1,330 New Reasons for Reflection

I remember my first NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting. It was a dreich night around 2007 situated in the shadows of Alexander Street’s prominent ‘multis’ in the now-demolished Mark Henderson Centre on Ann Street. I was invited “Big Mike” Carson, a friend who overcame two decades of class A drug addiction. Although then unmarried and childless,Continue reading “1,330 New Reasons for Reflection”

Reflections from the Lesser Half of Society

Thank goodness it is Monday. I feel like the Rev IM Jolly when I say: “Ah’ve hud a helluva week!” It all started when I was awoken one morning to my mobile phone quivering like a fiddler’s elbow. Why? I discovered I was attached to what felt like a ceaseless barrage of notifications from thatContinue reading “Reflections from the Lesser Half of Society”

Are Buffer Zones Acceptable in a Free Society?

Today is the fourth of July and many Americans will celebrate 246 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed. This document, which some historians suggest leans upon our Declaration of Arbroath, declares the equality of its citizens. It also states they are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” including “life, liberty andContinue reading “Are Buffer Zones Acceptable in a Free Society?”

Is Scotland Ready for Independence?

On Saturday, I went on my first ever independence march with 2,000 other men, women and children in Bannockburn on what was the 708th anniversary of the historic battle. This place is hallowed ground to nationalists, as it is there the journey began. However, we no longer fight with swords and shields but, in theContinue reading “Is Scotland Ready for Independence?”

Darren McGarvey: The Social Distance Between Us

It was a bitter Friday night in January 2018 situated in a dingy basement at the cultural epicentre of Dundee where I first encountered Darren McGarvey. That night, I picked up a signed copy of his debut effort – Poverty Safari. His honest and nuanced analysis of the poverty industry (the voluntary sector) was jarring.Continue reading “Darren McGarvey: The Social Distance Between Us”

A Continuation of The Status Quo?

Following Scottish Labour’s obliteration in the tsunami election of 2015, Scottish politics entered an interminable period of inertia. The initial buoyancy around an influx of new and untested personalities quickly wore off. Nearer to home at Holyrood, political agitators and outliers – like Dennis Canavan, Margo MacDonald, Tommy Sheridan or, more recently, Neil Findlay, AdamContinue reading “A Continuation of The Status Quo?”

Thank Christ for a Message of Resurrection

As we pull away from a cold and dark winter, the embrace of spring offers brighter mornings, warmer days and lighter nights. It is the most hopeful season of nature’s calendar at the epicentre of which is April – a month traditionally associated with rebirth, renewal and resurrection. April includes Good Friday, Holy Saturday andContinue reading “Thank Christ for a Message of Resurrection”

Sunak’s Budget Embraces a Spring of Despair

In the wee hours of Friday 13 December 2019, as it became undeniably clear a Boris Johnson-led Conservative Party had driven a coach and horses through Labour’s impenetrable red wall, Andrew Neil speculated aloud whether a northern resurgence would be rewarded by northern investment. This question was answered weeks later when we entered 2020, theContinue reading “Sunak’s Budget Embraces a Spring of Despair”

Finding a Middle Ground on Gender Reform

Today is International Women’s Day and will be the 113th anniversary since the first recorded in 1909. It comes at an interesting juncture in our political history as Dundee City East MSP, Shona Robison, unveiled the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) bill on behalf of the Scottish Government last Thursday. Gender reform sits under the socialContinue reading “Finding a Middle Ground on Gender Reform”

Education as the Best Days of Life?

“School is the best days o’ yer life” was a phrase that rankled with me as a young man. For those of an academic or attentive disposition this may undoubtedly have been true. Sadly, my report cards conveyed a different story – one of a young man with a propensity for being “easily distracted”. HavingContinue reading “Education as the Best Days of Life?”