Duncan Hamilton rss

David Cameron arrives at the summit in Riga. Picture: PA

Euan McColm: A second referendum

Just months after the vote on independence, another split-or-stay campaign is already under way as battle lines are drawn over EU membership, writes Euan McColm


Estate agents should come up with new words to describe properties. Picture: Jane Barlow

Hannah McGill: Scrabbling around for a new house

I AM looking for a house to buy. While it is, of course, a comparatively comfortable position in which to be, looking for a house to buy makes you go mad. Remember Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg at the end of The Social Network, refreshing his Face­book page over and over again to see if his ex has accepted his friend request? That’s me on ESPC.com, looking for newly added properties within our somewhat restrictive price range.

Ian Davidson: Labour blighted by ‘C’ words

LABOUR in Scotland owes an apology to the party and the labour movement throughout the rest of Britain for its abject failure in the general election. Not only did its incompetence lose Labour 40 seats in Scotland but it also cost Labour seats in England and Wales as the Murdoch coalition of the SNP in Scotland and the Tories in England, working in a symbiotic relationship, was able to create and capitalise on two opposing nationalisms to benefit the rich and powerful throughout Britain.


Supporters of same-sex marriage waiting outside Dublin Castle for the result of the referendum yesterday. Picture: Getty

Dani Garavelli: Ireland says Yes to happier future

IS THERE anyone who wasn’t shedding big, fat tears of hope as Ireland’s diaspora headed home on Friday in a mass attempt to take their country from its benighted past into a happier, more inclusive future?


Picture: John Devlin

Dani Garavelli: Underneath the Arches

A popular backlash is mounting against plans that threaten to kill off an iconic Glasgow cultural venue, writes Dani Garavelli


How we structure the way we govern and fund ourselves is a decision we should take with the long term in mind

Andrew Wilson: Take charge of tax to plug ‘black hole’

VERY few things in life properly rile me. I like to retain a calm and sunny disposition as a rule: but littering, discourtesy (especially to older people), Motherwell facing relegation play-offs, bigotry, cruelty to children, discussions about the Barnett formula and Scottish public finances… they all do it.


The House of Lords. Picture: Getty

Euan McColm: SNP Lords could make a difference

THERE comes a point when being a rebel is no longer dignified. After a certain age, you just look silly. As a youngster, you can rage against authority, lash out at “the man” and scuff along all mean and moody, like. But, one day, you look in the mirror and you’re just a middle-aged bloke in skinny jeans that dig into your paunch and make it impossible for you to bend down. If you drop your keys in the street, you have to leave them where they lie, glinting, taunting you.


Proclaimer Charlie Reid. Picture: Greg Macvean

Drumlanrig: Salmond eclipsed by Charlie Reid

THE excellent Jolly Ristorante in Edinburgh’s Elm Row is a popular hang-out for the SNP intelligentsia. Alex Salmond, no less, is a regular there, where he is often called upon to pose for selfies – a “chore” that he takes on with some relish.

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Politicians need to listen first before they embark on another version of devolution. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Martin Sime: Welfare needs to be centre of debate

IN THE wake of the general election, Lord Smith’s proposals for further devolution are again centre-stage in Scotland’s devolution story. Do they go far enough? Should they give way to a UK constitutional commission? Should the new government just plough ahead regardless? Some political choices are imminent.


Kezia Dugdale is the runaway favourite to win the Scottish Labour leadership. Picture: John Devlin

Leaders: Labour squabble is a turn-off

Desposed MP is hurting but heavy criticism of party only encourages more destructive in-fighting

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Martin Flanagan

Comment: Why a little deflation is a good thing

WE SLIPPED into deflation last week – but don’t panic. In terms of a threat to the UK recovery, it barely constitutes one-and-a-quarter horsemen of the apocalypse, although its like has not been seen since the 1960s, that time of Ford Zodiacs, football shirts without advertising and Harold Wilson’s “white heat of technology”.

Jeff Salway

Comment: Scotland should take lead with living wage

ITS benefits for household finances, savings levels, employers and the wider economy are proven and significant. The advantages of adopting the living wage – £7.85 an hour (£9.15 in London), compared with the £6.50 minimum wage – are numerous and enormous. Yet too many of Scotland’s big employers still don’t get it.

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Facebook made Mark Zuckerbergs fortune, but can it make yours? Picture: AP

Comment: Strong case to ‘Like’ social media

OF ALL the changes business has faced over the past decade, arguably the most challenging has been the explosive rise of social media. It is sweeping all before it – except, it seems, a very large number of successful business people who regard it as a time-wasting bane and, at best, a distraction from the business of business.

A tourist takes a photo on Wall Street. Recent sales of government debt has triggered some uncertainty in stock markets. Picture: Getty

Take bull by the horns and don’t panic about bonds

Jeff Salway offers words of reassurance as well as some options for savers and investors worried by recent movements in the markets

Murphy faces the press to announce his imminent resignation shortly after winning the no confidence vote against him. Picture: John Devlin

Tom Peterkin: Jim Murphy just fell foul of history

DESPITE the calls for his head and the catastrophic nature of Scottish Labour’s defeat at the general election, it was still something of a surprise to hear Jim Murphy announce he intends to quit as leader.


Alex Salmond is the centre of attention at the Westminster photo-call for 2015s new intake of 56 nationalists. Picture: PA

David Torrance: Will Salmond be kept under control?

Alex Salmond’s return to the UK parliament strengthens the SNP’s ranks but he will need encouragement not to stray from his new brief in foreign affairs, writes David Torrance


Charles salutes at a Gallipoli memorial service. Picture: Getty

Dani Garavelli: Prince Charles and Mountbatten

The Prince’s return to the site of the IRA atrocity that killed his great uncle will be a time to reflect on the man who moulded this awkward heir, writes Dani Garavelli


Over the past decade our world-class education system has been systematically destroyed. Picture: Jane Barlow

Penny Lewis: No marks for Curriculum for Excellence

THE Scottish education system was once a source of national pride. Until recently, Scotland sustained an education system driven by the belief that all individuals, regardless of social class, would benefit from a liberal academic education. The exposure of all Scotland’s children to “the best that has been written and thought” was seen as a public and personal good.


Could Britain not temporarily swap the Elgin marbles for something equally nice from Greece?

Hannah McGill: Time to return all my booty

THE matter of whether Britain should give the Elgin or Parthenon marbles back to Greece has been at the fore again, drawing attention to the fact that of course it should.

Jim Murphy arrives at the press conference with his deputy Kezia Dugdale. Picture: SWNS

Leaders: Labour must axe dead wood

Murphy’s last act should be to scrap the protection of second rate candidates


Poppy-seller Olive Cooke, 92, was receiving hundreds of letters a month and being plagued by telephone calls at the height of the bombardment by charities. Picture: SWNS

Dani Garavelli: Pushy charities should shove it

WHEN it comes to pushy charities, it’s those with the biggest hearts who suffer the most, as Olive Cooke discovered. The 92-year-old poppy seller spent her life giving to good causes, but when her faltering health meant she wanted to (needed to) stop, they wouldn’t let up. Instead of recognising her contribution with a Thank You note or a bunch of flowers, they kept hassling her with begging letters and cold calls, urging her to put her hand in her pocket one last time.

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Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander both lost their seats at Westminster. Picture: John Devlin

Euan McColm: Labour must start recovery in Scotland

WHEN the MP for Streatham decided last week to announce his decision to stand for the vacant Labour leadership, he was mindful of the accusation that his party had become detached from the sort of voters it needed to engage if it was to win a future general election.


Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson with her partner Jen Wilson. Picture: Jane Barlow

Drumlanrig: Murphy won’t be making plans like Nigel

IT MUST have been a difficult moment for Jim Murphy yesterday when he announced that he would be quitting as Scottish Labour leader. To his credit, Murphy managed to keep his sense of humour. When one member of the scrum of photographers snapping his resignation had the misfortune of seeing part of his equipment fall to pieces and crash to the ground, Murphy quipped: “Do you want me to make my speech again?”

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Nicola Sturgeon with the SNP MPs outside St Stephen's entrance to the Houses of Parliament. Picture: PA

Andrew Wilson: Arriving is as good as the journey

JOURNEYS dominate the human condition and they say it is better to travel than to arrive. In our life’s travels, making peace with the reality that we never really do arrive is one of the liberating realisations of growing up that helps us find joy in the moment; today is where we ­always are.


Martin Flanagan

Comment: Nerves shredded by indyref and EU

FIRST we had the crisis that was last September’s independence referendum and the potential constitutional split of the UK. Then the deep concern of the corporate world around the general election and the spectre of a deeply fragmented, uncertain political landscape. Now we have skidded on rapidly to one of the business community’s deepest fears of all, a possible Brexit from the European Union via a referendum to be held by the end of 2017.

Carney: reassuring words on interest rates. Picture: PA

Comment: Watch out for iceberg of next recession

COMMENTATORS were quick last week to hail good news: falling unemployment (south of the Border at least), a pickup in the rate of earnings growth, stronger readings on manufacturing and a fresh reassurance from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney that interest rates are unlikely to rise until next year.

Jeff Salway

Jeff Salway: Conservatives must tackle inequality

FEARS over the impact of an EU referendum were the only hint of gloom in the post-election commentary with which I was bombarded after May 7. Otherwise the response was relief, if not glee, at a Conservative victory that financial services firms view as the best outcome for both their industry and the economy.

Nicola Sturgeon watches the results come in at Glasgow's Emirates Arena. Picture: SWNS

How election was won north & south of the border

LAST week Britain witnessed an extraordinary political divergence. While Scottish voters united as never before behind a nationalist cause, the rest of the UK opted for stability and the status quo.


Overjoyed Channel Islanders wait to greet liberating British troops. Picture: Getty

Insight: Honouring Channel Islands liberation

FRIDAY marked the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day and the final capitulation of Nazi Germany. If the commemorations of this mighty achievement were more sombre and less extravagant than last year’s D-Day commemorations it remains the case that this is the last such anniversary at which some of those who participated in the liberation of continental Europe are 
likely to be fit enough to attend. It is, in this sense, a passing moment.

Salmond's continually going back to the referendum narrative is in danger of undermining his predecessor's assurances. Picture: Jane Barlow

Leaders: Nicola Sturgeon must rein in Alex Salmond

FIRST Minister risks one step forward, two steps back if predecessor undermines her reassurances.


A girl celebrates Day of the Dead in Hidalgo, Mexico. Picture: Getty

Claire Black: Life and death matters on Facebook

AFTER the travails of recent days you’re probably pitching up here in the hope of some light relief.

Labour leader Jim Murphy lost his seat in Thursday's election.  Picture: Robert Perry

Euan McColm: Jim Murphy can’t make dignified exit

AS DEFEATS go, it ranks as a doozy, a real humdinger. Scottish Labour could barely have been more beaten.


SNP want more of BBC funding. Picture: Donald MacLeod

Iseabail Mactaggart: Potential to drive domestic TV

THURSDAY’S general election triggered an important moment for broadcast and television production in Scotland.

Lord Cullen of Whitekirk appears before the Justice Committee to give evidence on the new bill last week. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

Dani Garavelli: Delays leave bereaved in limbo

AS A cub reporter in England there were certain unpalatable tasks you had to carry out, partly because they were deemed essential for your training, but mostly because it saved other people the trouble. For instance, at my first evening newspaper, you were expected to take a turn at each of the district offices in stultifying, if pretty towns, where you would have to scrape together a page of local “news”: a hotchpotch of diamond weddings, charity events and planning disputes.

The Scottish electorate, including No voters, united around the SNP at the general election. Picture: Alistair Pryde

Andrew Wilson: SNP must go beyond ‘nationalist’

ONE of the wisest perspectives on any election that I have heard is from Alex Fletcher, MP, the late 
father of a good friend of mine. Alex was the Conservative MP for Edinburgh Central before losing to Alistair Darling in 1987. His conclusion? “The people always make the right decision.” Amen.


Drumlanrig is reminded of Gordon Archer after Jim Murphy's loss on Friday. Picture: TSPL

Drumlanrig: Pain not restricted to politicians

DRUMLANRIG is a great enthusiast for the finer things in political life, such as the “very good lunch”.

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Sturgeon alongside the former party leader Alex Salmond after the 2005 general election. Picture: David Moir

Claire Black: Ascent of charismatic SNP leader

On the final day of polling last week, Nicola Sturgeon appeared at a triumphal rally in Edinburgh. Underneath a grey sky, threatening rain and egged on by a wind that would disrupt even the most lacquered of hair dos, the First Minister mingled with the ecstatic crowd. She smiled, selfied and shook hands. It may have seemed a trifle premature since this was before a single vote had been cast. But now, one can only wonder what scenes we might have witnessed, had the crowd pre-empted the SNP’s extraordinary performance on Thursday night.


The pound strengthened after David Cameron was returned to power. Picture: Getty

Comment: Referendum fears dent confidence

WELCOME to Blown Up Britain. Has there ever been an election with such an immediate and momentous outcome? What does it mean for markets and business? After an election in which the deeper problems of Scotland’s economy received scant attention, a relief rally hardly seemed appropriate.


Martin Flanagan

Comment: Concerns over Chinese labour shortage

IT USED to be economic folklore that if America sneezed, the UK and Europe caught a cold. But, given China’s voracious growth in the past three decades that country has become as important to western economic optimism as factors such as US strength and the global oil price.

The polls show the outcome of the election is too close to call. Picture: Getty

Young people should seize the chance to vote

YOUNG people could decide the next UK government. It’s that simple. We have a huge opportunity to ensure that the issues that are important to us take centre stage with only a few days left before the general election.

The trusts work in Scotland sees us engaging with around 4,500 young people every year

Building soft skills essential for young people

Course gives youngsters the boost they need, says Martin Davidson

Inequality comes in many forms, affecting tens of thousands across Scotland. Picture: PA

A fair chance for all is a human right

CrossReach aims to fight inequality in all its manifestations across Scotland, writes Dr Sally Bonnar

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Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy on the campaign trail in Paisley. Picture: John Devlin

Euan McColm: Scottish Labour in a flap over SNP

IF A butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, runs the question, could it set off a tornado in Texas? The mathematician Edward Lorenz suggested it might. Lorenz, a pioneer of chaos theory, described how the tiniest action could have huge consequences. Anyone who’s ever said “go on, then – one for the road” will know the truth of this.


Nicola Sturgeon joins SNP candidate George Kerevan on the campaign trail in Musselburgh. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

Leader: Scotland’s starring role in UK election

This week’s general election sees Scots take a starring role - but the result is impossible to predict


A contact sheet of photographs of Sinatra in the recording studio with one of his most celebrated arrangers, Nelson Riddle. Picture: Getty

Hannah McGill: A century of Frank Sinatra

For those about to celebrate Ol’ Blue Eyes’ centenary, Frank Sinatra’s demons – the sex, scandal and paranoia – are the secret ingredients of a divine, inimitable voice, writes Hannah McGill

Jonathon Shafi is co-founder of the Radical Independence Campaign. Picture: John Devlin

Jonathon Shafi: Big opportunity for Scottish left

IN 2010 British politics seemed hopelessly static: a total consensus on the need for austerity, a two-party system so closed that Nick Clegg appeared radical, and the parties themselves staffed by an elite who all went to school together.


Poppy Smart has been on the receiving end of a torrent of online abuse after complaining to police about being harassed by builders. Picture: SWNS

Dani Garavelli: Don’t whistle to flatter a human

PERHAPS it was a mistake for Poppy Smart to go to the police when men on a building site continually cat-called her as she made her way to work. Not because, as others have suggested, her complaint was so trivial it didn’t merit intervention, but because, by doing so, she became the target of a more insidious sexism: the kind that seeks to portray all women who stand up for themselves as humourless, attention- seeking man-haters.


Andrew Wilson: Westminster must talk to SNP MPs

WHATEVER the democratic choices made at the ballot box, most reasonable people want politicians to work tog­ether constructively for the public good.


Pierino's in Leith. Picture: TSPL

Claire Black: Hipsters heading for Leith

I REALISE that unless you have your own pint glass behind the bar in the Port of Leith and a tab in Pierino’s chippy you can’t really call yourself a Leither. But I have lived in the Republic for seven years, I have sung Sunshine On Leith in that fine bar (several times) and I know Pierino’s number off by heart, so I feel I may claim my right to speak.

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Alex Salmond. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Drumlanrig: Cameron milks it with Salmond wind-ups

David Cameron has enjoyed winding up his old referendum rival Alex Salmond during the election campaign. And the Prime Minister was at it again on Friday as he suffered microphone problems at an event at an Asda store in Leeds. As his voiced morphed into Dalek mode, the Tory leader quipped: “Sorry about that, it’s Alex Salmond coming in.”


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