Suicide — it isn’t always good to talk, but talk we must

09/09/2019

Sixteen years ago, just a few years shy of middle age, I came to Edinburgh to make a new life. Summer was just beginning but it was a cold coming. An inauspicious arrival. All bets were off. I came to begin a new chapter in the very place where, scarcely six months earlier, I had […]
Finding a way to belonging — on Constitution Street

06/09/2019

Yesterday evening I took part in a protest. It wasn’t on the streets or outside a building. There were no placards, no hecklers. There was no lobbying, no them and us. It was a book launch. In a library. I’ve taken part in a protest in a library once before. Nearly 40 years ago, my […]
Marching the streets won’t get Yes over the line: cool heads might

07/08/2019

‘Increasingly, SNP supporters are wrong-headed would Alex Salmond do?’ was the question posed by Iain Macwhirter in his Herald column this morning. It grabbed my attention but made me flinch. The question seemed entirely wrong headed. Granted, I’m sure some SNP supporters are asking it. Salmond has his fan base; it’s clearly sizable and super […]
Refusing to name Trump’s racism normalises it — and the next stop is fascism

18/07/2019

From ‘Lock her up’ to ‘Send her back’ in three short years. The misogyny of ‘Lock her up’ was deplorable enough. But if the chants from Trump’s rally in North Carolina aren’t chilling your bones yet, I’d recommend watching it on a loop until they do. And if they do, but you think it couldn’t […]
Attitudes to same-sex relationships – no time to call it a day

12/07/2019

An apparent stalling in the pace of liberalisation on attitudes to same-sex relationships and a welter of angry protest about LGBT inclusive education in schools provide a sharp reminder of the need to re-double and re-focus our efforts in the battle for equality. And as we look forward it’s worth looking back. In 1987, my […]
A letter to Toby Young about Pride and ‘woke corporations’

08/06/2019

Dear Toby, I read your column in the Spectator, about the notion that Pride has been taken over by ‘woke corporations.’ We’ve never met, and I think if we did, we’d disagree rather a lot. I don’t mind that. But your piece irked me, and I felt I had to respond. Lurking in its midst […]
Books on the Box with Barr

06/06/2019

The announcement that BBC Scotland has commissioned a new arts series to celebrate literature got the Twitterati — on my timeline at least — in quite a fizz. Fizz is good. We all need a bit of it especially on the driechest of June days. The Big Scottish Book Club is to be hosted by award-winning writer, Damian Barr. […]
The art of politics is having a story – who knew?

27/05/2019

I learnt a valuable lesson about political blogging over the weekend. If you want your story heard in a crowded space, have one — just one. The power of story is a single coherent narrative. And as heads are scratched this morning, that’s the lesson for political parties too. As I laboured over my post late into […]