Heathrow Airport chief has bumpy ride

HEATHROW Airport chief executive Colin Matthews had wanted a turbulence-free flightpath into Scotland last week to talk up proposals for a third runway to Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.
Colin Matthews spoke to Glasgow Chamber of Commerce last week. Picture: ReutersColin Matthews spoke to Glasgow Chamber of Commerce last week. Picture: Reuters
Colin Matthews spoke to Glasgow Chamber of Commerce last week. Picture: Reuters

He certainly wanted to avoid distracting questions about the possible sale of Glasgow and Aberdeen airports, news which was revealed by Scotland on Sunday a week ago.

The Chamber gatherings are normally open to the press, but Matthews decided his talk would take place behind closed doors.

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But the Heathrow chief’s decision provoked hilarity in aviation circles – especially after Edinburgh Chamber had been graced in recent months with the presence of Stewart Wingate, top man at runway rival Gatwick.

Irish example

Irish European affairs minister Paschal Donohoe was in Edinburgh last week to talk about investing in the Republic of Ireland now that it is getting back on its feet.

He also met Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, though they managed to avoid the two big issues that they might have discussed: Scottish independence and European Union membership.

So what did they talk about?

“Things that happened during our presidency of the EU,” he said. “I made it clear that we are not getting into the independence debate.”

And now that Ireland expects to be the first eurozone country to exit its bailout, will it continue with its famously low rate of corporation tax?

“This issue comes up a lot,” he said. “We have always been clear that the setting of the rate is an essential part of our sovereignty.”

On the double

It sounds as unlikely a double act as arch-rival television presenters Jeremy Clarkson and Piers Morgan.

However, the pairing of Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and SNP Finance Secretary John Swinney to host last week’s Social Enterprise Awards met with some success.

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Davidson got the biggest laugh for drawing a comparison with Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, while Swinney joked about the only time he has been on a judging panel – selecting a winner in a beautiful baby competition in Kirriemuir featuring just two contenders.

Second glimpse

The Great Tapestry of Scotland – all 143 metres and 160 panels of it – certainly caught the public imagination when it went on show in the Scottish Parliament earlier this year. More than 50,000 visitors filed past.

The Edinburgh office of legal outfit Blackadders was called upon to create a formal structure for the project. Thanks to partner Robert Forman and associate Lesley Kerr, a charitable trust was formed.

Now, the firm is gearing up to sponsor Cancer Research’s annual art exhibition at Edinburgh’s Adam House, featuring four of the panels – two previously unseen – tomorrow and Wednesday only.