Open Scotland?

Open Scotland? Lobbyists, Journalists and Spin Doctors

Philip Schlesinger, David Miller, William Dinan


Scottish devolution brought high hopes for an open political culture. But how far have these been fulfilled? Open Scotland? argues that in the field of political communication the old, established ways of the British state still remain firmly in place. Westminster and Whitehall continue to cast long shadows over Edinburgh.

This book offers the first full-scale analysis of how media, politicians and lobbyists interact in the new Scotland. Based on their exceptional first-hand access to the key players, Philip Schlesinger, David Miller and William Dinan have written an inside account of the struggles to establish the rules of the game for covering politics and regulating lobbyists.

They have talked to the journalists of ScotlandÕs political media pack who are at the heart of the new political system and who have a decisive impact on the image of the Scottish Parliament and government. They have observed and interviewed the professional lobbyists and reveal their strategies for achieving a respectable image in Scottish public life. And they have talked to spin doctors and press officers and analyses some of the key rows and the failures of news management inside ScotlandÕs government.

Open Scotland? offers an insight to the world of journalists, spin doctors and lobbyists revealing the motivations behind the news stories in Scottish politics today.

ISBN1 902930282, Published by Polygon

Extracts from Reviews

'excellent' This is one of those rare books that have a firm intellectual framework, but where the authors have also done hard journalistic work' (New Statesman)

'a brilliant new study' (Peter Preston, The Guardian)

'a detailed and meticulous account' (The Herald)

'a damning critique of political communications in Scotland' (John Crace, The Guardian)

'an important contribution' (Dennis Kavanagh, Media, Culture and Society)

Reviews and Press Coverage

Denis Kavanagh, Book reviews Philip Schlesinger, David Miller and William Dinan, Open Scotland? Journalists, Spin Doctors and Lobbyists. Edinburgh: Polygon, 2001, 312pp. Media, Culture & Society 2002,, Vol. 24: 580Ð582. PDF

Scottish Affairs, No. 38, Winter 2002 (pp 145-148) Review: Open Scotland? Open Scotland? Journalists, Spin Doctors and Lobbyists Philip Schlesinger, David Miller and William (March 2001) Edinburgh: Polygon, pb, 318pp, £15.99, ISBN 1-902930-28-2 Review by Brian Taylor, Political Editor, BBC Scotland

New Statesman, June 11, 2001, No. 4541, Vol. 130; Pg. 71, The new locomotives ; Review; book review, HARGREAVES, IAN.

'The break-up of Britain : The shift of power away from London may make this election unexpectedly revolutionary' Peter Preston Guardian Monday April 23, 2001.

'When spin takes over ', Arnold Kemp Observer Sunday April 8, 2001.

The Herald, Sorting fact from assertion is what you pay us for , Robbie Dinwoodie April 6, 2001 , Pg. 20

The Economist March 31, 2001 U.S. Edition SECTION: BRITAIN The dog and the lamp-post DATELINE: Edinburgh.

'Unreal world : Empirical research is more and more sidelined in favour of grand theory. Three Scottish academics show what can be done if you're prepared to examine the real world. John Crace reports' The Guardian Education: Higher, Tuesday March 27, 2001.

'Spin-and-tell government costs £206m ', By Douglas Fraser Political Editor Sunday Herald, Mar 25 2001.

'Whisper it... we're still a secret society . Devolution was supposed to herald a more open and accountable parliament. Instead it is just as reluctant to reveal the truth as Westminster'. Political Editor Douglas Fraser investigates', Sunday Herald, New focus, Mar 25 2001.

Philip Schlesinger, David Miller and William Dinan, 'Who sold Scottish news down the river? The public, the papers and BBC Scotland wanted a Glasgow-based Six O'Clock News - but London had other ideas. How did we lose out? This exclusive extract from a major new book reveals all' Sunday Herald, 7 Days, Mar 25 2001.

Juliette Garside 'Is our view of ministers being blurred by presenters ' tips? A new book says that journalists cannot remain impartial if they also work as media trainers. Juliette Garside finds out more', Sunday Herald, Business: Media, 18 March 2001.

Kenny Farquharson 'MSPs warned over lobbyists ' Sunday Times Scotland, February 25 2001.

Olga Wojtas, scottish editor 'Stirling Confronts Mistrust Of Politics 'The Times Higher Education Supplement, March 9, 2001, No.1477; Pg.4

THE THES DIARY 'On Your Lobby-horse ', The Times Higher Education Supplement, No.1477; March 9, 2001, Pg.10

John Innes 'ACADEMICS CALL FOR LOBBY GROUPS TO BE REGULATED ' The Scotsman March 1, 2001, Thursday, Pg. 11.


Philip Schlesinger (2001) 'Journalists, it's time you owned up ' Sunday Herald, Seven Days, 21 January: 9.

David Miller, William Dinan and Philip Schlesinger Media Research Institute, 'Inner lobby life ' Sunday Herald Readers Views, January 28, 2001, Pg. 8

Ian Coldwell, Institute of Public Relations (Scotland) 'Lobbyists don't ' Sunday Herald Readers' views January 21, 2001, Pg. 8.

Douglas Fraser, 'Mound more secretive than Westminster : Academics reveal the true extent of silent power at Scottish parliament' Sunday Herald Jan 14 2001.