Homoforbes, the Highlands, and Homophobia

It’s the 2020 election and as a young Gaidheal, it’s the first election I have voted in since returning to the Highlands. Like many, I’m reading the Daily Gael, memes and comments flooded with an air of celebration as new Gaelic-speaking candidate Kate Forbes is elected. A meme of Kate raising a paper with a reference to Gaelic medium schooling is going viral.

But I’m not celebrating, sitting aghast as my own community celebrate an opposer of my own rights.

You guessed it, I’m a queer woman. 

I first became aware of Kate Forbes when she made the first speech in Gaelic to the Scottish Parliament. As an impressed independence voter, it was heartening to see. Following her speech, I took to the Internet like many to find out more about her background and policies. An initial impression of Kate was positive. She proposes making improvements to ferry networks in the Highlands a priority and she is vocal about the challenges faced by young people finding housing in the Highlands acknowledging the rise of Airbnb. All massive issues for both young highlanders and Gaelic speakers fighting to keep a language in an area where Indigenous speakers are struggling to stay. You could be forgiven if before her run for first minister her free church background went above your head. I myself was first alerted to her attitudes on LGBTQ+ people when a friend in the Gaelic circle alerted me to her Abstention from a vote on gay marriage.  

The red flags start to mount.

Forbes has made her position clear. Starting with various Abstentions from various LGBTQ+ In a reply to Stonewall during the campaign to ban conversion therapy Kate sighted that Christian views should be protected. It would seem harmless if Lewis within her constituency wasn’t one of the places sighted during the campaign by Stonewall as having conversion therapy still taking place in the UK. Since then she has been quoted on numerous occasions with highlights ranging from making it clear she would not have voted for same-sex marriage if she had been a politician in 2014 to openly opposing her own party’s gender recognition act claiming she was persuaded to vote for it by Nicola Sturgeon and arguing against its continuation in court. Ms Forbes said when the law passed. Aside from LGBTQ+ issues she has also made her pro-life stance clear. 

It raises the question, should representatives be required to support the policies of the party to which they belong? Kate would surely argue her faith allows it. It is also interesting that her commitment to independence is never questioned when such a stance is taken opposing her own party? Perhaps this is a sign of a wider albeit unconscious bias within the SNP when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues.

Kate has not been the only free church member to cause a setback for LGBTQ+ rights In the Highlands in recent years. In a meeting of all free church councillors on the isle of Lewis a decision was made that the islands would not be upholding the Scottish government’s commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusive social and sex education in schools. Meaning that LGBTQ+ teenagers already in an area off vulnerability would not receive much needed Support from schools.  The social and sex education in schools exclusion and the Hebrides could be seen as an isolated issue or perhaps just a group of small-minded independent acting locals but it showed a level of homophobia still runs through the Gaidhealtachd. The exclusion has however since been repealed. 

I would also forgive you if my prior typing’s had led you to believe I felt the highlands were simply homophobic. A backwards isolated area with still locking up the play parks on a Sunday.. luckily you’d be wrong. 

It hasn’t always been this way.

Charles Kennedy, former head of the liberal democrat party and Lochaber MP from 1983-2015 had a close to immaculate voting record on LGBTQ+ rights. Almost unrecognisable in comparison to today’s liberal party Kennedy campaigned actively against the infamous section 28 and in his long time in government turned up to vote for all but one LGBTQ+ vote citing illness. Overseeing the act to protect LGBTQ+ asylum seekers, reforms of blood donation policies of course voting for gay marriage, even the original gender recognition act and leaving the highlands itself with a progressive voting record on human rights. 

As Alistair Jack (incidentally holding the same position as Lord Stair at the time of the Glencoe Massacre) contests devolution over an LGBTQ+ subject it’s important to take a moment to look at queer rights within the Scottish parliament. At the end of the day, Forbes has a choice in the party that she chooses to be a part of,  she has a choice in the religion that she follows and a choice to represent the people of the Highlands. Queer people do not have a choice but to exist. 

To be an LGBTQ+ plus member of the Gaelic community is to battle with cross-community issues. Based in the Highlands Gaelic events are an important part of my social calendar. LGBTQ+ events in the Highlands are low on the ground. Also Gaelic events provide a much-welcomed network. As a queer woman in the Highlands it feels deeply personal to have people around you vote against your own community. With scarcely little time since we were given a voice as a community in the first place to have our representation dismissed, or worse, dangerous it’s hard to stomach particularly at a local level where it can feel  as though homophobia is all around us in our politicians, our local likelies or even our friends.

I urge highland voters, particularly the Gaelic community, to have a long hard think Forbes represents our community in the modern world. Do we want to be seen as the backward old fashioned little village in the middle of nowhere? Are the modern thriving community that is a place for everyone regardless of sexuality or gender.   

Yes it is true that these issues are not isolated to the highland or the Gaelic community and do effect Scotland as a whole, however, as an LGBTQ+ Gaelic speaker it as hard to see policies such as this so directly affecting the islands as it is to see a Gaelic speaker so regaled by the Gaelic community openly speak out against my other community. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what she does for Gaelic it is impossible for me to support someone who opposes my very own human rights. Furthermore, I have seen very little from Kate by way of direct support for Gaelic more than a short speech. 

I urge the Gaelic and Highland community to consider who we are as a group. There is a responsibility amongst us not only to protect the area and language but its people,  and like every community LGBTQ+ people deserve a place where their lives are not politicised. 



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  1. Tim Hoy says:

    I’m pretty sick of people (especially those with power and influence) using their faith as an excuse for propagating hatred. The people who identify crofters, small rural communities and isolated parts as backward and narrow minded tend to be the ones who merely expose their own bias, prejudices and silliness, but many who share the same bigoted opinions will of course lap it up as validating their nonsense and so it goes on.

    1. SteveH says:

      Hi Tim. Do you really believe that she is propagating “hatred”?

      LGBTQA+ is the new religion and orthodoxy which is less democratic and more authoritarian than today’s Christianity.

      Many gays reject the “queer” label as offensive. Queer theory is a post-modernist plaything for people more intent on disrupting society.

      Anyone coming under the ludicrous banner of LGBTQA+ have more protection now, receive more tolerance and support than ever before. Yet it is not enough.

      This is the tyranny of the trendy minority.

      We live in a world in crisis with many peoples facing an existential threat, and yet there a bunch of privileged people demanding we drop everything and deal with this narcissistic nonsense on pain of being cancelled!

      If, as I had, you had grown up in severe poverty with everything stacked against you you’d know what real injustice is all about.

      1. Derek Thomson says:

        I asked you in another thread which “slum school” you went to. It wasn’t because I wanted to know where you lived, I was genuinely curious as to what your definition of “slum” was. In the same spirit, what is your definition of “extreme poverty” please?

        1. Derek Thomson says:

          “Severe” rather than extreme.

  2. Michelle S says:

    What a nonsense of a piece. Smears and misinformation, not to mention Lewis is not within Kate Forbes constituency.

    1. Màiri Mhòr says:

      Correct my own comments have been deleted. This piece also suggest Katie Forbes is alone in her views. She is not. She is supported by catholics, Muslims and atheists. I this is a vague piece which characterises Highland people as incapable of intellectual thought beyond religion. This is a epply problematic piece and Bella would do well to have more vetting of the credentials of writers. A few Gaelic classes does not make one a ‘Gaidheal’

      1. Derek Thomson says:

        Whereas you’re characterising them as all being united against gay marriage. I would hope that’s not the case.

        1. Mairi mhor says:

          Most highland people support gay marriage of religions and non. I’m not saying they don’t. But what many people do not support is LGBTQ ideology. LGBTQ ideology erases womanhood. LGBTQ ideology promotes the commercialisation of women’s bodies through commercial surrogacy as form of ‘reproductive right.’ LGBTQ ideology promotes the sexualisation of women bodies. LGBTQ ideology promotes prostitution as ‘sex-work.’ LGBTQ ideology goes after harmless old people. LGBTQ ideology goes after religious people who see their religion as a moral code for how to be in the world. It’s not their fault. It’s just how they were brought up. But LGBTQ ideology is blind to this and love a witch hunt and people are so done with it. LGBTQ groups are simply a nouveau inquisition and being used for power. All of these groups should be removed from schools because they are the most regressive woman hating people I’ve ever experienced. There’s so much representation of gay men as being friends of women. I’ve found them to be women haters like nothing else. Because of these groups I now deeply distrust gay men. I didn’t feel like that in the 90s. They want women to shut up. They want women to be invisible and quiet. And that’s NOT progressive.

          1. SleepingDog says:

            @Mairi mhor, indeed, it might be a regression to the politics of ancient Greece, which I once formally studied.

          2. Derek Williams says:

            Since 2018, I have been Meetings Secretary of the roughly 700-strong Edinburgh University Staff Pride Network: https://www.ed.ac.uk/equality-diversity/edi-groups/staffpride-network, the LGBT+ community of Edinburgh University academics and ancillary staff, roughly half of whom are cisgender women, including a significant number of transgender members and heterosexual allies. Same goes for the UoE student LGBT+ union alongside similar groups at other Scottish universities.

            I have previously been involved in other LGBT+ activist organisations including a stint from 1991-98 as Co-Convenor of the Gay & Lesbian Teachers & Students Association in Australia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_and_Lesbian_Teachers_and_Students_Association, roughly half of whom were women, including a significant number of transgender members and heterosexual allies.

            In New Zealand up to 1985, I was likewise involved in LGBT+ politics, spearheaded by a cisgender woman, Fran Wilde MP: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran_Wilde, whose homosexual law reform bill succeeded in bringing about the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the following year. Since then, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland and England alike, have all introduced same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination legislation, none of which could have been accomplished without the wholehearted commitment of cisgender women including lesbians, transgender women and heterosexual allies, mainly parents: https://pflag.org/

            My late mother was a cisgender heterosexual woman; so were my two grandmothers, my two aunts, my sister, my several cousins, and my piano teacher. I never hated a single one of them, without whom I would not exist as a human being, nor as a musician. I have always respected women, and loved the women in my family dearly to this day.

            I am aware that misogyny exists in all facets of society, and no doubt it must exist somewhere in our LGBT+ communities as well, but it does not in any sense represent any of the many LGBT+ movements in which I have been actively involved over the past 50 years. Where it does exist, it is the exception rather than the rule. So, where are you getting your information from? Fox News?

          3. SleepingDog says:

            @Derek Williams, your glowing self-audit might be less helpful than you imagine, for several reasons (I’m not inclined to enlighten you), but anyway easily undermined if, for example, you have recently made comments on a social media site that moderators had to remove because their misogynistic content violated policy.

          4. Derek Williams says:

            @Sleeping Dog You dismissed as a “glowing self-audit” my entire post refuting the post I was responding to, that was alleging arrant misogyny in the LGBT+ sector, yet you did not explain why.

            Concerning your other outrageous insinuation, I do not post ‘misogynistic comments that have removed by moderators’, but if you have such knowledge, then you must be a moderator on this mysterious, unnamed site yourself, in which case you can name it here and now and repost the gist. Your equally mysterious “several reasons” I cannot of course respond to, since you didn’t adduce a single one of them.

          5. Derek Thomson says:

            I think, Derek, Sleeping Dog has made the mistake of believing that all persons with Derek in their name are the same person. It’s my belief that he is referring to a post of mine which was removed, which was not misogynist in any way. It was a knowingly offensive reply to a question which was put in such a way as to bring the subject into the realm of tabloid languagese and I was not willing to bring the debate down to that level. I can understand why Mike removed it though.

          6. SleepingDog says:

            @Dereks, apologies for any confusion, but my larger points stand. The idea of subjective self-audit has surely been debunked by now? It seems to hark back to the dark days of introspective Psychology (as my Behaviourist mentors related them) although anything may make a comeback, it seems. What we let slip in our unguarded moments, the incremental cultural choices we make, these are gold dust to the data miners.

          7. Derek Williams says:

            @Sleeping Dog Thank you for clarifying. My response was not an “audit” of any kind. It was a recollection of my personal experiences that challenge the poster’s claim that LGBT+ people are misogynists. Misogyny appears in all strata of society, but it’s not something I personally feel or have experienced in over 50 years of activism. I can only speak for myself.

  3. Tom Ultuous says:

    Over and above her anti-LGBTQ+ stance, she trashed the SNP govt’s record during the leadership debate. It was no wonder the gutter Tory press were campaigning for her. And that’s to say nothing of her husband turning up at a Tory leadership hustings open only to Tory party members.


    1. Michelle S says:

      ‘Her husband’ A woman is responsible for her husband and vice versa? Yet she’s called the regressive one? oh dear the so-called progressive men of Scotland always show themselves up to be anything but.

      1. Tom Ultuous says:

        If being wary of someone who threw gutter Tory press propaganda at Humza Yusef during the leadership debate and whose partner is a member of the current (fascist) Tory party isn’t “progressive” then yes, I’m definitely not progressive.

        1. Michelle S says:

          So now she is in control of the press too. Who knew she was so powerful!
          Again who her husband aligns himself with is not her problem.
          As for Humza Yousaf he is the one aligning himself with Brian Soutar and fossil fuel interests. Ask him to explain his rightward leaning and stop blaming Kate Forbes for the actions of men around her.

          1. Tom Ultuous says:

            Where did I say she was in control of the press? The fact she agreed with them and regurgitated their lying propaganda was enough. Couple that with “by your friends so shall ye be known” and she certainly shouldn’t be anywhere near the leadership of the SNP.

            As for Yousaf and Soutar, I don’t see it as any different to Salmond & Sturgeon holding their noses and sucking up to the royals. Getting independence is the goal. However we get there is fine by me but slagging off your own party’s record (which was much better than the Tory’s record) isn’t the way to go about it.

          2. Michelle S says:

            Yes slagged off Yousaf not the party. And Yousaf is now turning his back on his own policies he outlined during the leadership campaign. And your hypocrisy at giving him. Salmond and Sturgeon a pass and not Forbes is off the scale.

          3. Tom Ultuous says:

            What scale would that be? Did Yousaf, Sturgeon or Salmond slag off their own party’s record in government?

    2. John says:

      Yes I wasn’t sure whether she was being naive when she did this or scheming thinking she wouldn’t win but she would give the media a stick to beat HY with when he won.
      Similarly many MSP’s have religious faith but manage to divorce this from their political career but again she wasn’t able (or willing) to do this.
      I genuinely wondered due to her naive/erratic behaviour whether she actually wanted leadership role at this point but just wanted to put a marker down. She could have easily just said she didn’t want to be leader at this point in her life and everyone would have respected this.
      She had previously appeared to me to be very able so I was very disappointed with how she performed in leadership election especially as the competition was hardly devastating.
      I do think the higher profile she has chosen to give to her religious beliefs is going to make it very difficult for her for any future leadership bid. Like most people these days I consider religious beliefs a personal issue best kept to yourself which should be of no relevance to anyone else.

      1. Michelle S says:

        She was upfront and honest about her faith and it’s importance to her. She also recognised that Scotland is a pluralistic society and she would accept the consensus. You prefer your politicians to be sleekit, rowing back on their promises as soon as they get power? Haven’t we had enough of that?

    3. Derek Thomson says:

      She should have been instantly dismissed from the party for the words she used during her campaign to be First Minister. That is indisputable. I speak (type) as a party member.

  4. 240112 says:

    Voters should certainly take Kate’s moral views into consideration when deciding who they want to represent them in the Scottish parliament.

    Has anyone told Alasdair Allan that he’s not really the MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar?

  5. Andrew Wilson says:

    Tha mi ag aontachadh riut; ‘s e stri airson coimhearsnachd nas fheàrr nas ceartaiche nas socaire ( better , fairer, gentler) nach e?

  6. John Wood says:

    I’m sorry but I profoundly disagree with the whole tenor of this. Kate Forbes is an honest, hard-working politician who (unusually) has principles and ethics she is prepared to defend. I don’t necessarily agree with all her views but I defend her right to hold them. She has not demonstrated hatred towards any group.

    On the contrary, Eilidh, your article strikes me as intolerant cancel culture. You assume that anyone who does not agree with you is somehow unacceptable, even abusive. That there are only abusers and victims. I don’t accept that at all.

    I do not accept the existence of an LGBTQi+ ‘community’. I believe it is a manufactured concept. In fact it seems to me that LGB people have suffered at the hands of the transgenderists more than anyone. Gender – and sexual orientation – are biological, and not matters of personal choice or ‘assignment’ by authority. I do not support the undermining of the gender identity of children and vulnerable people for political or commercial gain. I do not support conversion therapy whether aimed at changing sexual orientation or gender itself.

    I fully expect that you and others will now scream abuse at me and demand I be silenced. I will not be. It is not OK to attack people on the basis of claimed victimhood, and thereby just create new victims.

    If you want to discuss issues like this, do it with respect and accept that neither ‘side’ may be completely ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Live and let live. And quit the hostility.

    1. Jim Anderson says:

      Well,said John.

    2. Paddy Farrington says:

      I re-read Eilidh’s article twice after reading your response to it, and to be honest I don’t really understand why it should anger you so. Moreover, I had the distinct sense that some of what you criticize it for applies to what you’ve written: why be so hostile?

    3. SleepingDog says:

      @John Wood, indeed, I agree that the idea of a LGBTQ+ community is a political confection. If my notes are accurate, authors of Bad Gays: a Homosexual History (Verso, also a podcast) Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller attribute the idea to Harry Hay, founder of Mattachine Society. Basically it is easier to gain rights if you present a broad front; but they say that broadly speaking male homosexuals historically tended to ditch the rest once they achieved their political targets, noting that this umbrella coalition split after rich white gays get access to lifesaving drug protection against HIV-AIDS and move to mainstream (eg gay marriage, military service), as happened in Netherlands, where post-9/11 racist Pim Fortuyn topped polls.

      p286 “Fortuyn embodies the compatibility between a pro-homosexual politics, racism, and the far right, the way that a certain kind of ‘live and let live’ attitude at the heart of liberal gay politics can transform into a wave of immigrant-bashing hatred that can then turn back on queers themselves. His sweeping success in local and national elections before being murdered by an animal rights activist made him an emblem of the global far right.” Aberration or future of Western gay politics?

      I think this example properly makes a nonsense of the idea of a LGBTQ+ community, which is why I prefer using the term L*G*B*T constellation, which hopefully nobody finds offensive. Who could object to belonging to a star cluster?

      The direction of travel of the 2023 Doctor Who specials [SPOILERS] suggest the Netherlands case is more than an aberration (aliens as treacherously evil asylum seekers plotting to murder your trans kids, aliens as evil terrorists who can pass for us, aliens as rule-fixated Euro-terrorists, aliens as evil gypsy-Jew Travellers who live amongst us abducting and sacrificing our babies in plucky Brexit Britain which rises to the authoritarian occasion on its own yet again as all must be killed, expelled or at least sent to Space-Rwanda, but preferably killed by a Church). For aliens read foreigners or ethnic minorities.

      Just because you don’t positively embrace gay marriage doesn’t make you a homophobe, as veteran activist Peter Tatchell should know more than most.
      If you already have civil partnership, then is marriage (which is subsidised by the UK state) a logical step forward? My understanding is that the subsidy is largely justified on the basis of helping people preparing to have children, and although loosely targeted (infertile heterosexual couples gain the subsidy) it seems basically functional. Obviously various forms of couples can foster and adopt, but then child benefit kicks in. Yes, by various means, gay couples can have children, but then so can all kinds of groupings. I don’t think that abstaining from a gay marriage vote necessarily identifies you as a homophobe, especially if there are already civil partnerships or similar on offer.

      I think your points on the diversity of views within the L*G*B*T constellation are very reasonable, and should be raised every time someone claims or implies that the views and wishes of a ‘LGBTQ+ community’ are somehow monolithic and don’t regularly and fundamentally conflict, however inconvenient for some who want to present the impression of a broad, united coalition all staunchly behind the latest thing to come out of trans-era Stonewall or worse still claim to speak on their behalf. A lot of people want to hide the fact there were a lot of gay Nazis, not to mention the British imperial elite, and presumably of every political persuasion from fawning royalist to steely communist.

      Oh, and Lemmey and Miller say the most socially conservative group in the Netherlands were elderly Christians, but it’s just easier to demonise immigrants, innit?

    4. SteveH says:

      Well said.

  7. SteveH says:

    The problem most people have is not whether anyone is gay or some other flavour of sexuality, but that activists want to make it the front and centre of everyone’s lives.

    This is going to shock you but in this day and age no one gives a damn what sexuality you are. That battle was (quite rightly) won a long time ago. To wear it as a badge of honour, or as some indication of superiority or attractiveness seems to be more akin to narcissism than a victim status. It simply does not make you special.

    The other issue is that the acronym LBGTQA+ is meaningless. Most L and G as individuals have nothing significant in common. Queer Theory is just a philosophical disrupter. Trans is a cause celeb which demands there be no discussion or questioning even though it is the most controversial. It seriously affects how society operates, undermines the rights and safety of women and girls, and presents a danger to children in that current “affirmation” therapy is more likely to exacerbate emotional or psychological issues, and even affect physical health through medicalisation if applied to children and young adults. Affirmation appears to be “gay conversion therapy”, and more homophobic than evangelical Christian or devout Islamic teaching.

    Now before you delete this post and cancel me on the grounds of “safetyism” or “doing harm”, then ask yourself if you protecting ideas that cannot withstand close scrutiny or simply adopting a political position? In the unwise legal attempt by Mermaids to get the Charity Commission to remove charitable status from the LGB Alliance, they lost and exposed the weakness in their own position. In this case Mermaids weren’t even able to express what trans actually was and back it up with real data.

    If the proofs are so fragile then maybe it needs to be looked at more closely and in an open and honest way. My view is that the Trans-activist movement is more likely to eventually hurt the people who genuinely view themselves as Trans, then the straight or gay/lesbian members of our society as a whole would ever do. Of course there are bigots who simply hate others different from themselves. They are a real minority who can be dealt with under laws that have been around a long time. Yet de-transitioners are often treated abysmally by their former trans-activist friends who now view them as apostates.

    We need to return to a world of liberal social justice and away from critical social justice and identity politics. It should be about what unites us, not what divides us, and be able to debate important issues and come to a concensus.

  8. Alec Oattes says:

    Dear Eilidh, I am a supporter of Kate Forbes, who I imagine,would not deny you your freedom of choice, with regard to your sexuallity. Best wishes.

    1. Andrew Wilson says:

      Its not a choice, its in her nature i would think, as it is mine to be attracted to the same not the opposite sex. Its one love though, if i wanted an easier life i would not ‘choose’ to be gay

      1. Niemand says:

        But the person who write this article says they are ‘queer’. This need not mean gay. In fact I do not know what it means here but the word used was a deliberate choice. If someone wanted to be clear they are gay, they would say so. Homosexuality is a sexual orientation and indeed not a choice (generally) but being ‘queer’ in today’s terminology does no imply that and could very much indicate something that is more about choice.

        This gets to the root of a big issue here: terms like LGBTQ+ and ‘queer’ are highly generalised and cover a wide range of people, issues and arguments about rights, some of which directly conflict with each other. The terms are actually quite unhelpful and talk of Section 28 and gay rights and gay marriage in this article, as if these rights and arguments about respect apply equally by default to all under the LGBTQ+ and ‘queer’ banner, is wrong and misleading.

        As for the suggestion that just because an MSP does not support the SNP’s policy on gender reform, that therefore their commitment to independence must be questioned; it is quite ridiculous. This sets the tone for the whole article.

        1. Andrew Wilson says:

          Oh i think it’s quite clear she is using the word queer to neutralise it from being an insult broadly applied to all us who do conform.
          Nowhere from what i read does Eilidh suggest that Kate Forbes views question Kate’s commitment to independence. The question that is relevant is that Nicola was very popular with us missfits, we felt safe that she had our backs covered, we do not with others, and for us an independent Scotland really has to be a fairer better more tolerant country, yes no nukes, yes freedom from poverty and crap housing but yes to for acceptance and equality not just toleration. Scotland is modern and diverse. Btw i voted fir Kate as leader because i live in Highland Scotland and speak Gaelic; trusting she would NOT use her position to reduce our ( i am gay) rights

          1. Niemand says:

            I don’t think it clear what the meaning of queer is here. There is no clear single definition of queer any more for a start; long gone are the days when it was simply an insult for a gay person or the later, reclaimed positive use for gay, let alone the old meaning of odd. The simplest way to define it is as an adopted word used in the LGBT+ community to mean simply being in that community, the membership of which is self-defined. In other words it is highly circular.

            The author writes: ‘It is also interesting that her commitment to independence is never questioned when such a stance is taken opposing her own party?’

            Though weaselly, this clearly suggests it could, or even should, be questioned because of her views on a matter unrelated to independence, hiding behind the idea that you must support all SNP policy in order to not have your support for independence questioned.

          2. Andrew Wilson says:

            Well i am old enough to equate queer as a standard insult used to diminish us as people so thats what it means to me. Whether you like it or not any would be leader needs to make minority groups feel safe as Nicola did. I think the author was questioning Kate’s ability to do that, not her commitment to Scottish Independence

          3. Niemand says:

            If what you say were true of what is written, I would agree with you, but it isn’t what is written.

          4. Mairi mhor says:

            Unfortunately Nicola sturgeon was no friend of the Highlands. Through Winnie Ewing the Highlands achieved objective 1 status which at least gave us some semi decent roads and roll-on roll-off ferries. The British state didn’t do that. The EU policies on fisheries, agriculture are an entirely other issue. The SNP do not understand the Highlands and they have NO interest there apart from neo-liberal monetisation. Garbage outlander tourism culture etc They don’t care about the destruction of the Gaelic language. Instead they laude ‘Gaelic’ schools while depopulation and gentrification mean the Highlands have been absolutely destroyed. In many islands 50% of the homes are Airbnb. The lights are off in the winter. Instead QUANGOS boast about the benefit of tourism. They just don’t understand that the person running the Air BnB will have downsized from a rich area. These people drive around in 50k vehicles while depopulation, addiction and cultural destruction surround them. They don’t care they want the locals gone. The addiction in the highlands is insane. Many rural areas are nouveau schemes for the local people. The stories I hear from my home sound like Easterhouse in the 80s and it’s so sad.

          5. Andrew Wilson says:

            Màiri mhòr nan `Orain (Màiri nighean Iain bheag) suffered injustice, which motivated her to write; she wrote beautiful songs in Gaelic, she spent much time and energy championing Gaelic and campaigning for the rights of her people. You taking her name is utterly in appropriate; add to that you are a Nicola hater, and critical of the SNP. I have 3 great passions in life: the man I live with, the Gaelic language, and Scotland’s right to be an independent nation. They are what I believe in, you only seem to have things you are against, and probably have inflicted much damage, so it ill beholds you to criticise others. Finally I think you will find women were commodified and sexualised long before LGBT came along; yet again you put the blame in the wrong place, “seal air an sgathan” , tha mi ag ionndrain Nicola gu mòr, bha speis aice airson a h-uile duine.

          6. Stuart Swanston says:

            A point by point refutation of the points on which your opinion differs from that of the author might convince me but an ad hominem argument does not advance your case.

            Also, the use of the prefix “cis” before women implies that you regard adult human females as a sub set of a group according to the world view of a tiny percentage of the population of Scotland and the planet.

          7. Derek Williams says:

            Cisgender is a neologism coined to distinguish from transgender, and vice versa. It matters not whether a minority is “tiny”, if they have the right to exist, and to Equal Protection.

            Jews are only 18 million, dwarfed by the 8 billion global population. Are there rights 18,000,000/8,000,000,000, or do they have equal rights?

            Likewise, left-handed people are around 10% of the population. Are they entitled to only 10% of the rights you take for granted (assuming you to be right-handed)? Same goes for LGBT+ people, at roughly the same proportions.

          8. SleepingDog says:

            @Derek Williams, I wonder at your choice of examples, since it may not have escaped your notice that some of those who claim Jews have more rights than others are currently under considerable international scrutiny. Although you may see a bright side:

          9. Stuart Swanston says:

            Just as people adhering to one faith should have rights equal to, neither greater nor less than, those of any other and left handed folk should have the same rights as right handed folk and that consenting adults behave as they wish with one another is not the same thing as a tiny minority of men, however they choose to self identify, deciding where, when and with whom a group of women might meet to discuss topics of their choice.

            Recent events in George Square, Edinburgh have shown that there are groups of men who wish to police how, where and when women might meet to discuss matters of mutual interest and that, mainly male, members of an academic trade union tried to prevent peaceful freedom of assembly and expression.

          10. Derek Williams says:

            @ Stuart Swanston – I am not aware of the case you are referring to. Can you please post details?

          11. Stuart Swanston says:


            As requested, a link to BBC News coverage of the first attempted meeting in George Square Theatre to which I referred earlier.

          12. Derek Williams says:

            @ Stuart Swanston Thanks for the link, and yes I remember this well. I haven’t watched the allegedly offensive film myself, and so will have to do so before I can comment further. Give me a day or two.

        2. SteveH says:

          Well put. What has sexuality to do with independence? We need honesty from politicians not insincerity based on political survival insticts.

          1. Paddy Farrington says:

            What does sexuality have to do with independence? Quite a lot. Self-determination is not just about who governs the nation, but also the right and freedom to live as you choose. Not to mention all its other dimensions: in the end, it’s all about power, who has it and who does not. That’s where communities – including LGBTQ+ communities – are so important, since as individuals we are all too often powerless.

          2. 240114 says:

            Yep, Paddy’s right; sexuality, gender, ethnicity, etc. – identity and class in general – are all fundamentally about self-determination and power relations within society. That’s a basic tenet of critical theory. And that’s why so many activists from these communities in Scotland have hitched their wagons to the Independence train; they hope that, by making Scottish government independent of the UK, their communities will be emancipated from – or, at least, freer of – the inequalities they currently experience.

            Personally, I suspect this is a forlorn hope; having our own wee Whitehall in St Andrews House and our own wee Westminster in Holyrood will do nothing to affect the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised in Scotland and our identities are defined.

          3. Niemand says:

            You are imagining the kind of independent nation you want but what if others imagine something different, does that mean their desire for independence is less?

            The cause of political independence could just as easily lead to a socially conservative society as the opposite, if the people so desire it. It is called democracy and no-one should be told we don’t want your kind of independence and remain truly devoted to the cause. Ironically it is they who desire it less, as it seems it must be only on their socio-political terms, and this works for those from the opposite side as well.

            The truth is, independence (within reason) should be politically neutral. That is much easier said than done but I cannot see it happening until that is truly embraced – just look at how politically divided the movement now is, compared to a 2014. This will not lead to autonomy.

          4. 240115 says:

            I sort of agree, Niemand; ideally, the state should be shaped through the free and equal participation of its all citizens, participation which is undistorted by inequalities of power.

            The trouble is that no one is interested in Independence for its own sake; every community of interest is interested in Independence only as a vehicle by which it might advance its own political agenda or ‘will to power’. Everyone hopes that, in the smaller pond of our own wee Westminster, they will be a bigger fish.

            There’s also the curious idea that the very fact of Independence will lead to some sort of moral transformation; that we will all suddenly become more socially compassionate, ecologically responsible, tolerant of Others, etc. – in a word, ‘enlightened’ – than we are at present; that the only thing that’s stopping us from realising our natural goodness is the drag of the [evil] Union.

            I don’t buy any of this. Even after Independence, the state will continue to be shaped through the matrix of [unequal] official and social relations within which power is exercised in our day-to-day lives; even after Independence, public policy will continue to be shaped not consensually, through the free and equal participation of all citizens in our decision-making processes, but through political struggle of rival communities of interest for power and influence and the conflicts, compromises, and corruption that flow from that struggle.

          5. Andrew Wilson says:

            well I disagree there. I do want independence for its own sake; Scotland is one of the oldest kingdoms in Europe, arguably older than England. Not that I want a monarchy at all, but I would be directly affected by any laws about equality ( as I am gay) yes there are reactionary elements in Scottish society, I feel their voice would not be so loud in an independent Scotland, but I still want independence for its own sake, not because it will make any of my causes stronger.

          6. John Wood says:

            “The trouble is that no one is interested in Independence for its own sake; every community of interest is interested in Independence only as a vehicle by which it might advance its own political agenda or ‘will to power’. Everyone hopes that, in the smaller pond of our own wee Westminster, they will be a bigger fish.”

            Really? I genuinely am interested in Independence for its own sake; nor do I accept the theory of a supposed ‘will to power’. I want to see a Scotland where ‘small is beautiful’. Where we can abandon thinking like yours and do things differently.

          7. 240115 says:

            @Andrew and John

            Interesting that you both say that you want Independence for its own sake, but then go on to say what you want Independence for: respectively, a Scotland in which reactionary voices are not so loud and a Scotland in which we do things on a smaller scale.

            Why would either flow as a consequence from Independence?

          8. Andrew Wilson says:

            Yes i do support independence for its own sake, its just i think and i admit hope it will drown out the reactionary voices. Historically i would have supported the Covenanters but at the same time am horrified by how reactionary and intolerant they became. Does that make any sense?

        3. 240113 says:

          According to the 2014 Oxford English dictionary (which purports to record mutable common usage rather than some supposed fixed definition) ‘queer’ (in the context of Eilidh’s article) is an umbrella term for people who don’t identify as ‘heterosexual’ or with the gender they were assigned at birth.

          Andrew’s right insofar as he remembers it as a word that was used pejoratively, in name-calling, against those with same-sex desires or relationships. However, that usage has become obsolete. Beginning in the late 1980s, under the influence of critical theory, queer activists began to reclaim the word as a deliberately provocative and politically radical alternative to the more ‘assimilationist’ branches of the LGBT community.

          In the present century, ‘queer’ has increasingly come to be used to describe a broad spectrum of non-normative sexual or gender identities and politics. Academic disciplines, such as queer theory and queer studies, share a general opposition to binary categorisation, normativity, and a perceived lack of intersectionality, some of which non-binary identities are only tangentially connected to the LGBT movement (e.g. ‘nationalist’/’unionist’, ‘white’/’black’, ‘self’/’other’, ‘subject’/’object’, ‘mind’/’body’). Queer identities characteristically don’t identify as one thing or another.

          What I find absurd is that a queer activist like Eilidh should be attempting to categorise or ‘assimilate’ Kate in such a normative and binary way.

      2. Alec Oattes says:

        Dear Andrew,
        thank you for your clarification, on being Gay. I wish you and Eilidh peace, contentment and happiness in your gender.

        1. Andrew Wilson says:

          thank you Alec, ‘s e duine gàsta a tha’annad (you are a decent person); I get the impression that people have no idea about the internal battle that gay people have to accept themselves. I will be 70 later this year, but I struggled for yers to understand how I could be attracted to the same sex, and it did not sit well with my Christian faith. Not until an enlightened clergyman said “maybe God does not mind you being Gay” did self acceptance start. I stick with that, and perhaps those who belief in a God of love might question why they are so bothered by same sex orientation, when there is so much wrong and evil in the world; we should all be fighting against persecution, violence, poverty, global warming etc. Being trans or gay is not a wrong you should be expending energy countering.
          I never wanted to change my gender, and had trouble understanding why anyone would; I think I do know, partly because trans people have been so vilified and miss represented, as of course some here on this page miss represent Gay people. Let me assure you though that prejudice and ignorance are very real and very present; doubly trebly so during the 80s when “Aids filled bastard” was a common insult, hurled at people of my ilk. I was lucky not to get beaten up, more by good luck, and by not answering back, which is difficult.

    2. Andrew Wilson says:

      No – one, chooses to be gay. Its one love though, same intensity same feelings, if you are religious , if Kate is religious, far bigger moral wrongs to right than 2 people of the same sex expressing their love. I do have a Christian bg and no i do not think God or JC are bothered at all given all the lying cheating murder destruction that goes on.

  9. Stuart Swanston says:

    If, when reading this article, I substitute the word “Muslim” for “Christian”, “ Punjabi” for Gaelic” and the name of the First Minister for “Kate Forbes” would I be reading an article which suggests that the First Minister’s faith and the social conservatism of its adherents render him unsuitable to be a legislator and our First Minister?

    1. John Learmonth says:

      How dare you criticise our wonderful FM who for whatever reason has nothing to say on such matters.
      As for the author good luck with pursuing LGB rights in muslim countries, I’m sure our FM will be right behind you.

      1. Derek Thomson says:

        Or maybe he will be in a synagogue to show solidarity with Jewish people, as he was on October 8th.

    2. John says:

      Stuart – yes there are many MP’s and MSP’s of different faiths and beliefs including secularism.
      It strikes me that the difference with Kate Forbes, who I have always thought seemed a very able person, from others is that her beliefs appear to have entered political arena.
      I honestly do not know whether this is because media targeted her due to her particular religious background or because she was naive in not being able to keep her personal religious beliefs at arms length from her political career.
      While I accept that all our own personal beliefs underpin our political outlook on life other high level politicians do manage to keep their religious beliefs out of political arena more effectively than Kate Forbes seemed to.
      Either way in a modern increasingly secular society it is difficult to see how Kate can now take on a major leadership role without her religious beliefs being an issue for her which is disappointing for those of us who support independence because she seems very able in many other ways.

      1. John Wood says:

        How can anyone’s beliefs and ethics be separated from their political and social life? And why all the disparaging comments about particular views? If every politician is expected to set aside all personal beliefs, or for that matter the views of constituents, what us the point of them? They become mere puppets of the party and its funders. It leads to the completely amoral, nihilistic, corrupt world of Westminster, where any concern whatsoever apart from the reckless pursuit of wealth and power is dismissed and mocked. We are effectively rule by organised crime.

        I don’t agree with Kate on everything but it was and is refreshing to see a politician who actually believes in anything at all. Good for her. May she robustly defend her views and represent her constituents, and may those who disagree with her defend theirs. Maybe some sort of consensus will emerge, maybe not, but open debate is essential to a functioning democracy. it cannot be a condition of entering public life that you passively accept the received wisdom of the moment and stay silent. In communist countries only communist parties were permitted. In America communists faced McCarthyism. And so on.
        Democracy depends on healthy debate. No-one ‘owns the science’ and nothing is true just because the authorities or ‘everyone’ says so. We have seen quite enough of that dangerous nonsense over the last 4 years.

        I happen to believe that gender and sexual orientation are matters of biology and not of assignment by authority or consumer choice. It’s just my view. And I do not accept that it abuses anyone or gives any cause fir genuine offence. People can identify as whatever they please, so long as they don’t force me to agree. Live and let live has to work both ways. If you think that is wrong, or in some way offensive, tell me why.

        1. John says:

          I’m not sure you actually read my post before ranting back.
          Please reread what I said about personal beliefs underpinning political convictions.
          Many other politicians have deep religious beliefs that underpin their political convictions but also appreciate that to many religious beliefs are a personal issue especially in the area of personal morality.
          I have no comment or particular interest in on transgender debate (being a heterosexual male) but I would point out that the medical definition of biological sex and gender do not align with what you have written in your comment.

        2. SleepingDog says:

          @John Wood, the much more pressing planetary-realistic question is more what Kate Forbes’ church-indoctrinated views on climate change are.
          A while back, I checked out some of her Church public webpages and followed a link to a speaker whose advice on climate change included praying to God to intervene. Perhaps Kate Forbes has a different policy programme, but it is perhaps the most pertinent question that responsible electors should be asking about her fitness for office.

  10. Ealasaid Chaimbeul says:

    This is a very poor piece. Kate Forbes is a Gaelic learner – effectively the same as some middle class person from the lowlands. No person ‘represents’ any one community and certainly not a graduate of Oxford University. I regularly have educated people mention Iain Crichton smith as representative of the highlands in terms of Literature. Iain Crichton smith was born almost 100 years ago in Lewis. How does this represent the Highlands in 2024? Scottish people do not even understand the geography of the Highlands. Kate Forbes represents herself. Many people in the Highlands are Catholics / Muslims or atheists. Most of them are fine with gay marriage. My family are. They are very religious Catholics. . But seriously you’re a Gael I a highly doubt that. Highly doubt it. LGBTQ is being used as a Trojan horse to bully women and I will never accept that. However, I object to our objections as Highland people being framed as religious. They are not. They are based on human rights, feminism and biology. Framing our objections as being religious, while you frame yourself as a Gael – tell the truth you learned Gaelic and are a middle class lowlander. Cos—play for the posh you now have a ready made ethnicity! Congratulations on rolling people.

    People are using religion to object to this bullying of women. Unfortunately women now have to rely on churches, some of the most regressive ideologies to protect us. But you say that you are a ‘Gael’ that is so unlikely with your double barrelled name. You article is pure classism and prejudice – no one from the Highlands can object to regressive bullying LGBTQ ideology on the basis of philosophy or logic? You criticise us by using Katy Forbes as if we are a bunch of country chavs incapable of intellectual thought. People are relying on churches to object to these ideologies because there is no one else. Good luck with your middle-class lectures I am sure you will find an audience for this – in Edinburgh.

    1. Ealasaid Chaimbeul says:

      P.S. Mas e Gàidheal a tha annad sgrìobh seo ann an Gàidhlig.

      1. Eilidh Cameron-Sykes says:

        ‘S e Gàidheil a th’ annam rugadh agus thogadh ann an Loch Abair agus tha mi fhathast a’ fuireach ann. Bha Gàidhlig aig mo sheanmhair ‘s mo sheanair. Chan eil an t-airtigle anns a Gàidhlig air sgàth ‘s gur ann mu dheidhinn a bhith fuireach anns a Gàidhealtachd san fharsaingeachd mar cuideigin LCDTC+. Tha mi a’ gabhail a-steach Gàidhlig air sàilleabh’s gu bheil suid pàirt de mo bheatha anns a’ Ghàidhealtachd.

        1. Andrew Wilson says:

          ‘S ann airidh a tha sibh, ‘s ann airidh a tha ur beachd cuideachd

  11. Roddie MacLennan says:

    What a curious piece. Gaels and Highlanders are urged by E C-S to consider who “we” are as a community. Okay, I have been doing this for more than 40 years, and at no point in that time have I felt that gay people were a distinct community. Gay people are, er, people.
    Kate Forbes has a hang up about gay marriage? That’s not what I’ve read. But individuals in all parties have similar attitudes. So, what’s the plan? Stop voting for the SNP once we consider the inferences in the above and they purge themselves of the unclean?
    There’s a bit of a whiff about this. I’m not the most clinically observant of people but I didn’t see the word “Independence”.
    Is E C-S for it, or simply here to stir?

    1. Màiri Mhòr says:

      This is another deeply problematic piece by a Gaelic learner. Failure to disclose the truth. If you wish to appeal to the ‘Gaelic community’ then write in Gaelic and let us see your credentials. Sgrìobh Ann a Gàidhlig ma tha thu a’ bruidhinnn leis na Gàidheal! This piece suggests no one in the Highlands is capable of intellectual thoughts. It also air brushes over all the different communities in the Highlands: there are lots of different religions and non religions. Stop sending public money on Gaelic for the semi literate to trash the Gaelic language and culture let it die. It’s dead. I don’t want lectures on how a man can get changed with me in a swimming pool.

      1. Derek Thomson says:

        “Stop sending public money on Gaelic for the semi literate to trash the Gaelic language and culture let it die. It’s dead. I don’t want lectures on how a man can get changed with me in a swimming pool.” Ah. Right. I thought that’s where you were coming from. Tioraidh.

        1. Mairi mhor says:

          I speak Gaelic but I’m afraid it’s done. It had a slight chance at one point. However Gaelic learners have actually done nothing but damage to Gaelic, island and highland communities. Some people learned Gaelic as crusader types. Unfortunately they decided on spending money on middle class schools in cities. Because that’s where they were from. That’s the people they like and recognise. People on islands where Gaelic is actually still spoken barely have teachers at all speaking in any language. Check the spending of Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Teachers who speak Gaelic are in the absolute minority and Gaelic is treated as an inconvenience – I mean to the moneyed who promote tourism and the people who have downsized to find out they actually have moved to Scotland they want rid of the local culture as soon as possible. Then we have houses costing over 300k in places where the average salary is 25k. Gaelic doesn’t exist without the islands. And if I’m not interested in being lectured to by these middle class types good luck with that with your ‘tioraidh’ comments. Will that get people in the Highlands and Islands on board? I doubt it. And none of the island people like being lectured to by people who went on ‘courses.’ It simply is not the same as growing up in it. The spending on Gaelic is basically malfeasance – misuse of public money. There is absolute dishonesty about the spending of money on Gaelic and it should be exposed. Some conversations are difficult and people want to shut others down. But I’m afraid the highlands have never been a cosy wee place with cute people with no minds of their own and it can be uncomfortable bursting people’s bubble but it’s the absolute truth. Some people have made serious money from Gaelic (Gus Macdonald of STV where are you?) you might characterise these views as being anti-Gaelic – it isn’t -it’s people objecting to the misuse of public money (BBC Alba programmes 30% in English with another house makeover programme made by someone from Stockbridge – totally meaningless to people from islands earning 25k or living in schemes) It can also be uncomfortable to hear women don’t want naked men in our changing rooms but there we are.

          1. Derek Thomson says:

            Middle class! Help ma kilt! At last! All these years growing up in the schemes in Edinburgh have not prepared me for this. I am learning Gaelic for a number of reasons – my heart lives in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, where it has roamed and resided ever since I first visited as a young man is one of them – a desire to be able to go to Gairloch and at least have a smattering of Gaelic when travelling around is another. I would have seen it a matter of respect and love for Gaelic culture and it’s people, but crikey, maybe I should think again if people are going to see it as middle class cultural appropriation. Finally, I learn it in the knowledge that it would piss off people like Stephen Kerr and Douglas Ross. As a footnote, I was once at Tollcross Primary School in Edinburgh to (try to) fix their IT and walking around with all the bairns and the teachers speaking Gaelic was really quite magical. Maybe it wouldn’t be in your world. You’ve got a lot of hatred going on there, a’ phiutar.

    2. Derek Williams says:

      With few exceptions, we have to support the right to religious freedom as a tenet of free speech. That said, Forbes apologised for “any pain or suffering” she had caused (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-64715944), and went on to say, “”Equal marriages is a legal right, and as a servant of democracy, rather than a dictator, I absolutely respect and defend that democratic right.” That’s good enough for me.

      In Scotland as elsewhere, there is not a single “Christian point of view” on many hot button issues, including remarriage after a no-fault divorce, women’s ordination, birth control and same-sex relationships between LGBT+ people – all mortal sins according to the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church. Yet the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Methodists all now welcome LGBT+ parishioners with full access to sacraments, incuding ordination to the clergy and same-sex marriage. You can be a divorced lesbian officiating at a gay wedding, and remain communicant in all Scotland’s major Christian religions, bar Catholicism and Presbyterianism. This is sharply divergent from orthodoxies like Roman Catholicism, whose god will send you to burn for trillions of years in the Book of Revelations’ “Lake of Scalding Sulphur” just for a no-fault remarriage, or ordaining a woman or taking the pill. There are over 40,000 conflicting denominations of Christianity, so all a homophobe needs to do is find a denomination whose god hates the same people they do,

  12. John says:

    The answer for any individual (including politicians) on sexuality and other issues of personal morality to me is simple:
    I personally act in accordance with my own individual preference and morality code.
    I fully respect others right to do the same and make no judgments on them as I expect them not to judge me.
    Caveat to this is that you do not harm others in your own actions.
    I also think it would be wise for all sexual and personal morality votes taken by politicians to be left to MP’s/MSP’s individual conscience.

  13. Annie Morgan says:

    I found a slogan some decades ago ‘ do nothing about us without us ‘ -it’s cool in Latin -look it up. A group of people with disabilities or different abilities ( depending on how people affected describe) used the slogan in campaigning for access.No access* no justice *no peace as my learned wheel chair user friend says… in relation to the paper from a person identifying as queer I am really sad that people outwith that community go as far as to say there can be no community… diverse of course as communities are … sadly again I have heard this over the years … for example-decisions to have zero tolerance on prostitution without those abused in prostitution in attendance ( in Glasgow drug/recovery support was and is the thing to impact on the abuse).The debate on transgender rights often excludes those impacted …
    Kate was one of the only MSP’s to reply to my question on the impact of Flamingo Land /Lomond Banks so she is not all bad ( that’s tongue in cheek) but I wondered why she thought a ministerial post in agriculture was demeaning especially given the constituency she represents… the land /land use question for agriculture is huge. So many of our representatives just don’t -represent us I mean.
    A Scotland determining Scotland could look to good stuff around the world -on the gender recognition thing, about participation by woman in a different politics-Rojava, ending hierarchical and patriarchal structures and changing a political system that perpetuates power and self interest. This would mean respect for all communities and organising within our communities for the common good.

    1. Stuart Swanston says:

      There was a time, before devolution, when being the Scottish Office Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries covered what we now consider not just Rural Affairs and the Environment but also Sustainability but within the current division of responsibilities under the Scottish Government a wheen of other ministers, drawn from a very limited pool of talent, are involved so the role of Agriculture Minister is now quite limited and if she had accepted that poisoned chalice Kate Forbes would have had to zip her mouth about the daft policies being promoted by her numpty colleagues anent Highly Protected Marine Areas and legislation requiring B&B owners to follow regulations designed for guesthouses, hotels and HMOs not to mention glass recycling. It’s better that she chose to be free to represent the concerns of her constituents and be able to call nonsense for what it is rather than have very limited discretion and just be seen to nod in agreement to the daft policies of her intellectually challenged colleagues.

    2. 240115 says:

      ‘Nihil de nobis, sine nobis.’

      It’s a slogan used to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the group(s) affected by that policy. The idea’s called ‘participative democracy’; we don’t have nearly enough of it in this country.

      1. Annie Morgan says:


  14. Norman Phipps says:

    I could not care what you are That is your Business but I was brought up under the “wee free” and “cessaders” and no way do I want religion to control Scotland believe what you want but keep it out of government The stupidity and redicoulousness of it is amply seen in the film “Chariots of fire”

  15. Satan says:

    I’ve got a wee free church at the bottom of my road in Edinburgh and the evangelicals are around the corner. The evangelcals are funded to the gills with Playhouse quality lighting rig and PA, but the wees knock on your door and give you a pamphlet about Darwin being on the end of Satan’s toasting fork and the first four pages of Genesis being literally true. I think that Forbes church of preference thinks that musical instruments are the work of the Devil. It’s not a backwater bog in Lewis – that’s in Edinburgh.

    1. William Davidson says:

      It is one of the glories of living in a democratic society that we have freedom of speech, which means that people you don’t like have the right to express views you don’t agree with. I don’t agree with Ms Forbes re equal marriage, but I support her right to hold her view and not to be subject to criticism. Would it be better for her to lie and pretend she supports something she doesn’t? The widely respected and admired Angela Merkel, while still Chancellor, voted against gay marriage in the Bundestag, while allowing her coalition partners a free vote on the issue. So Kate Forbes is in distinguished company.
      Just to clarify, this comment is not specifically in reply to Satan, as I wouldn’t want to upset the Prince of Darkness.

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @William Davidson, but criticism comes under ‘free speech’.

        1. SleepingDog says:

          Furthermore, despite the desperate denials of Lord Parakeet the Cacophonist, criticism of the behaviour and inferred character of a politician is not only legitimate but a necessary duty of citizens. In the UK, this has been expressed by the Committee on Standards in Public Life in Seven Principles:
          Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership
          Clearly these are designed in large part to counter the ingrained vices of British politics: hypocrisy and cant.

          When someone tells you that this kind of criticism is a ‘fallacy’, that their behaviour and consistency (indeed, integrity) are beyond all reproach, well, draw your own conclusions. In practice, humans need to be able to detect and expose bad actors by such patterns of behaviour (“Boris Johnson is a proven liar” etc), and exposure of the vice of hypocrisy requires addressing the person. People who disintegrate their personality might be attempting to avoid their contradictory statements being exposed as *self*-contradictory hypocrisy, for example.

          I am sure Kate Forbes approves on some level, since it was this kind of questioning that brought down her predecessor and opened the path for her advancement.

      2. Derek Williams says:

        “Not be subject to criticism”? Isn’t the right to criticise also a tenet of freedom of speech?

        1. 240118 says:

          Yeah, but there’s criticism and ‘criticism’. In an ideal speech situation, it’s perfectly legitimate, indeed obligatory, to test the soundness of an argument by subjecting it to rational criticism and accept only those arguments that survive the test, but it’s not legitimate to criticise the person who makes that argument. That the difference between argumentum ad argumentum and argumentum ad hominem; the latter is used in debates to refute an argument by attacking the character of the person making it instead of the logic or premise of the argument itself. Argumenta ad hominem are for that reason fallacious, and can therefore be discounted out of hand in any rational discourse.

          Other common fallacies in our contemporary moral and political discourse are:

          Argumentum ad baculum, supporting a conclusion by highlighting the dire consequences of not believing it.
          Argumentum ad dictionarium, pulling out a dictionary to support an assertion.
          Argumentum ad ignorantiam, arguing that a proposition is true because it has not been shown to be false, or vice versa.
          Argumentum ad misericordiam, appealing to the listener’s feelings of pity or guilt.
          Arhumentum ad nauseum, repeating something often enough until it’s assumed to be true.
          Argumentum ad populum, appealing to the common prejudices of ‘the people’.
          Argumentum ad verecundiam: appealing to an authority or expert, trading on reverence and respect which that authority enjoys rather than to the soundness of its arguments.

          1. Derek Williams says:

            I was already familiar with all these logical fallacies, but it’s good you mention them for the benefit of the readership. However, uttering fallacies js also an exercise of free speech, as is rebutting them with common sense.

  16. Stuart Swanston says:

    If the critique of Mhairi’s argument had been point by point rather than ad hominem I might have been persuaded but ad hominem arguments don’t work for me.

    Also, your use of the prefix “cis” implies that adult human females are a subgroup of women as they are defined by a group consisting of no more than a fraction of one percent of the population of Scotland or the planet.

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