We are nearing the end of the ‘Year of Young People 2018’. Of course, defending our youth has to be a recurring theme, in a Scotland where one in four children live in poverty.

The other night coming home late in the rain, I saw a wee boy folded up in on himself in a street corner, knuckles to the ground. A young couple under their brolly, were standing over him frantically calling an ambulance. I stood for a minute not sure what, if anything, I had to contribute, then left. The image of this wee crumpled soul has stayed with me since.

You know that saying, ‘When good men do nothing….’ The thing that makes me hopping mad about the dysfunctional lot that are in just now, isn’t that they do nothing, but their attempts to justify what they do!

It really is beyond a joke when the UN inspector wades in to criticise the government about the numbers living in poverty and still, they do what I call a Three Monkeys impression! When evil is indeed the operative word.

Or when Jacob Rees-Mogg, aka Lord Snooty, proffers sound bites like: ‘Look, let’s be clear…’ or ‘We’ve had tough choices to make,’ (yeah right, because you would know what tough times look like!) Or worse still, uses that cringeworthy word ‘incentivise’ when talking about the total misfit that is Universal Credit, I’d like to proposition him with, ‘Outside’!

Talking of outside, I heard recently that it takes a whole list of services failing folk before the system starts ‘spitting out’ homeless people onto our streets in the numbers we’ve all seen recently. I suspect you’ve noticed, it’s on the increase and it’s this need to tackle the underlying drivers that’s the Big Issue. It feels like only yesterday I remember being shocked to see folk sleeping in the streets of London and naively said I couldn’t imagine it would ever be as bad in Glasgow.

Sadly, I fear we’ve now grown accustomed to seeing it. Some folk will tell you it’s too complex a subject to come up with any one solution. I know I fill my own head with lots of justifications to walk by folk or give a coin or two without making eye contact. Even though the root problems may indeed vary the breeding ground for them all, lie with the issues of isolation and separation.

So, when the niece and her pals, who I’m used to seeing teetering about on ridiculous heels and knocking back gin cocktails, told me about their plan to join 12,000 others in a ‘Sleep Out’ on December 8 in my local park, I thought this gives a whole new meaning to the phrase grass root initiative! They’re joining the fab campaign by the outfit Social Bite.

What I also love is that Social Bite have also organized a Wee Sleep Out. It started on November 9 and 5000 weans have slept out and it’s still going on.

As an up and coming Grannie, I’m going to make sure this wee one feels there is stuff she can do to be part of creating a better world for us all and I’ll be attempting wangling quite a few permission slips from Mum and Dad in the process.


The Jumbo tin of Vaseline is in your letter to Santa.