A Love Letter to Glasgow University and the Last Six Years

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Driving down Great Western Road, my life in boxes in the back of my Mums car ready to personalise my standard design room in student halls, I felt small. Glasgow was a big deal for a wee girl from Crieff, a town of around 6000 population where everyone knew everyone’s business. I should have been excited. It was the moment I’d been waiting for. University, where I would finally become the gorgeous, popular and self assured woman I was destined to be.

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Stand up to Racism, Stand up to Rape Apology

In January the city of Glasgow took to the streets, in solidarity with millions across the world, to stand up to Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from seven countries. Demonstrations in George Square and Buchanan Street attracted crowds of hundreds. To all but the most ardent lefties, the separate demo’s seemed like nothing more than an organisational mix up. However, for those in the know, the issue ran deeper. The protest at the Donald Dewar statue was run by Stand up to Racism, an organisation whose activity on the ground is largely run by members of the Socialist Workers Party. Many activists refuse to work with the SWP. Although this is often dismissed as leftie infighting, the truth is far more sinister.

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In defence of the “live below the line” campaign

Originally published in the Glasgow Guardian

As I write this article, representatives of the four student bodies are coming to the end of the Live Below the Line challenge. For five days, participants have lived below the poverty line, spending no more than £1 a day, with the aim of raising money for the Glasgow north west food bank and raising awareness of the struggle of those living in poverty in our city. However, the challenge has not been beyond criticism. Of course, this is true of virtually every charitable endeavour from students at Glasgow university, but something about this particular debate struck a chord for me. On the face of it, there is something a bit problematic about predominantly middle class students playing at being poor; five days of faux poverty does not even begin to cover the experience of actually living below the line. The relief felt by students at the end of the challenge as they order in a Domino’s is a luxury which is not afforded to the poor.

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A Clash of Isms

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Originally published in qmunicate magazine, issue 124

In the last few years feminism has been enjoying another moment in the sun. Journalists can’t get through an interview with a female celebrity without asking her whether she considers herself a feminist, but as we fawn over Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, do we ever consider what that feminism really means? I’m not the only young woman to have asked myself this question. In a recent interview for Vice, Maisie Williams bucked the trend by admitting that she doesn’t identify as a feminist. She believes there is no need to label ourselves in order to prove that we support equality. Rather than viewing herself as a feminist, Williams prefers to call non feminists out for what they are; sexists.

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A Controversial Classic?

Originally published in qmunicate magazine, issue 123

When news of Harper Lee’s death broke, talk of her classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird dominated discussion. This is understandable. The book gained worldwide fame, and sold millions of copies. It is rare for a classic novel to maintain the love of its readers throughout the generations despite its ubiquity. I even made it through my higher English personal study with my love for Scout, Jem and Atticus intact. But Lee’s most recent novel, Go Set a Watchman, was absent from much of the commentary surrounding her death.

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David Bowie: Are Mourners Jumping on the Bandwagon?

maxresdefaultOriginally published in the Glasgow Guardian, Issue 4 2015/2016

As the news of David Bowie’s death from cancer broke last Monday morning, the inevitable social media storm ensued within minutes. Celebrity death has always been an industry in itself, and the internet has only intensified the trend. Within hours of the announcement of Bowie’s untimely death, his records were shooting up the charts. Bookshops proudly displayed Bowie biographies in their windows whilst movies and documentaries featuring the late rock star trended on Netflix. I have no doubt that in the months to come Bowie merchandise and tribute albums will appear in abundance. Mass mourning has become as inevitable as celebrity death itself. However this attracts controversy too, from accusations of mourners jumping on the bandwagon to questions around the validity of grief for an individual we didn’t really know.

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Corbyn’s problem with women

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Originally published in the Glasgow Guardian

The Labour Party’s first Shadow cabinet reshuffle since Jeremy Corbyn took on the leaderships was always going to attract considerable media attention. However as speculation grew that Corbyn will target rebellious shadow ministers, the reshuffle has proven controversial for more than just ideology. Blairite MP Jess Phillips has accused Corbyn of “non-violent misogyny” due to his continued failures to promote female talent within the shadow cabinet. The issue of women in the party is one that began to plague Corbyn’s leadership before his campaign team’s first celebratory pint had even been pulled. The absence of female voices at the conference announcing his shock landslide win did not go unnoticed. The trend continued as Jeremy named his first Shadow cabinet, with top positions of Shadow Chancellor, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary reserved for John McDonnell, Andy Burnham and Hilary Benn. As Jeremy and many of his supporters continue to deny claims of sexism, does Jess Phillips have a point?

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