Former Scots Independent Editor, Dr
Colin J Bell, journalist, broadcaster and author,
was the 13th Scot to be presented with the Oliver Brown
Award at an enjoyable lunch in the Terraces Hotel, Stirling on Saturday
8 June 1996.
It was appropriate that Colin Bell should receive the
award he had named! As Editor, when Director Dr James C Lees originally
proposed that the SI should make an annual award, Colin Bell suggested
both the criteria and the name of the Award. An Award that he fully
An outstanding journalist, with newspapers such as The
Scotsman, he made the transition to broadcasting with Radio Scotland in
Prior to his peerless contribution to Scottish Life as
a broadcaster, Colin Bell had given unstinted service to the Scottish National Party
as Executive Vice-Chairmam, 1978-1984 and Campaign Director, Euro elections 1984.
In 1974 he stood as SNP Parliamentary Candidate for West Edinburgh and also
European Parliamentary Candidate for North East Scotland. He served as Rector
of Aberdeen University from 1991 to 1993.
The undernoted report of the presentation to Dr Colin J
Bell appeared in the July 1996 issue of the Scots Independent.
He was, Colin Bell
counted, the 13th recipient: so who knew what might happen. In the
event, it was perhaps the warmest and merriest occasion to date
— again in Stirling’s Terraces Hotel. Kenneth Fee hoped his
editorial predecessor had not become too distingué to
recognise the genuine expression of political affection and
acknowledgment of the highest-quality broadcasting he had
generated for his nation. Colin’s statutorily astringent
response could not mask his affection for the paper, the occasion
and its guests — although he regretted the SI’s current
anti-BBC campaigning — Auntie couldn’t be all that bad if she
had provided so many previous Oliver Award winners — Mary
Marquis, Jimmy MacGregor (who was among the guests to-day), Muriel
Gray, John Purser .... He hoped the independence movement was
leading our nation now into a more generous-spirited European
cultural and political environment.