Stephen Noon

Thesis title: Scotland's 'new politics' as a politics of love


I worked at a senior level in government, parliament and politics in Scotland, including a final role as Chief Strategist for Yes Scotland, the official pro-independence campaign in the 2014 referendum. I was then a member of the Society of Jesus (a Jesuit) for seven years, which involved periods of both work and studies, and some real life-changing experiences, including two 'begging' pilgrimages, the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, and periods working in a hospice and a primary school. 

Studies over the years have included EU law at a Masters level, completing my LLM by Research in October 2011, and then theology, philosophy and ethics, receiving a Master of Divinity and STB in 2021.

In addition to the studies, I currently work part-time in two roles. First, as part of the Public Affairs team for Weber Shandwick in Scotland and, second, as a Research Associate at the new Centre for Public Policy at the University of Glasgow.


MDiv & STB, Regis College, University of Toronto, 2021

LLM by Research, European Constitutional Law, University of Edinburgh, 2010

MA (Hons) Scottish Historical Studies, University of Edinburgh, 1996

Research summary

At the heart of my research is the hope/expectation of a ‘new politics’ in Scotland that came with devolution and, with an eye to the 25th anniversary of devolution in 2024, to see whether or not we have lived up to the promise. 

The project is about politics, but also about the theological anthropology of Bernard Lonergan and its philosophical underpinning. For Lonergan, societal progress is more likely when we are attentive, intelligent, reasonable and responsible - open to the range of questions and perspectives that will bring new insights and open up new horizons. Decline comes if we are tribal, short-term in our outlook, and avoid the difficult questions. It is my belief that the more consensual politics that was the hope of devolution is more likely to lead to progress than an either/or, them/us politics (whether that politics manifests itself in the binary of Westminster or aspects of the binary that is the current Scottish constitutional debate).

I am also looking to engage with the developing academic conversation around a 'politics of love'. What is a politics of love? I believe that Lonergan and Scotland's 'new politics' can give us some interesting perspectives on that question.