Archive for the Social Issues Category

The lost community: Alex Wood, following the death of his mother, reflects on the profound social changes that have occurred during her lifetime – and his

The lost community: Alex Wood, following the death of his mother, reflects on the profound social changes that have occurred during her lifetime – and his

My mother died recently. She was 93 and was in residential care. There was no house for disposal, only some cursory business and the sorting of papers, photographs and letters but that task reminded me sharply of how the world has changed in her lifetime. My unmarried […]

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An old-fashioned liberal: Alex Wood on the enduring magic of Millar

An old-fashioned liberal: Alex Wood on the enduring magic of Millar

There is not a day passes but an Arthur Miller play is performed in some world theatre. Last week it was ‘A View from the Bridge’ in Glasgow’s Theatre Royal. Ken Stott was the tortured Eddie Carbone, New York Italian long-shoreman, trying desperately to manage a changing […]

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Towards a more tolerant Scotland: Alex Wood sees some hope in the controversy engulfing the Church of Scotland

Towards a more tolerant Scotland: Alex Wood sees some hope in the controversy engulfing the Church of Scotland

There’s a Presbyterian streak in many Scots, including those without denominational affiliation or even religion, but that serious concern about ethical issues is insufficient to explain the interest in the Scott Rennie case at the General Assembly. It is almost unbelievable, as we approach the second decade […]

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Ridiculed no more

Ridiculed no more

Last week in Madrid, in the Prado, I discovered Dürer’s self-portrait. It shows a young man of 26, face ringed in curling locks, flamboyant, elegant, aristocratic and boldly asserting his artistic status. For all that such a work might be arrogant, this is not. Its inscription, ‘I […]

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Hamish Henderson: the man who escaped Scottish Calvinism Review

Hamish Henderson: the man who escaped Scottish Calvinism  Review

Volume I of Timothy Neat’s Hamish Henderson, a Biography (Polygon Books, 375 pp, £25.00), explores the early life of Hamish Henderson, the poet, folk-lorist, soldier, communist and nationalist, one of contemporary Scotland’s most dazzling intellectual stars.  Henderson was born in 1919, the illegitimate son of a respectable […]

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Ethical dilemmas

Ethical dilemmas

  I recently had brought to my attention the allegation that a third year male student had called a girl in his class ‘a whore’.  My instant reaction, shared by the Depute was, it’s never acceptable, he’s out.  The boy’s reaction however took us aback.  ‘No,’ he […]

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Three-parent families, a grandfather aged 29: this is the modern world

Three-parent families, a grandfather aged 29: this is the modern world

The family is changing rapidly and enormously. One recent press article introduced three adults and a child whose relationship would have been unimaginable in the 1960s, or even in the 1990s. The mother was without a partner but was anxious to have a child. She met a gay man […]

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A lesson in breaking down the barriers

A lesson in breaking down the barriers

St George’s School for Girls and Wester Hailes Education Centre are four miles apart.  In status conscious Edinburgh, the distance could be light years.  Yet twelve girls and four teachers recently proved that the barriers of perception can be broken.  The schools’ partnership is not new.  Three […]

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In search of the poor

A wealth of genealogical data can be revealed by the records of the poor, and Alex Wood unearths some fascinating case studies from the past, giving a glimpse of the lives of the extreme poverty-stricken in 19th-century Scotland. No other documents provide such detail about the poor […]

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Whys & wherefores of illegitimacy

The traditional view of the Victorian age is of tightly-laced family structures.  That would be even more so, it might be thought, in Presbyterian Scotland.  The truth was different however, as Alex Wood demonstrates. Perhaps surprisingly illegitimacy was higher in Scotland (7.8% in 1855) than in England […]

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