Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Men’
Dreams of my Father and an Elegy for a Lost Scotland
Sunday Herald, January 5th 2014
Twenty years ago last October, my father, Edwin, died.
I was a young man at the time, in my late twenties, and my dad’s death was a major moment in my life, of maturing, of putting life in perspective, and of sadness.
In the months coming up to the anniversary of his death this year, his memory came more to the fore, as I reflected on his life and influence on myself. Truth be told, my father had in his last years not been an easy person to be in the same room with, and as well as loss I felt a sense of release when he passed away. As twenty years have passed, I am now more able to understand my father and the man who contributed to making me the person I am today. And I think that the values and ideas he represented can shed some light on where we are now and the choices we face next year in Scotland’s big debate.
My father was very political: a member of the Communist Party in Dundee in the 1970s and a NCR shop steward when that had a kind of status and power. He wasn’t a very active Communist; in fact, my mother, Jean, was the motivated one in our household, a community activist, organiser of rent strikes and protests and an editor of the local newsletter (where I began my first writing with a regular music column at the age of 14). Read the rest of this entry »
The missing stories and, for some, the pain of growing up
Scottish Review, August 8th 2013
On Saturday the Scottish football season opened in earnest with the first weekend programme of the new Scottish Premiership.
There has been little excitement amongst fans, followers and media, despite the final reincorporation of the league authorities into one body, the Scottish Professional Football League, and the ending of football as a closed shop with the agreement of play-offs in and out of the lower league. But it all seems to most the status quo by another name, aided by the continuation of the discredited Neil Doncaster-Stewart Regan MBA culture at the top of the game.
In all the words and talk expended, the psychologies of Scottish football are both fascinating and deeply entrenched, yet seldom explored. In this essay, I want to examine two dimensions: the historical dominance of Celtic and Rangers historically, and the recent implosion of Rangers.
Scottish football has, since its inception been shaped by the triumphs and tribulations of Celtic and Rangers. In the last 20 seasons, a mere eight other clubs have won a total of 12 trophies out of a potential 60. Yet, Scottish football hasn’t always been as lopsided as this. In post-war times, there were two very different periods and experiences, 1946-65 before the Stein era at Celtic, and the first decade of the Scottish Premier Division. These were highly competitive eras with a powerful Hearts and Hibs in the first, and Aberdeen and Dundee United in the second. Sadly, the Scottish Premier League has since the advent of the UEFA Champions League, been the joint most uncompetitive league in Europe, alongside Ukraine. Read the rest of this entry »
The problem we have with some men in public life
The Scoisman, August 25th 2012
Politics and public life have for centuries been male dominated and while there have been huge changes in the last few decades too many men still seem to live in a different age.
In the last week with the Julian Assange extradition case, we have witnessed George Galloway and Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, venture into territory no one should go into.
Then there was Ian Davidson’s combative behaviour towards Isabel Fraser, followed up by Michael Kelly in these pages while George Foulkes on twitter laid into ‘biased opinionated toffee nosed media hacks’, declaring ‘let’s have more’ of the Davidson treatment.
What do we have to say here? That all is fair in love and politics? If you can’t stand the heat get out of public life. It won’t and shouldn’t do. The casual language of violence of too many in public life and in particular in Scotland is too often appeased or left unchallenged. Read the rest of this entry »
Men must learn what it takes to ask for help
The Scotsman, February 11th 2012
The Scottish suicide figures reported in ‘The Scotsman’ this week illustrate that we have a deep, challenging set of problems as a society.
‘British Journal of Psychiatry’ research revealed that the Scottish male suicide rate was 31 per 100,000 compared to 17 per 100,000 south of the border. It showed an increasing problem with 15-34 year old men in particular.
This alarming story can be used to suggest something pre-determined about Scotland, painting a predictable picture about Scottish society and lifestyles with negative and damaging connotations.
The reality is complex. Alana Atkinson, head of the Choose Life anti-strategy strategy pointed out that there has been a 14% decline in the number of people committing suicide in the last nine years. Read the rest of this entry »
The Scotland of a Different Generation and The Last Game of ‘the 42’
Scottish Review, January 18th 2012
The whole day out to Peterhead was enjoyable and entertaining and made me reflect. This was a warm, sociable group of Celtic fans. There were no pub bores or people who dominated the conversation of the whole bus. There was leadership, organisation and a culture of soft collective discipline.
Some of the songs being sung on the way up wouldn’t pass the Offensive Behaviour Act 2011. But what do I make of that? Singing of the hunger strikes and Bobby Sands is not something I really want as part of modern 21st century Scotland, but I also don’t want to ban it in a bus. The song about the 1971 Ibrox disaster and making light of its tragedy is more than awful bad taste, but then the law shouldn’t be involved in the universal stupidity of football fans to sing offensive ditties about their main rivals.
Most of the young men on the bus lived in one of the poorest parts of Glasgow, and were a mix of guys in employment, often in jobs they openly expressed their hatred for or boredom in, and some who were unemployed. They were animated, articulate and intensely knowledgeable about football. In the course of an entire day, I didn’t hear one sexist or racist comment, or outwith their singing, a sectarian or offensive comment. Read the rest of this entry »