My nomination is someone who believed in freedom of speech and was brutally murdered for his belief. His death is a reminder for all of us, shocked by a narcissistic money-grabbing semi-illiterate president-elect, that there are still individuals who are willing to die for their ideals. Ideals that we Western liberals are pathetically afraid to defend lest we are trolled on Facebook. Nazimuddin Samad, 28, was a Bangladeshi student and blogger who dared affirm that 'Evolution is a scientific truth. Religion and race are an invention of savage and uncivil people'. For this statement of fact he was hacked to death in April 2016 in the streets of Dhaka by four fanatics shouting Allahu Akbar. He was not the first rationalist to be butchered in Bangladesh and sadly almost certainly not the last.
Manfredi La Manna


Leave Voter Number 16,141,242 is the person whose vote ushered in the unexpected majority for Brexit – the tipping point that led to the root-and-branch re-examination of almost every aspect of our public life. There's even a powerful case for suggesting Number 16,141,242 influenced the thinking of that significant transatlantic person whose name I dare not mention. What's also delightful, and fully in keeping with the Scottish Review's mischievous and, dare I say, subversive, outlook, is that we have no idea who Number 16,141,242 is – male, female, Welsh, English, Irish, Scottish, teenager, pensioner, white, BAME? Who knows? But, like it or not, he or she embodies that moment when everything changed. On losing an election in 1966, the American politician Dick Tuck said, 'The people have spoken, the bastards.' Fifty years later David Cameron must surely have thought the same about Number 16,141,242.
Henry Eagles


Denied the obvious, I seek the meritorious. But Ruth Davidson plays in a tiny field. South Africa’s Mmusi Maimane is a faint hope in face of the ANC’s corrupted stranglehold and has his own troubles. So turn from virtue to amoral influence. Turkey’s Erdogan, who made Time’s short-list, is an unpleasant prospect, not yet a world-shaker. Assad causes no end of pain but on Russian sufferance. However, without the blast of the Trump, Vladimir Putin’s winning streak might have earned a second term with Time. I’m not sure what to make of him, except that his calculated and sometimes ruthless pragmatism makes him my Man of the Match. He has outplayed Obama, come close to imposing a bad result in the Syrian wars, and laughs off protests over the Crimea and Ukraine. He puts fear of the future into neighbours and might put the fear of death into all of us.
R D Kernohan


My nomination is Jo Cox. I have never gone with the 'only in it for themselves' view of MPs. It's a mean spirited, facile and highly cynical view. As in any large institution, there are those who are hardworking or lazy, good or bad, talented or mundane, exceptional or poor. It seems Jo fell into the exceptional class and it was genuinely enlightening when she died to hear the testimony of some of her constituents on what she had achieved for them, an insight into what a committed MP does on a day to day basis. She was a fine young woman who lived her ideals and died because of them. Even in her final moments she was thinking of others. What a pity I had never heard her name before she died. What a pity we don't tell good people they are valued while they are still with us.
Fiona MacDonald



In 2016 the image of a little boy covered in dust and blood, in an ambulance in Aleppo, captured the attention of the world. The previous year we had been shocked by the photograph of the lifeless body of Alyn Kurdi (3) on a Turkish beach, throwing a spotlight on the struggle of those fleeing the war in Syria. The video of Omran Daqneesh (5) sitting stunned, brought the horrors faced by the Syrian people forced to remain in Aleppo, directly into our living rooms. We saw the face of the war – a frightened little boy just pulled from the rubble, not knowing why this was happening to him. Hopefully for the Syrian children like Alyan and Omran, the Time Person of the Year is able to use his 'relationship’ with President Putin to ensure no more photos of dead children on beaches or stunned little ones in ambulances appear in our homes.
Dermot McQuarrie


For those of us beguiled by political drama, 1999 to 2006 were the glory years, the years of 'The West Wing'. For seven seasons pre-Obama we followed Jed Bartlet and his team through two terms in the White House. Reality was Bush, wishful thinking was Bartlet. The series was written by Aaron Sorkin who is my choice, not for that, but for the open letter he wrote to his wife and daughter the day after Trump's victory. He did not mince his words. 'It's hardly the first time my candidate didn't win but it is the first time that a thoroughly incompetent pig with dangerous ideas, a serious psychological disorder, no knowledge of the world and no curiosity to learn has' he said. He went on to lament that it was not only Trump who won but 'the Ku Klux Klan, the white nationalists, the sexists, racists and buffoons'. He concluded by urging Julia and Roxy to deny Trump the satisfaction of seeing 'people like us' – Mexicans, Jews, Muslims, educated liberals – weeping and wailing and planning to escape to Canada. 'I won't give him that satisfaction and neither will you. Here's what we'll do...we'll fucking fight'.
Rose Galt


According to Wright Thompson, Theo Epstein walks the seven blocks from his home to his office regardless of the weather. In summer, he passes children selling lemonade and sometimes he takes lunch in the cheap seats at Wrigley Field. Epstein is the Chicago Cubs’ president of baseball operations. His job is to create winning teams and he is exceptionally good at it: This year the Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908. In 2004, Epstein was general manager of the Boston Red Sox when that team won its first championship since 1918. He uses psychology, neuroscience and advanced data techniques to identify future stars among prospects and fading players who might shine again. David Axelrod likened the operation to the campaigns of Barack Obama which he served as chief strategist. Luck is a factor in all success but its importance, as Epstein proves, can be diminished.
Alasdair McKillop


Few in Scotland will have heard of this lady, she's a housewife in Southern Australia called Pat. Last week she installed her first new kitchen in 53 years. She and her husband bought a small house from an old lady at that time. It was filled with her furniture, still is. During those years they have made millions, almost all of which they have given away, some to me. They are of Scottish descent and have lived a life that contrasts the current suicidal ethos that the world should dedicate itself to a race to own the maximum number of toys before you die. I am inspired by her every day of the week.
Maxwell MacLeod

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Today: Happy Christmases

Christmas 1927

Arnold Bennett
Splendid health. I have now cut my breakfast down to four or five kinds of fruit (raisins, orange, apple, lemon and prunes) plus two
cups of tea, and two pieces of rye bread. And little or no meat for lunch.
From: ‘The Journals’ by Arnold Bennett

Christmas 1960
George Simenon
A perfect Christmas, in spite of my fears. One of the best, the most perfect, the most ‘complete’. Thank you, God! And, last night, two
good hours, real ones, with D. That makes up for everything.
From: ‘When I Was Old’ by George Simenon

Christmas 1973
Kenneth Tynan
Christmas Eve dinner for George Weidenfeld, Min Hogg, John and Miriam Gross. There was later a quiz of my composition (identifying famous tits and bottoms, privately recorded voices of the famous, and less famous revolutionary quotations) with champagne prizes. A memorable evening.
From: ‘The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan’

Christmas 2006
Chris Mullin
For the first time in years, Santa did not call at St Bede’s Terrace, Emma no longer being a believer. The girls, however, still insisted that their presents be left outside their rooms in Christmas sacks. We drove to Malcolm and Helen’s house in the wilderness above Haltwhistle. A hoar frost clinging to the trees and fences. Malcolm and I walked down the old railway track into Haltwhistle, arriving in the fading light, and Helen collected us.
From: ‘Decline & Fall’ by Chris Mullin

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Kenneth Roy
A monstrous new 'super school'
14.12.16

Islay McLeod
Scotland's invisible children
16.12.16


Walter Humes
Bad marks: the declining standards of Scottish education
09.12.16

Nannie Sköld
So much anger, so much love
15.12.16

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Kenneth Roy’s new book, 'The Broken Journey: a life of Scotland 1976-99', charts in vivid and compelling detail the events and personalities of the last quarter of the 20th century in Scotland.

Published in hardback by Birlinn, 'The Broken Journey' is available direct from the Scottish Review at £25 (inc p&p). To order your copy or copies, please click below or call 01292 478510 with credit/debit card details.

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