As you prepare to take decisions on how we shall meet the challenges of our troubled times, and perhaps find both new meaning and the affirmation of old values in the works of Burns, it may be helpful to take added inspiration from another source. As we watch events unfolding across the pond, it is surely insightful to reflect upon the extract from President Obama’s inaugural address.
Please read it from your own political perspective. Whether your politics are of a nationalist or unionist hue, these words will surely resonate. If your politics are green, or red or blue, you will find meaning in these messages. You may also choose to insert other extracts, for example his phrases on patriotism, or substituting “
Regardless of the setting, whether these words are heard by millions standing in front of the Capitol, or by the public gallery in Holyrood or in any one of our council chambers across the country, their meaning, their sense of purpose and direction ring true. From our perspective at the Centre for Scottish Public Policy, these words relate directly to our core policy programmes on Public Service Reform, renewing Democracy and Energy & Environment.
However you choose to read these words, they reflect our common values, our shared sense of direction, our appreciation that those things which bind us together are indeed much stronger than those which seek to force us apart. At this time, as you prepare to debate and then decide what path we shall all take to tackle the challenges that we face, consider how this extract would be received in your chamber!
CSPP Policy Director