Duncan Hamilton rss

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Jane Barlow

David Torrance: No room for debate at SNP conference

FOR the past decade or so the SNP’s annual gatherings have been among the most carefully choreographed of the autumn conference season.


Members of Sisters Uncut demonstrate at the red carpet premiere of Suffragette at Odeon Leicester Square in London last week. Picture: Getty

Dani Garavelli: Meryl Streep betrays heroism of suffragettes

IT WAS a joy to behold women from the protest group Sisters Uncut causing havoc at the London premiere of the movie Suffragette last week. Their gesture of defiance might not have been as dramatic as chaining themselves to railings or throwing themselves in front of the king’s horse, but it brought a bit of gritty reality to what could otherwise have been a superficial exercise in Hollywood self-love, and served as a reminder that there are still many battles to be fought by the latter-day bearers of the suffragettes’ torch.

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Martin Flanagan

Comment: Revitalised Lloyds is irresistible for investors

MORE people flagged up their interest in buying Lloyds Banking Group shares in one day last week than in the complete two‑week registration for the Royal Mail privatisation. A total of 62,500 had signed up to buy back part of the taxpayer stake in the bank by close of play on Monday. In addition, retail broker Hargreaves Lansdown has revealed that 120,000 people have asked it to update them with alerts on the Lloyds sale as the process develops.


Only new builds escape 20 per cent VAT. Picture: Getty

Comment: ‘Generation rent’ needs radical solutions

ANOTHER party conference and another big pledge on more house building. Last week Prime Minister David Cameron promised a “national crusade” to build homes so that “generation rent” can become “generation buy”.

Keegan Hirst is the first rugby league player in the UK to come out as gay. Picture: PA

Claire Black: Come out, it’s a day of celebration

IT’S National Coming Out Day. I’m having a double celebration because it was International Lesbian Day last week and, since I’d never heard of it until the day itself, I missed the opportunity to kick up my heels playing my favourite Dusty Springfield albums, while reading the saucy bits from Sarah Waters’ novels, while wearing sensible shoes. Not a mistake I’ll make a second time.

Jeff Salway

Comment: Spectre of Brown’s 10p tax rate haunts Osborne

THE noises coming out of the Tory conference last week were unmistakably of a party in triumphant and confident mood.

Picture: Greg Macvean

Leaders: The SNP must nurse the NHS

The SNP has yet to prove it can make the health service fully fit for purpose

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Police officers in riot gear on the Broadwater Farm the morning after the riot of 6th October 1985. Picture: Getty

Insight: Broadwater Farm riot revisited

It’s 30 years since the first Tottenham riot, but with growing austerity, race tensions and Tory dominance can we be sure history won’t repeat itself, asks Dani Garavelli


Former PM Gordon Brown this week said that Cameron risked a double betrayal of Scotland. Picture: John Devlin

Euan McColm: Labour plug their ears at Brown’s salvo

AFTER Jack McConnell stepped down from the post of general secretary of the Scottish Labour Party in 1998 in order to contest the following year’s inaugural Holyrood election, the selection of his successor gave us an insight into the lack of trust that existed between prime minister Tony Blair and his chancellor, Gordon Brown.


Ruth Jack of Tearfund Scotland

Ruth Jack: Ending poverty key to preventing human trafficking

AS MSPs pass historic new laws to tackle human trafficking and protect victims, they should be commended for taking a strong first step in Scotland’s res­ponse to this illegal trade. As a nat­ion, we should be a place of refuge, rescue, and protection to anyone who has been brought into this country against their will for any purpose, and it is only right that we do not become an easy destination for crime networks seeking new opportunities and new markets.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon knows that brickbats will always fly when you are in power. Picture: Andrew Cowan

Andrew Wilson: SNP must ignore the brickbats

ABOUT 16 years ago I spoke in the Scottish Parliament budget debate and criticised the Labour government for the underspend in their budget. Money granted was left unspent, demonstrating they were either incompetent or didn’t care. It was a puerile and disingenuous argument then and it’s exactly the same now.


Redcar: vulnerable to global trends. Picture: Getty

Austerity’s critics can’t explain why economy isn’t feeling the pinch

SO WHERE is “austerity” exactly? By how much has it slowed our economy? And when will household wealth and spending ever recover?

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Someone who starts work today aged 22 will need to put aside 15 per cent of their annual salary to achieve an annual retirement income of 19,872

Pension drive threatens to be too little, too late

Despite extension of automatic enrolment, a decline in amount paid in will lead to disappointment for many workers, writes Jeff Salway

Sheenagh Adams is Keeper of the Registers of Scotland. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Sheenagh Adams: Play your part in land register of the future

SCOTLAND is home to the world’s oldest land register, the General Register of ­Sasines, which will celebrate its 400th birthday in 2017. This was world-leading at one time but as the Sasine register is based around descriptive deeds of ­title, it doesn’t meet with the demands of a contemporary setting where a digital map can more easily provide clarity of boundaries for owners and for those who need to know who owns what.


Responding to news of the mass murder in Oregon, President Barack Obama talked of a country numb to the conveyor belt of tragedies. Picture: Getty

Dani Garavelli: Fear and self-loathing in gun-crazed US

IN THE wake of the mass shooting at the community college in Oregon last week – the 994th mass shooting since Barack Obama’s re-election in November 2012 – the Los Angeles Times carried an editorial that began like this: “A gunman walked into a [fill in the blank] today and over the span of _____ minutes killed at least [number goes here] and wounded _____ more before [pick one] killing himself/dying in a shoot-out with police.” It went on: “Hang that sentence on your refrigerator so it’s handy for the next mass shooting. Will it be weeks before we learn of the next one? Days? Hours?”


Stalin even now has his admirers in Putins Russia, but less so in his homeland of Georgia. Picture: AP

Andrew Wilson: Beware the hand of centralist state

IN THE Georgian city of Gori, about an hour’s drive along concrete road from the capital ­Tbilisi, is a museum to Joseph Jughashvili, or Stalin to you and me.


Do Scottish voters know or care what Ruth Davidsons policies are? Picture: John Devlin

Leader: Tory surge looks far-fetched

Labour’s losses do not necessarily translate into major gains for the Scottish Conservatives


Michelle Thomson's tweet last week

Dani Garavelli: Squirming in spotlight directed at Michelle Thomson

While MP Michelle Thomson tries to brazen it out, the SNP and the Law Society are still squirming in the spotlight directed at her property portfolio, writes Dani Garavelli


Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn receives applause following his first leadership speech. Picture: Getty

Euan McColm: The ugly truth about politics of sanctimony

THE very suggestion will infuriate all concerned, I’m sure, but supporters of the SNP and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party have a great deal in common.


Provan Gas Works at the end of the year of culture. Picture: Donald MacLeod

Insight: Glasgow - City of Culture 25 years on

JOKES about Glasgow are as stubborn a phenomenon as jokes about mothers-in-law. You can always get a laugh on a comedy panel show for presenting Glasgow as a cultural backwater. It’s poor and ugly. So are its people. Fruit, vegetables and daylight are unknown, teeth are rare, and the chief mode of social interaction is knife crime. It’s not only outsiders who promote this view. Riffing on Glasgow’s limitations has been part of the stock-in-trade of its most marketable comedians from Billy Connolly and Rab C Nesbitt to Frankie Boyle and Kevin Bridges. For some higher-brow arts figures, meanwhile, it’s standard to characterise the city as a victim: “colonised” by outside influences; under-represented; misunderstood.


Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne meets staff as he is given a tour of the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Picture: PA

Comment: Tories see wooing of China as worth it

OBSERVERS of George Osborne’s high‑profile trade delegation to China are divided. Some believe it is an imaginative and audacious attempt to secure commercial investment in the UK from one of the big economic powers of the world. Critics, by contrast, think that it is the Chancellor irresponsibly selling off British assets on the cheap in a blatantly choreographed prime minister‑in-waiting type tour.

Mark Carney: rate rise predictions. Picture: Getty

Comment: Deficit casts doubt on Osborne’s boasts

FOR most of the past three years UK households have enjoyed encour­aging news about the economy and their financial situation. Inflation is at near zero. The economy is growing. Real wages are rising. There are record numbers in work.

Scotland players congratulate try scorer Tommy Seymour (14) during the win over Japan. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Drumlanrig: Nicola Sturgeon in the changing room

NICOLA Sturgeon broke bread with the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists Association just before the Scotland v Japan match kicked off in the Rugby World Cup.


Getting away from 'branch office' status will be no use for Kezia Dugdale and Scottish Labour without a team that is electable. Picture: John Devlin

Leaders: People & policies matter for Scots Labour

KEZIA Dugdale’s pledge that Scottish Labour will become “properly autonomous”, removing the influence of the party’s UK leadership on policy and direction, makes sense. But it’s hardly a new idea.


Volkswagen have been embroiled in a global pollution cheating scandal. Picture: AFP/Getty

Andrew Wilson: VW latest to focus solely on results

WOODY Allen is a favourite of mine, despite all his human flaws. ­Sleeper, made in 1973, is a futuristic comedy set in 22nd-century America. In one scene our hero stumbles upon a 200-year-old VW Beetle in a cave. He steps inside, turns the key and says: “Ah, they really built these things, didn’t they?” as it whirrs effortlessly into life.


Etonian Ivo Delingpole, 16, argues that his schoolmates' achievements and suitability for the top jobs are down to the way the school moulds them. Picture: Getty

Dani Garavelli: Etonians’ success due to privilege

AMONG the giddy tales of decadence related with glee last week by anyone who had ever brushed up against one of Oxford’s secret drinking clubs was a less eye-catching but nonetheless interesting piece by Ivo Delingpole, a pupil at Eton College.

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Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning writes for Scotland on Sunday. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Angela Constance: We’ll ensure students are heard

BARELY a week after the anniversary of last year’s referendum, it’s worth reflecting on a key piece of legislation being considered by the Scottish Parliament.


Ukip has become party for the

Euan McColm: Extremist pandering will hurt Farage

LISTENING to Ukip leader ­Nigel Farage deliver a rather flat speech to his party conference on Friday, it was easy to understand why Euroscepticism has come to be seen as a right-wing ideology.


Weights with aerobic exercise has been described as a 'potent neurobiological cocktail'. Picture: Jake Ibrak

Lori Anderson: Weights really do boost brain power

IT’S the weekend, but before you veg out, I have good news and bad news.

The Japan players are a picture of dejection during their defeat by Scotland, a match that came just four days after their win over South Africa. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Aidan Smith: Japan handicapped by TV’s power

THAT was a good win for Scotland against Japan, and we were all glad of it, but huge sympathy must go to the Brave Blossoms, forced to play again so soon after their heroics against South Africa.

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Could the likes of James Morrison really be a rider on the storm, producing an inspirational moment against Poland to rescue Scottish hopes? Picture: PA

Aidan Smith: Scotland need a moment of Ralph-like genius

NOT for the first time, you fear the old memory box might be playing tricks. An incredible Ralph Milne goal for Dundee United with a dribble begun behind the halfway line is heavily on your mind, but people keep saying: “Don’t you mean Eamonn Bannon?”

Belgian footballer Jean-Marc Bosman, flanked by two of his lawyers, smiles after winning his case at the European Court of Justice in 1995. Picture: STF/AFP/Getty

Aidan Smith: Football world 20 years after Bosman

ONCE upon a so-called golden era, football clubs were run by self-made men with Brylcreemed hair and Bentleys parked at the door who made 50,000 people cram into crumbling death-trap arenas with no roofs and terrible toilets.

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Passersby are reflected in the window of the Sydney Stock Exchange after the US Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero overnight. Picture: AFP/Getty

Comment: Fed decision puts probable rise into 2016

SOMETIMES one fear trumps another. So it was with the Federal Reserve’s decision last Thursday to hold fire on any US inter­est rate rise after weeks of speculation that the central bank was about to tighten policy. In the end, however, global worries outweighed domestic considerations and the Fed sat on its hands.

Baillie: warned against 'toothless' SFC. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor/JP

Comment: Unmuzzle the Scottish tax powers watchdog

ACONTENTIOUS issue surrounding those pending extra tax and spending powers for the Scottish Parliament is scrutiny over the exercise of these powers, their implications, consequences and effects.


Nigel Farage is

Drumlanrig: Huguenots what Pope thinks of Farage?

POPE Francis has been given the thumbs-up from Nigel Farage, who approves of some of his pronouncements on the refugee crisis.

Both Ukip and Nigel Farage don't have a lot of support north of the border. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Leaders: Scotland doesn’t care for Nigel Farage

FEW would accuse Ukip leader Nigel Farage of lacking confidence.


The development fo the Old Royal High School site has been the subject of much debate. Picture: Neil Hanna

Kirsten Carter McKee: Royal High School plans betray vision

TO approve the proposed redevelopment of the Royal High School building on Calton Hill will fundamentally challenge the integrity of Edinburgh’s world heritage status by compromising the site’s outstanding universal values and severing the narrative of William Henry Playfair’s Third New Town.


Hundreds of people gather in George Square for the Glasgow Sees Syria event. Picture: PA

Insight: Operation welcome Syria’s refugees

IN THE fortnight or so since the image of drowned toddler Aylan Kurdi caused a shift in attitudes towards the refugee crisis, hundreds of thousands of Scots have found ways to express their support for those fleeing Syria. They have donated food and clothing for those in Calais, they have signed petitions calling on Westminster to do more, and last weekend they turned out to rallies holding candles and banners reading: “We welcome refugees.”


Tom Hardy plays both Kray brothers in hit movie Legend. Picture: Contributed

Hannah McGill: The progression of on-screen twins

DESPITE there being about a million books, films and articles about Ronnie and Reggie Kray already in existence, the latest exploration of their unpleasant family business has proved a runaway hit.

Alex Salmond's prepared speech if the Yes campaign was successful came to light earlier this week. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Euan McColm: Alex Salmond ungracious in defeat

THE language is statesmanlike and conciliatory, offering friendship to opponents and calling for unity. The speech former first minister Alex Salmond would have made had the Yes campaign won last year’s referendum on Scottish independence is full of fine words about ­respect.


Sturgeon has said there will be a second referendum if the Scottish people show a strong desire for independence. Picture: Julie Bull

Andrew Wilson: Sturgeon reasonable on indyref 2

FUNNY thing our emotions. Friday morning was as busy as ever in the Wilson household. I readied for the day as my home bustled with three kids getting ready for school and three Polish men painting and fixing the place with a flair and work ethic I would love transmitted across all the country they have made their own.


Jeremy Corbyn says he was reflecting as the National Anthem was sung during the service at St Pauls Cathedral. Picture: PA

Dani Garavelli: God save our right not to sing

I FELT a flicker of shame as I belted out Land of Hope and Glory, in all its colonial splendour, while watching the Last Night of the Proms on TV earlier this month. Although, it wasn’t as much of a betrayal of my core values as when I caught myself singing that Cliff Richard classic, Living Doll – “Gonna lock her up in a trunk so no big hunk can steal her away from me” – for which there is no legitimate excuse. The words of Elgar’s hymn to imperialism are cringeworthy and anachronistic, but at least it’s stirring. If flag-waving jingoism is your thing, you couldn’t really ask for more.


Corbyn speaks at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre last month ahead of the leadership election. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Crunch time for Scots Labour as Corbyn heads north

Colleagues who share Kezia Dugdale’s scepticism about her new boss are wondering how she can avert a PR disaster when he makes his first visit here as leader, writes Euan McColm


A young women joins Yes activists as they gather in George Square on September 17, 2014 in Glasgow. Picture: Getty

Insight: Independence debate - unfinished business

DAVID Cameron walked out of 10 Downing Street, a smile of relief on his face. The No campaign had prevailed in last year’s independence referendum; Cameron wasn’t the prime minister who lost the Union.


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