Persecuting Kate Forbes

(Photo: Scottish Parliament)

It's happening again. After the demise of Humza Yousaf as Scottish First Minister and with perverse predictability, the witch-hunt within Scotland's wokerati is on again. It's time for the 'Anyone but Kate' campaign because while it appears that having a Muslim First Minister is something to be celebrated, a Scottish Christian Presbyterian in Bute House is to be feared, sneered at and viciously mocked.

The Daily Record's Political Editor, Paul Hutcheon, kicked off with claims that voting for Kate Forbes would be voting for the 'candidate of the 19th Century' or 'one of those awful right-wing Republicans in the US'. Such chronological snobbery and political illiteracy is sadly not unexpected from some political journalists, although thankfully not all – the impeccably left-wing Kevin McKenna of the Herald, Guardian and National has actually consistently condemned the anti-Christian bigotry of his fellow journalists.

This week, however, it reached a new low with a bitter, hateful, and ignorant hit piece of invective from Times journalist Kenny Farquharson. It was so shocking that even avowed political opponents and atheists have whispered how shocking it is (of course such is the current poisonous atmosphere in Scotland that they dare only whisper). Because the article is behind a paywall, I will quote extensively from it here, but suffice to say it is badly written, astonishingly incoherent, historically illiterate, and full of dishonest hate speech. So, let's dive into these murky waters.

First, note how prejudice colours political judgement. Farquharson recognises – as do the vast majority of informed, intelligent commentators - that Kate Forbes is by far the most competent of the SNP leaders.

"Forbes has ideas and energy. She has a vision of how to tool Scotland for the challenges of the age: poverty; productivity; artificial intelligence; net zero. She has shown herself to be open to a pro-business agenda while protecting benefits for the poorest families. She speaks the language of public sector reform with a conviction absent in most of her peers."

But none of this matters apparently, because according to Furquharson, "Whoever leads Scotland next, it can't be Kate Forbes."

Despite the fact that, by his own admission, she would govern the country better than anyone else, and despite the fact that from a nationalist point of view she is the only leader capable of saving the independence cause, absolutely none of this matters. And not because of her religion. No, it is because of Farquharson's - and Patrick Harvie's, Nicola Sturgeon's and Paul Hutcheon's. It is the religion of all the nameless cultural Marxists who have taken over most of Scotland's main systems. No one must be allowed in any public forum unless they bow the knee to the 'progressive' gods.

Although Farquharson talks about Forbes not being able to represent Scotland in all its diversity, that is Orwellian newspeak for precisely the opposite. It is because she is diverse and differs from Farquharson's elitist opinions, that it must be anyone but Kate. Left or Right it doesn't matter. As long as they accept The Only Truth.

"Kate Forbes is unfit to be first minister of a 21st-century Scotland. A 1920s Scotland, maybe. A 1950s Scotland, perhaps. But not Scotland in 2024."

Note the chronological snobbery. It is part of the Progressive Creed that being in 2024 automatically makes you better than if you were in the 1920s and 1950s. There are many living in Scotland today who despair at just how far Scotland has regressed since these times, but for Farquharson the nightmare of his Handmaid's Tale is that anything modern must be better. It's not rational. It's not capable of any proof. But none of that matters. The mantra must be repeated as an endless meme.

Farquharson then boasts that Yousaf being "the first Muslim to lead a national government in the western world" is "an extraordinary badge of honour for Scotland". The inconsistency here is astonishing. One assumes that Farquharson has no idea what Islam teaches on gay rights or abortion. But perhaps as a journalist you would think he would at least have a passing awareness of how homosexuals are treated in many Muslim countries – including Pakistan, the country of origin of Yousaf's father? Or maybe Kenny is so blinded by US culture wars that he really thinks 'Queers for Gaza' makes sense?

What he writes next is just as astonishing: "What message would a Kate Forbes first ministership send? That single mothers are sinners? That sex outside marriage is wrong? That ghouls should be allowed to stand in the street outside abortion clinics muttering incantations? That most of us in secular Scotland are going to hell?"

The lies and misrepresentation are so obvious that it is almost unnecessary to point them out. But such is the level of irrationality and disdain for truth in Farquharson's Brave New Scotland that, point them out we must. A Kate Forbes ministership would say to single mothers that they are as loved as anyone else. It would not be making adultery or sex outside marriage illegal – but one would hope that there would be some nod to the idea of sexual morality. In a Christian society it is possible to argue that something is immoral without criminalising it. In a secular progressive society – where the State replaces God – it is precisely the opposite. Everything disapproved must be outlawed.

Does Farquharson care about the many people's lives, especially among the poor, who have been blighted and ruined by the middle-class immorality of the bourgeoisie he represents? Calling those who want to protest against the death of innocent babies, or offer support and help to pregnant women, 'ghouls' is cheap and ugly journalism. Besides which it is an own goal given that Forbes voted in favour of the ban on protests outside abortion clinics.

As for secular Scotland going to Hell, there are some in Scotland who think we are already well on the way there. They have created a desert and called it paradise. The purpose of Christians is to save people from Hell. The purpose of propagandists like Farquharson is to keep them there.

Next, Farquharson smears both Forbes and the Covenanters she is likened to in the same breath. Perhaps we can forgive Farquharson for knowing nothing about theology or Islam, but as a Scottish journalist we surely have a right to expect him to know something of Scottish history. The Covenanters, like all people, had their faults, but without them we would not have modern Scotland. They believed in limited government, Lex Rex (the law is king, not the other way round), and some degree of religious toleration. Yet thousands of them were judicially murdered. Take for example the Wigtown martyrs, Margaret McLauchlin aged 63 and Margaret Wilson, just 18, who were executed by drowning because they refused to bow the knee to the State's edict on how they should worship.

Kate Forbes is the heir of those women. Kenny Farquharson is the heir of the persecuting Establishment who would doubtless have been writing a piece in The Times celebrating the removal of such dangerous women who did not represent 'Scotland's values' if he'd been around at the time!

Farquharson then goes on to write that he wants a Scotland where "punitive Presbyterianism is taught as history rather than modern studies". Yet we don't and haven't had punitive Presbyterianism for several hundred years in Scotland. For Farquharson to imply that Forbes would want to bring this back (even if she could) is deliberate slander. The irony is that he is writing in defence of a government which has just brought in a new highly punitive blasphemy law, the Hate Crime Act. Punitive Presbyterianism is not the issue in modern Scotland. Instead, it is punitive progressivism, backed up by the full power of the State, and cheered on by progressive journalists which is now the real issue.

In yet more glaring inconsistencies, Farquharson then says he wants the 21st century "to be the very first in Scotland's story where religious belief and ecclesiastical power did not routinely dictate the way people were governed or lived their day-to-day lives". But what kind of secular Scotland? One where there is genuine diversity and equality? Where a woman who believes the Bible could actually be First Minister (why believing the Quran is acceptable but not the Bible I'm not sure)? Farquharson seems to be very happy for those who share his religious/philosophical beliefs to wield their secular power and dictate to us how we are governed and live our day to day lives (thank you Hate Crime Act), because in modern Scotland we are told what to eat, drink, what we can use to heat our homes, and now even what we can or cannot say within the privacy of our own families! The old Kirk Session has nothing on the new Secular Stasi!

Turning his attention to abortion, Farquharson says he wants a Scotland where there is no need to "fear any US-style curbs on a woman's right to choose an abortion". What is it about progressive journalists who in the name of wanting to stop culture wars, keep introducing US culture wars? The only way that US style laws on abortion would be introduced in Scotland would be if Farquharson's extremist views were actually put into practice. There are currently limits on abortion in Scotland. Does Kenny want the system in some US states where there is abortion on demand up to birth? What about partial birth abortion? Is he really arguing for no restriction on abortion? Anyway, why stop there? Why shouldn't we just regress a bit further and go back to the 'right' to kill your unwanted infant? Then we would be back in pre-Christian Greco/Roman/Pagan times.

There is yet more insinuated falsehood when Farquharson writes that he wants a Scotland that "celebrates every child, regardless of their mother's marital status or sexuality", conveniently setting himself up as the celebrator of every child and mother while demonising the woman who is a mother as some kind of heartless witch. Besides which, does Farquharson really believe in celebrating every child when he wants to permit some to be killed in the womb? And when it comes to 'celebrating' every sexuality, one suspects that even he would have some scruples?

Further on, Farquharson says he "would prefer a politician whose values chimed with the nation he or she sought to lead". What Farquharson is really saying is that he wants a politician whose values chime with his - and he wants all of civic Scotland to share exactly the same values. Those of us who do not are 'untermensch' to be despised and disdained; no equality and diversity in Kenny's Brave New Scotland. I remember a BBC producer telling me that he wanted me to appear on his show because I represented the views of at least 50 per cent of Scotland's population – a 50 per cent he admitted the BBC would never represent. In the echo chamber that Times journalists live in, I'm sure Kenny finds that everyone agrees with his values but don't pretend that that is anywhere near all of the nation.

Farquharson then makes the astonishing accusation that Forbes has "cast herself as a victim" and "martyr" in the 13 months since losing the last SNP leadership contest. "She has characterised her opponents as enemies of freedom of worship," he claims. "This is misdirection. The problem is not faith, per se. The problem is the way her particular faith intersects with our public polity."

Again, that is just a straight out lie. Forbes has behaved with great dignity and has never played the victim card. Neither did she characterise her opponents as enemies of freedom of worship. It is one thing for Farquharson to disagree with Forbes's views. It is quite another for him to make up her views and then disagree with his own fantasy version of them!

He continues that the "problem" apparently is not her beliefs but "her opinions". In the deconstructivist world of columnist journalism, I'm sure that makes some kind of sense. For the rest of us it's just meaningless babble. Why should a belief that a man can't become a woman be less offensive than the opinion that a man can't become a woman? When Forbes says, (like the Pope, the moderator of the Church of Scotland etc) that marriage is given by God and is between a man and a woman, that is not her opinion but rather a belief from her faith, just as Farquharson's views on marriage fit with his faith. If morality is just a matter of opinion, then it means that the rich and powerful, the class represented by The Times readers and writers, will basically get to make up their own morality.

He then suggests that young girls in single-parent households on troubled estates would be unable to have any pride under a national leader "who disapproves of their very existence". Of all the lies, this is the most breathtakingly audacious and cruel. Forbes does not disapprove of any one's existence, least of all the poor. The one thing about Forbes that puts her streets ahead of her opposition is her genuine commitment to the poor and the marginalised. Not for her the comfort of the metro-elites, discussing poverty in the abstract, and comfort of their heat pump-filled homes.

Perhaps growing up in the poverty of India, or perhaps because she actually believes what Jesus says about the poor, Forbes is way more radical than any of her detractors. I lived among the poor in Dundee, Scotland's fourth-largest city, and the progressive ideology espoused by Farquharson has done them nothing but harm. The young girl in Raploch is going to find far more in common with the young mum from the Highlands than she will with the Times journalist.

The double standards continue when Farquharson claims to "want a Scotland marked by generosity of spirit, not punitive social conservatism". The irony of this being said in an article that shows very little of this "generosity of spirit" cannot be lost. And once again we have to point out – for the hard of hearing – that it is social progressivism which is the most punitive in Scotland just now. Exhibit one, your Honour, the punitive witch-hunt of this article.

He then asserts that the "authentic strain of rural Scottish Presbyterianism" represented by Forbes "cannot successfully reconcile the moral strictures of the Free Church with the values of contemporary urban Scotland in all its diversity and dynamism". We've already seen that Farquharson has a somewhat strained relationship with the truth, and a lack of historical and theological understanding. Now it appears he doesn't even know his own country.

The attempt to smear the Free Church as some kind of rural Highland backwater (yes Farquharson, we know the code – it's the implicit anti-teuchter racism so often found in the Glasgow and Edinburgh metro elites) betrays an ignorance of both the historic and current Free Church which is largely growing in the urban centres. What Farquharson is telling people like me, a fellow Free Church Scot, is that we have no place in modern 'diverse' Scotland.

The truth is that Kate Forbes would be ideal as First Minister of Scotland, which is why the SNP establishment doesn't want her to become First Minister of Scotland. One does have to wonder, having read this bile, what right Farquharson has to be employed as a journalist in a reputable newspaper like The Times. If he had written in the same terms about Yousaf's Muslim faith, as he has about Forbes', he would be out of a job and probably in court under modern Scotland's hate crime laws.

So, I have decided, if you can't beat them, join them. I have reported Mr Farquharson for a hate crime. There is no other way. In attempting to engage with him and his anti-Christian bigotry in the past, he just ended up blocking me. I consider his article to be a hate crime against Christians who believe the Bible and it has already resulted in significant abuse and mockery.

His only reason for Kate Forbes not being fit to be First Minister is her faith and her membership of the Free Church of Scotland. Under the Hate Crime Act, religious beliefs are protected from those who want to stir up hatred. There is no doubt that any 'reasonable' person would see the hatred and abuse in this article. The police have promised they will investigate such reports. I hope they are good to their word. Feel free to join me by reporting him as well!

More importantly pray for Scotland, pray for Kate Forbes and for all her enemies. And pray for Kenny Farquharson. There was once a man called Saul who persecuted the church. He later called himself 'the chief of sinners' after he was blinded by the light and ultimately came to be known as Paul - the great messenger of Christ whose influence eventually reached and revolutionised Scotland itself. Lord, do it again!

David Robertson is the minister of Scots Kirk Presbyterian Church in Newcastle, New South Wales. He blogs at The Wee Flea.