Church of Scotland calls for integrity and community to be at the heart of the debate about Scotland’s future

The Church of Scotland has today launched Imagining Scotland’s Future: Our Vision. The report is based on the views of over 900 people who attended 32 community events run by the Kirk as an alternative national debate on the referendum. The events were held right across Scotland over the past 12 months.

The discussion panel at the launch in John Knox House, Edinburgh featured Baroness Goldie former Scottish Conservative Leader, representing the Better Together campaign, Rt Rev Lorna Hood, panel chair and Moderator of the General Assembly, Dr Alison Elliott of the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations commenting on behalf of civic society and Roseanna Cunningham, Scottish Government minister representing the Yes campaign.

Examples of the conclusions:

• The referendum is about far more than the simple question “what is in it for me?” The idea that being £500 better off or worse off would affect how people vote was conspicuous by its absence in all the 32 events. Instead participants prioritised the building of local communities on the principles of fairness, justice and sharing of resources
• Dissatisfaction with the political system at all levels, not just Westminster or Holyrood also featured strongly. Participants wanted to see integrity, accountability and transparency, being able to hold politicians accountable between elections and for the party system to be less powerful
• Call for radical changes including far greater local decision-making and for politicians to see themselves as public servants in a more participative democracy
• A modern, successful economy needs limits placed on free market forces; business models should be more focused towards the employee and more value driven. There was a willingness to consider alternative and more progressive models of taxation to build a better society
• There was a strong expression of the need for prayer and for the Church to be involved in social action and in promoting Christian values such as love, hope, respect and forgiveness, as the fundamental building blocks to contributing towards the common good

Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society said: “It is an inspiration to see that people in communities across Scotland are challenging the political status quo. The Church of Scotland is committed to finding ways to transform our political debate to ensure that wellbeing and values, such as justice, cohesion and sustainability become the measures for economic activity.”

Attending the launch of the report in John Knox House, Royal Mile Edinburgh at 9.30am to respond to its contents will be Roseanna Cunningham MSP and former Scottish Conservative Leader Annabel Goldie MSP, representing both sides of the referendum debate along with the chair of the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations, Dr Alison Elliot who will comment on behalf of civic society.