independence – self-determination – autonomy


Bella Caledonia explores ideas of independence, self-determination and autonomy.

Editorial Board

Editor – Mike Small

Social Justice Editors – trade union activist and RIC founder, Cat Boyd, rapper, poet and lyricist Darren McGarvey (aka Loki), Douglas Robertson, and Haniya Khalid.

International Editors – Justin Kenrick (in the Congo), Karen Emslie (Spain), Yiannis Baboulias (Athens), Kirsten Han (Singapore), Jack Ferguson (Amsterdam), and Smari McCarthy (Reykjavík).

Community Editors – author and campaigner Alastair McIntosh, with writer Rebecca Nada-Rajah, author and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch.

Ecology Editors – short story writer, performer and artist Dougie Strang, cultural activist and writer Laura Cameron Lewis, and historical geographer Fraser MacDonald.

Arts & Culture Editors – Bella co-founder and publisher Kevin Williamson, novelist Meaghan Delahunt and acclaimed poet Kathleen Jamie both focusing on poetry and fiction, plus playwright Peter Arnott, and arts producer Fiona Ferguson (who was behind the Aye Talks).

Innovation EditorsLauren Currie, 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.

Contact Us

To write for us send your ideas to:

Follow us on twitter @bellacaledonia

Or, if you’d prefer, write to us at:
Bella Caledonia
Creative Exchange
29 Constitution Street
Leith EH6 7BS

Here are some of our existing contributors:

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

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

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.

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.

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

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: 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.

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.

Other articles in

See all in >