{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"scotland","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/edinburgh-mulls-first-night-mayor-idea-to-save-music-scene-1-4426865","id":"1.4426865","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh mulls first ‘night mayor’ idea to save music scene","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492945746000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh has kickstarted moves to appoint Scotland’s first “night mayor” in a bid to halt the closure of venues, prevent gigs being shut down due to noise complaints and raise the profile of the city’s troubled scene.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426864.1492890543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lutz Leichsenring, a nightlife champion in Berlin, spoke at the Music Is Audible workshop at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew O'Brien"} ,"articleBody": "

It has called in experts to advise on the appointment of an independent “champion” to resolve disputes and act as an official go-between for the sector and different city council departments.

They could also be charged with leading efforts to secure the future of important venues when major developments are being planned, advising on the development of new venues, leading efforts to promote Edinburgh’s musical heritage and ensuring the city’s regulations are as relaxed throughout the year as they are during the Edinburgh Festival in August.

The night mayor would almost be the first point of contact for anyone in the industry faced with a complaint over the running of their venue or event following long-standing complaints that the local authority has some of the harshest restrictions on live music anywhere in Europe. A census of live music activity in the city, carried out by Edinburgh University, found that nearly half of its venues had been affected by “noise, planning and development issues.” Some 44 per cent of musicians in the city said their gigs had been affected by noise restrictions.

The proposal, which is expected to be taken forward by the new city council administration following next month’s election, has emerged following two-and-a-half-years of talks between the local authority and music industry representatives.

Anger among venue managers, promoters and bands mounted in 2014 after the closure of one of the city’s main medium-sized venues, the Picture House on Lothian Road, the scrapping of a number of long-standing live music nights and criticism of the council from Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers for failing to support live music in their home city.

Recent months have seen the Picture House turned into a huge Wetherspoon pub complex, the closure of Electric Circus to make way for an expansion of a neighbouring art gallery, the forthcoming closure of the Citrus Club announced and Leith Depot threatened with demolition over plans for a major new development.

The city was urged to consider appointing a night mayor or music champion in an independent report from the Music Venues Trust, which campaigns to preserve the UK’s grass-roots venues.

Its recommendation stated: “When faced with a noise complaint music venues in Edinburgh have, in the past, felt they have no-one to talk to, nowhere to turn for support.”

Among those to advise Edinburgh has been Lutz Leichsenring, a nightlife champion in Berlin, who spoke at an industry summit at the Usher Hall last week.

He said: “A successful night-time economy needs affordable space so people can be experimental, as few restrictions as possible to allow new things to develop, people who are doers and don’t just talk, unconventional ideas and alternative tourists looking for special things.

“The city should monitor the effect on creative spaces when it makes decisions, not over-regulate night life, and provide public space for grass-roots projects and events. It’s not easy, but you should try to buy up properties and also tell real estate companies they can profit from creative activity. It can turn a run-down area into a much-loved area.”

The new post in Edinburgh is expected to be partly funded by the council and the industry, with the latter drawing up a job description.

Norma Austin Hart, vice-convenor for culture on the council, said: “We don’t just want our officers to produce a report on what this role will involve. It has to be right for Edinburgh and it is really important that this doesn’t have to do everything.

“The baton will be handed to the new council to take forward, but I’d encourage the city’s music industry to get organised and agree a set of common purposes.”

Edinbugrh-based promoter Douglas Robertson, who has spent years trying to find a home for permanent grass-roots venue in the city, said: “The crucial things in Edinburgh are properties, venues and performance spaces.

“Over the last 10 years or so we’ve seen so many venues closed down to the pressures of the property market.

“We’re in a city which is enjoying a property boom where every old building becomes student flats or yet another hotel.

“We should be looking at Glasgow, where there is a considerably healthier music scene.

“Part of the reason for that is that it’s a more run-down city in some ways. Edinburgh is just too damn smart and affluent. It makes life so difficult. There needs to a be a real commitment in Edinburgh that this is something that matters.”

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of the Music Venue Trust, said: “Any city that identifies that it places a value on music and that it starts to talk about it, write about it and has identifiable champions can do more than a city that says: ‘It is too late for us and it is not really a priority.’

“The interesting thing about Glasgow, which is sitting quite pretty at the moment, is that there is a massive amount of development coming, particularly in areas where most of the venues are. Luxury student accommodation is becoming a big new thing in Glasgow.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN FERGUSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426864.1492890543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426864.1492890543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lutz Leichsenring, a nightlife champion in Berlin, spoke at the Music Is Audible workshop at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew O'Brien","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lutz Leichsenring, a nightlife champion in Berlin, spoke at the Music Is Audible workshop at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. Picture: Andrew O'Brien","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426864.1492890543!/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/fat-feminist-jogger-defies-pe-class-persecutors-1-4426861","id":"1.4426861","articleHeadline": "‘Fat’ feminist jogger defies PE class persecutors","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492942705000 ,"articleLead": "

A performance poet who was targeted by bullies while at primary school for being overweight has written a show about how she turned to “fat activism” and then to running to challenge the notion that slim always means healthy.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426860.1492942704!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Katherine McMahon realised she had to exercise to be healthy. Picture: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

Katherine McMahon, whose debut, Fat Kid Running will be staged in Edinburgh next month, said that as a “fat kid” at school she hated the competitive nature of PE and felt anger about the pressure girls and women come under to be slim and polished.

McMahon’s play, which debuts at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh on 12 May, includes comedy as well as darker insights, and describes her life as a youngster skiving PE lessons and her recent endeavours to become a “fat, fierce, feminist runner”.

She explores what it takes to feel at home in her body and asks how people are meant to have fun just moving around in a world where the emphasis is on body shaming and fat burning.

“This is not an evangelical story about a before-and-after transformation from being fat to becoming a slim runner, which I am not.

“Instead it’s about size acceptism and how, after years of thinking certain attitudes to size were unacceptable but not knowing what to do about it I reclaimed things like exercise after hating PE at school.”

Edinburgh-based McMahon said: “The hardest bit, and most intense bit to write was about the bullying. It was the most emotionally difficult thing. I was cornered by some girls in a changing room and punched when I was about eight years old.

“That was when I first started becoming aware of size, and how it stops you feeling comfortable in your own body at a young age.”

McMahon said it was the competitive nature of PE she found particularly difficult.

“Lessons were set up in a way that teachers would choose those who were already good at PE to choose teams, which was excruciating. So, I said to myself ‘I just don’t care. I’m not going to try.’”

As an adult McMahon began researching fat activism and size acceptism which aims to get rid of discriminating against people due to their size.

“It’s quite a radical concept, that all bodies are worthy, whether fat or thin, and people are not ‘less valuable’ because they are not the accepted size. Someone who is a bigger size may be eating more healthily than a slim person.

“I think it’s really important that when it comes to health education for children that we take the emphasis off size. ‘Fat’ should just be a word like ‘tall’ not an insult to describe someone.”

The second half of the show by Flint & Pitch Productions, deals with how McMahon discovered running and took part in a 10K race after becoming immobilised temporarily due an injury to her feet.

“After a while I realised that with my feet being really bad I didn’t have the choice anymore about taking exercise. One day I just thought, ‘I’d really like to try moving around a lot more.’ But I made a deal with myself, that if I hated it I would stop. There was no obligation.”

Dr Gary Hamilton, a Glasgow-based GP, said that for good health people should fall within a normal healthy weight range.

“There are a lot of serious health implications for people who are overweight or underweight. People can be too light which affects the bone mass and can lead to fractures and make them more prone to infections.

“However, a study in the British Medical Journal showed people nowadays have problems defining what is a healthy size, tending to think they are lighter than they really are compared with people 30 years ago.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Shn Ross"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426860.1492942704!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426860.1492942704!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Katherine McMahon realised she had to exercise to be healthy. Picture: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Katherine McMahon realised she had to exercise to be healthy. Picture: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426860.1492942704!/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/family-to-appeal-al-megrahi-s-lockerbie-bombing-conviction-1-4427055","id":"1.4427055","articleHeadline": "Family to appeal al-Megrahi’s Lockerbie bombing conviction","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492942274000 ,"articleLead": "

The family of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi will launch a bid to appeal against his conviction within a fortnight.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427053.1492942151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The nose section of Pan Am Flight 103 lies in wreckage on December 21, 1988 from an explosion over Lockerbie. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Lawyer Aamer Anwar confirmed files will be handed to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC).

The SCCRC will decide whether there are grounds to refer the case to the appeal court.

READ MORE - Scotland took the rap for Lockerbie aftermath, claims Kenny MacAskill

Megrahi’s widow Aisha and son Ali met recently with Mr Anwar.

It is believed they will present concerns over the evidence which convicted the Libyan, including that given by Maltese shopkeeper Tony Gauci, who died last year.

Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the 1988 atrocity which killed 270 people.

He was jailed for 27 years but died of prostate cancer aged 60 in 2012 after being released on compassionate grounds in 2009.

READ MORE - MacAskill ‘surprised’ by Lockerbie bomber release fury

Megrahi lost an appeal against his conviction in 2002, with the SCCRC recommending in 2007 that he should be granted a second appeal.

He dropped the second attempt to overturn his conviction in 2009, ahead of his return to Libya.

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4427053.1492942151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427053.1492942151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The nose section of Pan Am Flight 103 lies in wreckage on December 21, 1988 from an explosion over Lockerbie. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The nose section of Pan Am Flight 103 lies in wreckage on December 21, 1988 from an explosion over Lockerbie. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4427053.1492942151!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4427054.1492942218!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427054.1492942218!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Abdelbaset al-Megrahi boards an aircraft at Glasgow in August 2009. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Abdelbaset al-Megrahi boards an aircraft at Glasgow in August 2009. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4427054.1492942218!/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/third-of-scots-voters-will-vote-tory-in-general-election-1-4427026","id":"1.4427026","articleHeadline": "Third of Scots voters ‘will vote Tory in General Election’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492938170000 ,"articleLead": "

A third of Scottish voters are backing the Tories, according to fresh polling conducted after Theresa May called a snap election.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427025.1492938168!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ruth Davidson with a group of her supporters as a new poll reveals a third of Scots voters back the Tories. Picture: Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

The Panelbase survey, commissioned by The Sunday Times Scotland, shows 33 per cent backing Ruth Davidson’s party in general election voting intentions, suggesting it could be on course to win a clutch of new seats in Scotland in June.

The Tories, who are campaigning on a message of opposing the SNP’s bid for a second independence referendum, currently have one Scottish MP - David Mundell.

Support for the party is up on the 2015 general election result, where they took almost 15 per cent of the vote, and up from 28 per cent in a previous Panelbase poll conducted in March.

The new poll also shows the SNP on 44 per cent, down from 47 per cent in last month’s poll and from almost 50 per cent in the 2015 election.

READ MORE - Scrapping controversial rape clause could cost Scotland £200m

The party won 56 out of 59 Scottish seats in 2015 and is still on course to take home a majority on June 8.

Support for Labour has dropped to 13 per cent from 14 per cent last month and just over 24 per cent in 2015. With only one MP, Ian Murray, the party faces a battle to maintain a Scottish presence at Westminster.

Among the other parties, the Lib Dems are backed by 5 per cent of voters, up one percentage point from March, while Ukip and the Greens are supported by 2 per cent of voters each, both down from 3 per cent.

Panelbase polled 1,029 voters between April 18 and 21.

Scottish politics: News, comment and expert analysis

A second poll by Survation, commissioned by the Sunday Post, found support for the SNP at 43 per cent, with the Tories on 28 per cent.

Scottish Labour lag behind with just under 18 per cent while the Lib Dems recorded almost 9 per cent.

The pollster also asked respondents about independence, with 53 per cent saying they would vote No in a referendum and 47 per cent backing Yes, when those who are undecided are excluded.

READ MORE - Tactical voting will only have ‘limited effect’ in Scotland

Survation asked whether, in the event of another Conservative majority government, voters would be more or less likely to support independence.

A total of 37.9 per cent said such a result would make them more likely, 15.5 per cent less likely, 39.8 per cent no more or less and 6.7 per cent were not sure.

The survey of 1,018 people was also conducted between April 18 and 21.

SNP business convener Derek Mackay said: “The SNP will give Scotland a strong voice against austerity, blind pursuit of a rock-hard Brexit and a complete disregard for Scotland’s interests.

“The more Tory MPs there are in Scotland, the heavier the price we will all pay, with pensioners now in the Tories’ sights.

“The Tories think they can do what they want to Scotland and get away with it. We won’t let them.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4427025.1492938168!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427025.1492938168!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ruth Davidson with a group of her supporters as a new poll reveals a third of Scots voters back the Tories. Picture: Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ruth Davidson with a group of her supporters as a new poll reveals a third of Scots voters back the Tories. Picture: Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4427025.1492938168!/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/bogus-glasgow-venture-capital-firm-nets-a-fortune-1-4426945","id":"1.4426945","articleHeadline": "Bogus Glasgow venture capital firm nets a fortune","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492937530000 ,"articleLead": "

Police are investigating a Scotland-registered venture capital firm which investors say has duped them out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426942.1492937527!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Icons website. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Icon Group, which lists a Bill Icon as its only director and claims to be based in a rented office block in Glasgow city centre, is accused of taking fees to set up financial loans worth millions – then disappearing without trace.

Scotland on Sunday can reveal that the firm, also known as Icon Universal Investments, has used fake personal profiles and falsified banking documents in a bid to swindle international investors.

It has also claimed that it is backed by Scottish financial giant Aberdeen Asset Management – which the FTSE 250 firm denies.

Wes Robinson, a Canadian businessman living in the Cayman Islands, claims Icon has made off with $192,000 (£154,000) of his cash, after failing to provide a $40 million credit line in the form of an asset-backed note agreed by the firm.

Robinson, who has worked in the investment business since 1985 and decided to use Icon to acquire the money to invest privately for his family after being approached by a representative of the firm in North America, said he believed the company had set up “one of the most elaborate” scams he had ever come across.

Icon Group’s website, which lists its registered address as 93 Hope Street in Glasgow, features a fake professional history lifted from a legitimate American company and uses a false photograph of its president Bill Icon.

A second financial services professional based in the UK has revealed that one of his clients has been duped by the company.

“I’ve been an investor for a long time and I’ve been burned a couple of times, but this is one of the most elaborate I have seen,” said Robinson. “I have been hoodwinked by some of the biggest and baddest on Wall Street and this is one of the worst.”

Icon Universal Investments was incorporated in May 2016 with Bill Icon the only listed director – nine months after a previous incarnation of the firm, Icon Investments Worldwide, was dissolved.

Under UK law, the identities of business people who register with Companies House are not checked, leaving the system open to companies being set up by false directors or using fraudulent addresses.

Bill Icon is listed as living at an address at Hertford Avenue in Glasgow’s West End, although electoral roll searches do not show anyone of that name as having any links to the property.

The homepage of Icon Investments lists a comprehensive history of Icon’s apparent financial accomplishments, including chairmanship of the non-existent “Export-Import Bank of the Scotland” and founder of “Sutter Hill Ventures in Glasgow, Scotland”. A real venture capital firm called Sutter Hill is actually based in Palo Alto, California.

It also says Icon began his venture capital career in 1962 - when, according to his 1954 date of birth listed on Companies House, he would have been just eight years old.

The information is lifted, word for word, from the website of a legitimate venture capital firm, Draper Richards LP - with the name Draper replaced by that of “Icon”.

The website states: “The Icon name is well known in the venture capital industry. Bill Icon’s father, General William H Icon, Jr, became the first professional west-coast venture capitalist when he founded Icon.”

It even uses the same black and white image utilised on the “history” page of Draper Richards - of William H Draper in 1960 - but claims it is a photograph of “William H Icon”.

It also features a headshot photograph purporting to be company president Bill Icon - which is actually an image lifted from the internet of Dick Ziegler, a baseball coach in Denver who was knocked over in a hit and run accident four years ago. Meanwhile, a photograph of “Patrick Greenwood”, the managing director of Icon, who the website claims is based in Zurich, Switzerland and Doha, Qatar, is an original image of Don Plaisted, a former employee of Draper Richards.

There is nothing to suggest that Draper Richards has any knowledge that its information had been utilised by Icon. Attempts to contact the firm and Plaisted have not been successful.

Robinson was approached two years ago by a man claiming to be called Duncan Matin Ellis, who said he was a representative of Icon Investments living in Beverly Hills in the US. Robinson spoke on the telephone to Bill Icon, who assured him that Ellis was one of his employees and that he was a qualified underwriter and broker.

“I thought, ‘$50,000, what have I got to lose?’ said Robinson, 54, who retired five years ago. “Especially as written into the contract was that if they didn’t get me my money, they had to pay me the $50,000 back, plus one per cent. Some of my most exciting transactions have been out of the blue like this. I’m not as sceptical as some might be because I’ve had a lot of successes.”

During his dealings with Icon, Robinson was sent various documents purporting to be official letters from institutions including Citibank’s Hong Kong office.

One, sent in July 2016, asks Robinson to pay an extra $600,000 as “monetisation charges” for the transaction to proceed.

Citibank has told Scotland on Sunday that it does not have any knowledge of the documents. It is understood that no-one with the name of the signatory on the bottom of the document – Wu Lin Chan – works or has worked for the company, while the Citibank office address used was not the correct one for the company’s corporate banking department.

Robinson also received documents supposedly sent via a broker, Polestar Link in Birmingham, which is listed at Companies House at a residential address on Harborne Road in the city’s leafy Edgbaston district which is the registered office of more than 2,000 separate companies.

When Robinson started to chase up “Mr Icon”, after he had still not received the money more than a year after initially signing the deal with the company, he received abusive emails in response – the latest as recently as the beginning of April. It was then he decided to report the matter to Police Scotland.

Robinson said he wanted to expose the scam to protect future potential investors.

“What I would hate would be if someone was putting their last $50,000 on a dream and got hammered by these people,” he said.

David Bell, a financial consultant from Portadown in Northern Ireland, said he had first been made aware of Icon when the company’s first incarnation, Icon Investments Worldwide, was registered with Companies House in late 2013.

“An IFA brought us the documents and I took a look,” he said. “This kind of financial instrument is becoming quite standard these days; this idea of using letters of credit is valid. It is something which China has been using for years, but is now more widespread.”

But alarm bells quickly rang when he began to investigate the company.

“We came to the conclusion that we did not want to do business with them because we were not confident with the people involved or anything about it,” he said, having realised that a lot of the information on the website appeared to be fake.

Three years later, however, a US-based client of Bell’s mentioned he had used a Scottish company called Icon to gain credit through an asset-backed note – similar to that agreed with Robinson.“They told us they had dealt with Icon and had paid them close to £1 million for a [financial] instrument that had not been delivered,” he said.

Phone numbers given to Bell’s clients which appeared to be temporary internet numbers have since been closed down and profiles of individuals they were told they were dealing with have disappeared from LinkedIn.

The Scottish Assessors Association website does not list Icon Group or any of its directors as an occupant of the serviced office block at 93 Hope Street.

Bell, whose company, Changing Thoughts, advises on financial transactions, said his clients considered reporting the company to the FBI in the US but decided to let the matter drop.

“It is very difficult in a situation like this for people to be caught,” he said. “What could they report? That a fake person who had never existed had taken their money?”

He added: “There are a number of them [companies like this] out there. A lot of people are taken in because it looks good. But because it is all online, people do not do their due diligence in the way they would if they were meeting face to face.”

Bell said that his client, who did not want to be named, had been told that Icon was backed by Aberdeen Asset Management, one of Scotland’s biggest financial services names.

A spokesman for Aberdeen Asset Management said: “This company has nothing to do with us.”

HSBC said it could neither confirm nor deny that account numbers with an HSBC sort code quoted by Icon on documents sent to Robinson were legitimate bank account numbers.

A spokesman said: “Where we are made aware of suspicious activity on an account we take appropriate and timely action.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said enquiries were at an “early stage”. She added: “The enquiry is being assessed for jurisdiction and criminality.”

All calls to Icon Group and an email requesting comment sent to an address belonging to a Leon Matin – who claims on professional social network Viadeo to be an investment broker for Icon – have gone unanswered.

Attempts to speak to the residents at Hertford Avenue, Glasgow, which is listed as Bill Icon’s address in a document filed with Companies House, have been unsuccessful.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jane Bradley"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426942.1492937527!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426942.1492937527!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Icons website. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Icons website. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426942.1492937527!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426943.1492937529!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426943.1492937529!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Wes Robinson claims Icon registered at Hope Street, Glasgow has �154,000 of his money. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Wes Robinson claims Icon registered at Hope Street, Glasgow has �154,000 of his money. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426943.1492937529!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426944.1492937530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426944.1492937530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "One of Icons fake documents. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "One of Icons fake documents. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426944.1492937530!/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/scrapping-controversial-rape-clause-could-cost-scotland-200m-1-4426941","id":"1.4426941","articleHeadline": "Scrapping controversial rape clause could cost Scotland £200m","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492923600000 ,"articleLead": "

Scrapping the controversial rape clause in Scotland would cost around £200 million over the next four years, according to an official document outlining how it could be done.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426940.1492889884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alison Thewliss MP leads a cross-party protest at Holyrood. Picture: Jane Barlow"} ,"articleBody": "

The document, seen by Scotland on Sunday, suggests that the rape clause could be mitigated by the Scottish Government using the Scottish Parliament’s new powers to top up benefits.

The document compiled by the politically neutral Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) looks at the UK government policy to limit child tax credit to the first two children in families. The policy has caused outrage because of the so-called “rape clause”, which means that in order to access additional child benefits, victims of a violent sexual attack have to complete a form and provide evidence that their third or subsequent child was conceived without their consent.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has attacked Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson for failing to condemn the “utterly abhorrent” policy, which, she claims, typifies the Conservatives’ callous approach to government.

Davidson has replied by arguing that the Scotland should use its new powers over welfare to end the policy north of the border.

The document has come to light ahead of Scottish Government debate on the subject scheduled for Tuesday.

As the SNP stepped up its objections to the rape clause, the Scottish Conservatives argued that the document reinforced Davidson’s argument that the SNP could end it in Scotland.

Scottish Conservative welfare spokesman Adam Tomkins pointed out that the cost of mitigating the policy was less than the £220 million found by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay to get his budget through earlier this year.

Tomkins said: “We welcome the fact that the Scottish Parliament’s own independent information centre has confirmed this is possible and that these powers exist in the Scottish Parliament. It is therefore for the Scottish Government to bring forward proposals. Given the fact that the SNP has always said it opposes these changes to child tax credits, it would be hypocritical for them not to act.”

He added: “The sum involved is less than the amount Finance Secretary Derek Mackay found during the fiasco of his budget negotiations earlier this year.”

The SPICe document gave a “broad indication” of providing top-up benefits to meet the cost of removing the two-child cap. The paper said ending the cap would cost £20m in 2017/18, £40m in 2018/19, £60m in 2019/20 and £75m in 2020/21 – making a total of £195m.

The document also discusses how Holyrood’s new powers could be used to ensure that the two-child cap, and therefore the rape clause, would not be required.

Subject to legal advice, the document says: “The top-up power might allow an individual calculation to be done for every claimant getting a Universal Credit (UC) or Child Tax Credit (CTC) award that includes children, and a top-up payment made to them all.”

It also suggests new Holyrood powers to create distinctive new benefits could be used to close any loopholes that arise from the gap between reserved and devolved powers.

Ahead of Tuesday’s debate, women’s groups are briefing MSPs on their objections to the rape clause.

Emma Ritch, executive director of the feminist organisation Engender, said the Scottish Government must put women’s rights and equality at its heart and called on the UK government to change its policy.

Ritch said: “The ‘rape clause’ is the shocking icing on the unpleasant cake of the two-child limit. Analysis by women’s and anti-poverty organisations across the UK makes clear that the ‘family cap’ will impoverish hundreds of thousands of women and their children. The UK government’s ‘welfare reform’ agenda has been rolled out with scant regard for women’s equality and rights, ignoring repeated calls by a number of UN Committees to look at the cumulative impact of all of its many complexities on women. The UK government must now listen to the voices calling for it to think again.”

Dr Eilidh Whiteford of the SNP said: “Since 2013/14, the SNP government in Scotland has already spent over £350 million to mitigate some of the worst of UK government austerity cuts to social security. We will of course consider what further steps we can take to minimise the negative effect of this heinous policy on families, but tax credits are clearly a reserved issue; even under the Scottish Parliament’s new ‘top-up’ powers there are significant restrictions on what would be possible. Moreover, the answer to Tory cuts cannot simply be for the Scottish Government to get out the sticking plasters to patch up the Tories’ mess.

“If we use money earmarked for devolved public services to mitigate every bad Tory policy, we are letting them off the hook, while the Treasury pockets the money that should be in the pockets of hard working parents. The Family Cap and its vile rape clause should be scrapped, not mitigated, not just in Scotland but across the whole UK.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426940.1492889884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426940.1492889884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alison Thewliss MP leads a cross-party protest at Holyrood. Picture: Jane Barlow","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alison Thewliss MP leads a cross-party protest at Holyrood. Picture: Jane Barlow","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426940.1492889884!/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/tactical-voting-will-only-have-limited-effect-in-scotland-1-4426939","id":"1.4426939","articleHeadline": "Tactical voting will only have ‘limited effect’ in Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492923600000 ,"articleLead": "

Tactical voting will have a “limited effect” in Scotland with only a handful of constituencies expected to change hands, experts have said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426938.1492889668!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ruth Davidson is appealing for support from pro-union voters to block indyref2. Picture: Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

Analysts poured cold water on calls for voters to abandon their principles and vote for the strongest Unionist, non-Tory or anti-Brexit candidate, warning that only a handful of seats were close enough for tactical voting to have an impact.

In the first week of the election campaign, most parties issued calls for voters to lend them their votes in order to keep out another candidate.

Ruth Davidson said her party was the “best bet” to stop a second independence referendum, with her party’s only MP in Scotland, David Mundell, launching his campaign in marginal Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale with the slogan “No to indyref2”.

Scotland’s only Labour MP, Ian Murray, was reported to have appealed for the support of Liberal Democrat and Tory voters to hold off the SNP in his Edinburgh South seat, although he later clarified that he wanted people to vote Labour across Scotland.

Mark Diffley, director of polling firm Ipsos Mori Scotland, said that while more polling data was needed, tactical voting may only be a factor in half a dozen SNP seats.

In 38 of the 56 constituencies won by the SNP in 2015, the nationalist vote is larger than that of the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats combined.

Diffley said it would take “an extraordinary feat of organisation” to convince sufficient numbers of people to vote tactically in June.

“It genuinely would be a surprise if they got 56 seats again, but at the moment there isn’t anything to suggest it will be less than 50,” he said.

Ailsa Henderson, the head of politics at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Tactical voting only works if people really do have a sense of who the strongest challenger might be.

“All parties are contending that’s them. In the absence of constituency level polling, it’s hard to tell who’s right.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PARIS GOURTSOYANNIS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426938.1492889668!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426938.1492889668!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ruth Davidson is appealing for support from pro-union voters to block indyref2. Picture: Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ruth Davidson is appealing for support from pro-union voters to block indyref2. Picture: Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426938.1492889668!/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/jim-killock-put-privacy-first-and-id-system-can-be-a-boon-1-4426705","id":"1.4426705","articleHeadline": "Jim Killock: Put privacy first and ID system can be a boon","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492901649000 ,"articleLead": "

Many people will be pleased to see the death of SNP plans to use the Scottish NHS Register to help collect income tax and verify the identities of citizens signing up for online government services. Doctors in particular will be relieved at the end of the risks that some patients may avoid registering with a GP, or feeling that their confidential relationships are compromised.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426704.1492868973!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The former Home Office minister with the card that was scrapped"} ,"articleBody": "

However, Scotland still has the legacy of a potentially very intrusive national identity system that has grown up in a highly ad hoc manner and urgently needs an overhaul – perhaps even dismantling entirely.

It may surprise people to hear that Scotland has a “national identity system”. If you looked for it on the statute books, you’d find nearly no mention of it at all. But the fact is that the key features of the widely disliked and now abandoned UK ID system, symbolised by the New Labour “Identity Card”, are shared by a parallel Scottish system.

The UK ID system was deemed dangerous by campaigners because it had the clear intention of linking people’s personal information across government. The ID Card would be linked to a Unique ID number, which would be attached to every record about you in government.

It would be trivially easy for a computer to search government records, and determine that you, Eric Blair, had got an average education, were currently unemployed, while appearing to stay at home more than was healthy for a job seeker and reading the wrong kind of library books for someone needing employment and training. From such “customer insights” New Labour hoped to target you with government “help”, and of course sanction you if you appeared to be avoiding your duties to the state.

The ID Card was never really the problem with Labour’s system, it was the impact of tracking people across every interaction with the government.

The same kind of thinking appears to have been applied in Scotland. Everyone in Scotland is assigned a “Unique Citizen Reference Number” (UCRN) at birth, under a legislative duty assigned to National Records of Scotland. This UCRN was to be utilised by the online “myaccount” logins, and the NHS, linking your activity made across each Scottish Government department.

The UCRN is already employed by the Scottish Entitlement Card, currently used as a bus pass, local library card and for student services in many colleges.

Between the Scottish Entitlement Card, UCRN, myaccount and repurposing of the NHS Register, the Scottish Government would have in place all the key elements of the UK Labour ID system: a voluntary ID Card; persistent linking of data across government, an online login system and a national ID database with the home address of nearly everyone in the country. All this despite its own Scottish identity principles insisting “persistent identifiers” like the UCRN should not be used.

The major difference between the Scottish and New Labour ID system is, however, that there is barely any legislation governing Scotland’s system.

The card system, for instance, is owned by a consortium of local councils and central government; users wanting education in certain colleges or free bus passes must “opt in”, or forgo the service. This structure also makes it very hard to know if the choice of such a centralised system is rational, or excessively expensive.

The promise of the current Scottish Government to review the way they approach identity and authentication is very welcome. It needs to look at all of these issues, and move on from the top-heavy, centralised model of the early 2000s. There are privacy-friendly ways to approach identity, that can put citizens in control of their relationships with government. These services can be less costly, and favour smaller technology businesses of the kind that are becoming increasingly successful in Scotland.

A truly Scottish identity system could protect rights and provide a major boost to the economy, rather than lumber Scotland with an expensive and unaccountable echo of the Blairite past.

Jim Killock is Executive Director of the Open Rights Group

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Killock"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426704.1492868973!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426704.1492868973!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The former Home Office minister with the card that was scrapped","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The former Home Office minister with the card that was scrapped","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426704.1492868973!/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-election-turns-sturgeon-into-image-of-salmond-1-4426703","id":"1.4426703","articleHeadline": "Euan McColm: Election turns Sturgeon into image of Salmond","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492891408000 ,"articleLead": "

The First Minister will become as divisive a politician as her predecessor in the battle to hold on to her party’s seats in Westminster, writes Euan McColm

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426702.1492891407!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Salmond unveils a painting of himself by Gerard Burns at The National Gallery of Scotland. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Alex Salmond was not always the divisive character he’d become by the time he stood down as First Minister after defeat in 2014’s independence referendum.

These days, the former SNP leader is an elder statesman in the art of grievance, but when he began his second spell as party leader, back in 2004, Salmond was a leader for all Scots.

Under the watchful eyes of his advisers, Salmond perfected a line that said a vote for the SNP was not necessarily a vote for independence. So successful was he in delivering this message that sufficient numbers of unionist Scots were willing to take a punt on the nationalists in 2007 to enable them to form a government at Holyrood.

Salmond was the model of reason, cutting cosy deals with the Conservatives to get legislation through Holyrood and styling the SNP as champions of Scotland rather than of independence.

Eventually, he became so successful that it was impossible for him to continue to be a leader for all Scots. The parliamentary majority in 2011 that allowed the SNP to hold the independence referendum placed the then First Minister firmly on one side of a debate that, by its very nature, created division.

As the campaign unfolded in 2014 and it became increasingly clear that the SNP was leading the Yes movement to defeat, Salmond’s interventions became increasingly intemperate. The more he lashed out, the less statesmanlike he appeared. By fighting the referendum, Salmond could not avoid becoming a divisive character – the most divisive – in the Scottish drama.

Nicola Sturgeon had been by Salmond’s side throughout the referendum campaign; she’d been responsible for making some fairly outlandish claims herself, not least on the subject of the NHS, which would be destroyed if Scotland didn’t vote to the leave the UK.

Perhaps in the interests of a quieter life, Scots ignored her role in the referendum and bought into the notion that Sturgeon could be – as Salmond had once been – a leader for nationalists and unionists alike. The new First Minister was keen to make this point in her first speech after taking office.

Now Sturgeon has plans for her own independence referendum, she can no longer claim to be a leader for those on both sides of the constitutional debate. Just as the independence question ultimately confirmed Salmond as a deeply divisive character, so it will Sturgeon.

Next month, Scots will vote for members of Scotland’s 32 councils before returning to polling stations in June for the general election. Both events will be seen as verdicts on the First Minister’s plan to hold a second independence referendum either late next year or early in 2019. It could hardly be any other way – the constitution dominates our political debate. All parties have made it central to their messages.

The results in both May and June will be pored over to see whether Sturgeon is gaining support for her proposal to break-up the UK. Unionists will inevitably hail even the smallest losses as evidence the SNP’s bubble has burst.

In SNP HQ, there is little expectation that the party will repeat the phenomenon of 2015 when it won in 56 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies. Party strategists are bracing themselves for a few defeats at the hands of Tory and Liberal Democrat candidates (The SNP hasn’t identified any seats where it feels at risk from Labour, throwing up the prospect of the party that once dominated Scottish politics coming fourth in terms of the number of MPs it returns to Westminster).

Campaigners for both unionist parties and the SNP tell me that they detect, if not growing, strengthening opposition to Sturgeon. The more the First Minister talks up the prospect of a second referendum, the more she angers a substantial section of the electorate. This is all anecdotal stuff, of course, but when even SNP campaigners highlight the issue, I’m inclined to think there may be something in it.

Doubtless, as a young politician with a bright future ahead, Sturgeon’s dreams of leadership cast her as a unifying figure, but the reality of referendum politics makes that an impossibility.

Some unionist campaigners are privately concerned that the sort of vitriol they’re hearing concerning Sturgeon will become louder during the debate and prove just as much of a turn-off to moderate voters as the screeching fury chimps of the cybernat jungle were in 2014 (politics being a contact sport, participants are more concerned by the impact on themselves than on their opponents).

SNP strategists hope that a strengthened Tory government at Westminster combined with the vanishingly small prospect of Labour being match ready at any point in the foreseeable future will help nudge enough No voters to change their minds that the second referendum becomes winnable.

But what if the constitutional fault-line is already fixed, with tribes on either side defiantly loyal to their positions?

We can probably risk taking for granted that very few people who support Scottish independence will vote for the Conservatives, Labour or the Liberal Democrats in June. The SNP will, of course, secure the largest share of the vote (probably by a thwocking margin of over 20 percentage points) but if the result shows that the unionist parties’ combined vote is greater than the nationalist one, we’ll know that – for now – the tribes remain steadfast.

Any successful political movement requires momentum (the force, not the Corbynista support group) and the First Minister certainly had it to spare when she took the reins of the SNP. But does she still have the wind at her back?

Sturgeon came to office promising to lead for all Scots and pledging real reform of public services, but as we hurtle towards yet another election that will be dominated by the constitution, the First Minister looks less a unifying figure than a tribalist, fighting a war of attrition with the majority of voters.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Euan McColm"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426702.1492891407!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426702.1492891407!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Salmond unveils a painting of himself by Gerard Burns at The National Gallery of Scotland. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Salmond unveils a painting of himself by Gerard Burns at The National Gallery of Scotland. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426702.1492891407!/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/insight-vital-work-of-bobbies-on-the-beat-in-govanhill-1-4426877","id":"1.4426877","articleHeadline": "Insight: Vital work of bobbies on the beat in Govanhill","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492891573000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s a little after 11am on another gunmetal grey Glasgow morning when PCs Laura Ferguson and Harry O’Donnell meet Calum.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426876.1492891572!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "PCs Ferguson and ODonnell play with with a couple of Romanian children at the Community Canteen at Trinity Church, Daisy Street. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

A Nepali whose adopted Scottish name signifies a love of the country that is now his home, he wants to tell the officers about his flat on the 20th floor of a city high-rise and how it reminds him of the mountainous kingdom of his birth. It’s a comparison even the staunchest of Glaswegians would balk at, but indicative of the way he feels about where he lives and the police officers he has stopped for a casual chat about nothing in particular.

This is how community policing looks in Govanhill, a deprived area a short drive from Glasgow city centre and perhaps Scotland’s most ethnically diverse neighbourhood.

This is also part of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Glasgow Southside constituency. On Allison Street, Govanhill’s main thoroughfare, you’ll see Muslim women with faces partially hidden by the niqab and yellow road signs written in Romanian warning pedestrians of men working overhead.

There are currently more than 50 languages spoken by pupils at the local secondary school. When senior police officers spoke of “community cohesion” in the days after last month’s terror attack at Westminster, they were talking about areas like Govanhill.

In the fight against terrorism, the frontline is not heavily armed snipers or sophisticated technology – it is intelligence-led community policing; what the nostalgics call “bobbies on the beat”.

But that is not to say counter-terrorism plays much part in the day-to-day work of officers Ferguson and O’Donnell. Their time is spent patrolling on foot or bike, visiting local businesses and chatting with children who act as unofficial interpreters for parents recently arrived from countries such as Romania and Slovakia.

“It’s often been difficult to bridge the gap,” says PC Ferguson. “We don’t speak any of the languages, but we still want to provide people with that old-fashioned community policing model so that they feel comfortable coming to speak to us.

“There’s also a lack of education about how the police work, based on the experience people have had in their home countries – if someone has their bike stolen, for example, they’re not always aware that’s something we would deal with.”

The local policing division, of which Govanhill is part, has seen the arrival of around 4,000 people from the Roma community in Romania and Slovakia over the past decade, many of whom speak little or no English.

The area was already diverse and is home to eight mosques and countless churches of every conceivable denomination.

Like many of the Govanhill’s other immigrant communities, the Roma are used to sorting out problems and disagreements themselves without necessarily involving the police.

But it is the small stuff – missing bikes, complaints about noisy neighbours – which allows officers to build trust for when more serious incidents occur. In the week after the London terror attack, senior figures in Police Scotland came under increasing pressure from their own officers over how they would protect themselves should a similar incident happen north of the Border.

Among Khalid Masood’s victims on 22 March was PC Keith Palmer, 48, an unarmed officer who gave his life protecting the Houses of Parliament.

In the days following the attack, the Scottish Police Federation tabled an emergency debate at its conference on the issue of armed policing.

The Police Scotland response was a hastily convened photocall, with media invited at short notice to a firing range near East Kilbride.

As balaclava-clad specialist firearms officers posed for pictures, their colleagues in the Federation – their debate now largely ignored by the media – complained of having to deal with armed assailants using nothing more than their batons and incapacitant spray.

Away from the choreographed show of strength, however, there was a more sophisticated message from Police Scotland on how to defeat terror.

It’s a plan deployed every day on the streets of Govanhill and areas like it across the country, one that involves police officers visiting the mosque for Friday prayers or the local community centre to have lunch with those taking lessons to improve their English.

“Our approach to [community relations] isn’t just at times of extreme need,” says Superintendent Davie Duncan, of the police’s Safer Communities team.

“This is all built in times of peace. We have really good community cohesion in Scotland – something to be proud of. When events like the London attack happen, we see the real benefit. Communities absolutely do defeat terrorism. That’s where the stability comes from.”

It’s approaching lunchtime as Sergeant Cennydd Smith proudly shows off Govanhill Park. Once a fertile patch for criminality and antisocial behaviour, it is now a safe space enjoyed by all sections of the community.

Smith, who is based in the nearby Gorbals police station, hopes to set up a football tournament to keep teenagers occupied in those long summer weeks when the schools are out.

In a moment so perfectly Glasgow, he attracts wolf whistles from men working on a nearby scaffold as he poses for pictures.

“Govanhill is no worse than any other area,” he says. “But it’s deprived, and the poverty drives the criminality. Things are improving, though. The park used to be a bit of a no-go zone, but it’s teeming now on nice sunny evenings.”

Despite Smith’s optimism, you don’t have to scratch too far below the surface to find Govanhill’s problems. Alerted by a propped-open security door, the officer enters a tenement stair. There is a faint whiff of urine and someone has angrily and inexplicably scrawled “I know it was you” on the wall.

One of the residents tells Smith he has been broken into, his door kicked in and several of his possessions stolen.

Smith tells the man some of his officers will visit later in the day.

Across the street, Sorama Goga sits behind the counter of the community shop, a drop-in facility run by the local housing association. She has been in Glasgow since arriving from Romania to study at Strathclyde University, but her faultless English is spoken in an accent which owes more to the United States than her adoptive hometown.

She says the shop is popular with the Roma, who come for advice on employment or claiming benefits. Those in work are typically employed as cleaners, kitchen porters or car washers, low-skilled areas where a lack of English is not a major impediment.

There is nevertheless a desire to integrate, aided for the most part by their children who are in local schools and already speaking the language.

Goga says problems are often caused by cultural differences, such as young Romanian and Slovakian men hanging around on street corners, something Scots tend to associate with antisocial behaviour.

“That’s a cultural thing,” she says. “People get worried about it because it’s unknown but I walk on the street every day and I have never felt threatened. If you are living in an overcrowded flat, then you’re going to want to go out on the street.”

She says her compatriots have suffered a bad press, which has fostered suspicion.

“There’s a lot of bad news stories about the Romanian community. People tend to fixate on that and they become a common enemy. Often it’s based on small differences which are not understood.”

A recent study of integration commissioned by the UK government as part of effort to understand and tackle extremism found “worrying levels” of segregation in some British cities.

Dame Louise Casey’s review said integration had failed to keep up with the “unprecedented pace and scale of immigration” and had allowed some communities to become increasingly divided.

The year-long study, which was published in December, said government attempts to boost the integration of ethnic minorities into British society amounted to little more than “saris, samosas and steel drums for the already well-intentioned”.

It would be wrong to think Scotland is immune from these problems – there are clearly those living in areas such as Govanhill who have limited connections to the wider city outside of their own native community.

But Police Scotland has not experienced the difficulties of forces in cities such as Birmingham and Bradford where isolated minority communities have proved a fertile breeding ground for hate-speak and radicalisation.

“Without overdoing it, I think we have one of the best community policing operations in world,” says Smith.

“The key thing for me is trust; if people don’t speak to us, we’re going to get nowhere. Our day-to-day business is not about Prevent [the UK’s anti-radicalisation strategy] but it’s built into everything we do. What are the factors that cause somebody to be radicalised etc?”

Smith has one officer who speaks five languages, but for the most part he and his team rely on interpreters.

Another important tool is the local community hub meeting where representatives of the council and local housing association are joined by the police to discuss ongoing issues.

A short drive from the police station lies Samaritan House, the offices of Govanhill Housing Association. From the car park, the city college building can be seen looming over the skyline with its huge “People Make Glasgow” sign. Inside, over tea and biscuits, the hub meeting discusses troublesome tenants, overflowing recycling bins and a two-bed flat being shared by eight people, a situation not uncommon in these parts.

“Govanhill has always been a gateway for migrant communities coming into Glasgow,” says Gordon Smith, Social and Environmental Manager with City Property, which manages council properties.

“If you go back 30 or 40 years it was people coming from Pakistan. At that point in time there would have been a degree of disconnect and there’s exactly the same situation now with the eastern Europeans coming in.

“Thirty or 40 years on, the Pakistani community is now totally integrated, but it takes time and there will be a generational gap. At the moment, we have 683 eastern European children in education in Govanhill, primarily Roma. In other parts of Europe, the Roma are heavily discriminated against, but we don’t. My belief is that community cohesion will move on considerably, but it will take a generation or two.”

It’s lunchtime and Loraine McHendry has just finished taking an English class at the local community centre. Among her students today were those from Romania, Slovakia, Poland, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ghana and Nepal.

Food is being served in the hall next door and as those from across Europe, Asia and Africa take their seats and begin tentative conversations in their newly acquired tongue, they are joined by PCs Ferguson and O’Donnell.

“There are all sorts of motivations for these people to learn English,” McHendry says. “But the main ones are employability and integration. They come because they want to be able to shop independently or to communicate with neighbours and to make a life here.”

Make a life in Scotland is what thousands have chosen to do over the past decade and will likely continue to do, even with the uncertainty of Brexit.

The work of the police is not about to get any easier and the terror threat is here to stay. But in one community at least, the efforts of officers in building relationships appears to be working.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Chris Marshall"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426876.1492891572!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426876.1492891572!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "PCs Ferguson and ODonnell play with with a couple of Romanian children at the Community Canteen at Trinity Church, Daisy Street. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "PCs Ferguson and ODonnell play with with a couple of Romanian children at the Community Canteen at Trinity Church, Daisy Street. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426876.1492891572!/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/video-minke-whale-stranded-on-beach-in-elie-refloated-1-4426917","id":"1.4426917","articleHeadline": "Video: Minke whale stranded on beach in Elie refloated","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492887038000 ,"articleLead": "

A whale which was stranded on a beach in Scotland has been successfully refloated.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426914.1492887035!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Minke whale that was been stranded on a beach west of Elie in Fife. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The Minke Whale was discovered on a beach in Elie, Fife, on Friday night, prompting a rescue operation involving volunteers from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue RNLI lifeboat from Anstruther.

The mammal became stranded on a rocky reef and was assisted by lifeboat crews and BDMLR volunteers who said she had taken “a slight battering” and had superficial cuts on her body.

A spokesman from BDLMR said: “As she was quite active and partly in the water, it was a real struggle for the team to get her afloat again as she was trying to swim off the reef but the lack of depth was against her.

“Eventually the team were able to get her afloat and moved her to slightly deeper water - she was swimming shallowly by this time.

“Suddenly she swam off the mat and was again herded away from the rocks by the boat. Due to it being pitch black by now, the team lost sight of her but she had been heading out to sea.”

• READ MORE: Study begins to count ‘unofficial’ beaver population in Tayside

A beachwalk on Saturday brought no further sightings of the whale and rescuers believe she made it back to open water.

Anstruther RNLI were paged to assist in freeing of a 21ft whale on Friday evening.

The operation involved two lifeboats, BDMLR, Coastguard, Police Scotland and the SSPCA, who all helped in rescuing and re-floating the whale.

An RNLI spokesman said: “After a successful first re-float of the whale, our D Class lifeboat joined the teams initially to steer the whale away from returning to the coastline but a second grounding unfortunately occurred.

“The BDMLR team deployed a re-floatation pontoon which allowed the Minke whale enough water to float once again and, with gentle encouragement, the whale was freed.”

RNLI crew member Kevin Calder said: “We arrived on scene and began in the initial task to deter the whale from returning to the coastline but the depth of the water meant the whale was able to swim underneath our lifeboat.

“We were delighted to assist in the successful second re-floating and would like to commend the efforts of the other services involved in this incident.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Angus Howarth"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426914.1492887035!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426914.1492887035!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A Minke whale that was been stranded on a beach west of Elie in Fife. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Minke whale that was been stranded on a beach west of Elie in Fife. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426914.1492887035!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426915.1492887037!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426915.1492887037!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "British Divers Marine Life Rescue of a Minke whale that has been stranded on a beach west of Elie. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "British Divers Marine Life Rescue of a Minke whale that has been stranded on a beach west of Elie. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426915.1492887037!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1492885607549"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/thousands-take-to-edinburgh-streets-on-march-for-science-1-4426905","id":"1.4426905","articleHeadline": "Thousands take to Edinburgh streets on March for Science","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492885338000 ,"articleLead": "

More than 2,000 scientists and members of the public descended on Scotland’s capital city to promote and defend science.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426904.1492885336!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Protesters in Ottawa, Canada on one of the global Marches for Science. Picture: AP"} ,"articleBody": "

The March for Science began at Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, before continuing to the Scottish Parliament. Saturday’s event ended with a rally, music and speeches from prominent scientists.

More than 400 similar initiatives in 36 countries have sprung up since President Donald Trump was elected to the White House.

Organised by volunteers in Scotland, the march celebrated and promoted science and its diversity in everyday culture

It also hoped to show why funding for science is important and to highlight how it is under threat.

Marches were held across the UK on Saturday and the Scottish march hoped to show support for evidence-based policy and academic freedom.

• READ MORE: UK sees first full day without coal-fired electricity

A spokesman for the March for Science in Scotland said: “We we’re blown away by the huge numbers who came out to support the March for Science.

“It’s fantastic to know so many people support the sciences, recognise the important role science plays in all our lives, and that political leaders and policy makers should enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.

“We had scientists and non-scientists, young and old, all marching to celebrate, promote, and defend science. This is just the start, we hope everyone went home enthused to do all they can to stand up for science in the future.”

Professor Anne Glover, former Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland and former Chief Scientific Adviser for the President of the European Commission, spoke at the rally.

She said: “I am proud to support the March for Science. Many of us have benefited from public funding for our research and so we have an obligation to speak out when science or evidence are misused or misquoted.

“Science helps us make sense of our world and the knowledge research generates can transform lives, if we don’t speak out about its value, who will?”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Graeme Murray"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426904.1492885336!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426904.1492885336!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Protesters in Ottawa, Canada on one of the global Marches for Science. Picture: AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Protesters in Ottawa, Canada on one of the global Marches for Science. Picture: AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426904.1492885336!/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/election-2017-could-moray-be-the-snp-s-portillo-moment-1-4426212","id":"1.4426212","articleHeadline": "Election 2017: Could Moray be the SNP’s ‘Portillo moment’?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492881405000 ,"articleLead": "

The Portillo moment. Every election journalists and activists leave a special place in their diary for potential re-runs of the night when then Defence Secretary Michael Portillo lost his formerly safe Tory seat in 1997.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426210.1492881403!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Moray MP Angus Robertson with Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

That New Labour landslide claimed a number of scalps, but it was the shocking and dramatic nature of Portillo’s defenestration that made it all the more memorable.

There have been no shortage of similar moments in subsequent elections, and the most recent vote in 2015 was no exception.

Labour’s Ed Balls and Douglas Alexander, and the Lib Dem finance gurus Danny Alexander and Vince Cable, all lost their seats despite decent majorities and a huge national profile.

With the Tories and the Lib Dems targeting SNP seats up and down the country, we look at why one constituency in the North East could provide that popcorn moment just like Michael Portillo did 20 years ago.

The SNP big hitter

It is interesting, considering that he only stood for elected high office last year, that Angus Robertson has been thought of as being at the top of the party for well over a decade.

As a seasoned election planner, he was reckoned one of the main brains behind the SNP’s groundbreaking victory in the 2007 Holyrood elections.

Mr Robertson, who speaks several languages and was born in south London, has been reckoned by many commentators ‘the real leader of the opposition’.

READ MORE: Seats to watch for a Lib Dem revival

His thoughtful, pointed, and well researched questions have had Theresa May on the ropes at Prime Minister’s Questions far more often than Jeremy Corbyn has managed.

Perhaps it is that, as much as the favourable constituency demographics, that has led to Mr Robertson being so high up the Scottish Conservatives target list.

Popular at Westminster and in his party (winning well over 50 per cent in the recent depute leader election), the former journalist has been an MP now for over 16 years.

He will hope he is also popular enough locally to hold on to his seat, which he won in 2015 with an increased majority of just over 9,000.

The constituency

That majority in traditional elections should be insurmountable, and this area has been solidly SNP for the best part of 30 years.

But the area was also a solidly no voting constituency in the referendum of 2014, and that has the Conservatives thinking their anti-independence message could cut through.

Ruth Davidson’s party significantly cut into the majority of former Government minister Richard Lochhead at the equivalent Holyrood Seat last year, with a swing of nearly 15 per cent away from the SNP.

While every council area in Scotland voted Remain in the Brexit referendum of 2016, Moray came closest to backing the exit from the European Union.

49.9 per cent of voters in Angus Robertson’s constituency voted to leave the EU, over 10 per cent higher then the figure for the whole of Scotland.

The challenger

Douglas Ross, like 50.1 per cent of those he hopes are his future constituents, backed a remain vote in that referendum.

The Tory MSP is planning a third stab at dethroning Angus Robertson, after failing to come close in either 2010 or 2015.

Mr Ross also stood in the equivalent Scottish Parliament seat last year, and came closer than many expected to winning, before being elected on the party list.

READ MORE: New voices needed in politics

He is bullish about his chances, penning in his local paper “Angus, we are coming for you”, putting Mr Robertson on notice that he would challenge him again.

But despite that bullishness, there is no denying that Mr Ross faces an uphill struggle to defeat one of Scotland’s most recognisable MPs.

Had he been a Leave voter, he could have perhaps galvanised Brexiteers in all parties (including some SNP Brexit backers) to send him to Westminster.

There’s also possibility that while he came close to defeating Richard Lochhead, he didn’t actually win the seat, so he has arguably reached his peak.

The MSP and former Councillor hasn’t had his problems to seek as an SFA referee and linesman.

That might make for good puns and colour in profiles, but when that duty interferes with his parliamentary duties, as has happened in the past, it can cause controversy.

“How many jobs does he want?” was the SNP response.

If they can make that line stick, then the Tories could be deprived their Portillo moment.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ross McCafferty"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426210.1492881403!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426210.1492881403!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Moray MP Angus Robertson with Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Moray MP Angus Robertson with Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426210.1492881403!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4425282.1492881405!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4425282.1492881405!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tory MSP Douglas Ross","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tory MSP Douglas Ross","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4425282.1492881405!/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/consent-needs-to-be-taught-as-part-of-sex-education-says-msp-1-4426258","id":"1.4426258","articleHeadline": "Consent needs to be taught as part of sex education, says MSP","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492837200000 ,"articleLead": "

The issue of consent should be a statutory part of sex education in Scotland’s schools, an MSP has said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426257.1492797858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sex education is an integral part of the curriculum, according to a government spokeswoman. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Ross Greer, Scottish Green Party MSP for West Scotland, described universities running consent workshops explaining the concept to students aged 18 and 19 as “terrifying”.

“Teaching children about relationships and not including consent is completely bizarre.

“There are also particular pressures pupils face today, such as sexting,” Mr Greer said.

“I believe that by equipping children to understand and talk about consent we will be better placed to tackle rape culture and misogyny towards women in particular.”

Mr Greer said with the age of consent in Scotland being 16 pupils should be taught about consent before they leave school, ideally no later than the first year of secondary.

Mr Greer added: “But the core issue with personal and social education is that it’s completely inconsistent.

“Some schools design their own, some bring other in to design it but there is a substantial number of pupils not getting consent education.

“We as a society are finding it easier to talk about sex and with these societal changes we need to update sex education.”

Sandy Brindley, national coordinator for Rape Crisis Scotland, whose organisation has taken its Prevention Programme discussing issues such as consent, social media and pornography into a third of Scotland’s schools, said: “People still do not understand what the definition of rape is and need to understand consent and what the law says. Pupils tell us how much pressure they are under to have sex, watch porn and to obtain and share intimate images.

“Sometimes we’re asked to go into schools after an incident such as sexting and pupils and teachers tell us they appreciate our specialist knowledge. We are well placed to cope if a pupils makes a disclosure to us. I do think this subject is best taught by an outside agency but this then becomes a matter of making sure the finance is available.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Scotland does not have a compulsory curriculum in our schools. It remains an important principle that teachers and educationalists – not politicians – should decide what is taught in Scotland’s classrooms.

“Relationships, sexual health and parenthood education is already an integral 
part of the health and wellbeing area curriculum in Scotland.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SHN ROSS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426257.1492797858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426257.1492797858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sex education is an integral part of the curriculum, according to a government spokeswoman. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sex education is an integral part of the curriculum, according to a government spokeswoman. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426257.1492797858!/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/council-tax-test-case-battle-set-for-court-of-session-1-4426307","id":"1.4426307","articleHeadline": "Council tax ‘test case’ battle set for Court of Session","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492837200000 ,"articleLead": "

A woman who won a council tax battle “test case” for Scotland against paying council tax on an uninhabitable property under renovation has said she cannot afford to defend her win when the case goes to the Court of Session next week.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426306.1492807520!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The uninhabitable house in Auchterarder at the centre of council tax battle. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Patricia MacGillivray, a company director in a packaging consultancy business, whose property overlooks Auchterarder golf course in Perthshire, won her case in January this year after defending herself at a panel hearing at Tayside Valuation Joint Board (TVJB). However, the TVJB appealed against the panel’s decision. The case will be heard before three senior judges next Wednesday.

The case has implications for individuals or landlords who are doing up a property which is currently uninhabitable, and has the potential to cost councils millions of pounds in council tax and refunds if the court finds in favour of Miss MacGillivray.

Miss MacGillivray’s property in Orchil Crescent has a band E valuation which, including water and sewerage charges, is assessed at £1,933.43.

However, the inside has been completely demolished, leaving only external walls.

After receiving the council tax demand, she contacted Perth and Kinross Council asking to be removed from the council tax roll and the case went before the TVJB.

“It was ridiculous, I was on my own defending myself and the other side had a QC citing case law, which was an old man living in a croft which didn’t have electricity or water on the Western Isles and whose family inherited it. They challenged paying council tax but lost the case,” Miss MacGillivray said.

“The case would cost me a minimum of £30,000 in QC fees to defend which I cannot afford. If I lost it would double that. It seems to me there is no justice for ‘small people’.

“I’m really disappointed I’m not able to defend myself in the Court of Session. I know of many cases where people are being threatened by the same Western Isles test case.

“There is also the threat of a 100 per cent surcharge if you don’t pay the council tax which intimidates many people so they pay up.

“So if a property is deemed uninhabitable and the assessors still won’t remove it from the valuation list then what is the criteria?”

Alastair Kirkwood, TVJB assessor and electoral registration officer, said: “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on an appeal case which is currently in progress.

“However, I would say this case involves detailed consideration of legislation and case law where the outcome sought by the appellant is at odds with the position established in previous cases.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SHN ROSS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426306.1492807520!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426306.1492807520!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The uninhabitable house in Auchterarder at the centre of council tax battle. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The uninhabitable house in Auchterarder at the centre of council tax battle. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426306.1492807520!/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/rangers-were-in-perilous-financial-state-court-told-1-4426320","id":"1.4426320","articleHeadline": "Rangers were in ‘perilous’ financial state, court told","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492809729000 ,"articleLead": "

Rangers Football Club was in a “pretty perilous” financial state when it was taken over by Craig Whyte, a court has been told.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426319.1492809729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Rangers manager Walter Smith leaves the High Court in Glasgow after giving evidence. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Jurors heard from former managers Walter Smith and Ally McCoist during the first day of evidence in the trial of the former Rangers owner.

Mr Smith, 69, told the High Court in Glasgow about his first meeting with Whyte, who is accused of acquiring the club fraudulently in May 2011.

The ex-manager, in charge of the team between 1991 and 1998, and then again from 2007 until 2011, said he had told Whyte it required investment and a “level of freshness”.

Mr Smith told the court that, at the time, he was aware of a tax case relating to the use of employee benefit trusts (EBT) at Rangers but was not directly involved.

He said he was also aware of an overdraft the club had, which he agreed was in the region of £18 million when he left, just days after Whyte took over the club.

Donald Findlay QC, representing Whyte, asked: “The finances were in a pretty perilous state it would seem, was that your impression?”

“Yes,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Findlay continued: “For someone like yourself with your experience and affection for the football club, it must have been very distressing to see it, the club, in a state like that.”

Mr Smith responded: “Yes, it was but we had been trying our best to handle the situation while it was there.”

He agreed with Mr Findlay’s assertion the “future was not exactly bright at that time in terms of the quality of the team” and there were “real problems” in getting the squad to a level that allowed it to compete with rivals Celtic.

The jury of eight men and seven women later heard from his successor Mr McCoist, 54. He told the court he had a “very positive” response from Whyte in relation to the need to refresh the playing squad.

Under questioning from advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, he said: “There was a number of players I would have liked to have signed.

“I just felt that the offers being made were certainly, just in my opinion, not realistic for us to have any chance of getting the players.”

Under cross-examination from Mr Findlay, Mr McCoist said he could not be sure exactly when he had signed his contract to become Rangers manager but confirmed no discussions had taken place with Whyte about the terms of that contract despite him inheriting it.

He also acknowledged a number of signings took place after Whyte had taken over the club. Mr Findlay said: “More was being spent on your squad in terms of player salary than had been spent on the previous squad on which you were assistant manager. You may or may not have known that.”

“No,” Mr McCoist replied.

Whyte, 46, denies two charges relating to the purchase, one of fraud and another under the Companies Act. It is alleged he pretended to then Rangers owner Sir David Murray, and others, that funds were available to make all required payments to acquire a ‘’controlling and majority stake’’ in the club.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CATRIONA WEBSTER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426319.1492809729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426319.1492809729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Rangers manager Walter Smith leaves the High Court in Glasgow after giving evidence. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Rangers manager Walter Smith leaves the High Court in Glasgow after giving evidence. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426319.1492809729!/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/shetland-tory-candidate-cries-cock-up-over-selection-1-4426228","id":"1.4426228","articleHeadline": "Shetland Tory candidate cries ‘cock up’ over selection","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492800129000 ,"articleLead": "

A Tory candidate in the local government elections has claimed that his name appeared on ballot papers as a result of a “cock-up” rather than a genuine wish to stand.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426263.1492800128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

Thomas Williamson, who is a Conservative candidate for Lerwick North, told the Shetland Times he had no interest in standing.

According to the newspaper, Mr Williamson, known locally as “Skerries Tom”, said he had received a phone call from “two guys from south”.

He had been asked questions about council elections and answered yes or no. It had been a “crackling line” and then he “got cut off”.

Mr Williamson described the episode as a “cock-up”, and claimed not to have signed any documents indicating his intention to stand.

Interviewed by the Shetland Times, he said he had taken a call from “buggers doon sooth” and that he had heard nothing further about it until he saw his name in the notice of election.

• READ MORE: Sturgeon refuses to rule out working with Tories on councils

When asked if he was hoping that constituents would not vote for him he replied “yes”.

The Scottish Conservatives denied Mr Williamson had been coerced into standing and the Shetland Times has seen a declaration signed by him consenting to appearing on the ballot.

SNP MSP Maree Todd said: “The Scottish Tories’ desperation to field candidates is backfiring fast. Not only has Ruth Davidson had to suspend three candidates for their distasteful online rants, we now have the Lerwick North Tory candidate claiming he is only there to make up the numbers and soak up votes from other parties. Voters know that every SNP candidate is on the ballot because they want to represent their local community, but the Tories are putting forward any old name just to fill a space.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Mr Williamson was asked if he’d like to be a candidate, he agreed, and was told in detail what it would involve. He also signed the paperwork agreeing to be a candidate, as all local government candidates have to.”

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426263.1492800128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426263.1492800128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426263.1492800128!/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/election-2017-will-the-snp-sweep-glasgow-again-1-4426243","id":"1.4426243","articleHeadline": "Election 2017: Will the SNP sweep Glasgow again?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492796688000 ,"articleLead": "

Glasgow has given the Scottish National Party some of its most historic moments.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426242.1492796685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP MP Alison Thewliss (Photo: John Devlin)"} ,"articleBody": "

From the Govan by-election wins of 1973 and 1988, to the election of Nicola Sturgeon in the 1999 elections, to John Mason’s win in 2008, right up to the Yes campaign’s victory in 2014, the city has a special place in Nationalist hearts.

Perhaps their most historic win in Scotland’s biggest city was in 2015, when they swept the board to win all of Glasgow’s seven seats en route to winning 56 seats across Scotland.

The Party will be hopeful of retaining all of the seats in the ‘Yes City’, where some of their MPs have had an impact that is likely to boost their personal vote in specifics.

We look at some of the seats and politicians in detail, and try and establish whether some of the seemingly insurmountable majorities can be overcome.

READ MORE: Lib Dem targets to watch on election night

The truly unbeatable

Some of the seats are unlikely to be in play in Glasgow for a very long time, requiring the type of swings to Labour or even the Conservatives that would be unheard of.

Glasgow North-East, for example, was won so handily by Anne McLaughlin that her victory actually broke the BBC swing-o-meter.

Her majority of over 9,000 is unlikely to be overturned any time soon, especially with Scottish Labour in such a sorry state.

A similar majority is enjoyed by adjacent MP Patrick Grady, who represents Glasgow North and will likely continue to do so.

Carol Monaghan too, has a majority of over 9,000, and despite not setting the heather alight in parliament, is unlikely to be visiting the Job Centre anytime soon.

The impressive MPs

SNP MPs aren’t used to the type of long-lasting reigns and thumping majorities enjoyed by their Labour predecessors, some of whom represented seats for decades.

Some of those newly-elected politicians wasted no time in getting right to work making their name on a grander scale than their constituency.

Alison Thewliss is one such example, the former Councillor has won plaudits across the political spectrum for her fight against the so-called ‘rape clause’.

Ms Thewliss’ majority isn’t quite as large as some of her colleagues, although she did win more than 50 per cent of the vote against Labour’s Anas Sarwar in 2015.

Her work has considerably raised her profile, and that should be enough for her to see off even a strong challenge from Kezia Dugdale’s party.

The MP’s colleague in Glasgow South, Stewart McDonald, has a larger majority, and he too has had an impact with some strong parliamentary performances.

Glasgow South-West’s Chris Stephens, an experienced councillor and trade unionist, will also have little fear of losing his seat.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon enjoys FMQs as Ruth Davidson stumbles

The wild card

One seat that is already no longer represented by the SNP is Glasgow East, which was won by Natalie McGarry in 2015.

Ms McGarry now sits as an independent, having resigned her party membership in the midst of an ongoing police investigation into discrepancies in the financial accounts of campaigning organisation Women for Independence.

It is expected to be announced this weekend whether Ms McGarry, and fellow Independent Nationalist Michelle Thomson, can stand for the SNP at the upcoming election.

It is likely that until Ms McGarry’s legal troubles have been resolved, she will not be allowed to represent the SNP.

However, she can stand as an independent, and would have to in order to be eligible for her redundancy payment from the House of Commons.

That risks splitting the vote between Ms McGarry and any other Nationalist challenger, although the SNP would still be confident of winning the seat, provided they pick a strong candidate.

Thus far, only SNP aide David Linden, and former Councillor Rosa Zambonini have put their names forward for selection.

No matter who is selected, and no matter what happens between now and election day on June 8th, another SNP clean sweep in Glasgow seems almost inevitable.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ross McCafferty"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426242.1492796685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426242.1492796685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "SNP MP Alison Thewliss (Photo: John Devlin)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP MP Alison Thewliss (Photo: John Devlin)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426242.1492796685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4423337.1492865076!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4423337.1492865076!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Natalie McGarry, Glasgow East MP has been told she is not eligible for reselection. Picture: Robert Perry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Natalie McGarry, Glasgow East MP has been told she is not eligible for reselection. Picture: Robert Perry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4423337.1492865076!/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/bonnie-prince-charlie-s-gifts-to-a-14-year-old-soldier-1-4426239","id":"1.4426239","articleHeadline": "Bonnie Prince Charlie’s gifts to a 14-year-old soldier","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492796010000 ,"articleLead": "

They are small, special tokens of appreciation from Bonnie Prince Charlie to a loyal servant who signed up to the Jacobite army when aged just 14.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426236.1492796004!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The miniature of Bonnie Prince Charlie presented to Ensign William Home. PIC: National Trust for Scotland, Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre."} ,"articleBody": "

William Home, from Duns in Berwickshire, received a quaich, a medallion and a miniature of the Prince in recognition of his service during the 1745 rebellion, after which he was captured and sentenced to the death penalty.

READ MORE: The lost children of the 1745 Jacobite uprising

Born in 1731, Home joined the Jacobite army initially as a coronet and then as Ensign in Lord Balmerino’s Life Guards.

Fighting at Prestonpans, Falkirk and Culloden, Ensign Home carried the regimental standard onto the battlefield and occasionally acted as an aide-de-camp to Charles Edward Stuart.

READ MORE: The silent Jacobite wife sentenced to 800 lashes

The soldier survived the rising and, following Culloden, made his way to Ruthven Barracks by Kingussie to hear Lord George Murray, the Jacobite general, tell his soldiers to “shift for ourselves as there were no more occasion for our services”.

Catriona McIntosh, head education guide at Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre, said: “Home was then captured and held initially at Stirling Castle then transported to Carlisle.

“He was sentenced to the death penalty, and considerable efforts were taken to secure him a reprieve.”

Home directly petitioned George II for his release, describing himself as a “your unhappy petitioner” who was “first seduced to depart from his allegiance” when just 14.

The young soldier described himself as “fitter to be employed at school, than waging a rebellion…”

Further petitions were made by his family, who enlisted the help of the 8th Earl of Home, who fought for the British at the Battle of Prestonpans.

In November 1746, Home was secured a reprieve from the death sentence on condition of transportation for indentured service,

However, he was ultimately exiled to live on the continent.

Home served as a Colonel in the Prussian army of Fredrick the Great and in 1774 he returned to Scotland where he lived for the rest of his life.

He died in 1794, aged 63.

His three gifts from Bonnie Prince Charlie were donated to the Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre by the Logan-Home family with other items in the collection including a cavalry carbine used during the rising.

Ms McIntosh said William Home was not the only boy of his age to fight on either side of the rebellion.

She added: “What is really important to remember is that in the 1740s you could be deemed an adult in their mid-teens and individuals who we would now recognise as children and young people, were not protected from joining or being signed up to military forces.

“Both armies at Culloden had boys aged 13 and upwards enlisted. From Drummer Boys, Ensigns, Standard Bearers and Baggagemen they would have carried out many tasks as well as soldiering.”

The youngest fighter taken into custody during the 1745 rising was seven-year-old William Cosby, the son of an Irish weaver.

Both had served in the Manchester Regiment, which held Carlisle after its capture in November 1745, and both were taken prisoner after it was seized by Cumberland’s men once Bonnie Prince Charlie retreated north.

William’s father was sentenced to death but won a reprieve on the day of execution, according to John Prebble’s Culloden.

With no record of what happened the boy, it has been suggested he died in Carlisle Prison.

Records shows there were several fathers and sons who signed up together, Ms McIntosh said.

Hugh Roy, age 14 from Aberdeenshire joined the Duke of Perth’s with his father, John Roy.

Both were taken prisoner at Carlisle but the father died in prison before trial and Hugh was pardoned on enlisting in the Government army.

Captain William Gordon, 15, the grandson of Gordon of Glenbucket, fought at Culloden and escaped to Sweden with his father and grandfather.

Ms McIntosh added: “During times of conflict families and children are always caught up- and the ’45 was no different.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426236.1492796004!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426236.1492796004!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The miniature of Bonnie Prince Charlie presented to Ensign William Home. PIC: National Trust for Scotland, Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The miniature of Bonnie Prince Charlie presented to Ensign William Home. PIC: National Trust for Scotland, Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426236.1492796004!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426237.1492796007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426237.1492796007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The quaich gifted to the young soldier. PIC: National Trust for Scotland, Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The quaich gifted to the young soldier. PIC: National Trust for Scotland, Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426237.1492796007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426238.1492796009!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426238.1492796009!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The medallion gifted to Ensign Home by Bonnie Prince Charlie. PIC: National Trust for Scotland, Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The medallion gifted to Ensign Home by Bonnie Prince Charlie. PIC: National Trust for Scotland, Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426238.1492796009!/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/youth-hostelling-association-appoints-youth-manager-1-4426177","id":"1.4426177","articleHeadline": "Youth hostelling association appoints youth manager","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492790706000 ,"articleLead": "

SYHA Hostelling Scotland has announced the appointment of Lois Marshall as Youth and Volunteer Engagement Manager.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426176.1492790706!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lois Marshall. Picture: SYHA"} ,"articleBody": "

This new role for the charitable organisation aims to strengthen its growing youth and volunteer programmes in the run up to VisitScotland’s Year of Young People in 2018.

Lois will be responsible for the development, promotion and implementation of a long term plan for SYHA youth and volunteer programmes which provide young people with access to inclusive, quality residential experiences and a wide range of positive social and learning outcomes.

These include the unique outdoor education STEM programme and the SYHA Youth Active Grant scheme that helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to take part.

The remit of the post also covers the development of youth volunteer involvement within SYHA moving forward along with the coordination of the current portfolio of youth and volunteering programmes.

READ MORE: Scottish Youth Hostel Association

Lois has valuable experience of working in the youth and volunteer sectors.

Her most recent post was as Type 1 Engagement Lead at Diabetes Scotland where her remit included managing a national young volunteer project and developing engagement with young people with Type 1 diabetes.

She has also worked at Youth Scotland where she ran the Girls on the Move Programme, supporting disadvantaged young women to increase their physical activity and gain leadership skills and the Youth Leadership Programme, which supported young people to develop their involvement in youth clubs across Scotland.

Lois said: “I am excited to be starting in this brand new role, supporting the vital charitable mission of SYHA which is to ensure young people can experience and appreciate the Scottish countryside, environment, natural heritage and places of historic and cultural interest in Scotland.

“I am also delighted to be able to support volunteers from Scotland and around the world to develop their skills, gain new experiences and build their confidence through our fantastic volunteer opportunities.”

SYHA’s youth and volunteer programmes experienced a significant rise in interest in 2016 with 181 individuals volunteering across the year, a 27% rise from 2015.

A total of 274 young people from across Scotland were helped by SYHA’s residential learning experiences - with 236 of these were young people taking part in Give us a Break which aims to tackle social exclusion by supporting groups of vulnerable or disadvantaged young people to take part in residential activity breaks.

SYHA Chief Executive Keith Legge, said: “We are delighted to welcome Lois to SYHA and look forward to building on the success of our youth and volunteer engagement to date, cementing existing relationships and developing new partnership opportunities, ensuring that SYHA continues to enable young people to experience all that Scotland has to offer.

“As a not for profit charity, all surpluses generated from the hostel network are invested back into the organisation allowing SYHA to keep the youth and volunteer programmes as key parts of its activities.

“This means that everyone who chooses to stay in a SYHA youth hostel helps to support this crucial work.”

SYHA Hostelling Scotland is a self-funding charity operating a network of over 60 youth and affiliate hostels for the benefit of all those wishing to learn and experience what Scotland has to offer.

Their aim is to provide affordable accommodation for everyone, but especially for young people, to experience Scotland’s natural heritage and places of historic and cultural interest.

SYHA’s youth programme portfolio includes Give Us A Break, a funded residential programme which aims to tackle social exclusion by offering groups of vulnerable or disadvantaged young people the opportunity to take part in activity holidays at youth hostels across Scotland.

The hugely successful programme enters into it’s 13th year in 2017.

READ MORE: Give us a Break campaign

The scheme helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to take part in a school or youth group residential trip.

SYHA’s Youth Active Grants are available to young people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience a residential trip due to their particular circumstances which result in social exclusion, deprivation or other disadvantage.

READ MORE: Youth Active Grants

Applications are currently being sought for 2017.

SYHA also work in partnership with the Gannochy Trust to offer groups of young people and their leaders from Perth and Tayside a two night residential stay full of outdoor activities and challenges.

READ MORE: The Gannochy Trust Programme

The youth programme portfolio is now linked with Children’s University Scotland (CU), a national charity that seeks to engage young people in learning outside the classroom.

The partnership will mean that any CU member who takes part in one of the SYHA Youth Programmes, or who visits a centre in Scotland as part of a family trip, can receive credits in their Passport in recognition of the educational value of their experiences.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426176.1492790706!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426176.1492790706!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lois Marshall. Picture: SYHA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lois Marshall. Picture: SYHA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426176.1492790706!/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/environment/scotland-s-weather-shock-cold-snap-on-the-way-1-4426097","id":"1.4426097","articleHeadline": "Scotland's weather: “Shock” cold snap on the way","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492789644000 ,"articleLead": "

Threatened severe gales followed by an arctic blast next week \"will come as quite a shock\", the Met Office warned today.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426096.1492789644!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Wintry conditions are forecast to return next week. Picture: SWNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The agency said weather warnings could follow as colder weather sweeps the UK.

That will be in sharp contrast to April's temperatures so far, which have been 1.1C above average.

Wintry showers are forecast for many areas.

A Met Office spokesman said: \"An arctic maritime air mass will spread southwards across the whole country early next week which will come as quite a shock.

\"The weekend will bring a lot of settled and dry weather, with daytime maximum temperatures generally above the UK April average.

\"Temperatures in the north will reach around 10-12C, while in the south they are likely to reach 15-17C.

\"However, the nights will be chilly, especially across the north, with a risk of frost which could catch out some farmers and gardeners.

\"Later in the weekend, a developing area of low pressure will approach northern Scotland, bringing a spell of wet and windy weather here with a risk of severe gales over coasts and hills on Sunday night and into Monday.

\"As this area of low pressure pulls away into the North Sea, a push of cold arctic air will follow leading to a marked change of weather for all parts, with frosts becoming much more widespread overnight.

Met Office chief meteorologist Steve Ramsdale said: \"As well as a noticeable change in temperatures on Monday, the cold air will also bring wintry showers to many parts as it filters southwards across the UK.

\"In the north, showers will bring a mix sleet, snow and hail, which could be seen at low levels and lead to some temporary accumulations overnight as temperatures drop.

\"Between the showers there will be spells of sunshine, so during the day any sleet or snow is unlikely to settle for long before it melts.

\"The cold feel will be accentuated by the wind.

\"Although late in the season, the cold weather could still have some impacts, so our forecasters will be keeping an eye on the situation and issue any severe weather warnings as necessary.\"

However, the Met Office said it was not unusual to see frost and wintry showers in mid-April as spring is often a season of contrasts.

" ,"byline": {"email": "alastair.dalton@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Alastair Dalton"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4426096.1492789644!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4426096.1492789644!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Wintry conditions are forecast to return next week. Picture: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Wintry conditions are forecast to return next week. Picture: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4426096.1492789644!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/general-election-3-scots-seats-to-watch-for-lib-dem-revival-1-4424812","id":"1.4424812","articleHeadline": "General Election: 3 Scots seats to watch for Lib Dem revival","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492777922000 ,"articleLead": "

“Lib Dems winning here” are what the famous election signs of the Liberal Democrats have said for years.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4418698.1492777918!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tim Farron is hopeful of a Lib Dem revival Picture; PA"} ,"articleBody": "

But in Scotland’s recent political history, the placards have become more comically ironic than any indication of performance.

Elections in 2011, 2015, and 2016 have seen the Lib Dems slip from the second force in Scottish politics to arguably the fourth, with less Holyrood seats than the Green Party.

However, with Brexit seemingly the defining issue in this snap election, Tim Farron is dreaming of escaping the indignity of having the number of Lib Dem MPs in single digits.

With the coalition (they hope) in the rear view, Farron wants to ride a wave of anti-Brexit sentiment to double his number of representatives in the House of Commons.

That becomes easier to be achieved in his party can win back some of the 10 seats that they lost to the SNP just under two years ago.

Voters had no respect for status or experience as everyone from Cabinet members like Danny Alexander to long-serving politicians like the late Charles Kennedy were punished at the ballot box.

Here are three seats to keep an eye on in Scotland for signs that the Liberal Democrats are ready to start ‘winning here’ again.

READ MORE: Labour MP criticised for welcoming tactical voting

Orkney and Shetland (Lib Dem Majority – 817)

In theory, this seat shouldn’t be an issue for the Lib Dems to win, especially if they are having a good night across the rest of the UK.

It has been held by a member of the Lib Dems (or their predecessor party, the Liberals) at every election since 1950, when future leader Jo Grimond won the seat.

If the Lib Dems can hold this seat on a bad night, as they did in 2015 even as they lost 10 of 11 seats to the SNP, it should follow they will do so again on June 8.

However, their MP, Alistair Carmichael, who was the Scottish Secretary under the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition, might be up for a tougher fight than we assume.

Mr Carmichael was caught up in scandal when it emerged he had lied about his role in the so-called ‘NikiLeaks’ memo, which alleged that the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had expressed a preference for David Cameron in conversations with the French Ambassador.

Mr Carmichael decided to forego his ministerial severance payment for his dishonesty, but that didn’t stop his constituents mounting a legal challenge to have his win over the SNP by 817 at the election overturned.

They were ultimately unsuccessful, but Mr Carmichael’s reluctance to simply resign and stand in a by-election makes one wonder whether he fears losing his seat to the SNP.

Their candidate in 2015, and at the equivalent Holyrood contest last year, Danus Skene, has sadly since died, and so they will need to find someone knew to take on Mr Carmichael.

Expect that seemingly innocuous memo about Nicola Sturgeon to play a big part in the local campaign.

Edinburgh West (SNP/Independent Majority – 3,210)

Alistair Carmichael wasn’t the only Scottish MP to have a whiff of scandal about them after being elected to the parliament.

Michelle Thomson, MP for Edinburgh Western, withdrew from the SNP party whip after being accused of amassing a property portfolio by purchasing from indebted families.

Inquiries into property deals that involve the MP for Edinburgh Western are still ongoing, and as of today she remains an Independent.

Her majority, when she was a member of the SNP, was a modest if manageable 3,000 or so, but her resignation puts the seat up for grabs again.

One newspaper today reports that to be eligible for a redundancy payment from Westminster, Mrs Thomson would need to stand as an independent in the election.

That risks splitting the pro-independence vote, and giving the Lib Dems a path to victory.

They also won the equivalent seat at the 2016 Holyrood election, when the sitting SNP MSP was ousted for their candidacy by his own former parliamentary aide.

It is not yet known who will stand for either party.

READ MORE: Analysis of today’s clashes at Holyrood

East Dunbartonshire (SNP Majority – 2,167)

One former Lib Dem MP who is definitely attempting a parliamentary return is former coalition minister Jo Swinson.

Once the youngest MP in the House of Commons, she made her name in her initial MP as an outspoken opponent of tuition fees for university.

After subsequently joining her Lib Dem ministerial colleagues in voting to triple, rather than abolish them, she came in for substantial criticism.

Ms Swinson, did, however, put up a surprisingly strong fight in East Dunbartonshire in 2015, even as Lib Dem seats fell like dominoes across the West of Scotland.

She was defeated by the SNP’s John Nicolson in that election, losing out by just 2,000 votes to the former broadcaster.

He has enjoyed a high profile as an SNP front bench spokesman in Westminster, though he was accused of attempting to silence free speech by criticising an STV journalist to his bosses.

Ms Swinson, who has moved into consultancy since losing her seat, has already cranked her election machine in to gear.

A formidable local campaigner, if anyone can snatch this constituency back from the SNP it is Jo Swinson, making this one seat to watch on the night of June 8th.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ross McCafferty"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4418698.1492777918!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4418698.1492777918!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tim Farron is hopeful of a Lib Dem revival Picture; PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tim Farron is hopeful of a Lib Dem revival Picture; PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4418698.1492777918!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4423539.1492777922!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4423539.1492777922!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former MP Jo Swinson will contest her old East Dunbartonshire seat. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former MP Jo Swinson will contest her old East Dunbartonshire seat. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4423539.1492777922!/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/stunning-scottish-rob-roy-castle-in-price-drop-1-4425183","id":"1.4425183","articleHeadline": "Stunning Scottish “Rob Roy” castle in price drop","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492770702000 ,"articleLead": "

A Scottish castle in one of the country’s most stunning settings is on the market at a reduced price.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4425179.1492771479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Duchray Castle has links to Rob Roy and sits in the heart of the Trossachs. PIC: Contributed."} ,"articleBody": "

Duchray Castle, which sits in the heart of the Trossachs near Aberfoyle, is on the market for £1.5m after £150,000 was shaved from the asking price.

The 16th Century pile is rich with history and it is said that outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor escaped from Duchray as a party of Redcoats arrived at the castle to search for him.

READ MORE: Scottish castle for sale for less than Edinburgh semi-detached

The castle itself has survived many attempts to destroy it. It was set fire in the 1600s by English forces with accounts it was burnt again following the 1745 Jacobite rebellion.

Despite attempts to dismantle the stronghold, Duchray, which is surrounded by 80 acres of land, remained in the Graham family for almost 400 years.

READ MORE: For sale: 25 acres of Hebridean land for just £55,000

Latterly, it has been used as an exclusive bed and breakfast and a wedding venue set deep the Loch Ard Forest.

The fortified house has four bedroom suites with the master bedroom boasting the Rob Roy Turret and an arrow slip window.

A spiral staircase links the impressive grand hall on the first floor to the stone vaulted dining room on the ground floor.

The castle was restored around 1825. Further work was carried out in the mid 20th century with the current owners also upgrading the property.

A spokesman for Savills said: “The castle was bought by the present owners in 2010. They have carried out a full refurbishment using local materials where possible. It is now an exceptionally comfortable and well-decorated property, which retains it’s original character as a castle.”

Duchray is surrounded by seven acres of formal gardens, 15 acres of grazing and vast swathes of woodland.

The original castle well can be found to the front of the property, which is surrounded by a 150-year old box hedge. A sloped lawn gives ways to views over Duchray Water A stone-built bothy and an all-weather tennis court, can also be found in the grounds.

Included in the sale is 12 miles of migratory fishing rights on Duchray Water, which is the main tributary to the River Forth.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4425179.1492771479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4425179.1492771479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Duchray Castle has links to Rob Roy and sits in the heart of the Trossachs. PIC: Contributed.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Duchray Castle has links to Rob Roy and sits in the heart of the Trossachs. PIC: Contributed.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4425179.1492771479!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4425180.1492771481!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4425180.1492771481!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The vaulted dining room at Duchray. PIC: Contributed.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The vaulted dining room at Duchray. PIC: Contributed.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4425180.1492771481!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4425181.1492771484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4425181.1492771484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Great Hall at Duchray. PIC: Contributed.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Great Hall at Duchray. PIC: Contributed.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4425181.1492771484!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4425182.1492771488!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4425182.1492771488!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Duchray Castle, near Aberfoyle, was held by the same family for 400 years. PIC: Contributed.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Duchray Castle, near Aberfoyle, was held by the same family for 400 years. PIC: Contributed.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4425182.1492771488!/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/stornoway-charity-launches-new-service-for-cf-youngsters-1-4425133","id":"1.4425133","articleHeadline": "Stornoway charity launches new service for CF youngsters","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492768973000 ,"articleLead": "

A STORNOWAY charity has launched a new project aimed at helping young people with Cystic Fibrosis moving to university or college.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4425132.1492768972!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Simon Wetherell, Co-op Director of Facilities Management; Divisional Managing Director John McNeill; Chrisetta Mitchell, The Leanne Fund; Macaulay Road Store Manager, Steven Cooper and Cromwell Street Store Manager Steven Macphail. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The Leanne Fund has launched ‘On the Move’, a programme to support young people with CF who are moving away to further education or setting up home independently for the first time.

They have thanked Co-op customers in Stornoway who have helped raise more than £12,000 for the charity, which will be used towards the project.

The Leanne Fund works with individuals affected by CF and their families across the Highlands, Islands and Grampian to provide vital social, practical, emotional and financial assistance.

READ MORE: Dunfermline charity run in memory of tragic marathon hero

The Co-op’s Local Community Fund has allowed Co-op members to support the charity while doing the weekly shop with 1% of spend on Co-op branded products going to the charity along with money raised from carrier bag sales.

The Leanne Fund is delighted to receive this cash which will fund ‘On the Move’.

Chrisetta Mitchell, Development Manager for The Leanne Fund said: “We are so grateful to the Co-op and its Members who have raised such a phenomenal amount of money which will make such a difference to the lives of young people with CF.

“’On the Move’ is a new service which has been created in response to demand from those we work with. For a young person with CF, moving out of home can be a very daunting prospect and presents many practical challenges.

“Through this programme we hope to be able to assist with providing essential items such as a fridge for storing medicine, help with heating costs, and a mentor/befriending service.

“Moving away to College or University or setting up home for the first time can be really exciting but it can also be extremely stressful and worrying as new social relationships have to be built up. 

“These are inevitably constrained by the nature of the illness and the need to protect against infection.

“At The Leanne Fund we recognise that these may be additional worries for young people with Cystic Fibrosis moving out of home and we want to do all that we can to help.”

She added: “We want to keep everyone informed about the work of The Leanne Fund and would encourage members to log on to our website to see more about the work we do and we will provide regular updates on this specific programme which is only able to move forward because of funding from the Co-op and its customers.”

The Co-op Community Fund also helped other local charities, the Western Isles Association for Mental Health and the Bridge Community Centre and together with The Leanne Fund, they shared a total of more than £38,000.

Steven Cooper, store manager of Co-op’s Macaulay Road store, said: “We’re a close knit community and our customers and members have relished the opportunity to support such a wide range of local causes whilst doing their everyday shopping.

“It’s a great feeling to know that the groups and charities have had a funding boost from Co-op and can start to put the money to good use.”

The Leanne Fund was set up in 2009 in memory of Leanne Mitchell from the Isle of Lewis.

The charity funds special treats and a range of support services for young people affected by Cystic Fibrosis and their families across the region.

READ MORE: Glasgow homeless charity given £430,000 funding boost

Since The Leanne Fund was founded it has continued to expand and develop the range of services and experiences offered in response to the needs of Cystic Fibrosis patients and their families.

The Leanne Fund relies entirely on fundraising, sponsors and charitable donations to fund their valuable work.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4425132.1492768972!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4425132.1492768972!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Simon Wetherell, Co-op Director of Facilities Management; Divisional Managing Director John McNeill; Chrisetta Mitchell, The Leanne Fund; Macaulay Road Store Manager, Steven Cooper and Cromwell Street Store Manager Steven Macphail. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Simon Wetherell, Co-op Director of Facilities Management; Divisional Managing Director John McNeill; Chrisetta Mitchell, The Leanne Fund; Macaulay Road Store Manager, Steven Cooper and Cromwell Street Store Manager Steven Macphail. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4425132.1492768972!/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/independence-reckless-amid-new-uk-dependent-jobs-figures-1-4424885","id":"1.4424885","articleHeadline": "Independence ‘reckless’ amid new UK-dependent jobs figures","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1492768513000 ,"articleLead": "

The prospect of a second independence referendum has been branded “reckless” after new figures revealed that more than half a million Scottish jobs rely on the country’s economic links with the UK.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4424884.1492768511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister's Questions. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The move came as Nicola Sturgeon again confirmed she wants an independent Scotland to join the EU – which is far less important to the country’s economic well-being, a report by the Fraser of Allander Institute indicated yesterday.

The figures were seized on as evidence of the benefits of the Union as campaigning swung into top gear ahead of the 8 June election.

The First Minister insisted that a strong SNP victory is needed to protect Scots from the impact of a Conservative government poised to seize a bigger majority at Westminster, as she dismissed Labour hopes of ­victory as “pie in the sky”.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the economic data showed the importance of safeguarding Scotland’s place in the UK.

It revealed that about one in four (24 per cent) of Scottish jobs rely on the country’s trade with the rest of the UK, while the comparable figure for the EU is 5.7 per cent.

Mr Mundell said: “These figures demonstrate clearly the value of the UK market to Scottish businesses – which is worth four times that of the EU market.

“As we leave the EU, it is vital we maintain the integrity of the UK market and prevent any new barriers to doing business across the UK.

“We have seen recent worrying figures showing the Scottish economy contracting, compared to the UK economy growing overall.

“So, at this time, it is more important than ever that Scotland’s two governments work together for the benefit of people in Scotland. That is what people in Scotland expect, and to what I am committed.”

The most recent economic figures showed that Scotland’s economy shrank in the final quarter of last year, while the rest of the UK is enjoying healthy growth. A similar contraction in the next quarter will mean that the country is formally in recession.

Employment levels are also significantly lower in Scotland than elsewhere and although unemployment is down, it has been accompanied by a spike in the number of Scots who are “economically inactive” and appear to have withdrawn from seeking work.

The latest information is based on the Scottish Government’s export figures, released earlier this year, which show that Scotland sells goods and services worth £49.8 billion to the rest of the UK, and £12.3bn to the EU.

The new analysis by the Strathclyde University-based institute shows that about 530,000 jobs in Scotland are supported by demand for Scottish goods and services from the rest of the UK.

Around two-thirds of Scottish jobs – more than 328,000 in total – are supported by exports to the rest of the UK are in the services sector. Just under one-third (more than 150,000) are in manufacturing and construction.

More than 175,000 jobs in Scotland are supported by export demand from the rest of the world and around 125,000 jobs in Scotland by export demand from the rest of the EU.

Scottish Government Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “These findings ignore the fact that trade is two-way.

“Our own analysis shows exports to Scotland from the rest of the UK support over half a million jobs in the UK.

“Analysis also shows Scotland is the rest of the UK’s second largest export market, behind only the US, with exports worth over £50bn.

“It is quite simply nonsense to suggest that the rest of the UK would cease trading with Scottish firms if we were inside the 
single market but outside the UK.

“As we have consistently made clear, Scotland does not face a choice between exporting to the EU or the UK – we can, and should, do both.

“This is why we will continue to pursue a way forward which retains our place in Europe’s single market which is vital to protect economic stability, jobs and inward investment.”

Ms Sturgeon said the importance of the EU single market to Scotland’s economy was at the heart of her case for protecting Scotland’s relations with the EU after Brexit and even seeking a second referendum.

Scotland could lose between 30,000 and 80,000 jobs as a result of Brexit, according to a separate analysis published by the Fraser of Allander Institute last year.

Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said: “Hundreds of thousands of jobs rely on the fact there are no trade barriers between Scotland and the rest of Britain.

“Yet the SNP wants to destroy this arrangement with its reckless gamble, making life harder for businesses and workers.

“The Scottish Government cannot afford to ignore stark evidence 
like this however inconvenient it is for its separation drive.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT MACNAB"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4424884.1492768511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4424884.1492768511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister's Questions. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister's Questions. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4424884.1492768511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1487268344374"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}