{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"politics","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/general-election-2017-parties-set-to-resume-campaigns-1-4456060","id":"1.4456060","articleHeadline": "General election 2017: Parties set to resume campaigns","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495661689000 ,"articleLead": "

The main political parties will resume campaigning in the general election on Friday following a cessation of activity for the Manchester bombing – although Ukip will press ahead with its manifesto launch on Thursday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456059.1495661685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn's Labour will resume campaigning tomorrow. Pic: Danny Lawson"} ,"articleBody": "

National campaigning has been suspended since Monday’s terrorist attack which killed 22 people.

The SNP, Conservatives and Labour in Scotland have said they will resume their national campaign events tomorrow, although some low-key local campaigning will get under way today.

The Scottish Greens announced yesterday they would be postponing their manifesto launch from Friday, with the event now expected next week.

A spokesman for the party said the decision had been taken “due to ongoing sensitivities following the Manchester concert attack”.

READ MORE: Police officer among those killed in suicide attack

The SNP confirmed on Twitter that it would be resuming low-key local campaigning today before its national campaign starts again tomorrow. There is no confirmation when the party’s manifesto will be launched – the event was due to take place on Tuesday, but was postponed.

Announcing Labour’s plans, leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “The British people are united in their resolve that terror will not prevail. It will not prevent us going about our daily lives or derail our democratic process.

“Resuming democratic debate and campaigning is an essential mark of the country’s determination to defend our democracy and the unity that the terrorists have sought to attack.”

READ MORE: Scottish venues step up security

The Scottish leaders’ debate which had been scheduled to happen last night, broadcast by STV, is being re-scheduled with no new date confirmed.

Ukip became the first party to say it would be resuming its national campaign when leader Paul Nuttall announced yesterday he would be unveiling his party’s manifesto today.

He said: “We cannot be cowed or allow our way of life to be undermined by those who wish to do us harm.

“The best response we can make is to ensure that the democratic process continues and therefore I have decided that we must to go ahead with the launch of the Ukip general election manifesto.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT MACNAB"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456059.1495661685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456059.1495661685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jeremy Corbyn's Labour will resume campaigning tomorrow. Pic: Danny Lawson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn's Labour will resume campaigning tomorrow. Pic: Danny Lawson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456059.1495661685!/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/bill-jamieson-new-security-measures-will-become-a-way-of-life-1-4456212","id":"1.4456212","articleHeadline": "Bill Jamieson: New security measures will become a way of life","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495656000000 ,"articleLead": "

The presence of troops on British streets is supposed to be temporary measure - but will they become permanent after we grow to accept the sight, asks Bill Jamieson

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456211.1495654267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Troops on British streets are a temporary measure - but will they become permanent, asks Bill Jamieson"} ,"articleBody": "

After every terrorist outrage, familiar reassurances are rolled out: “We will not be cowed”; “We will not allow terrorism to change our way of life”; “We are committed to our open society”.

But after the initial shock of the carnage at Monday night’s Manchester bombing which killed 22 comes anger – and a searching analysis of how this happened, how many others may have assisted the suicide bomber and how everyday security can be tightened.

As the targets of terrorist attack now extend to places of recreation and leisure attended by children and young people, we are more than ever determined to avoid a repetition.

Terrorist attacks have changed, and are continuing to change, the way we live, work, travel and relax. This will be all the more true now that the UK terror threat level has been raised to its highest level of “critical”, meaning further attacks may be imminent.

The shocking nature of this attack drives home an unpalatable truth that truly no public space can now be considered safe. And that is likely to bring a change in behaviour by the public as well as a deeply troubling set of demands on the security services.

Such was the deadly sophistication of the explosive device, the ‘lone wolf’ explanation simply does not suffice in this case. And with every indication that co-conspirators are still at large, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the army will now be deployed to protect key sites under the new threat level.

The implication is that this would be temporary. But the evidence from previous counter-terrorist measures suggests it may become a permanent feature of life in our major cities and transport hubs.

Few imagined some 15 years ago that when extra security measures were introduced at airports these would be more than temporary. But today we accept all the hassle of airport security inspection as an inevitable part and parcel of flying - the removal of shoes, the display of liquids and the separate assorting of laptops, tablets and mobile phones for inspection - whether you are a child or a pensioner.

Meanwhile, entry at many government and corporate buildings now requires passing through a security gate, with electronic body scan and presentation of identity details. Not all that long ago this would have seemed unwarranted and intrusive. How quickly we have accepted the inconvenience. Today we also think little of seeing armed police in city centres and transport hubs. This presence is now to be augmented by members of the armed forces, reflecting in part the growing strain on police numbers and resources. Even adding Britain’s growing anti-terrorism police, the number is still limited.

Assurances have been given that the army personnel will be under the control of the police. But here, too, there are searching questions as to operational protocols and effectiveness. The emergence of a separate integrated intelligence, security and surveillance arm of government seems inevitable, if not already unofficially in situ.

What might the public’s attitude be? Again, a few years ago, this would have been unthinkable. But the apparent ineffectiveness of the existing “Prevent” strategy would seem to make the case compelling.

What other changes might the public now accept? Compulsory ID cards take a step closer with every outrage. Civil libertarians have long argued against the intrusiveness and the disclosure of personal details that violate our privacy. But we think little today of about filling in access forms on consumer websites, often surrendering on the web, in addition to age, marital status, address, phone number and email address, often details of our income, credit standing, bank account and credit card details. There are of course other objections, not least the vulnerability of such vast databases to technical breakdown or worse – hacking or cyber attack. But with every terror atrocity, the privacy objection is not as strong as it was.

The ultimate security surveillance would be a microchip implant. Yet here we would surely draw a line … would we? Microchip technology has advanced markedly in recent years to make this a foreseeable option. And if such technology can be used to help track suspects and avoid the random slaughter of civilians, it may not prove quite the ‘no go’ area most today assume. As attitudes have changed so much in other areas to help in our everyday safety and security, why not here?

As matters stand, the strain on security services and budgets is mounting. This attack followed a rising number of terrorism-related arrests in the UK. MI5 and anti-terrorism police were monitoring an estimated 3,000 home-grown extremists in 2015. And up to 350 jihadist fighters are thought to have returned to the UK from Iraq and Syria as the Islamic state’s hold in the region has been driven back.

MI5’s resources, like those of counter-terrorism police, are finite. Figures released by the UK parliament in 2015 showed that MI5 had just over 4,000 staff, with almost two-thirds of resources devoted to international-related counter-terrorism. Once identified, keeping tabs on terrorist suspects requires round-the-clock surveillance – with numbers of counter-intelligence personnel to match. Even adding Britain’s growing anti-terrorism police, more would seem to be needed.

And as Dan Lomax, Programme Leader of Intelligence and Security Studies at the University of Salford, points out, “The Manchester Arena attack is worrying because of its deadliness. Rather than knives or vehicles, the use of explosives adds to the complexity of the threat in the UK. Establishing how the perpetrator was able to create an explosive device, tracing their contacts and understanding their motives are all issues for the UK’s security and policing bodies to investigate.”

Is over-reaction a danger? It may seem that for most of us the threat posed by terrorism is remote; that we face greater risks from more commonplace events and that the danger lies in giving the security services carte blanche. After all, has not the incidence of terror attacks across Europe declined sharply since the 1970s and early 1980s?

In 2015, the last full year covered by the Global Terrorism Database, 175 people in western Europe died in terrorist attacks. But this was not an unusual tally in the 1970s when groups such as the IRA, Eta Basque separatists and the Red Brigades were active and western Europe was a hub of terrorism.

Yet the decline in terror attacks in the West from the Seventies peak reassures no-one. The problem is that the nature of such attacks has changed and the targets for attacks are now much wider. Few back then would have imagined political goals would have been advanced by attacks such as that on the 2015 Bataclan concert hall in Paris that left 90 dead. The terror attack in Manchester targeted a concert populated by children and teenagers. Nothing now seems to be out of bounds. And because of that, ringing declarations that “our lives will not be changed” may be an all-too-human response but one blind to the changes we have already been compelled to make.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BILL JAMIESON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456211.1495654267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456211.1495654267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Troops on British streets are a temporary measure - but will they become permanent, asks Bill Jamieson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Troops on British streets are a temporary measure - but will they become permanent, asks Bill Jamieson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456211.1495654267!/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/kenny-macaskill-you-can-t-seal-the-border-when-terrorists-are-here-already-1-4455752","id":"1.4455752","articleHeadline": "Kenny MacAskill: You can’t seal the border when terrorists are here already","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495652400000 ,"articleLead": "

Last week, I was interviewed for a programme on the terror attack on Glasgow Airport, ahead of the tenth anniversary. Little did I know that a few days later terrorism would return to the shores of the UK with the atrocity in Manchester. The barbarity was compounded by targeting an event attended by so many young people. Sadly, although this kind of incident is not new it never fails to shock and appal. Manchester added to a litany of cities to have suffered including Paris, Brussels, Nice and Berlin.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455751.1495633748!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Well all need to get used to a more visible presence of armed police and doubtless security checks too"} ,"articleBody": "

Scotland only avoided carnage a decade ago through quick thinking and good luck. It could have been much worse and it was a wake-up call. It was only weeks into my tenure as Justice Secretary and coincided with the official opening of the Parliament. I had been regaling a friend about the Resilience Room in St Andrews House, where coordination of emergencies whether climatic, industrial or terror takes place. Of course, terrorism didn’t occur here in Scotland I added.

No sooner was I home than news of the attack broke. By the time I arrived at the Resilience Room officials, along with others from emergency services and beyond, were already hard at work, co-ordinating action across the country - events that are planned for, but we always hope they will be avoided.

The following day I visited police who were both in pursuit of those involved and defending our communities from further atrocities. It’s likewise now with police on patrol both visible and armed, to reassure the public and deter further attacks.

Steps were also being taken to assure the Muslim community that they would be afforded the full protection of the law. I recall the then Assistant Chief Constable of Strathclyde John Neilson being quite outstanding when addressing a packed central mosque in Glasgow, where fear was palpable. Sadly, then as now, bigots seek to vent their spleen on innocent members of minority communities. That happens despite the fact that governments of all complexions make it clear that terror is perpetrated by depraved individuals, not communities.

Moreover, it is forgotten by many and ignored by the prejudiced that it is Muslims who have suffered most from terrorism. What the West suffered on Monday night or in other tragedies is as nothing to the carnage that has blighted the Middle East and North Africa, much of it unleashed after the Iraq War or other western interventions. Moreover, many refugees slandered by these bigots are fleeing terror on a scale greater than we’ve ever had to endure. They get far less publicity than incidents that happen in Europe or the USA, but they bleed and weep the same.

Manchester of course suffered an IRA bombing in 1996 and though a warning had been given and lives spared, hundreds were still injured and catastrophic damage sustained. However, terrorism has changed for the worse, since even the dark days of the Provisional IRA’s activities.

The problem now is that it’s moved from an external to an internal threat and from a terror organisation to often individuals acting alone or with a few others. Those changes make it far harder for police and security services. The threat from the Provisional IRA was in the main coming from outside the country. Now it’s from within our own communities. The recent and past terror attacks in the UK have been carried out by British nationals, not immigrants or refugees. You can’t seal the border when they’re already here.

Moreover, the days of active service units of the Provisional IRA or other terror organisations have been supplanted by what’s called “Nike” terrorism. That’s a euphemism for “Just Do It” - whatever you can, wherever you can and however you can. Hence it’s the Boston marathon with pressure cooker bombs, trucks or cars in Nice and London, and improvised devices elsewhere. They can eastly be acquired or sometimes just down loaded from the internet. The perpetrators may be acting on instruction or simply by encouragement; and alone or with a handful of others. But it’s hard to pin down, for those needing to monitor the threat.

Despite the horror, the response has to be balanced and proportionate. After all this is an attack on our way of life. Aviation is targeted as symbolic of the west and football matches and pop concerts as evidence of our decadence. However, it is not simply a case of ‘life must go on’ - our democracy and values need protected. If we react in a repressive manner it not only undermines our way of life but the values we live by.

For sure, we’ll all just need to get used to a more visible presence of armed police and doubtless security checks at venues and events. However, we also need to tackle the root cause of this terror. It is fuelled by a feeling of injustice amongst a marginalised community. It most certainly won’t be solved by President Trump bombing the **** out of ISIS, as he once boasted. They do need confronted and held to account by all legitimate means.

But indiscriminate slaughter simply increases the perception of differential justice for western and Muslim communities. Trump’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia are part of the cause of the famine in Yemen threatening millions, never mind drone strikes by the USA that kill innocents by the score. His lecturing of the Muslim world about clearing out the terrorists was rank hypocrisy.

In the UK and elsewhere in Europe many communities face discrimination and are marginalised with limited opportunities for education and employment. The injustice at home needs to be tackled as much as abroad. Otherwise individuals who are susceptible, for instance through mental health or personal issues, can fall prey to organisations who feed their rage and unleash their terror.

So, heightened security and some more atrocities may have to be endured. It’s the price to be paid for our values and way of life. But we shall overcome, together as a community of all faiths and races.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "KENNY MACASKILL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455751.1495633748!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455751.1495633748!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Well all need to get used to a more visible presence of armed police and doubtless security checks too","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Well all need to get used to a more visible presence of armed police and doubtless security checks too","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455751.1495633748!/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/propaganda-will-make-muslims-more-hated-says-muslim-scholar-1-4456070","id":"1.4456070","articleHeadline": "Propaganda will make Muslims more hated, says Muslim scholar","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495643589000 ,"articleLead": "

Prince Ghazi bin Muhammed of Jordan, one of the world’s leading Muslim scholars, has told the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland that terrorist propaganda will succeed in making Muslims “even more hated than they currently are by most of the world.”

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456069.1495643586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan delivers a speech to the General Assembly. Picture: Andrew O'Brien"} ,"articleBody": "

Prince Ghazi, who gave a major hard-hitting speech in the presence of the Princess Royal representing the Queen, began by condemning the Manchester terror attack saying terrorists did not represent Muslims.

“Let me start by condemning in the strongest possible terms in my name and in the name of his majesty King Abdullah 11, (the 2nd) these terror attacks of innocent young people,” said Prince Ghazi who is King Abdullah 11 (the 2nd) of Jordan’s personal envoy.

“We are particularly appalled to see them pretend to represent our religion. Obviously they do not.

“I believe they will find that this country is made of stronger stuff than they might ever imagine.”

• READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Terrorists will not win

The prince, who works to promote better understanding between Muslims and Christians and has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, outlined his vision for the future including the “rise of global fundamentalist movements in all religions”, populism, extreme nationalism and xenophobia.

“Terrorist propaganda will succeed in making Muslims even more hated than they currently are by most of the world, and in some places Muslims will be in internment camps and other concentration camps,” he said.

He then referred to the founder of ISIS as a “criminal”, Boko Haram as “lunatics” and warned of further Islamist radicalisation.

“We will of course continue to have a growth of radical fundamentalism in Islam, but we will also have an Islamisation of radicals (so that angry young people with little faith will use Islam as an outlet for their anger, in addition to Islamisation of criminals - such as the late Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi; the founder of ISIS - an islamisation of lunatics - such as Boko Haram - and the Islamisaation of really ignorant and gullible people , like most of the ‘lone wolf’ terrorists we see here in the West.”

• READ MORE: Manchester Area blast: Police office among those killed by Salman Abedi

He also raised the spectre of Islam being “wiped off the face of the Earth” by other religions, with a few exceptions.

“The other world religions - all of whom are enjoying their own fundamental renaissances, albeit not as spectacularly, with beautiful exceptions like Pope Francis, HM the Queen, wiill raise their voices in unison until they all demand together that Islam be wiped off the face of the Earth for not being enough of a religion of love.

“If this all sounds too bad to be true, unfortunately is isn’t. It is a mordant but serious warning.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SHAN ROSS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456069.1495643586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456069.1495643586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan delivers a speech to the General Assembly. Picture: Andrew O'Brien","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan delivers a speech to the General Assembly. Picture: Andrew O'Brien","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456069.1495643586!/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/farming/cautious-welcome-for-new-farm-rent-review-contract-1-4455288","id":"1.4455288","articleHeadline": "Cautious welcome for new farm rent review contract","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495616209000 ,"articleLead": "

NFU Scotland has welcomed the eventual award of the contract to conduct the appraisal of how the new “productive capacity” measures to be used to determine farm rents – contained in last year’s Land Reform Act – will work in practice.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455287.1495616207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Tenant Farmers Association chairman Christopher Nicholson said a stakeholder group should be appointed to monitor contractors' work. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The work will be conducted by a consortium consisting of land agents Savills, legal adviser Hamish Lean, and Elgin-based agent Watson Bell.

However, while welcoming the fact that things were moving forward, the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) said the fact that many of its members viewed the main contractor as working chiefly for land owners might leave tenant farmers with “understandable concerns”.

• READ MORE: Farming news

STFA chairman Christopher Nicholson said that while such concerns had been widely expressed in the sector, tenants should be reassured that the safeguards of the tight parameters set for the review together with the broad membership of the consortium and the transparency of the process would lead to a professional and balanced outcome.

“We have also suggested to cabinet secretary Fergus Ewing that a stakeholder group should be appointed to monitor the work of the contractors, guaranteeing transparency and impartiality,” he said.

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However, Nicholson added that the political slippage which had delayed the appointment could mean it could now be 2020 before the new procedures were actually used in rental determinations.

The consortium appointed to the job will be charged with assessing the proposals and turning the rent framework laid down in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 into a practical rent review system. Although the basis of the new formula is enshrined in statute, the act requires it to be tested on the ground to make sure it will be achieve its purpose of delivering a fair rent, before the secondary legislation, which will implement the changes, is passed by parliament.

• READ MORE: ‘Trees v tenants’ row resurfaces over planting targets

NFUS said that the appointment was a significant step forward in delivering a more transparent system for rents for 1991 Act agricultural tenancies, with union president Andrew McCornick stating that many farmers were awaiting news of how rents would be determined for secure tenancies.

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However, he added: “It is vital the new rent-setting mechanism is fit for purpose, and provides landlords and tenants with a fair and transparent system which allows both parties to understand how the rent is determined.”

McCornick also expressed concerns that there was some misunderstanding about when the new rent test would be introduced, admitting that it would be tight to have it in operation in time for 2019 reviews.

“I urge rent discussions between now and then to bear this in mind and for all to adhere to good industry practice during rent reviews,” he concluded.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "bhenderson@farming.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Henderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455287.1495616207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455287.1495616207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scottish Tenant Farmers Association chairman Christopher Nicholson said a stakeholder group should be appointed to monitor contractors' work. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Tenant Farmers Association chairman Christopher Nicholson said a stakeholder group should be appointed to monitor contractors' work. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455287.1495616207!/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/kirk-votes-against-economic-sanctions-for-israel-1-4453738","id":"1.4453738","articleHeadline": "Kirk votes against economic sanctions for Israel","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495613315000 ,"articleLead": "

A call urging economic sanctions against Israel over the expansion of settlements on the West Bank has been rejected by the 2017 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453737.1495470655!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. \\nPICTURE: ANDREW O,BRIEN"} ,"articleBody": "

The highly-charged debate centred round the appropriate way for the Scottish and UK Governments to undertake public commemorations of the centenary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration which committed Britain to working towards “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

The declaration by the then British Foreign secretary Arthur Balfour also called for the protection of the civil and religious rights of the “existing non-Jewish communities” in what was known as Palestine. It did not include political rights.

Rev Tom Gordon, former chaplain at the Marie Curie hospice in Edinburgh, wanted commissioners, to go further than proposals by the Kirk’s world mission council, “deploring” the illegal settlements but not advocating economic measures.

“The expansion of these settlements is illegal under international law and a barrier to peace. To deplore is not enough, further pressure is needed. Economics matter, we live in a global community and we know sanctions make a difference,” Rev Gordon said.

“BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) works to end international support for Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.

“The call for economic sanctions is not popular, but is predicated on the human rights of all Palestinians suffering under Israeli occupation.”

The Kirk voted instead in favour of “condemning all infringements of international law, including the expansion of the illegal settlements, which are obstacles to peace.”

The Very Rev Andrew McLellan, HM inspector of prisons for Scotland 2002-2009, stressed the Kirk condemned anti-Semitism but that criticism of the Jewish government was not the same as anti-Semitism.

“Not only is Gaza the biggest prison in the world, it is the worst prison in the world. Who pays the price of Balfour?”

" ,"byline": {"email": "sross@scotsman.com" ,"author": "SHN ROSS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4453737.1495470655!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453737.1495470655!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. \\nPICTURE: ANDREW O,BRIEN","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. \\nPICTURE: ANDREW O,BRIEN","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4453737.1495470655!/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/government-borrowing-in-april-highest-for-three-years-1-4455225","id":"1.4455225","articleHeadline": "Government borrowing in April highest for three years","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495611841000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK government borrowed a surprise £10.4 billion in April in the last update on the public finances before the general election next month.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455224.1495611838!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond has vowed to put the public finances back in the black 'as early as possible'. Picture: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, rose by £1.2bn last month to reach the highest amount borrowed for the month since 2014. It came in higher than economists’ expectations of £8.8bn.

• READ MORE: General election news

Martin Beck, senior economic adviser for think tank EY Item Club, said the new fiscal year has “began on a disappointing note for the public finances. The culprit for April’s weakness partly lay with tax receipts. Total central government revenues rose by 3.9 per cent compared to 6.2 per cent in March, the slowest rate of increase in 12 months. Meanwhile, income tax receipts were up by only 1.4 per cent.”

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However, the statistics agency gave the government a boost ahead of the election on 8 June by revising down last year’s deficit.

It said government borrowing, excluding banks, for the last financial year dropped by £23.4bn to £48.7bn,from the previous year. It was the lowest annual borrowing figure since March 2008 and below the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) prediction of £51.7bn.

The government will face a stiff challenge to balance the books in the coming months as economists expect rising inflation to eat into consumer spending, causing the UK economy to slow.

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said April’s borrowing figures suggest the drop in gross domestic product (GDP) to 0.3 per cent growth in the first quarter “won’t be just a blip”.

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

He said: “Admittedly, the OBR expects borrowing to rise this year to £58.3bn in 2017-18, from £51.7bn in 2016-17 and it anticipates tax receipts rising only by 3.7 per cent. But this forecast reflects the fact that the surge in self-assessment tax receipts in January and February 2017 will not be repeated this fiscal year.

“Tax receipts growth, therefore, would have to significantly exceed the OBR’s full-year forecast in the first few months of this fiscal year in order to suggest that the fiscal consolidation is on track.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond had ditched his predecessor’s target of balancing the books by 2020, and vowed instead to put the public finances back in the black “as early as possible” in the next parliament as part of a new Charter for Budget Responsibility.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "businessdesk@scotsman.com" ,"author": "ben woods"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455224.1495611838!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455224.1495611838!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond has vowed to put the public finances back in the black 'as early as possible'. Picture: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chancellor Philip Hammond has vowed to put the public finances back in the black 'as early as possible'. Picture: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455224.1495611838!/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/john-edward-anti-eu-rhetoric-makes-scotland-look-small-1-4454377","id":"1.4454377","articleHeadline": "John Edward: Anti-EU rhetoric makes Scotland look small","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495605642000 ,"articleLead": "

Barrett Deems was the drummer with Louis Armstrong’s All Stars and “the fastest ­drummer in the world”. ­Armstrong told him he was “the only guy in the world that makes coffee nervous”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454376.1495538351!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is unfairly targeted by Leavers, says John Edward. Picture: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

A prickly character, he was asked on tour what he made of Europe: “They should clean it up, paint it and sell it,” he replied. One could be ­forgiven for thinking, in recent weeks, that the ­attitude on this island is starting to swing the same way.

Very few people ditched lifelong personal and political convictions in the aftermath of the 1975, 1979, 2014 referendums. Why would they now? Before last June’s vote, Nigel Farage said a narrow Remain win would be “unfinished business by a long way”.

Triggering Article 50 led to positions hardening on both sides. We are just starting to realise that the 27 member states are treaty-bound to support each other. Michel Barnier, visiting Ireland, pointed out that “in this negotiation, Ireland’s interest will be the Union’s interest”.

Given our stereotype that the Union is one body, under an unelected cabal which makes up the minds of states for them, it is easy to ­forget that each of the 27 have long, distinct and separate histories and a range of reasons to regret the UK’s departure – historical, cultural, social, commercial and, yes, financial. Those ­countries are ­genuine in their sadness that the post-war ­solidarity and common working which the continent forged is being weakened or forgotten.

How else to explain ­correspondents to this newspaper blaming Germany for “unreasonable” financial requests? The EU is not a golf club and pulling out of agreed financial commitments is as unwelcome elsewhere as it would have been midway through Objective 1 funding to the Highlands and Islands.

Others have written to accuse the other states of Europe of having “sat back” while the UK fought to end Nazi domination. By what possible interpretation can the occupied and ­decimated countries of Europe be judged to have “sat back”?

Jean-Claude Juncker, a prime minister for almost 20 years, has been derided as a dipsomaniac demagogue, dancing to Germany’s tune. He has repeatedly and inaccurately been called ‘Herr’ Juncker, demeaning his own country’s language. It takes a particular kind of cruelty to accuse a man whose ­country was occupied and whose father was conscripted at gunpoint into the Wehrmacht – as were many of the men of Luxembourg – as a collaborator or puppet.

Why, in a small, proud country like Scotland, do we hear jibes against another small country? Why is it that Wallonia’s right to intervene in Belgium’s ­agreement of trade deals, as with the recent EU deal with Canada, can be treated as a laughing ­matter in a country where we ­constantly debate the sovereign powers of the Scottish people invested in Holyrood and Westminster?

Arthur Freed, the producer who came looking for ­locations for the film Brigadoon in 1953, reported back: “I went to Scotland and found nothing there that looks like Scotland.”

I am beginning to know how he felt.

John Edward is former head of the European Parliament Office in Scotland.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454376.1495538351!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454376.1495538351!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is unfairly targeted by Leavers, says John Edward. Picture: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is unfairly targeted by Leavers, says John Edward. Picture: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454376.1495538351!/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/manchester-attack-election-campaigning-to-remain-suspended-1-4455093","id":"1.4455093","articleHeadline": "Manchester attack: Election campaigning to remain suspended","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495571791000 ,"articleLead": "

The party leaders’ campaigns for the 8 June General Election will remain suspended on Wednesday following the attack.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455092.1495571789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May addresses the media as she makes a statement in Downing Street following a COBRA meeting to discuss the Manchester terror attack. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Prime Minister Theresa May will continue handling the response to the atrocity.

The campaigns of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat counterpart Tim Farron, who both attended the vigil in Manchester after the attack, will also remain paused.

But in individual seats, candidates may resume their local campaigns, with some would-be MPs anxious to avoid giving the impression that terrorism is triumphing over democracy.

Mrs May spoke to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the hours after the bomb attack, and agreed to put the contest on hold until further notice.

The two leaders are understood to have remained in regular contact about the situation.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455092.1495571789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455092.1495571789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May addresses the media as she makes a statement in Downing Street following a COBRA meeting to discuss the Manchester terror attack. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May addresses the media as she makes a statement in Downing Street following a COBRA meeting to discuss the Manchester terror attack. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455092.1495571789!/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-no-answer-to-threat-of-lone-suicide-bomber-1-4455085","id":"1.4455085","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: No answer to threat of lone suicide bomber","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495571485000 ,"articleLead": "

The horror we had feared would visit Britain ever since terrorist attacks on Europe increased in frequency arrived on Monday night with the slaughter of at least 22 people, and another 59 injured, at a pop concert in Manchester, the biggest loss of life since the 7 July bombings in 2005.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455084.1495580205!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Armed police on duty in Edinburgh on Tuesday."} ,"articleBody": "

We have suffered brutal killings in the UK since that carnage 12 years ago, namely the murder of young soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, and then just two months ago the killing of four people at Westminster Bridge and a police officer at the Palace of Westminster.

But as bad as those attacks were, we had so far avoided what was always seen as the worst-case scenario – a lone suicide bomber, bent on destroying lives, walking into a crowded area and detonating a device that would cause multiple fatalities. Worse still, the soft target was a place where the attacker knew that children would be killed. It was every parent’s worst nightmare, and for many parents today, that nightmare will now dominate the rest of their lives.

We have seen variations on this kind of approach elsewhere in Europe: 89 people were killed by gunmen at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, and a cargo truck was driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing 86 people.

With attacks on this scale moving ever-closer to Britain, it was inevitable that terror was on its way here, and that reality has been reflected in the UK threat level having a rating of “severe” for the past three years, indicating an attack is considered “highly likely”.

And while we have been going about our lives, with little disruption, there has been an average of one terror-related arrest per day in recent months. Who can say what would have happened if this action had not been taken?

Our security forces may well have stopped many other intended atrocities from taking place during recent years, but it is impossible to prevent the lone attacker who might not be on the radar. At this stage we know that Salman Abedi was known to the authorities, but he was not regarded as high risk, and unless there was available evidence that he had become active, his intentions were very difficult to detect. We cannot restrict the movements of someone who might have done no more than aroused suspicion, and nor can we assign 24-hour observation to every person whose name emerges as a potential, but to date dormant, threat.

Attempts will now be made to establish if the Manchester bomber was operating independently, or was supported by others who helped him to plan his attack and make a lethal explosive device. This process is, at present, the priority, because the emergence of Abedi could help to identify and constrain other threats at large in the UK.

Experts will also examine what is left of the device used in Manchester, the deployment of which is an extremely concerning development following recent belief that an attack in the UK was more likely to be with a knife or a vehicle. But even if these processes yield vital clues and remove currently unknown threats, we will remain under “severe” threat of attack.

And sadly, following these leads is about as much as can be done right now. Donald Trump wishes to “obliterate” people that the US president’s own security forces cannot identify or locate. Those at the other end of the spectrum, who believe that attempts should be made to talk to the terrorists, also face difficulties with the practicalities of such a strategy. Until such time as we know that Abedi was working with others, who are these people we should be entering dialogue with? If we had the answer to this threat, we would not be facing days like these.

It is no consolation right now, but attacks like the one suffered this week remain rare, considering how many soft targets there are in everyday life in Britain. We have our security services to thank for that, but for the moment, damage limitation is more realistic than prevention.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455084.1495580205!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455084.1495580205!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Armed police on duty in Edinburgh on Tuesday.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Armed police on duty in Edinburgh on Tuesday.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455084.1495580205!/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/kirk-tells-pm-don-t-ignore-sovereign-right-of-scots-1-4455013","id":"1.4455013","articleHeadline": "Kirk tells PM: Don’t ignore ‘sovereign right’ of Scots","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495562421000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish people have the “sovereign right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs”, despite the UK government having the legal right to permit a second independence referendum, delegates at the 2017 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh agreed yesterday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455012.1495562418!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rev Richard Frazer. Picture: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

The Kirk is impartial on independence, but supported devolution. It has supported Scotland and the UK remaining members of the European Union for the past 20 years.

It has also voiced concerns about what will happen to EU citizens in Scotland and the polarisation of opinion following last year’s referendum vote to leave the EU.

Rev Richard Frazer, convener of the church and society council, which compiled a report for the Assembly on the role of the church in the “context of constitutional change and uncertainty”, said: “The Claim of Right, which is not legally binding, states that a Scottish Parliament democratically elected will reflect the democratic right of the Scottish people.

“The UK government has the right to make the decision.

“It has not indicated that it will not, more just ‘not now’.

“We’ve said that we will remain neutral but, should the UK government choose to ignore the will of the Scottish people as reflected in parliament, that could be problematic.

“I would say that people are suffering from election fatigue and [there is] probably not the level of support for a second independence referendum at the moment. That is not a partisan view.”

The reports states: “The Church of Scotland does not have an agreed position on whether there should or should not be another referendum on Scottish independence and recognises that there are strongly held and legitimate opinions on both sides of this debate.”

It also says: “At the time of writing, the majority of Scottish MPs and the majority of Scottish MSPs are in favour of a referendum on Scottish independence.”

Rev Frazer, who also spoke in the debate about the rights of EU citizens in the UK, added: “I don’t think we’re in a position to make a link between our support for the EU and vote for independence.

“However, one of the things we’re very concerned about is that there are a lot of EU citizens in Britain who have felt quite vulnerable since Brexit.We’re very concerned that the UK government has failed to give them any reassurance. It makes people feel that they are ‘bargaining chips’.”

But Rev Peter Phillips, from the presbytery of Angus, said: “My concern is that it is very easy to use language against governments who have very difficult issues to consider. No-one in government is saying they want to take away the rights of EU citizens here, or ones overseas. No-one knows.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455012.1495562418!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455012.1495562418!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Rev Richard Frazer. Picture: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rev Richard Frazer. Picture: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455012.1495562418!/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/ayesha-hazarika-bomber-and-right-wing-both-desire-hate-and-division-1-4454754","id":"1.4454754","articleHeadline": "Ayesha Hazarika: Bomber and right-wing both desire hate and division","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495551780000 ,"articleLead": "

Some of those on the right calling for action have more in common with the terrorists than they realise, writes Ayesha Hazarika.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454753.1495607006!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A woman wearing an 'I heart MCR' T-shirt makes her way to lay flowers in St Ann Square in Manchester. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

I really hoped I wouldn’t have to write another column about a terrorist attack for a long time. The last one was only eight weeks ago with the attacks at Westminster. Today with a heavy heart, I open up my laptop and begin writing the same column again and feeling the same anger, fear and heartbreak.

Like so many, I went to sleep ­hoping, or rather praying, it was a terrible freak electrical fault and woke up to the news that it was ­terrorist attack. The depth of the cruelty and depravity was breath-taking even in these terror-hardened times.

And as Nicola Sturgeon said, it was an act of cowardice to attack young people and children enjoying a night out.

A sugary American pop concert by a former teen queen Ariana Grande, filled with children, teenagers – mostly girls – is the softest of all human targets. For many it was their first pop concert. For some it was their first without mum or dad. A special coming of age moment. Your very first taste of grown up freedom. Imagine the terror those mostly young girls must have felt when the bomb went off and how they must have screamed for their parents? Imagine what they saw. Imagine how it will haunt them.

READ MORE: Barra teenager found alive in hospital after Manchester attack

READ MORE: Troops on streets as UK terror threat level raised to ‘critical’

READ MORE: Manchester Arena attack: Olivia Campbell, 15, confirmed dead by mother

Imagine the premeditation of ­calculating the impact of using a pop concert, which brings people together in a happy bubble of joy, song, dance, laughter and warmth? Maybe that was it. Someone who could not bear the idea of young people in happy cultural unity, so they had to destroy it, and them.

We are starting to learn the names of the dead. Georgina Callander, 18 years old, was a major fan and had tweeted excitedly just hours before the show. And wee Saffie Rose Roussos – just eight years old – who had become separated from her mum and sister.

This man was a child murderer. As the Muslim Council of Britain said: “May the perpetrators face the full weight of the justice both in this life and the next.” For once I agree with Donald Trump – he was a “loser”. Death and division was his goal.

The irony was that Manchester came together in the minutes and hours afterwards. An act of hate was met with kindness and Mancunians from all races and religions rallied to help. Local hotels gave shelter. People opened their homes. Cab drivers gave lifts home. And, of course, the local NHS staff, police and emergency services worked through the night.

This has been a long dark night and people will be angry, scared, confused and hurt. The city will need time to grieve and heal.

The city led by recently-elected mayor Andy Burnham will have a huge task to bring people together and make them feel united and I have every faith in him and ­Manchester – a strong, proud, vibrant city of music, comedy, ­curries and character.

But there are of course difficult and profound questions about who did this, why and how?

It’s naïve to not have that conversation and we must be honest and fearless – when we have the facts.

We must keep cool heads and warm hearts as we navigate our response to this murder. No one should want to give this man his ultimate desire of fuelling hate and infecting us with his poison.

It’s very easy to sow division when you are rightly angry and raw. It’s easy to jump to conclusions and tar everyone from one race or ­religion with the same brush. It’s not as simple as that, and that is no more sophisticated than the thugs that commit these crimes.

These conversations are difficult. As someone from a Muslim background, I already feel the weight of guilt by association because I know that’s what people are thinking and, indeed, tweeting angrily.

I’m angry. You’re angry. We’re all angry. No one has the monopoly on how much they hate this man and his ilk, although those who lost loved ones are at the front of the queue.

I can understand why people lash out and there are those who will leap on this to make a crass social and political point. That is deeply unhelpful and self-defeating. It ­genuinely is what that man would want you to do.

The usual suspects – and I don’t even want to give them the oxygen of publicity today – are screeching “empty platitudes are not enough… WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING!” What would these people have us do to make the situation better and not worse? Intern every ­Muslim or dusky-looking person with a funny name? Would that help? A bit of vigilante revenge violence or civil unrest? A spot of intimidation like the overnight attacks on mosques in Oldham and Birmingham? Does that make us feel ­better, safer and more at ease? Nope. Of course not.

Some of these people on the right are as dumb as the ­terrorists they hate and have more in common than they realise. They both hate our rich mix of diversity, ­culture and tolerance – and that the majority sees it as a strength.

There will be questions to be asked but I hope certain communities and individuals will not be sought out and punished. Any decent human with a beating heart and a functioning brain, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew or of no religion whatsoever, will hate and mourn what this disgusting, ­violent, shameful excuse of a man did. The ideology of extremism must be fought with everything we have but in an intelligent manner which doesn’t play right into their hands and give them what they want – more hate and division.

As we grieve for the children of Manchester, and emotions run high, I sadly, once again, revisit the spirit of Kurt Cochran – one of the victims of the Westminster attack. His family said they decided to embody his philosophy, which was not to deny that negative things happen but to choose not to live in the negative. Hope trumps hate.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "AYESHA HAZARIKA"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454753.1495607006!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454753.1495607006!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A woman wearing an 'I heart MCR' T-shirt makes her way to lay flowers in St Ann Square in Manchester. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A woman wearing an 'I heart MCR' T-shirt makes her way to lay flowers in St Ann Square in Manchester. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454753.1495607006!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1495576232792"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/world/manchester-arena-attack-watch-donald-trump-condemn-evil-losers-1-4454514","id":"1.4454514","articleHeadline": "Manchester Arena attack: Watch Donald Trump condemn “evil losers”","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495544079000 ,"articleLead": "

President Donald Trump has condemned the deadly attack at a pop concert in Manchester as the act of “evil losers” and called on nations to band together to fight terrorism.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454530.1495544076!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "US President Donald Trump condemned the attacks during his visit to Israel. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

“The terrorists and extremists, and those who give them aid and comfort, must be driven out from our society forever,” said Mr Trump, speaking after a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“This wicked ideology must be obliterated, and I mean completely obliterated and innocent life must be protected.”

Mr Trump spoke from Bethlehem in the West Bank, the morning after a blast that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert. UK officials have said they are treating the blast as an act of terrorism. So-called Islamic State have since claimed responsibility.

READ MORE: Manchester arena attack: 22 killed, 23-year-old man arrested

READ MORE: Manchester arena attack: General election campaign suspended

The US President stressed his support for the United Kingdom and mourned the loss of “beautiful young people.” Relying on one of his preferred insults, Trump said he would call the perpetrators “losers, because that’s what they are.”

The president has used the stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West Bank to call for the end of such violence. In a speech in Riyadh on Sunday, he urged Muslim leaders to eradicate what he called “Islamic extremism” and cast the effort as a “battle between good and evil.”

On Tuesday, he added: “All civilized nations must join together to protect human life and the sacred right of our citizens to live in safety and in peace.”

Mr Trump also expressed optimism that he can help facilitate peace between Israel and Palestinians. He said he was “truly hopeful that America can help Israel and the Palestinians forge peace and bringing new hope the region and its people.”

Mr Trump will next head to Europe, where planned meetings with world leaders on the economy and trade could be overtaken with discussion of terrorism and security.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARGARET NEIGHBOUR"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454530.1495544076!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454530.1495544076!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "US President Donald Trump condemned the attacks during his visit to Israel. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "US President Donald Trump condemned the attacks during his visit to Israel. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454530.1495544076!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1495542219631"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/manchester-arena-attack-general-election-campaign-suspended-1-4454034","id":"1.4454034","articleHeadline": "Manchester arena attack: General election campaign suspended","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495541727000 ,"articleLead": "

General election campaigning has been suspended until further notice following the deadly suicide bombing in Manchester, with the SNP manifesto launch planned on Tuesday morning postponed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427421.1495522555!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon described the news as heart breaking. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted in response to the “heartbreaking” news from Manchester, calling the incident a “barbaric attack”.

The First Minister was set to chair a meeting of the Scottish Government’s resilience committee with police to be updated on the attack.

In a statement, Ms Sturgeon said: “My thoughts are with the victims, their families and all those who have been affected by this barbaric attack in Manchester.

READ MORE: Manchester arena explosion: 22 dead, over 59 injured

“The Scottish Government is working with Police Scotland and the UK Government to ensure that we have a full understanding of the developing situation.

“I will convene a meeting of the Scottish Government’s Resilience Committee this morning to receive an update and to consider any implications for Scotland.”

The SNP candidate for the Western Isles, Angus MacNeil, tweeted a picture of two girls from the island of Barra in his constituency, Laura MacIntyre and Eilidh Macleod, who he said were in Manchester and were missing.

Candidates from all parties posted on social media that they were cancelling local events in their constituencies.

Theresa May was also set to convene a meeting of the emergency COBRA committee in London on Tuesday morning.

READ MORE: Theresa May performs dramatic ‘dementia tax’ U-turn as polls tighten

The Prime Minister said: “We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.

“All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”

Party leaders cancelled campaign stops and expressed their condolences with the families of those killed and injured. Flags have been lowered at Downing Street and along Whitehall.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “I am horrified by the horrendous events in Manchester last night. My thoughts are with families and friends of those who have died and been injured.

“Today the whole country will grieve for the people who have lost their lives.

“I have spoken with Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, who has fully briefed me on the operational response in the city.

“I would like to pay tribute to the emergency services for their bravery and professionalism in dealing with last night’s appalling events.

“I have spoken with the Prime Minister and we have agreed that all national campaigning in the general election will be suspended until further notice.”

The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said “we have faced down terror before, and we will do so again”.

Ms Davidson said: “This is devastating news and all my prayers go out today to the families of those who were killed and injured.

“I can only imagine the pain they are feeling and their heartbreak is shared across the country. It goes without saying that our political campaigning will cease today.

“Terrorism has once against struck our country and, once again, we are faced with a sense of disbelief that someone could be capable of carrying out such an appalling act.

“We all stand with the people of Manchester. We also all know that this wonderful vibrant city will not be defeated by this terrorist act.

“The courageous work of our emergency services and the generosity and help offered by ordinary people after the attack are the values that define us.”

The Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said it was “a barbaric and sickening attack, targeted at young and vulnerable people enjoying a night at a concert” and a “heartbreaking moment for our country”.

Ms Dugdale said: “Across the UK we are today grieving for the people of Manchester. I pay tribute to the dedication of the brave emergency service workers who ran into danger.

“We have all been moved by the actions of ordinary people who opened their doors, cared for scared youngsters, provided transport to concert-goers, and are giving blood at donor banks to help those injured. This great city is today demonstrating to the world the true spirit of Manchester.”

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who had been due to campaign in Gibraltar, said: “This is a shocking and horrific attack targeting children and young people who were simply enjoying a concert.

“My deepest sympathies are with the victims, and with families who have lost loved ones, as well as those desperately waiting for news.

“I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of the emergency services.

“This is an attack on innocent people and the nation is united both in its grief and its determination to stand up to this deplorable attack.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PARIS GOURTSOYANNIS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4427421.1495522555!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427421.1495522555!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon described the news as heart breaking. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon described the news as heart breaking. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4427421.1495522555!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454045.1495522562!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454045.1495522562!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ariana Grande concert attendees Vikki Baker and her daughter Charlotte, aged 13, leave the Park Inn where they were given refuge after last night's explosion. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ariana Grande concert attendees Vikki Baker and her daughter Charlotte, aged 13, leave the Park Inn where they were given refuge after last night's explosion. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454045.1495522562!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1495517213771"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/kezia-dugdale-vote-labour-to-ditch-divisive-snp-and-tories-1-4453526","id":"1.4453526","articleHeadline": "Kezia Dugdale: Vote Labour to ditch ‘divisive’ SNP and Tories","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495536788000 ,"articleLead": "

Kezia Dugdale underlined her firm opposition to a second independence referendum and a hard Brexit today as she sought to position Labour as the alternative to the “divisive politics” of the SNP and Conservatives.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453521.1495470777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale during the launch of the Scottish Labour manifesto. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Launching the party’s Scottish manifesto in Edinburgh, Ms Dugdale claimed only Labour could oust the Tories from power on June 8 and that in Scotland only her party was strong enough to defeat Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP.

“In the pages of this manifesto, you will find our plan for a Britain where we make fairer and better choices,” she said.

“A Britain where everyone can lead fulfilling and dignified lives – from childhood right through to their later years.

“It’s only by electing a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn that this transformation of our country as a whole can begin.

“Only by electing a Labour government can Scotland benefit from the massive investment in public services and infrastructure that we need to repair the damage wrought by the twin evils of SNP and Tory cuts.”

READ MORE: Scottish Leaders Debate: clashes over indyref2 and SNP record

A party briefing claimed a Labour government at Westminster would deliver a £3.016 billion budget boost to Scotland through Barnett consequentials by 2021.

The increased cash to the devolved administrations, including the Scottish Parliament would be the result from Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to make top earners across the UK pay more tax if he is returned as prime minister at the general election.

But the SNP warned Labour was delivering a “tax bombshell” to ordinary voters and claimed only the Nationalists could beat the Tories north of the border.

On the economy, Dugdale said “the whole country needs to be firing on all cylinders” but added that Scotland was being left behind.

She hit out at the SNP at Holyrood and Tories at Westminster for focusing on “divisive politics” that risked pushing Scotland into recession and affect working people across the country.

Ms Dugdale hailed the manifesto as a “bold agenda for change” while addressing activists in the Grassmarket.

She singled out Labour’s commitment to introduce a £10 per hour living wage by 2020 as the policy with the most potential to transform the country.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon backs SNP candidate accused of nurse “smear”

There were some surprises in the document. Although Scottish Labour is opposed to Trident, the Scottish manifesto included a commitment to support the renewal of the UK’s nuclear deterrent - the party leader putting the difference down to defence being “a reserved issue”.

The SNP leader at Westminister, Angus Robertson, said the manifesto proved Scottish Labour was “at sixes and sevens” after the party confirmed it was still committed to its 2016 tax pledges, which includes a penny on the basic rate of income tax in Scotland.

“This manifesto launch shows once more Kezia Dugdale’s desire to hit the poorest in our society with a bumper tax bill - seeking to raise the tax burden of those on the lowest incomes,” he said.

“Labour cannot pretend to support ordinary workers when at the same time they want to hit them with a fresh tax bombshell - something even the UK Labour party have avoided.

“Polling over the weekend has shown that Labour can’t win the election in Scotland - and if Labour voters want to keep the Tories out of Scotland, only a vote for the SNP can achieve this.”

Scottish Conservative candidate for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, John Lamont, said: “Kezia Dugdale and Jeremy Corbyn cannot be trusted on the union – the record speaks for itself.

“Labour may pretend that it opposes a second referendum on independence.

“But not only do a series of candidates for next month say the complete opposite, Corbyn himself has said he’s ‘absolutely fine’ with it.

“We know exactly where Labour’s constitutional priorities lie – they want to prop up the SNP in councils across the country, and suspend any councillors who choose instead to work with the Scottish Conservatives.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “The big problem for Labour is that they voted with the Conservatives for an extreme hard Brexit.

“They have joined Ukip in giving up on the single market. They would be devastating for Scottish jobs.

“The SNP risks leaving Scotland outside the UK as well as outside the EU.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS MCCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4453521.1495470777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453521.1495470777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale during the launch of the Scottish Labour manifesto. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale during the launch of the Scottish Labour manifesto. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4453521.1495470777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1495528425457"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/theresa-may-manchester-bomber-chose-place-with-cold-calculation-1-4454316","id":"1.4454316","articleHeadline": "Theresa May: Manchester bomber chose place with “cold calculation”","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495535571000 ,"articleLead": "

Prime Minister Theresa May has described the deadly suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester as “among the worst we have ever experienced” and said many children were among the injured.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454354.1495537036!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May chaired an emergency meeting with security officials following the attack. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Speaking in Downing Street after she chaired an emergency meeting of police and security officials, Mrs May said “the spirit of Britain will never be broken” by terrorism.

The Prime Minister said police and intelligence agencies already know the identity of the lone attacker who detonated a suicide bomb, killing 22 people and wounding 59, but were not confirming his name at this stage.

Investigators are working to establish whether the terrorist had been part of a wider network or had received support from accomplices.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families and friends of all those affected,” Mrs May said.

READ MORE: Darren McGarvey: Nationalism is a volatile energy, it can turn radioactive

READ MORE: Manchester arena attack: General election campaign suspended

“It is now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester and of this country have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack, an attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation.

“This was among the worst terrorist incidents we have ever experienced in the United Kingdom.

“And although it is not the first time Manchester has suffered in this way, it is the worst attack the city has experienced and the worst-ever to hit the north of England.”

The Prime Minister said the terrorist had detonated his bomb “near one of the exits” to the Manchester Arena, where the singer Ariana Grande had just finished a concert, “deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately”.

“All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice - deliberately targeting innocent defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives,” the Prime Minister said.

Many of the 59 wounded who are being treated in eight hospitals across Manchester have “life-threatening” injuries, and many are children, she added. “We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage.”

Mrs May expressed the country’s gratitude towards the emergency services for their “great courage”.

“They acted in accordance with the plans they have in place and the exercises they conduct to test those plans and they performed with the utmost professionalism,” she said. “Four hundred police officers were involved in the operation through the night and many paramedics, doctors, and nurses have worked valiantly amid traumatic and terrible scenes to save lives and care for the wounded.”

The Prime Minister confirmed that following a review of intelligence, the UK terror threat level will remain at Severe, meaning a terror attack is “highly likely”.

She asked witnesses who might have any relevant information to “think of those people who are experiencing unimaginable worry” due to missing loved ones and pass it on to Greater Manchester Police.

Mrs May will travel to Manchester later to meet with Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, and members of the emergency services. A second emergency Cobra meeting will take place later today.

“At terrible moments like these, it is customary for leaders, politicians, and others to condemn the perpetrators and declare that the terrorists will not win.

“But the fact we have been here before and the fact we need to say this again does not make it any less true.

“For as so often while we experienced the worst of humanity in Manchester last night, we also saw the best.

“The cowardice of the attacker met the bravery of the emergency services and the people of Manchester.”

The Prime Minister called on people hold on to images of those who helped the victims, rather than of “senseless slaughter”.

“For they are the images that embody the spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain - a spirit that through years of conflict and terrorism has never been broken and will never be broken,” she said.

“And today, let us remember those who died and let us celebrate those who helped - safe in the knowledge that the terrorists will never win and our values, our country, and our way of life will always prevail.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454354.1495537036!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454354.1495537036!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May chaired an emergency meeting with security officials following the attack. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May chaired an emergency meeting with security officials following the attack. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454354.1495537036!/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/snp-will-go-for-minority-administration-in-edinburgh-1-4454312","id":"1.4454312","articleHeadline": "SNP will go for minority administration in Edinburgh","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495535430000 ,"articleLead": "

THE SNP is set to take control of the city council as a minority administration – but still hopes Labour bosses will give the go-ahead for a coalition at a later date.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454306.1495535421!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Adam McVey says the city needs 'political leadership' Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

The Nationalists are expected to put forward a list of nominations for committee conveners when the full council meets on Thursday.

But they are viewing at least some of the appointments as “temporary” while they wait to hear whether a coalition proposal agreed between the SNP and Labour groups at the City Chambers will win the approval of Labour’s Scottish executive committee.

The executive has so far refused to endorse the plan and asked for more information.

And there has been speculation that Labour is reluctant to form any kind of alliance with the SNP when the two parties are fighting each other in the general election and that no approval will be given until after June 8.

But that would mean the Capital was without a council administration for more than five weeks following the local elections on May 4.

SNP group leader Adam McVey has written to Scottish Labour leader and Lothian MSP Kezia Dugdale, asking for a meeting to discuss the 

But in the meantime he says the SNP is prepared to step in and form an administration.

He said: “My position has been clear that I think the best way forward is an SNP-Labour coalition. That would give stability and also clarity of 

“I believe that would still be in the best interests of the city.

“If Labour get permission to enter into a coalition at some point that would be the best way forward for the city, for the development of transport, education and all the services people expect us to provide, and also for the crisis in the care service we need to address.

“But I’m not willing to wait potentially five weeks to start addressing these problems.

“I’m going to try to be in a position where we can sort these issues out.

“The city needs political leadership and the SNP is in a strong position to provide that.

“Our platform has synergies with the vast majority of the council.”

The SNP is now the biggest party on the council with 19 seats, the Tories have 18, Labour 12, the Greens eight and the Lib Dems six.

Tory proposals for a “pan-unionist” coalition of Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems were rejected by Labour.

Last week, at the first full council meeting since the elections, former SNP group leader Frank Ross was elected Lord Provost, with the SNP and Greens voting together while Labour abstained, but all other appointments were postponed until this week.

It is understood that while the SNP will propose 
committee conveners are expected to be decided on Thursday, along with membership of the committees reflecting the strength of each party on the council, the post of Deputy Lord Provost may be left vacant for the time being.

An SNP source said talks were being held with other parties ahead of the meeting in a bid to win support for the formation of a minority 

The source said: “We believe Labour nationally will at some point give permission to their group to form a coalition, but it won’t be until after the election.

“The move to appoint SNP committee conveners is expected to be a temporary arrangement which would change when a proper coalition is formed.”

Labour group leader Cammy Day has said he hopes to hear from the party’s executive soon.

And at national level Labour sources insist there is no plan to delay a decision until after June 8. SNP-Labour deals have already been approved in some other areas.

But although the Edinburgh Labour group agreed to the coalition proposal there are a variety of views within the party.

Labour’s Local Campaign Forum, which has representatives from constituency parties across the city, refused to back the plan, questioning what the party or the citizens of Edinburgh would get out of it. It asked the group to think again.

Labour nationally has set strict criteria for any coalition, including opposition to austerity, no compulsory redundancies and a presumption against privatisation of services.

One senior source said: “Some council groups have been back to the executive four times with proposals – Edinburgh’s situation is not unique.

“But I believe we would be better staying out of any coalition. An SNP-Labour administration wouldn’t have a majority anyway. You couldn’t guarantee what was going to happen.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ian Swanson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454306.1495535421!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454306.1495535421!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Adam McVey says the city needs 'political leadership' Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Adam McVey says the city needs 'political leadership' Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454306.1495535421!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454307.1495535425!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454307.1495535425!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kezia Dugdale launches the Scottish Labour manifesto at the Grassmarket Community Project. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kezia Dugdale launches the Scottish Labour manifesto at the Grassmarket Community Project. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454307.1495535425!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454310.1495535427!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454310.1495535427!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May speaks during a launch event for the Welsh Conservative general election. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May speaks during a launch event for the Welsh Conservative general election. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454310.1495535427!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/iain-keith-davidson-must-tell-may-to-help-save-the-planet-1-4452125","id":"1.4452125","articleHeadline": "Iain Keith: Davidson must tell May to help save the planet","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495531186000 ,"articleLead": "

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. So when Theresa May was snapped holding hands with Donald Trump at the White House it told a clear story – May intends for the UK to walk hand in hand with Trump’s America. But with the G7 leaders meeting this week, the question is, how far will May really follow Trump?

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452124.1495360834!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Davidsons boss is in need of good advice. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Two years ago, it was the G7 that laid the groundwork for the historic Paris climate agreement. Now Trump is trying to bully the world’s biggest economies to drop their ambition to phase out carbon pollution, which is the only way to stop climate catastrophe. Not content with gutting environmental protections in the US, he is brazenly threatening this landmark deal and our future.

Reassuringly, there is a massive global effort happening right now to isolate Trump and limit the damage of his climate broadside. One hundred countries, including China, India, Europe and even oil-rich Saudi Arabia, have spoken in defence of the deal and pledged to continue with or without the US.

The Conservative party just launched their manifesto vowing to step up their international leadership on climate. The first test of that leadership will be at the G7, where May faces a difficult political calculation – stand up to Trump on climate change or stay silent in the expectation of getting the UK a better trade deal post-Brexit. But there is a sliver of hope – Scotland can provide May with the clarity and courage she’ll need to take on America.

Scotland is fortunate enough to have cross-party consensus on climate action. But Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, is best positioned to change May’s mind. She’s called for more renewable energy and electric cars in Scotland, and, with the Conservatives hoping for a Scottish breakthrough in the election, right now she has the Prime Minister’s ear.

What better way to show Scotland that the Tories really have changed than for her to pick up the phone to the Prime Minister and call on her to firmly commit with the G7 next week to ambitious climate policies. Making that call would be an act of leadership, not just for Scotland, but for the world – not an opportunity that comes along often for a Scottish Tory.

This is one of those rare political moments when one person actually can make a world of difference. Germany, Italy, France and Canada – along with hundreds of businesses, cities and investors – are all trying to stop Mr Trump. So he’s hoping for May’s support to ensure he’s not completely isolated at the G7. Davidson can send a signal to May that letting Trump write the entire planet’s death warrant is not in the UK’s interests and certainly not in Scotland’s.

The Scottish people have made it very clear how they feel about the climate issue. Scotland is already a champion in clean energy, which is providing thousands of jobs, and 70 per cent of Scots want to see strong action on climate change.

If her past statements are to be believed, Davidson already knows this. She’s said that climate change is a threat to our economy, our environment and our prosperity. But the Conservatives in Scotland have said a lot of things that most Scots didn’t believe they would follow through on. If Davidson wants people’s votes, this is a perfect opportunity for her to put her words into action.

The overwhelming majority of countries recognise that responding to the climate crisis can invigorate their economies and reshape the landscape for a cleaner, greener future. The new Conservative manifesto vows to offer the international leadership needed, but the question remains whether May will bring that leadership to the G7 or pursue a hand in hand policy with President Trump to undermine that future. Millions around the world want the richest nations to recommit to the urgent action we need on climate. If Ruth Davidson is serious about leading in Scotland, she’ll speak out before Trump leads us by the hand towards global climate catastrophe.

Iain Keith, born in Aberdeen, is a Campaign Director with the global civic movement Avaaz. He has been shaping UN global climate negotiations for over a decade, and was one of the leaders behind the People’s Climate March, the single largest climate mobilisation in history

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Iain Keith"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4452124.1495360834!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4452124.1495360834!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Davidsons boss is in need of good advice. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Davidsons boss is in need of good advice. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4452124.1495360834!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/theresa-may-performs-dramatic-dementia-tax-u-turn-as-polls-tighten-1-4453924","id":"1.4453924","articleHeadline": "Theresa May performs dramatic ‘dementia tax’ U-turn as polls tighten","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495519200000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May has made a dramatic U-turn on her manifesto policy on social care in England amid signs that controversy over a so-called “dementia tax” was hurting Conservatives in the polls.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454031.1495521480!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May has made a dramatic U-turn on her manifesto policy on social care. Picture: Toby Melville/AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Just four days after the Tory manifesto ditched plans for a cap on care costs, the Prime Minister announced that proposals for a maximum payment would be included in a consultation following the 8 June general election.

The Liberal Democrats accused Mrs May of “panic”, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said her government was mired in “chaos and confusion”.

And the Prime Minister came under immediate pressure to reveal the proposed level of the cap, with rivals pointing out that it could still result in elderly people being asked to stump up six-figure sums for lengthy and complex care for conditions such as dementia.

Thursday’s Tory manifesto set out plans to include the value of elderly people’s properties when calculating how much they should pay towards the cost of care at home, as well as residential care. And it guaranteed that no-one would see the value of their estate shrink below £100,000 as a result of care costs.

But Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said at the time that it was “completely explicit” that the idea of a cap had been dropped.

A cap was the central recommendation of the 2011 Dilnot Report into care funding and was due for introduction at a level of £72,000 in 2020, but Mr Hunt said it was not “fair” as it would result in people with multimillion-pound homes being subsidised by taxpayers who were struggling to get by.

In Scotland social care is devolved to Holyrood and personal and nursing care is free for those who are eligible.

Speaking at the launch of the Tories’ Welsh manifesto in Wrexham, Mrs May said: “This manifesto says that we will come forward with a consultation paper, a government green paper.

“And that consultation will include an absolute limit on the amount people have to pay for their care costs.”

Appearing visibly angry, she accused Mr Corbyn of resorting to “fake claims, fear and scaremongering” over the impact of her plans and chided reporters who asked about a dementia tax for “using terms that have been used by the Labour Party to try and scare people in this country”.

The scale of Conservative concern about the phrase – which featured in the front page headline of the usually Tory-backing Mail on Sunday – was reflected in an advert taken out by the party on Google, which directed users who searched for “dementia tax” to a webpage explaining their policy.

Mrs May denied making a U-turn, saying: “Nothing has changed, nothing has changed.”

She said: “We have not changed the principles of the policies we set out in our manifesto. Those policies remain exactly the same. What we have done, which other parties have signally failed to do, is to recognise the challenge that we face, to respect the needs and concerns of the British people and to provide a long-term plan for sustainable social care.”

Later, in a BBC interview with Andrew Neil, Mrs May again sought to defend the development as she re-stated her view that the principle of the manifesto policy had remained the same.

But Mr Corbyn turned her oft-repeated catchphrase against her as he said: “This isn’t strong and stable, this is chaos.”

He said: “The Prime Minister, instead of blaming me, should look to herself and look to the policy, or lack of policy, that’s she’s put forward.”

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “PM not so strong and stable after all ... and can’t be trusted to protect pensioners.”

Mrs May’s climbdown came after a clutch of opinion polls showed Labour eating into her party’s lead.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PAUL WILSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454031.1495521480!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454031.1495521480!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May has made a dramatic U-turn on her manifesto policy on social care. Picture: Toby Melville/AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May has made a dramatic U-turn on her manifesto policy on social care. Picture: Toby Melville/AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454031.1495521480!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/paris-gourtsoyannis-general-election-presents-devolution-challenge-1-4453932","id":"1.4453932","articleHeadline": "Paris Gourtsoyannis: general election presents devolution challenge","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495519200000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May has hinted at a new approach to devolution after the election, writes Paris Gourtsoyannis.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453931.1495524990!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a launch event for the Welsh Conservative general election manifesto in Wales. Pic: AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Without mercy for his countrymen and women, Scottish Secretary David Mundell indefinitely extended the stalemate over indyref2 when he spoke to journalists after the launch of the Conservative manifesto.
By ruling out a second independence referendum until the Brexit process has “played out”, the UK government has effectively guaranteed the logjam in Scottish politics will continue until one side gives up or loses an election.

After 8 June, the next one of those is in 2021.

The great shame isn’t just that rows over independence will drown out debates on Scottish public services and the economy. It clearly will distract from those issues, although if the audience contributions during the BBC leaders’ clash on Sunday are anything to go by, Scotland’s politicians aren’t going to be allowed to forget their real responsibilities.

It’s that rows over referendums will also distract from a more nuanced evaluation of how devolution is and isn’t working.

If the Tories win next month, that conversation will have to start taking shape for a number of reasons. The first is Brexit.

When the SNP cried foul over the effect leaving the EU will have on the Scottish Parliament and its power, it was met with ridicule from political opponents and certain sections of the media.

Nicola Sturgeon claimed Brexit would “fundamentally undermine the basis of the existing devolution settlement”. Bombastic, perhaps, but there was a kernel of truth to her complaint – EU powers in devolved areas like agriculture won’t be returning to Scotland “automatically”, as promised by the Leave campaign in the shape of fishing minister George Eustice.

It’s now clear that the UK government will have to reopen the Scotland Act, not only to devolve as yet unknown new powers to Scotland, but also to tweak the list of reserved matters.

The second reason will be political. With the Conservatives in opposition at Holyrood, and the likelihood of a caucus of Scottish Tory MPs at Westminster rather than just the lonely Mr Mundell, the next Tory government is going to have a very different relationship with devolved Scotland than the one we’ve come to expect.

How different is spelled out in Theresa May’s manifesto. It accuses previous governments of working under a policy of “devolve and forget”, avoiding contact with responsibilities passed to Edinburgh or Cardiff as if they were a live wire.

If the Conservatives win next month, that will change. “We want the UK government to be a force for good across the whole country. So we will be an active government, in every part of the UK,” the manifesto says.

Crucially, it says that while the UK government will work with devolved administrations, “that will not be the limit of our actions in the four nations”.

What will that look like? There is a hint in the Prime Minister’s Plan for Britain, a document that hides ignored behind strong and stable election slogans and a largely uncosted manifesto.

As a blueprint for a new UK industrial strategy for the UK, the plan is a key element of Mrs May’s ambition to respond to the working-class votes that delivered Brexit. In it, the government has posed some serious questions of the way the state interacts with the economy across the country, not just in England.

The document was criticised as a mash-up of pre-existing policy and nebulous aspiration. But in some places, the direction of travel is clear, and quite bold.

On skills in particular, Mrs May is proposing to effectively rip up the further education system in England and start again, building a stripped-down system with 15 routes for students that feed directly into key industries.

It sounds a lot like the German model of vocational education, which gives parity of esteem to learning a skilled trade and gives business a big stake in how courses are taught, meaning better paid jobs are guaranteed at the other end of a college education.

Re-shaping the economy around that kind of skills pipeline isn’t something that you can do on a piecemeal basis, nor would you want it to. If Mrs May succeeds, it could go a long way towards rebalancing the UK economy away from its reliance on services, boost productivity and reverse the growth trend in low-paid work.

That isn’t something Scotland can or should be excluded from. UK ministers regularly denounce the sluggishness of the Scottish economy, amid claims that Scotland has missed out on years of growth compared with the rest of the UK since the recession.

If those concerns are more than just rhetoric, then nor should Scotland be allowed to miss out on reconnecting further education with the economy.

It scarcely seems possible to deliver on the aspiration without some level of cross-border co-operation. The Scottish and UK governments should be ready to reach an accommodation about how that system can work across the country.

It feels as if it is sometimes forgotten how young the Scottish Parliament is. With only 18 years under its belt, the first generation to grow up never having known a Scotland without full control of the core components of its society is only just reaching adulthood.

Attitudes towards these things can change.

There were two generations who knew nothing but the UK in the EU, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the loss of all the advantages they came to expect.

With questions hanging over the Scottish Government’s stewardship of education, the economy, health and the police, the danger is that people begin to wonder what they have gotten out of two decades of devolution.

There will need to be answers to those questions when they come. If the question of independence can be dispensed with, then the search for those answers needs to begin.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PARIS GOURTSOYANNIS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4453931.1495524990!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453931.1495524990!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a launch event for the Welsh Conservative general election manifesto in Wales. Pic: AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a launch event for the Welsh Conservative general election manifesto in Wales. Pic: AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4453931.1495524990!/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/darren-mcgarvey-nationalism-is-a-volatile-energy-it-can-turn-radioactive-1-4453625","id":"1.4453625","articleHeadline": "Darren McGarvey: Nationalism is a volatile energy, it can turn radioactive","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495515600000 ,"articleLead": "

If nationalism is your article of faith, make sure that faith’s not blind, writes Darren McGarvey.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453624.1495521261!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nationalism is such a volatile form of cultural energy that it can easily turn radioactive. Picture: Lisa McPhillips"} ,"articleBody": "

‘A belief is a lever that, once pulled, moves almost everything in a person’s life.”

This quote, from atheist and neuroscientist Sam Harris – loved and hated in equal measure depending on who you talk to – is a tenet of his wider critique of the blind faith associated with extreme religiosity.

At best, religion can compel individuals, groups and even societies to potentially life-changing acts of selflessness, co-operation and discipline.

At its worst, religious conviction can become the justification for intolerance, bigotry and unspeakable acts of repression and violence.

Religion, with its holistic approach to how life should be lived, has long been the primary force around which our societies have been organised but in an increasingly secular world, where the role of God is diminished, our leaders have turned to nationalism as a force for social order.

READ MORE: Theresa May performs dramatic ‘dementia tax’ U-turn as polls tighten

Throughout the last century this has produced mixed results. 
As the division in Scotland deepens, and the naked tribal impulse driving much of the political debate is laid bare, there are parallels between the religious belief of old and the nationalist crowd psychology which has replaced it.

Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge that there are different degrees of adherence to both religion and nationalism that must be recognised as distinct. It’s unhelpful to talk in generalisations about either and I will do my best to avoid doing that. I am a nationalist in that I believe strongly there should be a link between a physical border on a map and the scope of political autonomy available to the people contained within that territory.

As for religion, I do not believe in an omnipresent deity, capable of hearing my prayers and observing my mind, but I recognise the personal and social benefit of aspiring to live the sort of enlarged spiritual life a sensible adherence to a religious faith can inspire.

READ MORE: Leader comment: Smear has damaged our political debate

It must also be said that when it comes to hyper-idealism and nationalistic fervour I have more than a bit of insight.

Raised in a community steeped in the politics of the radical left, I was voting SNP by 2006; drawn to their left-wing platitude about reforming council tax and taxing higher earners after the collapse of the Scottish Socialist Party. At that point, the world was a black and white moral landscape where the people I agreed with were the good guys and everyone else was suspect.

For me, it has been a slow (often painful and confusing) journey from the hyper-moral worldview in which the Yes movement was couched and the sobering reality that, despite my good faith, SNP strategists saw people like me coming a mile away.

Like all political parties, they specialised in re-appropriating disaffected anger and a sense of injustice for their own political ends.

However, the SNP objective was not simply to oust the party in power but to break the British state. The anger at the system felt by people like me became a battering ram that gave their previously hollow, culturally frictionless nationalism a bit of heart, social electricity and political muscularity.

Having awoken to that cynicism (or political genius depending on where your allegiance lies), my belief in Scottish independence has evolved.

I still believe that self-determination at national level is, ultimately, the best way to organise our society in the long term. But the quality of this belief is no longer so extreme that it persists at the expense of all other considerations.

Sadly, this new-found respect for the diversity of opinion is not shared by some, who haven’t moved on from the gut-wrenching morning of 19 September, 2014.

The problem is: nationalism is such a volatile form of cultural energy that it doesn’t take much for it to become radioactive.

Which is why it is short-sighted of any politician who would attempt to appropriate it for their agenda. Nationalists who self-identify as civic or socially progressive can quickly turn hostile and cruel all the while believing themselves to be critically engaged and morally upright.

On Monday night, this crowd psychology triggered a social media witch-hunt that led to the hounding and vilification of a nurse; deemed to be undeserving of charity from food banks because she has pink hair and was alleged to have drank Prosecco once.

Intoxicated by a vague moral intuition, based on nothing but nationalist impulse, people who spend large parts of their day calling Tories scum for stereotyping the poor were outlining the strict criterion prospective food bank users must meet before they are entitled to charity. The very people who rightly condemned Tory welfare policies as cruel and humiliating were suddenly demanding that a nurse have her bins raided to prove she was deserving of support and compassion.

This bizarre inversion of principle, where Yes voters started to sound like Tories, is precisely what happens when political conviction over-reaches into the domain of blind religiosity. And this is the danger that nationalism presents – wherever it is found.

But those of you, nodding in agreement with much of this article, keen to ascribe the behaviour of one intolerant congregation to the broader church of the Yes campaign, ought to be aware of this religious impulse in yourselves. It’s easy to see us all as a flag-waving monolith and cite this Twitter storm as irrebuttable proof that the basic integrity of the indy movement is compromised.

But it cannot be denied that the most robust critique of this toxic variant of Scottish nationalism, which rightly concerns people on both sides of the constitutional fault-line, often comes from within the Yes movement itself, where we believe strongly in holding ourselves to account and often pay a higher price for heresy than many unionists realise.

Darren McGarvey is also known as Loki, a Scottish rapper and social commentator @lokiscottishrap

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DARREN McGARVEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4453624.1495521261!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453624.1495521261!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nationalism is such a volatile form of cultural energy that it can easily turn radioactive. Picture: Lisa McPhillips","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nationalism is such a volatile form of cultural energy that it can easily turn radioactive. Picture: Lisa McPhillips","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4453624.1495521261!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/tories-snp-never-accepted-2014-indyref-result-1-4453831","id":"1.4453831","articleHeadline": "Tories: SNP ‘never accepted’ 2014 indyref result","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495494060000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon and other senior SNP figures have made public statements on Scottish independence at least once a week since September 2014, the Conservatives have claimed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453830.1495526078!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Conservatives claimed Nicola Sturgeon and other senior SNP figures had 'never accepted' the 2014 referendum result. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The Tories said the frequency of such statements was proof that the SNP “never accepted the result” of the referendum, with the party immediately launching a full-scale campaign for a indyref2 after the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016.

The SNP said the claims were “desperate”, adding that it was instead Ruth Davidson who attempted “to make every discussion about independence”.

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “Nicola Sturgeon promised the 2014 referendum was a once in a generation event and she pledged to respect the result.

READ MORE: Manchester arena attack: General election campaign suspended

“Since then she has broken her word on both counts on a weekly basis.

READ MORE: Darren McGarvey: Nationalism is a volatile energy, it can turn radioactive

“During Sunday’s televised leaders’ debate she complained she ‘cannae get a word in edgeways’ about independence.

“I think she protests too much.

“She has talked about little but independence since the people of Scotland voted decisively to stay in the UK nearly three years ago.

“It is no wonder people have seen through her efforts to play down independence in this election campaign.”

An SNP spokesman said: “This is desperate stuff from the Tories, whose independence obsession is a smokescreen for their damaging policies – and it’s particularly laughable when Ruth Davidson wants to make every election, every debate and every discussion about independence.

“It’s only fair that Scotland gets a choice on its future once the terms of Brexit are clear. That should be a decision for Scotland, not Westminster Tories.

“This election is about protecting Scotland from the dangers of an unopposed Tory government at Westminster.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4453830.1495526078!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453830.1495526078!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Conservatives claimed Nicola Sturgeon and other senior SNP figures had 'never accepted' the 2014 referendum result. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Conservatives claimed Nicola Sturgeon and other senior SNP figures had 'never accepted' the 2014 referendum result. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4453830.1495526078!/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-smear-has-damaged-our-political-debate-1-4453905","id":"1.4453905","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Smear has damaged our political debate","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495485000000 ,"articleLead": "

When nurse Claire Austin used a live TV debate to raise concerns about the state of the NHS, she was articulating the fears of many voters about our most precious public service.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453904.1495483527!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP candidate Joanna Cherry apologised for a serious error of judgment, but the damage was already done."} ,"articleBody": "

But within moments of her attack on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Ms Austin was falling victim to a smear campaign which was given momentum by SNP Westminster candidate Joanna Cherry, who erroneously briefed journalists about the nurse being married to a Tory councillor.

As a QC, Ms Cherry should know the importance of getting one’s fact straight. She has made a serious error of judgment that deserves condemnation, her speedy apology the only thing sparing her from further ignominy.

In feeding the mob, the bubble-dwellers who live on social media feeding off accusation and conspiracy theory, Ms Cherry has done us all a disservice.

Just over two weeks out from a general election, we should be debating the subjects which matter, and the NHS matters more than most. Instead the story has become the nurse who had the temerity to question the SNP’s record in office.

Every party has supporters who should be kept away from keyboards, but there’s a good chance those attempting to discredit Ms Austin yesterday were among the most outspoken when former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael leaked his now infamous civil service memo about Ms Sturgeon. They cannot have it both ways.

Ms Sturgeon was right to describe online trolling of the nurse as unacceptable. But while she is unlikely to publicly criticise one of her party’s candidates in the run-up to an election, she must now have serious questions about Ms Cherry, who until recently was the party’s justice spokeswoman at Westminster.

For the overwhelming majority of voters, the story about Ms Austin
should be a sideshow, a distraction
 from the bigger issues which actually affect people’s lives. On the NHS, most voters want to know how long they will wait for a GP appointment or how society will cope with a looming crisis in social care.

In putting the normally assured Ms Sturgeon on the back foot, Ms Austin landed the sort of blow the SNP’s political opponents have so often failed to deliver.

But it is the reaction of her own candidate and party supporters which should give the First Minister the most cause for concern.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4453904.1495483527!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453904.1495483527!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "SNP candidate Joanna Cherry apologised for a serious error of judgment, but the damage was already done.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP candidate Joanna Cherry apologised for a serious error of judgment, but the damage was already done.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4453904.1495483527!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/theresa-may-defends-dramatic-u-turn-on-social-care-policy-1-4453896","id":"1.4453896","articleHeadline": "Theresa May defends dramatic U-turn on social care policy","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495481902000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May said the General Election is a “question of trust” as she sought to defend her dramatic U-turn on social care policy amid signs that controversy over a so-called “dementia tax” was hurting Conservatives in the polls.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453895.1495481899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May was put on the defensive in an interview with Andrew Marr on the BBC. Pic: Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The Prime Minister, who suffered a bruising day after accepting that there would be a cap on care costs just days after the Tory manifesto rejected an overall limit, tried to shift attention back on to the looming Brexit talks - warning of “dire consequences” if there was a bad deal.

But she was repeatedly challenged over the social care issue, with the Liberal Democrats accusing her of “panic” while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said her Government was mired in “chaos and confusion”.

And the PM came under immediate pressure to reveal the proposed level of the cap, with rivals pointing out that it could still result in elderly people being asked to stump up six-figure sums for lengthy and complex care for conditions such as dementia.

Mrs May denied she had performed a U-turn, insisting that “nothing has changed” from the principles set out in the manifesto, but there would now be an “absolute limit” on the amount people would have to pay.

But she refused to give details of the cap, or the number of pensioners who would face losing up to £300 a year in winter fuel payments under another aspect of her shake-up.

In a major BBC interview she said: “What I’ve done today is I’ve seen the scaremongering, frankly, that we’ve seen over the weekend.

“I’ve seen the way that Jeremy Corbyn wants to sneak into Number 10 by playing on the fears of older and vulnerable people, and I’ve clarified what we will be putting in the green paper which I set out in the manifesto.”

She said the consultation document will include the “concept of an absolute limit on the cost that people have to pay” - a cap - so “we’re protecting people for the future and we’re providing a system that provides sustainability in our social care for the future”.

Mrs May warned that without taking action to reform the social care system it would “collapse”.

The Prime Minister - who repeated her “strong and stable leadership” mantra despite the criticism over the U-turn - tried to make Brexit the central issue in voters’ minds.

She said: “I called an election on this whole issue of trust, because the question that people face is, who do they trust to take this country though the Brexit negotiations?

“Who do they trust to face up to the presidents, the prime ministers, the chancellors of Europe and the European Commission?

“Who do they trust to get the best deal for the UK? They have to decide, ‘cause it’s only going to be one of two people. It’s either me or Jeremy Corbyn.

“And the question for everybody on June 8 is, who do they trust to get the deal for the UK.”

In the interview with Andrew Neil she said she would “definitely stay for the next parliament” if returned to Number 10 on June 8, but refused to be drawn on what she would do in 2022, when she will be 65.

“I haven’t got through this election yet. I’m focusing on this election,” she said.

She was repeatedly challenged on her failure to cut net migration to the tens of thousands as home secretary, but insisted that voters faced a choice between the Tories, who believe that we should “work to control immigration”, and Labour “who believe that you should have uncontrolled immigration”.

Mrs May’s social care climbdown came after a clutch of opinion polls showed Labour eating into her party’s lead.

The latest, by Survation for ITV’s Good Morning Britain, showed Conservatives on 43%, down five points on the previous week, while Labour were up five on 34%.

The Prime Minister said: “There’s only one poll that counts in any election campaign. That’s the one that takes place on June 8.”

Tim Farron branded the U-turn “May’s manifesto meltdown”, but said it changed nothing for families concerned about the bill for care for elderly relatives.

“As Theresa May has made clear herself, nothing has changed and her heartless dementia tax remains in place,” said the Liberal Democrat leader.

“This is a cold and calculated attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Theresa May still wants to take older people’s homes to fund social care.”,

Mr Corbyn questioned whether the Prime Minister’s shift of position amounted to a U-turn.

He said it was a “triumph of spin over reality” because “you read what she has actually said and it is exactly the same as what they said last week, but they are pretending it’s something different”.

He added: “It’s bad enough making false promises but it’s even worse doing a false handbrake turn when the vehicle carries on in the same direction.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4453895.1495481899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453895.1495481899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May was put on the defensive in an interview with Andrew Marr on the BBC. Pic: Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May was put on the defensive in an interview with Andrew Marr on the BBC. Pic: Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4453895.1495481899!/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/leaders-debate-how-angry-nurse-and-smear-campaign-unfolded-online-1-4453780","id":"1.4453780","articleHeadline": "Leaders debate: How angry nurse and ‘smear campaign’ unfolded online","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495470876000 ,"articleLead": "

None of the politicians took centre stage at last night’s BBC debate just over two weeks out from the General Election on June 8 - instead one nurse has dominated discussions since the broadcast.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453779.1495470874!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "NHS Lothian Nurse Claire Austin challenged the First Minister. Picture: Youtube/BBC"} ,"articleBody": "

Here is how Claire Austin went viral, and how a backlash quickly formed after her appearance on the BBC.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ross McCafferty"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4453779.1495470874!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4453779.1495470874!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "NHS Lothian Nurse Claire Austin challenged the First Minister. Picture: Youtube/BBC","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "NHS Lothian Nurse Claire Austin challenged the First Minister. Picture: Youtube/BBC","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4453779.1495470874!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}