Half of the rising stars of Scottish politics who participated in our Generation Next project have been confirmed as Holyrood election candidates.
The celebrated series, which was published last October, featured in-depth interviews with 35 budding politicians, who were all aged 35 or under and from north of the central belt.
Each interviewee had been tipped by senior colleagues for a bright future in politics, and now 18 of them have emerged as candidates for the Scottish Parliament vote on May 6.
One of them predicted the new intake, including some of the rising stars featured in the project, would have a “once in a generation opportunity to do things differently”, in the wake of the pandemic.
No fewer than 10 Generation Next participants are standing in the north-east region in either a constituency, the regional list, or both.
That number includes three Liberal Democrats – John Waddell, who is second on his party’s list, Ben Lawrie, who is third on the list and also standing in the Angus South constituency, and Michael Crichton, who is eighth on the list and also the party’s candidate in Dundee City East.
The SNP’s Fergus Mutch is third on the party’s list in the north-east and is expected to challenge the Conservatives for the Aberdeenshire West seat held by Alexander Burnett.
The Tories, meanwhile, hope Braden Davey can oust the SNP’s Mairi Gougeon in Angus North And Mearns.
Other Generation Next participants standing in the north-east include Conservative Harriet Cross in Aberdeen Donside and on the list, and Labour’s Graeme McKenzie and Barry Black in Angus South and Aberdeen Central respectively.
Four of the interviewees from Generation Next are standing on the list in Mid Scotland and Fife, including Scott Rutherford for the Greens.
Mags Hall, another Scottish Green candidate, is second on the regional list for her party, and is also standing in the Cowdenbeath constituency.
Labour’s Craig Miller is on the list and is the party’s candidate in the Clackmannanshire and Dunblane constituency, while Lid Dem Aude Boubaker-Calder has also been confirmed as a candidate on the list and in the Dunfermline constituency.
Just one Generation Next participant is standing in the Central Scotland region, Gillian Mackay who tops the list for the Scottish Greens, and there are a further three on the list in the Highlands and Islands.
They are Lib Dem Molly Nolan and Conservative Struan Mackie, who are both also standing for their parties in the Caithness, Sutherland and Ross constituency, and Labour’s John Erskine, who is second on his party’s list and is battling in the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch seat as well.
Mr Erskine said the next parliament would have a “once in a generation opportunity to do things differently”, as the nation recovers from the pandemic.
He added: “With around a fifth of MSPs from the last Parliament standing down, including many of the original ’99ers, the next parliament is going to look very different.
“It was great that the The Courier and The Press and Journal covered many of the new candidates who have a real prospect of being elected in their Generation Next series, and I was delighted to have been included.
“With the campaign really getting underway now, I’m sure many of the Generation Next candidates from all the parties will be out campaigning hard to ensure new voices are heard in the parliament chamber.”
Of the 17 remaining Generation Next participants who have not thrown their hat in the ring for this election, a total of 11 have been candidates in either local or national contests in the past, including four who are serving councillors.