Why Tim Farron’s experience of intolerance cuts both ways


If I had a pound for every one of the column inches that have been written on the Farron affair I’d have a nice little windfall. Notwithstanding the fact that I’ve thrown my tuppence halfpenny worth in a couple of times too. In fact, on the first occasion I had initially been reluctant to contribute […]
Rees-Mogg and the tyranny of liberalism


First Tim Farron, now Jacob Rees-Mogg. Two very different characters, the same stooshie. As with Farron, I initially shied away from commenting. But it’s hard to resist responding when it tugs away at something personal. It’s not that I find Rees-Mogg’s views on marriage surprising or that I think he has no right to hold […]
Why Trump’s state of mind is the wrong target


I’m not going to read Fire and Fury. I have a stack of books I want to get stuck into. Some non-fiction, some fiction and a bit of poetry too. Some will make me laugh, others will make me cry and all of them will, I hope, make me think. I’m sure Fire and Fury […]
Big thinking for a small country


On Thursday 18th September 2014, my husband and I walked to the polling station. It was a fine evening and as we walked we shared stories about our respective days. Much like any other couple, just another day at work. And yet this was a day unlike any other. We both knew that. Having cast […]
They wanted us there that day – policing and the miners’ strike


Michael Matheson’s announcement that the Scottish Government is to set up an independent review of the impact of policing on communities in Scotland during the miners’ strike in 1984-5 will have evoked many a painful memory. It is a stark reminder of the long shadow cast on mining communities by the police handling of the […]
Scottish independence – a journey not a destination


During the last week, I’ve reflected on my journey from No to Yes during the independence referendum. It’s also the 15th anniversary of my arrival in Scotland aged 42. Although both my parents were Scottish I was born out of wedlock in 1961 and given up for adoption. I grew up in a place I […]
How Brexit failed the past and stole the future


Once upon a time, progress was inevitable. Wasn’t it? Neither simple nor linear. Trial and error had its piece to play. But we learn from history. Don’t we? I certainly hoped so. But I’m beginning to wonder. I’m a child of the 20th century. And as the second decade of the 21st century draws to […]
Trump, the F word and an ignominious welcome


Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin is a semi-autobiographical account of his life in the city in the early 1930s. By the time Isherwood died in 1986, just three years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city had experienced not just a home-grown fascist dictatorship, near obliteration and division, but a Soviet imposed communist […]