Corbyn’s problem with women


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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Sobriety is an increasingly common lifestyle choice, not just a fundraising gimmick

kermit-1651325_960_720Originally published in the Glasgow Guardian, Issue 2 2015/2016

“Are you not drinking tonight?”

Since the new academic year began, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked this question as I stand at the bar, ordering my new drink of choice, a J2O. The Go Sober for October challenge, where participants give up alcohol for the month of October in return for charity sponsorship, has hit campus this year on a far greater scale than in previous years. The QMU’s Charities and Campaigns Committee are taking part, in aid of their charity of the semester, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland. Given the prevalence of alcohol in the typical student experience, it’s not hard to see why people are confused when I tell them it was my choice, sans sponsorship, to give up alcohol.

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Glasgow Protests Trump’s Inauguration


Originally published at

Protests were held in the city centre of Glasgow yesterday regarding the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States. A protest in George Square was organised by a number of Glasgow organisations, including Glasgow Free Pride, as an alternative to the Stand Up To Racism rally at the Donald Dewer Statue. The latter had attracted controversy due to the organisation’s links to the Socialist Workers’ Party, a far left group which in 2013 was found to be protecting senior members accused of rape.

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A Left Wing Defence of the Poppy

meadow-76358_960_720Originally published at

Since the first Poppy appeal in the 1920’s, the changing of the seasons in the UK has been marked as much by flashes of red on lapels as the leaves falling from the trees. In recent years’ debates surrounding the morality of the poppy have become as ubiquitous as the plastic flower itself. It’s easy to see why so many people feel uncomfortable with the often garish yearly show of support for “our boys”.

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Self Harm is a Feminist Issue


Originally published at

It’s that time of year again. As autumn arrives along with colder weather, most of us are begrudgingly retrieving our jackets and oversized knitwear from the back of our wardrobes. But for people like me this season marks the end of months of anxiety. I first self-harmed 11 years ago. A particularly tough spell of depression last winter has left me with fresh thick red scars to join the silvery white lines of scar tissue across my arms. For me, summer is a season of excuses. I tell my family I’m not really that warm as I fan my red face. But no matter how deep the shame, there is only so much sweating in long sleeves that one person can take.

I came to this conclusion while doing dissertation reading in a West End café on a particularly hot summer day. As the sun beat down on me through the windows, I finally gave in and peeled off my cardigan. Exposing my scars usually elicits no more from others than a rude stare or an uncomfortable expression of acknowledgment. I never could have predicted what would happen next. As the pair of middle aged women sitting next to me rose to leave, one spotted my marked arms. She looked to her friend, tutted and muttered “Silly girl”. I would love to tell you that at this point I stood to confront the woman, calling her out for her stigmatising attitude and rudeness. I was so taken aback I shrank in my seat, hiding behind my hair.

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Who You Not Gonna Call?


Originally published at

As a teenager, I feared nothing more than being dumped by text. This was considered the ultimate embarrassment, and it seemed to become commonplace as everyone gained access to a Nokia 3410. But dating trends move on just as fast as technology, and my hours spent poring over Mizz magazine failed to prepared me for the cruelty of ‘ghosting’, a social faux pas of such a scale it’s earned its own Urban Dictionary definition.

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EU Referendum: Fear over Hope?

eu-1473958_960_720Originally published at

It’s widely accepted that the independence referendum marked a sea change in Scottish politics. Despite the referendum ultimately ending with a no vote, a spark had been ignited which it would be difficult to put out. The yes campaign was far from perfect. The profile given to supporters such as Brian Souter and Wings over Scotland by the campaign undermined their claim of representing social progression. However the grassroots campaign did seem to offer a sense of hope that had been missing from British politics for far too long.

The EU referendum has failed to inspire the same engagement. Only in the last few weeks has public attention really been drawn to the issue at all. The remain side has failed to gain momentum. Jeremy Corbyn has struggled to make the public believe in a union which he doesn’t truly believe in himself, whilst David Cameron has been overshadowed by the personality and public likeability of Boris Johnson. Farage has been strangely quiet, as the leave campaign has turned into a glorified fight for the Conservative leadership. Continue reading