James Michell

James Mitchell

University of Edinburgh
Professor of Public Policy


James Mitchell holds the Chair in Public Policy at Edinburgh University having previously been Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University and of Public Policy at Sheffield University.  He is the author or editor of seventeen books on government, politics and public policy and over 70 articles in academically refereed journals.  
His most recent books include, The Scottish Question (Oxford University Press, 2014); Takeover: explaining the extraordinary rise of the Scottish National Party  (Biteback Publishing 2016); co-editor (wit Jim Johnston) of The Scottish Parliament at 20, (Luath 2019).  He is currently completing work on the Scottish independence referendum, the surge in SNP and Green party members, a systems approach to public service reform.  
He has been involved in various public service leadership and other training programmes including working with Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, including the Justice sector Leadership for Outcomes programme.  He has been a member of the team evaluating the establishment of Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.  In 2017, he was appointed to the joint Scottish Parliament/Scottish Government Budget Review Group to carry out a fundamental review of the Scottish Parliament’s budget process following the devolution of further powers in the Scotland Act 2012 and Scotland Act 2016 and bring forward proposals for a revised budget.  In 2018, he was appointed academic member of the 'Enabling Group' advising Scottish Government and Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on the review of local governance.  He has also been advising the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on the future of local governance.
James Mitchell's University of Edinburgh profile - 

Posts by this author


Leadership, learning and knowledge: lessons from COVID-19

Scottish politics is stuck in a constitutional rut in which issues are viewed through a narrow independence/Union prism. James Mitchell, University of Edinburgh argues that we have become obsessed with whether devolved policies are designed to undermine or sustain the union, perhaps we need to refocus on some of the basic policy-making questions and issues.
Brexit and IndyRef

Looking back five years on….

James Mitchell discusses how Brexit has shown that a referendum cannot resolve complex questions.
SNP numbers at Westminster

Nicola’s Army

James Mitchell looks forward to the SNP Conference which is likely to be remembered most for its timing: the postponement of the Prime Minister’s decision to invoke Article 50 formally starting the process of Brexit and the First Minister’s decision on the timing of Indyref2.
Question mark

Nicola Sturgeon’s Lonely Decision

James Mitchell discusses how Nicola Sturgeon’s decision on the timing of the independence referendum is likely to be the most important of her leadership.

The future of the Scottish Tories: more than theatricals…

James Mitchell discusses how the tables appear to have turned and Tories in London are looking to Scotland and Ruth Davidson for inspiration.
SNP numbers at Westminster

The SNP Depute leadership contest

The public could be excused for being unaware that the SNP is currently electing a new depute leader. James Mitchell looks at the candidates.