Policies - Law and Home Affairs in Scotland

“The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24

Politicians can make laws, but they cannot change hearts in order to keep these laws.  Making more laws requires more policing of these laws or the law will be brought into disrepute.  This is why Government needs to involve the Christian church to teach the God-given method of changing hearts.  To this the Lord Jesus Christ referred when He said: “You must be born again.”

Law and order are related to each other.  Law sets the framework within which an orderly society operates.  If the framework is wrong, disorder will result.  The Scottish Christian Party believes that the current legal framework is eroding the cement of goodwill and toleration which has characterised British society for centuries.

1. The Christian Constitution of Scotland

The Scottish Christian Party recognises the Christian constitution of Scotland, as set out in the Monarch’s oath of allegiance, the Act of Union 1707 and the national Church of Scotland, established by Act of Parliament, and which should act on behalf of other Christian churches in Scotland as the guardian of the Christian Establishment. The Scottish Christian Party is concerned that an independent Scotland will either have no Christian constitution or a multi-faith constitution. The public debate on an independent Scotland has had little to say about this topic.

Legislation does not give people an incentive to keep the law. Such an incentive comes from personal values and in the past the regular listening to the Christian Gospel in churches had a moralising effect upon the public. Such Christian ethos came at a cheap price, and society is now counting the cost through the breakdown of law and order, as personal and corporate greed continue unchecked.

The failure to recognise the constitutional position of Christianity has paralleled the decline in moral values. The country needs to recover its awareness of the beneficial effects of Christianity for engendering social cohesion, goodwill and moral values.

This concern will be addressed by our educational and legislative programme as well as by encouraging more public acknowledgement of the Christian constitution of Scotland.

2. Holding Political Parties to account

The public always feel betrayed when political parties abandon their Manifesto commitments once they are in government, with the excuse that circumstances have changed. This shows lack of foresight, irresponsibility regarding Manifesto pledges, disrespect to the voting public, and the hope that the issue will have blown over by the time of the next election. Governing Parties need to be held to account before the next election.

The Scottish Christian Party will support debate on legislation to prevent Governing Parties introducing legislation contrary to the most recent Manifesto upon which they were elected.

3. Christian conscience

Christian individuals, organisations and charities are increasingly marginalised and prohibited from a useful social contribution by legislation which directly opposes biblical principles and practice. This is contrary to the Government’s desire to involve all groups in the Big Society. We will ensure that Christian freedom to live and act according to conscience is afforded its rights under the law.

4. Equalities Legislation

The Bible teaches that “there is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:11; Acts 10:34), therefore the Scottish Christian Party is against prejudice in all its guises and it takes breaches of equalities legislation very seriously.

The Scottish Christian Party believes that innocent persons are being targeted for pernicious litigation on the basis of their faith or other reasons that are void of criminal intent. This can be seen in numerous cases which have wasted public and private money. Although case law is developing in favour of redressing the balance, we believe that current legislation does not give enough protection and we call for a full and urgent review of equalities legislation which is being used to harass those engaged in public service.

Along with the majority of Christian and other faith community leaders, the Scottish Christian Party believes that the Sexual Orientation Regulations not only discriminate against the rights of individual conscience, but are an unprecedented and ominous imposition of sexual immorality by the state on the people of Scotland.

Respect for conscience has served as a bulwark against tyranny and we believe this is being dangerously discarded by successive Governments and must be urgently restored and defended.

5. Criminal Justice

We will promote biblical alternatives to the current criminal justice system, reducing the number of prisoners in our overcrowded prisons, and extending parental responsibility to compensate the victims of juvenile crime.

We will support a referendum on re-introducing the death penalty for murder,
only where there are at least two human witnesses in addition to whatever forensic evidence is available.

6. Evidence and Restorative Justice

The Scottish Christian Party is concerned that European law is undermining the traditional concept of “innocent until proved guilty”.

We will support the imposition of appropriate financial penalties on convicted criminals to properly compensate victims of crime and to reimburse damage done to the community.

7. The Right to Evangelise and Preach in Public

The Scottish Christian Party is alarmed at the curtailing of free speech in the form of inhibiting street preaching and personal evangelism. We will defend and affirm the right to publicly preach the good news of salvation, love and everlasting life through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Scottish Christian Party does not support the claim that we have a right to give offence, but ever since the
Macpherson Report has re-defined racism in subjective terms - (“A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”) - ‘taking offence’ has become as important as giving offence. A private individual’s complaint instigating a police investigation, simply because they have taken offence, when possibly no offence was intended, will prove to be unworkable, and will itself contribute to louder and louder protests by disparate groups who are offended. This new criminal offence has worked its way through Equalities legislation and it will only stoke up charges and countercharges of being offended by each other’s speech and way of life. Those who can shout loudest and make most use of the judicial system will prevail. This is not the sort of society the Scottish Christian Party wishes to promote. We will introduce legislation to restore an objective definition of offence in order to restore free speech.

8. Zero Tolerance on drug possession

The Scottish Christian Party will promote a zero tolerance approach towards drug possession, and prohibit the current police strategy of nonarrest for possession for personal use. Any business, including the illegal drugs trade, relies on demand to survive. The current supply-side approach focusing on drug dealers should be supplemented with the robust and simultaneous tackling of the demand side, using a range of alternative punishments rather than prison sentences. Many drug users first learn the habit in prison, and more robust measures are needed to implement zero tolerance of drugs in prison.

9. Prisons

The Scottish Christian Party believes that we have too many prisoners, and that new initiatives need to be developed. Restorative justice by community service can be more appropriate than a prison sentence for offences which affect the community, financial penalties for crimes with financial implications, and a form of National Service where indiscipline is a feature in the offence, such as repeating offenders, to reduce the prison population and the “revolving door” phenomenon.

The appropriation and re-distribution of criminal assets should not promote the criminal justice system but be targeted at helping victims of crime.

Drug-taking is so embedded in the prison population, encouraged by visiting relatives and friends, that consideration can be given to off-shore prisons rather than being located within the community, especially if visitors abuse their visiting rights. Decommissioned ships or aircraft carriers such as the Ark Royal, oil-rigs and appropriate islands may provide an off-shore prison solution for drug-related crimes and for highsecurity prisoners who need to be kept separate from the community.

Decommissioned MOD sites and ex-military personnel could be employed to develop rehabilitation National Service-like programmes for ill-disciplined, repeat offenders.

This will release enough prison places for serious offenders to have significant sentences for their crimes.

We note the growing demand for increasing human rights for prisoners and we agree that the prison population should be treated with dignity as humans beings. However we also recognise that some crimes forfeit rights to a varying degree, such as freedom of movement, to chose one’s social relationships, to vote, etc. The right to make amends to victims and society, and to have assistance to reform, which includes access to Christian counselling, are basic human rights which should be always available and encouraged.

We note the growing opposition to Christian groups working in prisons.

We draw attention to the forced adoption of the children of mothers with long sentences and drug dependency, with little access to specialist or Christian counselling. This forced adoption policy can cause psychiatric problems which are then used to justify the adoption policy. There is currently no specialist adoptive counselling to help this vulnerable group.

We believe Biblical influence is highly beneficial and we will encourage the work of Christian groups among the prison population.

10. Police and Fire Services

We are in favour of retaining or rationalising regional police forces who are best placed to identify savings and local needs. Centralisation is likely to demoralise forces, inhibit local efficiencies and it is too high a price to pay for imagined efficiencies. The case for a united Fire Service is stronger than for a united Police Force, but as in the NHS debate remote communities are likely to suffer from centralisation.

The Scottish Christian Party supports Chief Constables and Chief Fire Officers being elected by the community that they serve in order to promote greater public accountability. We are pleased to see that the recommendation in our 2007 Manifesto to elect Chief Constables is being implemented.

11. Coastguard Stations

We are concerned that pressure on public finances is producing short-term proposals with little regard for long terms consequences upon rural communities. We are fundamentally opposed to the closing of coastguard stations which have shown their worth both economically and in terms of safe-guarding human life. Their use in assisting the rescue of a nuclear submarine is one of several recent examples.

12. Greenwich Mean Time and British Summer Time

We notice the economic and business arguments for moving Britain away from Greenwich Mean Time towards Central European Time. We believe it is false economy and that it ignores the social and practical arguments which have been developed and well rehearsed over the past decades why Scotland does not wish to begin schooling for children in the darkness of winter mornings. The three year experiment (1968-71) in Single and Double Summer Time was categorically rejected by those who had experienced it. Greenwich Mean Time is the standard by which international time zones are calibrated, and it is extraordinary that Britain would abandon it. Time zones are regular features of Continental Europe and of America, and GMT is simply another time zone and there is no reason why it should be abandoned.

13. 9 p.m. watershed for under 11 year old children

In the light of the alarming rise in abduction, abuse and murder of children, the increase in juvenile crime, the unprecedented levels of alcohol abuse and drug use amongst the young, the Scottish Christian Party believes that no child of 10 years or younger should be unaccompanied on the street after 9 p.m. We will promote discussion how best to accomplish this through neighbourhood watch, without building a new and expensive layer of bureaucracy for policing our streets. The night time economy is sending the wrong message to society. In addition, Scottish Government figures show that a high percentage of recorded crime in Scotland is youth crime. We believe that a 9 p.m. watershed would have far reaching benefits to our young, protecting them from the dangers that lurk in the streets at night and promoting a healthier lifestyle. It would also encourage the rebuilding of the family unit and the cohesion of the parent-child relationship.

14. Mini-Brothels and Prostitution Tolerance Zones

The Scottish Christian Party will resist all attempt to make prostitution socially acceptable through so-called ‘tolerance zones’ and mini-brothels.

Prostitution allows women, in particular, to be abused and enslaved in a manner that has no place in Scottish society.

15. High Hedges and Other Nuisance Vegetation Bill

The Scottish Christian Party welcomes the cross Party support and the commitment by the Scottish Government to draft the High Hedges and Other Nuisance Vegetation Bill before the end of this parliamentary session. We will support its presentation to the next Parliament after the May 2011 election.


Christian Party Members of Parliament will: