If Jacob were around today he would have a three piece suit, a BMW, a flat in the west end of Glasgow and a boat at Cameron House marina.

He was always looking for the main chance. He came out of the womb holding his brother’s ankle.

He wanted to be first. He was a striker of deals. He conned his brother out of his inheritance. Yet he was to meet his match in uncle Laban.

Jacob fell in love with his cousin Rachel and agreed to work for seven years for her hand in marriage.

On the wedding night Laban switched the bride for her sister Leah who was not so hot in the beauty stakes.

Jacob was determined to wed Rachel so he agreed to work another seven years for her.

The passing of those years “seemed but like a few days because of the love he had for her”.

I lived with that story for 37 years for it was depicted in stained glass in Bonhill Kirk.

I celebrate two anniversaries this month. Anniversaries of the two best decisions I ever made in my life.

The best was to get married to the girl I love on the August 1 in the year 1969.

The second best to come to a community I also love on August 6, 1975. Some things have changed in those years but others remain the same.

Sadly the poverty I first saw 42 years ago does not seem to get any better.

I visited a woman this week. She is a decent soul but she is struggling.

The gap between her life and ours is as big as the gap between our lives and the folk who summer at Balmoral.

Perhaps the lifestyle choices that are taken by people are not always the wisest, but sometimes, through no fault of their own, families just slip into a pit from which there is no return.

I don’t know the answer but it sure looks like those who hold the reins of government don’t know either.