{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"news","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/barack-obama-introduced-to-irn-bru-in-st-andrews-1-4458176","id":"1.4458176","articleHeadline": "Barack Obama introduced to Irn-Bru in St Andrews","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495817762000 ,"articleLead": "

Former US president Barack Obama was introduced to Scotland’s famous Irn-Bru while playing golf in St Andrews.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458175.1495807571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir Tom Hunter shows a bottle of Irn-Bru to Barack Obama as they stop at a snack bar at the Old Course in St Andrews. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

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Former US President Barack Obama was enjoying a round of golf before giving a major address at a charity dinner on Friday when he tried the drink.

His private jet touched down at Edinburgh Airport on Friday morning, with a full motorcade leaving shortly afterwards.

He then made his way to the Old Course in St Andrews, Fife.

Some locals were lucky enough to meet the former White House resident.

One such person was Danielle Clark Bryan, 26, who is a student at University of St Andrews.

She said: “I was the first person to shake his hand, he came over and said: ‘how’s everyone, let’s shake some hands’.

“I happened to be in his eye line and I asked how he was but he didn’t respond.

“You can hear him joking with his friends, it sounds like he’s having a really good time.”

• READ MORE: Barack Obama heads to St Andrews for round of golf

Obama also spoke with 11-year-old Joseph Lynch.

Joseph said: “It was brilliant. He asked what was my name, how old I was and told me that I was a good looking guy.

“Apart from missing a shot a couple of minutes ago, he seems quite good at golf.”

Marcus Tannerbaurer, 26, also a St Andrews student, was impressed with his golfing skills.

He said: “We shook his hand he seemed really nice. I’m not one to judge anyway because I’m not very good but he seems pretty good.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DIANE KING"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458175.1495807571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458175.1495807571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sir Tom Hunter shows a bottle of Irn-Bru to Barack Obama as they stop at a snack bar at the Old Course in St Andrews. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir Tom Hunter shows a bottle of Irn-Bru to Barack Obama as they stop at a snack bar at the Old Course in St Andrews. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458175.1495807571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/man-convicted-7-years-after-rape-in-greyfriars-churchyard-1-4458346","id":"1.4458346","articleHeadline": "Man convicted 7 years after rape in Greyfriars Churchyard","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495814519000 ,"articleLead": "

A man who raped a drunken woman in Greyfrairs Churchyard in Edinburgh more than seven years ago has finally been brought to justice.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458345.1495814514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The woman was raped in Greyfriar's Kirkyard. Picture: Jon Savage"} ,"articleBody": "

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Cy Sullivan, 26, who left his victim naked from the waist down and terrified and confused in the cemetery was caught after his DNA was taken in October 2015 when he assaulted a bouncer.

His 42-year-old victim said: “What has happened to me is a living nightmare.”

In evidence, she described how she travelled from her home in the Highlands to attend a conference in Edinburgh and decided to visit the grave of Greyfrairs Bobby.

The woman said she had at least eight glasses of wine and a police officer who saw her hours later at 5am described her as ‘intoxicated.”

At the High Court in Glasgow Sullivan, from Shetland, denied rape and claimed he had consensual sex with the woman.

But, after deliberating for two days the jury convicted Sullivan of raping the woman in the graveyard on November 27, 2009, when she was intoxicated and incapable of giving consent.

The court heard that the woman was spotted by two police officers. She was standing at railings inside the graveyard appeared under the influence of alcohol.

She was taken to Gayfield police station and then examined by doctors and a DNA sample was taken.

The victim was asked by prosecutor Ian Wallace: “Do you remember leaving Greyfriars pub,” and she sobbed as she said: “No. I remember coming round in the graveyard and there was a police lady. I was frozen and I was disorientated. I tried for some time to find my way out. It was like something happened and I had just come round. It was awful. I just felt awful, embarrassed. I had no clothing on my bottom half.”

The woman told the jurors that she had no memory of what happened after she left the pub until the police found her.

She was asked if she had any recollection of anyone having sex with her and replied: “No.”

Mr Wallace then said: “Did you want to have sex with anyone that night,” and the victim said: “Definitely not.”

The court heard that at the time there was no match to the DNA found on her body, but in October 2015 there was a ‘hit” on the database after Sullivan was arrested and charged with assault and his DNA was taken.

Sullivan told the court he had bought the woman a drink and then has sex with her. He claimed that she appeared fine to him and not drunk.

He appeared in court with crutches and a wheelchair and told the jury he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis two weeks ago.

His defence counsel David Nicolson said: “Just after Christmas he had trouble with his right eye and with his balance. On May 12 a diagnosis was made. He was diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis.”

Judge Rita Rae remanded Sullivan in custody and placed him on the sex offenders’ register.

She told him: “Rape is one of the most serious charges we have to deal with in these courts and has long-lasting effects on women.

“I am reading an impact statement from the victim and she says: “What happened to me in a living nightmare.’

“It was obvious when she gave evidence she is still suffering.”

Lady Rae deferred sentence until next month for background reports.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "WILMA RILEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458345.1495814514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458345.1495814514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The woman was raped in Greyfriar's Kirkyard. Picture: Jon Savage","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The woman was raped in Greyfriar's Kirkyard. Picture: Jon Savage","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458345.1495814514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/get-out-of-scotland-watch-tory-activists-harassed-on-street-1-4457902","id":"1.4457902","articleHeadline": "‘Get out of Scotland!’: watch Tory activists harassed on street","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495806408000 ,"articleLead": "

Video footage has emerged of a pro-independence supporter shouting abuse at Tory canvassers on the election campaign trail including taunts of \"You're not welcome in Scotland.\".

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457972.1495806404!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Footage has emerged of a pro-independence supporter telling Tory activists they are "not welcome" in Bannockburn. Picture: Twitter/@Stephenckerr"} ,"articleBody": "

The scenes have been branded \"unacceptable\" by senior Conservatives who said it was carried out by \"SNP activists\" and called on Nicola Sturgeon to take action.

The footage was taken in Cowie, Stirlingshire on Thursday night when national campaigning was still informally suspended in the aftermath of the Manchester bombings. It appears to have been taken inside a moving car with two pro-independence supporters following Conservatives around the streets as they campaign on foot.

READ MORE: General Election Poll: Conservatives’ lead over Labour falls

READ MORE: Scottish economy fears as UK growth revised downward

The driver of the vehicle says she is filming \"live\" and shouts at the canvassers.

\"Get out of Cowie, get out of Bannockburn, get out of Scotland - you're not welcome.\"

The video lasts almost four minutes and the driver tells Conservative campaigners she will be following them all around their canvassing route.

\"Run away, get out this is Tory-free Bannockburn. Tories are not welcome - now move. Every time you come up on the street you will be coming after.\"

The video was posted on social media last night by Tory candidate in Stirling Stephen Kerr.

\"This is what members of my campaign team routinely endure. This video was made tonight by SNP activists in Cowie,\" he said.

Tory Edinburgh South West candidate Miles Briggs called on the First Minister to intervene.

“Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP cannot simply ignore or try to wash their hands of the unacceptable actions of her former MPs and party members.”

A spokesman for the SNP said: “She [activist] has been spoken to and reminded that political arguments should be made with courtesy and respect.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "scott.macnab@scotsman.com" ,"author": "Scott Macnab"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457972.1495806404!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457972.1495806404!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Footage has emerged of a pro-independence supporter telling Tory activists they are "not welcome" in Bannockburn. Picture: Twitter/@Stephenckerr","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Footage has emerged of a pro-independence supporter telling Tory activists they are "not welcome" in Bannockburn. Picture: Twitter/@Stephenckerr","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457972.1495806404!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457901.1495796140!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457901.1495796140!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tory MSP Miles Briggs called on the First Minister to act","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tory MSP Miles Briggs called on the First Minister to act","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457901.1495796140!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/holyrood-and-westminster-must-put-politics-aside-say-industry-chiefs-1-4458032","id":"1.4458032","articleHeadline": "Holyrood and Westminster must \"put politics aside\" say industry chiefs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495800846749 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish and UK Governments have been urged to \"put politics to one side\" and work together to breathe new life into the nation's flagging economy by business leaders.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458031.1495800931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liz Cameron called on Holyrood and Westminster to work together"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce has raised concerns that Scotland may be left behind as a new UK industrial strategy is devised because many of the issues are devolved.

Chief executive Liz Cameron today told said that firms north of the border must not be sidelined.

\"Scotland and the UK continue to lag behind competitor nations in terms of our productivity,\" Ms Cameron said today.

\"We need to restore a focus on ongoing work-based learning and re-skilling of older workers in order to ensure that our businesses have access to the talents they need to grow and succeed. This is particularly important, given the demographics of low unemployment and an ageing workforce.

“Once this General Election has been decided, there exists a golden opportunity for the Scottish and UK Governments to co-ordinate their activity as never before, putting politics to one side and focusing on how to build the success of our businesses.”

Prime Minister Theresa May last week used a keynote speech in Edinburgh to pledge an end to the \"devolve and forget\" style of politics in recent years and said the UK Government would make greater use of \"reserved\" issues to shape Scottish policy-making.

Ms Cameron added: \"All parties in the election have talked about a new Industrial Strategy as a key part of their economic agenda for the next Parliament. If this is pursued on a UK basis, then it is vital that it takes full account of the devolved settlement and that action is co-ordinated by the Scottish and UK Governments to ensure that Scottish firms can take full advantage of a national focus on the key drivers of business success.

\"Our businesses need an environment that enables them to identify opportunities and respond to them in an agile manner. We need a national industrial strategy to set out measures to improve our infrastructure and connectivity, to widen our access to key skills and talents, to identify actions to incentivise and reward positive behaviours and to ensure that we have the most competitive environment to do business.

\"However any UK strategy must recognise that many of those levers are under the control of the Scottish Government and therefore it must be fully engaged if Scottish businesses are to benefit from the strategy to the fullest extent.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "scott.macnab@scotsman.com" ,"author": "Scott Macnab"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458031.1495800931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458031.1495800931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Liz Cameron called on Holyrood and Westminster to work together","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liz Cameron called on Holyrood and Westminster to work together","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458031.1495800931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/barack-obama-spoke-migration-terrorism-and-flossing-as-he-wowed-guests-at-charity-dinner-1-4458635","id":"1.4458635","articleHeadline": "Barack Obama spoke migration, terrorism and flossing as he wowed guests at charity dinner","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495835270000 ,"articleLead": "

Former US President Barack Obama made sure he soaked up not only the sun but many of the country’s most famed delights on his first trip to Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458634.1495835267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former United States President Barack Obama plays a round of golf at the Old Course at St Andrews before attending a charity dinner. Pic: Robert Perry/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

He tried his hand at the home of golf where he charmed delighted spectators - before being introduced to Scotland’s other national drink, Irn-Bru.

And on Friday night he had a crowd of business leader and politicians transfixed as he spoke about some of the things closest to him in his life - including his mother and toothfloss.

Mr Obama gave people an insight into his life when he addressed a charity dinner at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in aid of the The Hunter Foundation, set up by philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter, and the Obama Foundation, set up by the former president and his wife Michelle.

Tickets for tables of ten went on sale from about £5,000 - with some tables paying far more with an added extra of meeting the Democrat personally.

Dressed in a smart black tuxedo, Mr Obama spoke about a range of topics and described how “Democracy was hard” and said “our way of life is a garden that needs to be nurtured”.

He also told the 1,000 guests his priorities were tackling terrorism and making new economies work for all with increased globalisation and new technologies making it harder for people to get decent wages.

And he said finding new clean energy and tackling climate change could not be ignored.

He also tackled migration, saying it had to be done “in a way which is compassionate and respectful of the law”.

And, in what could be a stab at his successor, he said fake news was now an issue that had to be watched and that “too many people base facts on their opinions rather than basing their opinion on facts”.

And the room erupted in laughter when he vowed to return Scotland so he can experience “the full rainy experience” and later said he never gets too up or too down “because he’s from Hawaii”.

He told how he believed “wisdom comes from unlikely places” and for everyone “there is someone in your life who grounds you and - for me that was my mother”.

And the Democrat, who spent eight years at the White House, shared a proud moment with the audience when he revealed his greatest achievement was raising his two daughters to become “fine people”.

Asked what his best piece of advice was, the legendary icon who is known for his perfect smile, replied “Floss”.

All guests - which included singers, politicians, sportspeople and business figures - had been banned from using their mobile phones and had been vetted almost a month in advance.

The recent Manchester Attack had clearly led to heightened security as more than 40 uniformed police officers guarded all entrances and exits to the centre.

And above flats across the road two very visible snipers watched over events while a police helicopter circled overhead.

Around 250 people lined the street outside in the hope of catching a glimpse of the global icon, who left them disappointed by venturing in through a back door away from public view.

One of the first to arrive at the venue was comic Kevin Bridges, who was performing at the fundraiser. Asked if he was looking forward to seeing Mr Obama he said: “I’m excited, aye, should be good.”

Annie Lennox and Scots rockers Texas, who were also performing, also avoided the front door as did Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her husband Peter Murrell, Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson, Scots Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop were among attendees. Along with Michelin-starred chef Andrew Fairlie, ex-Scottish rugby player Scott Hastings, businessman Sir Ian Wood and Lord Wallace, who said: “It’s very special to have Mr Obama here in Edinburgh, in Scotland, in front of so many people.”

Glasgow schoolgirl Mila Stricevic, 13, who won a competition to read a poem at the event also attended.

Event organiser Sir Tom said: “This event is all about having an inspirational speaker and, with regards to fundraising, we’re hopefully going to help about 300 children’s charities.”

Auction prizes on the night included two walk-on parts in the next Fantastic Beasts film from the Harry Potter franchise and the naming rights to the Gleneagles Hotel American bar.

Obama fans who had travelled to the capital captured the mood of the visit when they said that even though they did not see the man - they were still huge admirers.

Stewart Kermack, 61, had travelled up from Prestwick - on two long bus rides - wearing a Barack Obama T-shirt his son had bought him on a trip to the US eight years ago.

He said: “I came especially to see Obama. I think he is a great guy and was a very charismatic leader. I have never worn this T-shirt before and was never going to. But when I heard he was coming I had to wear it, Am I sad not to see him yes. But he was here, in Scotland doing what he does best - inspiring. That’s enough for me.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "NATALIE WALKER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458634.1495835267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458634.1495835267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former United States President Barack Obama plays a round of golf at the Old Course at St Andrews before attending a charity dinner. Pic: Robert Perry/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former United States President Barack Obama plays a round of golf at the Old Course at St Andrews before attending a charity dinner. Pic: Robert Perry/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458634.1495835267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/barack-obama-gets-true-taste-of-scotland-with-round-of-golf-and-irn-bru-1-4458569","id":"1.4458569","articleHeadline": "Barack Obama gets true taste of Scotland with round of golf and Irn-Bru","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495831921000 ,"articleLead": "

It was his first trip to Scotland and former US President Barack Obama made sure he soaked up not only the sun but many of the country’s most famed delights.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458566.1495832594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former US president Barack Obama meets well-wishers as he plays a round of golf at St Andrews. Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE: Barack Obama in Edinburgh to attend charity dinner

He tried his hand at the home of golf where he charmed delighted spectators - before being introduced to Scotland’s other national drink, Irn Bru.

Amid tightened security in the wake of the Manchester attack Mr Obama made an unannounced visit to the Old Course in St Andrews. Delighted fans, many of them tee-ing off themselves, were stunned to see the smiling celebrity walk the Greens.

After flying into Edinburgh in a private jet yesterday morning, he was met by a cavalcade of cars and whisked up to the Fife course.

Crowds began gathering at the world famous grounds as word got out the legendary politician was in town. As he practised on the putting green he shouted to the crowd: “I understand the weather is always like this in Scotland. You are very lucky.”

Thrilled onlookers started cheering and clapping before Mr Obama took off his hat and acknowledged their applause with a flash of his trademark smile and raising his cap.

The former president’s caddy, who looked a little tense, reassured him there was “no pressure, sir” before he was seen teeing off the third.

Mr Obama, a keen golfer who played a round in Tuscany last week, said: “Well, going by those shots I shouldn’t feel any pressure.” And after his shot, he said: “Oh, that wasn’t so pretty.”

He then took time to wander over to the growing crowd who had been following him round the course.

He shook hands with people and asked them how they were doing before heading back to play golf. He was spotted doing sporty stretches before and during his game as security, dressed in casual clothes, encircled his team.

READ MORE: Barack Obama introduced to Irn-Bru in St Andrews

Half way round the course, in 26C degree heat, Scots tycoon Sir Tom Hunter - who had invited Mr Obama to Scotland to speak at a charity dinner on Friday night - took him to a snack bar for some refreshments. It was here the Democrat was introduced to a bottle of Irn Bru. Pictures emerged of him being handed a sugar-free bottle of the orange drink, but no-one could confirm if he tasted it.

St Andrews University student Danielle Clark Bryan, 26, was stunned to have met the former White House resident.

“I was the first person to shake his hand, he came over and said: ‘How’s everyone, let’s shake some hands’. I happened to be in his eye line and I asked how he was but he didn’t respond.

“You could hear him joking with his friends, it sounded like he’s having a really good time.”

He later spoke to with 11-year-old Joseph Lynch. The schoolboy said: “It was brilliant. He asked what was my name, how old I was and told me that I was a good looking guy.

“Apart from missing a shot a couple of minutes ago, he seems quite good at golf.”

Another student Marcus Tannerbaurer, 26, said: “We shook his hand he seemed really nice. He seems pretty good at golf, but I’m not one to judge.”

Philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter, who accompanied him round the course, praised Mr Obama’s golf skills.

He said: “He played great, I don’t play golf so I was simply doing the drinks and driving the buggy, but it was great fun.

“That was the very first time I’ve met him, he was very cool.

“There was a lot of interest in St Andrews, but he was pretty relaxed and spoke to everybody.

“Who wouldn’t enjoy Scotland on a day like this? It’s brilliant to have him here.”

And the philanthropist admitted meeting the 44th US President had been as much fun for him as the crowds.

“I’m not really someone who gets too excited - I’m on a pretty even keel - but today, yeah, this is an exciting one for sure,” he said.

“I first wanted to get president Obama here when I saw his inauguration in 2009. It was a rainy day in Scotland and I was just blown away by his speech and his message of hope, and I just thought it would be great to have him in Scotland.

“After he left office in January we made the invitation. Former US ambassador to Britain Matthew Barzun, who I’d become friendly with, was very helpful in making the right connections.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "NATALIE WALKER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458566.1495832594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458566.1495832594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former US president Barack Obama meets well-wishers as he plays a round of golf at St Andrews. Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former US president Barack Obama meets well-wishers as he plays a round of golf at St Andrews. Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458566.1495832594!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458567.1495832599!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458567.1495832599!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Barack Obama enjoyed himself at St Andrews. Pic: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Barack Obama enjoyed himself at St Andrews. Pic: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458567.1495832599!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458568.1495832602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458568.1495832602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sir Tom Hunter (partially obscured) shows a bottle of Irn-Bru to former US president Barack Obama. Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir Tom Hunter (partially obscured) shows a bottle of Irn-Bru to former US president Barack Obama. Pic: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458568.1495832602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/jeremy-corbyn-i-m-making-no-promises-to-cut-immigration-1-4458550","id":"1.4458550","articleHeadline": "Jeremy Corbyn: ‘I’m making no promises to cut immigration’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495830227000 ,"articleLead": "

Jeremy Corbyn has said he is “making no promises” to cut immigration should he become prime minister.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458549.1495830223!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn is making no promises to cut immigration. Pic: Carl Court/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The Labour leader said he envisages it decreasing if the economy is doing well and enough British workers are trained properly.

He has previously said a Labour government would deliver a “fair” immigration policy and recognised it will “probably be lower”, adding he did not want to make predictions.

In an interview with Andrew Neil on BBC One, Mr Corbyn was told neither he nor the Labour Party were the ones to reduce immigration numbers.

Mr Corbyn replied: “We are in favour of managed immigration when the free movement ends when we leave the European Union.

“We are against people being brought in as wholesale workforces to undermine existing working conditions and workers. There will be managed migration in the future based, based on...”

Mr Neil interjected to ask: “Will you be cutting immigration?”

Mr Corbyn replied: “Based on the economic needs of our society.

“We’ve had Theresa May promising in three elections to make cuts to immigration. I’m making no promises on that.

“What I’m saying is the immigration issue would be dealt with on the basis of necessary family reunions and also the economic needs of the country as a whole.”

Asked if he would try to cut the numbers, Mr Corbyn said: “Well, if the economy is doing well and we train people properly then the need to bring in skilled workers from overseas will obviously reduce.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "AMY WATSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458549.1495830223!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458549.1495830223!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jeremy Corbyn is making no promises to cut immigration. Pic: Carl Court/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn is making no promises to cut immigration. Pic: Carl Court/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458549.1495830223!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/retail/sales-decline-slows-at-transitional-restaurant-group-1-4457679","id":"1.4457679","articleHeadline": "Sales decline slows at ‘transitional’ Restaurant Group","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495788108000 ,"articleLead": "

The owner of Frankie & Benny’s has reported a slowdown in its sales decline as the firm presses ahead with its turnaround plan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457678.1495793466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The owner of Frankie & Benny's is pressing ahead with its turnaround plan. Picture: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

The Restaurant Group said like-for-like sales fell 1.8 per cent in the 20 weeks to 21 May, with total sales declining 1.5 per cent.

However, the figures mark an improvement on the fourth quarter, which saw like-for-like sales drop 5.9 per cent.

• READ MORE: Frankie & Benny’s owner to axe jobs after losses

The company, which is also behind Garfunkel’s, has been closing under-performing restaurants and rejigging menus as part of a turnaround attempt under chief executive Andy McCue.

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The Restaurant Group said the implementation of its strategy was “progressing well”, while also pointing to favourable weather that helped sales at its pubs business.

In a trading update, the firm said: “2017 is a transitional year. We continue to address the competitiveness of our leisure businesses and are focused on achieving a sustainable volume-led turnaround.

“Where opportunities to accelerate our progress present themselves, we will invest appropriately.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

The company has admitted it has lost value-conscious customers at Frankie & Benny’s after significant price hikes and the firm has previously pledged to “look at the pricing architecture of the menu” and “reinvigorate the value offer” in a bid to attract more families to its outlets.

The Restaurant Group posted a pre-tax loss of £40 million last year after being stung with a £117m exceptional charge linked to restructuring efforts.

• READ MORE: Cost pressures weigh on profits in key services sector

Today the company said it expects profits for this year to meet market expectations.

The Restaurant Group operates more than 400 restaurants and pubs and it is also behind Chiquito, Coast To Coast and Brunning & Price.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ravender Sembhy"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457678.1495793466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457678.1495793466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The owner of Frankie & Benny's is pressing ahead with its turnaround plan. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The owner of Frankie & Benny's is pressing ahead with its turnaround plan. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457678.1495793466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/retail/mountain-warehouse-creating-400-jobs-after-record-profit-1-4457665","id":"1.4457665","articleHeadline": "Mountain Warehouse creating 400 jobs after record profit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495786884000 ,"articleLead": "

Outdoor retailer Mountain Warehouse has booked record profits as it pushes ahead with a store expansion that will create 400 jobs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457664.1495787459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mountain Warehouse plans to open 40 more stores this year, creating hundreds of jobs. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The group said pre-tax profits jumped by 22 per cent to £19.8 million for the year to February, while sales surged 30.8 per cent to £184.8m.

Like-for-like sales climbed by 16.5 per cent over the period, but the rate of growth eased from the 19.3 per cent seen in 2016.

• READ MORE: Mountain Warehouse on a high with record festive trade

Mountain Warehouse plans to open 40 more stores this year creating hundreds of jobs, with around half the outlets being launched outside the UK.

Founder and chief executive Mark Neale said he was “not overly concerned” about the prospect of shoppers reining in their spending in the face of rising inflation.

Unlike some retailers on the high street, he said the firm had managed to shield customers from Brexit-induced price rises thanks to currency hedging and favourable prices from suppliers in China.

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He added: “In previous downturns we have benefited potentially from people being on bit more of a budget and shopping with us when they would have shopped at more expensive brands.”

Neale said he did not buy into the notion that the high street was dying, adding: “Right now, we are in discussion on two Brantano stores because they went bust a few weeks ago.

“Everyone says ‘doom and gloom Brantano are going bust’, but two new Mountain Warehouse stores are going to open as a result and will create new jobs.”

The firm, which employs 2,600 staff, said international sales doubled for the year, while online sales pushed 50.6 per cent higher.

It said it was eyeing opportunities in Czech Republic and Germany following a hefty expansion into Poland, where it has 15 stores.

The move will leave it with 62 overseas stores by the end of the current financial year, with the aim of having 300 UK stores and 300 international outlets. The firm currently has around 265 stores.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

The expansion drive comes as Mountain Warehouse marks 20 years since Neale opened the first shop in Swindon.

Asked whether he considered taking back seat role after two decades at the top, he said: “I don’t think so. Maybe in the future, but I’m either in or out. I would find it very difficult.”

On the growth of the business, he added: “My aspirations when I opened my first shop was just to keep going to the next week. We were very short of cash quite often.

“There was a period when I would come in in the morning and we would work out how much money we took yesterday and who we were going to pay to stop the creditors ringing.

“After ten years we eventually established a business model based around own-brand products, which were higher margin and offered a better price for customers, and the business became quite profitable quite quickly at that point”.

He said plans to take the business public were now “very much in the long grass” after rolling back a proposed stock market flotation last year.

The retailer’s sister brand Zakti, which sells sports and gym clothing, will also open two more stores this year.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ben Woods"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457664.1495787459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457664.1495787459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mountain Warehouse plans to open 40 more stores this year, creating hundreds of jobs. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mountain Warehouse plans to open 40 more stores this year, creating hundreds of jobs. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457664.1495787459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457670.1495787465!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457670.1495787465!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mark Neale opened the first Mountain Warehouse shop in Swindon 20 years ago. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mark Neale opened the first Mountain Warehouse shop in Swindon 20 years ago. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457670.1495787465!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/farming/low-risk-bse-status-will-drive-scottish-red-meat-exports-1-4457639","id":"1.4457639","articleHeadline": "Low-risk BSE status will drive Scottish red meat exports","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495784784000 ,"articleLead": "

More than 20 years after the UK beef trade was rocked by the effects of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) food scare, Scotland’s national herd this week attained the lowest risk level status available for the disease – a move that should help open the door to export opportunities.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457638.1495784781!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland has had no cases of BSE since 2009. Picture: Robert Perry"} ,"articleBody": "

Negligible risk status – a classification long sought by the country’s beef and sheep industries – was confirmed by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris yesterday, giving official recognition that the BSE risk status of both Scotland and Northern Ireland is at the safest level.

England and Wales continue to be recognised as having “controlled risk” BSE status.

• READ MORE: Farming news

While BSE first hit the headlines in the late 1980s and cases peaked in the early 1990s, it was when the European Commission banned all exports of UK beef in 1996 that the country’s cattle industry faced collapse, and the work to convince authorities of the safety of Scottish beef has been ongoing since then.

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So it was no surprise that the new status was roundly welcomed by the industry, with rural secretary Fergus Ewing stating that this “significant achievement” had been many years in the making.

“Scotland has had no cases of BSE since 2009 and this announcement is testament to many people’s tireless efforts, including the The Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, our beef producers and finishers, our red meat businesses, vets, and this government. We have all worked together to maintain a system of interlocking safeguards against BSE that protects our public and animal health.”

• READ MORE: BSE regulations ‘might be lifted in coming months’

He added: “With Scotland already being recognised as officially TB-free, this decision further vindicates our reputation for supplying beef products of the highest quality, produced to the highest standards in the world, and demonstrates the OIE’s acceptance that both our surveillance for, and measures against BSE are stringent.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

Ewing said that gaining this ticket gave Scotland an even stronger foundation to continue to increase Scottish beef exports across the world.

The move is also likely to free up some of the stringent restrictions which had massively devalued the “fifth quarter” – hides, offal and other by-products – and had seen considerable additional costs incurred in disposing of so-called controlled waste.

NFU Scotland’s livestock committee chairman, Charlie Adam, said: “Achieving this status prior to Brexit secures the high-quality reputation of Scottish beef that is produced under the highest health standards.

“This reputation will be key to securing access to new and key markets, as we look to find new customers for Scottish produce going forward.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "bhenderson@farming.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Henderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457638.1495784781!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457638.1495784781!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland has had no cases of BSE since 2009. Picture: Robert Perry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland has had no cases of BSE since 2009. Picture: Robert Perry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457638.1495784781!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/former-greens-leader-backs-labour-s-ian-murray-in-edinburgh-south-1-4457611","id":"1.4457611","articleHeadline": "Former Greens leader backs Labour’s Ian Murray in Edinburgh South","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495782618000 ,"articleLead": "

A former leader of the Scottish Greens has urged voters in one of Scotland’s most marginal constituencies to back the Labour candidate at the general election.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457610.1495787166!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robin Harper, leader of the Scottish Greens from 2004-2008, is backing Ian Murray in Edinburgh South. Picture: Julie Bull"} ,"articleBody": "

Robin Harper, who became the first Green parliamentarian in the UK when elected to Holyrood in 1999, is urging fellow residents in Edinburgh South to vote for Ian Murray on June 8.

The backing of Harper will be viewed as a major boost by Murray’s team as Labour looks to win voter floating voters in the constituency, which is viewed as a target by the SNP and Conservatives.

Edinburgh South was the only seat won by Labour north of the border at the last general election.

The former Greens leader said that as his party was not standing a candidate he will be backing Mr Murray, describing him as a ‘first class representative’ and a ‘very sensible and hard working MP’.

The Greens are only standing in three seats across Scotland, and current Green co-convener Patrick Harvie has also previously said voters should consider backing Mr Murray in Edinburgh South.

Mr Murray said: “I’m very humbled and delighted that local resident Robin Harper has urged Green supporters to vote for me in Edinburgh South on June 8.

“As a pro-Union Green politician, Robin knows it’s a two horse race in Edinburgh South and it is only Labour that can beat the SNP.

“Labour is the only party that represents what the majority of people in Edinburgh South want – Scotland in the UK with the closest possible ties to Europe.

“The Tories just aren’t at the races in Edinburgh South, while the SNP offer nothing but division and decline.

“By voting for me on June 8, voters in Edinburgh South will be backing a candidate with superb environmental credentials who will fight tirelessly against the SNP’s plans for an unwanted and divisive second independence referendum and a Tory hard Brexit.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457610.1495787166!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457610.1495787166!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Robin Harper, leader of the Scottish Greens from 2004-2008, is backing Ian Murray in Edinburgh South. Picture: Julie Bull","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robin Harper, leader of the Scottish Greens from 2004-2008, is backing Ian Murray in Edinburgh South. Picture: Julie Bull","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457610.1495787166!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/markets-economy/martin-flanagan-uk-economy-displays-a-sickly-pallor-1-4457585","id":"1.4457585","articleHeadline": "Martin Flanagan: UK economy displays a sickly pallor","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495779620000 ,"articleLead": "

Whenever politicians and business organisations talk about the need to rebalance the UK economy away from consumer consumption, many of us do not hold our breath.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457584.1495779614!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'Manufacturing, construction and exports are largely treading water,' writes Martin Flanagan. Picture: Colin Mearns"} ,"articleBody": "

Time has taught that if it is not quite an intractable problem, it does a good impression of one.

The latest GDP figures underline the point. The economy grew 0.2 per cent in the first three months of 2017, down from an initial estimate of 0.3 per cent.

• READ MORE: Scottish economy fears as UK growth revised downward

A key component of the slowdown was unhelpful trading figures (at the heart of the economic rebalancing argument, with politicians and economists wanting exports and business investment to form a bigger part of the cake).

Exports were downwardly revised to -1.6 per cent, from +0.5 per cent initial estimates, while imports surged 2.7 per cent. This is particularly disappointing, as UK exporters had the distinct advantage of a big devaluation in the pound last year following the Brexit vote.

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It is an exaggeration, though based on gathering evidence, but some of the more bearish City analysts are now suggesting the UK might be the sick man of Europe.

These latest GDP figures drag the UK’s annual rate of growth down to 2 per cent from 2.1 per cent. This compares with 3 per cent annualised growth in Spain, and 0.8 per cent Spanish growth in the first quarter of this year. Overall eurozone GDP expanded by 0.5 per cent in the quarter.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

The UK economy, for so long outperforming the eurozone, not least during the latter’s sovereign debt crisis of yesteryear, is now bumping along the bottom of European growth with politically riven, economically drifting Italy.

• READ MORE: Cost pressures weigh on profits in key services sector

The UK’s services sector came under pressure as widely predicted, given the double-clamp of stagnant earnings and rising inflation. The services industry, nearly four-fifths of the economy, saw output revised down to 0.2 per cent from 0.3 per cent in the first quarter, way down from its 0.8 per cent expansion between last October and December.

In short, what has been our rabbits’ foot sector for so long is now looking stretched and may not consistently get us out of trouble, while manufacturing, construction and exports are largely treading water.

It is not a heartening prospect, even before further Brexit uncertainty.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "mflanagan@scotsman.com" ,"author": "Martin Flanagan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457584.1495779614!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457584.1495779614!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "'Manufacturing, construction and exports are largely treading water,' writes Martin Flanagan. Picture: Colin Mearns","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'Manufacturing, construction and exports are largely treading water,' writes Martin Flanagan. Picture: Colin Mearns","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457584.1495779614!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/general-election-edinburgh-south-most-gambled-on-scottish-constituency-1-4458324","id":"1.4458324","articleHeadline": "General Election: Edinburgh South ‘most gambled on’ Scottish constituency","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495813801000 ,"articleLead": "

Ian Murray’s seat has seen the most amount of bets placed on it.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458323.1495813796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour MP Ian Murray. Picture: Scott Taylor"} ,"articleBody": "

Bookmakers have revealed that the Edinburgh seat previously held by Labour’s Ian Murray has seen the most amount of betting activity of any Scottish constituency for the upcoming General Election.

With voters going to the polls in less than a fortnight, many canny gamblers are trying to make a few quid by staking on the outcome of individual seats.

READ MORE: What does Labour’s poll revival mean for Scotland?

And Ladbrokes have revealed that the seat that in Scotland that has attracted the most attention is Edinburgh South, which was Labour’s sole Scottish seat in the last parliament.

Ian Murray won the seat against the grain of the SNP tsunami in 2015, winning by just over 2,600 votes.

He is thought to have been aided by the fact his SNP opponent was unmasked as a ‘cybernat’ in the lead up to the vote, with a string of offensive social media posts to his name.

He is still the favourite, with Ladbrokes odds of 8/11 against 9/4 for the SNP candidate, former MSP Jim Eadie.

READ MORE: Former Green leader Robin Harper backs Ian Murray

The seat is a potential three-way marginal, with the Tories’ Stephanie Smith available at odds of 7/2 to spring an upset from third.

The top five constituencies for bettors, based on number of bets placed, are Edinburgh South; Edinburgh West, East Dunbartonshire, Gordon and Orkney & Shetland.

Matthew Shaddick, Ladbrokes’ Head of Political Betting, told the Scotsman: “In Edinburgh South, our most popular Scottish market, most of the money has been for Labour, with very little for the SNP, though it’s probably the closest 3-way fight in the whole of the UK.

In contrast to most of their targets in England, punters seems to have a lot of confidence behind Lib Dems as they seek to gain Edinburgh West, North East Fife, and East Dunbartonshire.

“Former First Minister Alex Salmond is still a pretty strong favourite in the Gordon seat he won in 2015, but there have been quite a few people backing a shock Tory gain.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ross McCafferty"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458323.1495813796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458323.1495813796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Labour MP Ian Murray. Picture: Scott Taylor","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour MP Ian Murray. Picture: Scott Taylor","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458323.1495813796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/tory-councillor-axed-from-board-amid-sectarian-row-1-4458300","id":"1.4458300","articleHeadline": "Tory councillor axed from board amid sectarian row","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495813133000 ,"articleLead": "

A Conservative councillor has been removed from one of his first posts after sharing material from Protestant pride groups.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458307.1495813130!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neill Graham. Picture: submitted"} ,"articleBody": "

Renfrewshire councillor Neill Graham was ousted from his new role on the authority’s Joint Consultative Board for non-teaching staff within 48 hours, after trade unions threatened a boycott.

The newly elected Tory, last month had to apologise for circulating material from Protestant pride groups on Facebook.

Cllr Graham’s position on the board involved handling workforce complaints and equality issues. He was appointed on Tuesday.

READ MORE: General Election Poll: Conservatives’ lead over Labour falls

READ MORE: Scottish economy fears as UK growth revised downward

On Thursday Unison, Unite and GMB, told the council they would boycott the forum unless Mr Graham was replaced.

The Herald reported that Mr Graham, 26, who represents Paisley Northeast and Ralston, was out by the end of the day.

In 2014, the controversial figure asked people to ‘like’ a photograph on Facebook of the Parachute Regiment on Bloody Sunday, when soldiers shot 13 people dead on a civil march in Derry in 1972.

The image was from the “Proud to be a Protestant banter group” and Mr Graham’s post said: “How many likes for the Paras?”

The 2010 Saville inquiry concluded the killings were both “unjustified” and “unjustifiable”.

In 2013, Mr Graham also shared posts from the “Protestant coalition” Facebook group critical of former South African president Nelson Mandela, and joked about attending a conference of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party while on a holiday in Greece.

Mr Graham’s former address and current phone number appear in a leaked database of British National Party members from 2008, although he strongly denies BNP membership.

Mark Ferguson of Unison Renfrewshire branch, said: “It was the right decision to take for that particular board, but there’s a wider issue for the council with someone who has expressed these views.

“They should be reminded of the council’s policies on equality, diversity and respect.”

A council spokesman said: “Nominations for membership of Council boards and committees is a matter for the parties and is currently being finalised. It is our understanding the appointment of Councillor Graham to the Joint Consultative Board (Non-Teaching) has been changed.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RUSSELL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458307.1495813130!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458307.1495813130!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neill Graham. Picture: submitted","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neill Graham. Picture: submitted","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458307.1495813130!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/markets-economy/cost-pressures-weigh-on-profits-in-key-services-sector-1-4457570","id":"1.4457570","articleHeadline": "Cost pressures weigh on profits in key services sector","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495778502000 ,"articleLead": "

Rising costs dented profits in Britain’s crucial services sector in the three months to May as demand remained flat for the fourth consecutive quarter, says today’s latest survey from the CBI.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457568.1495778493!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The CBI report found slowing growth in volumes among consumer services such as restaurants and hotels. Picture: Chris Hondros/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Business and professional services firms – including accountancy, legal and marketing – reported “relatively unchanged” volumes. Consumer services, ranging from hotels, bars and restaurants to travel and leisure, saw slowing growth in volumes.

• READ MORE: Scottish economy fears as UK growth revised downward

The survey said that the pattern was expected to reverse in the three months to August, when business and professional services expect volumes to pick up, but volumes for the consumer sub-sector are expected to fall at the fastest pace since August 2012.

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Recent economic data, including latest GDP figures for the first quarter of 2017 released yesterday, suggest consumer spending is being reined in by a mixture of squeezed earnings growth and rising inflation.

• READ MORE: Inflation hits highest level in more than three years

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said: “Rising inflation is squeezing household incomes, which is hitting demand in the consumer services sector.

“At the same time, cost pressures are building across the board, painting a difficult picture for services firms. Despite these pressures, services firms expect to hire more workers and to continue to invest.

“Firms in business and professional services cut back on employment over the last quarter, but expect to increase headcount over the next three months. While employment growth slowed in consumer services, firms are expecting a slight pick-up next quarter.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

The CBI said a total of 24 per cent of firms said the overall profitability of business was up on the previous quarter, and 30 per cent said it was down, giving a negative balance of -6 per cent.

However, the survey said overall optimism about the situation in business and professional services improved to a net +14 per cent, for the first time since November 2015, while optimism in consumer services was up a more modest +7 per cent.

Firms expect profits growth to resume again in the next quarter (+12 per cent). Newton‑Smith added that the report suggested capital expenditure is expected to increase over the year ahead in both sub-sectors.

She said investment among consumer services firms will be “increasingly driven by the need to replace old equipment and improve efficiency”.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "mflanagan@scotsman.com" ,"author": "martin flanagan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457568.1495778493!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457568.1495778493!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The CBI report found slowing growth in volumes among consumer services such as restaurants and hotels. Picture: Chris Hondros/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The CBI report found slowing growth in volumes among consumer services such as restaurants and hotels. Picture: Chris Hondros/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457568.1495778493!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457569.1495778498!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457569.1495778498!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said the squeeze on household incomes was hitting demand in the services sector. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said the squeeze on household incomes was hitting demand in the services sector. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457569.1495778498!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/lord-ashcroft-study-indyref2-putting-off-snp-supporters-in-2-seats-1-4458278","id":"1.4458278","articleHeadline": "Lord Ashcroft study: indyref2 putting off SNP supporters in 2 seats","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495812227000 ,"articleLead": "

Voters in two of Scotland’s key battleground constituencies are turning away from the SNP over its “dogged pursuit” of a second independence referendum, according to new research.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458277.1495816126!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Research has shown that SNP supporters who voted for Brexit are turning away from the party. Pic: SWNS/Katielee Arrowsmith"} ,"articleBody": "

Lord Ashcroft, the Tory peer and independent pollster, said focus groups in Edinburgh South West and Aberdeen South found that SNP supporters who voted for Brexit were being turned off by Nicola Sturgeon’s push for indyref2 over the UK’s EU exit.

Presenting his findings in Holyrood magazine, Lord Ashcroft claimed the “single biggest reason” the SNP was struggling to equal its landslide performance in 2015 was its focus on independence.

Scotland-wide opinion polling has put the SNP as much as nine points down on their performance two years ago, when the party won 50 per cent of the vote and 56 out of 59 MPs.

The focus groups spoke to two types of voters: those who said no to Scottish independence in 2015 and voted for Labour or the Liberal Democrats, and people who voted for the SNP in 2015 and backed Brexit last year.

READ MORE: ‘Get out of Scotland!’: watch Tory activists harassed on street

“Many of these SNP leavers – who, according to our survey on the day of the EU referendum, constitute more than one in three SNP voters – saw complete consistency in their two referendum decisions,” Lord Ashcroft said.

He reported that pro-independence Brexit voter said: “Both votes were votes for something smaller, something more manageable. They were both a vote for more self-governance, on a smaller scale.”

“You’d rather run your own country. I’d rather be run by Westminster than be run by Brussels.”

Another said: “I can’t vote SNP, because of the simple reason that I voted to leave Europe. So why leave the UK to be run by Europe?”

READ MORE: Barack Obama in Edinburgh to attend charity dinner

Other Yes voters were reluctant to back Scottish independence again after Brexit because of the greater uncertainty, and the fact that it is less than three years since the last referendum.

“We can’t go on our own now, we’ve got nothing at the back of us,” one said, while another told the focus groups: “I voted yes and I cannot face another huge decision”.

Lord Ashcroft said some voters had been left with “the feeling that the independence agenda had led the [SNP] to neglect priorities at Holyrood that many voters felt were closer to home.”

One participant said: “It’s the fact that the SNP haven’t really delivered. They said a lot of things they would do, and they haven’t changed.”

However, Lord Ashcroft said he also found No voters in the 2014 referendum whose views on independence have since softened.

Both Aberdeen South and Edinburgh South West are key Conservative targets on 8 June.

Edinburgh South West Conservative candidate Miles Briggs said: “This study shows even SNP voters are getting sick of Nicola Sturgeon’s independence obsession. They’ve moved on from the referendum, and so should the First Minister.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458277.1495816126!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458277.1495816126!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Research has shown that SNP supporters who voted for Brexit are turning away from the party. Pic: SWNS/Katielee Arrowsmith","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Research has shown that SNP supporters who voted for Brexit are turning away from the party. Pic: SWNS/Katielee Arrowsmith","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458277.1495816126!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/what-does-labour-s-poll-revival-mean-for-scotland-1-4458233","id":"1.4458233","articleHeadline": "What does Labour’s poll revival mean for Scotland?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495809237000 ,"articleLead": "

Could a surge in support for Jeremy Corbyn change the plans of the three main parties in the 2017 General Election?

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457871.1495795352!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

After being understandably postponed in the wake of the terrorist attack in Manchester, campaigning for the General Election on June 8 has restarted in earnest today.

With less than a fortnight now until voters go to the polls, parties are stepping up their policy announcements, and sniping at their rivals.

And with a backlog of polls being released yesterday, the story of the newly resumed campaign seems to be an extraordinary turnaround in fortunes for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party.

A Yougov poll for the Times saw the Tories drop to 43 per cent, with a Labour surge seeing them move up to 38 per cent, within five of the Conservatives.

Many attribute that reversal in fortunes for Theresa May a result of her botched roll-out of a new policy on how older people’s care is paid for.

It is worth noting that prevailing wisdom from pollsters, pundits and bookmakers is that Jeremy Corbyn won’t win and the Tories should enjoy a handsome majority once the votes are counted.

Nevertheless, the improvement in Labour’s poll standings is significant, and here in Scotland, we analyse how it could affect the main parties.

Labour

It seems almost churlish to consider this poll anything other than good news for Labour in Scotland – they are closing in on the Tories in an election that they were meant to lose handily.

READ MORE: Tory activists harassed on the street

Indeed, some Labour candidates can be considered key Corbyn allies north of the border, such as Rhea Wolfson in Livingston.

But many more of Kezia Dugdale’s candidates are running a campaign that neglects to mention the leader at all.

This is especially in true in areas that have high Conservative support, such as in East Renfrewshire, former seat of ex-leader Jim Murphy.

There, the man who led the Better Together campaign, Blair McDougall, is the Labour candidate, is making far more of his unionist credentials than of his leader.

Ian Murray, in Edinburgh South, is hopefully that his constituency’s Tory voters will back him as the candidate most likely to stop the pro-independence SNP.

He too, is relying on a reputation as being opposed to Corbyn, having resigned from the shadow cabinet over the latter’s leadership.

Candidates like that are, counter-intuitively, helped by low Labour poll ratings in the rest of the UK because voters deterred by Corbyn can vote for a Labour candidate they like safe in the knowledge that a Labour Government is a distant prospect.

Any Corbyn surge makes that Government more likely, and could imperil Labour candidates relying more on local issues helping them to victory.

Conservative

This poll is of course bad news for Conservatives everywhere, but it could be especially bad for the Tories in Scotland.

Ruth Davidson’s party has talked little and less about UK-wide issues, preparing instead to try for a repeat of their local elections success with an unrelenting focus on matters constitutional.

Apart from a Tweet aimed at Jeremy Corbyn’s previous stances on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Ms Davidson has mentioned Labour and their leader precious few times on the campaign trail.

READ MORE: The funniest accounts to follow on Twitter during the election

Billing themselves as the party to block indyref2 and defeat the SNP has proved successful for the Conservatives, now firmly established as the second force in Scottish politics.

But when forced to account for or defend the policies her party advocates at a UK-level, Ms Davidson’s normally accomplished media performances can come rather unstuck.

She was on the backfoot over the so-called rape clause in a combative interview with Radio 5 Live, and has, on a number of occasions, offered conflicting views of her ideal for Scotland as a welcoming home for immigrants.

If the General Election suddenly becomes a close run thing, Ms Davidson could be forced to discuss her party’s policies more and more, and that way lies danger.

The SNP

Many would contend that the SNP are only concerned with polling in Scotland, but that doesn’t quite tell the whole story.

The SNP have been able to bill themselves as standing up for Scotland as Theresa May pushes for a hard Brexit.

A strong SNP contingent at Westminster, Nicola Sturgeon contends, could be a bulwark against those Tory plans.

That message implies, and has indeed been stated by the First Minister on many occasions, that the Labour party have virtually no chance of winning the election.

Should the prospect become more likely, voters may conclude that the best bulwark against Theresa May is a Labour Government.

Conservatives too, who could have split the vote by backing a unionist Labour candidate, could mobilise around their own prospective MPs, damaging the SNP in constituencies where the Tories could come from third position.

All three parties will doubtless keep an eye on any further polling fluctuations as election day on June 8 looms large.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ross McCafferty"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457871.1495795352!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457871.1495795352!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457871.1495795352!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/10-of-the-funniest-twitter-accounts-on-the-general-election-1-4458167","id":"1.4458167","articleHeadline": "10 of the funniest Twitter accounts on the General Election","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495806599000 ,"articleLead": "

Twitter is awash with politics as the general election campaign enters its final two weeks. But social media need not always be serious - even when debating who should be next prime minister. For those looking for current affairs with a large dash of light relief, here are 10 of the best profiles to follow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458166.1495806176!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Larry the Cat. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Theresa May Casebooks @TMayCasebooks

Dear Deidre - the long-running agony aunt column in The Sun - is gloriously crossed with party politics. While the real Photo Casebook features models posing as ordinary people discussing everyday relationship problem, this version swaps the platitudes about boyfriends for some well-observed Westminster lines. “Don’t worry, love” a wife says to her husband. “Everyone performs a u-turn at some point. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

“I’m worried you’ll leave me for someone more strong and stable,” he replies.

Is John Curtice on TV? (@CurticeonTV)

Britain’s leading psephologist is a regular guest on news and current affairs programme to offer his expert insight into political polling. This twitter account simply asks: is Curtice on TV? And the answer, during the campaign season at least, is almost certainly yes.

Brian Elects (@BrianElects)

This spoof polling firm looks so convincing it’s easy to mistake it for the real thing. It’s only when you read it’s supposed results it finally clicks. “Who is most likely to lead to Paul Nuttall’s downfall?” one question asks. Answers: Natalie Sturgeon: 9% Natalie May: 4% Natalie Corbyn: 22% Paul Nuttall: 65%

Political Partridge (@PoliticalAP)

“Photos of politicians and Alan Partridge quotes in perfect harmony,” is how this account succinctly describes itself. Fans of the legendary Steve Coogan creation will know that some politicians} just can’t help sounding - or looking - like Partridge when out on the campaign trail.

Larry the Cat (@Number10cat)

This unofficial account - it is not known if the real Larry is a fan - offers wit and wisdom in the style of No 10 Downing Street’s best known mouser. Sample tweet: “The early bird catches the worm... and then gets eaten by the cat that hasn’t been to bed yet.”

Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband)

The genuine profile of the former leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition is still a home for serious political profile. But Miliband, who led Labour into the 2015 general election, has revealed a more humorous side to his personality following his return to the back benches. Such is his online wit, one online magazine even ran a feature with the headline: “16 times Ed Miliband was the sassiest politician on Twitter”. Something that would have been unthinkable only two years ago.

Mollie Goodfellow (@hansmollman)

Political journalists, it’s fair to say, may not always be the most popular members of the fourth estate. But Goodfellow, an editorial assistant for Sky News, has amassed a large twitter following thanks to her warmth, insight and good humour. While posting regular updates on the campaign, Goodfellow is not adverse to her an amusing caption or three. A picture of the Trumps meeting the Pope came with the question: “Why does Ivanka look like the widow at the funeral of her elderly, wealthy husband who died under mysterious circumstances?”

Matt Forde (@mattforde)

The stand-up comedian, broadcaster and Nottingham Forrest fan has been delivering political hot takes and put downs for several years. “I’ve printed the Green manifesto on single sides of paper. #ironyofallironies” was one recent observation.

Christian Adams (@Adamstoon1)

The recently appointed political cartoonist for the London Evening Standard is not afraid to take aim at any of the major parties. Adams won plaudits this week when his drawing of a towering sucide bomber standing longside a small girl was shared thousands of times. The caption asked: ‘Who is smaller?’

Tory Jesus (@Tory_Jesus)

“The children of the rich shall inherit the earth”, says a smiling figure of Christ. Even the biggest Conservative supporter would struggle not to smile when viewing some of these Sunday School-style illustrations.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RUSSELL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458166.1495806176!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458166.1495806176!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Larry the Cat. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Larry the Cat. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458166.1495806176!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/supreme-court-refuses-to-hear-indy-campers-appeal-1-4458154","id":"1.4458154","articleHeadline": "Supreme Court refuses to hear Indy campers appeal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495805422000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK’s highest court has refused to hear an appeal by independence campaigners evicted from a camp in the grounds of the Scottish Parliament.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458153.1495805417!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Independance Campers case will not be heard at the Supreme Court. Picture; Toby Williams"} ,"articleBody": "

A panel of three Supreme Court justices in London have ruled that the case does not raise “an arguable point of law”.

The court announced its decision to refuse permission to appeal in a statement issued on Friday.

The IndyCamp group set up a collection of caravans and tents outside Holyrood towards the end of 2015 and vowed to stay there until Scotland became independent.

It kickstarted a court battle as the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) sought to remove them from the grounds.

Judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled in favour of the parliament last summer, and again later on after an appeal, paving the way for the eviction of the campaigners.

Despite being removed from the site, the group continued its legal battle.

In their latest move, campaigners applied to the UK’s Supreme Court in a bid to take their case further.

But the justices refused permission for an appeal after “a review of the relevant written submissions”.

Campaigners had argued that eviction would infringe their rights to freedom of expression.

During previous court hearings they put forward several arguments against eviction - including claims that Jesus Christ had given permission for the camp.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458153.1495805417!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458153.1495805417!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Independance Campers case will not be heard at the Supreme Court. Picture; Toby Williams","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Independance Campers case will not be heard at the Supreme Court. Picture; Toby Williams","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458153.1495805417!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/general-election-emoji-app-launched-1-4457940","id":"1.4457940","articleHeadline": "General election emoji App launched","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495797547000 ,"articleLead": "

SOCIAL media fanatics with a political interest can now use a new emoji tool to keep some humour in the lead up to the general election.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457938.1495797277!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon emoji. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Fanmoji, who brought the country Scotmoji, now have a new General Election emoji App which has some great cartoon caricutures of those who are leading the campaign trail.

They includes ones of Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, as well as others including Boris Johnson and broadcasters David Dimbleby and Jeremy Vine, with his Swingometer.

Tim Webber, Fanmoji founder, said: “With our free Buzzmoji feature inside the free to download Fanmoji App, we think there’s a great opportunity to help people enhance their messages everyday.

READ MORE; Scottish Emojis available at last as Scotmoji is launched

“With election fever in full swing we’ll give Fanmoji users the emoji-stickers and GIFs they need for the conversations they’re about to have.

“Whether they want to show their allegiance, debate the latest events or merely register their dismay and fatigue at the whole thing - Fanmoji will have the messaging tools for them.”

He added: “We’re really excited to be launching the Fanmoji app.

“Over the last year launching individual apps for all the big cities of the UK we’ve found people really like to be able to represent themselves and their interests in more engaging and visually exciting ways.

“So it’s great to be bringing all that together in one place, adding a load of new features over the coming weeks and months, and offering a truly augmented messaging experience.”

The Fanmoji App brings users new daily General Election stickers and GIFs with their new Buzzmoji feature.

With the election in full swing, you can expect lots of emoji-stickers of Jeremy Corbyn waving a “For the many, not the few” placard, Theresa May displaying “strong and stable leadership” banners, Boris Johnson’s latest slip of the tongue, Nicola Sturgeon showing her Scottish pride, and Leanne Wood giving her Welsh love.

He said that, come polling day, there will of course be the tools to celebrate #Dogsatpollingstations and also includes broadcaster David Dimbleby and Jeremy Vine’s Swingometer.

Fanmoji allows users to pin their heart on your sleeve and chat about the latest news in iMessage and Whatsapp in a bold way. People can also post Fanmojis to Twitter and Facebook.

READ MORE: Fanmoji is available in the App Store

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457938.1495797277!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457938.1495797277!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon emoji. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon emoji. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457938.1495797277!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457939.1495797278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457939.1495797278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Boris Johnson emoji. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson emoji. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457939.1495797278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457935.1495797275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457935.1495797275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Prime Minister Theresa May placard emoji. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Theresa May placard emoji. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457935.1495797275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457936.1495797275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457936.1495797275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jeremy Corbyn emoji. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn emoji. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457936.1495797275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457937.1495797276!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457937.1495797276!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lib Dem leader Tim Farron's emoji. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lib Dem leader Tim Farron's emoji. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457937.1495797276!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/jeremy-corbyn-critised-for-linking-manchester-to-war-on-terrror-1-4457872","id":"1.4457872","articleHeadline": "Jeremy Corbyn critised for linking Manchester to War on Terrror","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495795630000 ,"articleLead": "

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of a “totally inappropriate and crassly timed” intervention as he seeks to draw links between Britain’s involvement in military interventions overseas and terrorism at home, as the General Election campaign resumes four days after the Manchester bomb attack.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457871.1495795352!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The Labour leader’s speech comes as a brace of polls suggest the Conservative lead over his party is narrowing, with one showing Theresa May’s Tories just five points ahead - the tightest since the campaign for the June 8 election was launched.

All the major parties are expected to resume national campaigning on Friday, although Prime Minister Mrs May will not be involved as she is in Italy for a summit of the G7 group of industrialised nations.

In a speech in London, Mr Corbyn will launch a barely veiled attack on the Conservative record on terror, saying it is the “responsibility” of governments to minimise the risk of attacks by giving police the funding they need and ensuring their foreign policy does not heighten the threat to the UK.

READ MORE: Latest polls show Labour cutting gap on Conservatives

He will promise to deliver the funding security agencies and emergency services need, and will say Labour would adopt a new approach towards countries that act as a seedbed for extremist violence, declaring it is time to recognise the West’s “war on terror” is not working.

But Security Minister Ben Wallace condemned Mr Corbyn’s speech and said Islamist terror was aimed at the British way of life rather than a response to foreign military interventions.

In what is likely to be seen as a reference to Britain’s military involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as air strikes against terrorist targets in Syria - all of which he opposed - Mr Corbyn will say Labour would “change what we do abroad” if it won power.

“Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home,” Mr Corbyn will say.

“That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and held to account for their actions.

“But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people that fights rather than fuels terrorism.

“We must be brave enough to admit the ‘War on Terror’ is simply not working. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.”

Mr Corybn will say the “solidarity, humanity and compassion” on the streets of Manchester in the days following Monday’s atrocity would be the values that guide his government in office.

In what may be an attempt to fend off allegations of a lack of patriotism, he will say: “There can be no love of country if there is neglect or disregard for its people.”

Resources

Promising to increase spending on the police and emergency services, Mr Corbyn will say: “No government can prevent every terrorist attack. If an individual is determined enough and callous enough sometimes they will get through.

“But the responsibility of government is to minimise that chance - to ensure the police have the resources they need, that our foreign policy reduces rather than increases the threat to this country, and that at home we never surrender the freedoms we have won and that terrorists are so determined to take away.”

Mr Wallace, who has responsibility for counter-terrorism matters, criticised Mr Corbyn’s grasp of the issues, telling BBC Breakfast: “He needs to get his history book out, to be brutally honest.”

He added: “These people hate our values, it’s not our foreign policy they go to war with us about.”

The Tory minister added that “Jeremy Corbyn’s comments are totally inappropriate and crassly timed” while the police operation in Manchester was ongoing and people were being treated in hospital following Monday’s atrocity.

“Now is not the time to decide to use this event to attack foreign policy decisions that may or may not have been made,” he said.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord (Paddy) Ashdown said: “Some political leaders have sought to politicise the events of the week, but now is not the time, and this is not the event, to seek political advantage.”

Meanwhile, both main parties faced criticism over their tax and spending plans from the respected economic think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The Tory goal of cutting immigration would hit tax revenues and could damage the economy, it said, while public services such as the NHS would have to be bailed out through tax rises or increased borrowing or risk a decline in quality.

Labour’s plans to raise spending to its highest level since the mid-1980s and take the tax burden to “record levels in peacetime” were highly uncertain, the think tank warned.

The planned £48.6 billion raised in extra taxes “is an overestimate”, the IFS said, and there was “no way” the tax rises could be focused on the rich and businesses in order to raise such a large amount.

In the first opinion poll taken since the Manchester suicide bomb - released on Mr Corbyn’s 68th birthday - YouGov found Conservatives down a point on the previous week on 43% and Labour up three on 38%, with Lib Dems up one on 10% and Ukip up one on 4%.

A TNS/Kantar poll taken before Monday night’s atrocity put Conservatives down five points on 42%, with Labour up five on 34%, Lib Dems up a point on 9% and Ukip down two on 4%.

READ MORE: Joyce McMillan: Much unites Labour and SNP, indyref2 remains barrier

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457871.1495795352!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457871.1495795352!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457871.1495795352!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1495727928968"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/net-migration-falls-by-a-quarter-as-eu-citizens-leave-uk-1-4457666","id":"1.4457666","articleHeadline": "Net migration falls by a quarter as EU citizens leave UK","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495790668000 ,"articleLead": "

Net long-term migration to the UK fell below a quarter of a million in 2016 for the first time in nearly three years as arrivals from eastern and central European countries plunged dramatically.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4440709.1495790664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Arrivals from some European countries has fallen sigificantly. Picture: Jane Barlow"} ,"articleBody": "

The overall measure - the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving the country - was estimated to be 248,000 last year.

This was a “statistically significant” fall of 84,000 compared with the figure recorded in 2015, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Statisticians said the change in long-term international net migration - covering people coming to and leaving the country for at least 12 months - was driven by a rise in emigration, which was up 40,000 on 2015.

This was made up mainly of EU citizens, with the number departing at an estimated 117,000 - a rise of 31,000 on the previous 12 months.

READ MORE: General Election Poll: Conservatives’ lead over Labour falls

READ MORE: Scottish economy fears as UK growth revised downward

Immigration - just those arriving - was at 588,000 last year, a fall of 43,000 year on year, although the ONS said this was not a statistically significant decrease.

The figures - the last official migration data before next month’s election - show citizens from eight central and eastern European nations have partly driven the changes.

Immigration from EU8 states - the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia - was down by 25,000 to 48,000, while emigration increased by 16,000 to 43,000 last year.

These were both statistically significant changes and resulted in the smallest net migration estimate, of 5,000, for the group of nations since they joined the EU in 2004.

The last time overall net migration, which covers the EU and the rest of the world, was below 250,000 was in the year to March 2014.

The Conservatives have maintained their objective of reducing annual net migration to the tens of thousands ahead of the poll on June 8.

In its election manifesto, Labour said it was offering “fair rules and reasonable management of migration” - but dismissed targets as “bogus”.

The new figures give the fullest picture yet of immigration around the EU referendum vote last year.

Britain’s settlement following departure from the bloc is expected to include restrictions on free movement rules, although the precise arrangements for post-Brexit immigration are yet to be thrashed out.

The official figures also showed that:

-Net migration from the whole of the EU was 133,000 in 2016, down 28% on 2015;

-There was a statistically significant increase in the estimated number of non-British citizens going home to live, largely accounted for by EU nationals;

-Non-EU net migration was estimated to be 175,000 last year, a fall of 14,000 compared with the previous year;

-Work remains the most common reason for international migration, with 275,000 people immigrating for employment, the majority of whom had a definite job (180,000);

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RUSSELL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4440709.1495790664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4440709.1495790664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Arrivals from some European countries has fallen sigificantly. Picture: Jane Barlow","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Arrivals from some European countries has fallen sigificantly. Picture: Jane Barlow","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4440709.1495790664!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/we-answer-the-most-commonly-googled-questions-about-scotland-1-4457295","id":"1.4457295","articleHeadline": "We answer the most commonly Googled questions about Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495790542000 ,"articleLead": "

Google can be incredibly helpful - from its “did you mean...” suggestions to its autofill options, the search engine is always keen to help you out when you look for information online.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457733.1495790538!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Google"} ,"articleBody": "

We used the auto-suggest function to find out what users were asking about Scotland - and had a go at answering them.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ross McCafferty"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457733.1495790538!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457733.1495790538!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: Google","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Google","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457733.1495790538!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/joyce-mcmillan-much-unites-labour-and-snp-indyref2-remains-barrier-1-4457441","id":"1.4457441","articleHeadline": "Joyce McMillan: Much unites Labour and SNP, indyref2 remains barrier","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495785938000 ,"articleLead": "

We have two parties who agree who agree on almost every aspect of domestic policy but are at each other’s throats over independence, writes Joyce McMillan

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457440.1495779363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kezia Dugdale and Nicola Sturgeon: There is much to unite their parties, but they are sworn enemies over independence"} ,"articleBody": "

As we have every reason to remember this week, there is politics, and then there is politics. One kind of politics concerns itself with the common coin of our shared life, and with the decisions we have to make about how our nation or community should best be run, from bin collections and tax levels to foreign policy.

And then there is that other kind of politics which is, most fiercely, about identity and belonging, about who we are, and who are the others; and it is often driven - at the moments when it surfaces in our lives - not by a desire to make a better world, but by fear of losing an old one. And because it deals in such primal emotions, this kind of politics often very quickly flares up into the kind of hate speech and violent talk that can - by some lost souls - be reinterpreted as a pretext for violence itself.

Britain has some experience of this process, of course, from the long Troubles in Northern Ireland, through the Brexit referendum and its aftermath, to this week’s bombing. And here in Scotland - well, we have seen several decades of identity politics without significant violence, since the SNP began its long rise in the 1970s; yet still, we should be conscious of its dangers, and of how it can betray the majority of voters.

We are fortunate, at least, in having an independence party which has gone to some trouble, over the last 25 years, to cast off its Bannockburn image, and to rebrand itself as a centre-left party which wants independence mainly as a means to a social-democratic end. Yet there is still one area where identity politics is betraying the Scottish people, with possible grim consequences; and that is in the complete breakdown of the broad anti-Tory alliance between the SNP, Labour and the Liberal Democrats that gave Scotland its huge majority vote for devolution in 1997, and put down a marker that this country would not be trampled over by Westminster Toryism again.

The deal-breakers for that alliance have been many, of course, ranging from the Labour shift to the right that allowed the SNP to start annihilating the party in its traditional heartlands, to the Liberal Democrat decision to go into Westminster coalition with the Tories in 2010.

Whatever the reasons, though, what we are left with, in 2017, is a Scottish centre-left which still speaks for a large majority of Scottish opinion, but which is hopelessly split over the matter of independence, to the point where some Labour politicians are seriously advocating voting Tory in some Scottish seats, in order to defeat the SNP. And to add insult to irony, this moment comes just as official Labour policy has moved to the left again; so that it is difficult - as Alex Salmond has wryly pointed out - to see much in the Labour manifesto that radically differs from current SNP policy in Scotland.

All of which surely invites some serious thought from all three parties about their priorities, as between constitutional politics and the more bread-and-butter variety. Following the Brexit vote, Nicola Sturgeon perhaps had no option, given her party’s 2016 manifesto, but to make some moves towards a second independence referendum; but it’s now evident that she should not try to call one until the terms of Brexit have become very clear, a process which could take half a decade.

And for the other parties - well, it’s abundantly clear that the rigid Unionist stance now being taken by Scottish Labour represents a betrayal not only of their party’s great home rule tradition, but of many former supporters who have shifted their allegiance to the SNP. To prefer a federal solution for the UK is one thing, and the Liberal Democrats at least have the excuse - a fragile one, under current circumstances - that that has always been their party’s official policy.

To talk, though, as if the very idea of Scottish independence in Europe represents anathema for Labour supporters, and is so repugnant as to justify voting Tory to prevent it, is simply ridiculous for any party of the left. It mystifies the idea of the British state in a way that is both reactionary and foolish, wrongly suggests that our sense of Britain and Ireland as an island community of nations could not survive Scotland’s independence, and probably dooms us to another ten years of hard-right Tory government, at a critical moment for our nation and for the planet.

For the truth is that under 21st century conditions, the question of independence or union is not significant enough to justify support for those who would fail to take decisive action against climate change, who would not tackle social injustice, and who would continue to collude with global elites whose compulsive greed, and massive trading of arms, is turning whole areas of the planet into uninhabitable hell-holes. In the face of this crisis, the SNP need to lay off the Labour Party, who may be their favourite tribal enemy, but who are no longer even the main opposition in Scotland.

Likewise, if the Liberal Democrats care about Europe as much as they claim to, they need to stop talking as if Brexit mattered less than the Union, and start co-operating with the Scottish Government on trying to salvage what we can of Scotland’s relationship with the EU. And if Scottish Labour are a party of the centre left, they need to keep the Tories firmly in their sights, and drop the nonsense about the SNP being the main threat, if not actually the anti-christ.

In 20 years time, Scotland may be an independent country, or it may still be a devolved part of the UK, with greater or much reduced powers. Whatever constitutional path we choose, though, it will be the politics of taxing and spending, of achieving sustainability, and of the push towards social justice or the slide towards its opposite, that will dominate our lives. And the more we focus on that, rather than on the brittle politics of threatened identity, the more likely we are to encourage civic peace; and to emerge on the right side of the argument.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JOYCE McMILLAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457440.1495779363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457440.1495779363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kezia Dugdale and Nicola Sturgeon: There is much to unite their parties, but they are sworn enemies over independence","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kezia Dugdale and Nicola Sturgeon: There is much to unite their parties, but they are sworn enemies over independence","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457440.1495779363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1495727928968"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/general-election-poll-conservatives-lead-over-labour-falls-1-4457612","id":"1.4457612","articleHeadline": "General Election Poll: Conservatives’ lead over Labour falls","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495784023000 ,"articleLead": "

The Conservatives’ advantage over Labour has narrowed to just five points in the first opinion poll taken since Monday night’s suicide bomb attack in Manchester.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4443533.1495783069!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn has caught up with Theresa May in the polls. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The YouGov survey for The Times, conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, put the Conservatives down a point on the previous week on 43 per cent and Labour up three on 38 per cent, with Liberal Democrats up one on 10% and Ukip up one on 4 per cent.

A TNS/Kantar poll taken before Monday night’s atrocity put the Conservatives down five points on 42 per cent, with Labour up five on 34 per cent, Lib Dems up a point on 9 per cent and Ukip down two on 4 per cent.

The results reflect a significant tightening in the race for the June 8 General Election, which was called in April at a point when Theresa May’s party was enjoying a seemingly unassailable lead of as much as 24 points over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.

READ MORE: Details of Barack Obama dinner in Edinburgh revealed

Labour’s former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott, who has given his personal endorsement to Mr Corbyn’s drive for Downing Street, welcomed the findings on Twitter: “It’s happening! Game on.”

The YouGov poll showed a steep slump in popularity for both Mrs May and the Conservatives over the course of the campaign so far, and a sharp improvement for both Mr Corbyn and Labour.

But it suggested that voters may be returning to Tories after the bombing, with a nine-point improvement in the Prime Minister’s personal favourability rating and a six-point boost for her party compared with a poll carried out immediately before the atrocity.

When the election was called, Mrs May’s favourability rating - obtained by subtracting the percentage with an unfavourable opinion of her from those with a favourable one - stood at plus 10, more than 50 points ahead of Mr Corbyn on minus 42.

With a rating of minus 2, the Conservative Party as a whole was also comfortably ahead of Labour on minus 27.

By the eve of the Manchester bomb, Mr Corbyn and Labour had overhauled their rivals on the favourability ranking, with the leader’s rating three points better than Mrs May’s and the party two points ahead of the Tories.

But the position has now been reversed, with the Tory party now a single point clear of Labour on minus 7 to minus 8 and the Prime Minister registering a rating of plus 1 to Mr Corbyn’s minus 16.

YouGov questioned 2,052 voters on May 24 and 25. TNS/Kantar interviewed 1,200 adults between May 18 and 22.

The Conservative candidate for Braintree, James Cleverly, tweeted: “Labour has thousands of Momentum activists and millions from the unions. We never thought this election was going to be a walk in the park.”

The Tory candidate for North Devon, Peter Heaton-Jones, said: “So now will people believe us? Jeremy Corbyn really could be PM in just two weeks. Only way to stop him is to vote Conservative.”

Pound slide

The pound continued its slide against the dollar and euro on Friday following the results of the poll.

Sterling extended losses against the greenback, falling 0.5 per cent to $1.28 having risen above 1.30 just days earlier.

Against the euro, the pound slumped 0.4 per cent to 1.14 euro.

The Conservatives’ advantage over Labour has narrowed to just five points in the first opinion poll taken since Monday night’s suicide bomb attack in Manchester.

A YouGov survey put the Conservatives down a point on the previous week on 43% and Labour up three on 38%, with Liberal Democrats up one on 10% and Ukip up one on 4%.

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, said: “Sterling fell again overnight after a poll showed the gap between Theresa May’s Conservatives and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party has narrowed again.

“Coming on the back of losses yesterday, it’s turning into a rotten end to the week for the pound. What’s more, with it having broken below 1.29 against the dollar overnight, it could be facing further misery in the near-term.”

The pound has plummeted since Britain voted to quit the European Union as confidence in the country’s economic prowess has evaporated.

Yesterday, official figures showed that the economy suffered an even deeper slowdown at the start of the year as the services sector came under pressure and inflation dealt a blow to household spending.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2017, revising down the figure from its initial estimate of 0.3%.

Mr Erlam added: “The pair (pound and dollar) had been grinding higher for the last month and while it did manage to briefly penetrate 1.30 on a few occasions, the moves were always lacking conviction which suggested markets weren’t happy at these levels.

“The break of 1.29 may well be the trigger for a correction in the pair, with 1.28 and 1.2750 being notable levels below.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Andrew Woodcock,"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4443533.1495783069!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4443533.1495783069!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jeremy Corbyn has caught up with Theresa May in the polls. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn has caught up with Theresa May in the polls. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4443533.1495783069!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}