Thursday was a conference on Resilience and Welfare Reform, with Citizens Advice Scotland. The idea of resilience is often misunderstood in Scotland, where it’s seen as a characteristic of someone’s personality; it’s up to individuals and poor communities to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and the emphasis is duly put on removing barriers rather than providing the services they need. However, in the literature on development, as put e.g. by Robert Chambers, resilience has a more more relevant meaning. People are at risk when bad things might happen; they are vulnerable if, when bad things happen, they are likely to be harmed by them. Resilience is the opposite of vulnerability. People are resilient if they are not likely to be harmed by adverse risks. Their capacity to recover depends their resources, on other people around them and on the framework of services. One of the most effective ways of making people resilient has been to develop social protection, and many of the problems we currently have are because that protection has been removed.