Feminism is Footery

Feminism can be dead tricky. When you look at places like Iceland whose recognition of womens rights is more than respectable and compare it to elsewhere in the world it can be right disheartening.  Whilst there is still a long way to go in putting feminism into practise intersectionally, the concept is becoming more of a day-to-day topic of discussion than ever before. Years ago feminism was largely associated with idea of militancy and violence – scary connotations which deterred lots of folk from getting involved with the concept. The negative stigma hasn’t entirely dissolved and remains something which makes people hesitant to associate with the concept of feminism even though they still desire the same aim of equality of the sexes – which is cool, there’s no pressure to identify as anything you don’t want to! However, whilst a previously taboo subject, Feminism is becoming an increasingly more comfortable topic to approach in casual discussion – why?

I reckon the big player in this is the media. The oppression of females is institutionalised in society and it is evident in the majority of media outlets. Women are portrayed using harmful and restrictive stereotypes – they always have been, but the difference is now that people are starting to notice.

Raising awareness for any cause is the first, last and most important step. The accessibility of social media is a massive thing to consider. It’s easier now than ever before to access feminist material (if you want to, I know its not for everyone!) and the simple act of seeing and sharing raises awareness like nothing else. All it takes is one person to see something on the telly or online that is discriminative towards women and within an hour, thousands of people have seen it. People recognising harmful language and stereotypes in the media and sharing it on their social media takes the best part of 10 seconds and, whilst increasing awareness, also normalises the topic of feminism in a way which we probably don’t even realise.

Whilst feminism is becoming less of a taboo subject compared to previous years, it isn’t any less complex. There is still lots of work to be done for the cause, and it’s always going to be difficult when there’s so many people involved. For feminism to be a successful movement, all races, genders, sexualities, religions social classes and age groups must be considered and represented equally, and that can sound overwhelming but we can’t be disheartened. Iceland wasn’t built in a day x


The Moral of the Sleep Out

The Moral of the Sleep Out

Before I even start, thank you so much to everybody who sponsored me on the online donations page and on my sponsor sheet. I don’t know how to word this without sounding like a massive cliché, but I am genuinely overwhelmed with how generous everybody has been. The event was part of the Celtic FC Foundations Christmas Appeal, so all the money raised goes towards families leading troubled or chaotic lives in the hopes of making this festive season that bit more special. Between all the participants we’ve raised over £60,000 and it absolutely will not go to waste– thank you soooo much!

As usual, every blog post comes with a wee disclaimer. I’m not writing this to be like “oh look, I did a charity thing! #philanthropy”. I just thought I’d write a wee thing about a few thoughts I have after doing the Celtic Sleep Out last month. If you don’t want to read it that’s okay you can just click off and resume to doing whatever internet-y thing you were doing before, I won’t know I promise!

It’ll be just coming up to a month on the button since I slept out on the trackside at Celtic Park with my pal Anne-Marie. We signed up in August and I can remember thinking at the time “that’s ages away, it’ll be nearly Christmas by the time that’s here!” and right enough here we are, it’s been and gone and we’re right into Advent already! The event itself came round really quickly so it was absolutely typical of us to be totally unprepared until a few days before and also get to Celtic Park nearly an hour late, but we got there. We went outside and were pitched on the trackside by 11pm and that was us for the night. It was right cold but it was almost bearable until about 3am and then it was almost impossible to move! It was a challenge but I’m almost hesitant to say that because we had it well easy. We had sleeping bags, food, hot drinks and working toilets so if that was difficult, I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be for these people who sleep rough every night.

The whole experience has really got me thinking about these people on the streets particularly at this time of year. It’s unbelievably easy to see a homeless person in the city centre and just move on with your day – but it shouldn’t be that easy. Everybody can recognise there’s an outrageous number of people sleeping rough, especially during these cold months, but what are we doing about it? We need to stop seeing these people as statistics and as ‘the norm’ and start recognising that they are people with identities, likes, dislikes, families and roots. These people deserve contentment and safety, not just at Christmas but always. It sounds almost typical but even as much as a smile is better than just walking by and pretending they’re invisible. Yes, its upsetting seeing other humans struggling and unsafe, but ignorance absolutely isn’t bliss in these cases. We also need to get shot of this worrying rhetoric that they’re all “addicts” and “junkies”. Truthfully, some of them will be addicts. Does that make them second-class citizens? Absolutely not. Dependency on things like alcohol and drugs is an unfortunately normal consequence of circumstances like this. People search for ways of coping and I think it’s absolutely sickening to hear some people who live quite comfortably speak of the homeless in a way that suggests they’re undeserving of help because they’ve found themselves in a situation where their only means of coping is through dependency.

I knew I was likely to end up rambling while I was writing this so I’ll get to the point. Now I’m not saying that everybody should go and sleep outside in the ground of their chosen football team, and I’m definitely not saying I’m some kind of martyr for doing just that – I just think we could all be doing so much more man! Even just starting to recognise these people as real humans and keeping them in mind over this Christmas period is a step in the right direction. We are all too comfortable a society in our wee bubble that doesn’t like to see the truth and keeps the marginalised, marginalised. I’m going to leave a few links of some cool organisations etc just underneath this if anybody is interested in learning about some of the work that’s being done and how to help. Thank you ever so much for reading if you have stuck around to the end!


“The new generation is being called upon to rectify and change without hesitation all that should be rectified and changed”                                                                                                     Fidel Castro, 2011



Here’s some cool organisations who are hard at work in tackling homelessness in Glasgow: http://seetheinvisibles.co.uk/

If you are worried about a homeless person on the street, you can report their location and at what time you seen them to ‘Street Link’ on their app, website or on 0300 5000914 to get them the necessary attention.

If you are interested in donating to a food bank this Christmas, you can use this link to find your nearest one: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/
Of course not all food banks are listed on the above website so keep your eyes peeled for one local to you because food banks are unfortunately a lot more common than the few listed here. Food bank resources are used not just for homeless people, but primarily people who have permanent accommodation and are employed but remain in challenging financial situations. The help they provide is invaluable as are the donations made at this time of year.

Being a Catholic in 2016

I’ve wanted to write about this kind a thing for a while but I feel like talking about things like religion openly is a bit stigmatised and can open some heated debate. But that is exactly why it should be spoken about, so the air can be cleared a wee bit and we can be comfortable talking about our religion (should you have one or not) in a progressive way, u know.

Disclaimer here that I’m definitely not any kind a Saint and I don’t think that I am. If there was such a thing as Catholic a the year I would’ve been right out a the running a good time ago. However, I get a lot from my religion and would consider myself a “practising Catholic’ and I just thought it would be cool to write something about why it can be difficult to practice a faith as a young person in 2016 without being all preachy.

Just before, I mentioned the idea of being a “practising Catholic”. I feel like we need to be a bit cautious a that term. Religion is different things to different people and they should be left to practise it however they like. However, like if you asked somebody to define what made a practising Catholic they would probably say somebody that actively goes to mass on a Sunday, maybe reads the bible and carries about rosary beads but it’s soooo much more than that man! Sure the things I’ve just mentioned could be seen as important in Catholicism but it’s not the be all and end all. For me, the concept of being a “practising Catholic” is about putting faith into action. So cool, like we hear about selfless acts in the gospel on a Sunday but what are we doing about it? I think its about taking what we learn in mass and in our spare time about our faith and putting it into practice every day – but without it being a task. It sounds difficult but I think if you are really invested in a religion (which not everybody is and I totally understand that and wholly welcome it everybody should be doing their own thing) then it doesn’t seem like a task, but it’s enjoyable.

I’m not going to sit here and claimed that I have welcomed my faith all my life, cos that would be nonsense. I’ve went to chapel since I was a wee girl but when I was about 15 my Dad told me that the decision was mine now and I didn’t have to go with him if I didn’t want to – so I stopped. I stopped for a year or two and genuinely felt a difference. I don’t want to say I felt unhappy cause I didn’t, but I did feel like something was missing. So I started going back when I was 17 and found there was something more to gain from going to mass out of my own prerogative rather than having to go with my family out of obligation. That wee hour or so in mass on a Sunday brings me so much peace I can’t even put into words like I don’t want to sound preachy but its class! Its nice to be reminded what its all about and sit in a place of worship with other like-minded people like you. When I started going back to chapel I realised there was so much more to it than showing face on a Sunday, and the whole concept a putting faith into action as often as possible really appealed to me. I’m not going to sit here and make out that I do brilliant things every day and I am this entirely selfless and giving person because I’m not, none of us are – but its good to try and give the best of yourself as often as you can.

I think there’s this idea that people who go to mass are old and it’s a dated concept, and its this sort of idea that makes people want to stop going when they become teenagers. I’m quite fortunate that in my parish theres a lot of young people, but I know that’s not the same everywhere. It’s a big deal to stick your neck out when you’re in secondary school or uni and say that you’re religious. In light of the endless acts of violence and persecution towards Muslims and Christians and every other faith understandably makes some people look at the concept of religion and think “patch that.” This combined with the conflicting ideas of the Church on things like abortion and gay rights means that there are so few young people practising their religion – its painted to be complex and exclusive in the media but for me it’s not at all.

I’m not going to sit here and make out I have the answers for everything, because I don’t. I wish I knew why the Church won’t wholly progress on  the views that they have on abortion and gay rights – I wish I did, because I don’t agree with them. But that’s where I find comfort in my faith, in the hope that one day I’ll be able to understand why what I think and what the Church thinks doesn’t always correlate and why there’s badness and violence in the world. On paper, any religion is complex but it doesn’t have to be. I’m fully aware that with writing this there’s going to be people reading it and squinting their face firing it intae their group chat thinking what an absolute ridneck for this lassie but this why I’m saying what I’m saying – to try and shake this stigma that if you’re under 50 and go to mass and actually enjoy it that it’s questionable cos it isn’t! I work in a pub and I remember somebody coming up to me a few months ago and saying “Here, fuck the Pope. You hate aw that don’t you?” Well like, aye I dae a wee bit but when you live in the west a Scotland you’re almost used to it. To an extent, we almost can’t be entirely angry at the degree to which religious ignorance and hatred is rife in the West of Scotland – cos it’s kind of all that we know as a society. People are born into this community where there’s discrimination and violence and intolerance and because they’re born into it, they are conditioned to think that its normal. We don’t have to keep breeding it, we can stop it! Not everybody has to be into faith but its all about welcoming and accepting other people that are x

Refugees Welcome

Hi again. I’m very conscious of everybody getting absolutely scunnered with me not knowing when to shut up but in light of all this carry on with Theresa May during the week I felt like I had to write something.

Last year in uni I done a module in Economics, and I had to write an essay on Foreign Direct Investment (I’m gonnae just refer to it as FDI from this point on cos really who’s got the time to keep typing that out and making sure they’ve spelled it right). It made me want to tear my hair out and quite honestly I never wanted to hear about it again. However, the recent claims from the likes of Theresa May about foreign workers alongside the narrow minded approach to the accommodation of refugees in the UK has made me apply the concept of FDI in a different sense – the human investment of foreign workers into the UK economy. People move the UK and find employment – investing their human resource into the economy, just as they are entitled to. Some migrants even start their own businesses from the ground up. This is good for the economy, and for employment levels – so why are people complaning? In fact, why are we even basing whether somebody is welcome into the country based on their economic value?

We could blame this on a few things – Brexit, ignorance,  greed. Some UK nationals seem to think that because your entire family through all generations were born and raised in the UK that they’re more entitled to a job than somebody else whose family may have moved here 20+ generations previous from somewhere like India.. what? This whole concept of migrants “taking our jobs” is dated and embarrassing – nobody merits a job more than another person because of their race or their background. An Indian doctor isn’t given the job because they’re Indian – they’re given the job because they are the best suited candidate for it; because they are skilled and qualified. If you were in a serious condition in hospital and your doctor was foreign, you wouldn’t question their right to have the job that they were in – you would welcome the help of an expert because that’s what they are: experts. Theresa May announced this week that she was going to commence a crackdown on foreign workers, urging big businesses to produce lists of all the foreign workers they employ. So, cool. They’ve lived here for 15, 16 even 20+ generations but because they’re not White UK nationals they’re a different type of citizen. Right.

So what next, like what happens with these lists? Are the Tories then going to phase out foreign workers to replace them with “homegrown” doctors just because they are “white British”, even though they might not be the most efficient for the jobs? A great deal of the UK’s doctors, teachers and skilled workers are foreign and they work to teach and help and manufacture just like the rest of the nation. If we gather these lists and the Tories then commence their crackdown on migrant workers then literally who is going to be left?

Just 11% of UK workers are non-UK nationals. The whole disregard for refugees coming here because they’re “taking our jobs” is another thing. They’re definitely not taking anybody’s jobs, they’re just as entitled to employment as anybody else. It’s not easy for refugees to find work for a few reasons. Especially in the UK with this sort a engrained prejudice about migrants, a lot of these people are facing discrimination and hatred from UK nationals who aren’t welcoming them into the country. That combined with the fact that they’re isolated from the minute they come to the country. A lot of them are homed in areas with other refugees instead of amongst existing British citizens – making it more difficult for them to get involved in their community. Additionally, a lot of them are coming from places were they didn’t have access to education and training like we do. And if they did have access to education and work in their home country, it’s fair to say their last few months there in amongst war, conflict and terror might have prevented them for strengthening their skills to a degree that is deemed “acceptable” enough for them to then merit a job once they have came to the UK – this is why we have to be cautious of ideas about only letting “skilled workers” into the country. Yes it’s an absolute bonus ball if refugees that are brought into Britain have skills and knowledge that they can share with us and our economy – but it shouldn’t be an essential. A lot of them are coming here to learn skills and trades and start afresh and we’re not letting them do that if we are shunning them from the moment they come to the UK because they are not “skilled” enough. Also, the UK have welcomed embarrassingly few more refugees compared to other countries so all this carry on about there being “too many” and that they’re “taking over” is nonsense.

I was absolutely buckled during the week listening to Theresa May announcing all of these plans behind a podium which says “A country that works for everyone”. ?????? Yes. You’re right. If by everyone you mean wealthy, entitled, white, British, middle class people who will be somewhat unaffected by your crackdown on foreign doctors and teachers and workers then you are right. But I highly doubt that if it gets to the stage where you are phasing out these workers, “sending them back” to a country they didn’t even grow up in because their families moved here generations before now will agree this is a “country that works for everyone” when they have to restart in a country they haven’t lived in before, just because they’re great great great great grandparents did. I totally get that it might not get this far, but Mays only been in power a matter of weeks and this is the direction it’s started to go. Even UKIP party members are deeming her latest statements about foreign workers a disgrace – if this was UKIP making these statements it would be another mark on their fascist cards. If this keeps up, this country isn’t going to be “better for everyone” – its going to be an intolerant, divided and even embarrassing place to live if we are a nation which shuns foreign workers, refugees, asylum seekers just because of their race.

If this intolerance keeps growing, who is going to be left? In a few years time, will we be living in a country full of “White, British, UK National” clones? All living each day in our little bubble of blind British patriotism off of our “White, British” ideals with our children growing up totally unaware of cultures beyond our own. This unawareness then developing into the same intolerance showed by figures like Theresa May in 2016 were this all started.. all because the UK are voting in a party that is being granted with the power to whitewash the nation in a way that correlates with the Tory’s narrow minded, exclusive ideals. Patch that.

Refugees Welcome x

The Polis

It’s been a good while since I’ve written anything on here. I had this massive brainwave when I was on holiday and wrote hunners a blog posts but ended up only firing up a couple. The reason I’ve decided to write about this is that I think this whole dynamic with the Police and football in Scotland is more relevant now than it ever has been before. If you’ve got me on Twitter a wee bit of this might sound repetitive cos I fired up about 16 consecutive tweets about this last week but bare with me!

Right, first and foremost I’m going to mention the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act a good hunner times here just assuming everybody who’s reading this is familiar with it but I’m no going to go into too much about it cos there’s a whole other blog post in there somewhere. Also I’m no here to tar all police with the same brush and say they’re this that and the next thing that’s not what I’m trying to do here but I do think the direction the police are going in in regards to football should be questioned.

The thing with new legislation is, when it gets passed, its expensive. It’s expensive to implement it and enforce it to a good standard. Per regional police force in Scotland, only a number of the involved police are specially trained in sensitive cases like sexual violence and rape. I could go on for days about how specific the care is that victims of stuff like that need, from when they report the case to their recovery. But still, only a few officers per force are trained in handling these reports because it’s a financial stretch to train them all. Is it not a bit ridiculous, then, that whilst it’s a financial stretch to train more officers about dealing with these victims, there is plenty financial flexibility to ensure that police are well informed and equipped to criminalise young, working class folk in football grounds? I’m not saying that it’s as black and white as that – that all people criminalised under the OBFA are young, working-class folk but the certain vast majority are. Football has generally since its beginnings been a sport of the working class to a degree. Even at that, I’m sure the struggle (if any) that a middle class 40 year old would have with the police varies considerably than that faced by the young working-class 25 year old football fan.

The reason I said earlier that the police-football dynamic was more relevant now than potentially ever before, was after the arrests made last week after the ‘Old Firm’ when inflatable dolls were suspended from the upper tier. Now, there’s an argument to be made that the display was bad judgement but no matter what team it is, you can’t please everyone. Everyone’s taste and sense of humour is different and there’s always going to be people that are displeased and offended. So, even if displays are arguably bad judgement and offend folk – is it really worth ruining the lives of young people by giving them a conviction for messing about with blown-up sex dolls or pyro or outspoken banners in a football ground under an absurdly flawed Act?

I’m aware that I’m totally rambling on here but its unbelievable the resource and money being spent to implement this Act which ruins the lives of people exercising their liberty of opinion in a football ground. Like the volume of police at midweek home fixtures at Celtic park against teams like Alloa! Surely there is much worse happening outwith the stadium that merits police attention more than watching supporters celebrate Celtic firing through to the next stage of the cup? What’s worse is the patter from folk about how “politics and football don’t mix”, “don’t bring politics into football”. What?????? You can’t create a legislation – which is political by default – about football and then condemn expression of political opinion in football. Politics and football should absolutely mix. We are so fortunate to live in a country were we can attend football matches and follow certain leagues without worrying about stuff like war and conflict and fatal injustice. We should be using the voice we have to stand up for the people that don’t have the same opportunities that we do – look at the Match the Fine for Palestine campaign! We should be allowed to express opposition to certain ideas/people/politics in the same way we should be able to show our support for the same things – its diluted oppression otherwise. The reason the government don’t want politics and football to mix is because they know the massive audience that follows football and the potential outreach it has. They know this audience will see the opinions expressed in football grounds and God forbid those wretched working class fans express their progressive, lefty opinions that don’t correlate with the exclusive, rigid rhetoric of the Establishment on such a big platform.

More Than A Club?

I think its a fair observation to make that amongst support in recent years, there’s been some concerns about Celtic’s moral standing in relation to the founding principles of the Club in 1888: “A football club will be formed for the maintenance of dinner tables for children and the unemployed.” Recent years have seen priorities shift with money arguably becoming higher on the list and the mindset of help for the vulnerable being shuffled towards the bottom.

Of course, there’s an argument to be made then that Celtic is a business on paper. It has to generate profit like any other business and its such income that allows investment into the team and the stadium.

But is that really what its all about? Raising ticket prices in order to maximise profits doesn’t seem to correlate exactly with the Club’s founding principles.

In absolute fairness though, the Club can’t be doubted entirely. Actively fundraising for the Celtic FC Foundation, Kano and making a number of donations to other charities it can’t be said thay the Club has entirely forgotten its roots. But part of me can’t help but look back to the Club years ago during that period of total romance with the likes of the Jungle and flinging weans over the turnstiles that everybody’s da tells you about and wish it was a bit more like that. A time were a few stands done the trick and there was a skelpin attendance at every fixture because that was what it was all about then – the fans.

I wholly understand that the growing influence that money has on the decisions and direction of the club are almost inevitable to an extent, its not necessarily voluntary. Football as a game (and an industry) is expensive, and in order to compete you need a high quality team and to get that you need good players and to get those players you need money. That can’t be helped. Of course we need money to ensure the stadium and the pitch is fit for purpose and accomodating for a growing support of all ages and abilities. It makes sense on paper but you can’t help but suspect a sense of greed as the ticket prices continue to rise.

Its this growing financial influence over the game that makes me wish the whole thing was a bit more understated? Less modern? I don’t know how to word it, I don’t want to sound like one of these “against modern football #casualwayoflife” sorta folk but I hope this makes at least a wee bit of sense, to want a less glamourised game that’s wholly about the people for the people?

I’ll confess that in recent years I’ve found myself thinking about how much more commercialised football would be in years to come, and how I would explain to my children what made Celtic so different from other football clubs. I didnt want it to become a tourist attraction like every other club and I never wanted it to lose the moral importance that I’m thankful to have been raised on growing up. But, any concerns about this have always been eased by the support. In times of despair when we’re not playing the best, or theres dispute about the decisions of the board or theres political/humanitarian injustice – the support always reminds me why Celtic are the “best club in the world.”

If you walk into the stadium, more often than not theres people outside gathering money for a number of causes and the acts of support and solidarity by groups like the Green Brigade are invaluable to the maintenance of the Club’s roots of grassroot community action – not just locally, but globally. Most notably, the recent #matchthefineforpalestine campaign gained Celtic global recognition for all the right reasons and seen over £100,000 gained for Palestinian Aid. This is one of the countless acts that leave with me no concern about telling my children about the Celtic I lived to know.

Champions League. Yass x

Self Direction and Human Nature

Right I feel like I need to explain why I’ve decided to write this because I fear sounding as if I think that I am Ghandi otherwise. I’m really interested in the way humans function and the way the brain operates, and a few nights ago I watched a video about human nature and why we don’t always do the things that we want to do. It sucked me right in and I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it and putting it into perspective in my own life. So before I drive myself insane I thought a blog post was a good outlet.

Colossal disclaimer: I don’t think I’m a motivational speaker the following is just me thinking out loud and it is probably a riot and I am definitely not Ghandi.

The question that the video I mentioned before sorta focused on was why are we never entirely certain in our decisions? Why do we always look back and think about how we could have/should have done things differently? I think this does all come back to our mindset in a sense, and that the voices in our head direct us in strange ways. But is there a way of silencing those voices that tell us our instinct just wasn’t right in a certain situation? We could drive ourselves insane thinking about how we could have done things differently etc but I think we overcomplicate it a bit. I think a good way of doing that is like replacing the “what if’s” with “I’ll give it a go” (for want of a better phrase). For example, like if you’re in a job you really don’t like and you see a vacancy somewhere but don’t get round to applying. It would be really easy to dwell on the fact you missed out and are still in the same monotonous job, but what good is that doing? Instead of dwelling on it, why don’t we just go back and check if there’s any other similar vacancies, or just ask if they’ll consider your application anyway? Or the problem could lie with other humans. Like if you don’t like the way a friendship has ended, or you feel like you were rude to somebody one day, or you feel like you didn’t pursue an interest that you had in someone like you should have. Why don’t we just speak to them? The point I’m trying to make is that I think we as humans overcomplicate things. If you’re unhappy about something, make it known and if you are happy about something, tell the world. If you feel like you missed an opportunity, go back to it and try it again. If you hate your job, find a new one. Humans are cool and our brains are class, but the reason we have most of the issues that we do is because we don’t know how to put our brains to use and communicate. Things really are so much easier if you just say “I’m sorry I handled that situation bad” or “I regret my actions” or “I missed the deadline can you still consider me”. I think we find it easier just to keep stuff to ourselves and say we’re fine and deal with stuff on our own accord when really we’re up all night wound up about work or friends or relationships.  What have we all got to lose *if I had emojis on this I would insert the one which is crying and its eyes are streaming but I don’t but you get the jist*

I am absolutely awful at taking my own advice and maybe one day I’ll listen to myself, but I think that’s how we all lose confidence in our sense of self direction. Because instead of trying and sorting and fixing its easier to just say that you’re fine and accept your problems and let them burden you. I read somewhere that the chances of you being born in the exact time, date and place that you were with the exact genes that you have are something like 1 in 400 billion. How class is that?! Like there is only one exact version of you in every sense of the world and without sounding like a tiny walking cliché, why are we all sitting about thinking what if and and passing by on new opportunities and not revisiting old ones and keeping ourselves to ourselves and driving ourselves up the pole when we are that tiny 1 in 400 billion?? Surely that’s something worth thinking about!