A FORMER leader of the SNP has called on ministers to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage.
Former MP Gordon Wilson, who led the party from 1979 to 1990, said same-sex marriage would “undermine” the traditional Christian understanding of the institution.
He argued that if the issue of the 300-year-old Union with the rest of the UK is worth a referendum, so is over a millennium-and-a-half of Christian teaching and he called on ministers to hold one instead of simply consulting on same-sex marriages.
Now Malcolm has been married to a good Northern Irish (ex-) young Unionist (with good Clydeside connections) for … ummm .. well into five decades. Oddly enough, Malcolm does not need anyone to define for him what that mutual commitment involves. He suspects that all other members of the “happily-married” fraternity and sorority would concur:
- It’s not divinely ordained.
- It’s nothing to do with deism or vows in a place of worship.
- Or even legalistics.
- It’s good old-fashioned understanding and tolerance.
- It’s a four-letter word, my friends: l-o-v-e.
Malcolm’s (alas, long-dead) headmaster (at the High School, Dublin) was a classical scholar.
On special occasions the great-and-good Dr Ralph Reynolds wore what he himself referred to as his “Grand Vizier” outfit — the full-fig gold-and red doctorial gown of Queen’s University.
Malcolm particularly recalls a dusty classroom in the High School, then at the top of Harcourt Street. Dr Reynolds discoursed on the Greek terms for “love”. The bit Malcolm recalls went something like:
- Agápe (ἀγάπη) is what you feel for for parents
- Philia (φιλία) is what you feel for your friend
- Éros (ἔρως) is what you fell for your friend’s sister.
Malcolm doubts that many who went through the route of classical eddikashun didn’t get something similar.
So, let’s return to Gordon Wilson.
Wilson represents the years when the SNP was in the wilderness, between the froth-and-fury of Billy Wolfe and the Machiavel “Wee Eck” Salmond. Let it be understood that Malcolm, not without qualification, was a Wolfe-man. Well, to be honest, since a youthful Bo’ness evening which involved amounts of heavy and many, many improvised verses of the Ballad of the Learig Bar.
Now, what — in any name of reason — is Wilson doing here?
If nothing else, the SNP — if it is to achieve a plurality — cannot afford to identify with any faction. And the religious elements in Scotland are just a wee bit too puissant and divisive to have as affiliates.
So: Shut up, Gordy!