All of us first


As children we have a sense of fairness:
it’s not right that someone should get something while others go without

As young people we have real sense of justice
(despite “whatever!”)

But what happens when we “grow up”?
Do we abandon the sense that we are all equal?


As we prepare for the referendum in September, we are challenged to think again about what we want for our country.

Is it right that 1,000 people own 60 per cent of Scottish land? (1)

Is it right that we have record-breaking levels of child poverty?

Is it right that the average lifespan in parts of Glasgow is 57?
i.e. were I from there I could already be dead

Another possibility

logo of the Common Weal: All of us first“All of us first” is the motto for the Common Weal project, set up by the Jimmy Reid Foundation, named after a man who worked tirelessly for social justice. As opposed to the “me first” of neoliberalism, as exemplified by the first-past-the-post pseudo-democracy of Westminster politics, “all of us first” is exploring ways to put these matters right.

These include:

Real equality,
not just some slogan
(Liz Lochhead for Common Weal)

1. Riddoch, Lesley (2013-08-26). Blossom: What Scotland Needs to Flourish (Viewpoints) (Kindle Locations 77-78). Luath Press Ltd. Kindle Edition

Another day. Another bag…

Discarded beer cans collected in a Yes Scotland bag

Yet another bag of discarded beer cans. Not all had been fully drunk: and that’s not the only waste.

Another day.
Another bag.

Another vision?
A new hope for Scotland?

Lesley Riddoch’s brilliant book Blossom: What Scotland Needs to Flourish (Viewpoints) describes Scotland as a garden:

Scots currently inhabit a large, beautiful garden whose owner is busy but can’t trust anyone else to manage it.

As a result, monocultures run riot, dominant plants stifle diversity, native species grow in the shade, climbers are unsupported, soil is exhausted, seeds are blown elsewhere, weeds run unchecked and litter fills corners.

Passers-by admire the backdrop and spot the potential but puzzle over the general lack of care.

There are a small number of stunning exhibits but all in the garden is not rosy.

Somewhere under the weeds the little white rose of Scotland is still alive – growing, budding but never quite flowering for more than a few precious days.

How can it? A competent gardener is needed to restructure the garden from the grassroots upwards.

But the best candidates are always overlooked – the Scottish people themselves. We could inhabit a well-tended, diverse garden, home to foreign exotica, hardy hybrids and flowering, reproductive and distinctively Scottish plants.

But it would take a collective and united commitment of time and effort.
And we are divided.

Some believe Scotland is already a viable proposition, whilst others think the country has large, sick, hopeless urban populations and dispersed rural communities inhabiting barren (looking) land fit only for grouse moors.

Can both ‘sides’ be right? Is there a single verdict on Scotland upon which a majority can agree?

Yes there is. Scotland is already a distinctive nation. But its identity may not derive from the commonly accepted symbols of nationhood. And that’s a paradox worth exploring.

Riddoch, Lesley (2013-08-26). Blossom: What Scotland Needs to Flourish (Viewpoints) (Kindle Locations 206-218). Luath Press Ltd. Kindle Edition.