Why “Scroungers” Rhetoric is BS

Just has to share this photo that came up in my FB feed:

Salma Yaqoob whips IDS arse on scroungers

Salma Yaqoob confronts Iain Duncan Smith on “austerity”, on BBC’s Question Time, 12th June 2014


“There are 13 million people in this country who are now below the poverty line, 1 million people in one of the richest countries in the world now face the very real indignity of relying on food banks… These are very real issues and it’s been done in the name of “austerity” and we’ve had this drive of people being called scrouongers but actually hald the people on benefits are pensioners… and 50% of people claiming benefits are in work because the wages are not paying enough; and yet I’m sitting next to Iain Duncan Smith who quite happily labels the poor people as “scroungers” when [he] claims £39 just for a breakfast like you can’t afford your own breakfast. When you live on your wife’s estate and have taken £1.5m of tax payers’ money, that’s what I call scrounging. That’s what I call shirking.” Salma Yaqoob.

Food for thought.


I don’t know about anyone else but I was a massive Harry Potter geek when I was a kid, starting when I was ooo, 10, I guess?

Neville Longbottom

This lad comes on a long, long way

Now, I haven’t read the books since the last one came out and I powered through it in about two days in order avoid hearing any spoilers but I came across the fanfiction, “Dumbledore’s Army and the Year of Darkenss” and I have to say it is one of the best things I have read in a while. It’s all about Neville and the other teens who had to stay behind at Hogwarts when Snape and the Death Eaters took over. They reformed the DA and turned it into a military academy, essentially, running acts of resistance and information at a time when the mainstream press could not be trusted. Go read, but be warned it is LOONNNGGGG, longer than the books in fact. Worth it though.

It’s a coming of age story, and it’s about kids realising the adults don’t have an effing clue what to do, and that they have to look after each other. It’s about love and friendship and sacrifice. And fianlly it’s about hope in the face of terrible darkness, and picking up the pieces afterwards.

Jesus fucking H Christ, my supervisor is an idiot!

Just have to put this out here. Where I’d been accusing my supervisor of not getting back to me with comments, he had prepared comments and MANAGED NOT TO SEND THEM.


This would not be the first time he’s convinced himself he sent an email when in fact he hadn’t. A prime example of that would be when I emailed to say I was going off sick with stress for two weeks and he didn’t respond at all.

So, on top of him not sending his comments on my draft for over 6 weeks, when I finally got to read them tonight, one comment really took the biscuit.

Mmm, biscuit.
Sorry. Distracted.

He’d managed to claim that the thing that was my idea was actually his and that he’d told me to do it all along, when in truth, he’d opposed me from the beginning.

It needs a lot of backstory, apologies.

A long time ago, back in my first year of my PhD, Continue reading

Emotion Dismissing and Thesis Writing

I’ve been trying to pay attention to the meta aspects of my thesis writing process and I have discovered a thing that is making it extra difficult.

I do not like sitting with uncomfortable emotions.

I would rather avoid, avoid, AVOID! than pay attention to them and work through them in order to carry on with what I am supposed to be doing. It is a big contributor to the procrastination habits that mar my writing habits, the other big contributor being boredom. Continue reading

Music and other things to be grateful for

Just wanted to share some music videos with you. The writing and editing is a slog but there are things to be thankful for. The weather for starters. Being able to sit in the sunshine in the garden, surrounded by flowers and insects, with gorgeous blue skies while I do work is a pleasure. I’m doubly grateful because it’s something I’ve not been able to do in a long time, not having a garden of my own in Cottonopolis.

My cat is another blessing. Being able to have lazy snuggles on the lawn is so nice and when I wake in the morning it’s usually to find him curled up by my feet.

My cat under the flowers, enjoying the sun

My cat under the flowers, enjoying the sun

I’m thankful for good food and vegetables and a bike that now works (thanks to my brother for fixing the gears!). I’ve also joined a gym as I want to get strong. I quit Jiu jitsu because of injuries but I still want to move and improve my fitness. Not gonna lie, loosing a bit of weight would be nice but I’m trying not to get hung up on it. I am all too aware that there are a lot of shitty messages regarding size and shape rattling around in the background of my brain, and when I’m stressed about other things they have a tendency to flare up. I’ve got half a draft on it but I’m not ready to go there yet. Anyway, things to be thankful for: being able to move, cycle, climb, lift weights and practise yoga.

I’m also thankful for our piano. Gosh, have I missed playing! Turns out when I’m playing for my own enjoyment and not for an exam, it’s actually fun and satisfying. I even taught myself a new piece this week: Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in C# Minor “Moonlight”: the Allegretto movement.

I’ve a long way to go until it sounds this good but I’ll get there. I’m also practising Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude, which I learned for a grade back in the day and still love to play:

For some utterly different music, here’s Julie Fowlis singing various Scottish Gaelic folk songs.

It’s suck in my head and makes me want to dance. I came across her from listening to the Brave Soundtrack, where she sings Touch the Sky, Into the Open Air and Learn Me Right.

The piece I have absolutely not been able to get out of my head however is A Mhaighdean Bhan Uasal, Noble Maiden Fair.

Little baby, hear my voice
I’m beside you, O maiden fair
Our young Lady, grow and see
Your land, your own faithful land
Sun and moon, guide us
To the hour of our glory and honour
Little baby, our young Lady
Noble maiden fair

How to Recover from Critical Feedback

“… kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” – Stephen King

It’s been a while since I last blogged a long post and the mere thought of it has been nagging at me. Honestly though, I’m at a bit of a loss for what to say. The PhD writing is hard, as expected, but it’s thrown me for a loop and I’ve been procrastinating like a motherfucker. In fact, this very post is me procrastinating! How meta. You known those situations where you feel like you have a long list of excuses but no good reasons? This is one of those times.

I’m procrastinating because I’m trying to avoid something difficult: editing my “Shitty First Draft”. I was previously angry at my supervisors because they weren’t giving detailed or useful feedback. This time, when I submitted what I thought was a pretty good chapter, I got it back with devastating criticism. “Your writing is hard to read”. “It’s too waffly”. “I couldn’t follow what was going on”. Some of the comments were useful but mostly they just cut me to the bone. It felt personal, ya know? It’s my writing, an embodiment of my thoughts, and now you’re telling me it’s shit and I need to cut it down by half?! They’re my words! They made sense to me! How can they be that hard to follow?

Editting while defensive is not an easy task, it turns out. Continue reading