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The real winner

"You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel." Matthew 23.24

Last night's Scottish election leadership debate was interesting, not least because all the candidates acquitted themselves well and it was the interviewer who was left looking foolish - on at least three occasions. The first was when he asked for a show of hands on income tax and the second when he posed a trivial question about the Prime Minister's plans to build a new Royal Yacht; the third was his failure adequately to address the more important issues such as climate change, fishing and rural depopulation.

Jesus berated the Pharisees of his day for being similarly off-message, making a big deal of secondary issues and starving people of the opportunities they really needed. At the end of the day it boils down to engagement, the willingness to get involved. In the military there was a saying "You have to be in it to win it!"

Tomorrow's election is a case in point. The failure at least to visit a polling station amounts to opting out of the chance to make a small yet significant contribution to the way we are governed. Voting comes around occasionally and that raises the stakes. But similarly important are the myriad decisions facing us every day, each of which will have its own impact - large or small. And sometimes the apparently trivial turn out to matter more than the issues we thought were headlines.



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