Brian Taylor has joined The Herald's fantastic line-up of columnists as part of a major expansion of the newspaper’s Voices section.

Subscribers had the chance to read the first weekly column from the former BBC political editor on Saturday.

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Now, he has given readers an insight into his background, and shared his thoughts on the years to come...

1. So Brian, how did you end up writing for a newspaper?

I have covered Scottish politics since the Middle Ages, mostly on telly and the wireless.  However, before all that, I spent nearly a decade working in newspapers. Now I’m back.  Hope you’ll join me. 

2. You've been described as a stalwart of political reporting. What has been the highlight of your career?

I have been privileged to cover Scottish politics during a quite remarkable era.  Primarily, the recreation of the Scottish Parliament – and its first two decades of operation. In addition, I have covered umpteen elections, together with European summits, Brexit and the contest for the US Presidency.

However, perhaps the period which stands out is the independence referendum of 2014.  Never have I experienced a public so engaged, so avid for information and analysis. 

3. What’s your favourite part of Scotland?

I love Scotland. Gallus Glasgow, festival Edinburgh, the Granite City.  The glorious Highlands, the islands, Abbotsford and the beautiful Borders. 

However, I remain a proud Dundonian. Its ancient history, its droll humour, its immense potential – and its tangerine-clad football team. 

4. What was the last book you read?

I devour books, generally keeping a work of fiction and a factual tome on the go at the same time.  Just completed Up the Junction by Nell Dunn.  Well into a biography of Bert Jansch by Colin Harper.  Before these, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart.  Each excellent, in different ways. 

5. What are you going to be writing about for The Herald?

Whatever occurs but, hopefully, issues of relevance to the readership. Daily concerns – and the underlying topics which will shape Scotland.  All, I hope, with a leavening of gentle wit. 

6. What will be the biggest stories of 2021 and the next decade?

For now, the pandemic and our collective efforts to shuffle off this hideous plague. Then the attempts to rescue our economy from the baleful impact of the virus. 

Brexit – and its sundry consequences.  And, as always in Scotland, the choice over independence and our future governance.  All that, plus events….

7. What do you make of both the Scottish and UK government’s response to coronavirus?

I am inclined to leave that to the people to decide.  Both administrations have made mistakes.  Both seem determined to surmount this dreadful challenge.  Let us fervently hope they do. 

8. Who’s do you believe is going to win the Holyrood election and why?

The trite, yet true, answer is that the winner will be the party (or parties) with the most support.  The team who can energise that support on the day.  We should never forget the awesome power of popular electoral choice. 

For now, polls would suggest the SNP are well placed.  I am certainly prepared to await the verdict of the people. As, I suspect, are Scotland’s political leaders.  The difference?  I will analyse that emerging verdict while they will seek to shape it. 

9. What will happen with indyref2 after the election?

It will remain as a salient and substantive question, whatever the outcome of the election.  

There is a fundamental fault line in Scottish popular discourse; and thus in partisan politics, between the principal party advocating independence, the SNP, and the principal party most vigorously advocating the Union, the Conservatives.  Others have decidedly significant, possibly critical, roles to play.