From time to time at Better Nation we invite words of wisdom from other voices, some whom we agree with and some less so. In so doing, we’re hoping to provide a wider range of topics and viewpoints for you to enjoy and debate.

Here’s some of the folks who have guested so far:

Ewan Aitken

Ewan Aitken – a Church of Scotland Minister (without a parish), an Edinburgh Councillor and Labour’s candidate for Edinburgh Eastern in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election (though in which order, we’re not sure).  He wrote about proportional electoral systems and consensus politics here.

Marinos Antypas – is James’ Greek friend.  He’s experiencing the riots and anarchy in Greece first hand, and provides this on-the-scene account for us.

Mairi Campbell-Jack – is an Edinburgh-based poet who blogs here, predominantly on writing but generally on whatever takes her fancy. She wrote a piece focusing on the impact of the cuts on art for us, which you can read here.

Andrew Combe – is a politics graduate who now lives in Norway.  He’s fairly political and considers not voting as legitimate an expression of political viewpoint as voting.  Here’s why.

Arnie C

Arnie Craven – is a Yorkshire lad, a former blogger and co-presenter on “The UK’s Worst Independent Political Podcast” (their words not mine!).  You can find out more about the podcast here, and read his post on Yorkshire devolution here.


Rev Shuna Dicks
– is a Church of Scotland Minister at Aberlour Parish Church and a member of (and formerly a council candidate for) the Labour party. She contributed a post considering both parts of that identity, which you can read here.  Shuna also returned to ask for advice on how to organise a hustings.

Jamie Glackin – is a Labour activist, considering where things go now for Labour.

Lily Greenan

Lily Greenan – works for Scottish Women’s Aid, and guested for us on International Women’s Day on the topic of domestic abuse, which can be found here.

Yousuf Hamid

Yousuf Hamid – is formerly Labour’s most prominent blogger in Scotland (but that was while he was a student). He now works for a living and doesn’t have the time for blogging(!) but happily gave us a post on how Labour should deal with devolution.  He followed that up with one on Labour’s disastrous election in May 2011.


Patrick Harvie
– is Co-Convenor of the Scottish Green Party and was re-elected in May 2011 as an MSP for Glasgow.  He looked ahead to post-election Scotland and challenged the SNP to work with progressive opposition.

Richard Laird - is a past SNP candidate and a keen student of politics.  When he told us he’d been looking at the Holyrood results under a different style of proportionality… we couldn’t refuse him a guest slot!

Dr Peter Lynch – is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Stirling (and is Malc’s PhD supervisor).  He turned his thoughts to the details of independence for us.  Just as well someone is, eh?

Callum Leslie – was the Lib Dem candidate for Mid-Fife & Glenrothes in the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary election, considering the hustings he attended and the positions of each of the parties on justice issues here.


Margo MacDonald
– is Holyrood’s only Independent MSP and was re-elected in May 2011.  Her contribution was a guest post assessing the policy positions of Scotland’s political parties in the election.


Derek Mackay – is the SNP MSP elected to represent Renfrewshire North & West in the 2011 Scottish Parliament election.  Everyone was (and is) talking about independence, so he thought he’d offer his views on the subject for us.

John Mackay – was Labour’s candidate for the Caithness, Sutherland and (Easter) Ross area in both 2010 and 2011 elections.  After a disappointing night for his party, he turned his thoughts to improvement.

David Martin – is a Labour MEP and former Vice President of the European Parliament.  He’s been considering the future of the Euro, and provided us with this guest piece on the subject.

Ross McCafferty – is @HolyroodPatter on Twitter.  He’s a bit of a betting man, and tries to help us beat the bookies.

Alex Neil – is now the SNP MSP for Airdrie & Shotts and was previously Minister for Housing and Communities in the latter part of the 2007-11 Scottish Parliamentary term.  He considered Scotland’s future pre-election with the vision that his party were offering the electorate.


Dean Mackinnon-Thomson
– A Conservative-leaning honours student, Dean was looking beyond May 2011′s election when he considered the relationship between Holyrood and local councils for us here.

Catriona MacPhee


Catriona MacPhee
– is a freelance journalist who claims to be based in Edinburgh AND Glasgow on her Twitter bio.  When she wrote this piece on Tommy Sheridan and the tendency for socialism to destroy itself, we were delighted to publish it.

John Park
John Park
– is a Labour MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife and Shadow Cabinet Secretary without Portfolio on the Labour front bench and is a lifelong trade-unionist. He wrote a piece about tackling asbestos-related diseases, which you can read here.

Lindsay Roberts – is Marine Policy and Advocacy Officer at Scottish Environment LINK.  Which explains why she wrote about Scotland’s seas for us.

Aidan Skinner


Aidan Skinner
– is a Labour activist from Glasgow who considered the election through the prism of Monty Python.  Aidan has become a regular guest, considering university fees and the jobs market on our space.  He also wonders if we’re all social democrats now and tries to understand why Labour lost. And now a proper BN editor.

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Marcus Warner – works in the music industry, but still has time for politics and is a regular contributor to Wales Home.  He wrote a post about potential electoral strategies for Plaid Cymru in the upcoming NAW election here and one on how to treat your political opponents here.  He also contributed on the election campaign coverage in Wales.

Stuart Winton – usually blogs at Planet Politics.  He wrote a lengthy piece (split into two parts) on ideology and sovereignty.  And kicked off quite a discussion too…

Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf – is now an SNP MSP for Glasgow, elected in the 2011 Holyrood election and a passionate advocate of civic nationalism.  He wrote his thoughts on that subject here.

In the run up to the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, we also invited the candidates for Edinburgh Central (Marco Biagi, Sarah Boyack, Alex Cole-Hamilton and Iain McGill) to write 300 words each in the form of an online hustings.  It was a relative success, with plenty comments and engagement from candidates.  You can read the exchanges here.  Iain McGill enjoyed the experience so much he provided a follow-up post, with details of in-the-flesh hustings events for those who live in Edinburgh Central.

Needless to say, we appreciate the time and effort each of our guests has taken to contribute to the blog – and we’re always open to featuring new voices, so if you are interested in guesting, do get in touch.

If you submit a guest to us, please include the following: a title (you’d be surprised), a pic you’d like included, and a short biog of the form you see on our guest posts, including a link to your own blog or Twitter account or the website for your ranch in Nevada with hot springs to which you’ve invited the editorial team in exchange for said guest post.