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The return of the Test Acts

The (Glasgow) Herald reports,

Mandatory climate change classes plan for Scottish leaders

MSPs, business leaders and newly enrolled university students may be asked to take mandatory climate change studies if plans currently under consideration are adopted.

The studies would help arm them with facts and knowledge to make urgent changes to society as it emerges from COVID-19 lockdown. The Scottish Government has already committed to enrolling at least 100 senior officials to the Climate Solutions course.

The news comes just days before Tuesday’s one-year anniversary of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declaring a climate emergency.

The course was devised by experts at the Perth-based Royal Scottish Geographical Society in partnership with the Institute of Directors, Stirling University’s Business School and the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Carbon Innovation.

Among the main areas the course looks at are issues around transport, energy use, supply chains, social behaviours, mitigation and planning for the future.

Former UN executive secretary on climate change Christiana Figueres who brokered the Paris Agreement, former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney who is now UN special envoy on climate action and finance and ex Irish President Mary Robinson who set up a climate justice foundation, are among heavyweight names lending their support.

The Test Acts, in case you had forgotten,”were a series of English penal laws that served as a religious test for public office and imposed various civil disabilities on Roman Catholics and nonconformists.”

Mr Robinson, said: “What we’re really hoping is we can make it universal.

“The conversations I’ve had are with six universities is about making it mandatory for students as a matriculation course. Stirling and Edinburgh universities are already further down the line on that than others.

“I’m also talking to others about making it as mandatory as we can in all other sectors – including business – because we need everybody to wake up a bit to their responsibilities.

“The Scottish Government are already committed through their programme of government to put through 100 senior staff on it.”

As I mention every time this subject comes up, I am more of a believer in anthropogenic climate change than many here. But the Scottish Government is working on that. If profession of a certain belief becomes a test of office, then soon enough every office holder will profess that belief. But why should anyone believe them? Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

22 comments to The return of the Test Acts

  • Nullius in Verba

    They did all that the last time around, too. It didn’t work then, either.

  • Looks like I am going to have to get that “Bullshit!” rubber stamp and red ink pad out again.

    At least I have the excuse that I am certifiably insane which my shrink will back up in writing as required.

  • bobby b

    “The course was devised by experts . . . “

    Oh, well, okay then.

  • Chester Draws

    Why do the left never think of the opportunity cost? Every required course pushes out an optional one, and means the student leaves University knowing even less.

    My daughter is doing a fairly hard-core degree (Maths and Economics) and has to waste a slot taking a patsy “Science in Society” paper that adds nothing to her knowledge. Add this in, why not?

    If you want senior leaders who know about climate change (TM), then how about employing some with actual science, economics etc, rather than entirely lawyers and PPEs. But that would be hard.

  • Mark

    Well jolly hockey sticks!

  • If you want senior leaders who know about climate change (TM), then how about employing some with actual science, economics etc, rather than entirely lawyers and PPEs. But that would be hard.

    Because its not about the science, it’s about the narrative. The science types are essentially sceptics, eternally searching for meaningless things (as far as the activists are concerned), like facts, provability and statistical correlation.

    What the activists want are truthers like Greta, those who simply believe without mental exertion (or even requirement).

  • Mr Ed

    anthropogenic climate change

    ‘anthropogenic’ means ‘giving rise to man’, not ‘man giving rise to’, e.g. ‘carcinogenic’ = ‘cancer-causing’ not ’caused by cancer’.

    Defective greek derivatives indicate to me that they are trying to steal scientific terminology, this is not Grammarnazidom on my part, but an observation that they are using language to deceive.

  • Stonyground

    The climate change issue has now entered total fantasy world. None of the doomsday predictions of the last thirty years have come to pass. There is no crisis, non whatsoever. The weather is capricious and sometimes causes a lot of damage just as it always has. Pointing to every such weather event and claiming that it is proof of climate change is only convincing if you are an ignoramus.

  • Mr Ed

    Of course it is not the return of the Test Acts as they were, as you note, English Acts of the English Parliament. You have now set my inner pedant off in search of any comparable Scottish Acts. So it’s the adoption of the Test Acts with a modern touch, so the SNP do look at England and learn. 🙂

  • Marc

    Probably organized by the same people who push Common Purpose.

  • Barry Sheridan

    I think most recognise and accept that the human presence exerts a degree of influence on climate. Cities experience localised heating due to the lives and activities associated with its populations, while in the rural environment alterations in land use drive other subtle changes. Whether these influences have the capability to shift the world’s overall climatic balance to the point where it totally destabilises and overcomes the natural cycles is highly unlikely. What we can be sure of it that efforts to reduce the benefits of life as we know it by ill thought out ideological driven policy will do more than cause economic pain, it will bring social upheaval. These risks are not necessary, the western world has made huge strides in reducing its impact on the world, extending these gains across the world will further reduce the overall role humanity has on earth, with even more being achieved if nuclear energy can be harnessed instead of being vilified. Reviewing our past illustrates how human invention provided solutions to ills, these processes must continue, further harmonising the human presence with everything else.

  • I think most recognise and accept that the human presence exerts a degree of influence on climate.

    Sure, but it’s a bit like saying that my gut bacteria is in charge of the body rather than the brain. You can argue it theoretically*, but practically speaking it is a non-starter.

    The sun, volcanic activity, water vapour and oceans drive both climate and climate change**, the contribution by humanity is insignificant, amounting to little more than a rounding error.

    * – You can argue anything theoretically
    ** – Since climate is eternally changing

  • David H Bolton

    The whole climate emergency is an absurdity. People will be sceptical of climate change as long as the alarmists keep making ridiculous predictions that don’t come true.

    as long as the world continues to get healthier and wealthier all the time, even though the alarmists say that we are in a ‘planetary emergency’.

    as long as hypocrites like Al Gore and Leo Di Caprio live fabulously luxurious lifestyles while telling everyone else that they should drastically reduce their ‘Carbon Footprint’.

    as long as those responsible for the data continue to alter that data to make it fit their narrative.

    as long as alarmists run for cover whenever they are challenged to a debate.

    as long as alarmists find it necessary to demean and call skeptics names rather than address their reasons for being sceptical.

    as long as those pushing that narrative find it necessary to “cherry pick” the data to make it fit that narrative.

    as long as peer reviewed journals pick others of a like mind to conduct peer review rather than someone with an independent mind.

    as long as alarmists make phony claims about the percentage of climate scientists who agree with them.

    as long as climate scientists refuse to use the scientific method to verify their hypotheses.

    as long as alarmists refuse to discuss any alternative causes of it other than human-caused.

    as long as US tax dollars continue to only fund research that supports the human-caused, catastrophic, global warming hypothesis and deny such funding to any other research not designed to support that hypothesis.

    as long as alarmists continue to attribute anything and everything that may be slightly unusual to a result of global warming without looking at any actual historical data.

  • David H Bolton

    I’d also add. Higher co2 levels are making the earth greener (Nature), Co2 is plant food after all. If sea levels are rising, why is there more coastal land rather than less (nature), but heck what do I know?

  • Mr Ecks

    Barry–Sanitised Marxist tripe.

    The greenfreakshow is designed to destroy Western economies by adding 100s of billions in extra costs–which the Chinese/Indians/Russians will take no notice of.

    Since our political scum have already smashed our economies –we need to bring an end to the green freaks. Down to the level of individual punishment if necessary.

  • NickM

    Alas Barry, I think nuclear is a dead duck. People just don’t trust it. That they are wrong on that don’t matter. I suspect it is seen as magic and more Saruman than Gandalf if you catch my drift. It is too closely associated with weapons in public perception and mutants and Bond villians and of course Chernobyl (and The Simpsons) really didn’t help. Chernobyl should have been a wake-up call and it was but it was the wrong wake-up call. It should have been the total seal on the stinking mess that was command socialism and not on nuclear power. If we’re talking cancers and epic environmental degradation then I suggest taking a look at a Chinese Neodymium mine… Yeah, you know the stuff they use in “clean” wind turbines…

    But, you’re a physics graduate Nick, so you would say that! I have heard that more times than I can shake a fuel rod at. Am I biased? Maybe. Or maybe I just know what I’m talking about*. Well, if we can get Uranium (and whatever happened to Thorium salt reactors?) from Canada or Australia (or indeed Kazakhstan) and tell the Russkies and the Venezuelans and the Saudis to go piss up a rope then I call that a result in and of itself.

    Where did it all go wrong? We were never gonna have electricity too cheap to meter but… Fuck me. I live just to the South of Manchester and the most impresssive structure in my orbit is the railway viaduct over Stockport.

    Stockport Viaduct carries the West Coast Main Line across the valley of the River Mersey in Stockport, Greater Manchester, England (grid reference SJ89089030). It is one of the largest brick structures in the United Kingdom.
    Stockport Viaduct was designed by George Watson Buck for the Manchester and Birmingham Railway. In 1839, work commenced and around 11 million bricks were used in its construction before it was completed in 1840. The viaduct is 33.85 metres (111.1 ft) high. At the time of its construction, it was the world’s largest viaduct and a major feat of Victorian engineering. Stockport Viaduct is a Grade II* listed structure and remains one of the world’s biggest brick structures.

    Queen Victoria had only just warmed the throne and they built that fucker in a year… Compare and contrast with the time and monies already spent on HS2 which is, when all is said and done, a Stephenson guage railway (I’m originally a Geordie – grew-up walking distance from George’s house in Wylam) and he’d be beside himself with outrage over that if he wasn’t building Maglevs or a space elevator… We’ve spent more pubic** monies on not building a fucking common or garden railway than the funding given to Skylon.

    At some point we ceased to aspire to be The Jetsons and harked back to The Flintstones. It is dismal.

    *Anyway, my thang was fluid dynamics. Specifically astrophysical compressible flow was where (long story) I didn’t get my PhD – Type Ia supernovae – now that is a seriously unregulated nuclear reaction…
    **Not an sp. It is not a public infrastructure project. It’s an epic wankathon.

  • LFB_UK

    So, a university student takes the additional “module”, what if they completely debunk the “Mantra” and within their research and assignments state that it is bunkum and hogwash. Could the “failure of the module”, lead to a reduction of their overall grade for the degree???

  • Barry Sheridan

    You brought a welcome smile to my ageing countenance Mr Ecks, it has been years since anyone insinuated I had Marxist sympathies. If only you knew!

  • Sam Duncan

    There’s a prominent building overlooking the West End of Glasgow, on the neighbouring hill to the University. Hard to miss with its three Venetian Gothic towers, it’s now a block of flats known as “Trinity”. Its history is interesting.

    When the Free Church seceded from the Church of Scotland in the “disruption” of 1843 (in protest against state encroachment on the Kirk’s independence, incidentally), it found itself with a bit of a problem: its members couldn’t study or teach Divinity at any established institution. I think Mr. Ed is correct about the absence of Test Acts, but it certainly was impossible to matriculate – for any subject – without being a member of the established church. So it founded its own Colleges, in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Glasgow, through public subscription. After the United Free Church (it’s complicated) rejoined the Church of Scotland in 1929, the Glasgow institution was renamed “Trinity College”. (Ironically, since that union and the extension of religous freedom in academia, all three now form the faculties of Divinity in their cities’ respective Universities. Trinity College occupied its original building, still owned by the Kirk, until 1976.)

    I wonder how many Herald writers are aware of this or appreciate its relevance. The history of the protestant churches in Scotland isn’t much in favour these days… which is bizarre, because if you don’t know about that, you can’t hope to understand Scotland. Requirements and impositions of faith don’t sit well here.

    “So it’s the adoption of the Test Acts with a modern touch, so the SNP do look at England and learn.”

    The SNP don’t give a flying damn about Scotland. They just want Generic European State #28, with tartan and saltires.

  • Paul Marks

    Natalie – the Test Acts are already here.

    For example, as it was pointed out to me when I was stabbed in the back and destroyed by Conservative Party Central Office after 40 years service (“not that I am bitter or anything….”) everyone in public life in the United Kingdom must sign up for the Frankfurt School of Marxism “Diversity and Inclusion” Agenda, and the Environmental Agenda is also well on the way to being compulsory – for everyone in organisations (including Big Business) and central and local government.

    “But Britain is a free country – we have freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and the right to express our beliefs”.

    That may have been true in about 1964 – but it is nothing to do with the modern United Kingdom.

    The establishment will soon go from saying that Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030 are “paranoid conspiracy theories” to demanding that everyone sign up to these plans.

    Or be PUNISHED.

    Remember the founder of Fascism, Mussolini, was a heretic Marxist – and Fascism retains much Marxism – and a deep hatred for liberty.

    Central Office types would quite TRUTHFULLY deny being Marxists – but their “public-private partnerships” and “Agendas” (Fac….) are not exactly friendly to liberty either.

    If anyone doubts any of the above ask yourself the following question – are there any rights in the United Kingdom AGAINST the state?

    Is there anything the state (Parliament and co) is NOT allowed to do?

    “No Paul you do no understand – Parliament is not part of the state, Parliament LIMITS the state”.

    Perhaps that was true in the time of John Hampden – but how is it true now?

    After all the Members of the House of Commons have been paid by the state since 1911.

    Who in Parliament voted against the “lockdown”?

    Where is the right to Freedom of Speech? And do not be a prat and say “you are exercising your freedom of speech right now Paul” – I can only type what I type because I am a DEAD MAN WALKING – someone who had a life could not dare type anything like this under their own name.

    Where is the right to peacefully gather and protest?

    Where is the right to run a peaceful business (say a barber’s shop) without, having committed no crime, being shut down by the state?

    There are no rights AGAINST the state here.

  • In the days of the old Scottish parliament before the 1707 act of union, Scots had tests just like the English. Lord Turntippet, member of the Scottish council of state, appears briefly at the end of Chapter V of Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Bride of Lammermuir’. He is fictional, but Sir Walter Scott uses his words to convey historical fact:

    I wha hae complied wi’ a’ compliances, tane all manner o’ tests, abjured all that was to be abjured and sworn a’ that was to be sworn these thirty years bypast

    Scott intends the name Turntippet to remind the reader that only a Scottish version of the vicar of Bray could have taken all these successive oaths, reflecting as they did several rapid reversals of political fortune.

    Fundamentally the same politics were roiling over both Kingdoms, but the exact times at which it became a legal duty to abjure what you’d not that long ago sworn to, and swear to what you’d not that long ago abjured, sometimes differed in the two kingdoms. Even when it did not, the English parliament passed the acts down south and the Scottish parliament passed the acts up north.

  • sonny wayz


    “You can argue anything theoretically”

    Sorry, but this is a pet peeve of mine. I hope you mean ‘hypothetically’. ‘Theory’ is supposed to have a track record of (mostly) accurate predictions.