Educational Equality Is About the Issue of Basic Human Worth, And We Shouldn’t Pretend Otherwise.

I can feel a familiar anger rising, a quickening of my pulse, which experience shows I need to calm. Its not ok to get angry is it? It’s, well, a bit common. No place for emotion in politics, no place for passion. Chip on my shoulder, you see. Angry lefty. Politics of envy etc, etc. This whole class/privilege/education debate is like one of those arguments where someone tells you are being defensive and the only possible response you can give is “f*** off”.
But I must try and get past that. As Melissa Benn has so brilliantly pointed out, we need to let the conversation begin. And that conversation, where it comes to so-called educational apartheid, is an uncomfortable one, because we are all desperate to avoid the issue at the core of it: human worth. Do we believe that some children deserve better than others because they happened to be born richer?

read more on The Huffington Post here


May 2016

Contributing to the Thunderstorm

The other day I received a text message, from my husband’s phone, which had been dictated by my small son. It read: Dear Mummy, I wrote a story, love from Anthony.

I am not sure anything could have filled me with more joy, and the backs of my eyes stung with proud and delighted tears.

read the full article in the Leither magazine here


Feb 2016

Say no to Roosh V on Saturday, for the sake of, well, everyone

On Saturday, in 43 different countries across the world, including Scotland, England and Wales, Pick-up artist Roosh V is organising a day of ‘tribal action’, for heterosexual men only, and with retribution promised to those who oppose him. Mr V himself is thought to be attending a meeting in Washington (DC, not Tyne and Wear), but his followers are all going to meet up and exchange passwords before shuffling off to secret locations. It would be laughable or exciting if it weren’t quite so weird, as is the notion of how they are going to decipher who is hetero enough to join in. We assume they are dealing with fairly primitive notions of sexuality, so perhaps they will just flash a picture of some female anatomy at people and see if their eyes glaze over with lust.

I would suggest that if you know one of these events is happening near you, you might formulate some form of protest. It could be as gentle as you like. Light a candle, do an interpretive dance, stand on a picnic table and sing Tina Turner’s I don’t wanna fight no more.

Do so on behalf of your sister, mother, friend or colleague who doesn’t know how to tell you she was raped, but would appreciate a little solidarity. Not that anyone needs to have been raped to feel outraged by the Roosh V’s assertion that rape on private property should be legalised because to be alone with a man is to consent to anything, but these statements do demand a moment of reflection for her predicament.

read the full article on Open Democracy here


January 2016

Using and Losing my Marbles

Where attention goes energy flows” says the nice lady who is here to do a Home energy report for me. It’s a neat rhyme but it takes me a moment to get the gist of what it means: that if we are not mindful about how we use energy we can easily waste it. We are sitting in my living room by a Christmas tree that is lit up, well…like a Christmas tree. I glance at it guiltily.
“I suppose the Christmas tree is on” I say.

“But it’s very much in use” nice lady smiles, and I smile too, delighted by the idea of its being in use because we are huddled next to it with our cups of herbal tea, enjoying it. I am also relieved: I don’t think this report is going to involve being told off.

See more in the Leither Magazine here