Scotland’s independent think tank
Scotland’s independent think tank


Journalist and commentator will lead think tank into its second decade

Reform Scotland, the independent, non-party think tank, has appointed Chris Deerin as its new Director.

Chris is one of Scotland’s leading journalists and commentators. He currently writes a weekly column for The Herald and is a Contributing Editor at the New Statesman. He has worked in senior positions at several of Britain’s best-respected titles, including as Head of Comment at The Telegraph, Executive Editor of Scotland on Sunday, and as a columnist and journalist for the Daily Mail. He has twice been voted Scotland’s Columnist of the Year. Chris has also had spells in communications consultancy and most recently worked at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.

Chris will start work with Reform Scotland on Tuesday 8th May. Reform Scotland celebrates its 10th birthday this year, and over a decade has become a leading voice in arguing for reform of public services, greater devolution of power from Westminster to Holyrood, and also from Holyrood to local authorities.

Commenting on his appointment, Chris said:

“I can’t think of a better moment to be joining Reform Scotland. For the first time since the turn of the decade Scottish politics has entered a period without elections or referendums on the horizon. As a nation we now need to focus intently on public policy – that means thinking much harder about how we get the best out of our schools and hospitals, and improve our economy and our constitutional settlement.

“Under my leadership, Reform Scotland will maintain its political independence, and will pursue good ideas wherever they might be found. I hope that our work will be innovative, challenging and useful to those who govern and who seek to govern.”

Reform Scotland’s Chairman Alan McFarlane said:

“I’m both delighted and excited about Chris becoming our Director. He has the drive and vision to propel Reform Scotland to great things during its second decade.

“Scotland is a country with enviable attributes and limitless potential. There is significant scope for the kind of reform that will enhance its economic growth and improve its public services.

“Reform Scotland has been a key contributor to the nation’s progressive agenda, and I know Chris wants to carry that forward with vigour.

“I also want to pay tribute to Chris’s predecessor, Geoff Mawdsley. Geoff, together with former Chairman Ben Thomson, conceived, launched and for 10 years ran this think tank before deciding to move onto new adventures. If it hadn’t been for Geoff’s vision and determination, quite simply, we wouldn’t be here. I wish him continued success.”



  1. Reform Scotland is an independent, non-party think tank that aims to set out a better way to deliver increased economic prosperity and more effective public services based on the traditional Scottish principles of limited government, diversity and personal responsibility. Further information is available at
  2. Reform Scotland’s report “On The Pill: Coronavirus and Contraception”, can be read here.
  3. All four opposition parties tweeted their support for our proposal: 
    • Miles Briggs MSP, Conservative:  “This suggestion put forward by @reformscotland calling on @scotgov to include access to the birth control pill in the recently extended Minor Ailment Service seems sensible and will help take pressure off GP surgeries”
    • Monica Lennon MSP, Labour: “A welcome briefing on coronavirus and contraception from @reformscotland calling on @scotgov to include access to the birth control pill in the recently extended Minor Ailment Service.  Will @scotgov support this @JoeFitzSNP @jeaneF1MSP”
    • Alison Johnstone MSP, Greens: “I very much support @reformscotland call for free access to contraceptive pill during COVID-19 crisis.  Enabling prescription direct from pharmacists at this time ensures that cost isn’t a barrier for any woman.  Our local pharmacists are well placed  to offer guidance and advice”
    • Alex Cole Hamilton MSP, Liberal Democrat: “This is a really important suggestion (finger down emoji)”
  4. Media: Message Matters (Andy Maciver, [email protected], 07855 261 244)


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