{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"politics","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/business/companies/farming/brian-henderson-deals-sound-like-putting-lipstick-on-a-pig-1-4537572","id":"1.4537572","articleHeadline": "Brian Henderson: Deals sound like putting lipstick on a pig","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503303248000 ,"articleLead": "

The past week seemed to throw up a startling number of opportunities for the nation’s farmers, with the announcement of several possible trade deals with countries outside the EU.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537571.1503303255!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brian Henderson believes the scramble to highlight trade deals 'smacks of desperation'. Picture: Kimberley Powell"} ,"articleBody": "

The likelihood of increased beef trade with the Philippines was seen as a major opportunity worth a possible £34 million to the UK’s red meat industry, with that market billed to grow by ten per cent over the next five years.

• READ MORE: Farming news

And, in a real “putting lipstick on a pig” story, UK farm minister, George Eustice was proclaiming a great future for Britain’s pork producers after a £200 million deal had been secured to sell the bits of the pig we’re not too keen on to China, itself the world’s largest producer of pigmeat.

There was even news of a deal to sell deer antlers to Asia for use in Chinese traditional medicines.

• READ MORE: Scottish deer antlers head for Chinese medicine market

So you might be forgiven for thinking that things in the farming sector were jogging along quite nicely, thank you very much, as we approach the big, bad, Brexit bump.

But it has to be said that the scramble to highlight some of these deals smacks a bit of desperation, especially when such announcements from government departments are set against the backdrop of the cataclysmic effects which Brexit is likely to have on many sectors of the industry.

And despite endless exultations that the country (both at UK and Scottish level) has chalked up yet another series of record food and drink exports, a report produced last week confirmed that walking the Brexit trade deal tightrope will be an extremely precarious business for the farming industry.

You would have to weigh up the benefits of selling a few lorry loads of pigs’ trotters to the Chinese against the very real possibility of a price drop of more than a third in the sheep sector – and balance getting a toe-hold in the Philippine market against the risk of Scotland’s suckler beef industry collapsing to half its current size.

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

For these outcomes were seen as distinct possibilities in the independent report by the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute in Belfast which, in cohoots with analysts at the University of Missouri, quantified some of the possible impacts of alternative trade agreements on UK agriculture once we quit the EU.

The three possible post-Brexit scenarios looked at trade deals which focused on either: a) a bespoke free trade agreement with the EU; b) the adoption of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) default most favoured nation (MFN) tariffs; and c) a policy which saw the UK adopt unilateral trade liberalisation which would allow food imports to come into the UK, tariff free.

• READ MORE: Post-Brexit trade deals a mixed bag for farming sectors

The “have our cake and eat it” trade deal which the UK last week proposed for its dealings with Europe – the sort of naively hopeful bespoke deal which would see us retain most of the benefits of single market membership without the drawbacks - unsurprisingly saw the least disruption to agriculture.

Even here, though there were likely to be additional costs to all sectors such as those inevitably thrown up by import and export checks, delays and the extra paperwork and administrations costs.

On the WTO deal with the default tariffs, it’s no surprise that stuff which we export a lot of would get a kicking, while stuff which suffers a lot of competition from imports might actually reap considerable substitution benefits. So, while grain might suffer a small reduction, the sheepmeat sector would bear the brunt, with the report predicting a possible 30 per cent drop in price.

Beef, poultry, dairy and especially pigmeat, however could all face a substantial boost in prices and output, especially in the processed sectors –because imports would be far dearer.

However, this could have impacts on the price of food – and if the UK moved to scenario c – unilaterally liberalising trade and letting imports flood in, there could be a considerable and devastating reversal of fortunes for those sectors.

While all sectors would face challenging times under this scenario, Scotland’s suckler beef industry would likely be hardest hit – with output predicted to fall by more than 50 per cent.

And, no matter how much lipstick you put on the pig, you’d struggle to paint a pretty food export story on top of that.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "bhenderson@farming.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Henderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537571.1503303255!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537571.1503303255!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Brian Henderson believes the scramble to highlight trade deals 'smacks of desperation'. Picture: Kimberley Powell","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brian Henderson believes the scramble to highlight trade deals 'smacks of desperation'. Picture: Kimberley Powell","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537571.1503303255!/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/robert-aldridge-let-s-put-the-brakes-on-this-20mph-zone-fiasco-1-4536223","id":"1.4536223","articleHeadline": "Robert Aldridge: Let’s put the brakes on this 20mph zone fiasco","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503295252000 ,"articleLead": "

As the next phase of the 20mph speed limit rolls out in various parts of the city it is clear that parts of the scheme need review. No one can seriously object to a 20mph limit in residential streets. But variable speed limits on main roads is a recipe for confusion and resentment.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536221.1503076569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Council mascot The Reducer launches the next phase of the 20mph roll-out with children from the Murrayfield Nursery. Picture: Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

My own view is that main roads should be 30 (or 40mph where appropriate) to attract traffic away from rat runs and to allow a reasonable driving speed for taxis and other road users especially late at night.

We have also not got the signage right. On some roads the signage is sparse and confusing (like the top of Clermiston Road). In other areas we see large 20 signs painted in culs de sac where they are unnecessary and unsightly.

So while the general policy and expected reductions in road injuries is right, we need to pay attention to getting the details right and be prepared to make changes sooner rather than later.

It is great that so many more people in the city are taking up cycling. I’m delighted that the policy introduced by the Lib Dems of allocating a growing per centage of the transport budget to cycling is bearing fruit.

But can I ask gently and calmly that when a cyclist uses a pavement they dismount and walk with the bike if there are pedestrians about, or use the road.

I love this time of year in Edinburgh, when the city lets down its hair and hosts the world’s best party. It’s fantastic to hear so many different languages, see local businesses thriving and know Edinburgh is the world’s cultural capital for a month.

Of course catering for so many visitors takes its toll on council services. So it is mystifying why the Scottish Government consistently refuses to let the council levy a small hotel room tax to help keep our festivals offering world class and help meet the costs of providing the additional services. These taxes work well in most tourist areas around the world and allow visitors to make a direct financial contribution. All political parties in Edinburgh support this.

It’s time for the Scottish Government to step up to the plate and let us levy a modest hotel room tax.

In a couple of weeks I leave my job working with a national homelessness organisation but I remain passionate about making a real improvement in the way Edinburgh tackles homelessness. News that the new council is to set up a homelessness task force is welcome. But it must not simply be a talking shop and there must be action on any recommendations it makes.

It’s not only about people sleeping rough helping prevent people becoming homeless in the first place, ensuring that people don’t spend long unsettled in temporary accommodation and giving people extra support they may need when they need it by ensuring health, social work and housing services work closely together.

I’s a big challenge for Edinburgh, especially given our shortage of affordable housing, but one where, with all agencies working together we can make a real difference to people’s lives.

Robert Aldridge is the leader of the Lib Dem group at Edinburgh City Council

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536221.1503076569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536221.1503076569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Council mascot The Reducer launches the next phase of the 20mph roll-out with children from the Murrayfield Nursery. Picture: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Council mascot The Reducer launches the next phase of the 20mph roll-out with children from the Murrayfield Nursery. Picture: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536221.1503076569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536222.1503076571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536222.1503076571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Robert Aldridge is leader of the Lib Dem group at Edinburgh City Council","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robert Aldridge is leader of the Lib Dem group at Edinburgh City Council","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536222.1503076571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/warning-scot-firms-will-go-under-as-critics-hit-out-at-rates-1-4537380","id":"1.4537380","articleHeadline": "Warning Scot firms will go under as critics hit out at rates","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503294073000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s controversial business rates system is facing fresh calls for an overhaul with the publication of Holyrood research which shows that smaller firms in the hospitality and retail sectors face a higher burden than big companies.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537379.1503294079!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Holyrood research shows that smaller firms in the hospitality and retail sectors face a higher burden than big companies. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Parliament report found certain regional hotspots, such as the east of Scotland and the Borders, faced particularly high rates.

A flagship Scottish Government review of the business rates system is to report this week, after a rebellion by companies across the country earlier this year over the prospect of hikes of up to 400 per cent in their bills.

The latest report by the Scottish Parliament Information centre (Spice) appears to back up complaints from organisations such as the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland that smaller shops, hotels and pubs face a proportionately heavier burden

“There is a significant variation of rates as a share of operating surplus [profits] across different sectors,” the report finds.

“ Non-domestic rates (NDR) as a share of operating surplus is significantly higher in the accommodation and food services sector than any other sector of the economy, particularly construction and manufacturing.”

Shops which are covered by, the “wholesale, retail and repairs” category pay about 30.8 per cent of rates. This is about three times as high as manufacturing (11.1 per cent) despite both making a similar contribution to the economy.

Although manufacturing accounts for almost a sixth of total gross value added (GVA) – the measure of the value of goods and services produced – it pays just over a tenth of rates.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, last night stepped up demands for change.

He said: “This report reinforces the pressing need for a reformed rates system which flexes with trading conditions, better reflects our changing economy, and which encourages commercial ­investment rather than deters it.” Accommodation and food services, which covers the pub industry, has the highest ratio of rates in relation to profits – about 10 per cent – in most areas of Scotland. In east Scotland, the figure for this sector reached as high as 17 per cent.

The construction industry has the smallest share of rates. It pays about 2 per cent, both overall and in relation to profits, the report finds.

The research, conducted by Anouk Berthier, was based on data from the Scottish Annual Business Survey (SABS) from 2011 to 2014 in relation to operating surplus, a form of profits.

It comes after widespread anger across the pub trade earlier this year when a review of the “rateable value” of firms, the first in seven years, resulted in a rise of about 8.75 per cent. This sent annual bills soaring by up to 400 per cent in some cases.

Among the more high profile critics was influential North-east hotelier Stewart Spence, the owner of the five-star Macliffe near Aberdeen, who warned he would refuse to pay a proposed 25 per cent increase before the Scottish Government climbed down. He said it ignored a 40 per cent drop in turnover following the oil slump.

Another prominent critic was Donald MacLeod, managing director of HoldFast Entertainment, which owns the Garage and Cathouse venues in Glasgow.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay eventually stepped in and announced a cap of 12.5 per cent in increases for firms, which turned out to be closer to 14.5 per cent after inflation.

Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) chief executive, Paul Waterson said last night the latest research shows the need for change.

“Supermarkets, on the whole, their rateable values went down in this last review to consider these multi-billion operations where their rates are actually going down is completely unfair,” he said.

He warned that many firms only survived because of the cap imposed by ministers, but unless the changes set out in the Barclay review are fair then Scotland will lose “thousands of pubs”.

The Barclay rates review was ordered before the row over the revaluation earlier this year, but it has taken on wider political significance in view of the fall-out.

Business rates are collected by Scottish councils, but rateable values are set by the independent Scottish Assessors Association.

They are charged on the rateable value of the premises – there is no connection to a premise’s economic performance such as turnover or profitability. As well as businesses, they are also paid by public and third sector bodies.

Former RBS banker Ken Barclay, who chaired the Barclay review, told MSPs earlier this year that he was considering whether to recommend a shift away from the current property-based tax for rates in favour of “another form of tax”.

The Federation Of Small Businesses has complained that many firms feel the current system is unfair.

“A tax based on property, without a link to sales or profit, is always likely to be a larger overhead for smaller firms and start-ups, relative to larger firms,” it warned in a submission to MSPs earlier this year.

Even Mr Mackay’s efforts to defuse the situation by introducing a cap was met with an outcry when it emerged that it would not be automatic and that business will have to apply for the relief, sparking further claims by industry leaders of trade confusion and poor communication.

It prompted the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the SLTA to raise concerns with the Scottish Government over the confusion after widespread complaints from their members.

Ministers have said they anticipate that businesses will be able to apply for relief and have this applied to their bills before they have to pay “any portion” of their business rates.

Drinks giant Tennent’s has today called on its customers across Scotland to challenge the new Rateable Value 
of their business premises ahead of the September 30 deadline.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537379.1503294079!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537379.1503294079!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Holyrood research shows that smaller firms in the hospitality and retail sectors face a higher burden than big companies. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Holyrood research shows that smaller firms in the hospitality and retail sectors face a higher burden than big companies. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537379.1503294079!/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/minister-hails-status-of-bridge-nobody-can-hold-a-candle-to-1-4537315","id":"1.4537315","articleHeadline": "Minister hails status of bridge ‘nobody can hold a candle to’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503291600000 ,"articleLead": "

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf has claimed “nobody can hold a candle” to Scotland’s bridges after unveiling a plaque commemorating the Forth Bridge’s world heritage status.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537314.1503253501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Transport Scotland of Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf unveiling a plaque to commemorate the awarding of World Heritage Status to the Forth Bridge. Picture: Peter Devlin/Transport Scotland/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Construction of the railway crossing was completed in 1890 after eight years of labour.

In 2015, it was given the Unesco recognition to confirm the historic structure’s position as a feat of engineering.

The unveiling today comes less than two weeks ahead of the opening of the nearby Queensferry Crossing.

Mr Yousaf said: “The plaque really is a great honour for me to be able to unveil.

“I’m unveiling the Unesco world heritage inscription that was received back in 2015.

“Today is definitely the right day to unveil that of course, because we have the Queensferry Crossing in less than a couple of weeks.

“That just adds, again, to the iconic nature of the bridges. People of course want to come down and see it as a tourist attraction, now knowing it’s a world heritage site, I think that will attract even more people to come and see it.”

The Forth Bridges Forum is tasked with overseeing the structure’s maintenance.

Network Councils, Historic Environment Scotland, Transport Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council, Fife Council and VisitScotland are all part of the group.

They share a collective responsibility to protect the “outstanding universal value” of the bridge.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “The Forth Bridge is one of the world’s most instantly recognisable bridges and a true marvel of Scottish engineering. It was fantastic to see it awarded world heritage status and this plaque is an excellent commemoration for all the hard work put in to achieve this.”

The Queensferry Crossing will open to traffic on Wednesday 30 August with an initial 40mph limit. This is to allow work to take place on the Forth Road Bridge (FRB) to complete its transformation into an active travel corridor.

When the work is complete, public transport will be switched on to the FRB and the Queensferry Crossing will be given motorway status.

Mr Yousaf added: “All three bridges have their own unique, iconic nature.

“I was recently overseas, I had a holiday away, and I was looking at some of the bridges where I was in Istanbul and I have to say, the bridges here: nobody can hold a candle to them.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Conor Riordan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537314.1503253501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537314.1503253501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Transport Scotland of Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf unveiling a plaque to commemorate the awarding of World Heritage Status to the Forth Bridge. Picture: Peter Devlin/Transport Scotland/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Transport Scotland of Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf unveiling a plaque to commemorate the awarding of World Heritage Status to the Forth Bridge. Picture: Peter Devlin/Transport Scotland/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537314.1503253501!/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/video-big-ben-chimes-for-last-time-for-4-years-1-4537626","id":"1.4537626","articleHeadline": "Video: Big Ben chimes for last time for 4 years","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503306601000 ,"articleLead": "

Big Ben will fall silent on Monday for renovations following a backlash from Theresa May and MPs over the proposed four-year timetable for the work.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537624.1503306606!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, at the House of Commons in Westminster. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The Great Bell’s noon bongs will be the last before they are halted for maintenance and some MPs are expected to gather outside the Palace of Westminster to witness the event.

Last week, Parliament said it would review the plans to silence the chimes for four years after the Prime Minister joined an MPs’ outcry against the move.

One of those calling for a rethink to stop Big Ben being silenced for the longest period in its 157-year history, Labour MP Stephen Pound, said he hoped at least 20 “like-minded traditionalists” would gather to witness the halting of the bongs.

The House of Commons Commission, which is responsible for the Palace’s maintenance, is also encouraging people to be present for the final chimes before repairs.

Ealing North MP Mr Pound told the Press Association: “There’s going to be a small group of us standing there with bowed heads in the courtyard.”

Asked if he was joking, Mr Pound replied: “No, of course I’m not, of course we’re going to be there - a group of like-minded traditionalists.”

He went on: “We’re going to be gathering outside the members’ entrance, gazing up at this noble, glorious edifice, listening to the sounds rolling across Westminster, summoning true democrats to the Palace of Westminster.

“We’ll be stood down there with heads bowed but hope in our hearts.”

Tory MP Conor Burns told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour: “I think when you see the footage tomorrow of our colleagues who gather at the foot of Big Ben you will not see too many colleagues who have careers ahead of them.”

The Commission, which is made up of MPs, officials, lay members, and chaired by Commons Speaker John Bercow, will now review the timescale for repairs.

• READ MORE: Parliament to consider ding-dong over Big Ben bong ban

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, who answers his colleagues’ questions on the Commission’s behalf, said one concession could be allowing Big Ben to chime on more special occasions.

It comes after a trio of Eurosceptic Tory MPs called for Big Ben to bong Britain out of the European Union on Brexit day, expected on March 29 2019.

Plans were already in place for the bell to chime on New Year’s Eve and Remembrance Day.

Mr Brake said: “The House of Commons Commission has agreed to look at the issue when we’re back, and what I take that to mean is look at whether there is perhaps more scope for the bells to be rung on other ad hoc occasions.”

He signalled it could be difficult to get Big Ben bonging sooner than 2021 as the clock that drives the bell is being dismantled, overhauled and tested, which will take at least two years.

“That is a major obstacle in the way of striking it much more frequently and for a long period of time,” he said.

The 13.7-tonne Great Bell was last stopped for maintenance in 2007 and before that was halted for two years in 1983 for refurbishment, but has been stopped on a number of other occasions since it first sounded in 1859.

Parliamentary officials have insisted workers’ hearing would be put at “serious risk” if the bell continued chiming.

They warned that those using the 100-metre-high scaffolding around the tower could also be startled by the 118-decibel bongs.

They have dismissed suggestions the chimes could be restored during the hours that work is not being carried out, as the process takes about half a day to complete.

The renovation includes the installation of a lift and repairs to the clock’s hands, mechanism and pendulum.

It was expected to cost £29 million but MPs have raised concerns that the bill could soar to £60 million.

A Commons’ spokeswoman said: “As we are currently in a procurement process we are unable to comment on projected budget estimates at this stage.

“We expect to make an announcement regarding the contract in the autumn.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Arj Singh"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537624.1503306606!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537624.1503306606!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, at the House of Commons in Westminster. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben, at the House of Commons in Westminster. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537624.1503306606!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1503306350076"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/lib-dems-consider-making-budget-deal-with-snp-1-4537569","id":"1.4537569","articleHeadline": "Lib Dems consider making budget deal with SNP","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503303129000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish Liberal Democrats are prepared to make a deal to keep the SNP in power, even if it means the party will drop its opposition to air passenger taxes.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537568.1503303135!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon shakes hands with Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Leader Willie Rennie indicated his party is willing to agree a deal with the Scottish Government to push through their budget this year.

Mr Rennie said he would be demanding significant financial renumeration for his party’s pet projects in exchange for their support.

He added that there were no ‘red lines’ for the Lib Dems, including air passenger duty (APD).

Nicola Sturgeon’s party is two seats shy of the 65 seats needed for an overall majority at Holyrood. The SNP need the support of at least one other party to avert the defeat of their budget.

The Scottish Greens gave their backing to the SNP’s budget last year in return for £160 million local council funding.

This year’s budget is expected to announced cuts in APD, which the Greens are unlikely to support. The Lib Dems also oppose the move but are open to negotiation, said Mr Rennie.

He told the Times: “There are a lot of things we don’t agree with them [the SNP] on and air passenger duty is a pretty big one but if they came forward with an outstanding offer somewhere else, you would have to think about it.”

The party withdrew from budget negotiations last year after their demand for £400 million of new spending on mental health and education was rebuffed by the SNP.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RUSSELL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537568.1503303135!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537568.1503303135!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon shakes hands with Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon shakes hands with Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537568.1503303135!/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/jeremy-corbyn-campaigning-for-change-ahead-of-scotland-tour-1-4537184","id":"1.4537184","articleHeadline": "Jeremy Corbyn ‘campaigning for change’ ahead of Scotland tour","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503300429000 ,"articleLead": "

Jeremy Corbyn said he will be “campaigning for real change” as he prepares to take his UK tour of marginal constituencies to Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537183.1503300435!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn is set to undertake a tour of Scotland. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

• READ MORE - ‘Super-sized’ Scottish primary school classes soar by third

The Labour leader is keeping his party on a campaign footing in case another election is called.

Of the 64 seats Labour needs to win to secure a parliamentary majority, 18 - more than a quarter - are in Scotland.

Mr Corbyn is pledging to cross the country from “Govan to Stornoway” later this week as he holds a series of campaign events over several days, speaking to voters in key target seats.

Speaking as he prepared for the visit, he said: “Scotland is a great country, but its people are being held back.

“Too many are barely getting by, without the chance to live their lives to the full, while an elite few across Britain get richer and richer.

“That’s why I will be spending this week in Scotland, campaigning for real change.

“It’s a place full of friends, a country I love, with an inspiring working class history and a fantastic tradition of social progress, education and culture.

“But Scotland has suffered as much as anywhere from the way our government and economy are run.

“Hope has been dashed by the cruelty of Tory cuts and failure, delivered via the austerity conveyor belt in Holyrood.

“Labour’s message in the General Election was that things don’t have to be this way, and our manifesto put the disastrous growth of inequality centre stage.”

• READ MORE - Leader: SNP must re-emphasise nationalism as a positive

The party already holds seven seats north of the border, after it surpassed expectations in the snap election.

It held on to Ian Murray’s Edinburgh South constituency, and won a further six seats held by the SNP.

Mr Corbyn went on: “My aim, and that of the whole Labour Party, is to listen to the hopes and aspirations of the Scottish people - and earn their confidence that the policies we are campaigning for are realistic, affordable and would transform their lives for the better.

“We need to win more seats in Scotland if we are going to form a Government that will make those policies a reality.

“With the Conservatives in complete disarray, propped up by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, we are on a permanent campaign footing.

“That’s why I am spending this week in constituencies across Scotland. We must make a great advance at the next general election, whenever it comes.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Hilary Duncanson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537183.1503300435!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537183.1503300435!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn is set to undertake a tour of Scotland. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn is set to undertake a tour of Scotland. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537183.1503300435!/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/two-in-three-scottish-votes-wasted-in-general-election-1-4537529","id":"1.4537529","articleHeadline": "Two in three Scottish votes ‘wasted’ in general election","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503300208000 ,"articleLead": "

Two thirds of the votes cast in the general election in Scotland were “wasted” and had no impact on the result, according to voting reform campaigners.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537528.1503300214!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Two thirds of Scottish votes were 'wasted' say reform campaigners. Picture: Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

Almost 1.8 million votes cast north of the border in June did not go towards electing an MP, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) found. UK-wide, it put that figure at 22 million (68 per cent).

Under the first past the post (FPTP) system, Labour won 27 per cent of the votes cast in Scotland but got just 12 per cent of the seats, while the SNP won 37 per cent of the votes cast but returned almost 60 per cent of the seats, according to its research.

The report also said that Scotland is “shifting back towards multi-party politics” while England goes the other way, as “huge swings” in Scotland saw 21 of the 59 constituencies change hands - more than any other region or nation.

The ERS said voters turned in large numbers to tactical voting strategies and it claimed that some victories achieved in Scotland under FPTP are “precarious” and hinge on just a handful of votes, since it returned four of the UK’s top 10 smallest majorities.

• READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: Is the word ‘National’ a weakness for SNP?

It branded the vote the “hold your nose” election after an estimated 6.5 million people across the UK made tactical decisions and said the Conservatives could have won a majority if just 0.0016 per cent of voters had chosen differently.

The ERS said a new method must be introduced and called for Westminster to adopt a more proportional voting system.

Willie Sullivan, Electoral Reform Society Scotland director, said: “Our report shows that 1,759,305 (66.40 per cent) of votes in Scotland were ‘wasted’ - having no impact on the outcome of the election.

“The ways that votes are converted into seats matters. As voters wake up to the failures of FPTP they are increasingly taking on the complex task of trying to game the system to make it reflect their wishes.

“Electors should be able to vote for parties they agree with on the broad sweep of policy, instead of feeling the need to vote tactically based on one significant issue such as independence or Brexit because they fear ‘winner takes all’ dominance.”

The findings are contained in a report published on Monday, entitled The 2017 General Election: Volatile Voting, Random Results.

Its analysis found that 37 of the 50 UK seats with the lowest winning vote share were in Scotland, suggesting that voters are choosing to spread their vote around a range of parties.

It also highlighted the large fluctuations in results between the 2015 and 2017 general elections.

A 43.9 per cent increase in the SNP’s vote share in Glasgow North East recorded two years ago switched to a 9.2 per cent hike for Labour in June.

• READ MORE: SNP’s pro-EU stance contributed to general election losses

“Voters in Scotland appear to have turned in large number to tactical voting strategies in order to break single-party rule,” the report stated.

“Nine of the 10 largest overturned majorities were in Scotland, including Banff and Buchan where a majority of over 14,000 for the SNP turned into a majority for the Conservative party of 3,600.

“An example of voter volatility and how all parties’ fortunes can fluctuate even in a short space of time.

“Scotland also has four of the top 10 smallest majorities (North East Fife, Perth and North Perthshire, Glasgow South West, Glasgow East) demonstrating just how precarious victory can be under first past the post.”

The ERS is demanding a change to a proportional system, such as Scotland’s Single Transferable Vote used in local elections.

Mr Sullivan said: “A proportional system would... create a much broader discussion of politics (and) ensure all votes are of equal value with citizens feeling empowered to take part.

“We need a democracy fit to take on the challenges the 21st century is providing, and that means going beyond first past the post.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Hilary Duncanson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537528.1503300214!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537528.1503300214!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Two thirds of Scottish votes were 'wasted' say reform campaigners. Picture: Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Two thirds of Scottish votes were 'wasted' say reform campaigners. Picture: Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537528.1503300214!/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/nearly-10-000-scottish-parents-sign-up-for-baby-box-1-4537158","id":"1.4537158","articleHeadline": "Nearly 10,000 Scottish parents sign up for baby box","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503299722000 ,"articleLead": "

Nearly 10,000 parents have signed up to receive a baby box and more than 500 have been delivered in the first week of the scheme, the Scottish Government has revealed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537157.1503299727!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Each Baby Box is handmade and individually packed. Picture: SWNS"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - How politicians and experts reacted to roll-out of baby boxes

The policy, launched nationwide on Tuesday last week, sees new parents across Scotland given a box full of essential items aimed at giving their child a good start in life by tackling inequality and promoting health.

The boxes contain items such as clothes, books and blankets and can also be used for babies to sleep in.

Ministers said 507 boxes have been delivered in the first week, while 9,991 parents have registered to receive a baby box. Deliveries have been prioritised for babies born prematurely and those who are due immediately, they said.

Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney said: “The baby box is part of a range of measures to ensure that every baby born in Scotland is given the best possible start in life.

“It has definitely captured people’s imagination, both at home and further afield, and I am extremely pleased to see the high number of parents already registering to receive their own baby box.

“Each one includes a large number of items which are not only practical but designed to help tackle inequality and improve health. The box itself also doubles up as a safe sleep space, awarded British Safety standard accreditation as a crib for domestic use.

“Already 507 boxes have been delivered with many more on the way.”

The boxes are inspired by Finnish baby boxes and the national roll-out followed earlier pilot projects in Orkney and Clackmannanshire.

All babies due on or after August 15 are eligible for a box.

Safe sleep guidance is provided in a leaflet inside the box and safety guidelines are also printed on the box lid.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Hilary Duncanson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537157.1503299727!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537157.1503299727!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Each Baby Box is handmade and individually packed. Picture: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Each Baby Box is handmade and individually packed. Picture: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537157.1503299727!/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/lesley-riddoch-is-the-word-national-a-weakness-for-snp-1-4537334","id":"1.4537334","articleHeadline": "Lesley Riddoch: Is the word ‘National’ a weakness for SNP?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503291643000 ,"articleLead": "

Did Nicola Sturgeon score an own goal declaring she would rather have a different name for the SNP?

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537333.1503255266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon with Elif Shafak (left) at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The First Minister expressed misgivings about her party’s name during a debate at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, when a Turkish author said nationalism had a very negative and ugly meaning for her, and asked if it could “ever be benign”.

Ms Sturgeon replied: “The word is difficult. If I could turn the clock back, what, 90 years, to the establishment of my party, and chose its name all over again, I wouldn’t choose the name it has got just now.”

Critics of the SNP, Ms Sturgeon and the cause of independence obviously hoped the air would soon be thick with Yes-supporting comrades falling out over this apparent snub to “nationalism.” Instead, there’s been very little debate on the First Minister’s comments in papers or online.

That may be because recent events make semantic arguments appear very small fry. Paradoxically though, bite-sized arguments can be uncontrollably tempting when every other issue is fiendishly complex.

So the first thing to say is there is virtually nothing to say.

But is Nicola Sturgeon right? Is the word “National” in the title a weakness for her party today?

It’s possible the SNP looks like a Scottish version of the BNP – though you’d have some trouble spotting any meaningful similarity. And there’s the equally weird idea that identity with a nation automatically runs out of control in the way that Hitler’s National Socialist Party did in 1930s Germany. As one online blogger commented; “It was neither nationalism nor socialism that drove them to be fascists, it was their despotic attitudes to governance. Any political party can become a fascist regime, the name of the party is irrelevant.”

Quite.

But if the SNP’s name ain’t broke, why fix it? Ms Sturgeon didn’t reveal her preferred new name, which has prompted some online speculation.

Some favour the Scottish Party. Ironically, that would indeed suggest ethnicity plays a big part in Scotland’s independence movement when it absolutely does not.

The vast bulk of “nationalist” movements across Europe represent distinctive ethnic and/or linguistic minorities – Scotland doesn’t. Indeed, this is part of what hinders the case for Scottish independence – the emotional underpinning that comes with membership of a linguistic community is all but missing in Scotland and the modern SNP studiously avoids almost all trappings of shortbread tin Scottishness. The indyref was not held on the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn as many commentators gleefully forecasted.

Au contraire. Scottish nationalism is civic not ethnic -- and the very different voting criteria used in the Scottish and EU referendums demonstrates that fact.

The indyref gave the vote to all who live and work here, and even though famous Yes supporting ex-pats like Sir Sean Connery were disenfranchised, most were happy voting was based on where folk choose to live not where they happened to be born.

Ironically, it’s only elections and referendums conducted by the UK Government that consider the ethnic origin of voters. Indeed, negative perceptions of “nationalism,” have been so strongly connected with English nationalism and right wing thuggery, that it’s been hard for a much-needed debate about English self government to develop.

For just this reason, some favour changing the SNP to the Scottish International Party - summing up one important strand of the current Brexit debate and the desire amongst progressive Scots to create a modern country that’s inclusive and welcomes non ethnic Scots as citizens with full rights.

But the general mood is for no change.

Firstly, every other UK party has tried to change somewhat from the words that initially defined it. But it’s not clear the Liberal Democrats has been a stronger brand than the old Liberal Party, and New Labour went out of fashion as quickly as Tony Blair. Clearly the SNP’s current name hasn’t deterred opponents of independence from supporting it at domestic elections.

The Scottish Independence Party might refocus the argument on that single important issue, but deter wavering voters who simply want strong governance.

Secondly, for supporters of the Union, an independence party by any other name would smell as rotten. The 1990’s feminist magazine Harpies and Quines got its name partly to encourage a publicity-creating lawsuit from the publishers of Harpers and Queen (which it did) but mostly to ridicule female stereotypes. Some suggested we drop the word feminist from the title in case it put some readers off. But experience shows that any other word chosen would rapidly become just as pejorative.

Of course, the difficulty of naming pro independence parties in other European countries didn’t really arise, because existing parties tended to lead home rule movements. In Norway, the Liberal MP Christian Michelsen organised independence supporters from other parties into the Coalition Party which used an argument over consular representation to engineer a showdown in which the Norwegian Cabinet collectively resigned and the King of Sweden was unable to form a new government.

Sadly, there are no prospects for such a coalition of the willing in Scotland – yet.

If the Scottish Labour Party was more mindful of its own home rule legacy, the Scottish National Party might not have thrived or even survived long enough to question the suitability of its name. Indeed as former SNP Cabinet Minister pointed out in the New Statesman, “Labour seemed to be the national party of Scotland, speaking for the Scottish people. All that changed, though, with the referendum on independence and the alliance with the Tories in the Better Together campaign.”

Ultimately though, the name SNP is a signifier not a descriptor -- like most names. Lesley doesn’t describe me - but combined with an unusual surname simply points my way. Similarly the Scottish National Party simply points at the party of government, which is led by a woman confident enough of the goal to feel able to question the name. The absence of ferocious infighting, introspection or even interest within the Yes movement suggests most independence supporters feel the same. It’s the content of the cause not the tilt of the title that excites. That’s not to say Yessers are immune from the temptation to take sides over relatively trivial issues. But the good news for the independence movement is that this isn’t one of them.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537333.1503255266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537333.1503255266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon with Elif Shafak (left) at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon with Elif Shafak (left) at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537333.1503255266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brian-monteith-free-trade-is-breaking-down-barriers-1-4537279","id":"1.4537279","articleHeadline": "Brian Monteith: Free trade is breaking down barriers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503291600000 ,"articleLead": "

Last week Britain’s 
cabinet minister for exiting the EU, David Davis, took time off to be a surprise guest at Alex Salmond’s first Fringe show, but on Thursday he has an 
altogether more serious job when the latest stage of the UK’s Brexit
negotiations resumes. Betting remains open as to which event will
prove to have delivered more laughs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537278.1503249505!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Two men dressed as customs officers take part in a protest outside Stormont against Brexit. Picture: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

During the initial meetings the UK team indulged the EU’s self-serving
demand that the costs of the divorce settlement be discussed first. Now, having properly responded by 
asking for the EU supplicants to provide the legal basis for any payments beyond Brexit – and then having identified what future costs for joint projects the UK might accept as being in our national interest – the numbers have already dropped from talk of £100 billion to £36bn, and may well come down further, so long as any transition period is kept short.

This week the real crux of the 
matter – the trade negotiation and how it will work on a practical as well as an economic basis – finally starts. Davis’s team has been busy publishing position papers and stating its case for a mutually beneficial EU-UK trade deal that would be a win-win for both parties – but this process is as much about politics as it is about economic prosperity and there is a prevailing view in Brussels that the EU should set an example of the UK so that no other countries abandon their political project. This position is not endorsed by most of the member countries who, seeing the UK as a lucrative market, want their important trade with the UK to continue seamlessly without any hiccups.

Most prominent among the position papers is is one that argues why there should not be a hard border between the EU and the UK at the only point where the two jurisdictions meet on land – the 310 miles between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The outcome of this will be of particular interest to Scottish nationalists who will hope that a physical border is avoided, for it would be a further blow to the already desperately poor economic case for Scottish independence.

For all the huffing and puffing by the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, it is beginning to dawn on all parties that it is not especially a British problem, it is entirely Ireland’s problem, for if a hard border materialises it will be because the EU has insisted upon it. The UK does not need a hard border – why should it?

In the event of no trade deal being secured, the UK would simply revert to World Trade Organisation rules and its exports to Ireland would most probably remain tariff-free. It would be the EU that would need the border so it could impose its tariffs, irrespective of what Ireland wants. As both Ireland and the UK are already outside the EU’s Schengen Agreement and there is a common travel agreement between the two countries dating back to 1925, there would be no need to have passport controls.

What the debate surrounding Ireland and its border with the UK points to is how it is the EU that is protectionist and insular – erecting damaging barriers to trade that hurt the world’s poorest and protect large corporations – while it is the UK that is open-hearted and 
wishing to maximise commerce with everybody.

The power that trade offers to raise prosperity and break down old authoritarian or totalitarian orders is a prize worth attaining. That is why trade sanctions are 
usually counter-productive and should preferably only be used in the particular (some advanced 
technology) and not the general.

Key in any Brexit must be the speed at which the UK can adopt existing EU free trade agreements through a grandfathering process
and consecutively introduce its own larger deals with other nations where the EU has failed to strike tariff- or regulation-busting agreements.

For every pound we export to the EU in goods and services, we export two to the rest of the world and that growing gap will accelerate as the emerging markets wish to do more business with us. More than 40 nations are now queuing up for a deal with the UK, not least some of the largest economies such as the US, China and India – but also Saudi Arabia and the five other nations of the Gulf Co-operation Council.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has correctly identified the strategic importance of a GCC free trade agreement and has targeted 31 big-ticket exporting opportunities spanning hydrocarbons, defence, infrastructure, science and the creative industries. Only the US, Germany and Switzerland are larger export markets for Britain than the £30bn worth of goods and services the UK exports to the GCC nations every year.

The EU is a cumbersome leviathan, requiring the consent of all 27 member states (and sometimes devolved parliaments too, such as Wallonia), whereas the UK can be nimble by deciding free trade deals for itself. It means we can become more adaptable, more dynamic and more competitive, creating more wealth for more people at home and abroad. A quick signing of an FTA with the GCC – something the EU has failed to achieve despite 20 years of negotiations – would demonstrate the seriousness of the UK’s global trade ambitions.

A good starting point to reboot trade discussions with the GCC will be at the end of the year when the UK is set to host the GCC leaders in London. It is the first time that such a meeting will be hosted outside the Gulf states and is a clear statement of their desire to trade with Britain outside of the EU. Given the instability of the Middle East, trade there can often be viewed as controversial but we should not lose sight of the bigger picture and the power for good that trade can do.

Britain must not miss this opportunity and should extend the warmest of welcomes. The consequences
of not fulfilling our potential in the Gulf would be damaging to the entire process of our EU departure and demonstrating to the world our intention to become the greatest free trading nation on Earth.

For Britain to succeed where the EU has failed will require a determined commitment to building diplomatic and business relations, and not losing sight of the end goal by avoiding hard borders. What others do will become their problem.

Brian Monteith is a director of 
Global Britain

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Brian Monteith"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537278.1503249505!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537278.1503249505!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Two men dressed as customs officers take part in a protest outside Stormont against Brexit. Picture: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Two men dressed as customs officers take part in a protest outside Stormont against Brexit. Picture: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537278.1503249505!/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/hibs-boss-neil-lennon-says-no-place-for-sectarianism-in-football-1-4537303","id":"1.4537303","articleHeadline": "Hibs boss Neil Lennon says no place for sectarianism in football","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503251446000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon has said there is no place for sectarianism in football and politics.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537302.1503251453!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibernian manager Neil Lennon has said there is no place for sectarianism in football or politics. Picture: SNS/Bruce White"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Neil Lennon: I did nothing other than celebrate a goal

The former Celtic manager was the mystery guest at Alex Salmond’s Edinburgh Fringe show on Sunday, where he shared his experiences about the press, abusive behaviour from fans and mental illness.

Mr Lennon said: “There is no place for sectarianism in football and politics. It should not be in the stadium.”

He also explained that Gordon Strachan once described the difference between managing in England and managing in Scotland.

He said: “Dealing with the English press is like swimming with dolphins and dealing the Scottish press is like swimming with sharks.”

Mr Lennon opened up about his experience with depression while playing with Celtic, when he was told to treat the condition as an injury.

He said: “I was 29, at the peak of my career. What did I have to be depressed about?

“It wasn’t until the club doctor came to see me and told me I had clinical depression.

“He told me to treat it like an injury, I wasn’t 100%, but I’ll recover in five weeks.”

Mr Salmond called for an end to sectarianism and quoted The Corries’ song Scotland Will Flourish.

He said: “Let the Scots be a nation proud of their heritage / With an eye to the future and a heart to forgive / And let us be rid of those bigots and fools / Who will not let Scotland live and let live.”

Speaking after the show, Mr Salmond said: “It was incredibly brave of Neil to discuss his experiences with myself and the audience.

“It’s not an easy thing to talk about to anyone, so for him to be able to talk about it to a room of 350 people he’s never met takes an incredible amount of courage and deserves an incredible amount of respect.”

READ MORE - David Davis wins over nationalists at Alex Salmond Fringe show

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Graeme Murray"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537302.1503251453!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537302.1503251453!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibernian manager Neil Lennon has said there is no place for sectarianism in football or politics. Picture: SNS/Bruce White","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibernian manager Neil Lennon has said there is no place for sectarianism in football or politics. Picture: SNS/Bruce White","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537302.1503251453!/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/david-davis-in-warning-over-repeating-eu-negotiations-1-4537077","id":"1.4537077","articleHeadline": "David Davis in warning over repeating EU negotiations","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503228601000 ,"articleLead": "

David Davis has warned the European Union that “with the clock ticking” there is no point in negotiating aspects of Brexit twice, in an attempt to push withdrawal talks towards discussions on a future trading relationship.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537076.1503228607!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Davis has warned the EU that "with the clock ticking" there is no point in negotiating aspects of Brexit twice. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The Brexit Secretary will publish five position papers further setting out Britain’s negotiating strategy next week in an attempt to add pace to the talks.

A key document is expected on the Government’s favoured approaches to enforcing rights outside the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Disagreement over the ECJ’s role was a major sticking point during July’s round of talks, with the UK aghast at Brussels’ insistence that EU citizens’ rights should be enforced by the court after Brexit.

Next week’s paper will set out different possible approaches to end the “direct jurisdiction” of the ECJ but still enforce individuals’ and businesses’ rights after Brexit.

But first, a document on goods will emphasise the Government is seeking a deal to ensure the freest and most friction-less trade possible in goods and services.

At present, the EU’s position is that only goods should be discussed in “phase one” of the negotiations, in which “sufficient progress” must be made before talks on a future trade deal can begin.

But Britain believes the goods and services sectors are impossible to separate and so wants to discuss them together.

Mr Davis said: “With the clock ticking, it wouldn’t be in either of our interests to run aspects of the negotiations twice.”

He went on: “This week we set out more detail of the future relationship we want with the European Union, putting forward imaginative and creative solutions to build a deep and special partnership with our closest neighbours and allies.

• READ MORE: Remove all trade barriers, urge pro-Brexit economists

“In the coming days we will demonstrate our thinking even further, with five new papers - all part of our work to drive the talks forward, and make sure we can show beyond doubt that we have made sufficient progress on withdrawal issues by October so that we can move on to discuss our future relationship.”

Another position paper on confidentiality will make clear the Government’s intentions on ensuring official documents and information exchanged between the UK, EU and other member states remain protected after Brexit.

A document will also be published on civil judicial co-operation to reassure the domestic legal sector and with an eye on August’s talks.

And a paper on data will seek to ensure that it continues to be passed between the UK and EU without disruption.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Mr Davis said some early discussion of the future trading relationship would help progress on the Irish border, a key issue in phase one of withdrawal talks.

“It is simply not possible to reach a near final agreement on the border issue until we’ve begun to talk about how our broader future customs arrangement will work,” he said.

“Furthermore, if we get the comprehensive free trade agreement we’re seeking as part of our future partnership, solutions in Northern Ireland are easier to deliver.”

Meanwhile, Sir Paul Jenkins, who was the Government’s most senior legal official for eight years until 2014, said Britain would have to replicate EU rules and submit to the ECJ “in all but name” if it wants to remove the need for hard borders.

Last week the Government published a paper setting out its wish for close customs arrangements with the EU and no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“If the UK is to be part of something close enough to a customs union or the single market to remove the need for hard borders, it will only work if the rules are identical to the EU’s own internal rules,” Sir Paul told the Observer.

“Not only must they be the same but there must be consistent policing of those rules. If Theresa May’s red line means we cannot be tied to the ECJ, the Brexit treaty will need to provide a parallel policing system.

“That may be a new court but, in reality, any new court will have to follow what the ECJ says about the EU’s own rules, otherwise the new system won’t work. So, never mind Theresa May’s foolish red line; we will have the ECJ in all but name.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RUSSELL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537076.1503228607!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537076.1503228607!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Davis has warned the EU that "with the clock ticking" there is no point in negotiating aspects of Brexit twice. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Davis has warned the EU that "with the clock ticking" there is no point in negotiating aspects of Brexit twice. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537076.1503228607!/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/remove-all-trade-barriers-urge-pro-brexit-economists-1-4537071","id":"1.4537071","articleHeadline": "Remove all trade barriers urge pro-Brexit economists","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503226749000 ,"articleLead": "

A group of Brexit-backing economists have urged the Government to abolish all trade barriers after leaving the European Union despite previously admitting it would “mostly eliminate manufacturing” in the UK.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537070.1503226754!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The group of economists believe abolishing barriers such as tariffs could boost the economy by 132 billion pounds. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The 16-strong Economists for Free Trade, led by Cardiff University economics Professor Patrick Minford, claimed abolishing barriers such as tariffs could boost the economy by £135 billion a year, giving households a £5,000-a-year boost.

The plan was dismissed by the Open Britain campaign group as “absurd” and a blueprint for “economic suicide”.

But report author Professor Minford said: “’Hard Brexit’ is good for the UK economically while ‘soft Brexit’ leaves us as badly off as before. ‘Hard’ is economically much superior to ‘soft’.

“Backers of ‘Soft Brexit’ say it would preserve jobs, but what they really mean is that it would preserve existing jobs by stopping competition from home and abroad.

“As every schoolboy knows and every politician ought to know, this aborting of competition reduces jobs in the long run.

“Competition increases productivity and so employment because higher wages paid for by higher productivity makes work more attractive.

• READ MORE: Brexit: Scots and Welsh governments may be frozen out of talks

“Competition also increases our general welfare because we are producing more.”

Commenting on behalf of the Open Britain campaign group for close ties with the EU, Labour MP Alison McGovern said: “All anyone needs to know about this absurd plan is that its own author admits it would ‘mostly eliminate manufacturing’ in the UK.

“Unilaterally scrapping our tariffs without achieving similar reductions in the tariff rates of other countries would see Britain swamped with imports, leaving our manufacturers and farmers unable to compete.

“The levels of bankruptcy and unemployment, especially in industry and agriculture, would sky-rocket.

“This is a project of economic suicide, not prosperity. No responsible government would touch this report with a barge pole as a source of ideas for our future trade policy.”

Professor Minford put forward his ideas in the run-up to June 2016’s EU referendum, although he admitted in a column for the Sun: “Over time, if we left the EU, it seems likely that we would mostly eliminate manufacturing, leaving mainly industries such as design, marketing and hi-tech. But this shouldn’t scare us.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RUSSELL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537070.1503226754!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537070.1503226754!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The group of economists believe abolishing barriers such as tariffs could boost the economy by 132 billion pounds. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The group of economists believe abolishing barriers such as tariffs could boost the economy by 132 billion pounds. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537070.1503226754!/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/education/super-sized-scottish-primary-school-classes-soar-by-third-1-4537059","id":"1.4537059","articleHeadline": "‘Super-sized’ Scottish primary school classes soar by third","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503225166000 ,"articleLead": "

The number of “super-sized” Scottish primary school classes has risen by more than a third, new analysis has revealed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537058.1503240217!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'Super-sized' classes are on the rise, according to new figures. Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Classes with 30 or more children increased by 36% between 2012 and 2016, from 1,687 to 2,287.

The number of children being taught in classes of 30 or more rose by more than 19,000 from 52,445 to 71,309 in the same period.

The figures have been rising steadily year on year during that time.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats, who carried out the analysis, blamed the increase on SNP “mismanagement” and said the rising class sizes makes the key Scottish Government priority of closing the gap in attainment between affluent pupils and their less well off classmates harder to attain.

The party’s education spokesman Tavish Scott said: “We already know that the average class size is at its highest in years. Now these new figures reveal that the number of children being taught in super-size classes has soared.

“Almost 20,000 more children are being taught in classes of 30 or above compared to 2012. There are 143 more super-size classes in Glasgow and approaching 100 additional large classes in Edinburgh.

• READ MORE: Volunteer teachers can close the attainment gap, say Tories

“Smaller classes do help pupils learn and help teachers contact with children who need extra help. So increasing class sizes make it harder to close the attainment gap.

“The impact of a decade of mismanagement by the SNP is clear. Tens of thousands of children are being taught in super-size classes. Thousands of teachers and support staff have been lost to schools and to Scottish education.

“Pupils returning to school this week have been met by hundreds of teaching vacancies.”

He said his party would invest an extra £500 million in education and would commission an independent review of teachers’ terms and conditions.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “In 2010, we legislated to reduce the maximum class size in Primary 1 to 25, its lowest ever level.

“We are reforming the education system to close the poverty-related attainment gap and target resources at the children, schools and communities which most need them.

“We are investing £88 million this year so every school has access to the right number of teachers, and securing places for all probationers who want them.

“Our investment has enabled councils to maintain the pupil-teacher ratio and halted a period of steady decline in teacher recruitment, resulting in 253 more teachers last year - the first substantial increase since 2007.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Laura Paterson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4537058.1503240217!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4537058.1503240217!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "'Super-sized' classes are on the rise, according to new figures. Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'Super-sized' classes are on the rise, according to new figures. Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4537058.1503240217!/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/euan-mccolm-real-reasons-we-failed-to-reform-drugs-policy-1-4536860","id":"1.4536860","articleHeadline": "Euan McColm: Real reasons we failed to reform drugs policy","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503209594000 ,"articleLead": "

The constitution may have been an obstacle to reform, but it could also lead us to an enlightened approach that saves lives, writes Euan McColm

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536859.1503209600!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The fact that drug deaths in Scotland rose by nearly a quarter in 2016 compared with 2015 has reignited debate. Picture: Getty/iStockphoto"} ,"articleBody": "

Not for the first time, one wondered whether Kenny MacAskill fully understood the implications of what he was saying.

Last week, SNP MP Ronnie Cowan took the unexpected and very welcome step of trying to re-open the debate about the “war on drugs”, which is, of course, the name governments and law enforcement agencies give to their ongoing failure, at huge financial and human cost, to prevent the sale and consumption of illegal substances. It was time for a new approach, said Cowan, pointing to the situation in Portugal where the number of addicts fell after possession was decriminalised.

On the same day that Cowan wrote in the Daily Record on the subject, former Scottish justice secretary MacAskill weighed in with his own piece in Holyrood Magazine. After standing down as an MSP last year, MacAskill has been eager to speak his mind (not least in his regular column for The Scotsman) even when he does not agree with the direction the SNP is taking.

On the subject of illegal drugs – deaths from which rose by 23 per cent last year – MacAskill wrote that it was time for the SNP to seek new powers over legislation from Westminster. Previous silence on the issue, he continued, “may have been understandable when the referendum was ongoing, now it’s simply cowardly as tragedy unfolds”.

The former justice secretary may think that failing to act on this issue because the constitution took precedence was understandable. I’m not so sure. But nationalists will be nationalists, I suppose. The constitution figures in just about every area, so why shouldn’t it impact on drugs policy?

MacAskill previously revealed that the Scottish Government had ruled out giving prisoners the vote during discussions before the 2014 independence referendum in case it harmed the Yes campaign’s cause, so it’s not as though we should be surprised that he feels the constitution has got in the way of a sensible debate about drugs.

Anyway, implicit in MacAskill’s remarks is the fact that the issue of Scottish independence is no longer at the top of any party’s political agenda so let’s skip past his odd justification and get to the meat of what he and Cowan are talking about.

Drug policy is an area that many politicians would prefer not to talk about. Historically, MPs who dared suggest a more liberal approach, perhaps even going so far as to call for decriminalisation, could expect – at best – to find themselves splashed across the pages of tabloid newspapers under a “He’s gone potty!” headline. Across the spectrum, politicians have chosen to avoid the matter if at all possible.

The consequence of this is that our drug laws might not be fit for purpose.

The majority of drug users do not have a problem – other than the fact that they are breaking the law. I’m sure that you know someone or someone who knows someone who uses drugs recreationally with no serious consequences. You know that the wilder rhetoric about the dangers of drug use just doesn’t reflect the experience of the majority of users.

Your mate Bill who smokes a bifter in the greenhouse of a Saturday afternoon is a fairly typical user and he’s no threat to society, is he? He’s just hungry and boring.

Cowan represents Inverclyde, an area where drug addiction has grown as a problem as jobs have become more scarce. When the shipyards were alive with the clatter and clang of production, the dealers had fewer victims on whom to prey. With greater unemployment came more customers looking to blot out the misery of their lives.

Cowan is quite right to question whether addicts – precisely none of whom are having a good time – should still be treated as criminals over their drug use. People addicted to heroin and other class A drugs are victims – initially, perhaps, of their own poor judgment, but eventually of substances which control their lives, destroy relationships and, in an increasing number of cases, kill them.

In what way, I wonder, is the public protected by criminalising these wretched souls?

There is no good reason that booze and tobacco should be legal while cannabis or ecstasy are not. The negative impact of drink and cigarettes is well known. These are substances easily as dangerous as others which are banned.

Taxes on alcohol and tobacco help fund public services, not least the NHS, yet drug barons selling weed to weekend stoners keep all their profits to themselves. Furthermore, they support criminal networks which traffic people and make them work on cannabis farms or force them to risk their liberty by smuggling.

Drug policy is currently the preserve of Westminster and I would be astonished if the current Conservative government was at all minded to change the law. This being so, I’m very much in favour of the Scottish Parliament taking responsibility for this area of legislation.

We have a hypocritical attitude to illegal drugs, turning a blind eye to the philosophy professor who likes a joint after dinner or the banker who snorts a line to kickstart the weekend while treating those who fall prey to opiate addiction as the lowest of the low.

These addicts, generally from poorer backgrounds, are the ones we lock up. Rich drug users aren’t a risk to society, I guess.

Every few years, politicians threaten to have a serious debate about drug policy, to think about whether cannabis should be made legal, whether possession of heroin should be decriminalised, but these debates never really get started before they descend into rows about “junkies” and “law abiding citizens”. Soon, the politician suggesting it’s time for another look at the issue is scared off and we carry on fighting a “war on drugs” that’s so ineffective as to be laughable.

It’s probably too much to hope that Ronnie Cowan will find many politicians (excluding retired ones like MacAskill) rallying to his side on this issue. But let’s hope some do because with increasing numbers of addicts paying for their frailties with their lives, it really is time to think again about whether we should be making criminals out of people who are harming nobody but themselves.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Euan McColm"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536859.1503209600!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536859.1503209600!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The fact that drug deaths in Scotland rose by nearly a quarter in 2016 compared with 2015 has reignited debate. Picture: Getty/iStockphoto","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The fact that drug deaths in Scotland rose by nearly a quarter in 2016 compared with 2015 has reignited debate. Picture: Getty/iStockphoto","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536859.1503209600!/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/education/volunteer-teachers-can-close-the-attainment-gap-say-tories-1-4536663","id":"1.4536663","articleHeadline": "Volunteer teachers can close the attainment gap, say Tories","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503208627000 ,"articleLead": "

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Education Secretary John Swinney have been urged to back volunteer tutor programmes for pupils from deprived backgrounds.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536662.1503167055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Many parents cant afford the fees charged by tutors to give children a little extra help. Photograph: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The Conservatives said Scottish ministers could follow the example of UK government-funded schemes which sign up volunteers to provide extra tuition to pupils from poorer families who would struggle to afford the cost of up to £40 per hour. Charities such as Action Tutoring – backed by funding from the Cabinet Office – recruited volunteers in London, Liverpool, Birmingham and Sheffield to provide tuition free of charge.

A similar scheme in Glasgow, the Volunteer Tutors Organisation, relies on donations to help disadvantaged pupils in the city and has appealed for funding on its website.

Scottish Conservatives further education spokesman Oliver Mundell said: “Extra tuition is recognised as one of the best ways to give students an extra leg up, but for too many children from low-income families they are priced out of the market.

“Across the UK, charities which provide volunteer tuition for disadvantaged children are doing fantastic work levelling out the playing field. All parties in Scotland want to reduce the attainment gap, and we believe the Scottish Government could look to see what help it can provide to do more. Rather than spend yet more public money on bureaucracy, the SNP government might consider giving support to charities which can ensure disadvantaged pupils get the tuition they need, but can’t currently afford.”

Sturgeon has made closing the attainment gap, which sees pupils from wealthier backgrounds outperform poorer counterparts, a key priority of the Scottish Government.

A series of studies have identified the discrepancy between rich and poor. Last year, for example, the Scottish Government’s own analysis found only 54 per cent of children from the poorest areas in the final year of primary school met the standard of writing expected for that age group by the Curriculum for Excellence. This compared with 78 per cent of those in the wealthiest areas. Only 58 per cent of P7 children in the most deprived areas met the standard for numeracy, compared with 80 per cent in the best-off areas. 

Overall, more than a quarter of all P7 children failed to meet reading standards, more than a third failed to achieve the expected level for writing and almost a third did not reach the benchmark for numeracy.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Through the Scottish Attainment Challenge we are encouraging schools and local authorities to develop their own approaches, drawing on evidence-based practice of what works and tailoring their plans for closing the poverty-related attainment gap to their own circumstances. This includes £120 million of Pupil Equity Funding to be spent at the discretion of headteachers and school leaders in 2017-18.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536662.1503167055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536662.1503167055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Many parents cant afford the fees charged by tutors to give children a little extra help. Photograph: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Many parents cant afford the fees charged by tutors to give children a little extra help. Photograph: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536662.1503167055!/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/terrorists-will-adapt-to-barriers-with-knives-warns-expert-1-4536896","id":"1.4536896","articleHeadline": "Terrorists will adapt to barriers with knives, warns expert","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503208283000 ,"articleLead": "

A security expert last night warned that erecting bollards to prevent vehicle-ramming attacks will see terrorists seek other ways of committing atrocities and predicted a rise in indiscriminate stabbings.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536895.1503208100!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Barriers designed to prevent an attack similar to the one in Las Ramblas happening at the Edinburgh Festival. Picture: Scott Louden"} ,"articleBody": "

The warning came as the UK government announced the terror threat is increasing in Britain in the wake of last week’s Spanish attacks that saw at least 14 people killed and around 100 injured in Barcelona and Cambrils.

Yannick Veilleux-Lepage of the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St Andrews University said terrorists would respond to the building of barriers to protect pedestrianised thoroughfares by adopting different methods.

Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, Veilleux-Lepage said: “The reality is that even if as a society we decide we are going to invest billions of pounds and put bollards or offensive vehicle mitigation techniques on every street where there are pedestrians...that’s fine.

“But what studies in terrorism show is that people engaging in these activities will simply change their technique.”

In recent months the world has been shocked by a spate of Islamic State (IS) inspired vehicle ramming attacks, notably the 2016 atrocity in Nice which resulted in 86 deaths and the attack on Westminster Bridge in London earlier this year that saw six deaths.

On Thursday, Barcelona was struck by a similar act of terrorism when a van was driven down the crowded Las Ramblas at the height of the tourist season. The repetition of such attacks has led to barriers and bollards being put up to protect areas where crowds congregate, including at Edinburgh’s Royal Mile during the Festival.

“The bollards are limited in the sense that they are going to help counter this particular technique and they are going to be effective up until the point that these groups innovate,” Veilleux-Lepage said.

He believes vehicle attacks will continue so long as they are seen by perpetrators as a feasible way of maximising casualties and are approved of by their followers.

But with action being taken to improve security in public places, Veilleux-Lepage says methods of attack used in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as stabbing, will become more commonplace.

According to Veilleux-Lepage, the notion of vehicle-ramming had its roots in Israel, where barriers were built up to prevent it.

“What I believe will happen will be what we have seen in Israel,” he said. “Vehicle ramming was used and then that was securitised and now the majority of terrorist-related deaths are knife attacks. There is a concept of contagion where a technique is used and it is used successfully and it is replicated. We haven’t yet seen that with knife attacks. But if you start seeing a bunch of vehicle ramming attacks that don’t work – that will be the next step.”

Already there have been examples of this disturbing means of assault. In 2013 Drummer Lee Rigby was mowed down by a car driven by his attackers before being hacked to pieces with knives and a machete.

The Westminster Bridge attacks saw a knife used after a vehicle had rammed pedestrians, while Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed by a far right extremist. Predicting a time when knives become the terrorists’ weapon of choice, Veilleux-Lepage asked: “What do we do at that point? Do we install metal detectors at Nandos and Subway? You are stopping one technique and you are holding off, hoping terrorist innovation doesn’t catch on. Now the reality is that terrorist innovation will always be quicker and our response will always be reactive. The reality we need to recognise is that it is impossible for any government to keep us 100 per cent safe.”

Meanwhile, Security Minister Ben Wallace said the threat to the UK is increasing as IS loses battles and territory in Syria and Iraq.

Wallace said extremist Britons and other Europeans are either unable to get out to the region to join IS or have come home and are trying to inspire attacks here. The terror group has already lost its base in Iraq, Mosul, and is facing an international coalition-backed offensive in Raqqa, Syria.

Wallace told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “I think the threat is still increasing, partly driven by the fact Isis is collapsing in Syria and people are either unable to get out there to fight for Isis and so they look to do something at home, or also because people have come back and tried to inspire people with their stories and tales of the caliphate. I think those two things mean that the threat is to some extent increasing.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536895.1503208100!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536895.1503208100!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Barriers designed to prevent an attack similar to the one in Las Ramblas happening at the Edinburgh Festival. Picture: Scott Louden","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Barriers designed to prevent an attack similar to the one in Las Ramblas happening at the Edinburgh Festival. Picture: Scott Louden","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536895.1503208100!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/leader-defy-the-terrorists-by-exercising-our-freedoms-1-4536899","id":"1.4536899","articleHeadline": "Leader: Defy the terrorists by exercising our freedoms","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503181977000 ,"articleLead": "

Islamist terror attacks retain the power to horrify us but, surely, we have long since passed the point at which we stopped finding them at all surprising.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536898.1503173258!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Barriers designed to prevent an attack similar to the one in Las Ramblas happening at the Edinburgh Festival. Picture: Scott Louden"} ,"articleBody": "

So frequent, now, are reports of successful plots carried out in the name of IS that we take for granted that yet another outrage will soon be perpetrated.

An attack in the heart of Barcelona, where jihadists used a van to kill 14 people and injure dozens more was quickly followed by a terror incident in Finland, where a man stabbed to death two people and injured eight more. Doubtless, there will soon be further chapters in this dark story of extremists who will gladly give their lives in the ending of as many others’ as possible.

Last week, the former director general of MI5, Jonathan Evans, warned that Islamist terror attacks will remain a threat for another 20 to 30 years and that we must remain proactive in tracking down those groups and individuals who are ready to die as “martyrs” seeking to establish global Caliphate.

There remain difficult debates to be had around what impact we are willing to allow this necessary fight against extremists to have on our freedoms.

Las Ramblas in Barcelona is a vibrant and diverse area which stands as a reminder of the lifestyle, of the freedoms, so deplored by Islamists.

Right now, Scotland’s capital is hosting tens of thousands of visitors each day. We know, from the experience in Edinburgh during the festival, that this bringing together of people from around the world is invigorating for any place. Now, sadly, we know that it may also make a city a target.

But what to do? We can’t possibly, unless advised otherwise by politicians and police at particular times of risk, change the way we go about our lives.

Every new terror attack, inevitably, chips away at public confidence. We must guard against this corrosion because it plays into the hands of the zealots who plan each atrocity. Every moment lived as we choose is a moment of defiance.

We should not be surprised if the issue of the powers we give security services to identify and investigate potential terrorists returns to the heart of political debate around this subject. It is important to remember that those powers ensure that for every Islamist attack that comes to fruition, others are thwarted, often with little fanfare.

None the less, while there are dark days ahead in this war on terror we must never stop celebrating the freedoms these zealots despise.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536898.1503173258!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536898.1503173258!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Barriers designed to prevent an attack similar to the one in Las Ramblas happening at the Edinburgh Festival. Picture: Scott Louden","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Barriers designed to prevent an attack similar to the one in Las Ramblas happening at the Edinburgh Festival. Picture: Scott Louden","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536898.1503173258!/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/david-hogg-geographical-accident-could-solve-housing-crisis-1-4536866","id":"1.4536866","articleHeadline": "David Hogg: Geographical accident could solve housing crisis","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503180168000 ,"articleLead": "

We don’t have a housing crisis – crises end. We have a chronic wasting disease. The young cannot buy. Key workers we need to run our cities cannot afford to live in them. Rather than making productive investments in commerce and industry we use houses as an alternative speculative currency. Above all there is the gigantic waste of time, energy and wealth spent commuting and polluting.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536865.1503167724!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The city of the future threatens to grow inexorably. Image: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Is this inevitable? Consider this. It costs the average Briton three-and-a-half times more than a German to keep a roof over their head. The figures come from the Economist, not Shelter. We are clearly doing something desperately wrong.

Understanding the cause may help us find a solution. In the 1930s almost all the 17,000 workers at the Glasgow Springburn engine works walked home to tenements housing them at densities of up to 400 per acre. Town Planners’ policies remain rooted in this era. Their ideal city is a mix of housing, factories, offices, schools, parks, shops, theatres, etc. In it almost everyone “lives over the shop”, or on a bus route to their work.

They have never come to terms with mass private transport by car, the two-earner family, or with people choosing where they want to live.

The result is the mess we are in. Because of the scale and complexity of the city we have become each other’s congestion. Simple geometry tells us that the planners’ “solution”, adding on yet another ring of suburban housing, leads to a dead end.

But does a solution exist? Basically, house prices are driven by scarcity of land areas with easy access to work. We need to somehow increase these areas. But road and rail are saturated and we know we cannot afford to build new routes through built-up areas. Because the workplaces are scattered in urban congestion we can’t get everyone on buses. Mass transport only really works when delivering to a very concentrated focus.

A solution might be to take the commercial centres out of the cities. But of course the existing transport arteries all converge on the city centres. So this is a stupid Utopian concept? Yes, except oddly for central Scotland. By an accident of geography, west of Edinburgh just south of the airport, the major road, rail, and air arteries of central Scotland converge.

This is how we begin to cure our transport problems and hence our housing problems. Just east of Newbridge we designate an area, call it the HUB. We build interchanges on the M8 and A8 feeding into a ring road. Three short new rail links allow a station in the centre of the HUB direct access to the whole Scottish rail network. We zone the area within the ring for offices, nothing else. At a reasonable density this will provide space for 150,000 workers, all within easy walking distance of the station and ring road. If we avoid gold plating, all this can be done well within the cost of the Edinburgh tram line. Provided with ready-made planning consents an incoming employer can start digging the next day.

We have cut the long crawl through the city off all journey times. This opens easy access to jobs from huge areas of central Scotland. Proposals for 500 houses in Barnton cause a middle-class riot, but in Shotts, Blackridge or a dozen other communities they would be cause to declare a public holiday. By increasing the supply we bring liquidity to the market and burst the speculative land cost bubble, steadily reducing house prices across Scotland.

Would the HUB attract users? We have access to a large workforce in an English speaking country: a stimulating location looking out over central Scotland, and easy access to the Edinburgh hotel and entertainment zone. But the greatest attraction for the incoming company is the certainty of clear and immediately available consents. And an international airport literally within walking distance, unique in Europe. Gold dust! It would work.

Central government could do it. But it won’t. The current “reform” of the Scottish planning system, almost unbelievably in a time of rapid change, proposes a ten-year period between fundamental rethinks. From bitter experience we know that planning, from pure habit, will continue permitting the spread of housing into the area. Very soon this will destroy the unrepeatable opportunity to take advantage of this wonderful accident of geography. It would make you weep.

David J Hogg is a building designer with experience in commercial and private housing development

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "David Hogg"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536865.1503167724!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536865.1503167724!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The city of the future threatens to grow inexorably. Image: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The city of the future threatens to grow inexorably. Image: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536865.1503167724!/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/nicola-sturgeon-at-glasgow-pride-i-m-proud-of-scotland-s-lgbti-record-1-4536409","id":"1.4536409","articleHeadline": "Nicola Sturgeon at Glasgow Pride: I’m proud of Scotland’s LGBTI record","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503155084000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon has said there is still work to be done to tackle discrimination and achieve true LGBTI equality, as she became the first serving first minister to speak at a pride event.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536645.1503155306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addresses the assembled crowd at Glasgow Pride. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

The SNP leader described Scotland as one of the most progressive countries in Europe but said it was important to continue to “strive” for equality for those in the LGBTI community.

The First Minister spoke at Glasgow Green after thousands of people paraded through the streets of the city for the annual pride event.

Pride Glasgow, Scotland’s largest LGBTI festival, is taking place over the course of Saturday and Sunday.

In a statement released by the Scottish Government, Ms Sturgeon said: “I am proud Scotland is now considered one of the most progressive countries in Europe for LGBTI equality and I am honoured to speak at Pride Glasgow - the first time a head of government anywhere in the UK has addressed a pride event.

READ MORE: Leader: SNP must re-emphasise nationalism as a positive

“We must not be passive, but continually strive to advance LGBTI equality. For as long as I am First Minister, that’s what we will strive to do.

“Until Scotland is a place where no one suffers hate, fear, discrimination or prejudice because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, then we have still work to do.

“Wherever there are legislative or regulatory barriers to achieving true equality, we will seek to remove them. I am determined that my government will do all it can to celebrate diversity in everything we say and do.”

The First Minister had previously tweeted it would be a “privilege” to speak at the event.

Earlier, marchers kicked off the two-day festival with a parade through the heart of the city.

They traced a route looping from Glasgow Green, through the Merchant City towards the city centre, returning past the River Clyde to the pride site.

Organisers said before the event they expected more than 5,000 people to take part in the parade, with 10 times that number thought to watch it as it snaked its way through the city.

A range of entertainment, headlined by 90s Irish pop sensation B*Witched, has been scheduled over the two days at Glasgow Green.

X Factor runner-up Saara Aalto and dance singer Kelly Llorenna were also on the line-up.

Those attending the event also have access to a market, community stalls, family area, youth space and fairground rides once inside the designated pride site.

Elsewhere in Glasgow, some businesses have been showing their support for the event.

Energy firm ScottishPower joined in the celebrations by lighting up their St Vincent Street headquarters in pride colours for the weekend.

And Silverburn shopping centre previously announced plans to install a ‘’rainbow crossing’’ in front of the building over the course of the event.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon explains “nippy sweetie” nickname

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RUSSELL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536645.1503155306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536645.1503155306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addresses the assembled crowd at Glasgow Pride. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addresses the assembled crowd at Glasgow Pride. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536645.1503155306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536646.1503155310!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536646.1503155310!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "People take part in the Pride Glasgow parade. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "People take part in the Pride Glasgow parade. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536646.1503155310!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536647.1503155313!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536647.1503155313!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "People in fancy dress take part in the Pride Glasgow parade.: David Cheskin/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "People in fancy dress take part in the Pride Glasgow parade.: David Cheskin/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536647.1503155313!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536648.1503155317!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536648.1503155317!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon waves as she addresses the assembled crowd at Glasgow Pride. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon waves as she addresses the assembled crowd at Glasgow Pride. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536648.1503155317!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536649.1503155321!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536649.1503155321!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "An anti-Nazi message on display as people take part in the Pride Glasgow parade through the city centre. Picture:: David Cheskin/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An anti-Nazi message on display as people take part in the Pride Glasgow parade through the city centre. Picture:: David Cheskin/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536649.1503155321!/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/leader-snp-must-re-emphasise-nationalism-as-a-positive-1-4536574","id":"1.4536574","articleHeadline": "Leader: SNP must re-emphasise nationalism as a positive","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503153040000 ,"articleLead": "

It is a wonderful moment when our elected politicians are honest. MPs and MSPs typically spend so long trying to avoid answering direct questions that they often end up looking slippery and untrustworthy.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536573.1503151946!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP supporters. This week Nicola Sturgeon said she felt nationalism had ugly connotations. Picture Jane Barlow/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

And so yesterday it was refreshing to see Nicola Sturgeon engage in an open debate about nationalism, its connotations around the world and even the name of her own party.

The First Minister was speaking during a debate at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where a Turkish author said nationalism had a very negative and ugly meaning for her, and asked if it could “ever be benign”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon to address Pride Glasgow event

Ms Sturgeon said: “The word is difficult. If I could turn the clock back, what, 90 years, to the establishment of my party, and chose its name all over again, I wouldn’t choose the name it has got just now.”

For the leader of a party to say “I don’t like the name of my party and I wish we could change it”, is unusual. But it is also honest. Nationalism has negative undertones. The First Minister is all the stronger for this statement.

The obvious solution is to change the party’s name, but Ms Sturgeon dismissed this as “far too complicated”. How about the Scotland First Association (SFA), Future for Scotland (FFS) or even Scotland or Bust (SOB)? No, maybe not.

Rebranding, especially as a means of reputation laundering, rarely works.

Far better that the party shows, week in week out, that it really does stand for its stated goal of “civic nationalism” that is in stark contrast to the ethnic nationalism of the BNP and white nationalism in the US.

Sturgeon says: “If Scotland is your home and you feel you have a stake in the country, you are Scottish and you have as much say over the future of the country as I do.”

But many of the SNP’s most vocal supporters trade in a more narrow form of nationalism and our First Minister should do more to reject this view and shout them down. A brand isn’t just in a name; it’s the values you promote day in day out.

Furthermore, the party too easily promotes the idea of “Scotland good, UK bad”. Right-minded voters realise this is too simplistic and we need a more nuanced and grown-up debate about independence.

If that happens, then perhaps nationalism itself can be rebranded as a positive.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTSMAN LEADER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536573.1503151946!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536573.1503151946!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "SNP supporters. This week Nicola Sturgeon said she felt nationalism had ugly connotations. Picture Jane Barlow/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP supporters. This week Nicola Sturgeon said she felt nationalism had ugly connotations. Picture Jane Barlow/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536573.1503151946!/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/brexit-scots-and-welsh-governments-may-be-frozen-out-of-talks-1-4536553","id":"1.4536553","articleHeadline": "Brexit: Scots and Welsh governments may be frozen out of talks","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503150461000 ,"articleLead": "

Britain could strike post-Brexit free trade deals without the approval of the Scottish and Welsh governments under proposals circulated among Cabinet ministers by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536552.1503150466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "International Trade Secretary Liam Fox. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

Dr Fox has written to colleagues setting out four options for devolved governments’ role in negotiating free trade agreements after the UK leaves the European Union, a Whitehall source confirmed.

One of them includes making trade a reserved matter for the UK Government, although at the other end of the spectrum is a proposal that a common position should be agreed with devolved governments before striking a deal.

Any move to freeze out devolved governments is likely to be strongly opposed in Edinburgh and Cardiff.

The Government has not taken a decision on which option it prefers.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon to address Pride Glasgow event

However The Times claimed Dr Fox favours denying Scotland and Wales a veto, and Tories worried about the anti-Brexit Scottish National Party scuppering any free trade deals could back him.

Genetically modified (GM) foods - which are legal for cultivation in England and the United States but banned in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - is one potential flashpoint in trade talks.

The Government is set to publish a trade white paper in Autumn, ahead of a Trade Bill.

A Department for International Trade spokesman said: “We have been very clear that we want a trade policy that is inclusive and transparent and which represents the whole of the United Kingdom.

“We will not be giving a running commentary on possible future trade policy”.

Plaid Cymru said any move to freeze out Wales would be “disgraceful”.

READ MORE: UK ministers propose ‘unmonitored’ Irish border post

Welsh treasury spokesman, Jonathan Edwards MP, said: “If the UK leaves the customs union enabling it to strike trade deals, it is vital that no trade deal is signed without the endorsement of the Welsh Government.

“Otherwise the British government could expose key Welsh economic sectors and our public services, effectively supplanting the devolved settlement.

“Within the customs union, member states and sub national governments, like Wallonia in Belgium, can veto trade deals.

“It would be disgraceful if in post-Brexit UK, national governments within the British state are not able to defend their economic interests from Westminster politicians.

“The Trade Secretary would do well to remember that people in Wales have voted twice in binding referendums to empower our National Assembly.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Arj Singh"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4536552.1503150466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4536552.1503150466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "International Trade Secretary Liam Fox. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "International Trade Secretary Liam Fox. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4536552.1503150466!/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/edinburgh-stands-with-spain-after-barcelona-attack-1-4535723","id":"1.4535723","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh stands with Spain after Barcelona attack","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503090845000 ,"articleLead": "

The Spanish flag was flying at half mast over the city yesterday as the Capital showed its solidarity with Spain in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4535722.1503090853!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Flags fly half mast outside the Scottish Parliament and City Chambers in Edinburgh. Picture; Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

The Lord Provost, Rt Hon Frank Ross, led tributes to those who died as he condemned the “horrific attack”.

“On behalf of all of the people of Edinburgh, I send our heartfelt condolences to all those affected by this horrifying attack in Barcelona and events in Cambrils,” he said.

“This is the type of incident that we have become depressingly accustomed to.

“I will be formally sending a letter of sympathy to the Mayor of Barcelona and the Spanish Consul General but words can hardly do justice in the wake of such a horrific attack on innocent people.

“Our thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the people of Barcelona and our praises go to the brave responders from the emergency services.

“The flags flying above the Edinburgh City Chambers have been lowered to half-mast as a mark of respect and support for all those affected.”

Security barriers have been erected across parts of Edinburgh amid concern festival goers could be targeted by terrorists, although police said there was “no specific intelligence” to suggest this year’s events were at risk.

READ MORE: Hunt for Europe’s most wanted man as Barcelona attack suspect named

Meanwhile floral tributes and notes of support had begun to be laid outside the Spanish Consulate on North Castle Street, where the Spanish flag had also been lowered in a mark of respect.

Of those who had gathered to demonstrate Edinburgh’s solidarity were Craigmount High pupils Heather Quinn and Nikita Romanovs.

The pair were so moved by the events in Spain that they bought flowers and candles to lay at the door of the Spanish Consulate.

Heather, who is from Pamplona and has family living in Spain, was heartbroken by the events in Barcelona and Cambrils.

“You never expect these things to happen anywhere but it’s more of a shock when it’s where you’ve grown up,” she said.

“Half my family still live there. It’s a worrying time, families in Spain tend to spread out and there may be some who have been affected.”

Heather has spent her summers in Cambrils since she was four and was shocked when events unfolded in the Catalonian coastal town.

“I was walking home from school and a news notification came up on my phone – I ran home and my family and I watched it unfold.

“When I saw it was Cambrils it was even more real, I felt very shaky.”

Her friend Nikita said: “A lot of them were tourists going there to have the summer of their lives. It’s very sad. They’re trying to frighten people and it’s shocking.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "FIONA PRINGLE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4535722.1503090853!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4535722.1503090853!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Flags fly half mast outside the Scottish Parliament and City Chambers in Edinburgh. Picture; Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Flags fly half mast outside the Scottish Parliament and City Chambers in Edinburgh. Picture; Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4535722.1503090853!/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/labour-proposes-bursaries-to-tackle-shortage-of-physics-and-maths-teachers-1-4536290","id":"1.4536290","articleHeadline": "Labour proposes bursaries to tackle shortage of physics and maths teachers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1503088859000 ,"articleLead": "

Bursaries to attract teachers to key subjects like maths and physics have been put at the forefront of Labour’s plans to transform Scottish education.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4524392.1503088866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Swinney. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The awards would fund teacher training for potential science teachers and would work on a similar principle to the bursaries introduced by the Scottish Government to attract more doctors and nurses.

Labour has yet to put a figure on the cost of its proposals, but says they are necessary to tackle the falling number of teachers. Official figures say there are now 4,000 fewer teachers than there were when the SNP first came to power in 2007.

Of particular concern has been the 12 per cent drop in those teaching so-called STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Other measures in Labour’s education blueprint include an independent review of teachers’ pay and conditions, a new literacy and numeracy programme and an end to centralising schools under regional directors.

Labour’s education spokesman Iain Gray, a former teacher, also called for the re-establishment of an independent inspectorate which would be tasked with improving the Curriculum for Excellence.

There are 4,000 fewer teachers since the SNP came to power in 2007, including a 12 per cent drop in STEM teachers. Labour said a lack of teachers in key subjects cut off opportunities for pupils, and would ultimately hold Scotland’s economy back.

Mr Gray challenged the SNP government to commit to real-term increases in education funding for every year of the rest of this parliament, and said Mr Swinney must halt moves to centralise school budgets.

An expert group would be formed to reform senior school, which would include increasing vocational training through skills academies and further education partnerships.

Labour also wants to introduce a Scottish Graduation Certificate for all at 18, reflecting achievement in exam, vocational, work experience and voluntary learning and establish a breakfast club in every school.

A Scottish Government spokesman said bursaries were already available for student teachers and added that councils were responsible for teacher recruitment.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4524392.1503088866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4524392.1503088866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Swinney. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Swinney. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4524392.1503088866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}