This Land is Your Land

The likely possibility of a second independence referendum was announced only a matter of hours ago and I had to write something already. I didn’t think I’d see another referendum in my lifetime and the potential of a second one in over a year or so makes me both excited and sick. Excited because the prospect of an independent Scotland, consequently more just, equal and democratic is beyond appealing. Sick, because the thought of losing the battle for a wholly autonomous Scotland and having my heart broken all over again makes me really nervous!

It’s being argued by opposing parties and other people in Scotland that a second referendum shouldn’t even be being considered, it was a ‘once in a lifetime’ event and it should be left as the first one finished. Jeremy Corbyn even tweeted earlier that there is “no appetite” for an Independent Scotland. Firstly, I think it’s a bit insulting that an MP who practices in an English constituency thinks he has a grasp of the Scottish appetite for independence and secondly – he’s right. There’s no appetite for a second referendum – from the Labour party anyway, who lost their reputation in Scotland years ago. I can understand why some people are annoyed that theres going to be a potential second referendum after it was sold as a ‘once in a lifetime’ affair – but so much has changed since the last time.

Most notably, Brexit. Before the Independence referendum, we were told that if we remained part of the UK we would be guaranteed a continued relationship with the EU. We remained part of the UK. Fast forward two years, the referendum on EU membership is held. Scotland vote to remain – the rest of the UK vote to leave. We are leaving the EU, after being promised continued membership of the EU if we remained as part of the Union. The results of the EU referendum are reflective of how the voting system in the general election always works in Scotlands favour – yes we have our own devolved government but our autonomy is limited. We voted to remain in the EU, yet we’re outnumbered by England so we are being made to leave. We don’t get a say in things like defense and whether we’re going to go to war or not – our voices are lost in the big so-called ‘democratic’ void. It feels only right that we try n gain full autonomy for our country as our voices are continuously drowned out by the Torys ruling in Westminster, passing legislation that we don’t want.

Another thing that makes me want to get soooooooo far out the UK is the cosy dynamic between Theresa May and Donald Trump. The politics of both politicians are divisive and dangerous and the prospect of them creating an even cosier alliance between the UK and the US, sitting back and tolerating the hate and intolerance being peddled by Trump across America makes me really feart.

There’s a lot of work to do. I think it goes without saying there is people out there who voted No the first time, who were betrayed as Westminster went back on their pre-referendum promises about ‘more power for Scotland’ and ‘membership of the EU’ who would vote yes this time around – but that doesn’t mean we can sit back and assume everybody will vote yes by default. The Scottish Government will have to build a strong case for the economy to gain the trust of potential yes voters, particularly so in a time where the economy and trading agreements are under increasing pressure consequent to Brexit. Additionally to this, let it not be forgotten that a vote for Independence is not a vote for the SNP. Yes, we have the SNP to thank for putting the first and now the second referendum on the table – but its no secret that they’re not the progressive, inclusive party they make out to be. It’s understanding why people don’t want to vote Yes incase they’re seen to be supportive of the partys politics because they need some serious work** – but any chat about being pro independence must mean you’re pro SNP as well is nonsense. Parties aside, just put your country first and decide on a better life for yourself, the generations after you and the people who are worse off. This is it x

** Here is some other things I’ve written about the SNP and some of their legislation here:

https://equalheartsequalrights.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/the-polis/
https://equalheartsequalrights.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/no-votes-snp/

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International Womens Day 2017

IWD 2017 –  Be Bold for Change

I’ve written about feminism a good bit on this blog, but it was only fitting that I wrote something for International Womens Day. This years theme is ‘be bold for change’, a concept which can be difficult. It’s challenging for many to be bold about their struggles as a woman when feminism is still a dirty word for some people. But similarly, being bold might be the only way we can make any progress.

There are lots of sub-categories and approaches to feminism, that can make it appear like a difficult ideology to understand. Simply put, a feminist wants equality for both genders. Some people think that because the term is “Feminism” that it’s just for women and womens struggle, but that’s not the case. If you want gender equality and aren’t comfortable with the term ‘feminist’, that’s cool, you can label yourself whatever you like. “Feminism” is the chosen term as it gives a nod to the systematic oppression of women which sees them impacted significantly more by the arguably patriarchal society which we all live in, but of course men suffer their own struggles too which feminism doesn’t ignore.

I see a lot of nonsense on Twitter and Facebook etc that sort a criminalises feminists. While feminism is less of a taboo subject than it has been in the past, it is still a bit of a dirty word for some people. Feminism isn’t the same concept of militancy and extreme demonstration as it was in the early 20th century. There are different forms of ‘feminist’ but the idea is all the same – equal treatment and opportunities for both genders. Of course it going to be a challenge, particularly when feminism has to apply to all women and men across all races, religions, sexualities and social classes. But that shouldn’t be a scapegoat. We can’t be like “fuck that, there’s no chance” when there’s women at the other side of the world dying for an education or the right to wear a bra. Or when there’s men suffering with mental health because they don’t correlate with the media’s hyper-masculine ideals about how they should act and look.

I’m not going to sit here and say it’s dead rosy being a feminist and advocating equal rights, we all know its not. It’s hard declaring your opinion when feminists are portrayed as a reckless, militant rabble of women – which is why we need more guys. We need more guys to stick their neck out and ignore this institutionalised idea that feminism is only for women, and lead by example. Show other men that this isn’t the case and there’s benefits to be felt by all genders. We shouldn’t be measuring our support of a cause by “what’s in it for us” or “feminism? Aye I’ve got a daughter, a wife, a sister.. better get involved.” We should be showing support regardless of personal gain or relevance, just putting all that aside and recognising that there’s people struggling and we should all be helping each other out a wee bit!

Whilst it shouldn’t be a big deal to be a feminist, the reality is that currently there are still a lot of people who think its cool and quirky to oppose the idea, even further encouraging the struggle of humans under the patriarchy. I think it’d be class that during this week of International Women’s Day, girls, and guys who are under represented in the cause, who haven’t really shown much interest in feminism before, think about being bold for change – the more the merrier!

Fake News

Its difficult to digest how much turmoil the world is in – right now more than ever before. Its difficult to avoid despair when people like Donald Trump are being given mounds of power.
Journalism has many faces. For many it’s a misleading, biased, fount of propaganda –  conflicting with its intital purpose of neutrally informing the public. Writers have faced a great challenge to gain credibility in a media world that is turbulent and at times corrupt. How discouraging must it be, then, when Trump sends them back to the start with his take on “fake news”. It’s laughable that the president thinks that you can grant any negative press as false, if only it were that easy in general terms. “He said I didny buy the last round? Bullshit mate.” “What do you mean, ‘I’m a Hearts fan’? Lot a fuckin nonsense”

I’ve tried to avoid writing about Trump for a few reasons and I keep correcting myself. One, does he really deserve the attention? Well, aye he does. He’s destroying America n maybe potentially the world, the guy has to be held to account. Another thing was that I feel like he’s almost becoming a bit of an old joke, like a dodgy cliché. I can’t help but feel like maybe everything that can be said about Trump has already been said, and that he’s an almost ‘overdone’ topic. But then again, it feels like every day you wake up and the guys done something else. Even at that, all we know is what’s getting reported. Who knows what else he’s up to that’s falling through the net. I don’t know. Can holding an ignorant facist to account really become ‘overdone’???

I’m not entirely sure where I’m trying to go with this. I think what I’m trying to say, is that right now we need writing more than ever. Not just writing, but voices. It can seem hopeless when we’re constantly calling out wrong actions and identifying injustice in our own country and beyond and nothings being done. But that doesn’t mean we should give up, it sounds so cliché man but its dead easy to be like “¯\_(ツ)_/¯, we’ve tried, nobodys listening, just let the hatred, discrimination and criminalisation unfold – we’ve done our bit” but nooooo. I’m not claiming to be a writer of any considerable credibility or influence but I don’t have to be, none of us do. I think we all have to sort a band together n oppose, not just Trump, but people in power everywhere who try to monopolise the media in addition to their existing wealth of power (and money lol). Even people closer to home man, people in Holyrood and Westminster passing through policies impacting the people most vulnerable, Start wee and build big, it’s too easy to just be like “doesny affect us, not even from America”, but look on ur own doorstep! There’s people losing their homes because of policies like the Bedroom Tax n innocent people getting lifted watching the football at the weekend under flawed legislation like the OBFA (the chances of which you will have heard of either in the news is unlikely.) Nobody should have the approach that “if it doesn’t affect you it doesn’t matter”, which is what most of us are like when it comes to the situation in America. But if that’s the position you find yourself in, look at what’s happening in your own country. Start opposing injustice in your own country and community and build big. Corruption and prejudice aren’t one-state problems, and that’s what the danger is with people like Trump. These dangers are normalised by people with his influence, spreading the problem across nations and causing divisions across race and social class and gender all across the world. Lets not be scared of fighting oppression by the threat of your voice being lost in the void or “fake news”, the battle against the dodgy like Trump and other questionable word leaders can start on your own wee doorstep. Pipe up!