Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Men’

Men must learn what it takes to ask for help

Gerry Hassan

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’

Part Two

Gerry Hassan

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 »

Football, Friendship and ‘the 42’

Part One

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, January 17th 2012

Many things matter to Scots: politics, culture, religion, the list is endless and varied. But to many nothing matters more in life than one thing: football or more accurately, their football club.

In the last few years myself and my best friend Eddie have undertake a tour of the Scottish 42 football teams, from the big grounds of the Scottish Premier League (SPL) to the once big teams making up Division One, and the struggling minnows of the lower divisions. Nearly all human life is represented here.

It has been a great experience, meeting fans, seeing grounds, speaking to officials, soaking up the atmosphere and watching teams who have survived against all the elements which modern life can throw at them.

Most of all it has been about having fun, Eddie and I celebrating our friendship, but also exploring the strange nature of Scottish football fervour which sits with an instinctual, deep lack of interest about clubs other than your own. Now this is a bit of a universal fact about football fans, but in Scotland it seems more ingrained and pronounced; particularly in ‘Old Firm’ fans who in their minds seem to inhabit a Scottish football and league of just two teams. Read the rest of this entry »

Why are so Many Women’s Voices Missing from Scottish Public Life?

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, December 24th 2011

Scotland was once a masculinised culture and society, a place where men built big, heavy things and large numbers of women stayed at home. We have changed in many respects, and to some the separate worlds of men and women’s work have almost disappeared.

This is the feminisation of Scotland to some, seen in the gender revolution that was the first Scottish Parliament which saw record numbers of women MSPs, numerous women Cabinet ministers, and a raft of prominent women in public life. Attitudes have changed, overt sexism a thing of the past, and discrimination put on the backfoot.

This is a feel good story, a heart-warming tale to backslap ourselves over this festive period. Well done Scotland: equality if not achieved then advanced, diversity better than ever although lots to do, and the old boys’ networks and privileges weakened.

If only it were that simple. This is the story often propagated by the ‘official’ guardians of the equality industry in Scotland. 45 female MSPs, female employment rates standing up over the last year at 67.9%, parts of Scotland with increasingly female workforces, while girls continue to outperform boys in educational performance. Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of Black and White Scotland

Gerry Hassan

The Scotsman, November 5th 2011

Scottish political debate is characterised and marred by a host of difficult divides and fractures.

There is anti-Nationalist Labour hatred; the rage of the so-called ‘cybernats’; and a widespread, almost national sport of anti-Toryism. All of these are part of a Scottish problem which we see not only in our politics, but also across society, culture and football.

Why do large parts of the Labour Party so virulently hate the SNP? And why do part of the Nationalist community, ‘the cybernats’ think it appropriate to conduct themselves the way they do? The former have used a politics of fear and negativity for years against the Nationalists, while the latter believe they are taking a stand against an omnipotent unionist establishment which is biased against them.

We can look for answers in each tradition. Labour until this year saw one of their main tasks as defending the self-preservation society they had built. In Scottish nationalism there is commonly a sense of self-righteousness and belief in one ‘true’ way. Read the rest of this entry »