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Kate Forbes: losing to win

In the race to become Scotland's First Minister, citizens picked up on the underlying message Kate Forbes was delivering: I am not going to hide who I am.

NEWS DESK AUTOR 7/Joel_Forster 28 DE MARZO DE 2023 15:33 h
Kate Forbes, speaking at a news conference of the Scottish government. / Photo: [link]Flickr Scottish Government[/link], CC.

Kate Forbes will not be the next First Minister of Scotland.



The young finance minister of evangelical faith (and recent new mother) who was vying to become the new leader of the dominant SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party) lost her party’s primary by a margin of less than 3,000 votes to Humza Yousaf.



Although she was the highest-rated candidate in the polls, the pro-independence establishment (still under the influence of the charismatic and recently resigned Nicola Sturgeon) backed Yousaf almost en bloc, despite the fact that his performance at the helm of up to three different ministries had left much to be desired.



Why did the Highlands MP recently seen as Sturgeon’s natural successor lose so much support overnight? The answer lays in her faith convictions.



Forbes believes in the Bible as the authority for faith and life. “I believe in the person of Jesus Christ”, she has said in the past, “I believe that he died for me, he saved me and that my calling is to serve and to love him and to serve and love my neighbours”. She and her husband are part of a local church in the Free Church of Scotland, an 8,000-member denomination that split from the historic and theologically liberal Church of Scotland (which despite its recent collapse still retains a quarter of a million members).



Forbes could have chosen to “fudge the issue” when journalists asked about her convictions. In fact, that is exactly what some of her party colleagues who held her in high esteem asked for. Her ‘fundamentalist’ faith would be seen as ‘anti-progressive’, so the strategy during the campaign to lead Scotland should be to deflect attention from her faith as much as possible. She knew in advance that the media and her political rivals would attack her for it, didn’t she?



And yet Forbes, during countless interviews and debates over the past month, answered questions one by one. She responded about her faith and values clearly, without a hint of self-censorship. While the press talked about her sinking her own campaign, many citizens picked up on the underlying message Forbes was delivering: Scotland needs politicians who speak the truth, have integrity and are not afraid to stand up for what they believe is good for the country. 



Despite a cascade of public cancellation from her own SNP colleagues, vetoes from other progressive parties if she was elected, and pressure from LGBT groups on social media, Forbes did not withdraw from the leadership race. And she eventually fell in the internal process just 4% short of victory (48% to 52%).



Forbes would have been First Minister if the last word had been given to the population as a whole rather than just party members, according to polls published in recent days. 



Yousaf, a liberal Muslim who supports abortion, the LGTBQI agenda and the Transgender Law, will be sworn in on Wednesday. He will be the “politically correct” candidate, much to the relief of the secularist elite.



As with all losers in politics, Kate Forbes’ role in the party is now uncertain. However, her persona has generated a debate in the “land of the Book” (see John Knox, David Livingstone and so many others) that has almost short-circuited the new secularism that felt untouchable in the whole of the UK.



“ Politics will pass - I am a person before I was a politician and that person will continue to believe that I am made in the image of God”, Forbes said when she first won her seat in 2016. Who knows if that ability to forgo success for the greater good may make Kate a necessary character in Scottish public life in the future.



She is, after all, only 32.



 



Joel Forster, Director of Evangelical Focus.



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