With the heartening prospect of same sex marriage legislation on the horizon for Scotland, feminist historian Dr. Lesley Orr and a forum of panellists came together at the end of last month to discuss the positive potential of same sex marriage. The forum, chaired by Tim Hopkins, director of the Equality Network, was part of the Edinburgh International Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace Festival.

Historian Dr. Lesley Orr studies marriage in all its complexity as a “variable social institution that has traditionally regulated sex and reproduction, family and kinship, control of resources and labour.” Most of the biblical arrangements should sound pretty horrific to your average 21st century Scot: marriage by rape; chastity for the wife, but not the husband; King Solomon and his 700 wives and 300 concubines; the list goes on.

It's a wizened, old truism that retrospect is always 20/20.  

Whether it was a brilliant move to sell up and move to an ashram or to down that ailing yoghurt at the back of the fridge can only be truly revealed in the fullness of time. A bummer, when so much seems to hang in the balance. 

I wrote the following piece of motivational wisdom last year to stave off a very foul mood. It's about perservering, having faith that your creativity will save the day, and not insisting that set-backs happen because the world hates you. The world doesn't hate you; those lemons are FULL of lemonade. 

Charities, if you are interested in funding, you might want to read this and look up the Third Sector Lab, especially if you’re dabbling in social media or thinking about it. I’ve got some golden tips for you that I learned at the Be Good Be Social conference last month in Glasgow.

Amnesty Scotland had their annual Human Rights Festival at St Augustine’s Church in Edinburgh on Saturday the 17th of November. There was food, there were stalls, there were workshops and films and there I was, too, notebook in hand.

A human right is a right that belongs inherently and inalienably to every person simply because they are human. Amnesty and other organisations invited to take part in the Human Rights Festival (Jubilee Scotland, Freedom from Torture, Scottish PEN, Refugee Survival Trust, etc) are engaged in making sure human rights are available to all humans. The annual Human Rights Festival is a chance to see what these groups are doing, the challenges they face and how you can help.

This latest post originally appeared in the Ragged University blog.  The Ragged Project is a place to share and learn for free. Usually, they put on a night a month with two talks on wildly different topics.

At the end of October, the World Development Movement (an organisation focused on justice for the world's poor) organised a skill-share and networking event for campaigners in Scotland.

Most people I’ve come across have heard of Rotary: “oh, yes, the rich white man’s social club”; “Republican philanthropy.”  Personally, all I knew was that Rotary clubs had arranged foreign exchanges for my friends, and that wearing a Rotary badge saved my uncle’s bacon: the suit hire shop stayed open for him before an awards ceremony (he thus avoided certain death at the hands of my aunt).  Uncle had also mentioned some crazy, end-up-in-the-pool-with-your-clothes-on type “socials,” so when Rob said he was giving a talk about websites to the Edinburgh Rotary Breakfast Club, I thought, “killer!”

I donned my mo and top hat...

Here's a blog I wrote with some thoughts on the recent Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill consultation.  I hope everyone interested got their feedback in!

This guest blog I wrote appeared on the Greener Leith website and on the eco-blog Me Eco You Eco. Responding to public consultation papers can be hard going.  Here are some steps to make the task less of a slog! 

A very interesting piece of legislation is taking shape that you’ll want to keep an eye on if you’d like more local say in what happens to land near you.
 
The making of the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill sounds like a groovy opportunity, but how do we use it to really feel like we can do stuff where we live? The entire process from consultation to law will take about three years, but the time to get your formal feedback in (as a group or individual) starts now.
 
This consultation deadline is Wednesday, 29 August, so here’s my empower-up action plan plus a few thoughts of my own.

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