The state of Scotland as 2022 dawns

Scotland – the state of play on the cusp of 2022 What State? We’re in a poor state. The SNP, always wanting to say things would be better in an “independent” Scotland and in government unbroken since 2007, has no interest in making devolution work well. Beyond its...

Leith: HQ of the Trainspotting Phenomenon

It was Harry Gibson (the play) and Danny Boyle (the film) who took the Trainspotting story away from Leith. Irvine Welsh’s focus was on the collapse of the community of Leith – the demolitions, the dispersals, the diaspora – into which heroin and HIV...

The Darting Salamander

It’s out, on the streets of Leith, a collection of writings marking the centenary of the amalgamation of Leith and Edinburgh in 1920. OK, we’re a year late, so it’s edition #101 and we’ll hit #200 in November 2120. Fifteen different voices, all...

The Irish in Leith

It’s not just the Hibs. It’s not just Stella Maris church and the first presbytery house in post-Reformation Scotland. The Irish built a good part of Victorian Leith streets, and they have one of the very few 19th century positive acknowledgements of their...

Scottish drugs deaths – denial of the problem

Just too late to join the row about the record-breaking illegal drug deaths in Scotland, here’s a letter I didn’t send to the press. Recent correspondence is quite right to point out that the cause of the scale of the Scottish drug-related deaths is...