Speaking Dangerously

At the beginning of 2017 I decided it would be My Year of Speaking Dangerously, and attempt to go from zero to hero in terms of speaking in public and on air.

Ask any woman if she thinks women are well-represented in live debates, on TV panels or in radio discussions, and she’ll likely say no. But ask her if she’d be willing to step up – to personally help redress the balance – and you might well get the same answer.

As a writer, I’m used to carefully honing my arguments and proof-reading every paragraph before it goes to print. As a speaker at a live event, or on the radio or TV, there is no safety net, and that’s daunting. But I decided that in 2017 (and hopefully beyond), I would feel the fear and do these things anyway. I hope to inspire other women to believe that if I can do it, so can they.

I started documenting my progress here, and have continued to add updates.

April 2019

I joined STV’s Rona Dougall and commentator Angela Haggerty on Scotland Tonight to discuss leaked messages suggesting differences of opinion among SNP MSPs on issue of women’s and trans rights (from 11m15).


I joined the Good Morning Scotland Sunday panel to discuss the UK’s possible participation in European Parliament elections next month

I joined the John Beattie Show to discuss Prime Minister’s Questions and the ongoing Brexit saga

March 2019

In joined the Kaye Adams Show phone-in to weigh in on the latest Brexit developments

I joined Good Morning Scotland to round up the Sunday papers with journalist Peter Geoghegan

I joined the Morning programme to offer my thoughts on the first episode of BBC Scotland’s new show Debate Night

February 2019

I joined Mornings with Kaye Adams to discuss the gender pay gap in the entertainment industry with actor Libby McArthur and head of casting Tarquin Shaw-Young (from 1h56m30 then continued after the news).

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I joined STV’s Rona Dougall on Scotland Tonight alongside Andy McIver and John Curtice to discuss the addition of three Tory defectors to the newly formed Independent Group.

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I joined Stephen Jardine on the Morning programme to discuss George Clooney’s statement that Meghan Markle was being “pursued and vilified” by the British media (from 2h36).

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I joined Good Morning Scotland to discuss the previous week at Holyrood.


January 2019

I joined STV’s John Mackay and former Conservative MP Peter Duncan on Scotland Tonight to discuss a day of voting on Brexit amendments at Westminster


I joined Gordon Brewer on Politics Scotland to discuss the latest infuriating nonsense that passes for “Brexit negotiations”.

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I joined John Mackay and Tom Harris on STV’s Scotland Tonight to discuss Theresa May’s massive Commons defeat over the EU Withdrawal Bill (from 24m50).

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December 2018

I made three more Sunday morning appearances on Good Morning Scotland, talking about the latest Brexit carry-on.

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I joined the BBC’s Brian Taylor and Rachel Watson from the Scottish Daily Mail to discuss First Minister’s Questions about business rates, special needs teachers and Brexit.

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November 2018

I briefly joined Stephen Jardine to discuss the push for 2019 to be a year of no flying as part of efforts to limit climate change (from 56m38).


I joined John Mackay and of The Times to talk about the Scottish Government’s new Brexit impact analysis and the prospect of an indyref2 announcement before the end of the year.


I joined a discussion about the latest Brexit goings-on on Good Morning Scotland alongside Gerry Hassan and Robbie Dinwoodie (from 12m04).


October 2018

I joined in at the end of the phone-in on Mornings with Kaye Adams, discussing whether it’s right that high earners in Scotland should pay more tax than those south of the border (I don’t come in until 57m08 and then get cut off before being reconnected!). I wrote a column in response to some of the callers.


I joined the BBC’s Gordon Brewer and David Clegg from the Daily Record to talk briefly about Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to pull out of a conference at which Steve Bannon is appearing (from 24m).


I joined the BBC’s Brian Taylor and Hamish McDonnell of The Times to discuss the last session of First Minister’s Questions before Ruth Davidson headed off on maternity leave. Unfortunately my words of wisdom didn’t make it onto the iPlayer.

September 2018

I joined Gordon Brewer on Politics Scotland to discuss Primary 1 assessments, Theresa May’s bid to promote her Chequers plan at Salzburg, and the prospects of a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal.

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I joined John Mackay and Andy McIver to talk about the latest Sunday newspaper headlines about Ruth Davidson.


I joined a discussion on Good Morning Scotland about Ruth Davidson ruling herself out as a future PM and the latest Tory war games/posturing (from 5m50).


I joined Gordon Brewer and former SNP advisor Alex Bell on Good Morning Scotland to discuss whether the SNP was in a state of “civil war” following the sexual misconduct claims against Alex Salmond (from 14m30).


August 2018

I joined a phone-in on Mornings with Jackie Brambles discussing the merits of a ban on children buying energy drinks.

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I joined STV’s Rona Dougall and Colin Mackay plus former Cabinet secretary Kenny MacAskill to discuss Alex Salmond’s resignation from the SNP and decision to launch a crowdfunder to pay for his judicial review.

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I joined STV’s John Mackay and Dr Nick McKerrell of Glasgow Caledonian University to discuss Alex Salmond’s decision to pursue a judicial review of the Scottish Government’s process for investigating sexual misconduct claims against him.

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I joined a panel discussion at the annual Global Street Paper Summit, organised by the International Network of Street Papers.


I spoke to Marianne Taylor about manners and etiquette in the digital age for a two-part feature in the Sunday Herald (part one, part two).

I joined Mornings with Kirsty Wark on Radio Scotland to discuss what impact Blue Planet has had on attitudes towards plastic pollution, and what environmental issue will capture public attention next (from 2h20m12).

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I spoke to Mickey Noonan from Standard Issue podzine about A Feminist’s Guide to the Festivals.

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I joined Good Morning Scotland for a panel discussion about Facebook influencing elections and what can be done to stem the tide of “fake news” (from 7m30).

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A Feminist’s Guide to the Festivals returned for 2018, covering a range of Fringe productions including comedy, theatre and cabaret, plus book festival appearances by authors including Rose McGowan and Chelsea Clinton.

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July 2018

I joined the BBC’s Gary Robertson and Jack Crozier, whose younger sister was killed in the Dunblane massacre, to discuss obstacles to gun control in the US.


I joined the BBC’s Gordon Brewer and David Clegg of the Daily Record on Sunday Politics Scotland to discuss the latest Brexit news (from 1h07mins38).


I joined the BBC’s Bill Whiteford and Laura Maxwell plus Tom Harris and James Cusick on Good Morning Scotland to discuss the Brexit proposals agreed at Chequers and the prospect of a people’s vote on the final deal (from 5mins13).

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I joined the phone-in on The Stephen Jardine Programme to discuss what kind of reception Donald Trump should receive when he visits Scotland next week (my bit around 45 mins in).

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June 2018

I joined Gordon Brewer and Andy Collier on Good Morning Scotland to discuss the SNP’s stance on a People’s Vote over Brexit, Nicola Sturgeon’s Cabinet reshuffle and the controversy of Gillian Martin’s non-appointment (from 1h05m51).


I joined STV’s Rona Dougall and David Clegg of the Daily Record to discuss the controversy regarding Gillian Martin’s non-appointment as minister for further and higher education due to blog posts from 2007 (from the top).

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I joined Gary Robertson and Andy Collier on Good Morning Scotland to speculate about the Scottish Government reshuffle (from 1h36m03).


I joined the John Beattie show to weigh in on Melania Trump’s decision to wear a jacket bearing the slogan “I don’t care – do you?” on her visit to an immigrant detention centre (from 49m13).

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I joined Gordon Brewer to discuss the latest twists in the Brexit saga on Politics Scotland.


I joined Rona Dougall, Paul Sinclair, Michelle Thomson and Andy McIver to discuss a dramatic week in UK and Scottish politics including mass walk-out of SNP MPs from the House of Commons and the architect of The Vow coming out in favour of independence.

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I joined John Beattie and The Herald’s Susan Egelstaff to discuss the participation of transgender women in sport (from 49m45).

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I joined Gary Robertson on Good Morning Scotland to discuss the latest Brexit developments along with Jessica Elgot of The Guardian (from 1h36m04).


May 2018

I joined Stephen Jardine on the Kaye Adams Programme to discuss the true cost of the Bank of Mum and Dad (from 2h47m19).

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I joined the BBC’s Brian Taylor and Simon Johnson of The Daily Telegraph to discuss First Minister’s Question Time, which included questions about prisoner voting, mental health, housing and, of course, Brexit (discussion from 44m39).


I joined STV’s John Mackay and Andy Maciver to discuss the Scottish Parliament’s vote to withhold consent for the UK’s Brexit Bill.


I joined Gordon Brewer on Politics Scotland to discuss issues including the breast cancer screening failure in England’s NHS, and the ongoing Brexit negotiations. I don’t think it made it onto the iPlayer, for which I blame the snooker.

April 2018

I joined STV’s John Mackay and US political commentator Charlie Wolf to discuss whether the UK needs a War Powers Act, in light of Theresa May’s decision to join the US and France in bombing Syria (from 11m20).

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I joined Kaye Adams, former Tory minister Edwina Currie and “reformed interventionist” Professor Paul Moorcraft to discuss Theresa May’s decision to bypass parliament and join the US and France in bombing Syria (phone-in from 8m10, my comments at 54m05).

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March 2018

I joined Brian Taylor and The Guardian’s Severin Carrell to discuss First Minister’s Questions, where topics included Brexit, Brexit, Brexit and a pay rise for teachers (from 46m33).


I joined Gary Robertson and MSP Gillian Martin on Good Morning Scotland to discuss Amnesty International’s report on “Toxic Twitter”, then Halla Mohieddeen and Angela Haggerty on STV2 to continue the conversation on the same topic.

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February 2018

I joined STV’s John MacKay and The Spectator’s Katy Balls to discuss Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for a UK-EU customs union on Scotland Tonight (from 16m16, until March 5).

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I joined Gordon Brewer and Hamish McDougall of The Times for Sunday Politics Scotland, discussing the latest developments in the Brexit negotiations (from 1h8m38, until March 26).

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I joined STV’s John Mackay and Paris Gourtsoyannis of The Scotsman to discuss the SNP depute leadership race and Ian Blackford’s decision to rule himself out of the running (from 16m, until February 19).

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I joined the BBC’s Brian Taylor and Simon Johnson of The Daily Telegraph to discuss exchanges at First Minister’s Questions on the ongoing Police Scotland chaos, the ongoing shambles of Brexit and the Scottish Government’s proposals for a distinct Scottish immigration policy (from 49m25, available until March 8).

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January 2018

I took part in What Went Wrong? A Post-Mortem of 2017, a Glasgow University Dialetic Society panel event chaired by David Clegg of the Daily Record and also featuring Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey, Dr Kirsty Hughes and Dr Timothy Peacock.


I joined Gordon Brewer for Politics Scotland, where topics for discussion included the row about the decision by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson to intervene in the ongoing saga surrounding suspended Chief Constable Phil Gormley, the possibility of an EU Continuity Bill for Scotland, and the proposed closure of yet more RBS branches (until February 25).

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I joined The Stephen Jardine Programme to give Donald Trump a report card one year on from his inauguration (from 16m15, until February 19).

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I joined The Kaye Adams Programme to discuss (down an unfortunately crackly phone line) how to put an end to sexual harassment (from 51m, until February 13).
Kaye puffI joined Kelly-Ann Woodland on STV’s Scotland Tonight to discuss the SNP’s approach to Brexit, the prospects of a 2018 indyref and Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle (from 12m30, until January 15).Scotland Tonight January 3.PNG

December 2017

I joined Laura Maxwell, standing in for Stephen Jardine on BBC Radio Scotland, to discuss Bono’s comment about rock music becoming too “girly” (from 2h37m10, until January 27).

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I took part in The National vs UK Unity alongside the paper’s digital editor Stephen Paton and David Clews of the new pro-Union campaign, to discuss Brexit, independence and Britain’s glorious (and not-so-glorious) history.



I joined Louise White and financial expert Alvin Hall on Radio Scotland’s Kaye Adams Programme to discuss whether brand loyalty ever pays off and how to get the best deals (from 2h49m45, until January 12).

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I joined STV’s Rona Dougall to discuss TIME magazine’s recognition of the women (and men) who have helped break the silence around sexual harassment and assault, as its collective “Person of the Year” (from 24m10, until December 13).


November 2017

I joined STV’s John Mackay and journalist Tom Harris on Scotland Tonight to discuss Kezia Dugdale’s decision to appear on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! and Richard Leonard’s agenda as the new leader of Scotland Labour (until November 27).

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I returned to the Scottish Parliament to join the BBC’s Brian Taylor and the Daily Record’s David Clegg to discuss First Minister’s Questions, for which John Swinney stood in for Nicola Sturgeon and Jackie Baillie stood in for Alex Rowley (until December 14).

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I visited Braes High School in Falkirk to talk to pupils about persuasive writing as part of their Higher English folio day.


October 2017

I joined the Kaye Adams Programme on Radio Scotland to talk about sexual harassment in the workplace in the wake of claims relating the UK and Scottish Parliaments (from 14m).

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I joined John MacKay, David Torrance and Kenny MacAskill to discuss Nicola Sturgeon’s address to the SNP conference on Scotland Tonight (until October 17).

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I chaired an event at the SNP conference in Glasgow on Mental Health in the Workplace – Surviving or Thriving?, organised by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland to coincide with World Mental Health Day.

I joined Brian Taylor and Holyrood journalist Liam Kirkcaldy to discuss the week’s First Minister’s Questions (from 48m35, available until November 2).


September 2017

I joined Rona Dougall on Scotland Tonight to discuss Jeremy Corbyn’s conference speech and the latest Scottish Labour leadership drama with journalist Simon Pia and former Labour MP Gemma Doyle (available until October 4).

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I returned to Sunday Politics Scotland to discuss The Week Ahead with Gordon Brewer and Severin Carrell, Scotland editor for The Guardian. Topics included the EU Withdrawal Bill, a Chinese cyber-attack on the Scottish Parliament, and Willie Rennie’s chances of becoming First Minister (from 28m 16 – available until October 16).

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I joined BBC Radio Scotland’s Kaye Adams Programme to talk briefly about whether we should be alarmed by the escalating threats from the leaders of the US and North Korea (from 53mins 26 – available until October 4).

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August 2017

I joined BBC Radio Scotland’s Stephen Jardine plus stand-ups London Hughes and Ashley Storrie at the Edinburgh Fringe to talk about women in comedy (from 2h 12mins 55 – available until September 9).

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I launched A Feminist’s Guide to the Festivals, reviewing theatre, spoken word and comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe plus some Edinburgh International Book Festival events. Visit my Soundcloud for the latest podcasts.

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July 2017

I joined Maurice Smith and Chris Silver for Newsnet.scot’s weekly podcast. We covered a wide range of topics from the state pension age and gender recognition to Brexit and how Scotland supports its artists.


I wrote about My Year of Speaking Dangerously for The National.

I joined Raymond Robertson, former chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, on Sunday Politics Scotland, to chat with Gordon Brewer about Scotland’s economy, the Campaign for Socialism, Brexit, Trump and Theresa May (from 1h 05m 40 – available until August 7).


June 2017

I joined Kaye Adams to discuss whether indyref2 should be “off the table” following the result of the General Election (from 8m 40 to 59m 45 – available until July 13)

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April 2017

I chaired the Ibrox and Cessnock Community Council local election hustings, at which seven candidates for Glasgow’s Govan Ward answered questions on everything from housing and cleansing to fracking and social care.


I gave a talk as part of the NUJ Scotland event A Stronger Voice for Women in the Media, warning that we should focus on progress as well as problems when discussing sexism in the media, and guard against putting women off entering the industry by dwelling on negatives.

March 2017

I gave a talk about opinion writing as part of the Student Publication Association Scotland Conference at the University of Edinburgh.



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