Scratching the surface

"If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?" James 2.16


On the news last night came another announcement of Scotland's shame: the worst drugs problem in Europe and getting worse. An expert repeated the link to poverty and then came a series of promises from the Scottish government to throw more money at the situation. But no mention of tackling the root cause: poverty!


Drug addicts don't need more or different drugs, they need better lives. Rather than squandering money on alternative narcotics or safe havens for maintaining addictive habits, we need better housing, access to jobs and education. Over-reliance on tourism, finance and the service sector has lined the pockets of the favoured few but it has skewed Scotland's economy away from what we used to be really good at and what may better suit our national temperament: industry.


If we are to capitalise on our opportunity to serve the world by harnessing our unparalleled natural resources of renewable energy, we need to reconstruct our ability to design and build things: from the machinery that will extract and store the energy to the cables that will channel it, not to mention the ships and ferries that will transport us and our equipment around and the infrastructure that will hold everything together and support its operation.


Rising to the challenges of the hour offers Scotland's best chance of dealing with our debilitating problems. But we need to think beyond applying sticking plasters to gaping wounds, we need to call the bluff of those who insist we could never manage our own destiny. Christians are especially well placed to lead by example - because we believe in life after and before death; so we have nothing to fear and everything to live for...

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