Peel in Glasgow


This month I was in the proud city of Glasgow. In one of the central squares, three grizzled elderly men, stripped of their shirts, were playing football in a public square as though to conform to the city’s stereotyping. Yet two other figures wee present, somewhat more dignified than the geriatric footballers. On high plinths stood two fellow Lancastrians, William Gladstone and Sir Robert Peel. The former, from Liverpool, and the latter, from Bury, both made substantial contributions to national life. So despite their being Prime Ministers of political parties which enjoy relatively little support in current Scots politics, they are rightly commemorated here.

Sir Robert in particular persuaded his Tory Party (which he made into the modern Conservatives in 1834) to abandon the Corn Laws which held corn prices high to protect farmers. Having repealed them, cheap wheat from abroad entered the markets, and food for the poor become more affordable. There were many denizens of the Glaswegian slums who felt the benefit of Sir Robert’s politics, even though he lived and worked hundreds of miles south in London.

Sometimes, the good we do cannot be observed by ourselves, but is very much appreciated where we cannot see. The prime example of this will be those we meet in heaven who first heard the gospel from us, but who apparently failed to respond. Do not grow weary in the execution of good work, and measure its value by its doing and not its weighing.