{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"scottishindependence","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-indyref2-now-a-fundamental-society-question-1-4340699","id":"1.4340699","articleHeadline": "Nicola Sturgeon: Indyref2 now a \"fundamental\" society question","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484570147000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon today told Scots they face a \"fundamental\" choice about the kind of country they want as she warned a second independence referendum may be the only way to avoid a \"really damaging\" Brexit.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340729.1484570094!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned a second independence referendum may be the only way to avoid a damaging Brexit. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The First Minister said the UK Government's EU departure plans would \"undermine workers rights rights, environmental standards and social protections.\"

Prime Minister Theresa May will set out more detail on her plans for Brexit tomorrow, but has already indicated she is ready to leave the EU single market, with Chancellor Philip Hammond having warned of a \"radical change\" to the UK economic model.


Ms Sturgeon said such a scenario would be \"deeply troubling\" after Brexit.


\"That should deeply trouble everybody because it becomes then not just a question of should we be in or out of the EU,\" she told Sky News.

\"That actually starts to become a fundamental question of what kind of country to we want to be.\"

READ MORE: Scotland looking for ‘more give’ from UK over Brexit


Mr Hammond warned in a weekend interview that the UK will do \"whatever we have to do\" to remain competitive if the country is forced to leave the single market, prompting speculation that this could lead to big cuts in corporation tax.

Ms Sturgeon warned this will result in a \"low tax, low wage, deregulated economy.\"


\"Whether they voted leave or remain that starts to raise pretty profound and fundamental questions about what kind of country we want to be - and for Scotland not just what kind of country we want to be, but who gets to decide that, because this is not a path that the majority of people in Scotland decided to take.\"


The EU referendum in June saw 62% of Scots vote to remain, while 38% opted to leave. The weight of votes south of the border swung the outcome in favour of Brexit.


Ms Sturgeon added: \"I've been very clear that the option of an independence referendum has to be on the table because if it isn't then Scotland risks being taken down a really damaging path with no control over the future of our own country.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "scott.macnab@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scott Macnab"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4340729.1484570094!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340729.1484570094!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned a second independence referendum may be the only way to avoid a damaging Brexit. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned a second independence referendum may be the only way to avoid a damaging Brexit. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4340729.1484570094!/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/susan-dalgety-corbyn-doesn-t-work-for-labour-1-4340132","id":"1.4340132","articleHeadline": "Susan Dalgety: Corbyn doesn’t work for Labour","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484569049000 ,"articleLead": "

What the Labour Party needs is a new generation of politicians, and Corbyn to go immediately, says Susan Dalgety

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340131.1484568996!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has warned the Tories could cause a 'trade war' with the EU. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Two political leaders gave big speeches last week. One, at the end of his career as an elected politician, was graceful, thoughtful, optimistic for the future of his country. The other was Jeremy Corbyn.

I don’t want to labour Corbyn’s shortcomings. His inability to lead the Labour Party into the next general election, let alone a victory when we get there, is self evident. He is, quite simply, the wrong person for the job.

Now, more than ever at any point in its long and often proud history, Labour needs a Barack Obama.

The Labour Party is in thrall to the biggest crisis of its long, and proud history.

Bigger than Ramsay McDonald’s ‘treachery’.

Worse than the 1983 suicide note that was Michael Foot’s manifesto.

Scarier than the 1992 election when John Major snatched victory from Neil Kinnock.

The Labour Party is on the verge of becoming unelectable, of becoming as irrelevant as the Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer, at a time when progressive politics are more needed than ever. More than even in 1945, in the wake of the world’s bloodiest-ever war.

Hyperbole? No, I point simply to Pasok, the Greek democratic socialist party, which until a few years ago was one of the two major parties in Greece.

In 2009 it won the Greek general election with nearly 44 per cent of the popular vote. In the 2015 election it won less than five per cent of the votes. It most recent poll rating puts it at six per cent.

People across the UK are rightly full of anger at an elite which caused and then prospered from the great crash of 2008.

Globalisation may thrill the Davos crowd, but it scares most citizens.

Average earnings are still £20 a week less than they were before the crash according to the respected Resolution Foundation.

A home of your own, something my generation took for granted, and which many are now busy reaping the capital rewards from, is but a distant dream for most millennials.

Their living nightmare is sky high rents in an exploitative, short-term job market.

Our NHS – in Scotland, just as it is in England – could easily collapse under the weight of impossibly high expectations, an ageing population and structures not fit for the end of the 20th century, let alone the mid 21st century.

And here in Scotland, the political debate is stuck on the constitution.

Nicola Sturgeon responds to criticism of her government’s neglect of public services and the economy with a sneer and her constant refrain: “it’s independence, stupid’’.

Sorry, First Minister. #indyref is 2014’s hashtag.

Yes, the people want to be fairly governed, but that applies equally to the citizens of Yorkshire as to the voters of Greater Glasgow.

In 2017 people want strong public services, which we are willing to pay for, but in exchange we want our children, and grandchildren, to get an education that equips them for real life.

We expect our NHS to care for us and our family from the cradle to the grave, and that includes those pesky last few years, when many of us are too frail to look after ourselves.

We want the marketplace to be properly regulated, so that banks, energy companies and others cannot rip us off.

We want Amazon, Starbucks et al, to pay their fair share of taxes, and to offer a fair day’s pay in exchange for our hard work.

We want roads without potholes, wifi as good as Estonia’s, trains we can afford and that run on time.

We want safe streets, a safe country, a safer world.

In 1945, 1964 and again in 1997 the Labour Party offered a glimpse of that world.

Today, all the Labour Party can offer is a left wing Trump.

Seriously? Is this what the People’s Party has come to, stealing the clothes of a foul-mouthed despot?

If so, it is not the party I joined in 1980, at the start of the Thatcher revolution. Nor, I suggest, does it speak for the majority of members who joined before May 2015.

Travel, it is said, gives you a better perspective of home.

I am currently travelling round the European Union in a campervan with my husband. We plan to visit each of the 28 member states before the end of the year.

The view I have of British politics, of the Labour Party, from the eastern edge of Europe, is not a pretty one.

British politics are not alone in their existential crisis.

Look at the USA, where a good man is being followed by a dangerous buffoon. France, where fascism has blonde highlights, and Hungary where it is loud and proud. As for gangsta Russia…

Democracy is in dire straits.

But it remains the best way to organise societies. However, for it to prosper, it requires strong political parties, with respected leaders and realistic policy objectives. The people deserve nothing less.

The UK Labour Party offers instead confusion. Worse, incompetent confusion.

Is there a way back?

It was a heartlfelt question I asked myself on the morning of Friday 10 April 1992 after Labour’s unexpected defeat.

It turned out there was, and we were led back into power by a new generation of Labour politicians, people like Blair, Harman and Brown.

I am not arguing for a revival of New Labour. Its time has been and gone.

I am, however, saying what the Labour Party needs is a new generation of politicians, people who can provide progressive, thoughtful, energetic leadership. A dash of charisma wouldn’t go amiss either.

Scottish Labour is one step ahead of the UK party with Kez Dugdale, but sadly, she is hampered by Corbyn’s misrule.

Labour – and the country as a whole – needs a vision for our children’s future, not nostalgia for our parents’ past. We need to shape public services for 2025, not 1945.

We need economic policies that work in the global market, and protect workers at home.

We need to govern our communities, our regions, our nations fairly. Dugdale’s call for a new Act of Union is a first step, but the devolution revolution can’t stop at Hadrian’s Wall.

Surely it is not beyond the wit of the people of the United Kingdom, the world’s most successful political and social union, to come up with a modern system of governance that empowers all its constituent parts, from the great city of London to the North East of England, and beyond.

And, after decades of reflection, I now believe our political system requires a healthy dose of proportional representation.

Love them or hate them, UKIP won four million votes in the 2015 elections and got only Douglas Carswell.

Little wonder its supporters made sure their voice was heard, loud and clear, in the 2016 EU referendum.

It will take time for the Labour Party to rebuild itself. To paraphrase Obama, it will be hard, contentious, and sometimes bloody.

It may require not one, or even two, new leaders. The Tories had to wade through Hague, Howard and IDS before alighting on Cameron.

It will require new thinking. The idea of a basic citizen’s wage – a policy promoted by the SDP back in the day – deserves more attention for example. And we must find a better way to care for older people than the current shambolic system.

It may require a progressive alliance with others who want to build a strong, prosperous, fair United Kingdom.

We should not be afraid to govern in solidarity with people who share our core values and principles, if not our traditions and history.

But first it requires Corbyn to go. With the same dignity, respect and class that Obama is displaying as he exits the White House.

Sadly, I am not holding my breath.

Susan Dalgety has held a range of positions in the Labour Party, most recently as director of communications for Scottish Labour. She was press chief to Jack McConnell when he was first minister, and deputy leader of Edinburgh City Council 1997-99.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4340131.1484568996!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340131.1484568996!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has warned the Tories could cause a 'trade war' with the EU. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has warned the Tories could cause a 'trade war' with the EU. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4340131.1484568996!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/tory-election-posters-exploited-nationalist-hostility-1-4340656","id":"1.4340656","articleHeadline": "Tory election posters ‘exploited nationalist hostility’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484567078000 ,"articleLead": "

They were the notorious images that many believe set David Cameron on the road to a majority government, sealed Ed Miliband’s fate as Labour leader, and made an in/out referendum on the UK’s EU membership inevitable.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340655.1484567025!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A family walk past a Conservative Party campaign poster in Colne, northwest England"} ,"articleBody": "

They were the notorious images that many believe set David Cameron on the road to a majority government, sealed Ed Miliband’s fate as Labour leader, and made an in/out referendum on the UK’s EU membership inevitable.

Now one of the architects of the Brexit victory has accused the Tories of “exploiting nationalist hostility” during the 2015 general election with an series of posters targeting the prospect of a Labour-SNP pact.

Dominic Cummings, who came to prominence as special adviser to then-education secretary Michael Gove, was director of the official Leave campaign, and is credited with developing some of its key messages, including the infamous pledge of £350m in extra funding for the NHS and the warning that Turkey’s accession to the EU would see millions of its citizens flood into Britain.

The media-shy strategist, who is known for looking to Ancient history and the career of Otto von Bismarck for political inspiration, broke cover this week to defend his campaign against claims it unleashed a wave of irrational populist emotion and played on fears of immigration, accusing critics among senior ranks of his own party of hypocrisy.

Buried in a 20,000 word blog post, Cummings ridicules former Chancellor George Osborne by recalling the campaign the Tories waged in 2015, aimed at raising fears among English voters that Miliband’s Labour Party could do a deal with the SNP in the event of a hung parliament.

One poster showed Mr Miliband in Alex Salmond’s pocket, while another showed the former First Minister picking someone’s pocket.

In the essay, Cummings dismisses the idea that “the great rationalists Cameron and Osborne – they of Project Fear and their comic ’emergency budget’, and in 2015 the pictures of Salmond picking pockets designed successfully to persuade the English that the Scots would steal their money – were undone by a great surge of ’emotion’.

“Osborne is taking this delusion so far he is writing a book titled ludicrously ‘The Age of Unreason’.

“When you lose and you blame it on millions of people being overtaken by ‘unreason’ – after previously winning by exploiting nationalist hostility – it’s a sure sign that you are the one not reasoning straight and able to face your errors.

“For the likes of Osborne it is ‘irrational’ to reject the views of people like him. For most of us, people like Osborne are not experts to be trusted – they are charlatans not to be taken seriously.”

Scottish Labour’s Westminster spokesman Ian Murray MP, who last week accused Theresa May of being “as big a threat to the Union as the SNP” by pushing for a hard Brexit, agreed with Cummings’ view of the 2015 campaign.

“Dominic Cummings is right to highlight the utter hypocrisy of a Tory Party that has cynically exploited nationalist tensions to serve their own ends, instead of the country’s,” Murray said.

“The Tories put the union at risk with a divisive general election campaign that set Scotland versus England.

“When even Dominic Cummings – the man behind the campaign which shamefully played on fears around immigration and outright lied about NHS funding – accuses you of exploiting nationalist hostility then you should stop and think.”

Ahead of a major speech on Brexit by the Prime Minister on Tuesday, Murray added: “The fact is that at every turn since the 2014 referendum, the Tories have put the future of the UK at risk: from the constitutional wrecking ball of English Votes for English Laws, to two divisive election campaigns, and the reckless Brexit gamble.

“Scots who voted both Yes and No want to move on from arguments of the past, but instead Theresa May continues to fuel the divisions the SNP thrives on, allowing Nicola Sturgeon to restart her campaign for independence.”

A spokesman for the SNP said: “The Tories disgraceful negative campaign posters showed how nervous they were about the people of Scotland returning a strong team of SNP MPs.

“They knew that would mean Scotland’s voice would be heard at Westminster in a way the Tories and Labour parties had failed to do for years.’’

" ,"byline": {"email": "Paris Gourtsoyannis" ,"author": "paris.gourtsoyannis@jpress.co.uk"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4340655.1484567025!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340655.1484567025!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A family walk past a Conservative Party campaign poster in Colne, northwest England","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A family walk past a Conservative Party campaign poster in Colne, northwest England","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4340655.1484567025!/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/scotland-looking-for-more-give-from-uk-over-brexit-1-4340654","id":"1.4340654","articleHeadline": "Scotland looking for ‘more give’ from UK over Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484566924000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish Government has already offered a “very substantial compromise” with its proposals for a post-Brexit deal, the minister responsible for Scotland’s negotiations has said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340653.1484566871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Uk Negotiations on Scotland's place in Europe Minister Michael Russell \\nFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Contributed."} ,"articleBody": "

Michael Russell indicated that the SNP administration would be prepared to negotiate further, but it must first see some “give” from the UK Government.

Scottish ministers published plans at the end of last year outlining proposals to protect Scotland’s place in Europe, including an option for the country to remain in the European single market even if the rest of the UK leaves it.

Newspaper reports at the weekend suggested Prime Minister Theresa May would use a speech on Tuesday to signal a so-called “hard Brexit”, taking the whole of the UK out of the single market.

READ MORE - Nicola Sturgeon presents her Brexit proposals for Scotland

UK and Scottish ministers are due to meet on Thursday at the Joint Ministerial Committee for further Brexit talks.

“We’ve offered a very substantial compromise as it is, and I’ve made it clear that we want to negotiate and discuss on the basis of the paper that we have put forward,” Mr Russell told BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

“But of course negotiation is about give and take...we need to see some indication of give rather than all take from the UK Government.”

Asked if a second independence referendum will be inevitable if Mrs May announces a hard Brexit in her speech, Mr Russell said: “No, but I think it certainly does focus the mind very substantially.

“I still hope that there will be a discussion on Thursday and that we will move forward with the paper that we have produced to negotiate.”

READ MORE - Donald Trump: Brexit Britain will not be back of the queue

Meanwhile, writing in her first column for the Daily Record newspaper, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The PM has pledged to give our plan her full consideration, and I intend to hold her to that.”

She added: “The current crop of Westminster Tories now seem to think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and people here will just sit back and accept it - they may be about to find out just how wrong they are about that.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Lynsey Brews"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4340653.1484566871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4340653.1484566871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Uk Negotiations on Scotland's place in Europe Minister Michael Russell \\nFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Contributed.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Uk Negotiations on Scotland's place in Europe Minister Michael Russell \\nFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Contributed.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4340653.1484566871!/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/frank-mcaveety-urges-snp-to-borrow-for-big-city-projects-1-4339794","id":"1.4339794","articleHeadline": "Frank McAveety urges SNP to borrow for big city projects","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484467750000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon’s government has been urged to use Scotland’s new borrowing powers to bring forward hundreds of millions of pounds worth of building projects including the Glasgow Airport Rail Link.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339793.1484467699!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Frank McAveety faces an uphill battle to maintain control of Glasgow City Council. Picture: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

Frank McAveety, the Glasgow City Council leader, has called for a major investment in Scotland’s largest city in order to stimulate the economy and combat the uncertainty of Brexit and threats of a second independence referendum.

Faced with cuts to the city’s budget, McAveety has been in talks with the Scotland’s Brexit minister Michael Russell to discuss his plans and has warned that failure to get going with the projects puts at risk substantial private investment earmarked for Glasgow.

In addition to the resurrected plan for the airport rail link, McAveety wants to see money invested in the Buchanan Quarter retail project around the famous galleries and Queen Street Station.

Another development is the Clyde Gateway, which involves projects in Dalmarnock, Rutherglen and Shawfield, where the plan is to develop vacant sites to build factories and business units to bring jobs to the area.

Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, McAveety said: “Some government departments need to shake a leg and Transport Scotland is an organisation that needs a good shake.

“We and the Scottish Government are in favour of the airport link, so bring it forward. They want the Buchanan Quarter to enhance retail to be brought forward, but we believe the delay in the Buchanan Quarter has possibly put at risk £300 million of private sector investment in Glasgow, which is money we can ill afford to lose.”

The draft budget unveiled by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay last month has put a further squeeze on the cash available to local government.

According to McAveety, Glasgow has revised the extent of the savings that have to be found from £130 million to £150m over the next two years. This comes on top of a reduction in the settlement received by Scotland’s largest council area since the SNP came to power.

“My critical point is that ever since the SNP came to power, Glasgow has had a reduction in its revenue budget,” said McAveety, the leader of the city’s Labour group. My view is that it can’t continue and I hope the finance secretary will listen to the calls for using some of the flexibility he has in terms of new money from the UK government and his capacity to raise further money through decisions he can make as a minister.”

Last week Mackay said he intended to use Holyrood’s new £450m borrowing powers “to the max”, despite getting an extra £800m from Westminster in the Autumn Statement.

“I don’t care what party you are in, Glasgow is Scotland’s economic power house so let’s get our shoulders to the wheel about investment,” said McAveety. “The reason investment is important to the city is that it reassures the business community that we are serious, because that is one of the things that worried them about the decision on the European Union. They were worried about the uncertainty around the potential other referendum.”

McAveety faces a tough battle for his own political future. With Jeremy Corbyn and Kezia Dugdale’s Labour Party performing poorly in the polls, it is widely anticipated that the party will lose control of Glasgow in the May local elections.

If the Nationalists wrest control of Glasgow from Labour, it will be seen as a defining moment in the fall of Scottish Labour.

McAveety was bullish about his party’s fortunes.

“I’m a fighter. I’m a resilient character. I have got bouncebackability – if that’s a word,” he said. Last week Labour launched its vision for local government with the production of a document recommending an extra penny on all income tax, reintroducing the 50p income tax rate for the highest earners and giving councils the power to levy land and tourism taxes.

When asked if it would be challenging to campaign for a tax-raising programme, McAveety said: “Labour does best when it is talking about the difference it is going to make to people’s lives. I think the Glasgow Labour experience has made a difference to the city. Even when Labour was in power in local government and in the Scottish Parliament, Labour councillors stood up for this city and challenged their own government repeatedly. The challenge in modern Scotland is the SNP councillors – when Nicola Sturgeon asks them to jump, they ask, ‘How high?’ That’s the difference. With me you will get someone putting Glasgow first. Not the SNP Edinburgh office.

Last night a Scottish Government spokesman said: “Taking next year’s local government finance settlement plus the other sources of income available to councils through reforms to council tax and funding for Health and Social Care Integration, the overall increase in spending power to support local authority services amounts to £241m or 2.3 per cent. The Scottish Government confirmed in the Draft Budget that it plans to make full use of the borrowing powers which come into effect next year in order to continue our investment in new infrastructure to support our public services and grow our economy. We are committed to working with all cities to unlock investment and are investing £760m over the next 10 to 20 years for City Region Deals, including Glasgow.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4339793.1484467699!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339793.1484467699!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Frank McAveety faces an uphill battle to maintain control of Glasgow City Council. Picture: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Frank McAveety faces an uphill battle to maintain control of Glasgow City Council. Picture: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4339793.1484467699!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/health/euan-mccolm-why-voters-should-take-no-pride-in-the-nhs-1-4339725","id":"1.4339725","articleHeadline": "Euan McColm: Why voters should take no pride in the NHS","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484465235000 ,"articleLead": "

It is a minimum requirement of any politician that he or she should be a passionate defender of the National Health Service. Few things matter more to voters than the NHS. We are sentimentally attached to it in a way that we just aren’t to other public services.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339724.1484465185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An ambulance worker in the accident and emergency department at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Picture: Greg Macvean"} ,"articleBody": "

This is quite understandable. Not only is the health service a demonstrably good thing, it also allows us to feel good about ourselves. What type of people are we? We’re the type of people who treat people with compassion, of course.

The NHS in Scotland is not now performing as the SNP assured us it would. The Scottish Government stands accused of breaking a string of promises on waiting times, on staffing levels, on the prompt establishment of trauma centres. I could go on. The NHS in England and Wales is in worse condition still, performing far below the standard promised by the Conservatives.

But it is not just the SNP and the Tories that have struggled to live up to their bold claims when it comes to the health service. The NHS is problematic for all parties. Labour and the Liberal Democrats, when they were in power at both Holyrood and Westminster, were just as culpable of presiding over decline.

In election campaign after election campaign, all mainstream parties have been guilty of making increasingly undeliverable promises. Dutch auctions over waiting times have made it impossible for medical staff to keep up.

In Scotland, the SNP waved the shiny bauble of taxpayer-funded (or “free”, if you prefer to indulge that delusion) prescriptions and we missed the lack of reform taking place in the NHS. We continue to ignore the £50 million annual hole in the drugs budget created by the prescriptions policy.

When the SNP came to power in 2007, one of its first acts was to overturn the decision to close failing Accident and Emergency units at Monklands and Ayr. This policy was dictated by expediency rather than evidence. Medical professionals may have been fully behind the plan to shut down those ailing facilities but campaigning voters knew better. Their grandparents had died in these hospitals and they were going to damn well die in them too.

We voters – all of us potential patients – have a proud track record of being completely unreasonable when it comes to the NHS. We demand the highest standards and we resist change (even when experts say it is necessary) but we have no interest whatsoever in maintaining the NHS by paying more in tax.

Politicians, for their part, have repeatedly promised us unachievable standards at no extra cost to the public purse. We are all – voters and politicians, alike – kidding ourselves if we think we can carry on as we do and see our health service improve.

During First Minister’s Question Time on Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon came under pressure from both the Conservatives’ Ruth Davidson and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale over the state of the NHS.

Those opposition leaders wanted to know about delays in the establishment of new trauma centres. Sturgeon preferred not to answer questions and instead spent most of her time pointing out that the health service in England is performing more poorly than ours.

This is certainly true, but that is not to say the Scottish NHS is fighting fit. The reality is that the better performance of the Scottish NHS means patients are likely to spend slightly less time abandoned on trolleys in corridors.

We have two choices, then, when it comes to improving the NHS. We can hope that without proper funding the health service will miraculously start to perform better or we can have a long overdue discussion about what we are willing to pay to get the NHS into shape.

Both the SNP and Labour have made the use of private providers in the NHS a taboo. Only a monstrous Tory would countenance such a thing. During the independence referendum campaign in 2014, the SNP argued that only a Yes vote could save the Scottish NHS from privatisation, but the truth is that the nationalists have used – and continue to use – private contractors to maintain parts of the service.

This should not be controversial. If a private contractor can ensure certain standards are met and maintained then should we really allow unworkable “principles” to take precedence and tear up contracts?

In fact, we need to go further and discuss whether there should be charges in other areas. Increased life expectancy is bringing to bear new pressures on an NHS already nearing breaking point. Can we afford not to consider whether the better off might be expected to bear some costs?

A frequent complaint from patients and their families is about the lack of available beds in hospitals. But do all of these patients actually need to be in hospital at all?

The majority of inpatient beds are occupied by people with long-term conditions such as diabetes and arthritis. Most of those afflicted with such permanent conditions administer their own treatment. Couldn’t at least some of them do so at home?

Politicians are so terrified of the potential backlash that they daren’t raise a hand to point out that we simply can’t have the NHS we want if we are not prepared to consider the question of funding.

If we reject the idea that some people should pay something for some treatments and that we should stop giving “free” prescriptions to the rich then how else are we going to fix the health service?

There’s taxes, of course. The Scottish Government could raise tax and plough every last penny into the health service. The only problem with that notion is that, even though we might lie to polling companies from time to time, few of us are truly willing to pay more tax.

Of course, governments are ultimately responsible for the standards of the health services over which they preside. But while voters continue to expect the highest standards without the necessary investment, we all must bear some blame for the appalling state of 
the NHS.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Euan McColm"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4339724.1484465185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339724.1484465185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "An ambulance worker in the accident and emergency department at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Picture: Greg Macvean","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An ambulance worker in the accident and emergency department at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Picture: Greg Macvean","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4339724.1484465185!/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/scottish-independence-convention-brings-together-yes-groups-in-glasgow-1-4339704","id":"1.4339704","articleHeadline": "Scottish Independence Convention brings together Yes groups in Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484411161000 ,"articleLead": "

Around 800 people gathered in Glasgow for the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) bringing together a range of pro-Yes groups for the first time since the referendum vote in 2014.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339703.1484411110!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Actress and comedienne Elaine C Smith opens the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) conference in Glasgow. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Earlier this week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ruled out holding a second referendum on independence in 2017 but the preparations are continuing for campaigners.

Scottish Government Equalities Secretary Angela Constance was among the speakers at the SIC and praised the diversity of the independence campaign.

She said: “It’s always timely at the start of a new year to take a deep breath and look to the future and today is our opportunity to consider a new debate for a new Scotland.

“We must not assume that people’s views - whether they were Yes or whether they were No - are the same as they were two years ago. Instead the independence movement, our movement, must engage with a fresh perspective and an open mind.”

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

But speaking on Monday, she said: ‘’There is not going to be an independence referendum in 2017, I don’t think there is anybody who thinks that is the case.”

READ MORE: Brexit row breaks out as MPs block calls for Holyrood vote

The Scottish Government has already drafted legislation for a vote, which it says will be used if it concludes independence is the only way to protect Scotland’s place in Europe.

Ms Constance told the SIC she wants to see human rights put at the heart of any future independence campaign.

She said: “I see Scotland as a country which locates itself not where geography has placed us - on the periphery of a continent - but at the heart of a progressive vision of nations in Europe and beyond.

“If it’s a choice between an inward, insular Tory Britain or a progressive, internationalist Scotland I know where I stand.

“If the seismic events of 2016 have communicated any message it is surely that the ideals which unite progressive nations must always be greater than the issues that divide us.

“So let us empower our diverse movement to reach into every community to spread the message that human rights are the tools for the people to challenge and change our country.

“Human rights are the foundation stones of a fairer, independent Scotland; let’s start building that new nation on them.”

The Scottish Greens believe campaigners should start work now ahead of a possible second vote on Scotland’s future in the UK.

Party co-convener Maggie Chapman told the SIC: ‘’As the creaking British state lurches from crisis to crisis, the need for independence becomes clearer and clearer.

“It is time to start building the independence movement again so that when the next referendum comes we are in a place to convince thousands more Scots that another, and better, Scotland is possible.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader Alex Rowley said: “While nationalists gathered in Glasgow for a talking shop about independence, Scottish Labour supporters were out in force across the country this weekend to campaign for our valued local public services.

“This was our first national campaign day of 2017 and we had over 70 events across Scotland, with teams talking to voters about our plan to protect services.

“The SNP wants to cut £327million from services such as education and social care. Scottish Labour’s priority is to invest in these services.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PAUL WARD"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4339703.1484411110!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339703.1484411110!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Actress and comedienne Elaine C Smith opens the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) conference in Glasgow. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Actress and comedienne Elaine C Smith opens the Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) conference in Glasgow. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4339703.1484411110!/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/lifestyle/bbc-documentary-to-chart-200-years-of-the-scotsman-1-4339347","id":"1.4339347","articleHeadline": "BBC documentary to chart 200 years of The Scotsman","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484402557000 ,"articleLead": "

For nearly two centuries it has been reflecting the changing face of Scotland and reporting the events that have shaped the nation.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339346.1484347323!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ex-Scotsman journalist Andrew Marr takes part in the new documentary The Paper Thistle: 200 Years of the Scotsman."} ,"articleBody": "

Now the full story of The Scotsman is about to be told in a major new television documentary ahead of its 200th anniversary later this month.

The BBC Scotland film, The Paper Thistle, will go behind the scenes at the newspaper’s headquarters in Edinburgh and explore its vast archive.

Current and former journalists relive their experiences of the newsroom. The impact of long-serving editors, major stories, industrial disputes, reporters’ rebellions, managerial shake-ups and new technology are all featured.

The documentary, to be shown on Tuesday, recalls how the trial of Burke and Hare, the sinking of the Titanic, the Dunblane shooting, the Lockerbie disaster, and the miners’ strike were reported.

The Paper Thistle looks at how the paper has been at the heart of the debate over the nation’s future for more than a century, exploring the controversies over its support for devolution in the 1970s and opposition to Scottish independence in 2014.

BBC broadcasters Andrew Marr and James Naughtie, Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator, and award-winning sports writer Hugh McIlvanney are among the former Scotsman journalists to appear.

It recalls when the paper was launched by Fife solicitor William Ritchie and East Lothian customs official Charles Maclaren in frustration with what they called the “unblushing subserviency” of local newspapers to the establishment.

Glasgow University media historian Dr Alex Benchimol said: “It announces itself as an insurgent newspaper. Its claims of firmness, independence, impartiality are in a way intended to highlight how the other newspapers of the time were not like that. If you read through the first ten or 15 years it is a very idealistic, crusading newspaper.”

The documentary recounts the shock for readers when The Scotsman abandoned a long-standing tradition of devoting its front page to classified advertising, which ran from 1831 to 1957, and its proud role as a “newspaper of record,” maintained until the mid-1990s when Magnus Linklater became editor.

Recalling being asked if the tradition would be upheld, he said: “My immediate answer was no. I remember the intake of breath from the assembled company. I thought the newspaper ought to be campaigning, investigating, and reporting in-depth. That was far more important.”

The documentary features recollections of the hard drinking culture, the bitter disputes, the lingering sounds and smells, and the colourful characters of iconic former offices on North Bridge, which operated from 1902 until 1999.

Alan Taylor, former managing editor, said: “The building lent itself to people being able to disappear. We had people who had separated from their partners but were actually living in the building and people who had retired but used to come into work every day.”

Among the former editors recalled fondly in the documentary was Eric Mackay, who was at the helm from 1972 to 1985.

James Naughtie said: “Eric Mackay came from the north-east. I always think of him being hewn from a granite quarry. He had a solidity and a kind of immovability that was remarkable. My goodness, he cared about that paper and he knew every word that appeared in it.”

Long-serving reporter Robbie Dinwoodie, who covered the Troubles for the paper during the Mackay era, said: “It could get quite hairy. This was real seat of the pants stuff. It was a notebook and a pen, there were no mobile phones. It was great and it was exciting.”

The documentary explores the experiences of female journalists breaking into a traditionally male-dominated industry.

Recalling a visit to Scotland from then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former reporter Julie Davidson said: “She swept into the room and sat down. I seem to remember I was the only woman at that press conference. I eventually put up my hand and asked her: ‘what do you think about the current movement for women’s rights and should there be women in the House of Commons.

“She said: ‘I hate the expression women’s lib’ - which I’d never used - and went on to denounce it because it made women who stayed at home bringing up their children feel inferior. She kind of cut me short and said: ‘Enough of that - we’ll bore the men.’”

Lesley Riddoch, who came up with the idea of renaming the paper ‘The Scotswoman’ in 1995, said: “The guys upstairs were noticing that women readers were pealing away from The Scotsman. They concluded that they needed to do something but didn’t know what it was.

“Sitting on an editorial board of 13 people, of which I was the only woman, it seemed kind of obvious to me. Eventually one day I cleared my throat and said: ‘what about this idea?’ To my astonishment, at least half the guys on the board agreed to it straight off.”

Ruth Wishart is among those to recall one of the most troubled periods in The Scotsman’s history, when staff were locked out at the height of a dispute with management in the 1980s.

She said: “I had a choice to make because I was technically editorial management. I guess I thought it was a better class of people on the picket line.

“I remember standing outside the staff entrance to The Scotsman the first time I had been designated to be one of that day’s pickets.

“Up the streets came a number of people who worked for The Herald who lived in Edinburgh and were coming home off the train. As they passed they pressed bottles of drink into our hands as a nice gesture of solidarity.”

The documentary explores the turbulent tenure of Andrew Neil as editor-in-chief for a decade from the mid-1990s, when the paper went through eight editors, took an anti-Establishment stance and was fiercely critical of the new Scottish Parliament.

Fraser Nelson said: “He basically asks his staff to jump to the moon. You kind of think: ‘That’s crazy, you can’t jump to the moon.’ But you ending up jumping higher than you ever thought you could jump.”

However Alan Taylor said: “He (Andrew Neil) was just a guy in a hurry. That wasn’t going to work in Edinburgh, which has a fantastic ability to be resistant to anything somebody wants them to do if they don’t want to do it.”

Recalling her many bosses, Alison Gray, the current magazines editor and one of the longest-serving journalists on the staff, said: “We’ve had very shouty editors, we’ve had less shouty editors, we’ve had calmer ones, we’ve had mad ones.”

Ian Stewart, the current editor, reveals how he agonised over the stance The Scotsman should take over Scottish independence, eventually opting to argue against separation.

He said: “I gave it a lot of thought. It wasn’t my position, it was The Scotsman’s position. You are trying to maintain the authority and the credibility. I’ve never felt it more than I did that night.”

Looking towards the future, Andrew Marr says: “There is a view of the world in Scotland which is different from the view of the world in Manchester, London or Paris. It’s incredibly important that Scotland has voices in print which represent the best of Scottish thinking and the best of the Scottish world view. That in my view ought to be The Scotsman.”

The documentary will be aired on Tuesday 17 January on BBC Two Scotland at 9pm. The 200th anniversary of The Scotsman is on 25 January.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN FERGUSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4339346.1484347323!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339346.1484347323!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ex-Scotsman journalist Andrew Marr takes part in the new documentary The Paper Thistle: 200 Years of the Scotsman.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ex-Scotsman journalist Andrew Marr takes part in the new documentary The Paper Thistle: 200 Years of the Scotsman.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4339346.1484347323!/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/devolution-campaigner-canon-kenyon-wright-dies-at-84-1-4339259","id":"1.4339259","articleHeadline": "Devolution campaigner Canon Kenyon Wright dies at 84","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484390895000 ,"articleLead": "

Canon Kenyon Wright, who played a central role in the creation of the Scottish Parliament, has died at the age of 84.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339263.1484329745!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Canon Kenyon Wright in 2014. Picture: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

His death was announced by the Scottish Government on behalf of Canon Wright’s family.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am deeply saddened by the death of Canon Kenyon Wright and my thoughts are with his family.

“He is a great loss to Scotland’s political, civic and religious communities. His input to the creation of the Scottish Parliament cannot be overstated.

“His chairmanship of the Scottish constitutional convention, which led to the creation of the Scottish Parliament, was testament to his strength of character, tenacity and charisma.

“He was able to bring together the different strands of Scottish politics and society to achieve consensus about the way ahead for Scottish devolution.

“His legacy will live on through the work of the Scottish Parliament.”

The former Episcopalian priest was the executive chair of the Scottish constitutional convention from 1989-99 and was a member of the consultative steering group on the Scottish Parliament.

He continued to play a role in Scottish politics and voiced concerns over growing centralisation and a restriction of the powers of local councils a decade ago, and in 2014 he backed a Yes vote in the independence referendum.

The Scottish Government said Canon Wright died peacefully at home on Wednesday.

A family funeral is to be held next week, with a memorial service being organised over the next few months.

Former first minister Alex Salmond said his passing “will be mourned by many”.

“Canon Kenyon Wright was one of the great spirits of the movement of self-government,” Mr Salmond said.

“His role in the Scottish constitutional convention showed a patience, commitment and determination of extraordinary dimensions.

“In more recent times, his willingness to embrace the independence cause demonstrated that his belief in Scotland transcended any political party or particular position - his guiding light was the right of self-determination of the people of Scotland.

“Scotland has cause to be grateful for the life of our very own grand canon and his passing will be mourned by many.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said Canon Wright’s campaigning was “a vital reason why we have a Scottish Parliament today” and named him alongside Donald Dewar as a “giant” of devolution.

She said: “For generations to come there will be a parliament in Edinburgh that makes decisions affecting the everyday lives of Scots, and that is the wonderful legacy he leaves behind.

“The day before the Scottish Parliament opened in 1999, Canon Kenyon Wright handed the Claim of Right to Donald Dewar.

“That document now resides in the Donald Dewar Room in the Scottish Parliament, a fitting reminder of what was achieved by these giants of Scotland’s devolution movement.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4339263.1484329745!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339263.1484329745!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Canon Kenyon Wright in 2014. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Canon Kenyon Wright in 2014. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4339263.1484329745!/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/brexit-row-breaks-out-as-mps-block-calls-for-holyrood-vote-1-4339534","id":"1.4339534","articleHeadline": "Brexit row breaks out as MPs block calls for Holyrood vote","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484389003000 ,"articleLead": "

A row has broken out over a major report on Brexit after Labour and Conservative MPs blocked calls for the Scottish Parliament to get a vote on the UK’s final deal with Brussels.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339533.1484388952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May has been urged to make clear if she intends to stay in the single market. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

A cross-party group of MPs has urged Prime Minister Theresa May to make clear whether she intends to stay in the EU single market and customs union before Brexit talks begin at the end of March.

The Commons exiting the EU committee also warned that UK companies which trade with Europe could move abroad unless a transitional deal is agreed to prevent a “cliff edge” end to single market membership. 
The report said MPs must be guaranteed a vote on the outcome of talks ahead of Brexit taking place in 2019, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland “duly involved” in the negotiation process.

But last night Labour and the Tories were accused of trying to prevent devolved administrations from having a say after it emerged an amendment that called on the government to seek their “endorsement” for the final Brexit deal was struck down.

The change was backed by Scottish and Welsh nationalists as well as Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, but failed to secure the support of a majority on the committee.

It comes as the Supreme Court prepares its verdict, which is expected next week, in a case that will decide whether the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish administrations must be consulted on aspects of Brexit that affect devolved powers.

The Labour government in Wales intervened in the case, and Scottish Labour gave its backing for a similar intervention by the Scottish Government.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said: “This vote shows just how little regard Tory and Labour MPs have for Scotland’s interests.

“Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, and whatever Brexit deal the UK negotiates it will have a huge impact on Scotland’s economy, society, and its institutions.

“It is essential that Scotland’s voice is heard in the UK’s negotiations with the EU, that the Scottish Government is involved fully in the negotiations, and that the agreement of the Scottish Parliament is sought on the final deal.”

Scottish Labour’s Westminster spokesman Ian Murray MP responded by accusing the SNP of using Brexit to further the case for independence.

“Rather than add anything constructive to the discussions about the most important decision for our country since the Second World War, Nationalists are once again playing political games to score cheap points,” he said.

In its first report, the committee said Mrs May must publish a White Paper on her plans for negotiations with Brussels by mid-February, to give MPs a chance to debate it before Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is triggered in March, launching formal negotiations.

The Prime Minister, who is to deliver a major speech on Britain’s post-EU future on Tuesday, agreed to calls from Labour to publish details of her plans for Brexit before triggering Article 50, but has given no commitments on the level of detail.

The committee warned that the task of preparing for Brexit would place a “strain” on departments across government for years to come, and suggested more civil servants may be needed to deal with the “significant challenge”.

And while MPs said transitional arrangements are needed to allow trade to continue if a deal is not reached by the end of the two-year formal negotiation period in 2019, they warned this “will not be in the government’s gift to deliver” if the EU insisted on delaying trade talks until after Brexit.

The report said an abrupt “cliff edge” exit without a new EU trading relationship in place would be “unsatisfactory and potentially damaging”. Access to European markets for financial services must be ensured, MPs said.

The Scottish Government’s lead minister on Brexit, Michael Russell, welcomed a call for the status of Europeans living in the UK to be settled quickly, warning the government “not to use EU citizens as bargaining chips”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "paris.gourtsoyannis@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4339533.1484388952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4339533.1484388952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May has been urged to make clear if she intends to stay in the single market. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May has been urged to make clear if she intends to stay in the single market. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4339533.1484388952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/joyce-mcmillan-truth-is-the-big-casualty-in-this-era-of-betrayal-1-4338431","id":"1.4338431","articleHeadline": "Joyce McMillan: Truth is the big casualty in this era of betrayal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484292545000 ,"articleLead": "

This current crisis over values and authority could be a turning point for society - or the last chapter of our decline and fall says Joyce McMillan

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4338430.1484292492!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trumps election may only have marked the beginning of this new age of fake news. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

On Sunday 4 December, just a few weeks after the US presidential election, a 28-year-old gunman with an assault rifle was arrested at a pizza restaurant in Washington D.C. after firing several shots, entering the building, and starting to threaten staff. He said he was there to investigate online reports he had read, which said that the restaurant was the headquarters of a child abuse ring involving Hillary Clinton; he later said that he now realised this wasn’t true, and apologised for his actions.

It was a trivial event, in the sense that no-one was hurt. Yet it seemed, in some ways, like an incident that encapsulated all that was wrong with last year’s Presidential campaign; the submerging of real political argument about policy and priorities under an avalanche of lies, half-truths, smears and allegations against the candidates, not least against Mrs Clinton. And now, it’s becoming apparent that Donald Trump’s election may only have marked the beginning of this new age of “fake new” and allegations about fake news. As I write, dispute is still raging, across the internet and in conventional media, about the credibility of this week’s sensational reports - absolutely denied by the President elect - that Russian intelligence services hold material on Donald Trump so compromising that he is effectively at their command.

And in trying to understand what is happening, it seems increasingly clear to me that what we are seeing is not so much a “post-truth” era in politics, as an even more wide-ranging crisis of values and authority, brought on over decades by an establishment which continued to use words like freedom, transparency, democracy, justice and truth, while in fact presiding over policies which achieved the exact opposite. From the various dodgy dossiers that took Britain and the US into the Iraq War, to the big lie that soaraway economic growth in the age of neoliberalism would always “trickle down” to ordinary workers, our elites have succeeded, over the past generation, in bringing many of those terms into disrepute, both at home and - even more markedly - in countries impacted by western foreign policy.

And when, after 2008, their economic world-view began to fall apart, they often showed no compunction in allying themselves with the kind of mainstream media which, historically, have never hesitated to invent or distort stories to support their own hate-mongering political agenda.

What has changed now, though, is that an increasing numbers of voters have had enough of this reign of hypocrisy, and therefore - it seems - of all the cherished western values that leaders like Tony Blair and Hillary Clinton claimed to hold dear. During Donald Trump’s election campaign, the single most shocking aspect to liberals like Meryl Streep, for example, was that nothing Trump could do or say seemed to outrage voters who had apparently washed their hands not only of establishment economic policy, but also of tiresome dominant ideas about treating women and black people as equals, or not mocking people with disabilities in public. “I will never, for as long as I live, understand why this was not the end of it,” tweeted one despairing American voter this week, reposting the scene in which Trump imitated and mocked a disabled journalist; and millions, on the anti-Trump side, shared his feelings.

And it goes without saying, of course, that if this new hostility towards received ideas of equality and justice is dangerous and tragic, in its power to turn back the clock on years of progress, then so is the matching hostility to the whole idea of truth, and of authoritative factual opinion. It is true that at times, over the last few decades, “expert opinion” has suborned itself to the demands of the wealthy and powerful in ways that have tended to discredit it.

Yet for all the difficulty we human beings often experience in distinguishing truth from lies, the one escape route which leads inevitably to destruction is the easy mantra that truth does not exist anyway, and that one version of reality is as good as another.

To put it bluntly, this vague post-modern belief - though embraced in theory by many - is manifest nonsense. It’s certainly not given to us to know the whole truth, in any area; but every step of progress our species has ever made, in medicine, in technology, in science, in our understanding of ourselves and our society, has been due to the efforts of people who felt driven to work towards a greater understanding of our world, and to piece together - fact by fact and detail by detail - a more accurate and useful picture of it, on which to build a better future.

Of course, many of the facts about our current time are frightening and hard to grasp; and it is therefore doubly worrying to see Donald Trump appointing many individuals to his government who have made careers out of rejecting scientific information which is inconvenient to their ideological beliefs.

Yet if we are to find a way of pulling our civilisation through the crisis in which it now finds itself, it can only be through the efforts of scientists who continue to work with all the integrity and patience they can muster, of those historians, artists and researchers who strive to understand our history and the society to which it has given birth, and perhaps - in no small measure - to journalists who continue, despite sometimes shocking pressures, to try to seek out the truth, and to tell it as it is.

And in the end, of course, that quest for truth also depends on all those other values that have been so much abused; on intellectual independence, honesty and curiosity, on a basic sense of justice expressed through our economic and social structures, and on the idea of government that is fundamentally accountable to the knowledge and views of the people. If we betray one of those principles, we finally betray them all; and if the history of the last 40 years in western politics has been one of mounting betrayal, then this alarming moment of crisis must either be a turning-point in that story, or the beginning of a long final chapter, charting our decline and fall.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JOYCE McMILLAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4338430.1484292492!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4338430.1484292492!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Donald Trumps election may only have marked the beginning of this new age of fake news. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trumps election may only have marked the beginning of this new age of fake news. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4338430.1484292492!/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/jeremy-corbyn-questions-dugdale-s-plan-for-new-act-of-union-1-4338345","id":"1.4338345","articleHeadline": "Jeremy Corbyn questions Dugdale’s plan for ‘new Act of Union’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484244670000 ,"articleLead": "

Jeremy Corbyn has refused to back Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale’s calls for a new Act of Union, in the latest sign of the rift between the pair.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4338402.1484251640!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn has refused to back Kezia Dugdale's call for a new act of Union. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Corbyn said he wanted a constitutional convention to improve representation for English regions and iron out differences between the powers of devolved assemblies, but failed to back Ms Dugdale’s initiative.

The Scottish Labour leader unveiled her blueprint for the future of the Union last month, saying the relationship between Scotland and the UK needed to be overhauled to prevent the fallout from Brexit “breaking the Union once and for all”.

But despite agreeing with the outline of Ms Dugdale’s proposal, the UK Labour leader questioned the language she used to launch her plan, saying: “I wouldn’t use the words ‘new Act of Union’”.

“I want us to look at the constitutional relationships,” Mr Corbyn said. “What we’ll be looking at is a new constitutional convention for the whole of the UK, because there are issues of lack of democracy in parts of our political structure, such as the unelected upper chamber, the House of Lords.”

Asked about the likelihood of a second referendum on Scottish independence, Mr Corbyn said a vote should be held if a majority of MSPs agree.

“I wouldn’t ask for one, although quite clearly if the Scottish Parliament wanted to have one the agreement has been that a second one could be held,” he said.

“I think it’s much more important that we address the economic issues facing the whole of the UK, and of course the negotiations with the European Union about what form of relationship we have with Europe in the future.”

The interview, in which the UK Labour leader admits he has failed to keep a promise to visit Scotland every month, is the latest indication of the sometimes difficult relationship between Mr Corbyn and Ms Dugdale.

A bitter power struggle played out at the UK Labour conference in September as Mr Corbyn’s allies tried to block party reforms giving the Scottish Labour leader a seat on the powerful national executive.

Labour’s only MP in Scotland, Ian Murray, resigned as shadow Scottish secretary before being given a role in Ms Dugdale’s front bench team.

SNP MSP Ivan McKee MSP claimed it was a “complete and utter embarrassment” that Ms Dugdale’s plans for the constitution had been “fatally undermined” by her own leader.

“Just last week Kezia Dugdale claimed that her London leader was backing her all the way, and that he supported her plan ‘unequivocally’,” he said. “But it’s now clear that nothing could be further from the truth.

“It’s one thing for Scottish Labour proposals for a ‘new Act of Union’ to be ridiculed and trashed by opponents, but quite another for them to be kyboshed by Jeremy Corbyn himself.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “I never thought I’d find myself agreeing with Jeremy Corbyn.

“But he’s quite right to reject the idea of a new act of union; it’s clearly little more than a Scottish Labour gimmick, from a party all at sea on the constitution.

“Instead of constant flip-flopping on the issue, Labour should be standing full-square behind Scotland’s decision to stay part of the UK.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “Labour will not support another independence referendum. More than two million people in Scotland voted to remain in the UK and that vote should be respected.

“Kezia Dugdale has proposed a new Act of Union, to strengthen our union across the whole of the UK for generations to come.”

Mr Corbyn also rejected calls from the Scottish Government for immigration powers to be devolved as part the Brexit settlement.

The Scottish Affairs Committee and a cross-party group of MPs looking at social integration have both backed the idea of nations and regions getting more power over immigration.

However, Mr Corbyn said any such moves would result in border checks within the UK.

“It would be very difficult to have regional immigration policies because if you have regional immigration policies, presumably you would have to have regional borders,” he said.

" ,"byline": {"email": "paris.gourtsoyannis@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4338402.1484251640!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4338402.1484251640!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jeremy Corbyn has refused to back Kezia Dugdale's call for a new act of Union. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn has refused to back Kezia Dugdale's call for a new act of Union. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4338402.1484251640!/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/patrick-harvie-says-greens-can-t-support-snp-s-budget-at-the-moment-1-4337861","id":"1.4337861","articleHeadline": "Patrick Harvie says Greens ‘can’t support’ SNP’s budget at the moment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484234588000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie has said his party is unable to support the Scottish Government’s budget at this stage.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4337858.1484228681!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Green co-convener Patrick Harvie"} ,"articleBody": "

Speaking on Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Harvie said the Greens wanted to see Finance Secretary Derek Mackay embrace a more progressive tax regime.

He also criticised cuts planned to council services.

As Finance Secretary of a minority government, Mr Mackay requires some opposition support to get his budget through Holyrood. Given that the SNP and the Greens both favour Scottish independence, Mr Mackay might have expected a sympathetic hearing from Mr Harvie for his plans.

But the Green co-convener said the budget was not progressive enough.

Mr Harvie said: “They could change the relationship between the basic rate – reduce the first half of it and increase the second half of it so that it is only the high earners that pay a bit more.

“They [Scottish government] could change the threshold in the higher rate. They are proposing to increase that, not by as much as the UK, but still increasing it - that represents a tax cut for high earners.”

The Green politician also attacked cuts to local authority budgets.

“I don’t think we could support a budget that has such astonishing cuts to local authority services,” he added.

Mr Harvie also suggested Scotland could revisit the independence question before the UK leaves the EU.

“I think a reasonable guess would be that if Scotland chooses to have this question again - if the UK digs its heels in and refuses to respect the way Scotland voted to remain in the EU - then maybe some point around half way mark of the two year Brexit negotiation or not long after the half way mark.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4337858.1484228681!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4337858.1484228681!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Green co-convener Patrick Harvie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Green co-convener Patrick Harvie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4337858.1484228681!/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/hard-brexit-could-see-indyref2-vote-held-in-2018-say-greens-1-4337949","id":"1.4337949","articleHeadline": "Hard Brexit could see indyref2 vote held in 2018, say Greens","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484227739000 ,"articleLead": "

A second independence referendum could be held next year if the UK Government “dig its heels in” and pursue a hard Brexit, Green co-convener Patrick Harvie said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4337948.1484227689!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Patrick Harvie says a second independence vote will come if hard Brexit is the outcome of EU negotiations. Picture: Scott Louden"} ,"articleBody": "

The pro-independence MSP suggested the halfway mark in the UK’s two-year period of negotiations to leave the European Union (EU) was a “reasonable guess” about the timing of another ballot.

Mr Harvie made the comments after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon explicitly ruled out staging a vote on independence in 2017.

The Green politician agreed with the SNP leader that the option of staging another referendum in the future needed to “remain on the table”.

Almost immediately after the European referendum, in which Scotland voted to Remain but the UK as a whole backed Leave, Ms Sturgeon warned another vote on Scottish independence was “highly likely”.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has already set a March deadline for triggering the Article 50 process and starting the formal negotiation period.

• READ MORE: Patrick Harvie says Green’s wont’ support budget

Mr Harvie told BBC Radio Scotland: “I don’t think anyone expected a second referendum to be held this year, what has been very clear is that the option needs to remain on the table, and we support that.

“That means the legislation to allow Holyrood to make that decision has to be progressed this year.”

He added that the “lack of clarity” from the UK Government over its negotiating strategy meant it is “very hard to see through the mists of Brexit” at the moment.

He told the Good Morning Scotland programme: “I think a reasonable guess at the moment might be that if Scotland chooses to have this question put again, if the UK chooses to dig its heels in and refuses to respect the way that Scotland voted to remain in the EU, then maybe at some point round about the halfway mark of the two-year Brexit negotiation period, or not long after that halfway mark, we might need to be in a position to put that question to the public.

“There is a contradiction between the 55% vote in 2014 to stay in the UK and the 62% vote last year to stay in the European Union.

“I think we need to explore the options to see if both of those votes can be respected, but if the UK Government refuses, if they refuse to budge from their hard Brexit, no special arrangements for Scotland position, then that contradiction will stand, and it may be that only the Scottish people are in a position to resolve that contradiction.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Katrine Bussey"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4337948.1484227689!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4337948.1484227689!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Patrick Harvie says a second independence vote will come if hard Brexit is the outcome of EU negotiations. Picture: Scott Louden","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Patrick Harvie says a second independence vote will come if hard Brexit is the outcome of EU negotiations. Picture: Scott Louden","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4337948.1484227689!/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/bella-caledonia-board-vote-to-keep-site-running-1-4336807","id":"1.4336807","articleHeadline": "Bella Caledonia board vote to keep site running","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484136618000 ,"articleLead": "

The advisory board of Bella Caledonia have voted unanimously to keep the online social and poliical magazine going.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336806.1484136571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bella Caledonia by Alasdair Gray. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The magazine planned to close down “unless an urgent fundraising appeal can be met.”

In an emergency meeting held on Tuesday evening, board members agreed to keep the magazine going with a view to restructuring it.

Board member, writer and co-founder Kevin Williamson said: “This weekend’s closure announcement by Mike Small arose from the constant pressure of being the sole individual responsible for almost every aspect of Bella’s publicity, production, commissioning and financing.

“We realise it’s too much for one person to manage – however dedicated or capable.”

Editor and co-founder Mike Small, who indicated his intention to step down, has agreed to continue in his role.

The board said in a statement that the website will keep publishing content but the company behind Bella Caledonia will close and re-start as a ‘media collective.’

First launched in 2007, the website was instrumental in boost support for the Yes campaign during the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Russell Jackson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336806.1484136571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336806.1484136571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bella Caledonia by Alasdair Gray. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bella Caledonia by Alasdair Gray. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336806.1484136571!/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/civil-servants-should-shut-up-and-get-on-with-brexit-1-4336710","id":"1.4336710","articleHeadline": "Civil servants ‘should shut up and get on with Brexit’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484132127000 ,"articleLead": "

Britain’s leading civil servants should shut up and get on with dealing with Brexit instead of demanding more money for the extra work, Sir Bernard Ingham has said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336708.1484132077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir Bernard Ingham says Britain's leading civil servants should shut up and get on with dealing with Brexit. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

He said Sir Ivan Rogers’s resignation as the UK ambassador to the EU was disgraceful and cast doubt on the integrity of the upper Civil Service.

Sir Bernard, who was Margaret Thatcher’s press secretary at 10 Downing Street, said senior civil servants had effectively put in a pay claim because the scale of the work involved over Brexit was unprecedented.

“You would not think that a top civil servant’s average salary is £77,000 and that 360 are paid more than the Prime Minister’s £149,440. Have they all become sissies? I doubt whether a lot of them know what work is.”

• READ MORE: Brexit: UK first in line for US trade deal, says Boris Johnson

Sir Bernard, writing in the Yorkshire Post, said Sir Ivan’s job was to advise the Government and not to criticise the Prime Minister publicly over ministers’ handling of the issue.

“His behaviour is disgraceful, casts serious doubts on the independence and objectivity of the upper Civil Service and damages his calling.

“We could do with hearing a lot less from civil servants and a lot more quiet dedication to implementing Government policy.

“They may think their political bosses are dead wrong and useless but at least they know what they have to do: get us out of the EU sharpish and no fiddling. They should shut up and get on with it.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336708.1484132077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336708.1484132077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sir Bernard Ingham says Britain's leading civil servants should shut up and get on with dealing with Brexit. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir Bernard Ingham says Britain's leading civil servants should shut up and get on with dealing with Brexit. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336708.1484132077!/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/holyrood-consultation-on-indyref2-legislation-closes-today-1-4336588","id":"1.4336588","articleHeadline": "Holyrood consultation on indyref2 legislation closes today","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484127401000 ,"articleLead": "

A consultation on legislation which could lead to a second Scottish independence referendum closes today.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336587.1484127354!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced in October her government would be seeking views on the issue in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union (EU).

While a majority across Britain backed Brexit, almost two-thirds (62 per cent) of Scottish voters wanted to remain part of the EU.

The SNP leader said at the time: “I am determined that Scotland will have the ability to reconsider the question of independence - and to do so before the UK leaves the EU - if that is necessary to protect our country’s interests.”

The SNP manifesto in the run-up to the 2016 Holyrood elections indicated another referendum could take place “if there was a significant and material change in the circumstances” from 2014 “such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will”.

• READ MORE: Brian Monteith: Why indyref2 bill is just not fair

The consultation proposes regulations that would govern any future referendum, which largely follow those from the September 2014 vote, when Scots backed staying in the UK by 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

The Scottish Government has also published separate proposals aimed at protecting Scottish interests in Europe, which include options to allow the country to remain in the single market even if the rest of the UK leaves and to transfer significant new powers to Holyrood.

But Ms Sturgeon has consistently stressed that the Scottish Parliament must be able to consider the option of an independence referendum ‘’if it becomes clear that it is the best or only way of safeguarding Scotland’s interests’’.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Responses to the consultation on a Draft Referendum Bill will be analysed and the Scottish Government will respond in due course.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Katrine Bussey"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336587.1484127354!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336587.1484127354!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336587.1484127354!/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/scott-macnab-snp-faces-a-post-oil-financial-dilemma-1-4336375","id":"1.4336375","articleHeadline": "Scott Macnab: SNP faces a ‘post-oil’ financial dilemma","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484114400000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish Government needs to come up with an economic case for independence which looks beyond fossil fuels, says Scott Macnab

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336374.1484079390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The cost of scrapping redundant oil rigs could wipe out future North Sea tax revenues."} ,"articleBody": "

‘It’s Scotland oil.” It was the slogan which drove the rise of the modern-day nationalist movement in Scotland. The bountiful supplies of black gold nestling under the seabed of Scottish waters was hailed as the natural resource which could see the country not just survive as an independent nation free from London’s apron strings – but flourish.

It has been a powerful message in recent decades as tens of billions of barrels of oil and gas flowed into Shetland and Peterhead, keeping the London Treasury coffers stuffed with lucrative tax revenues. It helped establish the SNP as a serious parliamentary presence and, with devolution, saw the Nationalists emerge initially as the main opposition in Scotland and now as the natural party of government. And more than 30 years after the industry took off in the UK, future oil and gas wealth was still at the heart of the Scottish independence referendum battle in 2014. Nationalists insisted, including Scottish Government energy minister Fergus Ewing, that it could be around until 2050, providing a vital source of tax revenue for a newly independent state.

A Norway-style oil fund was even planned to ensure future generations would share in the success. But the final few months of the independence campaign saw a marked slide in the global price of oil. It was barely noticed by commentators at the time, but marked the start of a prolonged slide which would see the price fall from $110 a barrel to less than $40 two years later.

And despite a recent recovery to about $55, a chilling report published this week warns of a new bombshell looming for the industry. The cost of scrapping rigs and pipelines could prove so high that it wipes out all future tax revenues the Treasury can expect to raise from the increasingly mature fields.

The Wood Mackenzie analysis warns that taxpayers will be forced to pick up about £24 billion in decommissioning costs – about 45 per cent of the total bill – because of the subsidies oil giants like Shell can claw back in tax rebates. It’s not clear to what extent these costs would fall to a Scottish exchequer after independence, but there would certainly be some liability with most of the UK’s continental shelf lying in Scottish waters. It’s bleak news both for the industry and Scotland’s struggling economy. Even before the price crash, the concern over falling production levels prompted major concern over how much of the 20 billion or so barrels of oil left in the North Sea could be extracted. Sir Ian Wood, the oil and gas services tycoon, even produced a report setting out action to stimulate production.

There was a welcome increase last year after years of decline. But it remains worryingly low at 72.7 million tonnes – down from 100 million five years previously. Nicola Sturgeon says the impact of the oil crash has left Scotland’s economy in a state of “shock”.

Apart from the 120,000 jobs which have been lost as oil firms cut back on costs, GDP has taken a major hit and stands at about a third of the overall UK rate. Unemployment rates are also higher north of the Border, with those in work now significantly below the UK-wide average.

The impact on Treasury coffers has been so significant that revenues effectively fell into the red two years ago as subsidies outweighed revenue levels. Last year saw a marginal improvement, but the outlook remains bleak for the sector.

The Wood Mackenzie analysis this week warns that firms may seek to delay decommissioning to avoid the high costs, but dwindling oil and gas reserves in the North Sea are “working against them”.

Entire areas, including larger platforms and smaller tie fields, are under threat as a result, with the danger of a “domino effect” as they begin to shut down. Firms are legally obliged to decommission the ageing infrastructure in the North Sea, to bring rigs and pipelines ashore to be disposed of. Oil giants signed up to this when they secured deals to drill Scotland’s seabed and reap multi-billion dollar profits for decades.

And decommissioning could also be a lucrative industry in the decades to come with the national economic development agency Scottish Enterprise having drawn up plans to capitalise on the opportunities.

It is estimated that this could be worth £11bn by the mid-2020s and support about 23,000 jobs at its peak. More than 300 oil and gas installations require to be scrapped, along with almost 400 subsea installations and 16,000km of pipelines and over 5,000 wells.

Globally, the oil industry has yet to really get to grips with the demands of scrapping such ageing infrastructure. Only in the Gulf of Mexico has it been happening for any length of time.

Even setting tax revenues aside, the oil and gas industry remains a hugely important driver of economic activity in Scotland. The industry still supports more than 300,000 jobs and the knock-on activity this generates, especially in Aberdeen and the North-east, cannot be underestimated.

But it is also clear that the Scottish Government needs a new economic strategy to focus on life after the North Sea. Nicola Sturgeon knows this and has already launched a growth commission, under the SNP’s auspices, which will seek to map out the key economic arguments for the next independence referendum battle.

This is likely to focus on building Scotland’s key strengths at the moment such as the life sciences industry, food and drink and financial and business services.

Renewables is another area where Scotland remains strong, while tourism and the creative industries are also sectors where ministers have previously talked of focusing support.

But as small business leaders today warn that confidence among firms has been falling consistently for more than a year, while the rest of the UK in contrast has rebounded after a series of strong economic indicators UK-wide, the situation facing Scotland’s economy is acute.

Perhaps the economic case for that second independence vote should start right now with action to revive Scotland’s flatlining growth.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT MACNAB"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336374.1484079390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336374.1484079390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The cost of scrapping redundant oil rigs could wipe out future North Sea tax revenues.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The cost of scrapping redundant oil rigs could wipe out future North Sea tax revenues.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336374.1484079390!/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/martyn-mclaughlin-new-media-s-problems-are-a-blow-for-our-nation-s-conversation-1-4336377","id":"1.4336377","articleHeadline": "Martyn McLaughlin: New media’s problems are a blow for our nation’s conversation","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484114400000 ,"articleLead": "

Alternative voices have to be heard in the political debate over Scotland’s future, writes Martyn McLaughlin

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336376.1484079395!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cat Boyd stood as a RISE candidate in last years Holyrood election. New media coverage of Rise and tactical voting didnt suit all independence supporters. Picture Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

If the work to build a case for a second referendum is under way, the independence movement has suffered a blow with the pending closure of Bella Caledonia, the online magazine that evolved over the past decade to become an influential forum for discussion and ideas.

At its best, the site seamlessly wedded political coverage to cultural commentary, exploring both with a natural curiosity and fluency. The subject and scope of the articles it commissioned were diverse to the point of being haphazard at times, a necessity borne from its limited means.

It also provided a platform for an emerging generation of new voices, many of whom have gone on to forge successful careers in the arts, the third sector, politics, and the media. In keeping with Britain’s centuries old radical press tradition, its band of contributors was a disparate lot. Few had formal journalistic training and they were largely united by a shared background in activism. It was a formula which inevitably invited occasional erraticism, skittish op-eds, and howling factual errors. These were, however, prices worth paying for vibrancy and vigour.

It is ironic and frustrating that such positive traits are a legacy of the financial limitations which now threaten Bella Caledonia’s future. An emergency meeting of the site’s advisory board took place yesterday. If the reports of its closure are accurate – and now seems an opportune time to remember that its custodians have flirted with the idea of closure before, only to be lifted from their knees thanks to a wave of reader contributions – it will be a black mark against our country’s proud journalistic history.

The full reasons for Bella Caledonia’s pending collapse are unknown, and may never be, but there is anecdotal evidence that the coverage it afforded the Rise party and tactical voting during last year’s Holyrood elections resulted in a torrent of abuse which consequently robbed it of a small yet sizeable readership who subscribe to the view that the 
pro-independence media should be aligned with the SNP and the SNP alone.

It is a regrettable yet entirely predictable development given the febrile nature of an uneasy coalition easily given to schisms and rampant zoomerism post September 2014. The paranoia has worsened of late, to the extent that reasoned criticism of Scotland’s party of government is routinely met with threats of boycotts. If Bella is a casualty, it will send out a message that moderate voices have no place in the debate over Scotland’s future.

That can only harm the pro-independence media at a time when its sustainability and political ambitions depend on embracing pluralism and engaging with a wider demographic – not least that fabled 10 per cent – with the prospect of a second referendum looming. Perhaps such issues will be discussed at this weekend’s Scottish Independence Convention conference in Glasgow.

Then again, perhaps not. Others will point out that money and institutional structures are just as important factors at play as the politics.

While Bella Caledonia’s advisory board of two dozen members is a democratic model, as a company it is considerably less expansive. It was only incorporated at Companies House in autumn 2013 and has a sole director in the form of Mike Small, its outgoing editor and co-founder. Abbreviated accounts show that, as of last spring, the firm had reserves of around £20,000 and it reached only two thirds of its most recent crowdfunding goal.

Whatever happens, the organisation’s precarious economics ought to enliven debate about how the rest of Scotland’s new media can stave off a similar fate. From NewsShaft to the Caledonian Mercury, the ether is already littered with the cadavers of sizeable online ventures which ended in failure. They are unlikely to be the last.

In the ten years that have passed since Bella Caledonia’s launch, it has been joined by some enterprising startups. CommonSpace, the news and commentary site owned by the Common Weal think tank, and The Ferret, a cluster of experienced investigative reporters based in Scotland, have shown how the alternative media need not exist solely as reactive monitors debunking, dismissing or decrying existing output. There is a place for that, though these sites choose to plough their own furrow, breaking public interest stories.

Crucially, they also recognise the importance of scaling up their readership by collaborating with national newspapers to distribute their work and break through to new audiences. Yet the fact remains that they too are dependent on the same model of donations and crowdfunding utilised by Bella Caledonia.

The question of what an alternative online revenue model may look like is one that both the traditional media and the new have still to satisfactorily answer, but it is particularly important the latter finds a solution. New media has an important part to play in the debate over Scotland’s future. No-one stands to benefit from its demise.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTYN McLAUGHLIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336376.1484079395!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336376.1484079395!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Cat Boyd stood as a RISE candidate in last years Holyrood election. New media coverage of Rise and tactical voting didnt suit all independence supporters. Picture Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cat Boyd stood as a RISE candidate in last years Holyrood election. New media coverage of Rise and tactical voting didnt suit all independence supporters. Picture Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336376.1484079395!/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/scotland-s-small-firms-have-confidence-gap-with-uk-1-4336351","id":"1.4336351","articleHeadline": "Scotland’s small firms have ‘confidence gap’ with UK","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484092801000 ,"articleLead": "

A growing “confidence gap” is emerging between Scottish small businesses and their counterparts elsewhere in the UK, a new report has shown.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4323494.1484075721!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A growing 'confidence gap' exists between Scottish smaull business and their counterparts in the rest of the UKPicture: David Davies/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Latest Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) statistics found confidence levels in Scotland fell by more than ten points between autumn and the end of 2016, from -18.8 to -28.9.

UK-wide, small business confidence has grown, climbing from -2.9 points to 8.5 points in the same period.

The fall in Scotland continues an 18-month decline and the domestic economy is highlighted as the top concern for companies, with 55 per cent citing it as a barrier to growth.

Problems recruiting skilled staff and low consumer demand were also seen as restricting growth. Overall, a net balance 11 per cent of Scottish firms reported reduced staff numbers.

Just under half of 144 Scottish firms responding to the study (46 per cent) said their profits fell in the last quarter of the year while 27 per cent said profits were up, leaving a 19 per cent net balance of Scottish firms with declining profits, compared with 3 per cent UK-wide.

The report states: “While other parts of the UK experienced a resurgence in small business confidence in the last quarter of 2016, Scotland’s firms present a far more pessimistic outlook.

“The Scottish economy may be in for a challenging 2017. A general lack of certainty, both politically and with regards to the future economic environment, is also hampering firms.”

Scottish Conservative shadow economy secretary Dean Lockhart said: “In times of uncertainty, the Scottish Government should be doing all it can to help businesses of all sizes.

“But, instead, it continues to hang the threat of independence over companies who just want to know what the future has in store.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Brexit is by far the biggest threat to Scotland’s jobs, prosperity and economy. That is why we have always been clear that remaining in Europe- and keeping our existing place in the world’s largest single market of more than 500 million people - is the best option for our future.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4323494.1484075721!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4323494.1484075721!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A growing 'confidence gap' exists between Scottish smaull business and their counterparts in the rest of the UKPicture: David Davies/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A growing 'confidence gap' exists between Scottish smaull business and their counterparts in the rest of the UKPicture: David Davies/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4323494.1484075721!/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/indycamp-group-refused-supreme-court-appeal-1-4336234","id":"1.4336234","articleHeadline": "IndyCamp group refused Supreme Court appeal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484064286000 ,"articleLead": "

Independence campaigners evicted from a camp on the grounds of the Scottish Parliament have been refused permission to take an appeal to the UK’s highest court.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336233.1484064237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Supporters of the IndyCamp. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor / J P License"} ,"articleBody": "

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

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

Judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled in favour of the parliament last summer, and again later on after an appeal, paving the way for the eviction of the campaigners on November 4.

READ MORE: Indycamp protesters claim their phones are being hacked

Despite being removed from the site, the IndyCamp group continued its legal battle against the earlier court rulings.

They returned to Scotland’s highest civil court on Tuesday to apply for permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court.

Three Court of Session judges hearing the application - Lady Dorrian, Lord Menzies and Lord Glennie - did not grant the group permission to take their legal battle to London.

Speaking after the hearing, a spokesman for the Judicial Office for Scotland confirmed: “The Inner House of the Court of Session refused to grant permission to appeal as the court did not consider that the applications raised arguable points of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by the Supreme Court at this time.”

In civil cases where leave to appeal to the Supreme Court is refused, a party can still go on to apply directly to the London-based court for permission to appeal.

It is understood the campaigners have 28 days in which to lodge any such application.

The group had argued its removal was unfair and objected to being evicted before the Supreme Court question had been dealt with.

Earlier hearings in the case saw unusual arguments aired in court, including claims that Jesus Christ had given permission for the camp.

A Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said on Tuesday: “We welcome the Court of Session’s decision today that the protesters have no grounds for a further appeal to the Supreme Court.

“We hope the protesters will accept the court’s ruling so we can bring matters to a close.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "HILARY DUNCANSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4336233.1484064237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4336233.1484064237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Supporters of the IndyCamp. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor / J P License","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Supporters of the IndyCamp. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor / J P License","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4336233.1484064237!/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/kenny-macaskill-indyref2-harder-to-win-due-to-flagging-economy-1-4335783","id":"1.4335783","articleHeadline": "Kenny MacAskill: Indyref2 harder to win due to flagging economy","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484041448000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s economic situation is “worse” than it was in 2014 and will make winning a second referendum on independence more difficult for the Yes side, a former SNP cabinet secretary has said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335782.1484041400!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former MSP and minister Kenny MacAskill. Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Kenny MacAskill, who served as Justice Secretary under Alex Salmond for seven years, said Scotland’s current circumstances mean the odds of achieving independence are “less favourable” than last time around.

Writing in The Scotsman’s sister paper i, the former SNP MSP added that the unresolved issue of what currency an independent Scotland might use “hangs like a dark cloud” over those who believe it would be better off outside the UK.

Mr MacAskill, who stood down as an MSP last year after serving in the Scottish Parliament since it opened in 1999, said the Brexit vote had given Nicola Sturgeon a mandate to call another referendum – but had also raised a series of fresh barriers to independence.

The threat of customs posts on the border with England was “a worry for ordinary people” in Scotland, he said, adding that many Yes supporters had voted for the UK to leave the EU and may be wary of backing independence if it meant handing powers back to Brussels.

“Its arguable that the circumstances for a vote are both less favourable and more complicated than when the first referendum was held in 2014,” he wrote.

“The economic situation is if anything worse. Though the oil price has risen in the last few weeks, the North Sea has been hit hard. As a consequence, so has economic confidence and not just in the North East. All the evidence is that it was those key economic questions that cost the Yes campaign victory – and yet they remain.”

• READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon rules out second independence vote in 2017

Ms Sturgeon has previously said that a re-run of 2014’s referendum is “highly likely” in the wake of the Brexit vote, which resulted in Scotland facing EU withdrawal despite 62 per cent of the nation’s population voting to remain. However, opinion polls have suggested that a majority of Scots still favour remaining part of the UK.

Yesterday the First Minister ruled out holding another referendum this year, but insisted she would call one if Scotland was faced with a hard Brexit outside the EU single market.

Responding to Mr MacAskill’s comments, a spokesman for the SNP said it was “absolutely right” for the party to keep the option of independence “firmly on the table”.

“Scotland faces the prospect of being dragged out of the EU against our will, with Theresa May seemingly determined to pursue a Tory hard Brexit – which threatens to be catastrophic for Scottish jobs and our economy – putting the interests of her party ahead of the interests of the country,” he added.

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “Kenny MacAskill is quite right in saying a second vote would be less likely to succeed than the original.

“People are utterly fed-up of constitutional wrangling, and simply want the SNP to take this off the table altogether.

“Nicola Sturgeon knows fine well she’d lose a second separation vote if it was held tomorrow, which is why she’s appeared to go cold on the subject.

“Voters in Scotland made their decision in 2014, and the SNP should stick to its word and ensure that was a once in a generation referendum.”

Scottish Labour’s Europe spokesman Lewis Macdonald added: “Kenny MacAskill’s comments on independence sum up the SNP – nationalists don’t question whether or not independence would be good for Scotland, all they care about is the politics of how to win a referendum.”

• This piece originally appeared in i

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Chris Green"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4335782.1484041400!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335782.1484041400!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former MSP and minister Kenny MacAskill. Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former MSP and minister Kenny MacAskill. Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4335782.1484041400!/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/calls-for-laws-to-enforce-quotas-for-women-mps-1-4335760","id":"1.4335760","articleHeadline": "Calls for laws to enforce quotas for women MPs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484039639000 ,"articleLead": "

The Government is facing a call from MPs to legislate to ensure at least 45 per cent of parliamentary candidates fielded by political parties are women.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335758.1484039591!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Quotas are being suggested to ensure 45 per cent of MPs are women. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The Commons Women and Equalities Committee said the lack of women MPs relative to the numbers of men represented a “serious democratic deficit”.

It called on ministers to set a target for 45 per cent of all representatives in Parliament and in local government to be women by 2030.

It said the goal should be backed by legislation setting a statutory minimum proportion of female parliamentary candidates in general elections for each political party, with fines or other sanctions for those that failed to comply.

“While the goal is equality, we recognise the difficulty inherent in setting this statutory minimum at 50 per cent; such a precise target would be difficult to meet while also ensuring that men did not become under-represented.

“A minimum of 45 per cent would therefore be acceptable,” it said.

It urged the Government to bring forward legislation in the current parliament so that the new requirements could be brought into force if the proportion of women MPs does not increase significantly at the next general election in 2020.

Currently, the committee said, just 30 per cent of MPs are women with the UK ranking 48th globally for female representation in the lower or single legislative chamber, having fallen back from 25th place in 1999.

• READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon rules out second independence vote in 2017

While all the main party leaders had made commitments to increase their tally of women MPs, the committee said it had seen little evidence of any “robust work” within parties to assess their likely effectiveness or setting out detailed road maps for implementing them.

It said ministers should now invoke statutory powers contained in the Equality Act 2010 requiring parties to publish their candidate diversity data for general elections while providing the Electoral Commission with new powers to collect and host the information.

“Women make up more than half the population of the United Kingdom and, at a time when more women are in work than ever before, there is no good reason why women should not make up half of the House of Commons,” it said.

“If the Commons is serious about being truly representative of the people that it seeks to represent, it must rise to the challenge of being a world leader on women’s parliamentary representation.”

In other recommendations, the committee called for the provisions of the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002 to be extended so the parties can continue to operate all-women shortlists after 2030 - as well as extending them to cover elected mayors and police and crime commissioners.

The committee chairwoman, Conservative former culture secretary Maria Miller, said: “In their evidence to our inquiry, the leaders of political parties agreed that the Commons would benefit from gender equality, and a range of initiatives is in place to improve the situation.

“But we saw little to justify their confidence that these will be sufficient.

“We need concrete action plans. We need party leadership to provide clear and strong direction in working with local parties to deliver more women candidates. We need to see more women candidates in winnable seats.

“Above all, parties need to be transparent and accountable in their progress - or the lack of it.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4335758.1484039591!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335758.1484039591!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Quotas are being suggested to ensure 45 per cent of MPs are women. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Quotas are being suggested to ensure 45 per cent of MPs are women. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4335758.1484039591!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-rules-out-second-independence-vote-in-2017-1-4335193","id":"1.4335193","articleHeadline": "Nicola Sturgeon rules out second independence vote in 2017","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484038363000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out holding a referendum on Scottish independence this year despite growing tensions with the UK government over its Brexit strategy.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335192.1483968910!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out holding a second independence referendum in 2017."} ,"articleBody": "

Ms Sturgeon warned at the weekend she is “not bluffing” about another referendum but said it will not be this year.

“There is not going to be an independence referendum in 2017, I don’t think there is anybody who thinks that is the case,” she said.

“But another independence referendum has to be on the table to make sure that Scotland doesn’t end up in the position of being driven off a hard Brexit cliff edge by a UK government that said in 2014 that voting no was the only way to stay in the EU and now wants to steamroller Scotland’s voice and opinion. I will not let than happen.”

The First Minister indicated last week that a referendum could be shelved if a “soft Brexit “ approach was adopted to the UK’s departure from the EU next year. This would mean remaining in the EU single market which Ms Sturgeon sees as essential to Scotland’s future economic growth, with research warning that 80,00 jobs could be at risk and billions lost from the economy north of the Border.

The Scottish Government has already drafted legislation for a second independence vote, which it says will be used if it concludes independence is the only way to protect Scotland’s place in Europe.

The government has also published a paper on options aimed at keeping Scotland in the European single market.

Ms Sturgeon has urged the UK government to opt for a so-called soft Brexit and stay in the single market. Failing that, she wants a special arrangement to allow Scotland to stay in the single market if the rest of the UK leaves.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT MACNAB"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4335192.1483968910!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335192.1483968910!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out holding a second independence referendum in 2017.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out holding a second independence referendum in 2017.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4335192.1483968910!/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/paris-gourtsoyannis-corbyn-s-resolution-get-mean-in-17-1-4335560","id":"1.4335560","articleHeadline": "Paris Gourtsoyannis: Corbyn’s resolution: get mean in ’17","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1484028000000 ,"articleLead": "

A populist, anti-media remake for the Labour leader won’t hide his party’s divisions, says Paris Gourtsoyannis

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335559.1483993796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn is apparently to rebrand himself with an image akin to US Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Delve to the back of the wardrobe for the battered old pair of trainers, pour the half-drunk bottles of wine down the sink, and get that gym membership form filled in.

It’s a new year, and a shot at a new you.

Exercise more, cycle to the office, cut down on the booze, quit smoking, go running, eat spelt. It’s what the mop-haired, smooth-skinned personal trainer with a book deal commands from every bus shelter advert.

For politicians, too, the return to work offers a brief window of opportunity for reinvention, and like the rest of us, they cannot resist the rip-tide of good intentions.

So Nicola Sturgeon has started the year by re-branding herself as a conciliator, offering a soft Brexit get-out clause to avoid a second independence referendum, and ruling out calling a snap vote in 2017. Six months of talking up the imminent and likely threat of indyref2 have been forgotten.

Theresa May, too, yesterday put six long years in government behind her to set out a social reform agenda to make the UK economy work for everyone.

Today it is the turn of Jeremy Corbyn, after what seems like several months of vacation for the Labour leader, to turn off his out-of-office and start remaking his image for 2017.

His advisers have been briefing the media about what Jeremy 2.0 will look like, and it seems that rather than embracing clean-living, it will draw inspiration from a far less wholesome example.

Never mind getting lean – Mr Corbyn’s New Year resolution is to get mean in seventeen.

Having digested the US presidential election, the Labour leader will shoot out of the 2017 blocks with a harder, populist edge.

His advisers apparently claim the new image will be borrowed from Bernie Sanders, the veteran socialist who ran Hilary Clinton close for the Democratic nomination for US president. In the dreams of the American left, Mr Sanders would have defended the white, working class vote and prevented the current waking nightmare.

So far, however, the only discernible change in Mr Corbyn’s re-brand seems to have been taken straight from the Trump playbook: attack the media, when you’re not ignoring it.

Coupled with an edict to “let Corbyn be Corbyn” and embrace his inner eurosceptic, some argue his new identity plays to his strengths – and weaknesses.

The Labour leader has not enjoyed the best press during his time in office, and the strategy builds on a pre-existing tendency to lash out at journalists.

After fiercely defending his record on the EU referendum campaign trail, the chains have already been loosened somewhat, with Mr Corbyn claiming “people didn’t trust politicians and they didn’t trust the European Union” in his New Year message.

But even though Mr Corbyn’s socialist euroscepticism is a more convincing look, it remains hard to see a London MP from the metropolitan left holding on to what’s left of Labour’s northern, working-class base. If the government gives the appearance of being utterly lost over Brexit, Labour are just as deep in the wilderness in a fruitless search for its response. The party spent the last few months of 2016 keeping up the pretence that it would offer robust opposition over Brexit. But its shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer was outmanoeuvred in the Commons over a vote intended to force the government to publish its Brexit plan, and now its leader has effectively run up a white flag. Nowhere are those divisions worse than over immigration, where the Labour leader no longer seems to agree with one of his closest allies in the shadow cabinet, immigration minister Diane Abbott.

Indeed, Mr Corbyn isn’t even in agreement with himself anymore. At his party’s conference four months ago, he said he wanted “no limit” on immigration.

While Labour now demands access to the EU single market as part of the Brexit deal, which necessarily means a continuation of the free movement of people, it is also happy to bow to the pressure of Leave votes in their constituency with a tough new line on immigration. The tension between the two positions is scarcely more credible than when it is heard from government – and to her credit, Mrs May has now admitted she can’t hang on to “bits” of EU membership.

In fairness to Labour MPs, the same splits exist in the country as well as in parliament. Analysis of the Brexit vote shows that no party has been so divided by the EU referendum. According to figures compiled by Chris Hanretty of the University of East Anglia, of the 100 constituencies with the strongest estimated Brexit vote, 46 are Labour – but the party also holds 41 of the 100 strongest Remain areas, too.

Like Labour in Scotland, which failed to choose a clear path for itself after the 2014 independence referendum and has only now, perhaps too late, arrived at a consistent position on the constitution, Labour across the UK risks being squeezed by a decision that divides its electorate.

In Europe, the collapse of old political certainties has seen a proliferation of new political voices that have troubled, if not toppled established elites. In Greece, Spain, France, Germany and Italy, the duopoly of centre left and centre right has been split by new forces. In Britain, where the collapse of the political centre has dragged Labour down with it, the same pressures risk having the opposite effect. There seemed to be no depth that Scottish Labour could sink to – first losing power, then losing influence, now at risk of being completely usurped by the Tories. Local elections this year will demonstrate how complete its collapse is.

Rather than taking lessons from the US, Jeremy Corbyn should heed the warning from Scotland. Just as it was north of the Border, Labour across the UK risks being squeezed by a referendum that is forcing it to choose between two parts of its political identity. It can’t choose a populist path while claiming to represent both.

" ,"byline": {"email": "paris.gourtsoyannis@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4335559.1483993796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4335559.1483993796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jeremy Corbyn is apparently to rebrand himself with an image akin to US Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn is apparently to rebrand himself with an image akin to US Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4335559.1483993796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}