Scottish Government consultation on electoral reform

(trying to force this to appear on Twitter)

@scotgov consultation on #electoralreform: Have your say before 29 March!



In a vague tribute to a Janis Joplin album, today could be called I got dem ol’ co-codamol hughies again, mama! In other news, last week I succeeded in copying posts from Just another bipedal sack of DNA and neuroses – because that’s what humans are to this blog.

It’s been interesting – and quite emotional – revisiting the end of a marriage and my career in publishing, various family (mis)fortunes, my time in India and Indonesia, my MSc, the start of my community council work and research career, discovering spinning, and the beginning of my current, very happy marriage. So much of this feels as though it’s permanent, and has been part of me forever – but in reality much is less than 5 years old.

There will be lots of broken links, because some material was hosted on now-dead servers. I’ve tried to resurrect what I can, but if you find any, please let me know.

Memories of ECIL 2017

Disclaimer: this is my personal blog. It’s my digital stream of (un)consciousness, my on-line wearing of mountain-bike shoes with rainbow laces, lycra, colourful buffs (headscarfs) and whatever else I like, where I can be the aging and raging hippie that I really am, and where my vegan cyclopath tendency raises bidigital salutes to the nonsense that today’s world imposes on the vast majority.

OK, with that out of the way (along with admitting that I wear buffs and rainbow laces almost all the time), here’s my patchwork-zeitgeist of ECIL 2017. Patches are in roughly chronological order, and some are about specific individuals. You know who you are! Continue reading


Relax – I’m safe, I’m not a homeless beggar.

Currently Police Scotland and the UK Borders agency are running an operation in Edinburgh to immediately deport foreign homeless beggars back to their home countries. If they want to go, fine – but I’m a bit afraid of coercion of the form ‘You do want to go home, don’t you, sir!’ As far as I’m concerned, anyone has the right to be in any non-private property they choose.

I’m fuming that at a recent community council meeting, it was said that ‘unfortunately, begging of itself is not a crime’ (my emphasis). As far as I’m concerned, if there’s a crime, it’s that we haven’t organised society so that there is no need to beg. Of course, if a beggar acts in an offensive manner, then there is some right – and public nuisance laws – to deal with this.

But if you are offended by people simply and politely asking for money because they aren’t in a position to earn enough for themselves, then do something about it! Attack the cause, not the symptoms – try to build a fair society where we all have enough.

Hypocrisy has many faces. Am I wearing one of them?

The last few weeks have been, er, interesting. Perhaps the most significant event was President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning nationals of seven countries from entering the US, and temporarily halting its refugee programme. The fallout from that has been massive, including Angela Merkel reminding Mr Trump of international duties to accept refugees, and a very popular petition against a possible state visit to the UK by Mr Trump. And then there was the Westminster Speaker’s magisterial speech against Mr Trump’s perceived sexism and racism. (I have to admit I nearly cried when I first saw that – I almost felt proud to be British.) Continue reading

Fairer Scotland event for CCs: questions answered

The Scottish Government has responded to questions raised by CC members at a fairly recent Fairer Scotland event. Click the thumbnail to download the full PDF.

Fairer Scotland - Community Council Event - Q & A Report - Final

If you have any queries about the responses, it would be best to contact Kristoffer Boesen or Lynn Sharp of the Improvement Service (IS). In the meantime, I’m very pleased to see mentions of the work by Peter Cruickshank and me, specifically

Continue reading