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Joan McAlpine is a columnist with The Scotsman newspaper. A long standing commentator on Scottish affairs she is a former Scottish Journalist of the Year and has edited The Sunday Times in Scotland and was deputy editor of The Herald. She is a advocate of Scotland's independence from the UK and will contest The South of Scotland for the Scottish National Party in 2011. Joan has a joint honours degree in Scottish History and Economic History from the University of Glasgow and a Postgraduate Diploma in Newspaper Journalism from City University in London. During her time at The Herald she edited the G8 Official Magazine for The Gleneagles Summit 2006, published in partnership with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The magazine explored ways to help Africa out of poverty. She conceived and edited some of the paper's circulation enhancing magazine supplements, including Teenagers and Patient Power, and oversaw the launch of Herald Society, a magazine for public sector professionals. In 1999 she wrote and presented Crossing the Border a film for Border Telelvision about the effect of devolution on communities living on the Anglo-Scottish Border. Joan was formerly married to the writer and musician Pat Kane - they have two daughters. She loves modern art, travel and African American music as well as being passionate about the culture, landscape and history of Scotland. She also spends a lot of time running her daughter between ballet and choir practice.