Bella Caledonia explores ideas of independence, self-determination and autonomy.
Editor – Mike Small
Trade union activist and RIC founder, Cat Boyd, rapper, poet and lyricist Darren McGarvey (aka Loki), Douglas Robertson, and Haniya Khalid, Justin Kenrick (in the Congo), Karen Emslie (Spain), Yiannis Baboulias (Athens), Kirsten Han (Singapore), Jack Ferguson (Amsterdam), and Smari McCarthy (Reykjavík), author and campaigner Alastair McIntosh, with social housing campaigner Alistair Davidson, and author and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch, short story writer, performer and artist Dougie Strang, cultural activist and writer Laura Cameron Lewis, Bella co-founder and publisher Kevin Williamson, poet Jenny Lindsay focusing on poetry and fiction, plus playwright Peter Arnott, and arts producer Fiona Ferguson (who was behind the Aye Talks), Skye-based author DJ MacLennan, and writer and musician Pat Kane.
Gaelic & Scots Editors – Ruairidh Maciver, Daibhidh Rothach and Rona Dhòmhnallach, Billy Kay, Matthew Fitt and Janet Paisley.
To write for us send your ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on twitter @bellacaledonia
Or, if you’d prefer, write to us at:
29 Constitution Street
Leith EH6 7BS
Here are some of our existing contributors:
John Aberdein has two novels out. Amande’s Bed (Thirsty/Argyll, 2005, Saltire First Book Award) illuminates personal and political fortunes in a Scottish city through the pivotal year for the Left of 1956. Strip the Willow (Polygon, 2009, SAC/SMIT Fiction of the Year) is an extended love story and black satire on corporate takeover of civic life set across a naive ’68 and dystopic now. Currently gratefully in receipt of a Creative Scotland bursary, he is wrestling with a novel provisionally called Dam. Contact at email@example.com
Dr. Muhammad Idrees Ahmad (@im_pulse) is a lecturer in journalism at the University of Stirling. He is the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War.
Anna Arqué is Catalonia spokesperson for the European Partnership for Independence
Gordon Asher is a teacher/learner, writer/researcher, editor/proofreader, ‘activist’ and cultural worker based in Glasgow.
Donald Adamson, originally from Edinburgh, now teaches political economy at Cambridge and social sciences at the Open University. Left Edinburgh in the late 1980s as part of the Scottish exodus driven out by Mrs. Thatcher and is open to reasonable job offers to get back home (Edinburgh only). Has written for the Scottish Left Review. Main interests, economics, theories of nationalism, post-war British political economy and adult education. Read Donald on A Very English Coup here.
Darren Anderson is an Irish writer from Derry who lived in Edinburgh for 7 years. He is a co-editor of 3:AM Magazine, has completed several collections of poetry and has books on Jack Kerouac (Reaktion Books) and Serge Gainsbourg (Bloomsbury) forthcoming this year. His hobbies include whisky, rum, gin and regret. You can read his writing here.
Dominyka Bačanskaitė comes from Lithuania ‘but lives in and loves life in Scotland’. She writes: “I am a sociology student at the University of Glasgow, and an activist standing for human rights and social equality. Can be found on twitter at @DomiBK.
Paul Bassett – raised in England (north, south and west), moved to Glasgow on the day Maggie Thatcher came to power (coincidence then, deliberate in retrospect). Worked in the arts for 25 years (including General Manager of Citizens’ Theatre, and director of Mayfest). Married into TV, 4 kids, spell as house husband, now college lecturer in English. Active Yes campaigner, running street stalls. canvassing, setting up Imagine Scotland events and writing – all with the aim of improving the chances of a Yes victory and building a better country.
Henry Bell is a writer and editor born in Bristol and based in Glasgow. He recently published A Bird is Not a Stone, a new anthology of Palestinian poetry, and is the managing editor of Gutter Magazine.
Ray Bell is not a writer, and probably barely counts as a political activist, but is working on it slowly. Helped organise two marches for Scottish independence in recent years, and has had a piece published in the recent “One O’ Clock Gun” anthology (2010). Main interests: Scottish independence, stateless nations, unfashionable-but-worthy-causes, minority languages. Main dislikes: sectarianism, imperialism, shopping districts full of dozens of chain outfits, anti-Gaelic bores etc etc All this despite living in Edinburgh.
Bill Boyd is an independent literacy consultant with considerable educational experience in Scotland. He began his career as a secondary English teacher, and was Head of Department in two separate schools before becoming a Depute Headteacher in a large secondary school. Seconded to Learning and Teaching Scotland (now Education Scotland), the national advisory body on the curriculum, he was a Programme Manager during the development of Curriculum for Excellence. He worked with the Scottish Qualifications Authority as an adviser on the development of literacy tasks for the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy, and has written and reviewed a number of film resources for Into Film, Scotland on Screen, Screening Shorts and Moving Image Education.
Alan Bissett is the author of Boyracers (2001), The Incredible Adam Spark (2005), and Death of a Ladies’ Man (2009), as well as a number of plays, and a documentary The Shutdown (2010). In 2007, Alan collaborated with Malcolm Middleton (Arab Strap) on the song ‘The Rebel On His Own Tonight’, for the Ballads of the Book album. Read Alan on Vote Britain!
Jamie Brown is a studying politics and has interests in democracy, social and green issues. @fishisoff
Kevin Brown is a Canadian/Scottish/English (yes, all) writer, historian and TV producer living at present in Dunblane. He spends his working hours either scribbling or setting up TV deals, and whiles away his leisure time fretting over humanity’s many predicaments and seeking ways out. ‘Nothing yet’ he reports. ‘I’m still working on it’.
Ian Brotherhood is the author of Bulletproof Suzy, a Robert Louis Stevenson Award winner and member of Scottish PEN.
David Black was author of All the First Minister’s Men; The Truth about Holyrood.
Shaun Burnie is a nuclear campaigner who has worked for more than 25 years in East Asia, Europe and North America. He has worked for Greenpeace for more than two decades, specialising in the nuclear and energy policies of Japan, France and Germany. Born in Edinburgh, he has been a community councillor in Galloway for ten years.
Ray Burnett, from Edinburgh, living in the Uists, has been a sporadic contributor to Scottish political and cultural affairs since the 1960s. His particular interests are in the history and ideas of the Left the reclamation of our Scottish past, island studies through a Scottish prism, and introducing his grandchildren to his favourite hills. Most relevant recent writings include: ‘Issues of history, heritage and culture through a Hebridean prism’ in ‘Travelling in Time: Islands of the Past, Islands of the Future, Proceedings of the the 8th International Small Island Cultures Conference, Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia, Canada, 2012, ISIC8 Proceedings – SICRI Network; ‘Britain: The Fractured Island’ in G. Baldacchino (ed), The Political Economy of Divided Islands, Palgrave MacMillan, 2013 (228-245); and ‘In the shadow of Calton Hill; E. Bort (ed.), Commemorating Ireland, Irish Academic Press, 2004 (133-166).
Christopher Cairns is a writer and cartoonist originally from Glasgow now living in Edinburgh. Formally a news reporter and environment correspondent for The Scotsman, he has been freelance since he kicked Andrew Neil in the balls (in his favourite dream). He is the author of No Tie Required, How the Rich Stole Golf and his interests include golf, how to get rich and all forms of neckwear.
Karen Campbell Originally from Glasgow, but now based in Galloway, Karen Campbell is a fiction writer, and a graduate of Glasgow University’s Creative Writing Masters. Before turning to writing, she was a police officer with Strathclyde Police, and her first four novels focus on the people behind the uniform. Her new book ‘This is Where I Am’ (Blooomsbury), which was a BBC Book at Bedtime, moves away from the world of the police to tell the story of Abdi, a Somali refugee living in Glasgow, and his mentor Deborah. More at karencampbell.co.uk
Charlotte Du Cann is a writer and editor living on the Suffolk Coast. She works for the Dark Mountain Project and is the co-founder of Grassroots Directory, a compilation of 200+ grassroots projects in the UK.
Cathal Foley is an Irish freelance journalist who has lived, worked and studied in Brussels. Interested in democracy and media bias.
Thomas Coles is a postperson in Glasgow, he blogs about politics at And on twitter at: @tadramgo
Thom Cross Kirkcaldy born and theatre trained, has worked for over 30 years in the Caribbean. Initially a tutor in popular theatre in Kingston, he subsequently became founding director of studies at the Jamaica School of Drama at the Edna Manley Centre and then in theatre, ‘communications’ and TV in Barbados. He was an award winning dramatist in Barbados and has just completed a novel –The Kirkcaldy Swimmer (of Medellin). (NB Publishers!) He lives in Carluke.
Margaret Cuthbert is an economist, originally from Paisley. Much of her work is on public expenditure. She shares a website with Jim Cuthbert here.
Jim Cuthbert is a statistician living in Edinburgh. He has research interests in public finance, utility pricing, international purchasing power parities, and Irish history. His articles can be found here.
Gillian Cummings is an Edinburgh based writer, with a background in literacy and development. She’s worked with adults, young people and children in schools, colleges and community groups…and is interested in the relationship between language, environment and awareness. As such she’s pretty hopeful about the possibilities that an alternative media offers…
Peter Curran Former HR Director,and latterly management consultant specialising in management development, negotiating skills and training, and amateur musician – saxes, clarinet, guitar. Only real claim to fleeting fame – a minor member of the original Alex Harvey Band – the Kansas City Counts – touring for six months with Alex and a 16-year old Sidney Devine, in the Jurassic age of Scottish rock. Born in Dennistoun, Glasgow within a hundred yards or so of Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery. Bred in the bone Labour supporter for half a century, till Iraq and progressive disenchantment with Labour’s systematic betrayal of their values and of the Scottish people. SNP supporter since 2007. Read Peter’s blog here.
Alistair Davidson is an activist and writer from Perthshire, now living in Glasgow. He has been involved in campaigns on social housing, public service cuts, and for Scottish independence. His writing focusses on political economy and technology. He is a member of the advisory board of Open Rights Group Scotland. His blog is mohkohn.wordpress.com
Moira Dalgetty lives on an island in the west coast of Scotland. She worked as a journalist for 25 years both in the former Eastern Bloc and in the UK. Her passions are: Scotland and Greece, yoga and carving wood. She speaks Russian and Greek.
Doug Daniel is a failed musician and software developer from Aberdeen who splits his time between making bad jokes and complaining about the many examples of perceived unfairness he sees in the world, only some of which he blames for his own failures in life. If you are so inclined, you can read his rants at Alba Matters.
Saffron Dickson, 16 years old lives in East Pollokshields, a Yes activist who loves Staffordshire bull terriers, John Green Books and St Mirren for the success and the banter.
Harvey Dingwall is an illustrator, artist and teacher. You can view his work here.
David Eyre is a media officer for Oxfam Scotland. In the past he’s been a producer and a reporter with BBC Scotland and was the founder and publisher of Southside Media, a social enterprise publishing hyperlocal media in the southside of Glasgow. If you are interested in taking part in The Scottish News Commons, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Evans is an independent analyst with a long-term interest in Chinese politics, based until recently in Hong Kong where she worked first for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and then for a global media and research firm. She is a co-producer of a documentary film, Lessons in Dissent, on teenage political activists in Hong Kong, and spent her maternity leave writing a blog called the Hong Kong Media Review. She moved back from Hong Kong to Edinburgh as the independence debate was reaching fever pitch, at which point it came to her attention that UK democracy was slipping backwards and she should probably pay more attention. She splits her time between family, work, writing and procrastinating.
Gavin Falconer is a Belfast-based Scot who, as Gabhán Ó Fachtna, is the author of four collections of Irish-language short stories, most recently An Domhan (Coiscéim, 2013).
James Foley James is a writer and activist who is currently conducting research for a PHD on Scottish finance capital. He is also writing a book on independence, the crisis and the left. He was formerly a regional organiser for NUS (Scotland) and is a member of the International Socialist Group.
Michael Gardiner works in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. He has written extensively on Scottish, English, and post-British culture and politics, and is also a fiction writer.
Bob Hamilton has been writing, blogging and generally causing trouble in Glasgow for a very long time. He has been running ‘City Strolls’ project for a decade. City Strolls is a web site born out of listening to the endless hyperbole given out by faceless public relations and the advertising machines that claims to speak and act in our name. See Bob’s City Strolls project here.
Haniya Khalid is a second year journalism student at Glasgow Clyde College, who is going on to study Law at University next year. “My interests are reading/writing about current affairs, national and international politics. Highly critical of mainstream media and blinding status quo, but peruse every outlet for a balanced mix of views and ideas.” Read her blog at: invisibleceiling.wordpress.com Follow her on twitter @haniya1995
Dr Catherine Happer is Research Associate at the Glasgow University Media Group, specialising in media communications and public understanding. She is co-author of ‘Communicating Climate Change and Energy Security: New Methods in Audience Research’. Prior to arriving at the GUMG, she worked at BBC Scotland first as an Audience Researcher and then later making documentaries.
Gerry Hassan is a writer and commentator on Scottish and UK politics, policy and ideas, and the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including The Modern SNP: From Protest to Power and After Blair: Politics after the New Labour Decade. He organises the Changin’ Scotland sessions in Ullapool and can often be found on Our Kingdom.
Jamie Heckert lives in Poole, Dorset where he has recently completed the Permaculture Design Course. He is also an anarchist scholar writing on themes of the ethical, the erotic and the ecological.
John Herdman is a novelist, short story writer, playwright and author of 15 books. His first book, Descent, was published in 1968, and his most recent is Another Country (2014).
Kenny Hermse is a Peru-based teacher, translator, and would-be writer. He avidly subscribes to independence-full in all its artery-clogging glory. Read Kenny on ‘Independence beyond the SNP’.
Paddy Scott Hogg is the biographer and co-editor of the Complete works of RB: Robert Burns: The Patriot Bard, Mainstream 2008 The Canongate Burns, co-editor with Dr Andrew Noble, 2001.
Brian Holton stertit teaching ti fund the daft-like notion he hed o owresettin poetry for a leivin. He gied the teachin up in 2009, an bides in Melrose nou wi fer owre monie books, an awfu dose o musical instruments, an an auld Volvo. Gin he gets a mensefu-like biddin, he’ll come an tell ye some tales aboot owresettin, Scots, Chinese poetry, an siclike thing. Gin ye’re real guid ti him, he’ll mebbe play ye a tune or sing ye a sang tae. He gat it aa frae his grannie’s lentil soup, soor ploums, an Airfix.
Duncan Hothersall is a Labour activist, vocal Tweeter @dhothersall and long-time political pragmatist. He was involved in gay rights campaigns for many years, having helped to set up and run both Pride Scotland and the Equality Network. He lives in Edinburgh with his husband, and works as a director of an Edinburgh-based IT company.
Janet Fenton started co-ordinating the Edinburgh Peace & Justice Centre after lots of political, feminist theatre, community arts and direct action, and a few years with a community eco-shop/gallery/drop-in project in Portobello. See also here .
Clare Galloway is an artist and writer, currently establishing an arthouse and cultural exchange project in a medieval hilltown in south Italy (see ARTHOUSE GUARDIA) Read here on Lilliput Nation here.
Johnny Gailey was born in Belfast but has lived in Scotland for nearly twenty years, from Aberdeen to Dumbiedykes, from the Isle of Skye to Leith. He works as an educator, photographer, organiser and writer and tweets on visual culture @johnnygailey and on growing, land and Scotland @thewarmshoots
Michael Greenwell has worked, at various times, as a university tutor, a barman, a DJ (not a very good one), an office lackey, supermarket worker, president of a small charity, a researcher, a librarian, a volunteer worker in Nepal during the civil war there, and some other things that were too tedious to mention. He blogs and also runs the animal extinction site Exit Stage Right.
Tom Griffin writes for Open Democracy. He is a London Irish journalist studying in Scotland. You can see his work here.
Fran Higson is a film-maker, writer, hutter, activist and mother. Achievements include being an award winning Feature Film Producer (The Magdalene Sisters & Orphans), Documentary Director, founder member of The Camcorder Guerilla’s and Designing & Building a hut at Carbeth. Read Fran on the Carbeth Hutters here.
Tom Hubbard is the author o twa novels, Marie B. (2008) and The Lucky Charm of Major Bessop (2014), baith o whilk are screivit pairtly i Scots.
Robert Alan Jamieson is a poet and novelist from Shetland, who tutors at the University of Edinburgh. His most recent books are ‘Nort Atlantik Drift’ (2007) and ‘Da Happie Laand’ (2010). See also here.
Mark Jardine is the former editor of The Scorpion and the One O’Clock Gun. He is a historian, journalist and commentator based in Edinburgh.
Pat Kane is a musician, blogger, author, columnist and has been involved in the politics of independence from Scotland United days. See The Play Ethic here.
Justin Kenrick is an activist anthropologist, working for forest peoples’ land rights in Kenya and DRC, and for community resilience in Portobello, Scotland.
Laura Eaton Lewis is an activist, part of the New Leadership Assembly, Director of The Work Room, artist, writer, and member of the Scottish Greens. She blogs here: lauracameronlewis.wordpress.com
Lenathehyena is an opinionated former teacher and non-aligned nationalist who dabbled in feminist politics during the 1970s, CND, anti-war campaigns and is a keen advocate of renewable energies, recycling, a healthy foody from the ‘fruit ‘n’ nut’ era when TVP reigned supreme who is horrified by fast-food places devoid of cutlery. Originally from the wonderful Black Isle, Lena now lives in beautiful rural Aberdeenshire where she spends her time gardening flowers, fruit and vegetables, walking and consuming copious amounts of chocolate. When time permits she writes and blogs, mainly about Aberdeen and the northeast of Scotland. Lena’s favourite book is James Hogg’s, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Lena’s blog is here.
James Maxwell is a Scottish political journalist. He lives in West London. You can follow him on Twitter @jamesmaxwell86
Phil Mac Giolla Bhain Phil is an author, blogger, Journalist and writer based in Donegal. He is an active member of the National Union of Journalists being a member of the Irish Executive Council and the Irish representative on the New Media Industrial He is an established print journalist for many years Phil has also built up a considerable online readership through his blog www.philmacgiollabhain.ie. In this the recent “Tartan Blog Awards” Phil won the category for the “best Scottish football journalist” which he also won in 2010. See here.
Murdo Macdonald is Professor of History of Scottish Art at the University of Dundee. He is leader of the Window to the West research project which is committed to restoring an art history to the Scottish Gàidhealtachd. As a student of George Davie at Edinburgh University – and an admirer of Patrick Geddes – he has a long standing interest in the Scottish generalist tradition of thinking. He was editor of Edinburgh Review from 1990-1994.
Danny McGregor, Ph.D., is a former lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, and an active campaigner for social justice, equality, and Scottish independence. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter @dannym_1984
Angus MacLeod – Born in Inverness, Angus is a writer and PhD researcher in Gaelic literature at the University of Glasgow.
Annie Mackay – has just returned home to Argyll after a decade in Budapest. Writes on military, British foreign policy and Scotland in Europe.
Stewart McDonald lives in Glasgow and is a student of Law at the University of Strathclyde. As well as studying he also works in political communications and is a campaigner with Yes Scotland. He is co-ordinator of the Yes LGBT campaign and Convener of the SNP’s LGBT wing, Out for Independence.
Emily MacIntosh is a Scottish freelance writer who lives in Brussels, Belgium. She currently works as a press officer in the European Parliament for the European United Left/Nordic Green Left group. She comes from Dumfries and Galloway and studied Journalism in Glasgow. She likes languages, sewing and cycling.
Jonathan Mackie Jonathan is one of three SNP candidates for Govan, and of 43 across the city in May’s local government elections, taking the plunge after some years of grassroots activism. When not chapping doors or tweeting (@MackieGlasgow), he works as an Energy Efficiency Adviser.
Iain MacKinnon I am a Gaidheal from the Isle of Skye. I come from a crofting family and try to stay mindful of the proverb: ‘Lean gu dlùth ri cliù do shinnsir‘ (follow closely the reputation of your ancestors). Therefore, a key research interest for me is to deepen my understanding of the nature and origins of crofting as part of deeper questions of how the land, spirit and power of the Gaidheal of Scotland has been colonised; and of ways in which we may bring about decolonisation. I have carried out research for the Scottish Crofting Federation and the Centre for Human Ecology and contributed to the West Highland Free Press newspaper as well as to some academic publications.
Joan McAlpine is author of Go Lassie Go, which was voted top media blog in the Scotblog awards. She is also a columnist with The Scotsman newspaper. Joan was born in Gourock and studied Scottish History and Economic History at Glasgow University. She has commentated for several Scottish newspapers of note and held editing posts at a couple of them. She is an SNP MSP for South Scotland.
Mhairi McAlpine is a political activist based in Glasgow. Formerly a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, she is a socialist feminist with a particular interest in multiculturalism. She blogs at Random Musings.
Robin McAlpine is the editor of the Scottish Left Review. He is the author of No Idea: Control, Liberation and the Social Imagination (2005) and a member of the Beard Liberation Front. Read Robin on the Scottish Spring here: ‘This is Not Who We Are.’
Shona McAlpine is a political activist, a Secondary Computing teacher, and has also been a nightclub and bar manager. She manages the Scottish Independence Convention’s website.
Peter McColl is a community activist living in Portobello. He was Convener of the Edinburgh Green Party from 2010-12 and is an Editor of the Bright Green blog.
Alastair McIntosh is author of books including Soil and Soul, Hell and High Water and Island Spirituality. He holds fellowships in social sciences and divinity at Glasgow and Edinburgh universities. His previous contribution on Scottish independence to Bella Caledonia was A Culture of Contempt, February 2014
Mhairi McGregor is a freelance writer, graffiti artist and activist based in Dundee.
Duncan McLaren has campaigned for environmental justice for over 20 years. Since 2003 he has been Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland.
Shane McKenna, 25, from Monaghan, Ireland. Currently living and working in Korea. Sinn Féin activist back at home (all views my own, at the same time). Liking the usuals – a bit of politics, history, well-written fiction. MA in Political Communication.
Ewan Morrison is typical GenX trash, being the son of two radical hippies who lived close to a nuclear power station. Fated to be maladapted, he was fortunate enough to be permitted to express his self-loathing world-view-looking-for-a world-view in various formats including shorts stories, parenting, stage-diving, trotskyism, cross-dressing, three novels and some short films that can be found by typing ‘Tales from the Mall’ into the YouTube search window. See Ewan’s own site here.
Ron Morrison Accountant & director – construction industry UK & overseas; manufacturing (Scotland) & investment banking (London) – now retired. Former Member SNP Finance & Taxation Committee. Author “There’s No Independence Without Financial Independence”. Website ScottishMonetaryReform.org.uk. Long time student of the banking business and monetary policy.
Joe Middleton Joe is a member of the Scottish National Party, the creator of the Scottish Independence Guide website and Press Officer of Independence First, the referendum campaign. See: http://www.independence-first.com/
Elaine Mulcahy has a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Strathclyde and is a former editor of nanotechnology magazine, NANO. She works as a freelance writer and editor.
Janie Nicoll is a visual artist based in Glasgow. Visit her website here.
Nine is ‘from Northern Ireland via Scotland’. She was a section editor at The Skinny magazine for almost five years. Find her writing on blogs and journals here and here. You can read her on ‘Hiking in War Zones’ for Bella here.
Caitlin O’Hara is an independent researcher and short-story writer, a gardener and currently lives outside Inverness.
Des O’Sullivan moved from Cork to Glasgow in 2003 and is currently studying Journalism at the University of the West of Scotland. He also runs cookery classes with youth and adult groups for a charity, NGCFI, based in Springburn, North Glasgow. His interest revolves around a broad range of social and environmental justice issues. Leisure activities include playing sports, the great outdoors and a bit of craic agus ceoil when time allows. Read Des on Drones here.
Graeme Purves was an Assistant Chief Planner in the Scottish Government’s Planning and Architecture Division. He led the teams which prepared Scotland’s first and second National Planning Frameworks.”
Pete Ramand is a Glasgow based socialist activist and the former editor of International Socialist Magazine. He was a founding member of the Coalition of Resistance (Scotland) and is currently writing a book on independence, the crisis and the left. He is a member of the International Socialist Group.
Joana Ramiro is a journalist and writer splitting her time between London and Lisbon. She writes about social affairs, migration and the European crisis for several publications including Vice, Open Democracy and the Morning Star.
Daibhidh Rothach left Ayrshire for a master’s in Celtic at the University of Glasgow (the first of his family to attend university) in 2002 to a mixed fanfare: “Whit ye ginnae dae wi Gaelic?” and “Brilliant! We shuid be learnin the mither tongue in skil insteid o German”. More than a decade later, however, he’s the only of his fellow graduates not to have gained full-time employment and, the only one to have spoken the other mither tongue, Scots, has learned fully his place in Das System of Scotland’s linguistic-class structure. Back amidst the heathy moors and winding vales of his beloved Ayrshire, Daibhidh edits Bella’s new Gaelic section, writes for The Scotsman’s Gaelic column and various angling magazines, and is involved in the management and improvement of Ayrshire’s salmon rivers with the Ayrshire Rivers Trust.
Douglas Robertson teaches and researches housing and social policy at Stirling University. Recent research focused on class and social identity, within three Stirling neighbourhoods, drawing on the work of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. The motivation here was a desire to explain why successive area regeneration programmes, over the last 80 years, failed to challenge Raploch’s stigmatisation. Renewal also features in a recent policy review undertaken for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation examining the link, or as it transpired the lack of such a link, between poverty and regeneration. Previously work on identity, looked at the experiences of English people living in Scotland. A lifetime’s activism saw him thrown out of the SNP, along with Alex Salmond and other ‘79 Group members. He helped found and run Radical Scotland, before spending 20 years working and campaigning for resources to support the work of community based housing associations. Both work and activism attempt to support the voices of those that have important knowledge, but who find themselves ignored.
Brian Quail Prisoner No. 133799 Quail, Brian Michael, religion R.C., born 24/03/1938, former principal teacher Latin Greek Russian, father of seven, grandfather to twelve, member Pax Christi, Iona Community, Scottish CND, Trident Ploughshares, into Russian icons, wild flowers, Bach, curry, reggae, Gaelic, Ravi Shankar, poetry, Gregorian plain chant, beer, history, Orthodoxy, Georgian, the Shroud of Turin, Russian Church music, Bob Dylan, daffodils, Dostoyevsky and Mozart. Read Brian on Trident
Mark Ruskell is the former Green Party MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife. He lives in Doune, works in renewables, dabbles in parenting, bikes and beekeeping and continues to stand in elections. He’s at @markruskell
Rebecca Nada- Rajah is a playwright and researcher, who currently lives in Edinburgh. Read Becky on Anti-Coal Protests here.
Isla O’Reilly Scottish Greens Education spokesperson and MSP Candidate for Highlands and Islands.
Kevin Scott is a Glasgow-based writer and journalist and is currently co-editor of the literary journal From Glasgow to Saturn.
Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and front page editor at openDemocracy.net. She writes on questions of nationality, technology and gender and is currently editing a book on economic democracy.
Philip Schlesinger, Professor in Cultural Policy at the University of Glasgow and Visiting Professor in the Department of Media and Communication at the LSE.
Sara Sheridan is a writer from Edinburgh, who created the 1950s cosy crime noir series The Mirabelle Bevan Mysteries and also writes a set of stand-alone historical novels based on the lives of late Georgian and early Victorian adventurers. She blogs for the Huffington Post about writers’ issues and has appeared with the Bus Party and for Yestival during the run up to the Referendum. Last week she appeared on Buitenhof, Holland’s influential political discussion show, where she discussed Scottish cultural identity. Twitter: @sarasheridan Facebook: sarasheridanwriter
Christopher Silver studied English Literature at The University of Edinburgh and completed a postgraduate research degree at The University of Stirling on the works of Lewis Grassic Gibbon. He has worked as a writer in places as diverse as Barcelona, Shetland, Sweden, Edinburgh and the Western Isles of Scotland. His writing has been published in a variety of settings including The Herald, The Times Education Supplement, The Shetland Times, and The Skinny.
Jim Slaven is an activist and writer based in Edinburgh. After leaving school at 15 with no qualification he holds two degrees from the University of Edinburgh, in Mental Philosophy MA (Hons) and Community Education (PGCE). Jim has played a leadership role in various community led political campaigns over the last twenty five years and is Chair of The Connolly Foundation, editor of the left republican group blog 107 Cowgate and a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Bath.
Mike Small is the editor of Bella Caledonia. He is a freelance writer and micro-publisher. He was a founder of Product magazine (first launched as Red Herring in 1998) as well as one of the group behind Indymedia Scotland. He worked with Murray Bookchin in Vermont in the mid 1990s before returning to Scotland. He writes for Scottish Left Review, Variant, Red Pepper, the Guardian and Open Democracy.
Mike Spagat is a professor of economics at Royal Holloway College which is part of the University of London. He teach a course called the “Economics of Warfare” and does quantitative research on war.
Dr Robert Sproul-Cran is a filmmaker, broadcaster and novelist (under the implausible pen name of Zane Stumpo). He always felt his best years lay ahead, until he woke up one morning and discovered his calendar was wrong. He believes if Scotland was independent he would already have made a feature film and be rich. Humour him, please.
Mark Ryan Smith lives in Shetland with his wife and two daughters. He has written a PhD about the islands’ literature, and has published fiction, poetry and criticism in various magazines and anthologies.
Dougie Strang is a writer, performer, and organic gardener. He lives in Galloway, practices self-sufficiency, and curates events for The Dark Mountain Project.
Tribe of Moles references Sergio Bologna’s analysis of autonomous class struggle in 1970’s Italy – the revolutionary process takes place in homes, the education system, the media etc, as well as workplaces, presenting multiple entry holes for the “Tribe of Moles” to dig away wherever capital exploits people. More here. Tribe of Moles is our regular anonymous column reflecting struggles against benefits sanctions, austerity attacks and state repression – encouraging resistance, counter-power and autonomy.
David Tobin teaches and is a PhD candidate in the department of politics at the University of Manchester. His thesis titled ‘Nation-Building and Ethnic Boundaries in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region’ reflects his general research interests: identity, ethnicity, nationalism, and social theory. While Chinese and Xinjiang identity politics are the focus of this work, his blog focuses on politics and society in the ‘United’ Kingdom.
Irvine Welsh is a contemporary Scottish novelist.
Andy Wightman is a writer and Scotland’s foremost land rights campaigner. His latest book, The Poor Had No Lawyers, is published by Birlinn. You can read Andy on land onwership and the Royal family here.
Kevin Williamson is a writer, publisher, and activist originally from Caithness. In 1992 Williamson launched a literary magazine called Rebel Inc and through its pages was one of the first publishers of such Scottish writers as Irvine Welsh, Laura Hird, Alan Warner, and Toni Davidson. His published work includes “A Visitor’s Guide To Edinburgh” (co-written with Irvine Welsh in 1993), and “Drugs and the Party Line” (1997). His poetry has been published in anthologies and magazines. In 2005 he won the Robert Louis Stevenson Award for literature.His first collection of poetry In A Room Darkened was published by Two Ravens Press in October 2007. He is the co-editor of Bella Caledonia. Read Kevin on Scotland’s Libertarian Left
Douglas Stuart Wilson is a translator, writer and film-maker. He lived in Spain for twenty years where he worked at various times as a teacher, film development executive, independent producer, screenplay writer, freelance story-editor, journalist and translator. You can contact at him at his blog, Translating Spain
Jonathan Wills is an independent member of Shetland Islands Council and a recovering journalist. A former Scottish correspondent for The Times, he founded BBC Radio Shetland and The Shetland News online local daily. He has also edited The Shetland Times. Since 1992 he has run the Seabirds-and-Seals wildlife boat tours to Noss National Nature Reserve. In the long, horrible Shetland winters he writes children’s books. He was a Labour parliamentary candidate three times but now generally votes SNP.
Calum Wright is a graduate of the University of St Andrews and is currently studying towards a master’s degree at Uppsala Universitet in Sweden. He specialises in early modern northern European history with a specific interest in the seventeenth century Britain. He occasionally blogs at: northbyleft.wordpress.com/