Keep It In The Ground

Guardian campaign logo Keep It In the Ground

I’ve been saying to myself for a while that I need to get back into some kind of campaigning again, but it has been hard to know what. As a non-voter in Australia I feel a bit odd about getting involved with a political party across here, and obviously I can grumble about UK politics as much as I like but I’m not really in a position to do much about it. There doesn’t seem to be as much of a lively NGO sector here as there was in Scotland, and family life means that I feel less inclined to spend my weekends waving placards and shimmying up lampposts. Although somewhat ironically having a family means that I’m now keener than ever to see a world which is safe and happy for DorkySon to grow up in. Continue reading

The One with the Referendum

Scottish Independence Referendum Green Yes

Och. I was doing so well too.

You have no idea how hard I’ve tried to be good about this. How often I’ve sat on my hands, and not commented, or liked or retweeted or shared or argued or said a single frickin’ word, because it’s not my business anymore. I HAVE BEEN SO GOOD! Ask DorkyDad how restrained I’ve been. Ask him how often in the last few months he’s heard me come out with some hideously bland and diplomatic answer when people have asked me about the Scottish Independence Referendum. He’ll pull this tortured face at you, like he’s stuck at a dinner party between Britney Spears and Kim Jong-un, and he just needs the whole thing to be over already.

But I’m so inspired and enthused by reading other people’s stories – so excited by the number of folk, women especially, who are finding their political voice for the first time – that I feel compelled to add mine to the chorus.

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What My Sight Means to Me

Sightsavers logo

 

What are the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen?

The beaches of Harris. The churches of Prague. That view you get of the Tyne as you cross the rail bridge heading north into Newcastle. An Arctic sunrise. A Greek sea. Every painting by Alison Watt. The way petrol in a puddle makes rainbows, and how it sidewinds slowly across a yard. Johnny Depp’s cheekbones. Fireflies. The Edinburgh Meadows in late afternoon, hazy with smoke from all those barbecues. My husband’s hands. My son’s smile. An angel’s wing icicle hanging from a wire. Flowers on the machair. White umbrellas in a crowd. Beckham’s goal from the halfway line in 96.

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Celebrate Lasting Change for IWD 2014

Gatsby Trust Tanzania

This lady with a big, sweet smile is Eliafura. She lives and works in Tanzania, making beautiful batiks and tie-dyed materials. With the support of The Gatsby Trust – an organisation funded by Sport Relief – Eliafura has registered her business and learned important health and safety rules around the chemicals she uses. She also now trains other women in her village – they bring her material and she teaches them how to make the colourful patterns. Eliafura’s fabrics sell well, both locally (especially in nearby schools, where teachers like to buy them) and overseas. Continue reading

Activism not Slacktivism

student protestors

My good friend Adam Ramsay had a piece in the Guardian the other day about student activism, putting forward his view that the main job of students is to save the world and have fun. Despite what many people think the two are not mutually exclusive.

I credit my time at university, and the people I met in that period of my life, with shaping my politics quite substantially. The groundwork may have been laid earlier – by compassionate parents and dinner table discussions – but uni was the time when I became more able to articulate what I believe in, and why. Continue reading