How many of you have an inspirational teacher story?

How many of you have an inspirational teacher story? I predict almost everyone has at least one memory of something a teacher said to you which shaped your life positively. It stands to reason. Throughout our early formative years Nursery teachers try and teach us essential cognitive skills. From 5 to 12 we have Primary School teachers who are entrusted with the vital tasks of teaching us to write, to count, to read and to work with others and behave appropriately. Children at the age of 5 tend to be wee empty vessels introduced to a new world of classrooms, […]

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We Must Never Allow Legitimate Criticism of the State of Israel to be defined as Anti-Semitic

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me”. The haunting, wise and instructive quotation above from German Pastor Martin Niemoller https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/martin-niemoeller-first-they-came-for-the-socialists has been very much on my mind recently. Pastor Niemoller knew exactly […]

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 “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”

              A saying that is derived from ‘To a Mouse’, one of the many splendid poems written by Scotland’s legendary National Bard Robert Burns. Although he put it better: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” I have next to nothing in common with Tory Prime Minister Theresa May but this evening both of us will have reached for those words from ‘oor Rabbie’ to explain our situations. I had planned to pen a column about the economic ineptitude and political theft and vandalism displayed by successive governments’ privatisation programmes which have diminished the UK’s wealth and reduced service provision […]

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Solidarity Is More than the Name of a Political Party – It Is A Way of Life

My task on Saturday was to address my political party’s annual conference and try to inspire the gathering with some socialist vision and ideas. The name of the party is Solidarity and it was formed in late 2006 out of a messy battle within a bigger party that I used to lead and represent in Parliament. Over the past eleven years it has been hard to maintain a left party committed to independence in the face of a rampant SNP that has adopted many policies formerly associated with left and socialist parties while being best positioned as the de facto […]

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For The Sake Of The Children And Much More Besides – USE THE MANDATE

“Thank you for giving my mum food so we can eat”. Those were the words written by an eight year old boy who had been caught stealing tomato sauce sachets from his school as he thought he could make soup with them. A heart-breaking and scandalous glimpse of the reality of poverty in the 21st century. Yet what makes the story https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/starving-schoolboy-child-poverty-steal-tomato-sauce-food-bank-glasgow-a8607461.html even more shocking is it did not emerge from a war torn region or third world country it emerged during evidence to the Social Security Committee of the Scottish Parliament last week and concerned a hungry child in […]

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