Speaking Dangerously

At the beginning of 2017 I decided to make this 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-presented 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’ve decided that this year (and hopefully beyond), I will feel the fear and do these things anyway. I expect there will be plenty of hiccups along the way, but I hope I can inspire women to believe that if I can do it, so can they.

I’ll be documenting my progress – in 2017 and beyond – here.

January 2018

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.PNGDecember 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.