A problem with polling … do you know who your candidates are?

Given how difficult it is to find full candidate lists for the Holyrood election, how much faith can we put in opinion polls that lump the small parties into the “other” category?

Don’t fall into a Tory trap by using disabling language

Yes, raids on the budget for Personal Independence Payments would affect vulnerable people, but they would likely also have a serious impact on many, many others who reject such labels … we must accept that our choice of language – and the stereotypes it helps perpetuate – may be disabling in itself.

Impossible to ignore: the anti-abortion vigil at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital

There are no shock tactics here, just silent judgment from two men and two women standing in the cold. But their message – “Choose life” – will be seen by all, including those who have had that choice removed from them in a brutally painful way.

Language matters when it comes to criminal justice

WE have a language problem when it comes to criminal justice. Take the phrase “automatic early release”, which the Scottish Government plans to end despite strong opposition from academics, lawyers and penal reform campaigners. Automatic early release really doesn’t sound like a good thing. The phrase conjures up the image of a cell door automaticallyContinue reading “Language matters when it comes to criminal justice”

It’s not right to make children pray at school

“HANDS together, eyes closed,” came the instruction, and we obediently complied. It seemed no more or less arbitrary than many of the other edicts issued by primary school teachers to us, their pliable charges. We lined up together in twos holding hands, we recited our times tables, we put our chairs atop our desks atContinue reading “It’s not right to make children pray at school”

How many pensioners really need a Winter Fuel Allowance?

THE image of the impoverished pensioner shivering in the cold is an incredibly emotive one, especially at this time of year. Amid rising energy prices and much talk of fuel poverty, it might seem a no-brainer to increase the Winter Fuel Allowance as the Scottish Government has this week urged. What kind of heartless ScroogeContinue reading “How many pensioners really need a Winter Fuel Allowance?”