John Macgill is a former journalist who bcame a lobbyist in 2002 when he joined Grayling Political Strategy to manage its Scottish office in Edinburgh. In January 2004 Macgill left to become editor of Holyrood Magazine and subsequently set up his own lobby shop called John Macgill Communications. Macgill is a past chairman of the Association of Professional Political Consultants Scotland, the regulatory body for the public affairs industry, current convener of the Association for Scottish Public Affairs and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.
According to a biographical note on the Physiology Online website:
- John Macgill is the Director of a Scottish firm of political consultants, a role he moved to at the beginning of 2002 after seventeen years as a journalist.
- John graduated from Dundee University in 1985 with a BSc (Hons.; 2.1) in Physiology. Although he enjoyed his degree, John was clear that he wanted to follow a career as a broadcast journalist. Having gained voluntary work experience on local radio stations, John was accepted onto the BBC's Local Radio Journalist Training Scheme.
- "My physiology degree helped," says John, " not least because it made me different from the hundreds of graduates with degrees in English or Media Studies. The skills I developed studying for a BSc were almost identical to those required of a journalist: time management, research, presenting and summarising facts - and being able to defend your work under scrutiny. Journalists have to be able to communicate in a way that is appropriate for their particular audience. They need to have enquiring minds, and must not be afraid to ask questions or disagree with accepted wisdom. These are skills which should be second nature to any scientist."
- John has worked across radio and television including posts as a reporter and correspondent, and later as a magazine editor before being lured away to political consultancy.
- "I suspect my time in the Physiology Department at Dundee is to blame for the many arguments over science and medicine stories that I had with editors while I was a reporter. It certainly influenced my approach, as an editor, to consumer scares and apparent medical breakthroughs. Even in my present job, which is all about research and the presentation of facts on behalf of clients, the skills and disciplines acquired as a science undergraduate continue to play an important part."
Macgill stayed as editpr for less than an year and then took the job of Chief Executive at the end of 2004, apparently ousting the incumbent within two weeks:
- Malcolm Dickson, editor of the Holyrood political magazine parted company with his employers last week after only six months in charge. It came only days after former editor John Macgill returned to Holyrood Communications to become chief executive, and you don't have to be a master conspiracy theorist to conclude the two events were linked.
- Dickson may be a distinguished political scientist, but six months of soporific Holyroods without much mischief are a reminder that skills don't always transfer between professions. Days earlier Macgill, who is resuming control until he finds a replacement, said in the press release trumpeting his arrival that "Holyrood has come a long way since I was editor". Now it makes sense.
In January 2006 Macgill was appointed as a lobbyist by the British Psychological Society:
- John Macgill Policy Officer for Scotland, was appointed at the beginning of 2006. The main aims are to help take forwards the charter commitment of the Society to "promote the advancement and diffusion of a knowledge of psychology pure and applied".
Macgill's contact details given out by the BPS site are identical to those he uses in his lobbying business John Macgill Communications
- has attended meetings of the Cross Party Group on the Scottish Economy such as that on 2 November 2005