Friday, March 30, 2012

Thought for the Day
Good Morning Scotland
BBC Radio Scotland
Friday, March 30th, 2012

Gaffes are in the news today...

Critics have accused David Cameron and one of his Cabinet Ministers of unnecessarily alarming Britons by suggesting that they top up their tanks or store jerry-cans of petrol "just in case" the tanker drivers go on strike.

Here in Scotland our First Minister has been criticised for the decision to invite some recent Lottery winners - and future SNP donors - to a Tea Party at Bute House.

Gaffes - a french word referring, generally, to acts or words which do not demonstrate good judgement and which subsequently cause offence or bother.

I am rather prone to these. One of the wardens in my congregation refers to the "Canadian School of Charm" when I have come out with something, on the spur of the moment, which causes faces to fall and even me to slap my forehead and say "why the hell did I say that..."

My lady wife refers to it as "opening my gob and letting my belly rumble".

I do it rather a lot.

One of the few places I don't make many gaffes is here on Radio Scotland at 7:24 in the morning but, then again, I have a producer with whom I discuss scripts beforehand.

A producer who, I might add, resolutely refuses to accompany me to all my meetings, to vet my announcements in church or to apply a red pencil to my sermons. She won't look over my emails to vestry members before I press the send button. More's the pity.

And this is the conflict - for bank managers and clergy, for doctors and politicians, for people speaking on behalf of their clubs and organisations: they are asked questions and are given full marks when they speak freely and openly.

But they are asked to remember the power that words have and the meaning of the acts which they perform on behalf of the people they represent - whether in the form of parables or sermons or diagnoses, or solemn warnings about petrol queues.

And that people, who could be hurt by what they say or do, are taking them seriously .

Audio link available HERE. TFTD begins at 1:21:55 - about halfway along the audio bar