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...

Call this maintenance? Where’s the accountability?

Last week I sent this image of weeds the whole length of the gutter of our street, dense and up to almost 2 feet high, to my MSP and councillors. I asked them for a well-informed opinion on how it has got to this stage. Ben MacPherson MSP (SNP) said it was a Council...

An open letter to my SNP candidate

Dear Ben, I was pleased to see you and the other candidates at the Leith Churches Together hustings last evening. Talking it over with church friends – not party friends –  this morning, there is some consensus about the most disgraceful thing said: when you said that...

Their only way is down.

Not content with reaping the ill-gotten gains of the iniquitous first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting arrangements for Westminster (if they were iniquitous when Labour was the beneficiary, they are still iniquitous), Alex Salmond is now gaming the voting arrangements for...

The tide is going out…

I don’t think I’m complacent, but I do think there’s almost no danger of IndyRef2 and Scottish separation from rUK for the forseeable. The SNP may have a majority at Holyrood after May, but there are big doubts about that and at any rate it is...