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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

All of our struggles are linked.


If there’s one theme that runs through this month’s TFN magazine, I suppose it’s that.

It’s hard to see sometimes, when you are faced with your daily reality, what relevance the struggle against the military coup in Sudan has, or why anti-government protests in Sri Lanka should matter.

For that matter, if you live in one of Scotland’s big cities or towns, it’s all too easy to have a distorted view of what life is like in our rural communities.

At TFN, we can be as guilty of the latter as anyone. We reflect what’s happening in a voluntary sector that is primarily headquartered and staffed (as are we) in the country’s central belt.

On the cost of living catastrophe, it’s often reported on as if it’s an urban phenomena.

Understandable in one sense, given the weight of population in our cities and big towns. But also unfair. Rural life is not like Hamish Macbeth or an H.E. Bates novel. Basic facts of geography and infrastructure mean that problems affecting urban areas are often compounded in what I’m going to call (very loosely) the countryside.

These problems need to be combatted hand in hand, with enough flexibility to see that what works in, say, Hamilton will not necessarily work on Harris.

But the problems afflicting us – the cost of living crisis, the climate collapse – are universal and are linked. They are linked to the economic system that all, from Bellshill to Barra, live under.

We look at both rural and international issues in this month’s TFN.

The struggle for rights, for democracy, for economic and social justice are also universal, and are also caused by the same system manifesting across the globe. The system is international, so thoroughgoing internationalism must inform our response.

If there’s an overarching message I suppose it must be that we need to link and generalise our struggles but maintain the flexibility and fleetness of foot to deal with the specific.

Every defeat – think of the ramifications of the overturning of Roe v Wade – affects us all. But likewise, every victory lifts us higher.

As the old saying has it, when the tide rises, all ships rise with it.

Graham Martin is editor of TFN.



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