Is it just me or is the world slowly becoming a shittier place? When terms like "social justice warrior" and "feminist" are pejorative, know that you are living in a world that is in regression. I am exhausted by the casual yet subtle racism, sexism and homophobia I see every single day, and frankly I am tired of ignoring it for the sake of grace. What does tolerance and diversity really mean? And how do these concepts shape our ideas and communities?
Forget the stereotype that Asian kids as shy and reserved. I was surprised myself at the level of enthusiastic participation from across the classroom: whilst I was expecting a few outgoing students to speak up for their friends, the majority of the cohort had raised a question, and even two or three at times.
Within the huge influx of members into the party there may come echoes of nationalism's uglier face, puffed up with notions of the innate superiority of the Scots to other races. Hence the kind of racial abuse that Yen Hongmei Jin experienced. Is the Party's Chief Executive Peter Murrell on top of his brief on this?
Far from being two unrelated news stories, the Tunnock's saga is the other side of the coin to the migrant crisis. At a time when our nations have shown themselves to be less welcoming and more insular than we might have hoped, convinced that we share an identity with each other and willing to demonize and reject those of other nations, we need also to ask what role apparently innocent symbolism, from Tea Cakes to the Bake Off, plays in the construction of this unwelcoming attitude.
On Sunday, the UK's foreign secretary Philip Hammond spoke candidly on the Calais situation, and more generally Europe's 'migrant crisis'. In a series of comments made in Singapore, he decried a situation where "Europe can't protect itself, preserve its standard of living and social infrastructure if it has to absorb millions of migrants from Africa."
This is an enormous debate and affects countries far beyond the UK, but the recent UK election demonstrates clearly how the public are losing faith in a traditional approach to politics. Democracy can be difficult for most politicians to swallow, but if they don't listen to the people it's going to choke them all.
There is only one race and that is the human race, and the evidence is clear that humanity as a race is ecologically ignorant. Overall we are extremely arrogant in our general collective view of other species - so much so that practically every anthropocentric religion places humans in the center of creation as all important.
Whatever the result of the referendum, it is likely to lead to a country that is deeply fractured, perhaps indefinitely. By and large this is a direct result of the campaigning tactics that Salmond has fostered, if not encouraged. He and the rest of the Yes campaign might not have destroyed Scotland in order to save it, but they might very well have irreversibly divided it.
I have always admired the expressiveness of the Russian language. Popular turns of phrase that have become enshrined in everyday language reveal quite colourfully Russians' attitudes towards themselves and ongoing events. In particular I am struck by the way Russians reflect on failure with easy humour, as captured in the phrase 'they hoped for better, but it turned out as usual'.