and other societal factors have seen scores of church buildings disappear - many now existing only in battered photographs and distant memories. See

Published in British Isles
Friday, 16 June 2017 11:34

Scotland: pray blessing and healing

The Pray for Scotland newsletter reminds us to focus on seeking God’s perspective on what is happening to and within the UK, ignoring media chatter, and to ‘be still’ and hear from the One who holds the destiny and future of nations in His hands. We must keep praying for God to bless our Government as it enters the uncharted waters of Brexit. Pray for a time of calm reflection, and above all pray for God to heal the divisions there undoubtedly are in Scotland and throughout the UK. Psalm 60:2 reads, ‘You have shaken the land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking’. So we need to pray that Father God will indeed ‘seal the cracks’ in whatever way he chooses to make that happen. Some politicians may have to change their attitudes to one of greater co-operation for the good of the nation - whatever it takes.

Published in British Isles
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