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I may be contacted, personally, at author@minister.com




Sunday, 30 October 2011

Pot; Kettle; Black!

Those were the words that immediately came to mind when I heard the news, earlier today, that China's Middle East envoy had called on the Syrian government to speed up the reforms it has promised in response to popular demands, saying the situation was dangerous and the bloodshed - well reported by the international media - could not continue.

Now, like any sane person, I am happy that additional pressure is being put on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government to end the bloody, seven-month crackdown on protesters demanding political reforms.  It is encouraging that China has made its position clear.  It is to be hoped that Russia will add its voice to the condemnation of the activities of this despot and his supporters.

However, I would also hope that China would "take the log out of its own eye, before attempting to take the speck out of Syria's eye"! (see Matt.7:5).     It is in China that Pastor Shi Enhao, deputy chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance, was recently sentenced to two years "re-education through labour" for organizing illegal meetings, trial observers said. It is in China that Gao Zhisheng a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Christian human rights lawyer who has published several reports and open letters detailing the human rights restrictions in China, including on religious freedom, has not been seen since April, 2010, in spite of repeated requests from his family (now in the U.S.of A.) and others , for news of his whereabouts, and his physical condition. Fan Yafeng, a house church leader and expert in constitutional law, has been held under house arrest at his home in Beijing since December last year.

Organisations such as Release International, Open Doors, and Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), for which links are available further down this page, have a catalogue of instances in which individual disciples of Jesus are being persecuted, in China, for their faith.  The Chinese government constantly denies human rights abuses, saying Christians are free to worship within the official denominations!  However, many of China's up to 130 million Christians prefer to worship in house churches, outside the control of the country's Communist government.

Leaders of the independent Shouwang Church in Beijing remain under house arrest. This congregation has tried to meet outdoors every Sunday since April 11, after government officials repeatedly denied them access to a permanent worship place which, according to all reports, is the legal property of the congregation!  Over 600 Shouwang Church Christians have reportedly been detained since April, including 15 on August 28 and 12 arrests on September 4. Police often detain believers, some of whom have travelled for hours, before the service starts  - and typically free them within 24 hours!

As many of us pray about the ongoing situation in Syria, and other parts of the Middle East, let us not forget those who, in China (and some fifty other countries in the modern world), are bearing in their bodies the marks of the Lord Jesus (see Gal.6:17).  They are paying a price that many in the "west", who bear the Name, might be unwilling to pay!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Meeting the family!

I can still (vaguely!!) remember heading towards my first meeting with the parents of the young girl whom I had been dating (and who has now been my wonderful wife for more than 41 years!!).  It was a rather daunting prospect.  Would they like me?  Would they think that I was good enough for their daughter?  Would they be impressed - or otherwise - that I was a student of Divinity?  I need not have feared.  All turned out well.

I thought of that earlier this evening.  I had been to one of 'my' Police Stations to meet with the shift that was going on duty at 1800 (that's 6.00 p.m. for those unfamiliar with the 24-hour clock!).  I was there in plenty of time and, knowing that the civilian staff, and most of the senior officers would not be in the building, I made my way to the Sergeants' room (sergeants, in my opinion, are the back-bone of the Force!).

One young sergeant was particularly conversational - and seemed to be very interested in where I had ministered; in my having been a teacher, and a chef.  I endeavoured to answer all of his questions as fully and frankly as possible (well, this was a police officer!!!).

After I had spoken to the shift at their muster, I went back to the Sergeants' room where my "inquisitive" sergeant was still working.  It was as we continued to talk that I discovered that he is working part-time, and also attending a Christian College in the south side of Glasgow.  He belongs to an evangelical Fellowship, and has connections with St.George's-Tron where my dear wife and I first met, and where we were married.

Suddenly our new relationship changed.  This young man was no longer 'just' another officer - this was a brother in the Lord; a member of the family of God.  What a lovely surprise for me.

My mind also went back to my days in the Merchant Navy.  I always attended the "Divine Worship" service that was held on board ship if we were at sea on a Sunday.  However, I looked forward more to those occasions on which we were in port on Sunday, when I could find a Christian fellowship (denominational tag was irrelevant!) and worship with others who truly loved the Lord.

It's one of the wonderful things about being a disciple of Jesus.  One may find family members around any corner; down any street; in any town.  The motto of the Keswick Convention is words from Paul's letter to the believers in the province of Galatia: "All one in Christ Jesus" (3:28).  That's the 'cord' that holds my new friend and I together, and that makes us brothers.

Of course, that family includes believers in Pakistan; Nigeria; Sudan; Egypt; Columbia; Kazakhstan; China; N.Korea; and some fifty countries around the world where the followers of the Way are persecuted - even to death - for no other reason than their faithfulness to Him.  They, too, are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and the least that I can do is to uphold them in prayer before the throne of grace.

I trust that you will do the same!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Tony Blair helps Kazakhstan boosts its image in West.

The heading is taken directly from today's Telegraph newspaper, above an article by Andy Bloxham that explains the way in which the former British Prime Minister "... works for several governments and companies including the rulers of Kuwait; JPMorgan Chase, the bank; and UI Energy Corporation, a South Korean oil company", and claims that "Mr Blair's deal with the country, said to be worth about £8 million, is the latest addition to his network of international clients, which are believed to have earned him £20 million since he left office."

One has to ask if there is any limit to this man's personal greed - and he is supposed to be a good Socialist!!!

He appears not to be too concerned as to where he makes his money.  The same article goes on to explain that "Diplomatic cables sent from the Kazakh capital, Astana, and published by WikiLeaks, have stated: 'Corruption is endemic among Kazakhstani officialdom.'  The US cables also described 'severe limits on ability to change their government; detainee and prisoner torture and other abuse; unhealthy prisoner conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; lack of an independent judiciary; restrictions on freedom of speech; pervasive corruption … discrimination and violence against women; trafficking in persons'". 

This is not all.  According to Release International, "Churches in Kazakhstan say officials are enforcing tough new policies on religious activity even before they have passed into law.

Kazakh Christians fear the new Religion Law will severely limit religious freedom by, for example, requiring all churches to re-register – and imposing strict registration criteria.

Officially the law does not come into force until Wednesday (October 26). But evidence gathered by Forum 18 news service suggests that Kazakh officials are already citing the law to crack down on religious activity.

In the south-west city of Atyrau, for example, police and security officials raided a worship meeting held in a local hall by a state-registered Protestant church called New Life last month. Officials cited the new Religion Law as the ground for the raid. A 17-year-old girl who tried to film the incident on her mobile phone was knocked unconscious by a police officer.

Officials claimed that the church could not legally meet outside its legally registered address – which is a local hotel. The church maintains that they had been forced to meet in the hall because officials had forced the hotel to end its rental agreement with them.

Shortly before the raid, officials published an article in a local paper claiming that New Life pastor Galymzhan Nagmadinov was 'brainwashing' his congregation for his own financial gain. He roundly denies the accusation.

Kazakh Christians had expressed concern that the proposed legislation had been rushed through Parliament and should not have been approved without significant amendment – but President Nursultan Nazarbaev put his signature to the new laws on October 11.

Religious rights campaigners claim the new Religion Law violates Kazakhstan's international human rights commitments. As well as imposing a complex new registration system, it requires faith groups to have both central and local government approval to build or open new places of worship. Other legislation soon to be approved has serious implications for the religious freedom of particular groups, such as children, and for the freedom to print religious literature.
"

If Mr Blair put his much-vaunted 'faith' before his apparent love for "unrighteous mammon", he would surely be using his relationship  with Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of the oil-rich central Asian state, to support this part of the persecuted Church.  That's why those who call themselves disciples of Jesus must always take heed of the words of Jesus: "For no good tree bears bad fruit , nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit . For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:43-45; RSV)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

What's a life worth?

Two, apparently unrelated, items of news this week, have prompted that question.

It would appear that, to the Israeli Government, one life - that of Sgt.Major Gilad Shalit - is worth more than a thousand terrorists, at least one of whom, Wafa al-Bis, on her release, publicly announced that she would seize any opportunity to mount another suicide mission [against Israel and its citizens] and encouraged dozens of cheering schoolchildren to follow her example. This, of course, has been the concern of many since the Israeli Government announced the terms of its agreement with the Palestinian group, Hamas.

The other item concerns the decision of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to pay a flat fee of £750.00 to women who donate an egg for the purposes of artificial fertilisation.  This is not a 'ceiling' above which necessary expenses will not be paid, but a straightforward, potentially profitable, fee.  The concern, here, is that in the current economic climate, some women from a poor background, will see this as a "nice little earner" and, effectively, start to 'sell' eggs in the same way as some in the U.S.of A. 'sell' blood donations.

Of course, neither 1,000+ terrorists, nor £750.00 come anywhere close to the value that Almighty God places on every individual human life.  The Gospel makes it perfectly clear that each one of us is of such value to Him, that, in the Persona of the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ - Almighty God in human flesh), He gave Himself as the perfect sacrifice for your sinfulness, and mine.

Paul puts it like this: "While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man - though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die.  But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." (Rom 5:6-8; RSV).

What's a life worth?  The very blood of the Lord Jesus.  Now that's what I call awesome!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Christian Commitment

Many years ago, I came across a reproduction of some words that had been written by an African pastor, and fastened to the wall of his home.  Whilst attending to some clearing-up, earlier this evening, I found my (slightly amended) copy of those words.  I share them, as a challenge to myself, and to all who dare to call themselves "disciples of Jesus".

"I'm a part of the fellowship of the unashamed.  I have Holy Spirit power.  The die has been cast.  I have stepped over the line.  The decision has been made.  I'm a disciple of His!  I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.  My past is redeemed; my present makes sense; my future is secure.  I'm finishes and done with low living; sight walking; small planning; smooth knees; colourless dreams; tamed visions; mundane talking; cheap living; and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity.  I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognised, praised, regarded, or rewarded.  I now live by faith; lean on His presence; walk with patience; lift in prayer; and labour by power.  I'm a disciple of Jesus!  My face is set; my gait is fast; my goal is heaven; my road is narrow; my way rough; my companions few; my Guide reliable; my mission clear. 

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed.  I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice; hesitate in the presence of the adversary; negotiate at the table of the enemy; ponder at the pool of popularity; or meander in the maze of mediocrity.  I won't give up, shut up, let up; until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, preached up, for the cause of the Christ.  I am a disciple of Jesus!  

I must go 'til He comes; give 'til I drop; preach 'til all know; and work 'til He stops me.  And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem in recognising me - my banner will be clear.  I am a disciple of JESUS!"

Would that all of us who 'talk the talk', were to 'walk the walk' in such a committed manner!  We can, by the same power, provided by the same Holy Spirit, to the glory of the same Jesus!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Statistics of death!

It was the 19th century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, who made the claim that: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics!"  One wonders how he would have survived in the 21st century with its plethora of polls and their resulting statistics.

However, some statistics are unarguable.  At the end of this month (27th) there is the National Day of Prayer about Abortion, and some of the statistics that have been acquired certainly emphasise the need for such a day!

Did you know, for example, that in 2010, in the United Kingdom, more than 200,000 babies died by abortion?  That equates to approximately 17,000 each month; 4,000 every week; 600 on a daily basis!  When I think of the pregnant woman I met, last week, who managed to become pregnant after 13 years of trying, who described her husband as being "like a dog with two tails", and who referred to her unborn child as "a miracle" (and she made no profession of religious belief), I wonder what is wrong with those who use such extreme surgery as a substitute for either contraception, or abstinence!

And that, according to the statistics, is exactly what it is.  Some 98% of those abortions were for "social reasons" (i.e. this child would interrupt my social life!).  The figures show that 26% of those abortions (aka murders) were performed on women who had already had one, or more, abortions.  It seems that some folk never learn - or just don't care!  Of that 26%, no less than 85 of the women had had seven, or more, abortions!!

These, in my opinion, are horrifying figures.  Of course there may be an occasion when the difficult decision must be made as to whether the life of the child, or the life of the mother, is saved.  Thankfully, that is a very rare situation.  In other cases, the pro-abortionist will accuse someone like me of not caring for the victims of rape.  What they fail to mention is that conception due to rape is also a very rare occurrence.  However, even in such a case, the murder of the unborn child does nothing to help the victim of the rape; and may even make the situation worse because of the psychological trauma that so often follows an abortion.  It is also, it seems to me, a strange kind of logic that decides that the best way for a crime to be dealt with is to commit another!

In addition, we will never know the potential of those aborted children.  How many of them would have grown to become doctors, nurses, ministers, teachers?  Would one of them have become, if given the chance to live, a researcher who would have discovered a cure for one of the diseases that plague humanity today?  The ready and easy access to abortion has ensured that we will never find out!

There are those who claim that abortion is just like a woman having her appendix removed.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Advances in medical science have shown that, from very early in the pregnancy, the unborn child is sentient - i.e. it feels pain.  If you can access the film "The Silent Scream", you will be convinced of that!  And, whether the pro-abortionists wish to admit it, or not, the unborn child, while dependent upon its mother, is a separate human being who happens to be at an early stage of its development.

I trust that many will use the National Day of Prayer to pray for, among other things, wisdom and guidance for pro-life groups who work for political change, and who seek to educate the population as to the real truth about abortion.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

(Un)Common Sense!

"Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:-

Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn't always fair; and Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by a simple, sound, financial policy - Don't spend more than you can earn - and knew that adults, not children, are in charge.

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned, but overbearing, regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student; only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home, but the burglar could sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife Discretion, his daughter Responsibility, and his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers - I Know My Rights; I Want It Now; Someone Else Is To Blame; and I'm A Victim.  Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, do nothing"

With thanks to Mr David Maxwell, who posted the above as a comment in The Herald Newspaper, regarding the Braehead Shopping Centre ice-cream photograph.  (My version slightly amended).

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Romans 8:28

The door-bell was ringing; someone was knocking; I awoke, and realised that it wasn't a dream; the bedside clock showed that it was 0250!  Jumping up, and grabbing my dressing-gown, I made for the front door.  As I walked down the hallway, I saw that there were blue flashing lights outside.  I called to my wife - thinking that there was some emergency that entailed our neighbours and us being evacuated from our homes.  'Twas not so!

As I opened the door, I was met with the sight of the caravan on which we had spent so many hours this past week, cleaning and polishing in order to sell, with thick, black, rancid, smoke billowing from it, and two fire appliances on the roadway outside.  We were as gutted as the caravan now was!

To make matters worse, we only had the caravan because it had required some warranty work, for which a major part had been ordered by our local dealer, and which was completed just last week.  In the meantime, we had purchased a replacement 'van in which we had spent our long summer holiday.  The only reason for not having traded in the other one was the fact that the part had been ordered, and was being manufactured.  This meant that, while we had taken out insurance on the 'new' (pre-loved/second-hand) 'van, we didn't have any cover for the one that is now useless!

The cause of the fire has still to be determined, but as the door was found to be unlocked, and a window was found to be open (I had been washing the outside yesterday, and would certainly have noticed the latter), it would appear that the fire was started deliberately "by a person, or persons, unknown"!

The salt in the wound was today, when a friend, who had learned last evening that the 'van was for sale, 'phoned my wife to express an interest in coming to view it.  I have offered a reduced price!!!

So, how does one react in such a situation?  Well, we have looked for the positives.  No-one was in the 'van, so no-one was injured, or killed.  The fire was at the side of the 'van that faced away from the house, so the wooden supports in the front porch didn't catch fire, with the potential for a much more serious situation.  We will be able to salvage quite a number of saleable items, so the financial loss, although still considerable, may not be as much as I had expected in the early hours of the morning.

And was it mere coincidence that, when I sat down for my private devotions this morning, I was directed to Psalm 31:14-24?  Those verses commence with the words: "But I trust in Thee, O YHWH; I say 'Thou art my God'." and end: "Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for YHWH."

The situation in which David penned those words was different from the situation in which we find ourselves this evening.  But we serve the same God, and know Him in a way in which David was unable to know Him, as Messiah had not yet appeared in David's day.  So, we give thanks, remembering those in the persecuted church who, like some in the Mexican town of San Rafael Tianalapan, were forced out of their homes (not touring caravans) by other, traditionalist, townsfolk who threatened to "crucify, or lynch," them if they stayed.

And we can rejoice in the knowledge that, from His vantage-point of eternity, Father God not only knows that that fire is taking place (for in eternity there is only 'present' - no past or future!), but also knows how the situation is being resolved, in a future moment of physical time.

You see, Romans 8:28 either means everything - or nothing; and we choose to believe the former!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Death - is it really the end?

Rev Dr Geoffrey Grogan was most aptly described as "a gentle, gracious, giant of a man."  He was a former Principal of The Bible Training Institute, Glasgow (now merged with the Northumbria Bible college to become The International Christian College), and had previously lectured at the BTI.

My own time at the BTI was during the years in between his years as a lecturer and as Principal, so I never sat under his teaching.  However, I met him on a few occasions and, latterly, had been in correspondence with him, and the only adjective that I would wish to add to the description given above, is the adjective 'humble'.

Mr Grogan took ill, early in the morning of August 31st - and died that afternoon.  However, I only learned, today, that when the doctor informed him that his condition was terminal, he replied, "I am a Christian; so this is not terminal, it's transitional."  What a testimony to a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!  Here was a man who had responded, positively, to the divine invitation to "Follow me"!  And here was a man who could say, with the psalmist-king David: "Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way." (Ps 23:4; TLB).

I know that I have sometimes preached on the subject of death, and may have posted something on this blog before now.  Permit me to say, quite simply, that I firmly believe that death is not just the breakdown of the physical body in which I walk around in this life.  I believe, with many eminent scientists, that there are dimensions other than the four that we experience in our space-time continuum.  I believe that one of these is what Stephen Hawking illustrates graphically, in A brief history of Time, as perpendicular time - crossing the linear time that provides us with the concepts of past, present, and future, but touching it at every point (may be said to make no sense - but a scientist has stated it, so it must be true!!!). I refer to that other 'time dimension' as 'eternity' - and it isn't endless time, but timelessness, which is a totally different concept. I also believe that what separates time from eternity is a 'veil/curtain', so fine that it would make graphene (which is only one atom in thickness!) seem like a heavy tapestry by comparison.

When my physical body reaches the end of its life - which, if the Rapture is delayed it will eventually do - then the real me, my 'essence', my spirit, will slip through that veil into the nearer presence of the One Whom, however imperfectly, I have sought to serve for more than half a century of linear time.

This is the hope of every disciple of Jesus.  It is the hope that sustains those who suffer, daily, in the persecuted church.  It is the hope that is more than hope, for it is "... a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [that involves] ... an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for [those] who, by God's power, are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (I Peter 1:3-6; RSV).

Thank you, Mr Grogan, for those final words of ministry.  We who had the privilege of knowing you, however slightly, are equally convinced that you are hearing, from the lips of the Saviour, those wonderful words: "Well done, good and faithful servant! ... Come and share your Master's happiness!" (Matt 25:21; NIV).

Death - not the end; merely a transition.  The only question concerns your ultimate destination!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Persecution continues, unabated!

Recently, on my Facebook page, I was taken to task (albeit, politely, by a former pupil) for raising the issue of the continuing persecution of disciples of Jesus by some of those who claim to be upholding the religion of Islam.  Unfortunately, I am able to publicise only a small percentage of the cases of persecution that come my way - not all of them, admittedly, the actions of Muslim extremists!

Today, I received the following     
http://mail.google.com/mail/#inbox/132caa82431ce1f4   
which I recommend to all who visit this blog.  The site (please copy, and paste, the link) provides a number of cases of overt persecution - most of them by Muslims.  Each and all of them may be verified.

Whatever one may say, and however one may seek to "sweeten the pill", it is a simple fact that there are those within Islam whose strongest desire is to see the re-establishment of the "ummah".  This is a world-wide Islamic 'state' in which shariah (Islamic law) alone is practised.  The late al-Quaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, called for Muslims to "establish the righteous caliphate of our ummah."

I have no desire to deliberately offend any moderate Muslim and, indeed, have been friendly with such in the past, and continue to have a good relationship with some at the present time.  However, as the Scottish Bard pointed out in The Dream: "... facts are chiels that winna ding, an' downa be disputed" [= "facts are fellows that will not be overturned, and cannot be disputed"], and the fact is that extreme Islam is the most militant force in the world today - whether against other religious groups, or against secular society.  Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, has stated that it "is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its laws on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet."(Islam: A Mosaic, Not a Monolith; Vartan Gregorian, 2003).

It is surely incumbent upon people of good-will, everywhere, to be alert to such a goal - and to do all that is possible to thwart its realisation.



Saturday, 1 October 2011

The law - is it only for breaking?

A number of years ago, I decided to stop shopping in Tesco because they had started to sell the "morning-after" pill - not a contraceptive; more of a DIY abortion - without prescription, and without any concern as to the age of the customer!  This meant that any girl, even if under the legal age for indulging in penetrative sexual intercourse, could ensure that no pregnancy would occur; and that neither a doctor, nor a parent, need know anything about her behaviour.  Now, of course I know that a male had to be involved, but it is always the female who is left, quite literally, "holding the baby"!

What I interpreted, then, as a lack of moral concern and a flaunting of the law (regarding under-age intercourse), has been shown once again, to be part and parcel of this company's basic policy.  The new legislation outlawing the sale of cheap alcohol in Scotland - and designed to combat the scourge of Scotland: alcohol abuse (aka binge drinking) - comes into force today.  However, it has been widely reported that Tesco is in the vanguard of companies working to circumvent the law in this situation.  They have, reportedly, targeted Scots with the information that cut-price deals may still be obtained by shopping online at the company's wine store.  Doing this will mean that the alcohol has to be transported across the Scots/English border - and this, apparently, means that it is exempt from the new Scottish law!   However, it may also be said to be an action that is totally contrary to the spirit (no pun intended!) of the law.

I am no supporter of the Liberal Democrats - either north or south of the border - but I agree totally with Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie who said: "Tesco is acting like modern day smugglers. ... If they were an ethical company with a social conscious, they would not be behaving in this irresponsible manner." (The Herald newspaper).

Such an attitude certainly won't encourage me to return to the Tesco fold.  I can only hope that others will join with me in my Tesco boycott!