{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"news","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/alex-salmond-accuses-nicola-sturgeon-of-rewriting-history-1-4858993","id":"1.4858993","articleHeadline": "Alex Salmond accuses Nicola Sturgeon of ‘rewriting history’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547883730000 ,"articleLead": "

Hostilities between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have taken a fresh twist after the former first minister accused his successor of “rewriting history” by removing his name from the SNP’s website.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4856751.1547830579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

But Mr Salmond was accused of throwing a “temper tantrum” by political opponents as the fallout of the Scottish Government’s botched sexual harassment inquiry into him continues.

Mr Salmond led the party to its historic first Scottish election victory in 2007 when he became the SNP’s first ever first minister. But a “history” section of the party website detailing this achievement makes no mention of Salmond. An article on the 2014 independence referendum also fails to mention him.

READ MORE: Sturgeon insists job not on the line over Salmond row

An older, archived page from the website, under a section entitled Our Party, does carry a picture of Mr Salmond and mentions him in relation to the referendum on independence in 2014.

A spokesman for the ex-first minister said: “Nicola should stop rewriting history and concentrate on making history by taking Scotland to independence.

An SNP spokeswoman said: “Alex Salmond still gets numerous hits on our website.”

Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton mocked the row between the SNP luminaries, saying: “It’s no surprise that a man who missed a ­parliamentary debate on Syria to attend the unveiling of a portrait of himself is now having a temper tantrum at being written out of SNP history.”

The relationship between Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon, his former deputy, has nosedived following the collapse of Scottish Government investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against the former party leader. He denies all the claims.

It emerged that the two SNP figures held a series of private meetings while the case was ongoing. A former Salmond aide, Geoff Aberdein, claimed this week that Ms Sturgeon’s chief of staff, Liz Lloyd, had been aware of the misconduct probe in late March – before Ms Sturgeon claims to have been aware of it.

But this was rejected by Ms Sturgeon’s team, who have accused the Salmond camp of conducting a “vendetta” against Ms Lloyd and carrying out a smear campaign.

Mr Salmond complained that individuals are seeking to remove him as a “political threat”.

The former first minister used his chat show on Kremlin-backed channel RT last week to increase the pressure on his successor to press ahead with a second independence referendum.

Ms Sturgeon has already banned government ministers from appearing on the show. But Western Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil appeared on the latest programme, and was asked by Mr Salmond if Ms Sturgeon should “seize this moment of Parliamentary crisis at Westminster to forward the independence plans.” 
Mr MacNeil replied: “Absolutely … she has to trigger the gun that its going to happen in a specific window.”

Ms Sturgeon this week insisted her job is not on the line over the fallout of the investigation.

But the First Minister admitted she is going through “difficult issues” with her former mentor during a flying visit to the Commons.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4856751.1547830579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4856751.1547830579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4856751.1547830579!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5987591556001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/brexit-has-not-moved-minds-on-indyref-question-says-sir-john-curtice-1-4859147","id":"1.4859147","articleHeadline": "Brexit ‘has not moved minds’ on indyref question, says Sir John Curtice","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877600000 ,"articleLead": "

The country’s leading pollster has insisted there is no evidence to support claims by the SNP that there has been a rise in support for a second independence referendum despite the ongoing turmoil surrounding Brexit.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859145.1547848117!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir John's comments come at the end of a week in which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a rallying cry to supporters to 'get out there and make the case' for Scottish independence. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Sir John Curtice told The Scotsman that recent polls on the issue indicated that Scots ­continue to be divided at around 45 per cent in favour of separation and 55 per cent wanting to remain in the UK – a level unchanged since the result of the independence referendum in September 2014.

Sir John’s comments come at the end of a week in which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a rallying cry to supporters to “get out there and make the case” for Scottish independence, and promised to set out a timetable for a second referendum in a “matter of weeks”.

Angus MacNeil, one of the party’s longest-serving MPs, used an appearance on Alex Salmond’s RT chat show to claim “the Scottish people have waited long enough”, while former SNP MP George Kerevan said the First Minster “should be getting on with” another vote.

Keith Brown, SNP depute leader, stopped short of demanding a second referendum, but claimed the “historic and generation-defining failure” of Westminster proved that only independence could protect Scotland’s interests.

But Sir John, a professor of politics at Strathclyde University, warned the deadlock in polling meant both sides should approach any second referendum with caution.

“We are still running at around Yes 45 per cent, and No 55 per cent which means a referendum would not necessarily be won terribly easily,” he said. “There certainly isn’t any evidence that support for Yes has particularly increased recently – but equally it also means that no Unionist could be sure that they would win.

• READ MORE: Alex Salmond accuses Nicola Sturgeon of ‘rewriting history’

“That’s the position we’ve been in since September 2014.”

Demands for indyref2 have increased among Nationalists since Prime Minister Theresa May’s government was humiliated on Tuesday night when MPs voted down her Brexit plan in record numbers.

The First Minister used a visit to Westminster on Wednesday to suggest details of the timetable for a second Scottish independence referendum would be revealed soon.

Sir John suggested yesterday it would be “unwise” to proceed with plans for another referendum when the outcome of Brexit remained far from clear.

He said: “It strikes me as extremely unlikely, even unwise, for the SNP to make any move on this until it is clear what is going to happen with Brexit.

“The crucial action is what will happen to the UK government in the wake of its attempt to try and get a deal through the House of Commons. It is widely agreed there is a non-trivial risk that UK government is going to fall apart over this subject.

“Given that there is no prospect of Nicola Sturgeon getting a Section 30 order out of the current parliament [giving permission for a referendum], and assuming she does not want to call for a referendum safe in the knowledge that she does not need to hold it, she is going to wait.

“She will wait because should the UK government fall, and should we face a general election – which opinion polls suggest could lead to another hung parliament – she might find herself in roughly the same position as the DUP currently find themselves in the current parliament, but obviously dealing with Jeremy Corbyn.

• READ MORE: SNP MP calls for Nicola Sturgeon to ‘trigger the gun’ on IndyRef2

“There are no guarantees any of this will happen, but if we have another general election, all the balls go up in the air and we wait and see how they land. At the moment, they’re not in a position that is particularly helpful for the SNP.”

Mr Brown said Mrs May’s failure to achieve a viable Brexit deal had taken the UK to the brink of a historic crisis, with a no deal Brexit now the default without cross-party agreement on an alternative.

He said: “The Tories are guilty of an historic and generation-defining failure.

“But Labour, too, have been culpable. The SNP called for a vote of no-confidence in the UK government last year – but Labour let Theresa May off the hook and she has run down the clock.

“It has become increasingly clear that the only way Scotland’s interests can be protected – and our democratic decisions respected – is through independence.”

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “Since the result in 2014 the SNP has barely stopped talking about its bid to break up Britain. Despite this shamelessly relentless approach, support for separation hasn’t increased.

“That’s all the evidence Nicola Sturgeon should need to take the threat of another independence referendum off the table.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader Lesley Laird said: “It is deeply irresponsible for the SNP to use the instability and chaos caused by the Tories over Brexit to push for yet more instability and chaos with another independence referendum.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859145.1547848117!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859145.1547848117!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sir John's comments come at the end of a week in which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a rallying cry to supporters to 'get out there and make the case' for Scottish independence. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir John's comments come at the end of a week in which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a rallying cry to supporters to 'get out there and make the case' for Scottish independence. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859145.1547848117!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5846476683001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/woman-injured-in-duke-of-edinburgh-crash-always-wanted-to-meet-a-royal-but-not-in-this-way-1-4859176","id":"1.4859176","articleHeadline": "Woman injured in Duke of Edinburgh crash ‘always wanted to meet a royal - but not in this way’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547894954000 ,"articleLead": "

One of the women injured in a dramatic car crash involving the Duke of Edinburgh said they “always wanted to meet a royal - but not in this way”, it has been reported.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859175.1547894949!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Broken glass and car parts on the side of the A149 near to the Sandringham Estate where the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road accident. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The 97-year-old exchanged “well-wishes” with the two women hurt when the Land Rover Freelander he was driving rolled following a collision with a Kia, close to the Queen’s Sandringham estate on Thursday.

A nine-month-old baby who was in the Kia was miraculously unhurt, police said.

Retired NHS worker Victoria Warne told The Sun she spoke to the duke as she looked after the injured occupants of the Kia.

The 72-year-old from Norfolk told the paper: “The passenger from the other car told me, ‘I always wanted to meet a royal - but not this way’.

She said the duke - who was found to have “no injuries of concern” after his check-up on Friday morning - asked about the welfare of the people involved in the crash.

“I told him the baby was fine - but we thought the passenger had broken her arm,” she said.

“He looked so worried and told me, ‘I’m such a fool’.”

• READ MORE: Duke of Edinburgh ‘was driving car’ that crashed close to Sandringham

Despite his age and having had a hip replacement operation last year, Philip appears to have no lasting problems following the crash.

A source said: “The duke’s routine in the coming days will continue as normal.”

Norfolk Police said two women - the 28-year-old Kia driver, who suffered cuts to her knee, and a 45-year-old passenger who broke a wrist - were treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn that day and discharged.

A palace spokeswoman said: “On doctor’s advice, the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn this morning for a precautionary check-up.

“This confirmed His Royal Highness had no injuries of concern. The duke has returned to Sandringham.”

She added: “Contact has been made privately with the occupants in the other car and well-wishes exchanged.”

Mrs Warne’s 75-year-old husband, Roy, helped the stricken duke out of his car.

He told The Sun that Philip, who was left very shocked by the accident, asked if everybody was all right and was overheard telling police he had been “dazzled by the sun”.

The crash happened on Thursday afternoon as Philip’s Freelander pulled out of a side road onto a stretch of the A149 which was earmarked by the local authority for possible safety measures.

At a meeting, coincidentally scheduled for Friday, Norfolk Country Council approved plans to lower the speed limit from 60mph to 50mph, backed by speed cameras.

The duke appeared to be travelling without a police protection officer, individuals who guard all senior members of the Royal Family when at public and private events.

This may raise concerns about security but the duke was being shadowed by another vehicle, thought to contain police officers, just before his crash, Mr Warne has suggested.

Norfolk Constabulary said in a statement: “As is standard procedure with injury collisions, the incident will be investigated and any appropriate action taken.

“We are aware of the public interest in this case, however, as with any other investigation it would be inappropriate to speculate on the causes of the collision until an investigation is carried out.”

Philip may have plans to continue driving as the Queen’s transport manager, Alex Garty, was seen at Sandringham as a new Freelander was delivered to the royal residence.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859175.1547894949!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859175.1547894949!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Broken glass and car parts on the side of the A149 near to the Sandringham Estate where the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road accident. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Broken glass and car parts on the side of the A149 near to the Sandringham Estate where the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road accident. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859175.1547894949!/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/lack-of-bodycams-putting-scots-prison-staff-at-unnecessary-risk-1-4859172","id":"1.4859172","articleHeadline": "Lack of bodycams putting Scots prison staff ‘at unnecessary risk’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547889852000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish Government has been accused of putting prison officers at unnecessary risk by not routinely providing body-worn cameras.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859171.1547889847!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scottish Conservatives said the technology was already provided to every prison officer across the rest of the UK. Picture: Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Conservatives said the technology was already provided to every prison officer across the rest of the United Kingdom.

The party said the cameras were considered a to be a “visible deterrent” to disorder and violence against prison officers. They also provide evidence when required and support for prison officers in disputes.

Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary, said: “The SNP’s failure to provide body-worn cameras for prison officers in Scotland when they are provided to all other officers in the rest of the United Kingdom, is deeply irresponsible.

“Our prison officers work in extremely risky environments, and are often called upon to resolve disputes, many of which can, and do, turn violent.

“The cameras are recognised to be a hindrance to that violence, and so, by their very nature, provide prison officers with extra protection.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We value the work done by the staff of the Scottish Prison Service and we never take for granted the good order that is maintained in Scotland’s prisons, in contrast to elsewhere in the UK.

“We have received no funding request for body cameras from the Scottish Prison ­Service.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859171.1547889847!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859171.1547889847!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Scottish Conservatives said the technology was already provided to every prison officer across the rest of the UK. Picture: Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scottish Conservatives said the technology was already provided to every prison officer across the rest of the UK. Picture: Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859171.1547889847!/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/scottish-labour-calls-for-snp-to-give-up-salmond-committee-chair-1-4858673","id":"1.4858673","articleHeadline": "Scottish Labour calls for SNP to give up Salmond committee chair","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547847528000 ,"articleLead": "

Richard Leonard has called for Nicola Sturgeon to give up the SNP’s right to chair a special committee established to look at the handling of complaints made against Alex Salmond.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858672.1547815801!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Salmond pursued a judicial review of the process the Scottish Government used to investigate two complaints of sexual harassment made against him. He denies the charges"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Labour leader said in a letter to the First Minister that an MSP from an opposition party must instead be appointed to oversee the committee’s work.

Under parliamentary precedent the SNP is due to chair the next committee established in Holyrood.

READ MORE: Sturgeon and Salmond agree to co-operate with Holyrood inquiry

At First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon refused to answer calls from Mr Leonard that the SNP give up the convenor’s position.

Mr Leonard has now written to Ms Sturgeon calling for the SNP to step aside and let an MSP from an opposition party chair the inquiry.

In the letter, he said it was in “the interests of transparency, integrity and objectivity” that the convener did not belong to the same political party as the Scottish Government.

It was confirmed this week that a special committee of MSPs will be set up to look into the collapse of the government investigation after allegations by two women about Mr Salmond. He denies the claims.

A separate police investigation is ongoing.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858672.1547815801!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858672.1547815801!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alex Salmond pursued a judicial review of the process the Scottish Government used to investigate two complaints of sexual harassment made against him. He denies the charges","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Salmond pursued a judicial review of the process the Scottish Government used to investigate two complaints of sexual harassment made against him. He denies the charges","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858672.1547815801!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5987591556001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/main-players/alex-salmond-airbrushed-out-of-snp-online-history-1-4859086","id":"1.4859086","articleHeadline": "Alex Salmond ‘airbrushed’ out of SNP online history","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547846987000 ,"articleLead": "

Hostilities between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have taken a fresh twist after the former First Minister accused his successor of “rewriting history” by airbrushing his name from the SNP’s website.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859085.1547846983!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Mr Salmond was accused of throwing a “temper tantrum” by political opponents as the fallout of the Scottish Government’s botched sexual harassment probe into him continues.

He led the party to its historic first Scottish election victory in 2007 when he became the SNP’s first-ever First Minister. But a “history” section of the party website detailing this achievement makes no mention of Mr Salmond. An article on the 2014 independence referendum also fails to mention him.

An older “archived” page from the website, under a section entitled Our Party, does carry a picture of Mr Salmond and mentions him in relation to the referendum.

A spokesman for the ex-First Minister said: “Nicola should stop rewriting history and concentrate on making history by taking Scotland to independence.”

An SNP spokeswoman said: “Alex Salmond still gets numerous hits on our website.”

But Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton mocked the latest brickbats between the SNP luminaries.

“It’s no surprise that a man who missed a parliamentary debate on Syria to attend the unveiling of a portrait of himself is now having a temper tantrum at being written out of SNP history,” he said.

The relationship between Mr Salmond and his former deputy has nosedived following the collapse of the Government investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against the former party leader. He denies all claims of harassment.

It emerged the two SNP chiefs held a series of private meetings while the case was ongoing. A former Salmond aide, Geoff Aberdein, claimed this week that Ms Sturgeon’s chief of staff Liz Lloyd had been aware of the misconduct probe in late March – before Ms Sturgeon claims to have been aware of it.

This was rejected by Ms Sturgeon’s team, who have accused the Salmond camp of conducting a “vendetta” against Ms Lloyd and carrying out a smear campaign.

Mr Salmond complained that individuals were seeking to remove his as a “political threat”.

The former First Minister used his chat show on Kremlin-backed RT last week to increase the pressure on his successor to press ahead with a second independence referendum. Ms Sturgeon has already banned her own team of Government ministers from appearing on the show.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859085.1547846983!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859085.1547846983!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859085.1547846983!/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/stop-dithering-and-scrap-the-backstop-boris-johnson-tells-pm-1-4859142","id":"1.4859142","articleHeadline": "‘Stop dithering and scrap the backstop’, Boris Johnson tells PM","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547879538000 ,"articleLead": "

Boris Johnson has called on Theresa May to stop “dithering” and tell the EU Britain will not accept the backstop arrangement designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859141.1547847197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Theresa May has held discussions with Cabinet colleagues after talks with other parties. Boris Johnson said the UK must go ahead with Brexit on 29 March. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The former foreign secretary dismissed calls for the Prime Minister to rule out a no-deal Brexit, insisting it was “overwhelmingly likely” Brussels will offer an improved agreement following the defeat of Mrs May’s plan in Parliament.

Mr Johnson insisted the UK must go ahead with EU withdrawal on 29 March, insisting it would be “shameful” to seek to delay Brexit by asking for an extension of Article 50.

The Prime Minister was meeting Cabinet ministers at 10 Downing Street to discuss talks she has held over the past two days with opposition party leaders and MPs. After surviving a no-confidence vote on Wednesday, Mrs May spoke with all party leaders except Jeremy Corbyn, who snubbed the talks because the PM refused to rule out no deal.

She also spoke on Thursday with German chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte. A spokesman for the European Commission said that president Jean-Claude Juncker expected to speak to Mrs May, at her request, yesterday.

Following reports of civil servants being asked to draw up contingency plans for an early general election, a Downing Street spokeswoman said that Mrs May was ruling out a snap poll.

Mr Johnson declined to say whether he would back Mrs May to lead the Tories into an election if one was called.

Answering questions following a speech at JCB headquarters in Staffordshire – widely seen as a leadership pitch – Mr Johnson said: “I think most people in this country feel they have had quite enough elections … A snap election is not the right way through.”

The former figurehead of the Vote Leave campaign sought to distance himself from controversial adverts about immigration from Turkey during the 2016 campaign.

Vote Leave adverts posted widely on social media stated that “Turkey (population 76 million) is joining the EU” and “Britain’s new border is with Syria and Iraq”.

But Mr Johnson insisted yesterday: “I didn’t say anything about Turkey in the referendum … Since I made no remarks, I can’t disown them.”

However, a week before the referendum in June 2016, Mr Johnson and Michael Gove wrote a joint letter to David Cameron claiming the government supported the idea of Turkish membership of the EU, adding: “The public will draw the reasonable conclusion that the only way to avoid having common borders with Turkey is to vote leave and take back control.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859141.1547847197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859141.1547847197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Prime Minister Theresa May has held discussions with Cabinet colleagues after talks with other parties. Boris Johnson said the UK must go ahead with Brexit on 29 March. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Theresa May has held discussions with Cabinet colleagues after talks with other parties. Boris Johnson said the UK must go ahead with Brexit on 29 March. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859141.1547847197!/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/regions/glasgow-strathclyde/difficult-decisions-for-glasgow-after-equal-pay-settlement-1-4859095","id":"1.4859095","articleHeadline": "‘Difficult decisions’ for Glasgow after equal pay settlement","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547878078000 ,"articleLead": "

Glasgow City Council has “difficult decisions” to make on funding for local services after agreeing to pay out £500 million in equal pay claims, its leader has warned.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859094.1547842506!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Three months after a well-supported strike, Glasgow's equal pay campaigners have won a long-running dispute with the council. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Susan Aitken said the agreement reached this week was likely to cost the council “tens of millions” of pounds per year in interest payments as a result of extra borrowing.

Having only set aside around £35m for the bill, she said the council was currently in talks with banks to remortgage many of its public buildings to access the required cash.

Around 12,500 women are set to receive payouts after an agreement was reached in the long-running dispute over equal pay.

The claims arose from a pay and conditions scheme introduced by the local authority more than a decade ago, which campaigners say led to women being paid up to £3 an hour less than men.

The deal, which still needs to be signed off by councillors and claimants, means that the council has to raise money quickly before the payouts can begin.

Ms Aitken declined to say which buildings might be remortgaged due to ongoing negotiations with banks, but said famous landmarks such as the Kelvingrove Museum would not be included.

However, she admitted that the plan would result in a significant annual bill for the council. “We will have to service that debt, so we are looking at some tens of millions each year.”

Asked if this would lead to cuts to services, she said: “It means that we have some difficult decisions to make, undoubtedly.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859094.1547842506!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859094.1547842506!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Three months after a well-supported strike, Glasgow's equal pay campaigners have won a long-running dispute with the council. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Three months after a well-supported strike, Glasgow's equal pay campaigners have won a long-running dispute with the council. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859094.1547842506!/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/parents-of-victims-accuse-authorties-of-failing-to-take-action-to-reduce-prison-suicides-1-4859140","id":"1.4859140","articleHeadline": "Parents of victims accuse authorties of failing to take action to reduce prison suicides","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877659000 ,"articleLead": "

The parents of a student found dead in her cell at Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution have accused the prison authorities of obstructing changes needed to stop young people taking their own lives.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859139.1547846917!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "William Lindsay died at Polmont Young Offenders' Institution. Picture: John Devlin."} ,"articleBody": "

Katie Allan, 21, died at Polmont in June just months before the death of William Lindsay, 16, who killed himself within 48 hours of being remanded there in October – despite being flagged as a suicide risk.

Katie, a Glasgow University student, was jailed for 16 months in March last year for a hit-and-run crash while over the alcohol drink-drive limit.

Yesterday the Scottish Government said psychiatrist Dr Helen Smith would oversee an independent expert review of mental health provision for young people in custody.

The review will examine how information is shared with the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) by other agencies and will seek the views of young people with experience of having mental health needs while being held in custody.

While welcoming the scope of the review, Stuart and Linda Allan said that over the past decade, the SPS had “obstructed the radical change necessary” to stop young people tak

In a statement issued through their solicitor, the family said: “Despite the wide-ranging recommendations made by several inquiries over the last decade it is clear the Scottish Prison Service has obstructed the radical change necessary to stop young people like Katie And William Lindsay taking their own lives.

“Our contact with prisoners has highlighted their views of being labelled as at risk of suicide.

There is a reluctance to admit feelings of suicide as they will be placed in a suicide cell, stripped, provided with anti-ligature bedding and clothing, have all their personal belongings removed and be given finger food.

“In addition they will be checked at intervals either of 15 mins, 30 mins or 60 minutes, often by prison officers switching on a cell light. Prisoners treat such cells as ‘punishment cells’.”

The Allans have previously accused the SPS of mounting a “cover-up” to hide the number of suicides in custody.

The Scotsman revealed last year how vulnerable teenager William Lindsay killed himself days after being remanded. Mandatory fatal accident inquiries are being held in both cases.

Announcing details of the expert review yesterday, justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “This review will focus specifically on young people in custody and will draw directly on the views and lived experiences of staff, young people and their families at Polmont.

“Any death by suicide is tragic and the impact on family and friends is unimaginable for most of us. We have made both suicide prevention and reforming young people’s mental health key priorities with a significant focus on early intervention.”

An SPS spokesman said: “The Scottish Prison Service has invested extensively in developing Talk to Me, a strategy for helping those who have self harming or suicidal feelings.

“We have invested considerably in that and in other strategies to support those who come into our care.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859139.1547846917!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859139.1547846917!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "William Lindsay died at Polmont Young Offenders' Institution. Picture: John Devlin.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "William Lindsay died at Polmont Young Offenders' Institution. Picture: John Devlin.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859139.1547846917!/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/world/donald-trump-and-nancy-pelosi-s-tit-for-tat-antics-as-shutdown-continues-1-4859080","id":"1.4859080","articleHeadline": "Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi’s tit-for-tat antics as shutdown continues","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877640000 ,"articleLead": "

She imperilled his State of the Union address. He denied her a plane to visit troops abroad.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859079.1547840502!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to visit US troops in warzones. Picture: Alex Wong/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The shutdown battle between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is playing out as a surreal game of constitutional brinkmanship, with both flexing political powers from opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue as the negotiations to end the monthlong partial US government shutdown remain stalled.

In dramatic fashion, Trump issued a letter to Pelosi, just before she and other lawmakers were set to depart on the previously undisclosed trip to Afghanistan and Brussels. Trump belittled the trip as a “public relations event” – even though he had just made a similar warzone stop – and said it would be best if Pelosi remained in Washington to negotiate to reopen the government.

“Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative,” wrote Trump, who had been smarting since Pelosi, the day before, called on him to postpone his State of the Union address on 29 January due to the shutdown.

Denying military aircraft to a senior politician – let alone the speaker, who is second in line to the White House, travelling to a combat region – is very rare.

The political tit-for-tat between Trump and Pelosi laid bare how the government-wide crisis has devolved into an intensely pointed clash between two leaders determined to prevail. It took place as hundreds of thousands of federal workers go without pay and Washington’s routine protocols – a president’s speech to Congress, a politician’s official trip – became collateral damage.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said the speaker planned to travel to Afghanistan and Brussels to thank service members and obtain briefings on national security and intelligence “from those on the front lines.”

Trump’s move was the latest example of his extraordinary willingness to tether US government resources to his political needs. He has publicly urged the justice department to investigate political opponents and threatened to cut disaster aid to Puerto Rico amid a spat with the island territory’s leaders.

For security reasons, Pelosi would normally make such a trip on a military aircraft supplied by the Pentagon. According to a defence official, Pelosi did request defence department support for overseas travel and it was initially approved. The official said the president does have the authority to cancel the use of military aircraft.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump wanted Pelosi to stay in Washington before Tuesday, a deadline to prepare the next round of paychecks for federal workers. “We want to keep her in Washington,” Sanders said. “The president wants her here to negotiate.”

Trump was taken by surprise by Pelosi’s move to postpone his address and told one adviser it was the sort of disruptive move he would make himself, according to one Republican.While he maintained a public silence, Trump reiterated fears that he was being outmaneuvered in the public eye.

Trump was delighted at the idea of cancelling Pelosi’s trip, believing the focus on the resources needed would highlight her hypocrisy for cancelling his speech, according to the Republican source.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859079.1547840502!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859079.1547840502!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to visit US troops in warzones. Picture: Alex Wong/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to visit US troops in warzones. Picture: Alex Wong/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859079.1547840502!/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/disabled-people-losing-out-in-moves-to-tackle-homelessness-1-4859082","id":"1.4859082","articleHeadline": "Disabled people losing out in moves to tackle homelessness","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877626000 ,"articleLead": "

Thousands of disabled people living in unsuitable homes across Scotland risk being “overlooked” by efforts to tackle homelessness, a report by a leading charity has warned.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859081.1547840719!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'More visible' forms of homelessness have taken precedence. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

Inclusion Scotland said many disabled people were living in houses which did not meet their basic needs, but that other “much more visible” forms of homelessness were taking precedence.

Official housing figures suggest that up to 61,000 households include a disabled person who cannot get up or down the stairs inside their own home.

Analysis of the Scottish House Condition Survey also suggests around 34,000 disabled people find it impossible or difficult to access their bath or shower, while 9,000 cannot get to their own toilet.

The charity said this means that many disabled people in Scotland meet the criteria for homelessness as set out in the 1987 Housing Act.

The legislation states that a person should be treated as homeless if it would not be “reasonable” to expect them to continue to occupy their existing accommodation.

“It is reasonable to expect a disabled person to live in a house where they cannot wash themselves, use the toilet or get up and down the stairs?” said Inclusion Scotland policy officer Susie Fitton.

The charity is worried that thousands of disabled people are being “hidden” from the public debate about homelessness, as they do not know they have a right to describe themselves this way.

In November, ministers announced a £50 million action plan which shifted efforts towards the “rapid rehousing” of people in temporary accommodation or at risk of becoming homeless.

But Ms Fitton said: “What happens to the thousands of disabled people who don’t present as homeless but who need to be rehoused because their current home is unsuitable and cannot be adapted?

“It’s not that we want more disabled people to be presenting as homeless, but rather a national strategy aimed at improving the supply and allocation of accessible homes and support for adaptations.”

Scottish Labour’s housing spokeswoman Pauline McNeill said disabled ­people in Scotland were being “robbed of their dignity and independence” due to a ­chronic shortage of accessible housing.

“I support all measures that can be taken to tackle homelessness, but it is important that disabled people left ­suffering in unsuitable housing are not further disadvantaged because they have not presented as homeless,” she added.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “Making sure everyone has a safe, warm and affordable home is central to our drive for a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859081.1547840719!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859081.1547840719!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "'More visible' forms of homelessness have taken precedence. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "'More visible' forms of homelessness have taken precedence. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859081.1547840719!/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/forget-bingo-here-s-how-elderly-women-can-seize-power-susan-dalgety-1-4858700","id":"1.4858700","articleHeadline": "Forget bingo, here’s how elderly women can seize power – Susan Dalgety","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877600000 ,"articleLead": "

The number of female pensioners is set to soar, giving this section of the population significant political clout – if they choose to use it and be a bit more like Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren and a generation of politicians in the US, writes Susan Dalgety.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858699.1547813399!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrat Barbara Lee head for the floor of the House of Representatives (Picture: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

Something happens to women when they hit their sixties. We suddenly become invisible. Even if we enhance our greying hair and choose the brightest shade of lipstick, we seem to merge into the background of life.

We introduce ourselves as, “I used to be...”. We apologise for taking up space in the street, on the bus, particularly in rush hour, and we can wander round a department store for hours without being pestered to buy anything.

We disappear from boardrooms and the workplace. Wrinkles on a man are seen as a sign of wisdom. On a woman, they are a mark of decay.

Madonna, at 60, is vilified for maintaining her youthful appearance and zest for life. Bruce Springsteen, nine years her senior, is lauded for his energy and carefully honed muscles.

Two years ago, the Queen of Pop warned women: “Do not age, because to age is a sin. You will be criticised, you will be vilified, and you will definitely not be played on the radio.”

And now, it seems, some people think older women should be denied that most basic of human rights – our right to vote.

Speaking on the Jeremy Vine show earlier this week, singer Jamelia, who is 38 by the way, told pensioner Pat that people over 75 shouldn’t be allowed to cast their ballot.

“I think that you’re capable of being of sound mind,” conceded the pop legend (I had to Google her) sweetly.

But she went on: “I just don’t think it’s fair that you have a vote when you’re not going to experience the consequences of that vote.”

“It is important you don’t become offended,” she added, in a vain attempt to soften her ageist blow.

And in an even more objectionable article, the doyen of progressive journalists, 72-year-old Polly Toynbee, celebrated the fact that today is “swing Saturday”.

She explained, “This is the day, in theory, when the country turns remain.

“Even if not a single person has changed their mind since the referendum, the demographic shift alone will have done the heavy lifting.

“Enough old leavers will have died and enough young remainers will have come on to the electoral register to turn the dial on what the country thinks about Brexit.”

READ MORE: US midterms: Regiment of women march on monstrous Trump – Susan Dalgety

In Toynbee’s la-la-land, all older people are reactionary Little Englanders, except presumably for her and her narrow network, while everyone under the age of 40 is a saintly progressive.

Jamelia and Polly are in for a shock. Britain is ageing, and here in Scotland the population is changing faster than the rest of the UK.

The National Records of Scotland project that over the next 25 years, the number of people of pensionable age could increase by 25 per cent, while the number of working age people and children will drop.

The oldies are taking over. And given that women outnumber men in the general population, it is an easy prediction to make that older women will dominate Scottish society over the next few decades.

So how do we encourage older women to emerge confidently from the shadows of late middle age? How do we harness the wisdom and experience of women over 60 to help strengthen our economy? How do we get Madonna back on the radio?

READ MORE: Susan Dalgety: Springsteen can help US rediscover its pre-Trump values

The business case for employing older women is obvious, not least that we have decades of knowledge and expertise to share with younger staff.

The 2010 Equality Act offers a degree of protection against age discrimination, and economists calculate that if everyone worked even one year longer, GDP could increase by one per cent, adding billions to the economy.

But in a society where ageism intersects with sexism, it can be hard for older women to force their way back to where they belong, centre stage.

That is why us older women need to be more like Nancy. “Nancy who?” I hear you cry.

Nancy Pelosi, newly appointed Speaker of the American House of Representatives, second in line to the Presidency after Vice President Mike Pence, and arguably the most powerful woman in the world.

Nancy will be 79 years old in March. She is, by any account, old. She is also courageous, and not afraid to directly challenge the madness of President Trump.

She is vastly experienced. She was first elected to Congress in 1987 and has led the House Democrats since 2003.

She doesn’t give a fig about her age. She embraces her status as a grandmother. She delights in the youthful vigour of new female politicians like the Insta-friendly Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez, while making it clear she is the boss.

And she is not the only older woman making her mark in the USA just now. Nancy’s colleague Maxine Waters has just become the first woman to lead the Financial Services Committee, which oversees the American banking system.

She may also prove to be Donald Trump’s nemesis. “Crazy” Maxine, as the President calls her, now has the power to get his tax returns, and she seems determined to wield her authority over him. She will be 80 on her next birthday.

One of the frontrunners in the race to win the nomination for the Democrats’ 2020 Presidential candidate is 69-year-old Elizabeth Warren. She did not become an elected politician until she was 63.

And the new boss of CBS News, Susan Zirinsky, is not only the first woman to hold this prestigious TV post; at 66, she also is the oldest person.

The generation of American women who burned their bras in the 1960s and 70s, while challenging the patriarchal society that had buried their mothers and grandmothers in domesticity, are now their country’s senior citizens. And they are showing us the way.

We all age. Yes, even men and young people, if they are lucky enough, will age. Ageing is simply living.

The old rules, that meant a woman disappeared into a life of bingo, tea dances and home perms when she hit 60, are long gone.

As Madonna says, “Who made those rules? Who says? I’m going to keep fighting it.”

“Ten or 20 years from now, it’s going to be normal. People are going to shut up.”

Are you listening Jamelia?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Susan Dalgety"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858699.1547813399!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858699.1547813399!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrat Barbara Lee head for the floor of the House of Representatives (Picture: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and fellow Democrat Barbara Lee head for the floor of the House of Representatives (Picture: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858699.1547813399!/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-wilson-why-ditching-nuclear-is-bad-for-climate-change-good-for-putin-1-4858838","id":"1.4858838","articleHeadline": "Brian Wilson: Why ditching nuclear is bad for climate change, good for Putin","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877600000 ,"articleLead": "

If the UK gets rid of nuclear power, it will become more reliant on fossil fuels from Russia, writes Brian Wilson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858837.1547821054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An artist's impression of a planned nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey in north Wales. (Picture: PA)"} ,"articleBody": "

Amidst the fine talk about “taking back control”, it was ironic that the most significant announcement for the British economy emerged this week from a Tokyo boardroom.

The decision by Hitachi to pull out of the planned Wylfa nuclear power station is not only devastating for the north Wales economy, it also leaves the UK without an energy policy worthy of the name.

To some, this will be a cause for rejoicing. They hate nuclear power so much they do not care where the alternatives come from – Russia in the long run – or what they consist of – fossil fuels, mainly.

Check out Germany where the anti-nuclear policy driven by the Greens resulted last year in 44 per cent of electricity being generated from coal, compared to seven per cent in the UK. The more nuclear they close, the more coal is burnt.

READ MORE: Scots fourth in European green energy usage league

To all intents, the key decisions on future UK energy policy will now be taken by state-owned companies in Paris and Beijing. If they decide against further nuclear investment, we are back to a wing, prayer and imported gas. Even then, it will be a tight squeeze for decades to come – and very expensive when gas prices rise.

But what, I hear you say, about renewables? Well, I would claim to have done as much as any past Energy Minister to promote renewables of all types but it was always in the knowledge that they must be backed up by reliable baseload.

Logically, if one’s primary concern is carbon reduction (hence renewables), the corollary should be to generate baseload with minimum harmful emissions. But when it came to nuclear, logic was abandoned in the 1980s and the time-frame has now passed.

Anti-nuclear prejudice and privatisation have deprived government of the ability to take decisions that are in the long-term interest of the country yet we are still living off the benefits of political courage in the 1960s and 70s.

READ MORE: Cracks at Scottish nuclear plant will see 40 per cent power cut

Scotland, naturally, has been in the frontline of 21st century virtue-signalling. Hunterston and Torness are spoken of as if they were regrettable plagues upon our landscape, rather than essential engines of the Scottish economy for half a century.

Soon they will be gone. Hunterston B has been providing baseload for 46 years and Torness for over 30. They are monuments to great Scottish engineering and well-paid jobs in communities that depended upon them. What, any more than in North Wales, are they to be replaced with?

Alex Salmond’s promise of “a second industrial revolution” from renewables proved to be a mirage, not least because his Basque buddies at Iberdrola – the chief beneficiaries of renewables subsidies – took a strategic decision not to manufacture here (as EU rules made feasible). That is one piece of control I would strongly support taking back.

Technology has made offshore wind cheaper than nuclear sooner than anticipated and the UK Government had to take account of that in limiting its offer to Hitachi. The question is whether such decisions can be left to private companies on purely commercial grounds.

I have been hearing for 20 years that all will be well because “the market” will always provide the means of generating power – a fancy way of saying “build more interconnectors and we will bring in gas from wherever we can get it”.

Gas is plentiful and relatively cheap but it won’t always be like that. The EU imports 70 per cent of its natural gas with over a third coming from Russia. Again, the irony of becoming ever more dependent on Russian gas, albeit at second hand, should not be lost on government.

Scotland cannot opt out by talking only about renewables. Both for supply of baseload and demand for renewables, we are inextricably linked to the rest of the UK. Once our nuclear plants close, we will be huge net importers if there is any industry left to fuel.

There are some areas in which the state should never have surrendered control – and the ability to keep the lights on is one of them. Thank goodness for a past history of courageous politicians, long-term state planning and balanced energy policy.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Brian Wilson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858837.1547821054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858837.1547821054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "An artist's impression of a planned nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey in north Wales. (Picture: PA)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An artist's impression of a planned nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey in north Wales. (Picture: PA)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858837.1547821054!/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/council-cuts-mean-edinburgh-faces-80-million-hit-to-economy-john-mclellan-1-4859065","id":"1.4859065","articleHeadline": "Council cuts mean Edinburgh faces £80 million hit to economy – John McLellan","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877600000 ,"articleLead": "

Amid chaos over city council cuts, it seems the economy doesn’t matter to those in charge, writes John McLellan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859064.1547837866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh faces major cuts to council budgets (Picture: Ian Rutherford)"} ,"articleBody": "

Chaos in Westminster over Brexit, chaos in Holyrood over the Salmond Affair and now chaos across the rest of Edinburgh over the City Council’s budget plans.

The amount the administration needs to save varies depending on what calculation is made and who you believe, starting with a rough figure of £50m based on £28m of predicted cuts, an extra £11m after the Scottish Government budget announcement plus £11m or so that is still to be saved from last year.

But by yesterday afternoon after the draft proposals were finally revealed, it was either £41m or £42m depending on who you spoke to, but even administration councillors were still quoting £47m on social media.

Various suggestions have been steadily leaked over the past weeks to test the water and internal discussions to finalise the cuts programme took place throughout the week with a formal announcement planned for noon yesterday. Late on Thursday afternoon, opposition councillors were told they would get a briefing from the Chief Executive this Monday afternoon until someone realised it might not be in the spirit of open and transparent democracy for elected members to be kept waiting over a weekend.

A Press briefing was arranged for yesterday lunchtime, but that was then held back because officers still hadn’t spoken to the opposition and final details were issued to councillors ten minutes before public distribution. As Dr McCoy might have said in Star Trek, it’s communications, Jim, but not as we know it.

READ MORE: Edinburgh Council ‘doomed’ by budget cuts from Scottish Government

But £41m, £47m or £50m, it’s still a huge sum for Edinburgh to find and, even with the publication of 18 separate papers, it’s not clear how it will be achieved. Senior management is expected to take a £0.5m hit.

It’s clear the economy is not a priority, with economic development losing 16 per cent of its £9m budget and the £0.5m grant to the arms-length Marketing Edinburgh agency axed altogether. Responsible for attracting films, conferences and businesses as well as tourists, in 2017-18 it generated approximately £99 of economic activity for every £1 it spent, but that seems not to matter. The decision will destroy the company and as yet there’s no idea for what will take its place, so the impact of the Scottish Government’s parsimonious attitude towards local government, plus the myopic approach by its agents in the City Chambers could knock an £80m hole in the Edinburgh economy and a time when it’s needed most. Like so much else just now, it’s government, Jim, but not as we know it.

READ MORE: Edinburgh Council could scrap £2.6m funding for community police officers

This is an attempt at state control of Press

On bad decisions, any doubt that the UK Government’s response to the Leveson Report was state regulation of the Press has been removed now we know the Press Recognition Panel – established by Royal Charter to test if a news media regulator met Lord Leveson’s demands – is now officially part of the Ministry of Justice.

The regulator used by the vast majority of publications, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, did not apply for recognition because it represented political interference. Impress, the alternative regulator bankrolled by ex-Formula One chief Max Mosley, is PRP-approved but no significant publisher has joined.

That means a Press regulation monitor which the industry was told was politically independent is in fact ultimately responsible to the Justice Minister. Just as well it’s irrelevant for most publishers.

Journalists under attack from left

The principle of political correctness, or certainly the principle of not doing or saying anything to harm or offend other people, does not extend to all, particularly those with whom the politically correct do not agree.

Take Guardian columnist Owen Jones who featured here last week after his late-night TV ding-dong with former Scotsman publisher Andrew Neil who now runs The Spectator magazine. This week the Jones campaign against publications he doesn’t like extended to blaming them for murders, like that of MP Jo Cox.

“When one of us on the left is hurt or killed, which will happen, the entire right-wing press and their so called ‘journalists’, who could have chosen to take a job which actually helps people, are all partly responsible,” he tweeted.

Why stop at the journalists? What about the advertising staff who generate income, or the printers?

However reprehensible, Jones is entitled to his views, but it’s strange that the National Union of Journalists has had little to say in defence of its members.

Greens defending Thatcher?

Impeccably politically correct Scottish Greens leader Patrick Harvie fittingly came to the defence of a much-maligned woman who can’t defend herself.

In attacking SNP council budget cuts, Mr Harvie invoked the memory of the late Lady Thatcher by saying that, “At least when Thatcher did rate capping she had the decency to do it on a statutory basis not by bullying”.

It’s 28 years since she was Prime Minister, so is Mr Harvie leading a reinterpretation of her mythology?

Did she close Ravenscraig? No, that was British Steel two years after she resigned and the John Major Government tried to keep it open. Did she force the Poll Tax on Scotland as an experiment? Not really; she wanted to introduce the Community Charge at the same time as England, but was persuaded otherwise by Sir George Younger because a Scottish rates revaluation was due.

So Lady Thatcher didn’t close Ravenscraig, didn’t want to use Scotland as a tax laboratory and treated councils with more decency than the SNP.

Probably not what Mr Harvie had in mind.

Manapes a politically incorrect mouthful
Such are the number of drinks receptions and parties in the Christmas run-up that clashes are inevitable and attendances unpredictable. So cocking a snook at Dry January, more firms are opting for New Year bashes. Proving the point, a reception hosted by Edinburgh law firm Davidson Chalmers on Thursday night welcomed over 200 people.

Marvelling at the generously proportioned canapes, one attendee also eschewed political correctness by commenting: “These must be the manapes.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "John McLellan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859064.1547837866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859064.1547837866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Edinburgh faces major cuts to council budgets (Picture: Ian Rutherford)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh faces major cuts to council budgets (Picture: Ian Rutherford)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859064.1547837866!/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/prince-philip-s-crash-no-reason-to-ban-older-drivers-leader-comment-1-4859070","id":"1.4859070","articleHeadline": "Prince Philip’s crash no reason to ban older drivers – leader comment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877600000 ,"articleLead": "

Older drivers are actually safer on the roads than the youngest motorists – particularly young men – but introducing a new test might help them prove it.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858315.1547748706!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Buckingham Palace said that Prince Philip was uninjured in the incident. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

When a 97-year-old driver is involved in a car crash, it can lead family and friends to question whether they are too old to drive. When that person is the Duke of Edinburgh, the debate is a national one.

First of all, it should be stressed the full circumstances of the accident are not yet known and Prince Philip may be entirely blameless. A witness reportedly said he had told police he had been “dazzled by the sun”.

The duke suffered “no injuries of concern” according to Buckingham Palace but the occupants of the other car were hurt; a 45-year-old woman suffered a broken wrist and a 28-year-old woman was treated for cuts but, thankfully, a nine-month-old baby was uninjured.

READ MORE: Prince Philip left ‘shaken’ by crash in which two women were injured

Such a crash might lead to demands for an upper age-limit for drivers, but this would be a mistake.
Older drivers appear to be safer than the youngest motorists. According to research presented at the British Science Festival in 2016, men aged 17 to 21 are three to four times more likely to be involved in a crash than men or women in their 70s and above. Dr Charles Musselwhite said while older people’s reaction times were slower and they were more susceptible to glare from lights, they compensated by driving more carefully.

Furthermore, giving up driving left some older people feeling like they were “ready for the scrap heap”, he said. And stopping driving can be dangerous, as elderly people are more like to suffer a fatal accident while walking because of icy or cracked pavements and potholes.

But despite such facts, there is a risk that elderly drivers become demonised in the public’s mind, particularly given the increasing numbers of people living into their 80s, 90s and beyond. The current self-certification process may not inspire the necessary public confidence, so it is perhaps time for a rethink.

There should be a limit to any kind of ‘state testing’ of the population, but some kind of test, either on the road or in a simulator, might put everyone’s mind at rest. And there is also a strong case for eyesight to be checked – as suggested by an expert group two years ago.

Testing might see some lose their licences but could also mean drivers who have simply suffered a loss of confidence, rather than ability, could carry on driving when they otherwise would have stopped.

READ MORE: Are older drivers more dangerous? New study suggests over-65s more affected by distractions

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858315.1547748706!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858315.1547748706!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Buckingham Palace said that Prince Philip was uninjured in the incident. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Buckingham Palace said that Prince Philip was uninjured in the incident. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858315.1547748706!/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/vegans-and-meat-eaters-why-they-need-each-other-jane-bradley-1-4859076","id":"1.4859076","articleHeadline": "Vegans and meat-eaters: Why they need each other – Jane Bradley","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877600000 ,"articleLead": "

Vegans, carnivores and everyone inbetween should not fight over who is more moral, writes Jane Bradley.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859075.1547840122!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jenna McGuinness, wearing a dress made entirely of lettuce leaves, urges people to try a vegan diet outside the Scottish Parliament (Picture: Ian Georgeson)"} ,"articleBody": "

You would be forgiven for thinking that the whole world has turned vegan. Supermarket shelves are lined with meat substitutes: sausages, steaks and burgers. There’s even, from this week, vegan “fish and chips” in batter on offer from Quorn.

Actually, just seven per cent of the UK population actually identifies as vegan – although that is a 700 per cent increase on two years earlier – according to figures published last year by Comparethemarket.com. Yet there is no doubt there is a growing, and welcome, movement towards plant-based diets, whether for health or environmental reasons.

A report out earlier this week claimed that people across the world need to cut down dramatically on meat and dairy consumption.

Yet, like most things in the age of Twitter, it has somehow become a fight: plant-based food vs meat. Vegans versus omnivores. Are you a true vegan or, like my friend, someone who eats an entirely plant-based diet but still owns leather shoes and bags she bought pre-conversion, so is scared to call herself a vegan for fear of being branded a hypocrite?

This week’s report, compiled by 37 scientists forming the EAT-Lancet group, paints a stark picture of what we should be doing to combat climate change. Their suggested daily diet includes just 14 grams a day of red meat, which equates to around two small steaks a month; 29g of chicken; 28g of fish; and 250g of dairy, the equivalent of just one glass of milk; along with about one and a bit eggs a week. On the other hand, 200g of fruit and 300g of vegetables a day would be required to fill us up.

Whether or not the EAT-Lancet’s plan should be followed – and there has been some backlash as to the independence of the investigation – in practice, it never will be, not by everyone.

What people are scared of is extremes. Someone who enjoys a processed-meat fried breakfast every day is not suddenly going to switch to a vegan lifestyle, no matter how many plant emoticons someone tweets at him.

READ MORE: Sean Murphy: Growth and popularity of veganism in the UK showing no sign of slowing

A colleague, not usually known for following a good diet, on 1 January, decided he was to have a massive lifestyle shift. Suddenly, gone were the processed foods and sugar-laden snacks: in came an entire grocer’s worth of fruit and vegetables; packets of unsalted nuts and boxed leftovers from nutrient-rich, home-cooked dinners.

For a couple of weeks, he was a paragon of virtue, swapping healthy-eating tips with his deskmate, a formerly hard-living hack turned tumeric-tea-drinking-almond-milk-quaffing puritan.

But earlier this week, disaster struck. We’re still not clear what caused this dramatic fall from the wagon, but on Wednesday, we found him guzzling a bottle of Lucozade washed down with a packet of Haribo, while he lunched on an entire pack of out-of-date croutons followed by a sausage roll.

He had even, we discovered, covertly reverted to his old habits of scoffing a bacon roll – left over from a morning breakfast meeting buffet, and reheated in the office microwave.

Yet, if he had not taken things to such extremes in the first place, perhaps he would have lasted longer on his health kick, which would have good for not only him, but for the environment too.

Increasingly, the argument for veganism comes from the animal-cruelty angle, rather than anything to do with health or even environmental arguments. For people who feel like this, this is a perfectly valid decision and they are entitled to make it. Yet, there are many who don’t and their views should also be respected. Of course, increasing animal welfare so that those animals we do eat have a better life before they are killed is obviously a positive thing.

READ MORE: Marks and Spencer launches vegan shoes and accessories

At a busy city centre restaurant in Edinburgh this week, my friend (the demi-vegan with the leather shoes) was handed a “vegan and vegetarian menu” along with the a la carte and lunchtime offering from which I chose my meal. More restaurants have this option now – and so they should.

Similarly, many years ago, when I lived in Cardiff, there was an excellent vegetarian restaurant around the corner to my house which offered a single meat option. And why not? They focused on vegetarian food because that was what they did – and very well. But there was one offering which might appeal to some of its other customers who enjoyed meat. It was always busy. I wonder now, in today’s climate, if that restaurant would do as well? I fear it may be boycotted by angry “true vegans” who felt that the restaurant was doing them a disservice.

This is where things are going wrong. We should not ghetto-ise food choices, nor insist on slapping labels on everyone’s lifestyles. If someone is generally vegan, but has a bacon sandwich once a month, who does that actually hurt? There is no need for things to be as cut and dried as whether someone is carniverous or vegetarian.

We need to work together to stop climate change and we will not do that by breaking into camps of vegan and non-vegan, fighting against each other to get the moral upper hand. If most of us just cut down on meat, bought only higher welfare-varieties and ate less processed food, it would be a start, both for our own health and the health of the planet.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jane Bradley"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859075.1547840122!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859075.1547840122!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jenna McGuinness, wearing a dress made entirely of lettuce leaves, urges people to try a vegan diet outside the Scottish Parliament (Picture: Ian Georgeson)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jenna McGuinness, wearing a dress made entirely of lettuce leaves, urges people to try a vegan diet outside the Scottish Parliament (Picture: Ian Georgeson)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859075.1547840122!/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/no-deal-brexit-threatens-to-food-and-drink-boom-stephen-jardine-1-4859074","id":"1.4859074","articleHeadline": "No-deal Brexit threatens to food-and-drink boom – Stephen Jardine","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877600000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s food industry is warning it faces a potential catastrophe, writes Stephen Jardine.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859073.1547839922!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Will Parmasan croutons be harder to come by after Brexit Day, 29 March? (Picture: Greg Macvean)"} ,"articleBody": "

What are you going to miss most from the menu after March? Maybe ripe French brie, or mature Parmesan, or olive oil or your favourite Belgian beer or a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio?

If a hard Brexit becomes reality in just ten weeks’ time, these items and many others are likely to be harder to obtain or more expensive as tariffs and import delays take the place of the free trade we’ve enjoyed with the European Union until now. This week, concern that we will crash out of the EU without a trading and customs agreement intensified after Theresa May’s deal was comprehensively defeated in the House of Commons.

For people watching the unfolding chaos, there is very little to be done so, fearful and frustrated, they do what they can do. This week it was reported one in six shoppers have taken matters into their own hands and have started or will soon begin stockpiling food in case certain items run out. Clearly that makes no sense and only exacerbates supply issues but it is hard to be too judgemental when major retailers like Tesco and Marks and Spencer have admitted they are also building up stock levels.

However this isn’t just about our supplies or parma ham and manchego. In time, I’m sure we could all adjust to just eating cured venison and Scottish cheddar but the viability of our businesses producing them is also at risk. With 70 per cent of our food exports – worth over £1 billion a year, going directly to the European Union, a huge amount is at stake. Apart from problems with supply routes to get our products to the market, there is also the issue of who will make those products?

READ MORE: Brexit: Scotland start stockpiling food, medicine for no deal

The industry estimates a third of the current labour force across Scotland’s food-and-drink sector come from European Union countries. Research by Skills Development Scotland suggests an extra 27,000 jobs in the industry will need to be filled by 2022, but if a weak pound or perceived Brexit hostility reduces the number of EU workers here, how do we hope to fill the extra openings?

It’s no exaggeration to say food and drink has been enjoying a boom in Scotland over the past decade. While a hard Brexit won’t mean bust, it will throw on the brakes and seriously hamper the ambition to double the industry’s turnover by 2030. Best estimates suggest the lost sales following a no-deal departure could total up to £2bn.

Given that, it is no surprise leading industry figures this weekend want MPs to rule out the option. Led by Scotland Food and Drink, organisations representing some of our biggest companies have sent a letter warning that leaving with no deal would have a “potentially catastrophic impact”.

They are right to intervene. There is a cacophony around Brexit right now but this is definitely the time to listen to the experts. Food and drink has been our greatest economic success story in recent years, filling the gaps where other sectors have declined. That is now in jeopardy. Arguments surround how different variations of a deal could benefit or hamper Scotland but no deal is different. With it there are no winners so stopping it has to be the top priority.

READ MORE: No-deal Brexit will fuel Scottish independence calls, Theresa May admits

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859073.1547839922!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859073.1547839922!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Will Parmasan croutons be harder to come by after Brexit Day, 29 March? (Picture: Greg Macvean)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Will Parmasan croutons be harder to come by after Brexit Day, 29 March? (Picture: Greg Macvean)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859073.1547839922!/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/alex-salmond-can-t-be-written-out-of-snp-history-leader-comment-1-4859089","id":"1.4859089","articleHeadline": "Alex Salmond can’t be written out of SNP history – leader comment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877600000 ,"articleLead": "

Alex Salmond is a divisive figure. But, love him or loathe him, he has played a leading role in Scottish politics for decades.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4853037.1547841639!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Salmond denies claims of harassment"} ,"articleBody": "

Any historian of modern Scotland who failed to mention him would be laughed out of the lecture hall.

So, even a potted history of the SNP on its own website – which mentions Nicola Sturgeon (three times), Angus Robertson, Winnie Ewing and the 18th century Earl of Seafield – probably should have included Salmond, regardless of the current police investigation into complaints against him of sexual misconduct by two women. He is, after all, innocent until proven otherwise.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond accuses Nicola Sturgeon of ‘rewriting history’

Salmond himself accused Sturgeon of “rewriting history” in the latest sign of the rift between the two political giants that has seen an outbreak of civil war in the party.

Of course, the First Minister may have had nothing to do with any changes to the website which may well have been the work of someone in a more junior position. One would hope her mind is focussed on more pressing concerns.

The lasting impression of the row is one of pettiness and rancour on both sides.

READ MORE: Amid Alex Salmond’s triumph and SNP civil war, accusers are forgotten – Susan Dalgety

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4853037.1547841639!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4853037.1547841639!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alex Salmond denies claims of harassment","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Salmond denies claims of harassment","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4853037.1547841639!/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-wilson-risk-of-no-deal-brexit-means-uk-must-live-with-imperfect-deal-1-4858860","id":"1.4858860","articleHeadline": "Brian Wilson: Risk of no-deal Brexit means UK must live with imperfect deal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547832859000 ,"articleLead": "

The only sure way of avoiding a no-deal Brexit is to accept a deal the EU can live with, writes Brian Wilson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858859.1547832856!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Gove's attempt at oratory during the Brexit debate just didn't cut it (Picture: AFP/Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

I was in London this week and thought events in the House of Commons justified a rare return visit to witness the free entertainment at first hand.

It was disappointing fare. Drama requires a modicum of suspense and, no matter how many breathless commentators tried to exude excitement, there was little sense of the unexpected.

Predictably, Mrs May’s deal was voted down. Predictably, she was going nowhere. Predictably, Mr Corbyn’s vote of no confidence was a damp squib. Predictably, the Government is still there.

There were no persuasive leaders, no feats of oratory – though Gove tried desperately, he just doesn’t cut it – no acts of statesmanship, no turkeys voting for Christmas ... nothing really. The main change since last week is that we are a week closer to the precipice.

It may have occurred to even the thickest Labour, Lib Dem or Nationalist MP while marching through the same division lobby as the hardest, no-deal Brexiteers that both lots cannot be right about the ultimate outcome. Place your bets.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson claims it would be ‘shameful’ to delay Brexit

The 29 March deadline is artificial, created by the Prime Minister when she triggered the withdrawal process. The argument then was that it would concentrate minds but there is little sign of any such mature focus.

That gives the advantage to Mrs May for whom prevarication is now a powerful weapon. The next few weeks may see some great shift but then again, they probably won’t. So what next?

The only sure way of excluding “no deal” is to negotiate urgently to finesse the deal that both government and EU can live with. That is the realpolitik. Why waste more time waiting for that “no” lobby to divide into its irreconcilable objectives, as the precipice draws nearer?

READ MORE: Gordon Brown: Delay Brexit for a year to let ’Citizens assemblies’ decide on issues

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Brian Wilson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858859.1547832856!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858859.1547832856!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Michael Gove's attempt at oratory during the Brexit debate just didn't cut it (Picture: AFP/Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Gove's attempt at oratory during the Brexit debate just didn't cut it (Picture: AFP/Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858859.1547832856!/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/iranian-couple-living-in-edinburgh-threatened-with-removal-from-uk-1-4858716","id":"1.4858716","articleHeadline": "Iranian couple living in Edinburgh threatened with removal from UK","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547846740000 ,"articleLead": "

AN elderly couple from Iran living in Edinburgh who rely on their family here for daily support and also help care for their autistic grandson are being threatened with removal from the UK.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859138.1547846731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An 83-year-old and 73-year-old Iranian couple who bought their Edinburgh flat in 1978, and help care for their autistic grandson, are being kicked out of the UK."} ,"articleBody": "

Mozaffar Saberi, 83, and his wife Rezvan Habibimarand, 73, have lived in the Capital on and off over the past 40 years. They brought up their children here and now have a close-knit family of four children, 11 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

They also act as co-parents for one of the grandchildren, a teenager with severe autism who does not speak and requires constant supervision. Their help means the boy’s mother – a single parent – can continue her work as an NHS nurse.

Although the rest of the family is British, the couple never sought citizenship and now face removal because they do not have the required visa.

Repeated human rights applications to remain in the UK have been refused by the Home Office and a final appeal is due to be heard next month.

“Going back to Iran would be the end for us,” said Ms Habibimarand. “We have so many illnesses that it would not just be physically the end for us, because there is not the level of healthcare we need in Iran, but emotionally the end too: there’s no one in Iran for us to go back to.”

Navid Saberi, the couple’s son, said: “With no exaggeration, sending them back to Iran would be a death sentence. The day-to-day help and support my siblings and I give our parents isn’t available to be purchased in Iran, even if we could somehow get the necessary money into the country – which is not at all guaranteed because of the sanctions. The distress of having to live alone would mean my parents’ end would come very soon.”

Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy tweeted his support for the couple: “This 83-year-old and 73-year-old Iranian couple who bought their Edinburgh flat in 1978 and help care for their autistic grandson are being kicked out of the UK. I dream of the day the Home Office treats individuals as humans.”

Join our Facebook group Our Edinburgh to share images and news from and around the Capital

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859138.1547846731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859138.1547846731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "An 83-year-old and 73-year-old Iranian couple who bought their Edinburgh flat in 1978, and help care for their autistic grandson, are being kicked out of the UK.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An 83-year-old and 73-year-old Iranian couple who bought their Edinburgh flat in 1978, and help care for their autistic grandson, are being kicked out of the UK.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859138.1547846731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858715.1547846736!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858715.1547846736!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy tweeted his support for the couple. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy tweeted his support for the couple. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858715.1547846736!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/activists-raise-30k-for-more-billboards-highlighting-brexit-hypocrisy-1-4859135","id":"1.4859135","articleHeadline": "Activists raise £30k for more billboards highlighting Brexit ‘hypocrisy’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547846217000 ,"articleLead": "

Activists aiming to highlight the “hypocrisy” of British politicians on Brexit have raised more than £30,000 in one day to erect billboards featuring their quotes across the country.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859132.1547846206!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "One of the billboard posters which has been stuck up in Dover reminding politicians of their old tweets. Picture: SWNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The pro-Remain activists, calling themselves Led By Donkeys, said the public donations are due to “an incredible sense of frustration” about the promises some MPs made and “the reality people are observing with their own eyes”.

“It’s like watching a bank heist and seeing the getaway car screech away and nobody chasing them,” the group’s spokesperson told the Press Association

“So that’s what we’re doing, we’re chasing them down with a ladder, a roller and their own words.”

The group, who have not revealed their identities, conducted three “guerilla” billboard campaigns since January 9, featuring the words of former prime minister David Cameron, Vote Leave leader Michael Gove, Prime Minister Theresa May and former Brexit secretaries David Davis and Dominic Raab.

Hard Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox also featured.

They have since been “inundated” with suggestions for future billboards as “people are combing through Hansard like it’s the new Harry Potter.”

The spokesperson said: “For us it’s vital that we engage our family, friends and loved ones who voted Leave.

“So posting these things only in Hackney and Cambridge is not going to work.”

The spokesperson added: “The people who are saying that no deal will be fine are the same people who told us we hold all the cards and the EU would crumble before the awesome might of our negotiating position.”

“Well those people are now on the bridge of the ship of state and we’re sailing into choppy waters.”

One of the billboards includes a quote from Liam Fox, who said in 2017: “The free trade agreement that we will have to do with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history.”

A spokesman for the International Trade Secretary said: “Dr Fox was referring to the trade agreement that can only occur after we have left the EU.

“What we are negotiating now is the Withdrawal Agreement under Article 50. It does not help the quality of our politics to partially quote, misquote or misrepresent”.

Dr Fox’s full quote from 2017, in an appearance on the Today programme, continues: “We are already beginning with zero tariffs, and we are already beginning at the point of maximal regulatory equivalence, as it is called. In other words, our rules and our laws are exactly the same.

“The only reason that we wouldn’t come to a free and open agreement is because politics gets in the way of economics.”

Led By Donkeys has garnered more than 25,000 Twitter followers in just over a week.

The account will tweet out quotes from politicians and ask their followers to choose which will feature on the new billboards.

A 2011 statement from Jacob Rees-Mogg won the previous vote, when he said: “We could have two referendums. As it happens, it might make more sense to have the second referendum after the renegotiation is completed.”

The initial billboards were quickly removed because they were erected without permission but money from the crowdfunding campaign will be used to buy advertising space for the posters across the country.

David Cameron, Theresa May, Dominic Raab, David Davis, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Michael Gove, who feature in the billboards erected so far, all declined to comment.

At the time of publication, the £30,000 raised so far has been donated by just under 1,300 supporters, according to the Crowdfunder website, meaning donations average a little over £20 each.

“We just want people to stop and thinking for a moment - can I trust what David Davis and Liam Fox are telling me?” the spokesperson said.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859132.1547846206!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859132.1547846206!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "One of the billboard posters which has been stuck up in Dover reminding politicians of their old tweets. Picture: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "One of the billboard posters which has been stuck up in Dover reminding politicians of their old tweets. Picture: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859132.1547846206!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859133.1547846212!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859133.1547846212!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: Twitter/@bydonkeys","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Twitter/@bydonkeys","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859133.1547846212!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5838151705001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/activist-sean-clerkin-to-lead-hunger-strike-outside-scottish-parliament-1-4859078","id":"1.4859078","articleHeadline": "Activist Sean Clerkin to lead hunger strike outside Scottish Parliament","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547840410000 ,"articleLead": "

Campaigners led by independence activist Sean Clerkin will go on hunger strike outside the Scottish Parliament on Monday to protest on homelessness spending.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859077.1547840406!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clerkin at a protest in George Square, Glasgow, in 2016"} ,"articleBody": "

The group, co-ordinated by the Scottish Tenants Association, is calling on the Scottish Government to accelerate planned spending.

A total of £50 million is set aside to tackle homelessness over the next five years as announced by Nicola Sturgeon in November.

However, campaigners have argued these funds should be front-loaded, with £40m spent in the next year.

Mr Clerkin, who will take part in the protest, said: “The money needs to be front-loaded to make a real dent in the problem. This means money for housing, but also for other support like addiction services.”

A group of seven campaigners will go on strike from 10am outside Parliament.

“We’re going to go as long as we can to make our point,” Mr Clerkin said. “Given the weather and circumstances, we expect that to be between three and five days.”

A diet of water and tea without milk or sugar will be stuck to by the protesters. “We’re trying to make a major point,” Mr Clerkin said.

Sean Clerkin is known as one of the best street campaigners in the country and is notorious for staging a variety of small-scale demonstrations.

He made headlines in 2011 after forcing then Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray to seek refuge in a Glasgow sandwich shop while out canvassing.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Elsa Maishman"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859077.1547840406!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859077.1547840406!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sean Clerkin at a protest in George Square, Glasgow, in 2016","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clerkin at a protest in George Square, Glasgow, in 2016","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859077.1547840406!/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/psychiatrist-appointed-to-review-mental-health-support-for-young-prisoners-1-4859012","id":"1.4859012","articleHeadline": "Psychiatrist appointed to review mental health support for young prisoners","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547832149000 ,"articleLead": "

A leading psychiatrist has been appointed to oversee an independent review of the mental health support services available to young people behind bars.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859011.1547832146!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The parents of a 21-year-old woman who took her own life at Polmont, Linda and Stuart Allan welcomed the move as an 'important first step'. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

Consultant forensic child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Helen Smith will oversee work examining the care of young people who are detained at Polmont Prison and Young Offenders Institution.

The parents of a 21-year-old woman who took her own life at Polmont welcomed the move as an “important first step”.

But Linda and Stuart Allan insisted they also want to see longer term plans for the inspection of prisons across Scotland.

The Scottish Government ordered a review of mental health services for young people in custody following the death of Katie Allan and 16-year-old William Lindsay, who took his own life at Polmont 48 hours after being sent there on remand.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf announced this will look into a range of matters, including the background information given to prison service staff ahead of a young person being admitted to custody.

It will also consider the reception procedures when someone arrives at Polmont, and the ongoing support and supervision available there.

Mr Yousaf said: “This review will focus specifically on young people in custody and will draw directly on the views and lived experiences of staff, young people and their families at Polmont.

• READ MORE: ‘The system failed them’ - review ordered following suicide deaths at Polmont

“It will require a wide-ranging approach with a specific understanding of the particular difficulties faced by young people, so I am pleased that Dr Smith, with her considerable experience and knowledge, has been appointed to provide expert counsel.”

He stressed that “any death by suicide is tragic and the impact on family and friends is unimaginable for most of us”.

While there are other Government initiatives working to cut suicide rates and improve mental health, Mr Yousaf said it is “imperative that we take a focused approach to addressing concerns that have been raised about support for young people in custody”.

The Justice Secretary met Ms Allan’s parents in November, five months after she died while serving a sentence at Polmont.

Lawyer Aamer Anwar, who is acting for the parents of Ms Allan and Mr Lindsay’s mother, said: “There was nothing inevitable about William and Katie taking their own lives, it was clear to anybody that cared to look that they were vulnerable and at risk of taking their own lives.

“Today is an important step forward in ensuring a legacy of Katie Allan, William Lindsay, and all those whose cries for help went unheard.

“Katie’s parents welcome today’s wide-ranging review of mental health provision for young people in prison custody, as a response to our meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice on November 13 last year.

• READ MORE: Dani Garavelli: Prison didn’t ‘Talk To Me’ before Katie Allan’s death

“At that meeting over 15 points of action for Scottish prisons were presented to him and several of those have been taken on board.

“But the family also want to hear about longer term plans on inspection of prisons across Scotland.”

Mr Anwar added the Allans believe “radical change” is necessary to “stop young people like Katie and William Lindsay taking their own lives”.

Dr Smith, the clinical lead for West of Scotland Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services who is also an honorary senior clinical lecturer at the University of Glasgow, said she is “looking forward” to working with both Polmont and the local health board NHS Forth Valley “to examine the support given to vulnerable young people at a very difficult time in their lives”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859011.1547832146!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859011.1547832146!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The parents of a 21-year-old woman who took her own life at Polmont, Linda and Stuart Allan welcomed the move as an 'important first step'. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The parents of a 21-year-old woman who took her own life at Polmont, Linda and Stuart Allan welcomed the move as an 'important first step'. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859011.1547832146!/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/boris-johnson-claims-it-would-be-shameful-to-delay-brexit-1-4858791","id":"1.4858791","articleHeadline": "Boris Johnson claims it would be ‘shameful’ to delay Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547817240000 ,"articleLead": "

Boris Johnson has called on Theresa May to stop “dithering” and tell the EU that Britain will not accept the controversial backstop arrangement designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858790.1547817235!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The former foreign secretary dismissed calls for the Prime Minister to rule out a no-deal Brexit, insisting it was “overwhelmingly likely” Brussels will offer an improved agreement following the crushing defeat of Mrs May’s plan in Parliament.

Speaking as Mrs May continued intensive discussions to draw up a Plan B to be unveiled on Monday, Mr Johnson insisted that the UK must go ahead with EU withdrawal on March 29, insisting it would be “shameful” to seek to delay Brexit by asking for an extension of the Article 50 negotiation process.

READ MORE: Support for Remain highest since referendum

The Prime Minister was meeting “a large number” of Cabinet ministers - individually and in groups - at 10 Downing Street to discuss talks she has held over the past two days with opposition party leaders and MPs from all sides of the Brexit debate.

Mrs May spoke with all party leaders except Jeremy Corbyn, who snubbed the talks because the PM refused to rule out no deal.

She also spoke by phone on Thursday evening with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

A spokesman for the European Commission said that president Jean-Claude Juncker expected to speak to Mrs May, at her request, on Friday afternoon.

Following reports that civil servants had been asked to draw up contingency plans for an early general election, a Downing Street spokeswoman said that Mrs May was ruling out a snap poll.

Answering questions following his high-profile speech at JCB headquarters in Staffordshire, Mr Johnson declined to say whether he would back Mrs May to lead the Tories into an election if one was called.

“I think most people in this country feel they have had quite enough elections,” he said.

“I certainly do.

“I think it highly unlikely that that would be the outcome. A snap election is not the right way through.”

The former figurehead of the Vote Leave campaign sought to distance himself from the group’s controversial adverts about immigration from Turkey during the 2016 campaign.

READ MORE: Brexit chaos means Scotland is ready for indyref2, says Sturgeon

Vote Leave produced adverts posted widely on social media which stated that “Turkey (population 76 million) is joining the EU” and “Britain’s new border is with Syria and Iraq”.

Some included images of people in Turkey with large red arrows pointing towards the UK.

But Mr Johnson insisted: “I didn’t say anything about Turkey in the referendum ... Since I made no remarks, I can’t disown them.”

He said he had always made clear that immigration “can be a wonderful thing”, so long as it is “controlled”.

Mr Johnson rejected warnings about the possible impact of a no-deal Brexit, insisting: “Whatever the doomsters may say about Britain after March 29 ... there will be no shortage of Mars bars, we will still have potable drinking water in Britain. The planes will fly, the ferries will ply.”

He called on the Government to “fire up the engines, stop dithering, emulate the spirit of JCB and remove from our path the backstop that is the last Brussels-built blockage in the path of a global Britain”.

Dismissing the EU’s repeated insistence that it will not agree a deal without a backstop arrangement to protect the Irish border, Mr Johnson said: “Whatever our friends and partners are saying now, I think they will be flexible, because ... it’s only in the last few days and weeks of a negotiation that the big concessions are really made.

“And with their economies stuttering a bit now, with the £95 billion surplus that they have with us in the UK on goods alone, I think they have every incentive to listen to us.

“We are already hearing positive noises from our German friends, so we must have the courage to ask and we must mean it this time.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858790.1547817235!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858790.1547817235!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Boris Johnson. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858790.1547817235!/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/transport/insight-blame-the-wrong-kind-of-trains-for-scotrail-woes-1-4855755","id":"1.4855755","articleHeadline": "Insight: Blame the wrong kind of trains for ScotRail woes","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547812616000 ,"articleLead": "

Is Abellio nearing the end of the line now failures in its rolling stock have become a major cause of Scotland’s rail disruption, asks Alastair Dalton

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4855753.1547331532!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robert Keenan at Musselburgh with one of the new Hitachi trains. Picture: Jon Savage"} ,"articleBody": "

‘I have quite a stressful job, but the most stressful part of my day is travelling – and it should not be.”

Robert Keenan only manages to board his train if the doors are right in front of him when it stops. He hasn’t regularly had a seat for years, and his trains home are cancelled so often he has racked up large taxi bills to collect his son from nursery in time.

The Musselburgh commuter is among thousands of ScotRail passengers who have seen things get worse rather than better, nearly four years after incoming Dutch operator Abellio pledged to “work every day to earn the faith that has been shown in us”.

Keenan, an IT manager for the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh, is so fed up he has even thought of buying a scooter.

He said: “It’s toes on the edge of the platform, hoping the train will stop with the doors where I’m standing. I don’t remember when I last got a seat other than on Christmas Eve. I normally can’t even get beyond the vestibule.”

If the experience has been stressful for Keenan, it has been a nightmare for Abellio. It is now on its third ScotRail managing director and its third improvement plan, and has been threatened by ministers with losing the contract because of poor performance.

However, the latest cause of Keenan’s distress has not been the traditional disruption from trains breaking down or track or signalling faults.

Instead, it is largely because Japanese bullet train builders Hitachi and US refitter Wabtec have failed to deliver nearly 100 new or refurbished trains to ScotRail on time.

Add to that an overtime ban by the RMT, the largest rail union, and the train operator has been faced with a huge training backlog, with some 60 trains a day being cancelled so drivers and conductors could familiarise themselves with the new trains, some running on new routes.

However, many passengers couldn’t care less about what lies behind such disruption and see it as just the latest incompetence from an industry that seems unable to cope with any hiccup.

The truth is that parts of the Scottish network were already bursting at the seams, with often extremely disruptive work required to make improvements.

This has also come as growing numbers of people are taking the train, with nearly 100 million journeys in Scotland a year and rising.

Abellio won a ten-year franchise to run ScotRail from 2015, pledging two new fleets of trains to combat overcrowding. But putting them into service has taken far longer than anyone expected, with bizarre holdups along the way.

What could possibly go wrong with ordering a new train from a company with the reputation of Hitachi? A past ScotRail chief assured sceptics its brand new design would work “out of the box” – even though ScotRail’s previous three new fleets hadn’t.

It turned out, as Scotland on Sunday revealed last year, that drivers couldn’t see signals properly through the cab windscreen, so it had to be redesigned and replaced.

Only half the 70 trains, which should all have been delivered by last month, have arrived, and they have suffered intermittent faults, such as to their doors. The latest caused disruption on the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line on Friday.

Hitachi said the last of the class 385 trains would leave the production line this month and it was “confident” the whole fleet would be delivered by May.

A spokesman blamed delays to the electrification of the Edinburgh-Glasgow main line, along with “supply chain development” and the windscreens.

ScotRail’s other newly acquired fleet are 40-year-old design classics – former “High Speed Trains” which ran between London and western England.

Here a problem has arisen with refurbishment firm Wabtec running so late with the upgrades that not only are just ten of the 26 trains yet in service, but all but one remain in their “classic” state, complete with slam doors and toilets that flush on to tracks.

Angel Trains, which owns the fleet, said the second refurbished train is planned to be in Scotland by Wednesday, with the rest by the end of the year – a year late.

A spokeswoman said: “When stripping out the carriages for refurbishment, it [Wabtec] identified further work that could be readily and more easily undertaken at this stage, avoiding extended maintenance downtimes and cost once the trains are in passenger service. Additionally, the engineering design and complexity of work has proved more challenging than anticipated by Wabtec.”

To compound the problems, the trains that these will replace have now left ScotRail because their leases have expired. The upshot has been that many commuters returning to work after the festive break have had to endure the same old overcrowded trains – along with a fare increase of up to 3.2 per cent. Yesterday, 33 trains ran with fewer carriages than planned, and there were around 75 on Friday.

Of course, trains are only half the story, and traditionally far more disruption has been caused by problems with the bits that don’t move, like track, signals and overhead wires.

Such faults have been the focus of two improvement plans since 2016 to improve punctuality, and after the first, things did start to get better.

However, this was reversed last year by a combination of further infrastructure problems, the heaviest snowfall for 20 years, then record temperatures which threatened to buckle tracks.

The second – Donovan – plan last year, appears to be finally producing results, with figures on Friday showing the second monthly performance increase in a row. Significantly, delays caused by ScotRail are now higher than Network Rail’s – 46 versus 34 per cent.

An independent assessment of the plan last month was positive, although it questioned whether ministers’ target of 92.5 per cent of trains arriving within five minutes of schedule would be finally hit in two years’ time.

It hasn’t reached that annual average since 2013, has remained at 87.3 per cent since November and hasn’t improved for more than a year before that.

But punctuality varies significantly across Scotland – from more than 90 per cent over the past month for off-peak trains around Glasgow to 77 per cent for peak and off-peak trains services around Edinburgh, and less than 69 per cent for trains between those cities and Aberdeen and Inverness.

While lucky commuters on the Neilston line south of Glasgow enjoyed 96 per cent punctuality last month, Wick passengers endured only 75 per cent.

There are also signs Network Rail, which is part of a close-working alliance with ScotRail, is getting its act together.

Figures published on Friday showed performance improved in the past month despite the cancellations.

The same day, fines imposed on ScotRail for failing tough service quality inspections fell by a quarter to £790,000 in September-December. However, ScotRail passed in only 15 of 38 areas, with the lowest scores being for missing seat reservations and litter.

Scottish Labour transport spokesman Colin Smyth is unimpressed. “This is another set of appalling performance figures and Abellio are yet again well below the targets they are paid to meet as part of the franchise,” he said.

“Passengers facing delayed, cancelled and overcrowded trains every day are sick and tired of this failing franchise and angry that for months the SNP government have turned a blind eye to this poor performance.”

ScotRail sits in the middle of the performance table compared with Britain’s other 22 train operators. But the most punctual operator, Merseyrail, at over 95 per cent, has a much smaller network.

ScotRail is also mid-table in the passenger satisfaction ratings, at 84 per cent, down from a high of 90 per cent last achieved in 2017.

ScotRail Alliance managing director Alex Hynes insists the worst is behind it. “We have been able to dramatically reduce the number of cancellations,” he told Scotland on Sunday. “There were up to 60 training-related cancellations per day last month and fewer than five each day this week. Underlying performance has become significantly better.”

Further planned measures include cutting delays by getting passengers on and off trains faster. Roving staff will use microphones to chivvy people along like on the London Underground.

Professor Iain Docherty of the University of Glasgow, one of Scotland’s leading rail experts, who is also a non-executive director of the ScotRail operating board, said the company had also suffered from late-running projects such as the electrification of the Edinburgh-Glasgow main line.

He said: “Rail services in Scotland have probably suffered less recent disruption compared with other parts of the GB network where significant investment is being delivered.

“But it is important to understand why the situation has been difficult to manage. The franchising system assumes an intensive period of investment and change at the beginning of each contract. Late delivery of enhanced infrastructure by Network Rail, and of new and refurbished trains from the international supply chain, has left almost no time for ScotRail to carry out tasks like testing and training that it needs to do. The complexity of the current industry structure has come back to bite.”

Transport secretary Michael Matheson, who warned Abellio last week it could face losing its contract if the latest improvement scheme doesn’t work, told Scotland on Sunday: “There’s no doubt ScotRail must improve and the issue of a remedial plan notice underlines this.

“Ripping up the contract is not the answer. Fundamental issues still need resolved regardless of who runs the railways.” Matheson pointed out that Network Rail was part of the UK government while Scottish ministers controlled ScotRail.

He said: “We need the powers to be able to consider all options for a truly integrated railway; one with shared ambitions and incentives which are sharply focused on the needs and priorities of Scotland’s rail users.

“That’s why I continue to push the UK government for further, meaningful devolution through the Williams rail review.”

However, control of day-to-day Network Rail operations is already in the hands of ministers. Hynes is its employee and its Scottish head, as managing director of the ScotRail Alliance.

Scottish Conservatives transport spokesman Jamie Greene observed: “Crucially, the fact that 46 per cent of failures was attributed to ScotRail in last period has completely torn apart the SNP’s argument that Scotland’s rail woes are because of the UK government. “They’ll blame everybody else for their failings, including the weather.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4855753.1547331532!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4855753.1547331532!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Robert Keenan at Musselburgh with one of the new Hitachi trains. Picture: Jon Savage","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robert Keenan at Musselburgh with one of the new Hitachi trains. Picture: Jon Savage","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4855753.1547331532!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4855754.1547331541!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4855754.1547331541!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alex Hynes with one of the refurbished High Speed Trains. Picture: Jon Savage","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Hynes with one of the refurbished High Speed Trains. Picture: Jon Savage","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4855754.1547331541!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858588.1547809146!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858588.1547809146!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858588.1547809146!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858685.1547812611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858685.1547812611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858685.1547812611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5853779185001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}