{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"news","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/john-swinney-urges-scots-schools-to-continue-p1-tests-despite-vote-1-4802339","id":"1.4802339","articleHeadline": "John Swinney urges Scots schools to continue P1 tests despite vote","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537387575000 ,"articleLead": "

John Swinney has urged schools to continue with controversial tests for primary one pupils despite being dealt a humiliating defeat in the Scottish Parliament.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802338.1537374980!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Education secretary John Swinney, Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

But despite impassioned opposition calls for Mr Swinney to respect the will of parliament, he left the door open for pressing ahead with the digital assessments.

READ MORE: Subjects offered to students being ‘squeezed’ at Scottish schools
After the vote, the Deputy First Minister tweeted that the Scottish Government still believed “assessment is an important part of [the] improvement agenda”.

He advised schools “to continue with their existing plans on SNSAs (Scottish National Standardised Assessments)”. Mr Swinney also said he would consider the outcome of the debate and make a parliamentary statement in due course.

But the Holyrood vote was another serious setback for the embattled Education Secretary who is facing widespread opposition to his school reforms.

Earlier this year Mr Swinney shelved his flagship Education Bill, which was supposed to deliver more control over schools to headteachers amid opposition from local authorities and rival politicians.

Nicola Sturgeon has made turning around Scotland’s education system her key policy priority and appointed 
Mr Swinney to the education brief two years ago to achieve that.

The Tories tabled their motion calling for the tests to be scrapped for primary one pupils after widespread concern about the impact they were having on children and teachers.

Holyrood’s Education Committee had previously heard evidence suggesting that young children had been reduced to tears by the assessments.

Many teachers submitted evidence saying too much time was devoted to setting up and sitting the tests which could be better spent on other educational activities.

Labour, Lib Dem and Green politicians backed the Conservative motion which questioned whether primary one tests were consistent with “play-based philosophy” to defeat the SNP by 63 votes to 61.

An amendment in Mr Swinney’s name arguing the tests were valuable for closing the attainment gap and educating children was defeated by the same margin. The vote, however, was not binding for the government because it was not a legislative one.

The Conservative motion focussed on scrapping tests for primary one pupils, because Ruth Davidson’s party favours keeping national assessments for older children.

As well as primary one, the Scottish Government has introduced SNSAs for primaries four and seven plus S3 at secondary schools. Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens oppose the tests altogether.

During a fiery debate Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith said while her party had backed the use of the tests, they had been wrong to do so when it came to the youngest pupils.

“We made a mistake about P1,” Ms Smith admitted. Last night Ms Smith urged the SNP not to defy the will of Holyrood.

“The Scottish Parliament has voted decisively on this matter, and now the SNP government must act on that,” Ms Smith said.

“The Nationalists have ignored the evidence on this for quite some time, but they can’t afford to any longer. These tests need to be halted, and the evidence re-examined. The SNP is always talking about how important the Scottish Parliament is and how its will must be respected.

“This is the perfect chance for the SNP to do just that.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard raised a point of order saying the will of parliament should be obeyed.

Mr Leonard said: “Teachers told this government that these tests were useless, ministers ignored them. Parents told this government that they do not trust these tests, ministers ignored them. The Scottish Parliament has now voted to scrap these tests and SNP ministers must not now ignore the will of parliament. The government must therefore bring forward immediate plans for how it will respond to this evening’s vote as a matter of urgency.”

Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP said: “A child could tell you that 63 votes is bigger than 61 but John Swinney’s stubbornness has ensured that he has had to find out the hard way.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4802338.1537374980!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802338.1537374980!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Education secretary John Swinney, Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Education secretary John Swinney, Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4802338.1537374980!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/kezia-dugdale-faces-legal-bill-over-wings-of-scotland-case-1-4802533","id":"1.4802533","articleHeadline": "Kezia Dugdale faces legal bill over Wings of Scotland case","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537386571000 ,"articleLead": "

Kezia Dugdale may have to shell out for legal bills over a pro-independence blogger’s defamation claim after it was reported that Labour has limited its support.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802532.1537386568!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The former Scottish Labour leader said she hoped Labour would honour its promise to meet her costs after reports suggesting UK Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby is likely to refuse further funds.

According to the Huffington Post, the party has provided around £90,000 so far for the case brought by Stuart Campbell, who runs the Wings Over Scotland blog. HuffPost UK yesterday said it was understood supporters of Ms Formby’s decision believed that party members’ subscriptions would be better spent on campaigning in a potential snap election year. 

A spokesman for Ms Dugdale said: “Given the principles on which it was founded - equality, fairness and justice - the UK Labour Party wholeheartedly committed to paying all legal costs associated with this case from start to finish.

“It is very much hoped that all promises will be kept.”

The court case arose after Mr Campbell, who runs the controversial Wings Over Scotland website, tweeted about Tory MSP Oliver Mundell. His father, the Tory Scottish Secretary David Mundell, came out as gay in 2016. Mr Campbell wrote last year: “Oliver Mundell is the sort of public speaker that makes you wish his dad had embraced his homosexuality sooner.”
In a newspaper column, Ms Dugdale said she was “shocked and appalled to see a pro-independence blogger’s homophobic tweets”.

Mr Campbell’s legal team argues her article was defamatory and implied he is homophobic.

Ms Formby, who is close to Jeremy Corbyn, succeeded Iain McNicol as General Secretary of the Labour Party in March this year. It is understood that the decision to fund Ms Dugdale’s court case was taken under Mr McNicol’s leadership. Some Labour MSPs are understood to be angry that the party is not following through with its promise. Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has been informed of the situation. Ms Dugdale is known to have received a fee of £70,000 for her appearance on ITV reality show “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”. She took part in the programme after stepping down as Scottish Labour leader. After tax, the amount is said to have been around £30,000. She also declared between £10,000 and £15,000 worth of travel, accommodation and living expenses, which were paid by ITV. Ms Dugdale donated £5,100 of her appearance fee, as well as £2,500 of her MSP’s salary,

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4802532.1537386568!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802532.1537386568!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4802532.1537386568!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/london-mayor-says-capital-will-copy-glasgow-to-cut-knife-crime-1-4802521","id":"1.4802521","articleHeadline": "London mayor says capital will copy Glasgow to cut knife crime","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537385963000 ,"articleLead": "

London mayor Sadiq Khan has launched a violence reduction unit amid attempts to follow Glasgow’s lead in reducing knife crime on the streets of the English capital.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802520.1537385960!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who has warned the surge in violent crime in the capital will not be solved "overnight" as he unveiled a plan to focus on the bloodshed as a public health issue. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

An initial £500,000 has been set aside for the creation of the unit, which aims to follow the pioneering work in Scotland’s largest city treating violence as a public health issue.

Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit, which was launched in 2005, has been credited with helping to reduce the number of homicides in Glasgow by 60 per cent over the past decade.

The mayor’s office said the new unit would help improve coordination between the Metropolitan Police, local authorities, health service and City Hall.

It follows research into how Glasgow’s approach could be “scaled up” to meet the demands of a city with a population close to nine million.

A total of 80 people were stabbed to death in London last year, a quarter of them in their teens. Mr Khan said: “The causes of violent crime are extremely complex, involving deep-seated societal problems like poverty, social alienation, mental ill-health and a lack of opportunity.

He added: “We have listened and researched the public health approaches in cities like Glasgow, where their own long-term approach over more than a decade has delivered large reductions in violence. City Hall have spent time properly learning the lessons from Glasgow and developing plans to scale their approach up to meet the different needs and challenges we face in London.”

Niven Rennie, director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, said: “The SVRU started by treating violence as a disease which was infecting our communities.

“From teachers and social workers, to doctors and dentists, police and government we have all worked together to make Scotland safer.

“The job isn’t done and every single life lost is a tragedy, but we have come a long way from the days when the World Health Organisation branded Scotland the most violent country in the developed world.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4802520.1537385960!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802520.1537385960!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who has warned the surge in violent crime in the capital will not be solved "overnight" as he unveiled a plan to focus on the bloodshed as a public health issue. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who has warned the surge in violent crime in the capital will not be solved "overnight" as he unveiled a plan to focus on the bloodshed as a public health issue. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4802520.1537385960!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/mass-bank-closures-unacceptable-says-age-scotland-1-4802500","id":"1.4802500","articleHeadline": "Mass bank closures ‘unacceptable’, says Age Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537384157000 ,"articleLead": "

Mass bank closures are “unacceptable” for older people and innovative solutions like shared banking hubs should be introduced, according to Age Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4795292.1537384153!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Royal Bank of Scotland has been heavily criticised over closing branches across Scotland. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Following a bank closure debate at Holyrood on Tuesday, the national charity for older people called on banks to introduce measures to alleviate the loss of local branches.

Age Scotland, who contributed to the Scottish Parliament’s inquiry into bank closures, said its plea for a solution is gaining traction with politicians and was noted in the economy, jobs and fair work committee’s report.

The number of bank branches in Scotland fell by a third between 2010 and 2017, with five banks closing 488 branches. The Royal Bank of Scotland, still 72 per cent owned by the taxpayer, announced in December that it was closing 62 branches across Scotland.

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s chief executive, said that older people have been telling the charity how bank closures have been affecting them.

He added: “I’m delighted that our contribution has been recognised in the committee’s final report, including our suggestion that shared banking hubs should be further explored by the banks.

“Physical branches are important to older people. They prefer having a face-to-face conversation about their finances with a real person. As older people are more likely to be targeted for scams, they’re less likely to go online or use the phone for banking and they shouldn’t be discriminated for this choice. Indeed, 67 per cent of people over 75 don’t use the internet at all.

“Our recommendation of shared banking hubs for smaller communities, suburbs and rural areas is gathering support.”

An RBS spokesperson said: “We recognise every customer will have different banking needs and we are committed to ensuring all our customers receive the best possible service. However, the way customers are banking is changing, and it is important we respond to that change. Across Scotland, usage of our branches is down 44 per cent since 2011 and only 1 per cent of our customers in Scotland visit their branch weekly.

We have invested to provide more ways to bank than ever before including in digital services via online banking and our mobile app, as well as face to face options.

“Royal Bank of Scotland has tripled its physical points of service to over 2,000 in communities across Scotland since 2014 through our 21 community bankers who serve 69 communities, our partnership with the 1,400 Post Offices in Scotland, ATMs, branch network, and mobile vans.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4795292.1537384153!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4795292.1537384153!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Royal Bank of Scotland has been heavily criticised over closing branches across Scotland. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Royal Bank of Scotland has been heavily criticised over closing branches across Scotland. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4795292.1537384153!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/theresa-may-told-brexit-plans-must-be-reworked-as-time-runs-out-1-4802396","id":"1.4802396","articleHeadline": "Theresa May told Brexit plans must be ‘reworked’ as time runs out","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537372200000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May has been told her Brexit plans need to be “reworked” as time runs out to reach a deal with the European Union.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802395.1537372195!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "British Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: Matt Dunham"} ,"articleBody": "

European Council president Donald Tusk said the Prime Minister’s Chequers blueprint was a “welcome evolution” in the UK’s approach, but major issues remained to be resolved, including avoiding a hard border in Ireland and the future trading relationship between Britain and the EU.

Warning there was “less and less time” to reach a deal before the UK’s 29 March 2019 exit date, Mr Tusk confirmed he would propose an emergency EU Brexit summit next month.

READ MORE: Tories lead calls in Holyrood to scrap Scottish P1 tests

His comments came as the Prime Minister prepared to address her EU counterparts at a meeting in Salzburg – the first such gathering since the Chequers plan was published.

Mrs May will use the meeting to say that now the UK has showed it is willing to “evolve” its position, the EU must also be prepared to show flexibility.

But in a blow to her efforts to persuade fellow leaders of the viability of her plan, it emerged her former Brexit secretary David Davis had described Chequers as a “non-starter”.

In extracts of a speech he plans to deliver in Munich tomorrow, Mr Davis said the PM’s plan crossed all of her own negotiating red lines.

And he said: “Chequers is devoid of democracy altogether. This is why many of us will shortly be presenting an alternative plan which will outline a more ambitious vision.”

Mr Tusk told reporters in Salzburg: “The Brexit negotiations are entering the decisive phase.

“Various scenarios are still possible today but I would like to stress that some of Prime Minister May’s proposals from Chequers indicate a positive evolution in the UK’s approach, as well as the will to minimise the negative effects of Brexit.”

Those positive areas included foreign and security policy co-operation, he said.

But in a blow to Mrs May’s approach, he said: “On other issues such as the Irish question or the framework for economic co-operation the UK’s proposals will need to be reworked and further negotiated”.

“Today there is perhaps more hope, but there is surely less and less time,” he added, as he confirmed he would propose a mid-November summit.

Efforts to find an acceptable way to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland suffered a further setback as Mrs May’s DUP allies poured cold water on the latest EU offer.

Ahead of the summit in Austria, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he was ready to come forward with a new offer on the Irish border.

In order to “de-dramatise” the main obstacle to a withdrawal deal, Mr Barnier suggested arrangements could be made to conduct the majority of checks on imports and exports away from the border itself.

But the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up Mrs May’s minority administration in Parliament, dismissed Mr Barnier’s proposals as unpalatable because they would involve a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

“It still means a border down the Irish Sea although with different kinds of checks,” the party’s deputy leader Nigel Dodds said.

“The fact is that both Theresa May and the Labour Party have said no British prime minister could accept such a concept. It is not just unionists who object.”

The Department for Exiting the EU welcomed the commitment by Brussels to resolving the issue, but stressed Britain “could not accept Northern Ireland being separated off from the UK customs territory”.

The Salzburg meeting came as campaigners in the UK published a blueprint setting out how MPs could force the Prime Minister to accept what they call a People’s Vote on her deal, with the option of remaining in the EU.

Despite Mrs May insisting the choice was between her deal or no deal, Treasury minister Mel Stride appeared to suggest a second poll was still a possibility.

Mr Stride told Sky News: “When we have a firm deal on the table, I suspect that those to the right of the party – the pro-Brexit wing – will be very concerned that if that deal does not prevail, they will end up in the situation where we could have a second referendum or we could end up not leaving the EU altogether, so there is a danger of that happening if Chequers does not prevail.”

Mr Tusk’s intervention in Salzburg came just hours before a working dinner at the Felsenreitschule – the theatre where the Von Trapp family performed before fleeing the Nazis in The Sound Of Music movie – where Mrs May will set out her plan and explain why Brussels should show more flexibility to give her the support she needs.

As part of the drive to set out the UK’s position to the EU’s leaders, she used an article in German newspaper Die Welt to explain her stance.

The Chequers blueprint - a “common rulebook” for trade in goods and “business-friendly facilitated customs arrangement” - is the only way to resolve the thorny issue of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, she said.

“It is profoundly in both sides’ economic interest, it respects the integrity of the single market and, crucially, no-one else has come up with a proposal that could command cross-community support in Northern Ireland that is the only true foundation for stability there,” she said.

Mrs May added: “Neither side can demand the unacceptable of the other, such as an external customs border between different parts of the United Kingdom - which no other country would accept if they were in the same situation – or the UK seeking the rights of EU membership without the obligations.”

Mrs May is expected to use the Salzburg summit to hold formal face-to-face talks with Belgian premier Charles Michel today and Ireland’s Leo Varadkar and Mr Tusk tomorrow.

She may talk to other leaders in the margins of the summit in an effort to win backing for a plan which has met fierce resistance from within the ranks of her own Conservative Party.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4802395.1537372195!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802395.1537372195!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "British Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: Matt Dunham","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "British Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: Matt Dunham","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4802395.1537372195!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/fran-van-dijk-we-must-educate-and-inform-to-tackle-climate-change-1-4801570","id":"1.4801570","articleHeadline": "Fran Van Dijk: We must educate and inform to tackle climate change","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537368973000 ,"articleLead": "

We have recently lived through three years in a row of the ­hottest temperatures recorded worldwide, a clear sign that our ­climate is changing, and changing fast.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801569.1537368970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fran van Dijk chairs the Macaulay Development Trust"} ,"articleBody": "

Is this enough to spur us into tackling climate change and other sustainable development priorities? In part, yes. But there’s something fundamental hampering the transformation needed to ­develop our economy, environment and society in a truly sustainable way. That is the challenge of communicating what sustainable development actually means. Making this complex topic accessible and understandable is vital as we work towards realising the UN Sustainable Development goals.

The issue of sustainable use of land and natural resources, for the ­benefit of people, communities and the environment is something that the Macaulay Development Trust supports by investing in world class research.

The trust can trace its origins to the 1930s, to an endowment from Dr T B Macaulay. With family from Lewis, his vision was to improve the productivity and sustainability of Scottish agriculture through sound research.

He generously founded the Macaulay Soil Research Institute (now part of the James Hutton Institute) and the Macaulay Development Trust (MDT). The MDT builds on his vision and supports excellent research into the sustainable use of land and natural resources. To check we are actually making a difference, we measure both the scientific and societal impact of our grants.

Our work can be illustrated by examples of projects we have funded in recent years, such as community participation in renewable ­energy projects. A challenge surrounding renewable energy is to understand which ownership models – public, private or community based – work best, and for whom.

The potential for civic participation in energy systems was examined and its benefits, risks and opportunities explored. Several interesting findings came to light. UK community energy projects potentially have access to lower-cost finance than commercial ones. The ownership of generation technology by end-users is also crucial for business models targeted at the off-grid sector in the ‘Global South’. Finally, indigenous utility-scale storage technologies are being crowded out by interconnectors, which allow energy to flow between networks. These findings subsequently led to the roll-out of an evaluation methodology across Scotland and a high-impact paper on energy storage.

There has also been research done into the rapid response to extreme weather. In addition to fellowships, the MDT also funds rapid response in extreme situations. Climate change is likely to cause increasingly ­frequent and severe weather events.

Scotland experienced a taste of this on 30 December 2015, when the Dee in Aberdeenshire flooded, causing serious damage to buildings and infrastructure. Extremely high water levels in January actually ‘reset’ river forms, necessitating a reassessment of how we manage flood risk and habitats in the area.

Jointly funded by MDT, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeen City Council, ­aerial and ground-based surveys enabled a comprehensive analysis of erosion and deposition, providing valuable information for concerned stakeholders. It also established a useful baseline for analysing river behaviour and anticipating and responding to future floods.

We are also keen to foster innovation in agriculture. MDT recognises that innovation is an essential driver for the transition to sustainability, and learning about how people respond to creative, sustainable opportunities can help catalyse change.

MDT has funded research into designing a ­programme to increase understanding of the economic ­factors influencing the uptake of sustainable ­production systems on farms. This work led to the development of free, publicly available software to help farmers assess the potential for investment in anaerobic digestion projects.

Scientific research, especially when combined with socio-economic understanding, is a powerful tool to inform, transform and inspire. So, the Macaulay Development Trust is delighted to welcome Professor ­Jacqueline McGlade back to Scotland for our annual lecture on 3 October in Edinburgh.

As a distinguished former chief ­scientist at the UN Environment ­Programme, who has lived and worked at close quarters with ­communities globally, Professor McGlade has unique insights to share and will discuss the practical challenges we can expect to face as we tackle climate change, as well as broader, global sustainable development challenges. The 41st TB Macaulay Lecture, The Challenge of Sustainable Development: From Global UN Policy to Local Community Survival in the face of Climate Change, by Professor McGlade, is at 5.30pm on Wednesday 3 October at Dynamic Earth, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh. To book your place visit http://bit.ly/41TBMacaulayLecture

Fran van Dijk chairs the Macaulay Development Trust. Visit www.macaulaydevelopmenttrust.org.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fran Van Dijk"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801569.1537368970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801569.1537368970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Fran van Dijk chairs the Macaulay Development Trust","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fran van Dijk chairs the Macaulay Development Trust","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801569.1537368970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/catherine-gee-shocked-by-blue-planet-everyone-can-do-their-bit-to-protect-the-world-1-4802331","id":"1.4802331","articleHeadline": "Catherine Gee: Shocked by Blue Planet? Everyone can do their bit to protect the world","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537368933000 ,"articleLead": "

Authenticity is very much in the news, and rightly so. Whether it’s ‘fake news’, double standards or promises that are never kept, trust seems to be at an all-time low.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802330.1537368929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Plastic pollution in the sea. Picture by Blue Planet 2, BBC."} ,"articleBody": "

To achieve real change, not only do we have to change what we think, but we must change what we do. Beliefs matter, of that there is no doubt, but actions matter much more, and the public are increasingly intolerant of anyone or any organisation that says one thing and does another.

It’s the same with the United Nations Sustainable Development goals – 17 global goals that were set out to ­protect the health of our ­planet, reduce poverty and address gender equality. The first months and years since their adoption at the United Nations in 2015 have seen some impressive steps taken by governments, businesses and people across the globe. We can be proud that Scotland has been at the forefront of this international progress. Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to sign up to adopt the global goals. Since then it has gone even further and linked its own national outcomes with them.

That sounds like a great start, but what does that mean for us as individuals? As we approach Sustainable Development Goals week (22-29 September) it’s time for us to think seriously about how we embed these goals into how we live and work – the UN agreement is not just a set of ­principles to live by, it sets out ­global targets that must be achieved by 2030.

For example, global goal 12 – “responsible consumption and ­production” – focuses on sustainable business practices and consumer behaviour. This may sound very ­general and perhaps unachievable. But if we look at it a bit closer, it is formal recognition that we need to change the way we behave in our everyday lives and that the current path we are on is unsustainable.

That means, in practical terms, we all need to start thinking, about what steps we’re going to take to deliver this improvement. It’s no longer about talking the talk, it’s about walking the walk. We all need to play a part, not just for global goal 12, but as many as possible.

What does this look like for us at Keep Scotland Beautiful? In 2016, we fully aligned our activities to the 17 global goals and identified those we can make the most direct contribution to. Every organisation, large and small can and should align their work to the global goals – it’s easier than it sounds. By using the global goals as a framework for your business strategy, your organisation can be more sustainable. Everyone’s business will touch them somewhere – and it’s time to stop and look at how and where. You may already be contributing to the global goals in some way without realising it. It’s not about taking huge action – small changes can achieve a lot, even more so if it’s done collectively. It’s about our combined efforts.

This is not just a task for businesses or organisations: this is a job for us as individuals also. We all know the ­areas of our life where we can live more sustainably. How many of us are now having second thoughts before taking the easy option on a takeaway coffee cup or a paper ­napkin? How many of us dispose of our litter casually without regard to the consequences?

Another example, global goal 14 is about “life below water” and reducing marine pollution. We all saw Blue Planet II and were shocked by the impact of litter following river courses to the oceans. We’ve changed our perceptions. Have we changed our behaviour?

It is time to accelerate that change. To do that, we need to make it personal. Find out what global goals will mean for you, your employer or your business. You may be surprised about what you are already achieving.

Or why not consider joining the SDG Scotland Network – an active network open to anyone who wants to be part of making a difference ­collectively.

Above all, let’s make it authentic. Let’s move on from verbal commitments to changing the way we live and work and truly live sustainably.

Find out more about our work at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org

Catherine Gee, director, Keep Scotland Beautiful.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Catherine Gee"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4802330.1537368929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802330.1537368929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Plastic pollution in the sea. Picture by Blue Planet 2, BBC.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Plastic pollution in the sea. Picture by Blue Planet 2, BBC.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4802330.1537368929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/bodyguard-creator-says-fan-theories-on-show-have-grain-of-truth-1-4802306","id":"1.4802306","articleHeadline": "Bodyguard creator says fan theories on show have ‘grain of truth’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537367604000 ,"articleLead": "

Bodyguard creator Jed Mercurio has said some of the fan theories about the conclusion of the show do have “a grain of truth”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802305.1537367601!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A teaser trailer for the political thriller's final episode previously hinted that David Budd, pictured, will be arrested over Julia Montague's assassination. Picture: Sophie Mutevelian/World Productions/BBC/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Speculation has been rife about how the BBC One thriller will wrap up in its final episode on Sunday.

Mercurio has refused to confirm whether Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes) has really been killed off.

READ MORE: Bodyguard on BBC One: great drama, the silliest thing on TV, or both?

He told ITV’s This Morning: “We’re all sitting back and enjoying the speculation. It’s great that people have their own theories.

“Actually, I do look at some of the bigger theories and it’s interesting that occasionally there’s a grain of truth.”

Mercurio previously killed off a character played by Hawes in his series Line Of Duty.

He said: “That’s also part of the history, the fact that it happened before makes people swing towards the idea that she must obviously be dead.

“But then there are other things that are in the drama that make the observant people swing towards the idea that possibly that’s a ruse. We’re just sitting back and enjoying the response and the speculation.”

Mercurio did confirm only one ending has been filmed, saying: “There isn’t an alternative ending. We weren’t in a position where we could commit to doing that and shoot it different ways and then edit it different ways.

“We definitely have a conclusion and I think that at the end of it people will know exactly what they need to know.”

Mercurio added that conversations have started with the BBC about a second series, saying: “We know that people out there are loving series one and there would be an appetite for series two. We’ll just have to wait and see.

“A lot goes into setting up a production. None of those conversations have taken place yet, which would allow us to facilitate that production.

Mercurio was full of praise for the show’s other star Richard Madden.

“Richard’s done a fantastic job on this and we’re all so proud of what he’s achieved and so pleased for him,” he said.

“He’s such a hard working actor and such a lovely guy. It’s great that he’s getting all the attention that he deserves.

“If that character survives then we would have to get into a conversation with Richard about whether he would be available to do another series.”

Teasing what viewers can look forward to as the series reaches its conclusion, Mercurio said: “I can tell you that the episode returns to some of the very tense action style sequences of the first two.

“There’s lots of action in the last episode and lots of answers to questions that have been in people’s minds these last few weeks. I’m really very optimistic that people will get a lot out of the episode and they’ll get the answers that they’re looking for.”

Previewing the coming series of Life Of Duty, which is being filmed in Belfast, Mercurio said: “What we’re doing in this series is we’re answering some of the questions that were left over from series four and we’re also starting a whole new investigation that will carry through the six episodes.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4802305.1537367601!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802305.1537367601!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A teaser trailer for the political thriller's final episode previously hinted that David Budd, pictured, will be arrested over Julia Montague's assassination. Picture: Sophie Mutevelian/World Productions/BBC/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A teaser trailer for the political thriller's final episode previously hinted that David Budd, pictured, will be arrested over Julia Montague's assassination. Picture: Sophie Mutevelian/World Productions/BBC/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4802305.1537367601!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/subjects-offered-to-students-being-squeezed-at-scottish-schools-1-4802254","id":"1.4802254","articleHeadline": "Subjects offered to students being ‘squeezed’ at Scottish schools","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537364011000 ,"articleLead": "

A reduction in the number of subject choices in some schools is having a significant impact on pupils’ prospects, MSPs have been told.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802253.1537364007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Some Scottish schools are having to cut the number of subjects offered to students"} ,"articleBody": "

Experts told a Scottish Parliament committee today of a trend towards a “narrowing” of the curriculum, particularly in S4, meaning the range of subjects on offer to pupils is being squeezed.

As a result, youngsters are missing out on studying some beneficial subjects and the options open to them further down the line are being reduced, MSPs heard, with pupils in the most deprived areas particularly hit.

READ MORE: Quiz: Could you pass Scotland’s P1 test?

Holyrood’s Education and Skills Committee heard from a range of experts on the 2018 exam diet and the way Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) is working.

Under the former system, pupils typically studied eight subjects in S4.

However, Professor Jim Scott, an honorary professor of education at the University of Dundee, said schools are offering anything from five to eight courses to pupils in S4 under the new curriculum.

Having surveyed all 359 secondary schools, he found: “The latest position is that 54 per cent of Scottish secondary schools are offering their children only six courses.

“Approximately a third, slightly less than that, are offering seven courses.

“About an 11th are offering eight courses and there are still three or four hardy souls who are offering five courses.

“The evidence demonstrates that the problem for many middle and upper ability-ranged children is that their choice is being squeezed, particularly in the five and six-course schools.”

In that instance, children would tend to choose maths and English then two sciences and a social subject, or vice versa, leaving “the entire remainder of the Scottish curriculum” fighting to be the final subject picked.

“Needless to say, much of what would have been a beneficial experience for these children in times past has gone and that obviously has an impact on attainment,” the former head teacher added.

Prof Scott said had the S4 situation continued as it was in 2013, there would have been an extra 622,000 qualifications in Scotland over the five subsequent years.

He described the figure as “almost unbelievable”.

Prof Scott continued: “That curriculum narrowing has both impacted significantly on the quantity of attainment, but has also impacted on the progression pathways then available to children.”

Children at the lower levels of ability appear to be worst-affected by CfE, MSPs were told.

Prof Scott told them: “The evidence here suggests that equity is not being achieved and in fact things appear to be getting somewhat worse.”

Dr Marina Shapira, from the University of Stirling’s social policy department, said she too found a variation in the number of subjects offered to S4 children across different local authorities.

She said: “Our findings were quite striking because we found a clear relationship in the rate of reduction of the number of subject choices made by S4 pupils and the level of school deprivation.

“This finding is very worrying.

“In general we have this trend of narrowing the curriculum. On average there is a reduction in the number of subject choices across the entire secondary sector in Scotland.

“However, the reduction is larger in schools in higher areas of deprivation and the reduction is larger in schools where there are more children on free school meals, which means more children from deprived socio-economic backgrounds.”

Deputy convener of the committee, Labour MSP Johann Lamont, said she found the idea of young people having “fewer chances in poorer areas than they had five years ago” to be “deeply troubling”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4802253.1537364007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802253.1537364007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Some Scottish schools are having to cut the number of subjects offered to students","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Some Scottish schools are having to cut the number of subjects offered to students","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4802253.1537364007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/london-adopts-glasgow-approach-to-violent-crime-1-4802246","id":"1.4802246","articleHeadline": "London adopts Glasgow approach to violent crime","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537363180601 ,"articleLead": "London mayor Sadiq Khan has launched a violence reduction unit amid attempts to follow Glasgow’s lead in reducing knife crime on the streets of the English capital.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802245.1537363225!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "London has launched its own violence reduction unit"} ,"articleBody": "


An initial £500,000 has been set aside for the creation of the unit, which aims to follow the pioneering work in Scotland’s largest city treating violence as a public health issue.

Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit, which was launched in 2005, has been credited with helping to reduce the number of homicides in Glasgow by 60 per cent over the past decade,

The mayor’s office said the new unit would help improve coordination between the Metropolitan Police, local authorities, health service and City Hall.

It follows research into how Glasgow’s approach could be “scaled up” to meet the demands of a city with a population close to nine million.

A total of 80 people were stabbed to death in London last year, a quarter of them in their teens.

Mr Khan said: “The causes of violent crime are extremely complex, involving deep-seated societal problems like poverty, social alienation, mental ill-health and a lack of opportunity.

He added: “We have listened and researched the public health approaches in cities like Glasgow, where their own long-term approach over more than a decade has delivered large

reductions in violence. City Hall have spent time properly learning the lessons from Glasgow and developing plans to scale their approach up to meet the different needs and challenges

we face in London.”

Niven Rennie, director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit, said: “The SVRU started by treating violence as a disease which was infecting our communities. From teachers and social

workers, to doctors and dentists, police and government we have all worked together to make Scotland safer. The job isn’t done and every single life lost is a tragedy, but we have come a

long way from the days when the World Health Organisation branded Scotland the most violent country in the developed world.”

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “It’s very positive news that London is to have its own Violence Reduction Unit, based on the Scottish model and the public health approach that has helped us to make significant reductions in violent crime.

“Of course, the job is not done in Scotland and we can still learn lessons from other areas, so we will follow the progress in London with interest. I wish all those involved the very best of luck with this new initiative."

" ,"byline": {"email": "chris.marshall@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Chris Marshall"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4802245.1537363225!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802245.1537363225!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "London has launched its own violence reduction unit","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "London has launched its own violence reduction unit","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4802245.1537363225!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/humza-yousaf-begins-search-for-alternative-to-railway-policing-plan-1-4801938","id":"1.4801938","articleHeadline": "Humza Yousaf begins search for alternative to Railway policing plan","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537353372000 ,"articleLead": "

Justice secretary Humza Yousaf has said controversial railway policing plans have been put on hold and may never be enacted.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802110.1537353368!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Humza Yousaf. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The minister appeared before MSPs yesterday to answers questions about the plan to integrate British Transport Police (BTP) into Police Scotland.

He said there was a “pressing need to find interim arrangements” after Police Scotland were unable to give a start date for the planned integration.

The Scotsman revealed last month that a plan to merge the two forces looked likely be scrapped amid concern it could take years to get right.

Mr Yousaf yesterday said the work on the integration would be “paused” to allow interim measures to be put in place.

The devolution of railway policing was one of the recommendations of the Smith Commission, published in 2014.

However, parties at Holyrood have been split on the best model to take forward, with rail unions accusing the SNP of putting “Nationalist dogma” above public safety by seeking to replace BTP with Police Scotland.

The merger was originally due to take place in April 2019, but the timetable was delayed.

Mr Yousaf told Holyrood’s justice committee that if all parties were “satisfied” with the interim arrangements then ministers would “have to look again at whether the legislation would be commenced or not”.

He said: “It could be we get to a position where the interim arrangements satisfy us universally, the political parties around this table, the stakeholders involved.

“And we believe that after a period of a couple or a few years of those arrangements being in place that we are universally satisfied that the accountability has been demonstrated, that we have the best model in place not just to maintain the safety but enhance the safety of the travelling public.

“And if we got to that point frankly we would have to look at whether the legislation would be commenced or not.”

He said he was “disappointed” the merger had to be put on hold, saying: “I see the benefits of full integration, seamless policing, that single command structure, I see those benefits.”

Nigel Goodband, chair of the BTP Federation, said: “We welcome the view that full integration may not be necessary.

“Clearly accountability is a concern and we understand that. There are several ways to achieve this and we look forward to meeting the cabinet secretary to discuss the impact on our members.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4802110.1537353368!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4802110.1537353368!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Humza Yousaf. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Humza Yousaf. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4802110.1537353368!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/ruth-davidson-praised-after-she-reveals-mental-health-struggles-1-4800852","id":"1.4800852","articleHeadline": "Ruth Davidson praised after she reveals mental health struggles","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537351141000 ,"articleLead": "

Political allies and opponents have united in praise of Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson after she revealed her struggles with depression, anxiety and self harm – and said she would never seek to become Prime Minister out of concern for her mental health.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4800851.1537168614!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ruth Davidson MSP and partner Jen Wilson and theri dog Wilson on the announcement of Ruth's pregnancy'Ruth Davidson pregnant baby"} ,"articleBody": "

In a soul-bearing interview accompanying a serialisation of her memoirs, Ms Davidson told how her arms and stomach carry the scars from cutting herself with blades and broken glass, and said she still has to manage her mood to avoid a fresh bout of depression.

Her announcement that she will not “ever” seek a parliamentary seat at Westminster will dismay Conservative moderates, who looked to Ms Davidson to salvage their party from the damage and division of Brexit.

“I value my relationship and my mental health too much for it,” Ms Davidson told the Sunday Times, when asked if she could succeed Theresa May, “I will not be a candidate.”

Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins tweeted: “The first time I met Ruth I knew she was special. Over the years we’ve grown close. Still, she amazes and astounds me. She’s awesome, isn’t she.”

The SNP justice secretary Humza Yousaf also praised Ms Davidson, posting on Twitter that “it can only help that folk from all walks of life speak about mental health”.

And the Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard went on social media to say that her “decision to discuss her own experiences including self-harm will mean a great deal to a great many people”.

Speaking at his party’s conference in Brighton, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “How Ruth remained so composed and assured whilst being so frank and open about such a troubled chapter in her life is beyond me. She has my respect.

“Mental health affects millions of people from all walks of life. That’s why I have treated it as a top priority and that is why we need to work hard to make it easier for people to get the help they need when they need it.”

The mental health charity SAMH also welcomed the Scottish Tory leader’s openness about her struggles with poor mental health.

In extracts from Ms Davidson’s memoirs, she tells how the suicide of a boy from her home village when she was 17 sent her into a “tailspin”.

A year later she was diagnosed with clinical depression but the medication gave her “desperate, dark, terrible dreams”.

“I started having suicidal thoughts,” she wrote.

Ms Davidson said she became “very good at covering things up… wearing long sleeves in summer and that sort of thing”. She said she is “still frightened” of going back to the “psychological place I once inhabited”.

Although she has not had a significant depressive episode since 2006, she said she turns to “structure, exercise, forward momentum, measurable outcomes” when she is feeling anxious.

The Scottish Tory leader is pregnant with her first child and also cited family as a reason why she was ruling out a bid for 10 Downing Street.

“On a human level, the idea that I would have a child in Edinburgh and then immediately go down to London four days a week and leave it up here is offensive, actually offensive to me,” Ms Davidson said.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4800851.1537168614!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4800851.1537168614!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ruth Davidson MSP and partner Jen Wilson and theri dog Wilson on the announcement of Ruth's pregnancy'Ruth Davidson pregnant baby","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ruth Davidson MSP and partner Jen Wilson and theri dog Wilson on the announcement of Ruth's pregnancy'Ruth Davidson pregnant baby","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4800851.1537168614!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5633275275001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scotland-should-be-proud-of-its-prisons-1-4801936","id":"1.4801936","articleHeadline": "Scotland should be ‘proud’ of its prisons","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537349574000 ,"articleLead": "

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801935.1537349571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Delivering his annual report, David Strang highlighted the quality of relationships between inmates and staff. Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

The outgoing chief inspector of prisons has said Scotland should be “proud” of its jails after finding them to be stable and secure.

Delivering his annual report, David Strang highlighted the quality of relationships between inmates and staff.

But he said concerns remained over the increase in the use of psychoactive substances and the number of prisoners being held on remand.

The situation in Scotland sits in stark contrast to England where a number of prisons have been put in “special measures” due to growing levels of violence.

Mr Strang, a former chief constable of Lothian and Borders Police, was succeeded earlier this year by Wendy Sinclair-Gieben, but most of the inspection work referred to in the annual report took place while he was in post.

He said: “We should never take for granted the good order that is maintained in Scotland’s prisons and that they are in generally stable and secure environments.

“It is a fundamental requirement of a well-run prison that people who live and work there should feel confident in its stability and order. Across the prisons we have inspected this year, prisoners have generally told me that they feel safe.”

There are currently around 7,800 people in custody in Scotland, with the imprisonment rate among the highest in Europe.

Mr Strang said two of the prisons visited in the past year, HMPs Inverness and Greenock, did not meet modern standards despite efforts to maintain their cleanliness and upkeep.

And he said prisoners and staff across the prison system had expressed anxiety about growing levels of “unpredictable behaviour” associated with the taking of illegal psychoactive substances.

Mr Strang said the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) was reviewing the management of the overall prison population, with growing numbers of older inmates and those convicted of sexual offences.

While the overall number of prisoners being held on remand while awaiting trial has fallen in the past year to about 15 per cent of the overall prison population, Mr Strang said he remained concerned about the numbers.

He added: “Many of the people held on remand do not receive a custodial sentence. In some cases it appears that remand is used as a heavy-handed way to ensure that the accused attends court for trial.”

Last week inspectors in England triggered an “urgent notification” process in relation to HMP Bedford after finding inmates had effectively taken control of the prison. The jail is one of a number south of the Border which have previously been put into “special measures” by the government.

Scotland’s new chief inspector of prisons, Wendy Sinclair-Gieben, said: “In my tenure I hope to build on the excellent work of the previous inspectors and continue to provide valuable insights into the conditions and treatment of people in custody, as well as highlighting much of the excellent work that already exists.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801935.1537349571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801935.1537349571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Delivering his annual report, David Strang highlighted the quality of relationships between inmates and staff. Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Delivering his annual report, David Strang highlighted the quality of relationships between inmates and staff. Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801935.1537349571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/education/quiz-could-you-pass-scotland-s-p1-test-1-4802037","id":"1.4802037","articleHeadline": "Quiz: Could you pass Scotland’s P1 test?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537348192000 ,"articleLead": "

Testing for primary one pupils in Scotland are currently at the centre of an ongoing political row.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4797013.1537348188!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Pupils at Whatriggs Primary, East Ayrshire. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Government say the tests will help them gather important data for schools. But opponents say the tests cause unnecessary stress for some youngsters. We’ve put together a sample of actual questions posed to the nation’s four and five-year-olds. Can you pass the P1 test?

READ MORE: John Swinney told to ‘listen’ and scrap P1 tests

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4797013.1537348188!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4797013.1537348188!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Pupils at Whatriggs Primary, East Ayrshire. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Pupils at Whatriggs Primary, East Ayrshire. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4797013.1537348188!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brian-monteith-why-independence-and-brexit-are-not-the-same-1-4801717","id":"1.4801717","articleHeadline": "Brian Monteith: Why independence and Brexit are not the same","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537343528000 ,"articleLead": "

As I write this week’s column it is four years since the independence referendum took place, but there are times when it feels like the campaigning has never stopped. The demands for a rerun have seen to that, as have the two general elections and the Scottish elections that have given us earache in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801715.1537343524!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The indepence referendum result four years ago has not brought an end to the campaigning ' as the weekend's Hope Over Fear rally demonstrated. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

It’s no surprise then that the anniversary was marked by a report from a new group launched last year to give business leaders and entrepreneurs a voice – Scottish-Business UK. It has made the bold but carefully evidenced claim that if you think Brexit will be bad for Scotland’s economy then independence will be eight times as bad.

If you voted “No” to independence and “Remain” to EU membership then it is probably telling you what you already expect and believe. If, however, you voted any other way, Yes-Remain, Yes-Leave, or No-Leave you might wonder if the comparison with Brexit matters. After all, are these doom-laden economic claims we keep hearing nothing other than scaremongering?

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon urged to announce Scottish independence referendum

The answer is it does matter and its not scaremongering because independence and Brexit are different. The point of the report’s comparison about Brexit is to expose the SNP’s hypocrisy in saying how bad Brexit will be for Scotland but not accepting that independence – by the party’s own measurements – must therefore be worse, indeed, far worse.

Brexit is not the same as independence for it will not change our currency – we currently use the pound and after leaving the EU it will stay that way. If, however, Scotland were to become independent we would have to either use a new currency that would take tens of billions to establish, or use the euro (after first establishing our own currency on a temporary basis) or use the pound unofficially, which would be seriously damaging for those with pensions or mortgages and leave us unable to influence interest rates.

Remaining in the United Kingdom means keeping the “Union Dividend” – whereby the UK treasury finances the spending gap between what Scotland contributes in taxes and what it spends on services directly from Holyrood (like the NHS) or indirectly from Westminster (like defence). This is no small sum, being £11.1 billion last year. Since 1980 that union dividend has actually been worth £160bn in money transferred from the UK Treasury to support public services and welfare benefits in Scotland. That’s including accounting for the oil revenues in that time.

READ MORE: Brian Monteith: SNP are masters of the fine art of fake grievance

When we leave the EU at the end of March next year the UK will save £10bn a year and Scotland’s share of that, after allowing for the taxes it pays towards that membership – set against the farming subsidies, science grants and regional development it receives via the EU – is £500 million. So, again Brexit is different, with Brexit we financially gain but with independence we would have a huge shortfall we would have to find a way to pay.

The one way that Brexit and independence are comparable is that if we risk Scottish exports to the EU by being outside its single market then the same risk must apply to our exports to the UK if we go outside its own single market. As Scotland sells more than four times the amount of goods and services to the UK than it does to the 27 other EU countries that has to be seen as a risk from independence.

The combination of that potential risk to our trade to the UK and the loss of the union dividend would hit our economy by eight times as much compared to only the potential loss of trade to the EU.

Of course it may not come to that – the risks might work out less, but the idea that leaving the UK would be easier than leaving the EU just does not stand up to scrutiny for it is simply not the same.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801715.1537343524!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801715.1537343524!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The indepence referendum result four years ago has not brought an end to the campaigning ' as the weekend's Hope Over Fear rally demonstrated. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The indepence referendum result four years ago has not brought an end to the campaigning ' as the weekend's Hope Over Fear rally demonstrated. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801715.1537343524!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/grieving-son-who-lost-mother-to-mesh-set-to-meet-health-secretary-1-4801952","id":"1.4801952","articleHeadline": "Grieving son who lost mother to mesh set to meet health secretary","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537343071000 ,"articleLead": "

The son of the first woman in Scotland to have mesh listed as an underlying cause of death is to meet with health secretary Jeane Freeman tomorrow to discuss his mother’s case.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801951.1537343067!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chic Baxter, whose wife Eileen died in August, with his daughter Audrey. Picture: Jon Savage"} ,"articleBody": "

Mark Baxter will go to Holyrood with his sister Audrey and mesh campaigner Neil Findlay MSP to discuss the circumstances surrounding the death of their mother Eileen who passed away on 27 August.

Mrs Baxter, a great-grandmother, who was married to 79-year-old Chic, had multiple organ failure listed as directly leading to her death after being admitted to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, with internal bleeding, sickness and diarrhoea.

The 75-year-old also had a perforated bowel that may have been linked to sacrocolopexy mesh repair surgery that she had five years previously. Last week the health secretary told parliament that the use of transvaginal mesh repair implants has been immediately halted in NHS Scotland. The move came after The Scotsman revealed Mrs Baxter’s death.

However, this does not include other procedures such as transabdominal mesh surgery which Mrs Baxter underwent for a pelvic organ prolapse but these will be subject to “high vigilance” procedures.

Mr Baxter said he was “looking for answers” to a number of questions that he planned to ask Ms Freeman. He added: “The first question I’ll be asking Jeane Freeman is will there be an inquest into my mum’s case?

“I want to know if I can become a member of the NHS risk management panel that is looking into the use of mesh, this would provide transparency.

“I also want to know if there was a risk assessment put in place before my mother’s operation?

“I want to know how there was a tear in my mother’s bowel.

“Normally this kind of thing happens during an operation and I’m going to ask what the mesh device was called and who were the manufacturers?

“I want to know if my mum had any underlying bowel condition that could have been recognised as a risk and was she ever asked if they could remove the mesh?

“I’m going to say to Jeane Freeman that she’s responsible for protecting and promoting public health and providing welfare for others and I want to know what she’s going to do about this for the other women that are going to be worried they could suffer the same fate as my mother.”

Labour MSP Neil Findlay, said Mr Baxter “deserves answers” from the health minister over his mother’s death.

He added: “Seeing mesh listed as one of the underlying causes of Eileen Baxter’s death was confirmation of what many have known all along – mesh should not be implanted inside human beings.

“This substance has left thousands of women across the world debilitated, in chronic pain and unable to walk or live their lives as they previously did.

“Some have lost organs, many have witnessed the end of their careers, their relationships and some have lost their homes.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Health Secretary wants to hear first-hand the experiences and views of Ms Baxter’s family following this tragic case.

“Health boards were last week instructed to immediately halt the use of transvaginal mesh altogether in cases of both pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, pending the implementation of a new restricted use protocol that will ensure procedures are carried out only in the most exceptional circumstances and subject to a robust process of approval and fully informed consent.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801951.1537343067!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801951.1537343067!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chic Baxter, whose wife Eileen died in August, with his daughter Audrey. Picture: Jon Savage","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chic Baxter, whose wife Eileen died in August, with his daughter Audrey. Picture: Jon Savage","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801951.1537343067!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/emoji-jukebox-on-song-to-help-young-people-talk-about-feelings-1-4801950","id":"1.4801950","articleHeadline": "Emoji jukebox on song to help young people talk about feelings","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537333891000 ,"articleLead": "

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801949.1537305198!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Youngsters enter an emoji to represent how they are feeling on the SeeMe jukebox. Picture: Marc Turner"} ,"articleBody": "

An emoji-powered jukebox has been created to help young people talk about how they are feeling.

SeeMe is launching the initiative after new research revealed only around a quarter (26 per cent) of young people aged 12-26 would tell someone if they were struggling to cope, compared to 67 per cent who would tell someone if they were feeling physically unwell.

To use the online jukebox, said to be a world first, young people enter an emoji to represent how they are feeling, and the feelsfm.co.uk site then generates a playlist to match their mood.

If they entered a happy face then they could select from songs like Happy Faces by The Macabees. If they were feeling sad then they could choose a song like No Tears left to Cry by Ariana Grande. It also gives them the option to give their views on what makes it hard for them to share their feelings and can point them to support lines such as Childline and Samaritans depending on their response. See Me, the national programme to end mental health discrimination, hopes the power of music will help people cope.

See Me director Calum Irving said: “Everyone has feelings, everyone has mental health, and most people listen to music. We want to bring this together, so young people can express how they are feeling without worrying about stigma, and get songs to help if they’re struggling.”

Research for SeeMe found almost two thirds (62 per cent) of young people said they think people are treated unfairly if they say they have a mental health condition, and only 31 per cent would tell someone if they had a diagnosis.

However, 72 per cent said they would be able to talk to someone if they thought that person was struggling with their mental health.

Shah Gill, 21 from Paisley, struggled with his mental health when growing up and said music helped him cope.

He said: “When I was in school I was bullied. Often I would struggle with eating habits. I had a lot of insecurities and self-doubt. It wasn’t acknowledged by teachers. It took me a long time to figure out it was an eating disorder.

“It’s hard to explain to others what you’re going through when you don’t understand yourself. I think people saw I was struggling, but didn’t know how to handle it.

“I listen to certain types of music when I feel a certain way. If I’m upset I listen to something emotional or powerful and I’ll listen to lighter music which can help me to stop worrying about things.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801949.1537305198!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801949.1537305198!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Youngsters enter an emoji to represent how they are feeling on the SeeMe jukebox. Picture: Marc Turner","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Youngsters enter an emoji to represent how they are feeling on the SeeMe jukebox. Picture: Marc Turner","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801949.1537305198!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/chris-marshall-scotland-can-t-afford-to-rest-on-its-laurels-over-prisons-1-4801921","id":"1.4801921","articleHeadline": "Chris Marshall: Scotland can’t afford to rest on its laurels over prisons","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537333740000 ,"articleLead": "

When inspectors visited HMP Bedford earlier this month they found a prison where inmates have effectively taken control, where both drugs and violence are rife and where rats have infested the squalor.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801920.1537301483!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's outgoing chief inspector of prisons, David Strang, says we should be 'proud' of how are prisons are run. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

It led HM Inspectorate of Prisons for England and Wales to call for an urgent intervention from the justice secretary.

But despite the seriousness of the situation, Bedford is by no means an outlier. The publicly run prison is the fourth English jail to be subject to the “urgent notification” process.

It was Fyodor Dostoevsky, the author of Crime and Punishment, who said a society’s civility could be judged by the way it treats its prisoners.

The truth is that the prison system, much of it privately run, has never been a priority for government, with the impact of chronic under-investment now beginning to tell.

Yet the problems in England sit in stark contrast to the situation in Scotland where prisons have not experienced the same levels of violence and unrest.

In a report published today, Scotland’s outgoing chief inspector of prisons, David Strang, says we should be “proud” of how are prisons are run.

In the foreword to his annual report, he states: “We should never take for granted the good order that is maintained in Scotland’s prisons and that they are in generally stable and secure environments.”

Scotland’s prisons are not without their problems: in the past year inspection reports have raised concerns about the state of ageing buildings (many of them built in the 19th century) and the quality of rehabilitation offered behind bars, particularly for those serving shorter sentences.

In March, a report warned the presence of psychoactive substances is undermining the “sense of safety” for inmates and staff after an inspection of HMP Inverness found an influx of “Spice,” which was thought to be arriving in prisoners’ mail.

But as serious as these problems are, they pale into insignificance when compared to the Dickensian conditions being endured in some English jails.

Last week during a debate in the House of Commons, UK justice minister Rory Stewart pledged to “learn lessons” from north of the Border.

Mr Stewart, a thoughtful politician who has promised to resign if he cannot tackle the level of drugs and violence in ten English prisons, knows that the best long-term way of improving the situation is to cut the overall number of those in custody.

Asked about Scottish Government plans to introduce a presumption against sentences of less than 12 months, he told MPs: “Connected to the question of crowding in prisons is the question of how many people are sentenced. The two are clearly related.

“The evidence suggests that very short sentences are in fact likely to lead to more re-offending than a community sentence. It is an issue that we need to look at very carefully.”

But despite generally pursuing a more progressive penal policy over the past decade or so, Scotland’s prison population has remained stubbornly high.

Reducing the number of those behind bars will not be an easy or quick fix.

For the staff and inmates at HMP Bedford and other prisons like it, time is of the essence.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801920.1537301483!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801920.1537301483!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland's outgoing chief inspector of prisons, David Strang, says we should be 'proud' of how are prisons are run. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's outgoing chief inspector of prisons, David Strang, says we should be 'proud' of how are prisons are run. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801920.1537301483!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/half-of-patients-waiting-too-long-for-physio-appointments-1-4801944","id":"1.4801944","articleHeadline": "Half of patients waiting too long for physio appointments","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537333349000 ,"articleLead": "

More than half of people in Scotland who need physio or occupational therapy are waiting too long for an NHS appointment, new figures have revealed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801943.1537304824!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said the SNP government had failed to train and employ enough staff, and had neglected warnings about an ageing population over the course of the last decade in government. Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

ISD Scotland statistics have shown just 49.9 per cent of musculoskeletal patients got an appointment within the SNP government’s own target four-week period. In total more than 40,000 patients across Scotland missed out in the quarter to June this year. The target is for 90 per cent of patients to be treated within four weeks.

Further analysis of the data also found that more than one in 10 patients were being forced to wait beyond the 16-week mark for care.

Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said the SNP government had failed to train and employ enough staff, and had neglected warnings about an ageing population over the course of the last decade in government.

He added that these figures wouldn’t take into account those who can’t wait any longer, and are forced to pay for their own private care.

Musculoskeletal patients include those requiring physio and occupational therapy, as well as podiatry and orthotics for problems of the feet.

In Lothian just one third (33 per cent) of patients met the four week target with 4,944 of 15,024 being treated in the time period.

In Scotland’s largest health board Greater Glasgow and Clyde the figure was 39 per cent with 16,170 of the 41,660 total making the target.

Mr Briggs said: “It’s a complete failure of government from the SNP that thousands of patients a month are waiting too long for physio and occupational therapy. Many of these people will be in significant pain, and are being let down badly.

“It’s bad enough that more than half are missing the target, but in some health boards the picture is even more bleak. These statistics won’t even include those whose pain is so great they can’t wait for the NHS, and are instead forced to go private.

“It should not be a surprise to the SNP that so many people require musculoskeletal help when you consider our ageing and increasing population.

“But it hasn’t planned for this, and now patients and staff right across the country are feeling the consequences.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Every day waiting to see a specialist can cause people with musculoskeletal conditions to have their activity limited and be left in pain. Less than half of patients now start to receive the physio they need within the four week waiting time standard. This holds back their recovery and demands an urgent explanation from the Scottish Government.

“Staff will be flat out to try and see patients as quickly as possible. The Scottish Government needs to listen to them and give them what they need to make this service work properly for patients and staff.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801943.1537304824!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801943.1537304824!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said the SNP government had failed to train and employ enough staff, and had neglected warnings about an ageing population over the course of the last decade in government. Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said the SNP government had failed to train and employ enough staff, and had neglected warnings about an ageing population over the course of the last decade in government. Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801943.1537304824!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/john-swinney-told-to-listen-and-scrap-p1-tests-1-4801932","id":"1.4801932","articleHeadline": "John Swinney told to ‘listen’ and scrap P1 tests","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537333224000 ,"articleLead": "

Education secretary John Swinney has been urged to “listen and learn” by scrapping controversial primary one testing ahead of a crucial vote on the issue.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801931.1537302869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Swinney has been urged to listen to issues around P1 testing. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

With the Scottish Government facing potential defeat in the Scottish Parliament today, opposition politicians have called on Mr Swinney to admit he was wrong to introduce the tests.

The Conservatives have submitted a motion calling for the tests for four and five-year-olds to be halted.

The call came after MSPs attended a demonstration of the tests organised by the Scottish Government as ministers defended the controversial assessments.

Politicians were given sample questions of the tests, which would see primary one pupils answer 30 literacy- based questions in 22 minutes and 30 numeracy questions in 27 minutes. Officials involved with creating the tests said it would be up to teachers when pupils sat the tests and whether they would sit them all at the same time. Although they admitted that “in theory” the information could be used to draw up league tables, they emphasised the system was designed to be focused on individual pupils with the aim of providing better information for teachers.

Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens oppose the tests. The Conservatives, who have no objection to assessments for older pupils, have come up with a motion that calls for them to be halted in primary one. A defeat for the Scottish Government at parliament today would mark the second time that one of Mr Swinney’s key education reforms has struggled to secure parliamentary support.

Mr Swinney has already shelved his Education Bill, which had at it’s heart his flagship plans to hand control over schools to headteachers. Mr Swinney has said he would reflect on the outcome of today’s debate, but he also did not rule out defying the will of the Parliament by pointing out the vote was not binding because it was not a legislative one. Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith called on Mr Swinney to listen to objections to primary one tests from teachers and pupils.

She said: “The Scottish Conservatives have been making our concerns heard about the primary one testing regime from the last two years. It is there on the record. We have listened and learned. Today’s debate is a chance for the SNP to do the same.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801931.1537302869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801931.1537302869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Swinney has been urged to listen to issues around P1 testing. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Swinney has been urged to listen to issues around P1 testing. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801931.1537302869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/top-woman-golfer-murdered-on-course-near-her-us-college-1-4801954","id":"1.4801954","articleHeadline": "Top woman golfer murdered on course near her US college","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537333221000 ,"articleLead": "

The golfing world has been left in a state of shock after one of the game’s top young prospects was murdered on a course in the United States.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801953.1537305543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "After Spain's Celia Barquin Arozamena's body was found on a US golf course, Collin Daniel Richards, was charged with her murder. Picture: AP"} ,"articleBody": "

Celia Barquin Arozamena, a 22-year-old Spaniard who won the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship in July, was found a short distance away from her unattended golf bag at Coldwater Golf Links in Iowa early on Monday.

A 22-year-old man, Collin Daniel Richards, has been charged with murdering Barquin Arozamena, who was a student at Iowa State University.

“We are all devastated,” Iowa State head women’s golf coach, Christie Martens, said in a story posted on the team’s website. “Celia was a beautiful person who was loved by all her team-mates and friends.

“She loved Iowa State and was an outstanding representative for our school. We will never forget her competitive drive to be the best and her passion for life.”

The news was greeted with dismay by leading golfers around the world, including current European No 1 Tommy Fleetwood.

“I’ve always grown up thinking a golf course is the safest place you can be,” wrote last year’s Race to Dubai winner on Twitter. “Where is safe these days?”

Catriona Matthew, Europe’s Solheim Cup captain, described Barquin Arozamena’s murder as “devastating news” while fellow Scot Michele Thomson said: “This is so sad”.

That sentiment was shared in social media messages from various golfing bodies, including the St Andews-based R&A and Scottish Golf.

In a statement, the police said they had determined that Barquin Arozamena had died following an assault.

“This is a tragic and senseless loss of a talented young woman and an acclaimed student athlete,” said Iowa State’s president, Dr Wendy Wintersteen.

“We mourn with her family and friends in Spain, her team-mates here and all who knew her. On behalf of the entire Cyclone family, I extend our deep condolences to Celia’s family and her many friends and team-mates at Iowa State. We are deeply saddened.”

Barquin’s victory in the European Ladies’ Amateur in Slovakia had secured her an invitation to next year’s Women’s British Open at Woburn. In August, she advanced to Stage II of the LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.

She ended her Iowa State career (2015-18) with her fourth-straight NCAA Regional appearance and earned All-Big 12 Team honours for the third time (2015, 2016, 2018), one of only two players in college history to accomplish the feat.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801953.1537305543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801953.1537305543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "After Spain's Celia Barquin Arozamena's body was found on a US golf course, Collin Daniel Richards, was charged with her murder. Picture: AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "After Spain's Celia Barquin Arozamena's body was found on a US golf course, Collin Daniel Richards, was charged with her murder. Picture: AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801953.1537305543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/leader-comment-scotland-s-needs-must-be-addressed-1-4801917","id":"1.4801917","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Scotland’s needs must be addressed","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537333221000 ,"articleLead": "

More heat and headlines than reasoned debate as we face a time for hard decisions on migration.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801916.1537340117!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Migration Advisory Committee has advised the government in a new report, to restrict the number of lower skilled EU workers (which would include construction workers) allowed to enter the UK after Britain's Brexit split from the EU. Picture: AP Photo/Frank Augstein"} ,"articleBody": "

It is difficult to escape the feeling that Britain would be a better place to live if we could discuss the vital issues of the day without resorting to tribalism and party politics.

A country where people don’t harbour resentments that spiral into dangerous policies like Brexit, but instead where reasoned debate, compromise and acceptance of opposing views allows us to move forward in a sensible fashion.

The long-awaited Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report – commissioned by the government ahead of Brexit – gives its view on the value of migration and the best way forward. There is much in the report that is worth considering.

But as usual, many politicians and interest groups have resorted to a slanging match generating heat and headlines, but not much light.

The report says there is no evidence that increased European migration has damaged life in the UK. It concludes that EU migrants pay more in tax than they receive in benefits, contribute more to the NHS workforce than the healthcare they access, and have no effect on crime rates.

But this doesn’t mean that migration concerns should not be raised. Just because the long-term effect is positive doesn’t change the fact that migration increases pressure on public services, on schools, housing and GP surgeries for example. Over time we may all be benefiting but it needs upfront funding; and in its absence complaints are often justified.

The cap on the number of high-skilled migrants coming to the UK should be scrapped, the MAC report says, and it sees no “compelling reasons to offer a different set of rules” for workers from the EEA.

“A migrant’s impact depends on factors such as their skills, employment, age and use of public services, and not fundamentally on their nationality,” the report reads. In other words a surgeon from India is as valuable as one from Poland.

The MAC is important as it is expected to shape the government’s post-Brexit immigration policy.

And crucially it says Scotland does not need a different policy to the rest of the UK. The report accepts that lower migration might lead to population decline, but says this is true not only of Scotland but also parts of northern England.

Scotland’s needs must be addressed. In areas such as tourism and agriculture there are real concerns about labour shortages and businesses need confidence that the UK government is listening.

But having a separate immigration policy for Scotland isn’t straightforward, opponents claiming it would require a “Border at Berwick” to make it work.

A UK-wide solution is the best option but with Scotland’s voice heard loudly and with a fair compromise achieved. But right now the chances of this happening seem remote.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801916.1537340117!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801916.1537340117!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Migration Advisory Committee has advised the government in a new report, to restrict the number of lower skilled EU workers (which would include construction workers) allowed to enter the UK after Britain's Brexit split from the EU. Picture: AP Photo/Frank Augstein","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Migration Advisory Committee has advised the government in a new report, to restrict the number of lower skilled EU workers (which would include construction workers) allowed to enter the UK after Britain's Brexit split from the EU. Picture: AP Photo/Frank Augstein","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801916.1537340117!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5701939165001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/westminster-report-scotland-specific-immigration-system-not-justified-1-4801890","id":"1.4801890","articleHeadline": "Westminster report: Scotland-specific immigration system ‘not justified’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537303145000 ,"articleLead": "

Demands from the SNP for Scotland to be given control of migration powers are not justified, a major report on European immigration to the UK has found.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801889.1537303141!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Ministers want power over migration, arguing migrants are essential to prevent population decline. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

A UK-government commissioned report has ruled Scotland’s economic situation did not justify having a migration policy different to the rest of the UK.

The Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) study of immigration under EU free movement rules said Scotland’s economy did not need a “very different” migration regime to meet its labour requirements. The report said any changes by devolved administrations would be a “political decision”, not economic.

• READ MORE: 64 per cent of Scots want immigration powers devolved to Holyrood

Scottish ministers say Scotland’s historic trend of population decline, particularly in rural areas, means some control over migration should be passed to Holyrood – a demand the UK government has resisted.

The SNP said the document was “deeply disappointing”.

The MAC report was also drawn into a separate row over its recommendation that citizens from European Economic Area (EEA) countries should lose the preferential treatment they enjoy under free movement rules, despite acknowledging that post-Brexit trade talks with the EU would likely involve discussion of special immigration status.

• READ MORE: Vince Cable tells Labour to ditch Jeremy Corbyn and moderate MPs to quit

Business leaders also expressed disappointment the landmark report, which will have a major influence on the UK government’s migration policy after Brexit, recommended a series of new barriers for EEA migrants, warning it could lead to labour shortages and harm the economy.

The MAC study, considered the most comprehensive, evidence-based look at UK migration policy in recent years, found EU free movement hasn’t had a major impact on employment levels or wages in the UK. It concluded that EEA migration had “neither the large negative effects claimed by some, nor the benefits claimed by others”.

The report also said if “immigration is not to be part of the negotiations with the EU and the UK is deciding its migration system in isolation, we recommend moving to a system in which all immigration is managed with no preferential access to EU citizens”.

Other recommendations include scrapping the cap on Tier 2 skilled work visas and having no specific migration route for low-skilled work, with the possible exception of a seasonal agricultural workers’ scheme.

• READ MORE: Preferential immigration rules for EU citizens should end, report says

Scottish migration minister Ben Macpherson said: “With all of our population increase to come from migration over the next 25 years, migration is absolutely critical to Scotland’s future prosperity.

“However, the MAC report does little to consider Scotland’s needs and instead suggests that increasing the pension age would be a preferential approach to managing demographic change – a completely unsustainable position and one which we and many across Scotland would reject.

“This report will also be deeply disappointing to businesses and employers across Scotland who asked for a simple, low-cost approach to migration, which took into account the requirements of their sectors.”

He said the report’s proposals “completely ignore” sectors such as tourism, agriculture and forestry and “fails to address their major concerns about current and future access to workforce”.

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “The SNP’s call for immigration to be devolved is therefore entirely unnecessary and could actually be detrimental.”

He called on the SNP to abandon calls for a separate immigration policy, saying it could require a “border at Berwick”.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said the immigration debate should be “fought UK-wide” and warned against “cutting ourselves off and looking at this issue in isolation”.

Nick Marston, chairman of British Summer Fruits, reacted angrily to comments in the MAC report stating the UK berry industry was “small, low wage and low productivity in the wider UK context” and should not use a new seasonal workers’ scheme “to avoid the need for higher productivity” through greater use of technology. “Without access to seasonal workers ... our successful berry industry will cease to exist,” Mr Marston said.

The British Chambers of Commerce said the MAC’s recommendations “are unlikely to meet the needs of all employers” and warned “any sudden cut-off of EEA skills and labour would be concerning, if not disastrous, for firms across a wide range of regions and sectors”. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development warned many UK employers would face “significant challenges” in accessing skills and labour.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Laura Paterson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801889.1537303141!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801889.1537303141!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scottish Ministers want power over migration, arguing migrants are essential to prevent population decline. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Ministers want power over migration, arguing migrants are essential to prevent population decline. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801889.1537303141!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/investigations-into-senior-cops-lengthy-and-damaging-msps-told-1-4801267","id":"1.4801267","articleHeadline": "Investigations into senior cops ‘lengthy and damaging’, MSPs told","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537292068000 ,"articleLead": "

The body that represents Scotland’s most senior police officers has hit out at watchdogs over the “lengthy and damaging” investigations into allegations of misconduct.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801266.1537292064!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former chief constable Phil Gormley quit the post in February. 'Picture: Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Chief Police Officers Staff Association (SCPOSA) - which represents Police Scotland’s chief constable, as well as assistant and deputy chief constables - has questioned the time it takes the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) and the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) to conclude inquiries.

In a submission to MSPs on Holyrood’s Justice Committee SCPOSA complained that “disproportionate, lengthy and damaging enquiries appear to be undertaken with no route of challenge existing”.

The process for investigating allegations against senior officers was set out in the legislation which created Police Scotland as a national force, replacing eight regional bodies.

• READ MORE: Ex-police authority boss to keep £57,000 golden handshake

But SCPOSA claimed the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 has “inherent flaws” which have not been addressed, despite concerns being raised with both the Scottish Government and the SPA.

And with the committee now examining the impact of the legislation, it has called for a review of the accountability of both the SPA and the Pirc.

It comes after former chief constable Phil Gormley quit the post in February - some five months after he had been placed on special leave amid investigations into claims of gross misconduct.

SCPOSA said Mr Gormley had “resigned before the resolution of the allegations against him despite enquiries having been ongoing for many months”.

SCPOSA stressed it “unequivocally recognises the need for a fair, proportionate, transparent and robust system to deal with matters of complaint, misconduct and allegations of criminality in relation to senior officers”.

SCPOSA said in the five years since the Act had come into force it had “become increasingly concerned regarding the length of time taken by both the SPA and PIRC to complete what have been seen as relatively straightforward enquiries or assessments”.

It stated: “In many of these cases months have passed with no apparent progress and indeed no explanation of why no progress has been made.”

It insisted the Scottish Government “could not have intended such delays” when it drew up the legislation, and “could not have envisaged the damage these lengthy enquiries would cause to the reputations” of Police Scotland and officers being investigated.

The submission continued: “Whilst it is accepted that enquiries into allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the most senior police officers in Scotland will always cause a significant amount of public and press interest the level of intrusion currently being encountered could not have been anticipated at the inception of the new arrangements.

“In a number of instances the Association and indeed individual officers have only become aware of investigations into their conduct when articles have appeared in the media.

“Whilst it is unclear where such information has originated it is clear that it does significant damage to the officers’ reputations and also to any concept of fairness of enquiries into the matters.”

It added: “The Scottish Government and indeed the people of Scotland rightly expect the highest standards from senior police officers who carry significant responsibilities and pressure.

“In return, the senior officers should surely be entitled to expect that when complaints are received, they are dealt with in a manner which protects their personal and professional reputations for the future.

“In a number of instances this has not been the case.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801266.1537292064!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801266.1537292064!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former chief constable Phil Gormley quit the post in February. 'Picture: Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former chief constable Phil Gormley quit the post in February. 'Picture: Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801266.1537292064!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/new-pro-independence-group-to-launch-on-st-andrew-s-day-1-4801617","id":"1.4801617","articleHeadline": "New pro-independence group to launch on St Andrew’s Day","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1537290286000 ,"articleLead": "

A new movement to drum up support for Scottish independence is set to be launched on St Andrew’s Day with a high-profile fundraiser, it has been revealed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801616.1537269389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Elaine C Smith is backing the new campaign. Picture: Robert Perry"} ,"articleBody": "

The national campaign is to be launched on the auspicious November 30 date with the express aim of using Brexit to ensure support for Scottish independence increases.

Scottish Independence Convention (SIC) is planning to launch the as-yet-unnamed group alongside a fundraising appeal which is set to be unveiled with a plea for donations to help fund staff members and other resources.

READ MORE: SNP to hold ‘day of action’ on independence

The National reported that the new organisation will be spun off from SIC to provide a ‘strategic vision’ for a new Yes campaign, and will offer a fact checking service.

SIC convenor Elaine C Smith told the paper: “We don’t know when the next referendum will be but we know we need to start campaigning now.

“We know we need to be getting on the front foot with the media. We know we need to be harnessing the power of our grassroots organisations. We know we need to be preparing to take the argument to the doorstep and the keyboard.

READ MORE: Independence ‘eight times more damaging than Brexit’

“Four years after the last independence referendum there is still so much energy in the Yes movement but we need to harness it if we are going to successfully listen to and listen to and persuade our fellow Scots that the only safe way forward is to be in charge of our own destiny.

“The movement has successfully crowd-funded many initiatives since 2014. But this is the chance to take it to the next level.

“If we are serious about winning independence then we need to start campaigning on it now. And that means backing this fundraiser when it comes.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4801616.1537269389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4801616.1537269389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Elaine C Smith is backing the new campaign. Picture: Robert Perry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Elaine C Smith is backing the new campaign. Picture: Robert Perry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4801616.1537269389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}