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Kenny MacAskill: WannaCry attack must be a wake-up call or next time tears will be the least of it

The WannaCry ransom cyber-attack has shocked everyone in its scale and severity. It attacked 200,000 computers in over 150 countries. Targets included the USA, Russia, China and the UK, not just more vulnerable third world nations. Its threat shown by the potentially cataclysmic strike against the NHS whether hospitals, pharmacies or GPs.

Opinion 1
Theresa May doesnt need a general election to give her a majority; she wants it to crush Labour

Kenny MacAskill: This general election has been called for the shameless political self-interest of the Tories

Electoral contests are strange affairs. With their own dynamic, they can result in unholy alliances between political parties and tactical voting by the electorate. They don’t always follow the call made by the prime minister. Back in 1974 Ted Heath called an election on who ran the country, only for the electorate to decide that he was failing in running the economy. Similarly, tactical voting more often comes from the decision of the electorate, than from formal packs arranged by parties.

Opinion 10
Joey Barton's suspension will almost certainly mean the end of his career. Picture: Getty

Kenny MacAskill: Odds are that gambling will increase

The suspension of the footballer Joey Barton last week for gambling made the headlines. The length of it is almost certainly career-ending for him. His suspension, though, highlights a growing issue with gambling, not just in football, but in wider society.

Opinion 5
Trump is still talking the talk that enthused many, even if actions havent matched rhetoric

Kenny MacAskill: Despite Trump, the world still needs America to tackle big issues

The first hundred days of Donald Trump’s term as President have passed and a far from flattering assessment made by commentators. However, whether that’ll have any bearing on his support remains to be seen. He’s still talking the language that enthused many, even if the actions haven’t matched the rhetoric. I discovered that much when in the States for talks interspersed with a holiday last month. It’s a deeply divided land. Watching news programmes and even TV channels would have you believe that you were in a different country, if not a parallel universe at times.

Opinion 5
Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Invincible leaving Portsmouth to a patriotic send-off. She is to lead the task force to the Falkland Islands.

Kenny MacAskill: Brexiteers sending us on a wild goose chase

Mad Brexiteers forget that the EU kept peace and brought prosperity to a war-torn Europe, writes Kenny MacAskill.

Opinion 8
Armed policeman at Edinburgh Airport in Scotland. Picture: PA

Kenny MacAskill: We do not need routinely armed police – they need more support and protection

In my experience the overwhelming majority of police officers in Scotland neither seek for themselves, nor their colleagues to be routinely armed. They cherish policing by consent in communities, that in the main, they’re still recruited from and live within. It remains a Police Service and not a Police Force, though on occasion force may need to be used. They do, though, seek to ensure that there’s adequate protection for those they serve as well as for themselves. That’s both right and reasonable.

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Delegates in buoyant mood after Nicola Sturgeon's keynote speech at the SNP conference. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Kenny MacAskill: Case for independence needs a proper answer to currency question

There’s an old saying that a week is a long time in politics. The past seven days has shown that to be the case in Scotland, as elsewhere. The SNP spring conference gathered in Aberdeen last weekend. What might have been anticipated as being a challenging event for the party leadership instead became a rallying call for the party faithful.

Opinion 70
Freed Lockerbie bomber Megrahis welcoming crowd appeared large only because Libyan TV spliced it with another event, says Kenny.

Kenny MacAskill: I encountered fake news long before Trump

Trump did not create fake news, I was pilloried over a Libyan celebration that didn’t happen, writes Kenny MacAskill.

Opinion 16
Sentencing of convicted criminals must be left up to the judge, who is best placed to do so

Kenny MacAskill: Sentencing must not be driven by political rhetoric

A few years ago when I was Justice Secretary, I was dining with one of Scotland’s most senior law officers when we were joined by a friend who was a Scandinavian businessman. He narrated how his brother who ran a nightclub in Sweden had been brutally slain by an off-duty soldier. The killer had been refused entry to the club, went home and returned to the club with a machine gun which he discharged to deadly effect.

Opinion 1
Polish, Czech, Dutch, Norwegian and American servicemen in Europe during the Second World War. PICTURE: Getty Images

Kenny MacAskill: It’s a distortion to say Britain fought against Europe

It’s not just fake news but the falsifying of history that’s happening under President Donald Trump. The most recent falsehood referenced a terrorist incident in Sweden which was unbeknown to the Scandinavian Government, never mind a population of 10 million. He justified himself by claiming it was based on a Fox News reports on escalating crime in that country caused by migrants.

Opinion 64
17 PPP schools had to be shut for checks after a wall collapsed at Oxgangs Primary in Edinburgh. Picture: PA

Kenny MacAskill: Day of reckoning has arrived after headlong rush into PFI

Years ago, a friend’s brother working on oil tankers met his true love in a foreign port. After great efforts, he got her into the UK from the underdeveloped country where she lived. His bride thought she had arrived in the promised land, but the reality was a flat in an Edinburgh council scheme. Upon his return to sea, she stayed in the flat, and he left her with a credit card for bills. Watching daytime TV, she saw amazing offers for household and other goods, and all you had to do was phone. She took it literally and the sailor returned to a house full of possessions as well as a huge credit card bill. He was incandescent yet she was bemused by his anger, thinking these things were available on call in the west. Needless to say, it wasn’t a marriage made in heaven and soon ended. Every parent can tell a tale of an exasperated child when told there’s no money simply demanding that they go to the cashline.

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Drinking alcohol is supervised and regulated in licensed premises - but not in the home. Picture: Jacky Ghossein

Kenny MacAskill: Our struggling pubs need more support from the Government

Last week saw a spat in Parliament over the hike in rates faced by hotels and pubs. The opposition leader sought to embarrass the First Minister by pointing out that a local SNP branch had complained about a rise in the cost of a room hire at a major hotel. It turned out that the reason was the huge increase in the commercial rates burden faced by the premises. Though doubtless slightly discomfited, Nicola Sturgeon managed to handle the situation professionally, as ever.

Opinion 19
Ruth Davidson has brought colour to a Parliament that is no stranger to grey and beige. Picture: John Devlin

Kenny MacAskill: Don’t throw the book at Ruth over extra work

The declaration by Ruth Davidson that she’s been paid to appear on the TV Show Have I Got News For You and received a fee to write a book on successful women caused a political stooshie. But, why should it? It’s something that not just other politicians, but party leaders, have done before.

Opinion 16
Edinburgh's tram system needs to be directed through areas with population density if it is to be a commercial success. Picture: Lesley Martin

Kenny MacAskill: Extending tram line essential even if it was a mistake in the first place

Let me tell you about my Edinburgh tram journey. Not the trip I took with my partner for a coffee at the airport. Interesting if a bit slow or even trips taken in lively packed carriages to and from Murrayfield rugby internationals. But, the political journey I’ve made from someone implacably opposed to them, to now seeing no alternative to the line being finally completed.

Opinion 57
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