{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"news","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/law/eric-gilligan-uk-workers-rights-on-the-line-1-4371313","id":"1.4371313","articleHeadline": "Eric Gilligan: UK workers’ rights on the line","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487588082000 ,"articleLead": "

The European Union has been a major source of the development of workers’ rights in UK employment law.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371312.1487588203!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The UK government has vowed to tackle 'shocking' discrimination against mothers. Picture: Craig Stephen"} ,"articleBody": "

But with the Brexit bill making progress through parliament, what will exit from the EU mean for UK workers and in particular expectant and new mothers in the workplace? Unfortunately, the answer is not straightforward.

Concerns about the current level of protection for women in the UK have come from a number of sources. In March 2016, the Equalities & Human Rights Commission published research indicating that 77 per cent of the women surveyed reported discriminatory or negative experiences at work. Subsequently the women and equalities select committee issued a report making a host of recommendations designed to tackle perceived deficiencies in the regime.

READ MORE: Pregnant workers face ‘unacceptable’ discrimination

The government has recently published its response, which strikes a number of progressive notes, stating that it is “shocking” that women face pregnancy or maternity discrimination and that the government is “committed to taking action to tackle the problem”. It goes on to reaffirm that Brexit will not lead to a reduction in UK employment rights.

It is unclear, however, how compatible this undertaking is with Theresa May’s indication that her government would look to change the basis of the UK’s “economic model” should Brexit negotiations result in the UK being locked out of the single market.

The government maintains that the current level of protection is strong and points out that the UK has consistently gone beyond minimum EU requirements in this area, most recently extending rights with the introduction of shared parental leave. However, the government rejects most of the committee’s recommendations or indicates they will be subject to further review.

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

The one area the government has committed to consider further, and bring forward proposals on, is that of protection from redundancy. The committee recommended that a system similar to that used in Germany is adopted, whereby expectant or new mothers may be made redundant only in very restricted circumstances. It remains to be seen how much further the government will be prepared to go to restrict UK employers’ discretion to make workers falling into this category redundant.

If we look beyond the rhetoric, it’s clear Brexit may have a significant impact on the level of protection in this most sensitive area of employment law, but one that will only reveal itself slowly.

While new and expectant mothers will welcome assurances that no reduction in employment protection will follow, it appears that severed from the EU, they may not enjoy the same development of rights as their continental counterparts, while the UK government’s commitment to substantial reform is strictly limited.

• Eric Gilligan is a partner and head of employment at law firm Stronachs

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ERIC GILLIGAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371312.1487588203!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371312.1487588203!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The UK government has vowed to tackle 'shocking' discrimination against mothers. Picture: Craig Stephen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The UK government has vowed to tackle 'shocking' discrimination against mothers. Picture: Craig Stephen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371312.1487588203!/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/scott-reid-spring-budget-to-be-the-calm-before-the-storm-1-4371141","id":"1.4371141","articleHeadline": "Scott Reid: Spring Budget to be the calm before the storm","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487578267000 ,"articleLead": "

The first few months of Philip Hammond’s reign as Chancellor have been nothing if not eventful.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371134.1487578467!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his Budget on 8 March. Picture: Jack Taylor/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The former foreign secretary has had little opportunity to ease himself into the top job at the Treasury while grappling with the impact of momentous global events on a just-about-managing British economy.

Last November’s lacklustre Autumn Statement illustrated the extent of the challenges facing a cash-strapped administration hurtling towards an uncertain future outside of the European Union. Yet, defiantly, and unexpectedly, the domestic economy has been performing pretty resiliently, despite those economic headwinds and lashings of austerity.

READ MORE: Inflation stalks the nation, but how high can it go?

The Chancellor’s smile may broaden further this week when revised figures are released for gross domestic product (GDP) during the closing months of 2016. Economists suggest that a preliminary reading of 0.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth could be tweaked a tad higher, largely due to industrial production and construction output both being stronger than previously estimated.

Meanwhile, details of the expenditure side of GDP in the fourth quarter are likely to show that growth was again supported by robust consumer spending. It seems that through thick and thin, the bargain-hunting British shopper just cannot stay away from the high street (or their smartphones and PCs, with 15 per cent of sales these days generated online).

In little more than two weeks’ time, Hammond will deliver his spring Budget which is tipped to herald yet more positive news. According to that most respected of think tanks, the EY Item Club, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is poised to trim back forecasts for net borrowing by some £3 billion to £65bn for 2016/2017, while revising up predictions for UK economic growth this year to 1.7 per cent from 1.4 per cent, mirroring similar recent revisions by business groups and economic bodies.

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

The UK government’s fiscal referee will take the steps after seeing a bigger haul from tax receipts and a stronger performance from GDP in the final three months of 2016. Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY Item Club, argues that Hammond will be under little pressure in his 8 March Budget to “use fiscal levers to support activity or fill any fiscal ‘black hole’”.

The OBR had pencilled in a sharp rise in public sector net borrowing during the Autumn Statement, pushing up its predictions to a more gloomy £68.2bn for 2016/17 from £55.5bn. It also made sweeping changes to its forecasts for GDP in anticipation that lower investment levels and weakening consumer demand triggered by the Brexit-battered pound and rising inflation would apply the brakes to the economy.

The OBR slashed its outlook for 2017 from 2.2 per cent to 1.4 per cent in November, while also trimming its GDP forecasts from 2.1 per cent to 1.7 per cent for 2018. Further out, it has maintained its prediction of 2.1 per cent growth in 2019 and 2020, before slipping to 2 per cent in 2021.

Improved economic fortunes aside, there is every likelihood that next month’s Budget speech will be a low-key affair, paving the way for the major fiscal event in future coming every autumn. Pressures on the NHS budget and local authority social care shortfalls may prompt the Chancellor to relax the spending constraints set in the November 2015 Spending Review, according to today’s Item Club Budget preview. Don’t expect budget-strapped Whitehall mandarins to be jumping for joy though.

Item Club economists also expect the government to push up the tax-free personal allowance to £11,800 and raise the threshold of the 40 per cent rate of income tax south of the Border to £46,500, bringing it closer to its manifesto targets of £12,500 and £50,000 by the end of parliament.

Hammond may also impose a temporary cut to fuel duty and defer the standard inflation-driven increase in Air Passenger Duty (APD) for one year to help ease the pressure on consumers in the face of mounting inflationary pressures.

Those inflation concerns are set to be the biggest economic headache in the months to come. The Bank of England will see its 2 per cent target breached shortly and come under increasing pressure to consider an interest rate hike if it spirals significantly. Consumer purchasing power is going to be severely tested over the summer months and pay demands and the threat of industrial action likely to broaden. He may be off the hook for now, but Hammond would do well to dig out the flak jacket for his autumn set-piece.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT REID"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371134.1487578467!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371134.1487578467!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his Budget on 8 March. Picture: Jack Taylor/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his Budget on 8 March. Picture: Jack Taylor/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371134.1487578467!/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/topsy-turvy-times-for-investors-dividend-payouts-1-4371121","id":"1.4371121","articleHeadline": "Topsy turvy times for investors’ dividend payouts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487577470000 ,"articleLead": "

Shareholders endured a disappointing 2016 with collective global dividend payments only inching ahead, although the outlook is a little brighter, a report today notes.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371120.1487577532!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Global dividends edged up just 0.1% last year on a headline basis. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Global dividends edged up just 0.1 per cent on a headline basis last year, reaching $1.154 trillion (£930 billion), while underlying growth was 0.6 per cent, according to the latest Henderson Global Dividend Index.

READ MORE: Investors enjoy record fourth quarter for UK dividends

It cited a number of factors, including a slowdown in the US, sharp falls in Australia, the UK and emerging markets, plus lower special dividends and a stronger dollar.

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

Alex Crooke, head of global equity income at Henderson Global Investors, said: “For the year ahead, the outlook for global economic growth appears brighter. With a new administration in the White House promising greater spending and tax cuts for business, corporate earnings in the US could benefit, even as they contend with the effects of the strong dollar.”

Click here to ‘Like’ The Scotsman Business on Facebook

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT REID"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371120.1487577532!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371120.1487577532!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Global dividends edged up just 0.1% last year on a headline basis. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Global dividends edged up just 0.1% last year on a headline basis. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371120.1487577532!/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/20mph-final-countdown-as-edinburgh-prepares-for-new-limit-1-4371164","id":"1.4371164","articleHeadline": "20mph: Final countdown as Edinburgh prepares for new limit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487580848000 ,"articleLead": "

ThE signs are going up and the days are counting down – it’s nearly time for the next installment of 20mph.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371163.1487580828!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new stage of the 20mph zones are to launch in the Capital this month. Picture; SWNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Motorists have just over a week until they will be required to drive at the slower speed limit, which is set to come into force across a vast swathe of the Capital next Tuesday.

The rollout marks the second phase of the 20mph scheme, which was first introduced to roads in the the city centre and parts of rural west Edinburgh on July 31 last year.

Council chiefs have argued the city-wide initiative will keep more people safe, adding a pilot scheme in 2012 also encouraged more people to get out on their bikes or public transport.

Lesley Hinds, transport leader at the city council, said: “We are now counting down to the launch of phase two of the 20mph roll-out, as I’m sure people are aware from the appearance of signs and lines around the city.

“As with phase one, we will continue working closely with the police and the community to raise awareness of the change, and to ensure it’s adhered to.”

She continued: “I appreciate that there are differing views about 20mph limits, but we know the many benefits its introduction on residential, city centre and shopping streets can bring to the local environment, sense of place and, most importantly, road safety.

“Now we are hearing wider calls for default 20mph zones across the country and I hope this initiative will serve as an example for any town or city looking to do the same.”

The second phase of the 20mph roll-out will see it expanding over a number of residential and shopping streets from Leith to Morningside.

Drivers caught speeding will face the threat of £100 fines and three penalty points.

Its arrival comes after signs appearing to signify the change started being installed across the Capital, with some motorists saying they had been left confused as to what speed they should be travelling.

Some arterial roads will retain their 30 or 40mph limits, leading to claims from some that the new signs were “confusing” and “poorly laid out”.

One taxi driver pointed out there was at least one road in the city which had a 20mph and 30mph sign side-by-side.

However, the city council said the switchover had been publicised well in advance and said anyone left in doubt could consult a map on their website detailing the correct speed for different roads.

And it isn’t just drivers in the Capital who will soon be slowing down after it was announced a number of towns in East Lothian are also set to become 20mph zones.

The slower speed limit will be made permanent across much of North Berwick, Tranent and Cockenzie after experiments were hailed a success by cabinet members at East Lothian Council.

An 18-month trial will also take place in Dunbar, with a view to introducing a permanent 20mph limit across much of the town.

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371163.1487580828!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371163.1487580828!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The new stage of the 20mph zones are to launch in the Capital this month. Picture; SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new stage of the 20mph zones are to launch in the Capital this month. Picture; SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371163.1487580828!/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/health/fasting-diet-can-turn-back-the-ageing-clock-1-4371322","id":"1.4371322","articleHeadline": "Fasting diet can ‘turn back the ageing clock’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487588591000 ,"articleLead": "

A fasting-style diet may allow people to live longer by partially turning back the ageing clock, suggests new research.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371321.1487588504!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

The study shows that the specially formulated diet, sold under the brand name ProLon, causes cellular changes normally generated by several days of just drinking water.

It also reduced cancer and inflammation diseases and extended lifespan in lab mice, the study found.

But it is safer than the 5:2 diet known as intermittent fasting when you eat normally five days and then drink just water for the other two days.

Scientists at the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California found in human trials the diet targeted the ageing process and reduced risk factors for age related diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

They believe these effects are caused by an increase in stem cell number and regeneration.

ProLon is low in calories, sugars, and protein, high in good fats, gluten and dairy-free sold as 100 per cent vegetable‐based soups, energy bars, energy drinks, teas, and supplements.

The Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) provides the body with the necessary macro and micronutrients while keeping it in a fasting mode and activates stem cell-based regeneration in multiple organs and systems.

The scientists said intermittent fasting may have some beneficial effects but it carries many risks including hypoglycemia, hypotension, and/or gallstones.

Professor Dr Valter Longo said: “Calorie restriction or changes in dietary composition can enhance healthy ageing, but the inability of most subjects to adhere to chronic and extreme diets, as well as potential adverse effects limit their application.

“Despite its potential for disease prevention and treatment, prolonged fasting is difficult to implement in human subjects and may exacerbate pre-existing nutritional deficiencies, making it not feasible and/or safe for children, the elderly, frail individuals and even the majority of healthy adults.

“We have investigated whether a dietary intervention more practical and safe than fasting could affect markers or risk factors for ageing and diseases.”

The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, involved a clinical trial with 100 volunteers who used ProLon for three monthly cycles.

It tested metabolic markers and risk factors associated with ageing and age‐related diseases.

Each ProLon cycle lasted five consecutive days and does not require alteration to lifestyle during the remaining days of the month.

Findings in humans were consistent with mouse studies showing a spike in circulating stem cells and delay in biological ageing by promoting regeneration in multiple systems.

It reduced body weight, BMI, total body fat, trunk fat, waist circumference, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin‐like growth factor 1 (IGF‐1), and a marker of inflammation C-Reactive Protein, particularly in participants at risk for diseases.

It also increased relative lean body mass (muscle and bone mass)

Low levels of IGF-1 are associated with a lower risk of cancer and diabetes and no adverse effects were reported.

The effects were still noticeable three months afterwards.

Prog Longo said: “Cycles of a five day FMD is safe, feasible and effective in reducing risk factors for ageing and age-related diseases.”

The university has licensed the FMD nutri-technology to a Los Angeles-based firm to make ProLon - short for Promote health and Longevity

It enables consumers to benefit from the positive effects of fasting while allowing them to consume food.

It’s five-day “fasting with food” programme features meals ranging from 770 to 1,100 calories per day has been shown to promote effects on a wide range of markers that contribute to ageing, such as cholesterol, triglyceride, blood pressure, inflammation, IGF-1, and fasting blood glucose.

It also helped people lose an average of five pounds of fat and 1.2 inches of waist circumference, while preserving lean body mass (muscle and bone).

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tony Whitfield"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371321.1487588504!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371321.1487588504!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371321.1487588504!/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/cancer-patients-in-poorest-parts-of-scotland-twice-as-likely-to-die-1-4371086","id":"1.4371086","articleHeadline": "Cancer patients in poorest parts of Scotland twice as likely to die","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487588163000 ,"articleLead": "

A “completely unacceptable” cancer survival gap is growing between people living in the most and least deprived parts of Scotland, a charity has warned.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371085.1487574413!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Macmillan Cancer Support said there needs to be a major step up in cancer screening in deprived areas.

The charity and the Information Services Division (ISD) carried out what it described as the most comprehensive analysis ever of the “cancer survival gap” for six of the most common cancers.

Of the cancers investigated, prostate cancer patients faced the biggest survival gap, with a 98 per cent increased risk of death.

Breast cancer patients from deprived areas had an increased risk of death of 89 per cent, while it was 61 per cent for head and neck cancer patients.

Colorectal patients in deprived areas had a 45 per cent increased risk of death and liver cancer patients a 28 per cent increased risk.

Lung cancer patients faced poor outcomes regardless of their socioeconomic status, the charity found.

The study examined the survival rate of patients diagnosed between 2004 and 2008 and followed them for five years up to 2013.

It found lower rates of screening uptake and lower rates of treatment in deprived communities, while surgery was found to have had the most influence on survival, indicating those from deprived communities may be less likely to receive surgery, possibly because of having more advanced cancer or poorer overall health.

Janice Preston, head of Macmillan in Scotland, said: “It’s completely unacceptable that someone’s chances of surviving cancer could be predicted by their postcode.

“This new research gives us an up to date and in-depth understanding of the scale of the cancer survival gap in Scotland.

It also provides the most comprehensive ever look at the reasons behind it.

“While the sheer number of factors that impact on survival means there is no magic bullet to solving this problem, this research points to clear areas for improvements, including encouraging earlier diagnosis and the take up of screening in deprived areas.

“The Scottish Government recognised the need to tackle cancer inequalities in its cancer plan published last year.

“Macmillan want to work with them, the NHS and local authorities to make sure people with cancer from deprived areas have the best possible chance of survival.”

Scottish Labour health spokesman Anas Sarwar described the report’s findings as “grim and deeply concerning”.

He said: “We already know that a person is less likely to get diagnosed and less likely to survive cancer if they come from a poorer background.

“In Scotland we are seeing the health inequality gap widen not narrow under the SNP government.

“This follows on from official figures which showed that cancer screening rates are going backwards in the poorest communities too.

“This is especially worrying as we know there is a direct link between the speed of diagnosis and survival.

“We have also seen the SNP miss the cancer treatment standard for almost three years now. That is thousands of patients and their families let down.

“Cancer rem ins Scotland’s biggest killer. We need an urgent response from the government. Warm words are simply not enough.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “While cancer mortality rates have reduced by 11 per cent over the past ten years, we recognise the need to tackle the variations between our least and most deprived communities.

“This is why our Cancer Strategy, backed by £100 million of additional investment, sets out clear actions aimed at reducing health inequalities.

“We’re already seeing results, with increased screening participation and earlier diagnosis, however there’s much more still to be done.

“Health inequality is closely linked to income inequality, which is why we have made tackling poverty as a priority.

“The UK government’s welfare cuts are having a severe impact on the most vulnerable, and while we cannot be expected to mitigate every cut, we will use new social security powers to provide better support where we can for those in need.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Paul Ward"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371085.1487574413!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371085.1487574413!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371085.1487574413!/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/how-charles-rennie-mackintosh-shaped-glasgow-1-4371279","id":"1.4371279","articleHeadline": "How Charles Rennie Mackintosh shaped Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487586380000 ,"articleLead": "

The design influences of Charles Rennie Mackintosh have sunk tendrils deep into Glasgow’s cultural identity over the course of 100 years.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371276.1487586359!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Lighthouse building and former offices of the Glasgow Herald. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

His architecture remains among the city’s finest – from his first The Lighthouse he designed as a junior draughtsman, to House For An Art Lover built deep among the foliage of Bellahouston Park.

As the world embraced the novelty of Japonism from the far east, Mackintosh relarly defied convention. His surname for one – originally McIntosh – was misspelt in the 1880’s and finding it humorous, it stuck.

‘The Quest for Charles Rennie Mackintosh’ by actor and writer John Cairney published in 1915 claims soldiers apprehended the Glaswegian on suspicion of being a German Spy.

The Scot was living in self-imposed exile in Suffolk with his artist wife Margaret Macdonald, when locals reported to police what they saw as the couple’s strange behaviour: late-night walks along the shore arousing suspicion among the locals.

Fearing they had a spy in their midst, police called in the army. When soldiers arrived at his home, they were convinced Mackintosh was German after failing to understand an abundance of curses in his strong Glaswegian accent.

Searching his home, soldiers came across letters written from a German artist friend and threw him in a Suffolk jail.

He would have undoubtedly faced a firing squad, had wife Margaret not convinced the magistrate of his innocence.

Cairney reports that Mackintosh kept quiet from the moment of his arrest, only chuckling at the sheer absurdity of the situation he had found himself in.

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371276.1487586359!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371276.1487586359!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Lighthouse building and former offices of the Glasgow Herald. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Lighthouse building and former offices of the Glasgow Herald. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371276.1487586359!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371277.1487586360!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371277.1487586360!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Picture: submitted","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Picture: submitted","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371277.1487586360!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1486132137167"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/an-independent-scotland-could-be-fast-tracked-into-the-eu-1-4371192","id":"1.4371192","articleHeadline": "An independent Scotland could be ‘fast-tracked into the EU’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487581390000 ,"articleLead": "

Leading experts say a Yes vote to leave the UK could result in Scotland having the fastest ever entry to the European Union.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371191.1487582005!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "AScottish Saltire and a European Union flag flying in front of the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh. Picture: AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFFOLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Tobias Lock of Edinburgh University and Kirsty Hughes of Friends of Europe, who have both extensively researched accession agreements, have published a landmark report which charts what they say is straightforward path for a new Scottish state to join the EU by 2023.

In their report, the academics cast doubt on perceived roadblocks to EU membership, including the threat of a Spanish veto.

Ms Hughes and Mr Lock write: “There is considerable political goodwill to Scotland in EU capitals since it is facing Brexit despite having voted to remain.

“The political goodwill, on current trends, is likely to feed into an effort to fast-track Scotland’s EU membership in the event of an independence vote.”

The pair say Spain is “unlikely” to veto Scottish membership and that the country would easily be able to meet all entry requirements.

They write: “In the end, whether normal, fast-track or with a special transition deal, Scotland would face a fairly straightforward path to the EU.

“It might even have the fastest accession process of any EU state so far.”

The report says an independent Scotland should use membership of EFTA, with Switzerland and Norway, while it waits to join the EU.

Both experts have covered accession agreements to the EU for many years and are dismissive of reports that Scotland would have to take on the Euro as its currency.

Speaking to the Herald newspaper, which published the report, SNP MEP Alyn Smith, said: “This serious and credible report underlines that all doors in the EU are open to Scotland. Obviously an independence process will have technical issues to overcome, but it is housekeeping, not principle.”

But Labour’s MEP David Martin said: “The best way to keep Scotland in Europe would be for Theresa May to end her mad, bad and dangerous obsession with Brexit at all costs.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Sarah Bradley"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371191.1487582005!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371191.1487582005!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "AScottish Saltire and a European Union flag flying in front of the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh. Picture: AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFFOLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "AScottish Saltire and a European Union flag flying in front of the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh. Picture: AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFFOLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371191.1487582005!/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/in-full/donald-trump-state-visit-will-be-debated-in-parliament-1-4371153","id":"1.4371153","articleHeadline": "Donald Trump state visit will be debated in Parliament","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487579534000 ,"articleLead": "

The state visit by Donald Trump will be debated in Parliament as protests take place across the UK against the US president.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371152.1487579503!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "President Donald Trump gestures during the "Make America Great Again Rally" at Orlando-Melbourne International Airport. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)"} ,"articleBody": "

MPs will consider Theresa May’s decision to extend the invitation to Mr Trump in a debate being held in response to petitions signed by millions of Britons.

Meanwhile demonstrations will take place across the country in support of migrants and protesting against Mr Trump, while thousands are expected to gather for a rally outside Parliament.

In Westminster Hall on Monday, MPs will debate a petition, signed by more than 1.85 million people calling for the visit to be stripped of the trappings of a state occasion in order to avoid causing “embarrassment” to the Queen.

They will also consider an alternative petition, backed by almost 312,000 signatories, demanding the state visit goes ahead.

In its official response to the petitions, the Government stressed ministers believe “the President of the United States should be extended the full courtesy of a State Visit”.

“We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements are finalised,” the response said.

The Stop Trump coalition has called a nationwide day of action and dozens of protests have been coordinated by the One Day Without Us movement celebrating the contribution of immigrants to British society.

The rally in Parliament Square, which organisers claim will attract more than 20,000 people, will be addressed by speakers including joint Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and comic Shappi Khorsandi.

Celebrities backing the action include singer Paloma Faith, who said: “I’m backing the protests because I believe in human rights and compassion and Trump evidently does not.”

Calls for the state visit to be cancelled have been backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan, who hit out at the president’s “cruel and shameful” policies.

Mr Khan said the controversial tycoon’s travel ban aimed at people from seven Muslim-majority countries, which has run into trouble in the US courts, and the suspension of refugee admissions were reasons not to be “rolling out the red carpet”.

Mr Khan, who is a Muslim, told ITV’s Peston On Sunday: “I love America, I love Americans and I believe the special relationship is a good one and one that’s here to stay.

“But when you’re mates with somebody, when you’ve got a special relationship, of course you are side-by-side with them in times of adversity but when they are wrong you call them out.”

He added: “I think this ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, ending the refugee programme is cruel and it’s shameful.

“In those circumstances we shouldn’t be rolling out the red carpet.”

Mrs May has been criticised for offering Mr Trump a state visit too soon in his already highly controversial presidency.

Barack Obama only received an invitation after 758 days, while it took 978 days before his predecessor, George W. Bush, was offered a state visit, compared with seven days for Mr Trump.

Commons Speaker John Bercow has also become embroiled in the row after effectively banning Mr Trump from addressing MPs and peers during his visit.

A motion of no confidence in the Commons Speaker was tabled as MPs left for the February recess, but with Parliament returning on Monday both Mr Bercow’s critics and supporters will be seeking allies.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Amy Watson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371152.1487579503!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371152.1487579503!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "President Donald Trump gestures during the "Make America Great Again Rally" at Orlando-Melbourne International Airport. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "President Donald Trump gestures during the "Make America Great Again Rally" at Orlando-Melbourne International Airport. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371152.1487579503!/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/brian-wilson-crunch-time-now-for-bbc-alba-a-scottish-success-story-1-4371151","id":"1.4371151","articleHeadline": "Brian Wilson: Crunch time now for BBC Alba, a Scottish success story","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487579204000 ,"articleLead": "

The Gaelic TV channel reaches far beyond those who speak the language, and can get even better if it is given proper support says Brian Wilson

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371150.1487579178!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "BBC Alba presenter Fiona Mackenzie. The channel has ten times more weekly viewers than there are Gaelic speakers, but needs to increase its original content if it is to grow."} ,"articleBody": "

Issues surrounding the BBC Charter and its implications for broadcasting are likely to gain a high profile in the coming weeks. It would be a pity if, in the political melee, a quiet Scottish success story was overlooked – BBC Alba.

Although its raison d’etre is as a Gaelic broadcaster, BBC Alba reaches 700,000 viewers each week. It accounts for half the commissions in Scotland from independent production companies. It offers a steady stream of quality programmes which would not otherwise be made, mainly on Scottish subjects.

By any standard of media accounting, BBC Alba has achieved all this on a shoestring budget. It broadcasts for seven hours daily but only 1.9 are filled with original content, including news and live sport. The rest consists of repeats, delving deep not only into BBC Alba’s own modest archive but the entire previous output of Gaelic television.

Some of these, it must be said, are very good. The BBC Gaelic department has a history of producing current affairs programmes in particular where quality was in inverse proportion to quantity. However, there are limits to how often viewers in any language should be asked to endure fascinating throw-backs to the 1970s and 1980s.

The current funding review is a crunch point for BBC Alba. It will either survive at its present level or extend its repertoire and role. There is a particular need, from a language perspective, for more children’s programmes and also a more consistent standard of popular entertainment. The channel’s supporters are sensibly realistic in their demands, which may give them a better chance of being listened to.

In the late 1990s, as Minister with responsibility for Gaelic, I commissioned Neil Fraser, a distinguished broadcaster and Gael, to chart a course for establishing a Gaelic television channel. At that time, the objective was to have the new channel broadcasting within five years. In fact, it took until 2008 for BBC Alba to see the light of day.

The major sticking point had been Treasury resistance to funding it. The channel had initially been conceived of as a freestanding entity with direct government grant, following the S4C model in Wales. However, it was the S4C model which frightened the bean-counters since the cost had risen steadily to around £100 million a year.

Nobody was talking about anything like that for a Gaelic channel but the precedent created resistance which was difficult to overcome. Eventually, the BBC helped break the impasse and that was to their great credit.

Funding responsibility was devolved to Holyrood with £10 million added to the block grant as dowry. The balance (initially £4 million) came (in kind) from the BBC who formed a partnership with the Gaelic broadcasting agency – Seirbheis nam Meadhanan Gaidhlig (MG ALBA)– the first joint venture the BBC had entered into.

It was a formula which got the channel going but subsequently proved difficult to improve upon. Both UK and Scottish Governments have chipped in the odd additional million over the past few years so currently, BBC Alba’s budget stands at £20.6 million - £12.8 million from the Scottish Government and £7.8 million from the BBC, all coming “in kind” – i.e. mainly programmes which Pacific Quay makes for Alba.

Meanwhile, the Treasury finally prevailed and the UK Government neatly passed funding S4C to the BBC - £110 million this year, which was effectively a cut to the BBC’s own budget. Of this, £35 million is “in kind”, mainly content. BBC Alba does not see much prospect of closing the cash chasm between itself and S4C from any source. Instead, it hopes to persuade the BBC to close the “content” gap by contributing to more programmes for Alba.

The BBC’s “content” contribution to S4C equates to ten hours programming a week, compared to 4.2 for the Gaelic channel. If parity was achieved, this would mean three hours a day of original content on BBC Alba. Given that much of BBC Scotland’s expertise lies in programmes for children and young people, an extension of this emphasis into Gaelic television would fit closely with BBC Alba’s own priorities. It’s not a huge ask.

From its inception, BBC Alba has been set audience targets to justify its existence. There are ten times more weekly viewers than Gaelic speakers. The main mechanism for achieving this has been sport with both Scottish Rugby and the SPFL heavily featured. This creates a Scotland-wide “win-win” – viewers receive coverage they would not otherwise be offered, and can turn the sound down if they like, while the Gaelic audience gets live broadcasting in their own language.

Other devices for widening the audience have proved more controversial, including use of sub-titles. To maximize benefit for the language, particularly among learners, it should not be impossible to make sub-titles optional rather than obligatory. I hope when it enters its second decade, hopefully with more secure funding, BBC Alba will address these issues creatively, once freed from pressure to justify its existence.

The inescapable fact is that the channel’s reason for existing is to provide vital support to the Gaelic language and specifically to meet obligations which the Labour government entered into in 1998 when the UK became a signatory to the European Declaration on Minority Languages. That should never be lost sight of.

It has long been Gaelic’s good fortune to enjoy cross-party political support. The Tories do not get credit for much between 1979 and 1997 but it was they who created and expanded the Gaelic Broadcasting Fund as precursor of the full channel. All parties currently support the case for an increase in the BBC’s contribution, through content.

Gaelic will live or die within Scotland alone. No minority language can survive in the 21st century with all odds stacked against it and broadcasting is one of the critical factors. The BBC has acquired that responsibility which has perhaps ended up as a good thing, for it is uniquely capable of recognising the cultural diversity which should command respect in every constituent part of the United Kingdom.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN WILSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371150.1487579178!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371150.1487579178!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "BBC Alba presenter Fiona Mackenzie. The channel has ten times more weekly viewers than there are Gaelic speakers, but needs to increase its original content if it is to grow.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "BBC Alba presenter Fiona Mackenzie. The channel has ten times more weekly viewers than there are Gaelic speakers, but needs to increase its original content if it is to grow.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371150.1487579178!/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/kirsty-gunn-do-we-really-want-to-rise-up-1-4369655","id":"1.4369655","articleHeadline": "Kirsty Gunn: do we really want to rise up?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487579033000 ,"articleLead": "

Since when did Scotland become so obsessed with Scottishness? It’s a question my mother-in-law put to me at the weekend as we listened to her favourite CD. The CD, a Christmas present from her sister-in-law, is lovely – a rich and comforting collection of old Highland and Border folk songs and airs, a ballad or two, most of the tunes traditional and with words by Burns or taken from the great cache of anonymous poetry from around that time and before.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4369654.1487578725!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scott Monument with The Balmoral Hotel \\nPicture: Malcolm McCurrach"} ,"articleBody": "

Only, there at the beginning of the recording is something listed as “artist’s own”, a rousing call to the nation to “rise up like an eagle” and be great again.

“What’s that all about?” I’d said to Maureen when we first sat down to listen together and she wanted to play the whole recording through, from start to finish. “That doesn’t sound too traditional to me.” I said. “It sounds like something that might have been composed for the 2014 referendum.”

We played the song again. “Well, I didn’t notice that, but I see what you mean,” she said. “That’s not ‘Rowan Tree’, is it? And I certainly do NOT want to rise up like an eagle, or anything of that sort” - at which point our conversation turned to the amount of self-referencing that is going on all over the place these days, from the Walter Scott quotes about what it is to be Scottish and in Scotland all over Waverley station and similar in the airports, to having “Scottish Produce” stickers on the meat and veg in the supermarket.

It’s political, of course, and always has been – this creation of a “Scotland” in order to shore up national feeling and get the results politicians want, for whatever party, at whatever time in our history. But the fact is, our history, bar the odd bit of invention by Walter Scott, who swathed all of Scotland in the same tartan, as it were, much in the same way Nicola Sturgeon would have us swathed now, is one of a nation of parts, different sensibilities for different regions, bound together by a history that is dignified and set apart from the rest of the British Isles by a distinctive literary and musical tradition. And we know all about how wonderful that is, that tradition, the poetry and the piobaireachd and, more recently, over the last few hundred years, the novels and kinds of fiction we write that’s always been so ahead-of-the-game, artistically speaking. We don’t need a CD to feature words from the Border Ballads to remind us of that.

So why all the talk of “Scottishness”, indeed, as Maureen pointed out? It’s exhausting. “And infantalising, actually,” we concluded, as we turned off the young man’s lovely voice with a resolved “click”. “No-one with any sense wants to rise up,” we said. Because everyone knows rising up isn’t like being an eagle at all. It’s having a war or a revolution. “And both,” as Maureen concluded – while still owning that “that young tenor has a lovely voice and I think I am a bit in love with him, I am!” – “are time-wasting and expensive.”

Her sister-in-law, Una, who sent the CD, likes the young man too. “He’s just gorgeous,” she said to me on the phone, when she was calling to arrange a visit to my mother-in-law. She comes over to Edinburgh from Fife every couple of months and the two of them go out to a film or a play together. Maureen was born and spent her early years in Fife but considers herself a native of Edinburgh “through and through”. Still, she likes to get across to Fife to see her brother and his family, and her sister-in-law; and when our children were small, they and their cousins used to have part of their summer holidays there too.

So Fife, Edinburgh ... these distinctions course clearly through my mother-in-law’s mind when large-scale claims of nationhood are made. Whether it’s “The Kingdom of Fife” or “The Capital”... Clearly she’s not the only one: we’ve always liked differentiating things. Allowing for differentiation allows for ways of being together, is my view – and it’s one that might hold not only for Scotland, but for the whole of the UK, and for that matter, the world.

A great friend of my husband, the artist Graham Johnson, had a succinct and compelling letter in The New Statesman recently calling for a “fully federal” UK. “Only then can the Westminster hegemony and its disfiguring gravitational pull be tamed and tensions dividing the UK eased,” he wrote. He’s not the first to draw our minds in that direction, of course. There’s been growing discussion around the concept of a devolved power spread across the nation that might give increased powers to those whose only voice could be expressed by a cry to “Leave” last summer, and shout “Yes” before that. But I wonder, too, about a more federal version of Scotland, as well?

Certainly Holyrood could do with a similar spreading of influence, and avoid following the same pattern, by tending only to its own central belt constituency, as has been set down south with its focus there rather than towards Northern and Eastern regions. We don’t want to make the same mistake, do we? Yet increasing centralisation suggests that we already are.

Allowing for all of our different ways of doing things across the land eases tension, dissolves nationalism, and makes friends with other ways of thinking. Instead of trying to overwhelm differences, and pretend they don’t exist or have been subsumed by the dominant culture such as the term ‘multi-culuralism” suggests, we might have more of an exchange between all engaged parties. Certainly my own Caithness family are not one whit like my dear mother-in law’s’ “Sassenach lot” as my father refers to them, affectionately of course. The term “inter-cultural” is useful as anything in these kinds of moments, I find, for “inter cultural” lets difference in, and makes it into a discussion. It’s friendly and interesting and engaged – it describes my father’s love for my Edinburgh husband and his family, if he can call them a bunch of Sassenachs. For that matter it describes my mother-in-law’s love for that revolutionary young SNP-leaning tenor of hers, too.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4369654.1487578725!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4369654.1487578725!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Scott Monument with The Balmoral Hotel \\nPicture: Malcolm McCurrach","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scott Monument with The Balmoral Hotel \\nPicture: Malcolm McCurrach","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4369654.1487578725!/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/energy/oil-reserves-off-scottish-coast-may-have-been-missed-1-4371112","id":"1.4371112","articleHeadline": "Oil reserves off Scottish coast ‘may have been missed’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487578780000 ,"articleLead": "

There could be hidden reserves of oil in gas in Scotland, in areas previously dismissed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371145.1487578758!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Geologists say drilling has been concentrated 'in the wrong areas'. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Geologists from the University of Aberdeen have been searching for oil in rock formations around Rockall - 300 miles off the Western Isles.

Only 12 wells have been drilled in the Rockall Basin, compared to 4,000 in the North Sea. A small amount of gas was discovered in one well.

But now the geologists say past drilling has been concentrated in the wrong areas.

Geologist Dr Nick Schofield said: “The Rockall Basin is one of the most challenging environments on earth when it comes to hydrocarbon explorations, but our analysis has revealed that one of the barriers to success may have been a misunderstanding of the subsurface geology.

“By analysing seismic data, and using what we have learned through our work in the Faroe-Shetland Basin, we found that the character of areas where operators hoped to find oil may have been misleading.”

The discovery does not guarantee that large reserves of oil will be found in the area but suggests it is worth further exploration.

Nick Richardson from the Oil and Gas Authority said: “The seismic acquisition programme and subsequent work by Aberdeen and Heriot Watt universities are an important part of our strategy to revitalise exploration.

“The findings of Dr Schofield’s paper demonstrate the value in applying the latest geological knowledge and understanding to seismic data to increase industry’s awareness of the opportunities that still exist in frontier areas.”

Mike Tholen, from industry body Oil and Gas UK, added: “You’re probably looking at two or three years to really pursue something if we see it now, but we’re talking about years rather than decades.

“This is a new horizon and a new opportunity. Rigs are affordable at the minute and companies are looking hard at prospectivity around the world.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371145.1487578758!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371145.1487578758!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Geologists say drilling has been concentrated 'in the wrong areas'. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Geologists say drilling has been concentrated 'in the wrong areas'. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371145.1487578758!/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/brian-monteith-blair-should-keep-his-counsel-to-himself-1-4371108","id":"1.4371108","articleHeadline": "Brian Monteith: Blair should keep his counsel to himself","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487576459000 ,"articleLead": "

Just as Charles de Gaulle’s large nose and ears were of no consequence to him being the last great Frenchman, so Tony Blair’s perma tan does not impinge on his ability to fashion a reasoned argument. The former prime minister’s lectures, after dinner speeches and consultancies with corporate lobbyists, banks and well-meaning institutes do not mean his comments on Brexit are driven by self-interest to remain in sight of the public eye, maintain brand-Blair and earn millions of dollars as a consequence.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371106.1487576438!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Unwanted: Tony Blair should keep his opinions to himself PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The personal criticism by commentators and those on social media do not mean his views cannot be as honest and objective as the next man’s.

What the three times-elected and never defeated former prime minister has to say about the United Kingdom leaving the European Union is always likely to attract attention, and in Scotland’s case what he has to say about independence will undoubtedly receive the same level of interest. His arguments should be treated on their merit, and on that basis thoroughly and unequivocally dismissed as not just wrong but dangerously foolish.

It is not Brexit that has made the case for Scottish independence more credible, it has been the reckless constitutional reforms of Tony Blair that brought the once distant possibility close to reality. It has been his wilful refusal to recognise the detrimental impact of his progressive policies on so many of his own former voters that contributed to Brexit happening. Likewise, it is the continuing self-delusion of Blair and others who will not accept the democratic outcome of the EU referendum that fans the flames of nationalism by giving succour to the SNP nursing a fabricated grievance.

When Blair gave his Open Europe speech and further interviews last week, he called on people to rise up to reverse the Brexit vote. His disrespect for the most momentous and convincing of political deliberations by Britain since universal suffrage was obtained is no different from the repeated disrespect shown to the Edinburgh Agreement by the past and current First Ministers of Scotland.

Tony Blair believes he was right to warn Scotland would have a case for a further independence referendum were there a Leave vote, but this is nothing other than self-endorsement of a flawed analysis, for no such case exists.

David Cameron promised a referendum on EU membership if he were to command a majority in the 2015 general election as far back as January 2013 – 18 months before the Scottish independence referendum. Then, only five months later in June, the Conservatives published a Referendum Bill. It passed its first and second readings in the House of Commons but was stopped in the House of Lords.

It should therefore have been obvious to everyone that had a vote in the 2014 Scottish referendum that there could be an EU membership referendum – not least because the SNP government pointed out this risk in its own White Paper as one of the consequences of Scotland staying in the UK.

When the Conservative’s general election victory arrived it was duly announced that the promised referendum would take place and that it would be a UK-wide decision with no veto for any city such as London or nation such as Scotland. There has been no material change of circumstance for what had been promised and known – the EU referendum was always probable and the outcome of Brexit always possible.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon may project her own spin on to the referendum result to whip up sentiment for her divisive case, but the reality is that Scots chose the United Kingdom in full possession of the facts of what might happen down the road.

When it comes to putting the Union at peril it is Tony Blair who should stand in the dock. It was Blair that ushered in a form of devolution that, as many of us predicted, would only fan the flames of nationalism, especially once a Conservative government was returned to office at Westminster. Rather than kill the SNP “stone dead”, we have ended up with three SNP administrations and an independence referendum that saw nationalists achieve 45 per cent support.

It was Tony Blair who, by the manner of his own foreign policy interventions, poisoned the well of public trust in British politicians that has contributed to the disconnect between the electorate and their political representatives. It was also Tony Blair who, in turning a Nelsonian eye to the concerns of so many ordinary people about the effects of the mass EU immigration upon their standards of living and the public services that they relied upon that encouraged them to believe Brexit was necessary to “take back control”.

Now Mr Blair tells us the case for Scottish independence is more credible when it is less so. If leaving the EU’s Single Market is so bad that it should be avoided at all costs then leaving the UK’s single market – worth four times as much to Scotland – must be a more credible threat to our prosperity. With the UK now resolved to negotiate a Brexit that means controls on commercial regulations, tariffs, the judiciary and our borders being recovered for our own representatives to decide upon then any separation by Scotland from the UK must mean the erection of new barriers between us that do not currently exist.

Likewise, were an independent Scotland to renegotiate EU membership – as the advocates of independence insist is vital – then we would be confronted with terms more costly and onerous than currently enjoyed. There are the questions of the Thatcher rebate (that Blair infamously reduced), the Schengen open border agreement, membership of the euro, the need to reduce the Scottish deficit (requiring austerity the likes of which we have never seen), the return of fishing controls to Brussels and the inability to conduct trade agreements. It is possible some compromises could be obtained but not on all issues, something would have to give making membership less attractive – meaning independence would be less credible.

There is no demographic group where Tony Blair is now popular and even among Remain voters and Labour supporters his unpopularity is embarrassingly high. If he truly believes in the unity of the UK and in fostering a better relationship with Europe then he would be better keeping his counsel to himself and leaving the arguments to a new generation without his record for getting things wrong.

l Brian Monteith is a director of Global Britain

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371106.1487576438!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371106.1487576438!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Unwanted: Tony Blair should keep his opinions to himself PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Unwanted: Tony Blair should keep his opinions to himself PHOTO / JOHN THYSJOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371106.1487576438!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371107.1487576440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371107.1487576440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tony Blair urged Britons who support the European Union to "rise up" and persuade Brexit voters to change their mind about leaving the bloc in a high-profile speech. Picture AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tony Blair urged Britons who support the European Union to "rise up" and persuade Brexit voters to change their mind about leaving the bloc in a high-profile speech. Picture AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371107.1487576440!/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/future-scotland/tech/pirate-websites-get-harder-to-find-under-new-google-crackdown-1-4371098","id":"1.4371098","articleHeadline": "Pirate websites get harder to find under new Google crackdown","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487575872000 ,"articleLead": "

Internet users will find it harder to search for illegally streamed live football matches, pirated music and other creative materials under a new plan to crackdown on piracy websites.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371097.1487575850!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Internet users will find it harder to search for illegally streamed live football matches, pirated music and other creative materials under a new plan to crackdown on piracy websites.\\nPicture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Search engine giants Google and Bing have signed up to a voluntary code of practice aimed at protecting users’ safety and prevent them from visiting disreputable content providers.

The code, the first of its kind in the UK, will accelerate the demotion of illegal sites following notices from rights holders.

It means those who search for content such as music videos, digital books and football coverage will more likely to be taken to bona fide providers rather than pirate sites where a user’s security may be at risk.

Eddy Leviten, director general at the Alliance for Intellectual Property, said: “Sometimes people will search for something and they will end up unwittingly being taken to a pirated piece of content.

“What we want to ensure is that the results at the top of the search engines are the genuine ones.

“It is about protecting people who use the internet, but also protecting the creators of that material too.

“You go into schools and speak to children and many will say they want to be on YouTube, to be a personality on there.

“When you explain to them that they need to protect their ideas, their content, from being stolen or pirated, they understand.”

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) led the discussions to create the code, with the assistance of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Ofcom has supported the discussions by examining in detail the way that search results are presented to internet users, and the group has explored possible techniques and metrics that can help UK consumers avoid illegitimate content more easily.

Organisers say this agreement will run in parallel with existing anti-piracy measures aimed at reducing online infringement.

These include court ordered site blocking, work with brands to reduce advertising on illegal sites and the Get it Right From A Genuine Site consumer education campaign, which encourages fans to value the creative process and directs them to legal sources of content.

Stan McCoy, of the Motion Picture Association in Europe, said: “Pirate websites are currently much too easy to find via search, so we appreciate the parties’ willingness to try to improve that situation.

“We look forward to working on this initiative alongside many other approaches to fighting online piracy, such as the Get it Right campaign that aims to help educate consumers about the many ways to enjoy film and television content legally and at the time of their choosing.”

The changes are expected to be rolled out by the summer.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI, representative body for UK record labels, and the Brit Awards, said: “Successful and dynamic online innovation requires an ecosystem that works for everyone, users, technology companies, and artists and creators.

“BPI has long campaigned for search engines to do more to ensure fans are directed to legal sources for music or other entertainment.

“There is much work still to do to achieve this.

“The code will not be a silver bullet fix, but it will mean that illegal sites are demoted more quickly from search results and that fans searching for music are more likely to find a fair site.”

UK Music chief executive Jo Dipple said: “This is the culmination of years of discussions between rights-holders and search engines.

“UK Music welcomes any progress that makes our digital markets more efficient.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ryan Hooper"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371097.1487575850!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371097.1487575850!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Internet users will find it harder to search for illegally streamed live football matches, pirated music and other creative materials under a new plan to crackdown on piracy websites.\\nPicture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Internet users will find it harder to search for illegally streamed live football matches, pirated music and other creative materials under a new plan to crackdown on piracy websites.\\nPicture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371097.1487575850!/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/in-full/an-independent-scotland-would-face-greece-style-austerity-cuts-1-4371094","id":"1.4371094","articleHeadline": "An independent Scotland would face ‘Greece-style’ austerity cuts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487575259000 ,"articleLead": "

One of the country’s top economic forecasters has warned that if Scotland becomes independent from the UK it would face a huge budget deficit and be forced to make Greek-style austerity cuts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371093.1487575239!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Keith Brown MSP. Picture: John Devlin."} ,"articleBody": "

Douglas McWilliams from the Centre for Economics and Business Research has predicted Scotland could be facing a deficit of 12 per cent of GDP by the time it becomes independent in the event of a Yes vote.

He said: “The only practical option would be cut to public spending.”

He said the deficit could rise to an unmanageable 12 per cent of GDP due to additional costs of becoming a separate state.

“Because of Keynesian multiplier effects, there would need to be cuts of about 15 per cent of GDP. That’s roughly on the scale of what has happened in Greece, which has led to a fall in GDP on a quarter.”
The prediction comes as pro-independence campaigners predicted a second independence referendum will be called within weeks.

Business for Scotland has just launched a fundraising drive, asking members to held pay for a new independence referendum campaign.

A spokesman for Keith Brown, the Scottish Government’s economy secretary said: “Latest actual figures show that productivity - the key driver of economic performance - is growing four times faster in Scotland than the UK. A hard Brexit will put this at serious risk.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Amy Watson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4371093.1487575239!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4371093.1487575239!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Keith Brown MSP. Picture: John Devlin.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Keith Brown MSP. Picture: John Devlin.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4371093.1487575239!/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/leader-comment-roads-must-be-transport-priority-1-4370926","id":"1.4370926","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Roads must be transport priority","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487570400000 ,"articleLead": "

There are few more frustrating components of modern life than the traffic jam, sitting there going nowhere is the very definition of a waste of time.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370925.1487530250!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A new report has said that traffic congestion cost the UK economy �31billion last year."} ,"articleBody": "

Some might dismiss it as a typical “first world problem” but there is a very serious underlying point. Research from traffic information company Inrix has found that drivers are spending an average of 32 hours a year stuck in jams, but more importantly have put a cost on it of £31 billion last year, at an average of £968 per driver.

There are some interesting conclusions that can be drawn from the findings. The report shows that generally the congestion is worse in the UK’s most populous cities, but Glasgow, the UK’s fourth biggest city by population, does not make the top ten.

The report shows that Aberdeen eclipsed London for congestion at peak periods last year as the hardest city to get into or out of. Coming number three on the list, and yet being number 47 on the list of UK cities by population, it would seem to buck the general trend, but perhaps the survey has not taken in to account the work building the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and the disruption that has been causing and will continue to cause for some months to come.

Perhaps the greatest frustration of traffic jams is the knowledge that at certain times, on certain roads, you are certain to hit a traffic jam. It is all down to sheer volume of vehicles and the road structure not being capable of dealing with it.

While it is right to encourage alternative greener forms of transport, the reality is that we do have to have roads that are fit for purpose, because when they are not it comes at a cost to the environment and to the economy.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4370925.1487530250!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370925.1487530250!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A new report has said that traffic congestion cost the UK economy �31billion last year.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A new report has said that traffic congestion cost the UK economy �31billion last year.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4370925.1487530250!/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/leader-comment-pushing-is-out-of-territory-will-not-end-bloodshed-1-4370918","id":"1.4370918","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Pushing IS out of territory will not end bloodshed","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487570400000 ,"articleLead": "

So the Iraqi army has begun the push into west Mosul, the Islamic State’s last stronghold in the country. Yesterday Iraqi special forces began an operation involving thousands of soldiers and backed by air strikes from United States aircraft.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370916.1487530194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tanks and armoured vehicles of the Iraqi forces, supported by the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitaries, advance towards the village of Sheikh Younis, south of Mosul, after the offensive to retake the western side of Mosul from Islamic State (IS) group fighters commenced. Picture AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Iraqi forces retook the eastern side of the city last month but all the bridges across the Tigris have been destroyed and the move has got to come from forces in the West and not already in the city. The older part of Mosul has narrow streets and many buildings and as ever street fighting is likely to be intense, lengthy and very destructive.

Already there have been fears voiced for the civilians who are still trapped in the city with some reports saying it could be as many as 650,000, with 350,000 of those children. It does not look good for them. Last month the UN said that almost half of all the casualties in Mosul were civilians with at least 1,096 killed.

It will be a slow and terrible process, many will die, but Iraqi government forces with the support of the other nations helping them, will regain control of Iraq’s second biggest city. It will then take years to rebuild, but it will not be the end of the bloodshed.

In the past week there have been three suicide bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing at least 48 people. In the latest a car bomb went off in the Shia area of Bayaa in the south of the city. The attack was claimed by IS, saying it targeted “a gathering of Shias”.

This is perhaps a glimpse of what will lie ahead in both Iraq and Syria. Because the other major conquest for Islamic State was within the borders of Syria, and there too, with the massive help of Russia, particularly her airpower, Islamic State are also getting pushed back, with Aleppo almost falling and the assualt on the IS capital of Raqqa under way. The bizarre fundamentalists of IS can see they are being pushed back and they will lose their territories.

It looks like Islamic State will soon be without any land to call its own, as movements in Libya and Yemen are also going against them.

It has been suggested that the defining difference between IS and other Muslim terror organisations like Boko Haram is that IS’s sole reason for existence is that it believes in the establishment of the caliphate, and if that does not exist then neither will IS.

But the experience of Baghdad would suggest otherwise. It was also the experience in Afghanistan that after the west invaded the Taleban did begin an insurgency war.

President Donald Trump said yesterday, while addressing a rally in Florida, that a plan would be developed to “totally destroy” Islamic State. He did not of course go in to detail, but he did not make it clear which Islamic State was going to be destroyed, the one already being kicked off the land it had so brutally grabbed in pursuit of its goals, or the one that is certain to come after and strike from the shadows using suicide bombers, because a plan to eradicate that threat is the one we are going to need in the not-so-distant future.

Tragically that threat only gets greater as Islamic State get defeated in their strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4370916.1487530194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370916.1487530194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tanks and armoured vehicles of the Iraqi forces, supported by the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitaries, advance towards the village of Sheikh Younis, south of Mosul, after the offensive to retake the western side of Mosul from Islamic State (IS) group fighters commenced. Picture AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tanks and armoured vehicles of the Iraqi forces, supported by the Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitaries, advance towards the village of Sheikh Younis, south of Mosul, after the offensive to retake the western side of Mosul from Islamic State (IS) group fighters commenced. Picture AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4370916.1487530194!/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/brian-ferguson-gallery-chief-s-good-job-on-monarch-of-the-glen-1-4370922","id":"1.4370922","articleHeadline": "Brian Ferguson: Gallery chief’s good job on Monarch of the Glen","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487570400000 ,"articleLead": "

Sir John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland, can come across as a quietly-spoken figurehead, but the man in charge of the nation’s art treasures clearly relishes a challenge.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370920.1487530199!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The National Galleries has launched a public appeal to help boy the Monarch of the Glen from Diageo."} ,"articleBody": "

His determined streak has been put to the test on several occasions since his appointment 12 years ago, most notably over the acquisition, along with the National Gallery in London, of two Titian masterpieces from the Duke of Sutherland for nearly £100 million.

Work also began in the autumn on a long-awaited project to finally give the nation’s collection of Scottish art treasures a fitting home. The £16.8m project, which will also extend the Scottish National Gallery, only received planning permission from the city council in August and was formally launched there in mid-November.

What should have been a cause for celebration over a project which has been a priority for Sir John went ahead against a backdrop of uncertainty about the fate of one of the most famous Scottish paintings of all time. Less than a fortnight had passed since the announcement from drinks giant Diageo that it was planning to dispose of The Monarch of the Glen.

I cannot have been the only one surprised it had been in the hands of the whisky industry for the previous 100 years. And I had no idea it had merely been on long-term loan to the National Museum of Scotland for the best part of the previous two decades. The impending sale at Christie’s in London raised the real possibility of the painting going to an overseas owner – and seemed to jolt the Scottish art world into life.

But it was only last week that the scale of the frantic behind-the-scenes discussions to attempt to secure the painting’s future in Edinburgh became clear. Sir John revealed he was given just a few days notice of Diageo’s plans and only then because Dr Gordon Rintoul, director of the National Museums of Scotland, had tipped him off.

Things were so far progressed with Christie’s that “the train had already left the station” when Sir John rang to plead for a rethink. It certainly does not reflect well on Diageo that it knew the painting was worth around £10m but had not deemed it to be of enough importance to alert the National Galleries, or the Scottish Government, of its intentions.

I have little doubt that an intervention from the government to make it clear it wanted the painting to stay in Scotland had a lot do to with Diageo’s change of heart and the cutting of a deal with the National Galleries. Sir John revealed the company turned down a request to donate the painting to the nation for free, before agreement was finally reached on a cut-price sale of £4m, as long as the money could be raised within four months.

While this would undoubtedly have generated good short-term PR for the company, the National Galleries has itself been able to drum up plenty of coverage on the back of the deal and the subsequent fundraising campaign, which entered the public appeal stage last week.

With the governments both waiting in the wings with potential bail-outs, there seems little doubt that the National Galleries will raise the final £750,000 and meet that £4m target by the 17 March deadline. By then, it should have secured one of the most enduring images of Scotland for its collection and anyone who wishes to do so will have been able to secure a stake in its purchase. And Sir John will hopefully be able to reflect on a job well done.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4370920.1487530199!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370920.1487530199!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The National Galleries has launched a public appeal to help boy the Monarch of the Glen from Diageo.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The National Galleries has launched a public appeal to help boy the Monarch of the Glen from Diageo.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4370920.1487530199!/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/in-full/donald-trump-leaves-swedes-stumped-over-terror-plot-claims-1-4370982","id":"1.4370982","articleHeadline": "Donald Trump leaves Swedes stumped over terror plot claims","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487538669000 ,"articleLead": "

Swedes have been scratching their heads and ridiculing President Donald Trump’s remarks that suggested a major terror incident had happened in their country.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370981.1487538649!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "People in Sweden are non-plussed at Donald Trump's suggestiion their country suffered a terror attack. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)"} ,"articleBody": "

During a downright surreal rally in Florida on Saturday, Trump told the audience: “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden… Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden… They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.”

But it wasn’t clear what he was referring to and there were no high-profile situations reported in Sweden on Friday night.

The comment prompted a barrage of social media reaction, including from former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt, who tweeted: “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound.”

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Catarina Axelsson said that the government wasn’t aware of any “terror-linked major incidents”.

Meanwhile, Sweden’s security police said it had no reason to change the terror threat level. “Nothing has occurred which would cause us to raise that level,” agency spokesman Karl Melin said.

Axelsson told reporters that the Swedish Embassy in Washington has since contacted the state department to request clarification of Trump’s remarks and was waiting for an answer.

And mocking Trump in an article yesterday, the Gothenburg-based Aftonbladet newspaper wrote, “This happened in Sweden Friday night, Mr President,” and then listed in English some events that included a man being treated for severe burns, an avalanche warning and police chasing a drunken driver.

One Twitter user said: “After the terrible events #lastnightinSweden, Ikea have sold out of this” and posted a mock manual on how to build a “Border Wall”.

Sweden, which has a long reputation for welcoming refugees and migrants, had a record 163,000 asylum applications in 2015. It has since cut back on the number it accepts.

Its most recent attack linked to extremism happened in the capital, Stockholm, in December 2010. An Iraqi-born Swede detonated two explosive devices, including one that killed him but no-one else.

Some commentators have speculated that Trump may have been referring to a segment on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson show broadcast on Thursday about a documentary on Swedish immigration.

The documentary by Ami Horowitz claimed Sweden’s generous immigration policy is linked to a rise in crime, and alleges the government was attempting to cover up the link.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4370981.1487538649!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370981.1487538649!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "People in Sweden are non-plussed at Donald Trump's suggestiion their country suffered a terror attack. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "People in Sweden are non-plussed at Donald Trump's suggestiion their country suffered a terror attack. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4370981.1487538649!/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/in-full/william-hill-first-bookies-to-back-yes-vote-for-indyref2-1-4370963","id":"1.4370963","articleHeadline": "William Hill first bookies to back Yes vote for Indyref2","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487536348000 ,"articleLead": "

William Hill has become the first bookmakers to back Yes as the likely outcome of a second Scottish independence referendum.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370962.1487536328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's former First Minister Alex Salmond and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The bookies has put odds of a vote in favour of the UK splitting by 2024 at 8/11.

A No vote sits at evens.

Former First Minister called the bookmaker’s prediction “more significant than any opinion poll.”

He added: “This is the first time I can remember independence being odds on favourite.

“It doesn’t make it a cert, but bookies tend not to throw their money away.”

Top pollster Professor John Curtice said it was not an “unreasonable bet” but added: “I don’t think the fact a bookie has made it odds on favourite means it’s going to happen.”

Ladbrokes, bookmaker rivals to William Hill are backing a No vote.

A William Hill spokesman said: “We are pretty sure there will be another referendum by 2024. And we think by then, it’s likely Scotland will vote yes.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Amy Watson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4370962.1487536328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370962.1487536328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland's former First Minister Alex Salmond and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's former First Minister Alex Salmond and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4370962.1487536328!/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/uk/lords-ready-to-fight-brexit-peter-mandelson-warns-1-4370951","id":"1.4370951","articleHeadline": "Lords ready to fight Brexit, Peter Mandelson warns","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487532973000 ,"articleLead": "

Peter Mandelson has warned the government to expect a fierce battle as the Lords begin considering legislation that will trigger Brexit.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370950.1487532953!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour former cabinet minister Lord Mandelson appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Lord Mandelson said opposition peers were prepared to inflict defeat on the government over the final vote on the terms of Brexit, despite pressure to wave through legislation on Article 50.

The former EU commissioner and minister in Tony Blair’s government said peers should “not throw in the towel early”, telling colleagues to fight for guarantees on the future of EU nationals living in the UK, and to secure a “meaningful” vote on the final Brexit deal in which MPs could send the government back to negotiate a better arrangement.

His comments came as another Labour peer, Peter Hain, said he was ready to force amendments to the Article 50 bill to keep the UK in the single market and keep the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Opposition peers were warned against snarling up the Brexit process by Justice Secretary Liz Truss, who told Lord Mandelson to “move on” and refused to rule out using the Parliament Act to override the Lords and force legislation through.

“I fully expect the House of Lords will recognise the will of the people and the will of the House of Commons, which was overwhelming, to pass that legislation,” Ms Truss told the Andrew Marr Show.

Two days of debate on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill in the Lords begin today, with amendments considered next week. The Lords can send an amended bill back to the Commons and delay its passage, but cannot push through changes themselves.

There are just 252 Conservatives among the 805 peers in the Lords, giving the opposition and independent crossbenchers a chance to inflict defeats. Lord Mandelson told the Marr Show that there was a “strong body of opinion” on EU nationals and the status of the final Brexit vote.

“At the end of the day, the House of Commons must prevail because it is the elected chamber,” he said. “But I hope the House of Lords will not throw in the towel early.”

Polling by ICM for the campaign group Change Britain found that support for reform of the House of Lords would increase if peers obstruct or delay Brexit.

The survey found 43 per cent of respondents would be more likely to back abolition or reform of the second chamber compared to 12 per cent who are less likely in such circumstances.

“Peers would be wise to consider this clear democratic mandate, and their own futures, when debating the Article 50 Bill this week,” Tory MP Dominic Raab said.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4370950.1487532953!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370950.1487532953!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Labour former cabinet minister Lord Mandelson appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour former cabinet minister Lord Mandelson appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show. Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4370950.1487532953!/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/in-full/snp-calls-for-moral-leadership-in-refugee-row-with-westminster-1-4370945","id":"1.4370945","articleHeadline": "SNP calls for ‘moral leadership’ in refugee row with Westminster","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487531896000 ,"articleLead": "

The SNP’s Westminster leader has called on Theresa May to show “moral and political leadership” by reversing the decision to end a scheme for bringing lone child refugees to Britain.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370944.1487532652!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Children holds a box of signed petitions. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Angus Robertson has written to the Prime Minister on behalf of the party’s 54 MPs seeking an urgent meeting on the closure of the scheme to take in unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe.

It was announced last week that just 350 children will be given a home in the UK under the so-called Dubs amendment – far fewer than the 3,000 originally expected.

The decision, which sparked an outcry, will come under scrutiny at Westminster this week with a special session of the Home Affairs Select committee on Wednesday and a House of Commons debate on Thursday.

The UK government said it is “committed to supporting vulnerable children who are caught up in conflict and danger”.

Mr Robertson said: “The Prime Minister cannot continue to remain silent in the face of growing pressure from the public and parliament to reverse this shameful decision.

“We are in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War – it will not just go away, and the UK government must not shirk its moral responsibility to receive our fair share of unaccompanied child refugees. These are some of the most vulnerable children in the world – we can and must do more to protect them.

“Tory ministers have been far too slow and reluctant to act throughout the refugee crisis. The relatively weak commitments that they have made must now be kept – and instead of closing down key routes to sanctuary the UK government should be stepping up its resettlement efforts.

“Theresa May must now show some moral and political leadership by immediately scrapping plans to end the Dubs Scheme and by stepping up the UK Government’s refugee resettlement efforts.”

A UK government spokesman said: “Thanks to the goodwill of the British public and local authorities in the last year alone, we have provided refuge or other forms of leave to more than 8,000 children.

“Our commitment to resettle 350 unaccompanied children from Europe is just one way we are helping. We have also committed to resettle up to 3,000 vulnerable children and family members from the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region and 20,000 Syrians by the end of this parliament.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4370944.1487532652!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370944.1487532652!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Children holds a box of signed petitions. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Children holds a box of signed petitions. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4370944.1487532652!/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/supermarket-recalls-beef-product-over-listeria-fears-1-4370900","id":"1.4370900","articleHeadline": "Supermarket recalls beef product over listeria fears","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487527511000 ,"articleLead": "

Supermarket Morrisons has recalled one of its meat-based products over concerns it may cause flu-like symptoms among vulnerable people.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370899.1487527490!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Morrisons store. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The retailer has asked customers who bought its 150g Ready to Eat Peppered Beef Slices to return them, after the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said they are contaminated with listeria monocytogenes.

The product has a use-by date of February 21 2017

Symptoms caused by the bug can be similar to flu and include a high temperature, muscle ache or pain, chills, feeling or being sick and diarrhoea.

In rare cases the infection can be more severe, causing serious complications such as meningitis.

Some people are more vulnerable to listeria infections, including those over 65 years old, pregnant women and their unborn babies, babies less than one month old and people with weakened immune systems.

The company has provided point-of-sale notices to all stores and market stalls that were supplied with the contaminated product.

The FSA said: “If you have bought the above product, do not eat it. Instead, return it to the store from where it was bought for a full refund.”

No other Morrisons products are involved.

A Morrisons spokesman said: “Our routine testing has identified the presence of low levels of Listeria in this product.

“We are asking all customers who have bought this use by date of this product not to consume it and to return it to their nearest Morrisons store where they will receive a full refund.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4370899.1487527490!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370899.1487527490!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Morrisons store. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Morrisons store. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4370899.1487527490!/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/current-1-coins-won-t-be-worthless-in-october-treasury-reassures-public-1-4370818","id":"1.4370818","articleHeadline": "Current £1 coins won't be worthless in October, Treasury reassures public","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487517204359 ,"articleLead": "The current £1 coin will not become worthless after it is replaced and ceases to be legal tender in October, the Treasury clarified today.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370817.1487517288!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new 1 is claimed to be the most secure coin in the world. Picture: Royal Mint"} ,"articleBody": "

It follows Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke being reported by the Financial Times yesterday as saying: “You have until autumn to spend your round pounds or exchange them for the edgy, new version at your bank.”

In fact, people will be able to exchange the current coins for the new ones at most banks after they can no longer be used as money.

The Royal Bank of Scotland said today there would be no time limit on its customers being able to pay in the old coins.

Lloyds Banking Group, which includes the Bank of Scotland, said it would also continue to exchange old coins for new ones for its customers.

A new 12-sided £1 coin will be introduced on 28 March because the current one is among the most commonly faked currency.

The Royal Mint said it is the most secure coin in the world.

New security features include a hologram-like image that changes from a "£" symbol to the number "1" when the coin is seen from different angles.

It also has micro-lettering and milled edges.

The Treasury estimates there are 433 million £1 coins in people's pockets and homes.

A Treasury spokesman said: “If you have a round £1 coin, you are encouraged to spend it before 15 October.

“After that, you can still exchange your old coins at most high street banks and, for those who do, the Royal Mint recommends that people consult their bank directly.”

Advice from the Royal Mint states: "Following de-monetisation, the current round £1 coin can continue to be deposited into a customer’s account, either business or personal, at most high street banks including RBS, NatWest, Ulster, HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, Santander, Nationwide, Clydesdale, Yorkshire Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and The Post Office.

"It may be possible to exchange £1 coins at these banks and the Post Office provided you hold an account with them.

"Specific arrangements may vary from bank to bank, including deposit limits."

" ,"byline": {"email": "alastair.dalton@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Alastair Dalton"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4370817.1487517288!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370817.1487517288!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The new 1 is claimed to be the most secure coin in the world. Picture: Royal Mint","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new 1 is claimed to be the most secure coin in the world. Picture: Royal Mint","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4370817.1487517288!/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/second-independence-referendum-weeks-from-being-called-1-4370810","id":"1.4370810","articleHeadline": "Second independence referendum ‘weeks from being called’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1487516013000 ,"articleLead": "

A prominent Scottish independence campaign group has launched a new fundraising drive as it expects a second referendum to be held in May or September next year.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370809.1487515992!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon has said another independence referendum is "highly likely". Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

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

Business for Scotland, which focused on the economic case for independence, said it is getting “back in full campaign mode” for a vote in 2018.

Group founder Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp emailed members to say “we are only weeks away” from a second referendum being called, according to the Sunday Herald.

A Yes vote in a future referendum is now the favourite with bookmakers William Hill offering odds of 8/11 on independence by 2024.

Nicola Sturgeon has said another independence referendum is ‘’highly likely’’ after a majority of Scots voted to stay in the European Union while the UK as a whole opted for Brexit.

In his message to supporters, Mr MacIntyre-Kemp said: “Business for Scotland was a vital contributor to the growth of the Yes vote in 2014. We need your help to renew the business and economic case for independence and drive Yes support to the levels required to call and win Indyref2.

“We didn’t go away, instead we have kept on campaigning for independence and we also campaigned for a Remain vote in the EU referendum.

“We are getting ready for Indyref2 in May or September 2018 and so we are back in full campaign mode.

“Please back us to renew the business and economic case for independence, drive Yes support to the levels required to trigger, and then win Indyref2.”

Almost a third of the £15,000 target has already been raised in the online fundraiser.

A prominent Scottish independence campaign group has launched a new fundraising drive as it expects a second referendum to be held in May or September next year.

Business for Scotland, which focused on the economic case for independence, said it is getting “back in full campaign mode” for a vote in 2018.

Group founder Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp emailed members to say “we are only weeks away” from a second referendum being called, according to the Sunday Herald.

A Yes vote in a future referendum is now the favourite with bookmakers William Hill offering odds of 8/11 on independence by 2024.

Nicola Sturgeon has said another independence referendum is ‘’highly likely’’ after a majority of Scots voted to stay in the European Union while the UK as a whole opted for Brexit.

In his message to supporters, Mr MacIntyre-Kemp said: “Business for Scotland was a vital contributor to the growth of the Yes vote in 2014. We need your help to renew the business and economic case for independence and drive Yes support to the levels required to call and win Indyref2.

“We didn’t go away, instead we have kept on campaigning for independence and we also campaigned for a Remain vote in the EU referendum.

“We are getting ready for Indyref2 in May or September 2018 and so we are back in full campaign mode.

“Please back us to renew the business and economic case for independence, drive Yes support to the levels required to trigger, and then win Indyref2.”

Almost a third of the £15,000 target has already been raised in the online fundraiser.

READ MORE - Alex Salmond admits business rate rise ‘a genuine concern’

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PAUL WARD"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4370809.1487515992!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4370809.1487515992!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon has said another independence referendum is "highly likely". Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon has said another independence referendum is "highly likely". Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4370809.1487515992!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}