{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"news","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/business/scottish-gas-owner-centrica-sheds-customers-but-results-remain-on-track-1-5049821","id":"1.5049821","articleHeadline": "Scottish Gas owner Centrica sheds customers but results remain on track","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574325611000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish Gas owner Centrica has revealed it lost a further 107,000 household accounts, as it also upped its annual cost savings by £50 million.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049820.1574325607!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The group trades under the Scottish Gas and British Gas brands. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

But Britain’s largest gas and electricity supplier said it had eased the rate of customer losses, which were lower than the first half of the year, when it shed 178,000 accounts.

The group, which also trades as British Gas, said it now expects annual cost savings of £300m from the previous target of £250m, while it is trimming planned investment spend by £100m to about £800m.

Centrica is already axing up to 2,000 jobs over 2019 as part of overall aims to save £1 billion by 2022, but gave assurances that the increased cost savings this year will not lead to further staff cuts.

It confirmed annual results will be skewed towards the second half of the year, with the result dependent on weather and wholesale energy prices.

The firm added that while UK household supply accounts fell in recent trading, this was offset by stronger demand for services and homes solutions, leaving total consumer accounts 136,000 higher in the four months to October.

Competition

Many of Britain’s big suppliers have been hit by increased competition from smaller players as households switch providers.

Centrica’s outgoing chief executive Iain Conn, who recently announced plans to step down next year, said: “Our performance has been solid so far in the second half of the year and we remain on track to achieve our full-year targets.

“I am encouraged by further growth in customer accounts and the recovery of business energy supply margins in North America, while we also continue to drive material levels of efficiency and maintain capital discipline.”

David Barclay, head of office at Brewin Dolphin Aberdeen, noted: “It has been a tough 2019 for Centrica and the company’s results earlier this year underlined the challenges it faces on a number of fronts.

“The update suggests a level of stability – performance is in line with, albeit reduced, expectations. The hope will be that Centrica can use this as a platform for growth in the months and years ahead, becoming a stronger, simpler, and more competitive business.”

The figures come just a week after Centrica won a court battle with the energy regulator over the way the energy price cap had been calculated.

The group had claimed the rules cost the business £70m in the first three months of 2019, following the cap’s implementation.

READ MORE: Centrica boss stepping down after firm swings to H1 loss

" ,"byline": {"email": "businessdesk@scotsman.com" ,"author": "Holly Williams and Scott Reid"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049820.1574325607!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049820.1574325607!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The group trades under the Scottish Gas and British Gas brands. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The group trades under the Scottish Gas and British Gas brands. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049820.1574325607!/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/conservative-party-accused-of-misleading-voters-again-with-video-of-labour-s-jess-phillips-1-5050162","id":"1.5050162","articleHeadline": "Conservative Party accused of misleading voters again with video of Labour's Jess Phillips","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574345748000 ,"articleLead": "

The Conservative Party has been accused of misleading voters again with a video of Labour candidate Jess Phillips.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5050161.1574345743!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The edited video of Ms Phillips (pictured) was reaired this morning during an interview with shadow education secretary Angela Rayner"} ,"articleBody": "

The edited video, posted by the @CCHQPress Twitter account, shows the parliamentary candidate saying: \"You can never, ever deliver all of those things that you are pretending to deliver when you go to the electorate.\"

@CCHQPress has dated the video November 21, 2019 - however, the clip has been taken from an old interview, when Ms Phillips appeared on ITV's Good Morning Britain on October 3 to promote her new book.

The video was reaired this morning during an interview with shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.

During the original interview, Ms Phillips was questioned by Susanna Reid about keeping manifesto promises - before the General Election was announced.

Ms Phillips said: \"I think there is an argument to be said that you can never, ever deliver all of those things that you are pretending to deliver when you go to the electorate.

\"In reality, things change. Globally things change, situations change. Facts change.

\"[We can't deliver it] in all cases. I can't control the trade war between America and China and I have to, each and every day, and at the moment it is on a day-by-day basis and it is not good, and I have to say, 'what is the best thing, the best decision I can make today to make sure my constituents are better off?'\"

The video also labels Ms Phillips a \"Corbyn ally\" - the 37-year-old candidate for Birmingham Yardley has been a vocal critic of the Labour leader in the

past, going as far as to say he wasn't the \"practical choice\" for leader because people would not vote for him.

The edited video has been criticised on Twitter.

One person said: \"You know she's not just talking about Labour right, but all politicians? She's speaking truth whereas you only pretend to use facts.\"

Another added: \"Edited and old. Get a grip.\"

It's not the first time the Tories have been accused of misleading the public with a video.

On November 5, they were accused of unfairly editing a video of Labour's Sir Keir Starmer, to make him appear unable to answer a question on Brexit.

However, the party stood by the edit.

The Tories have also purchased the website labourmanifesto.co.uk.

The website purports to showcase Labour's manifesto but instead actually attacks the party's policies. It accuses the party of promising \"higher taxes\" with \"no plan for Brexit\".

The Conservatives came under fire for rebranding as a \"fact-checking service\" during Tuesday night's televised election debate.

Twitter warned that a repeat of the incident would result in \"decisive corrective action\".

Twitter and the Conservative Party did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the video.

" ,"byline": {"email": "sean.murphy@jpimedia.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5050161.1574345743!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5050161.1574345743!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The edited video of Ms Phillips (pictured) was reaired this morning during an interview with shadow education secretary Angela Rayner","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The edited video of Ms Phillips (pictured) was reaired this morning during an interview with shadow education secretary Angela Rayner","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5050161.1574345743!/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/british-airways-flights-delayed-due-to-technical-issue-1-5050153","id":"1.5050153","articleHeadline": "British Airways flights delayed due to 'technical issue'","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574344880000 ,"articleLead": "

British Airways flights are being disrupted due to a \"technical issue\", the airline said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5050152.1574344876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Flights to and from the UK's two busiest airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, appear to be among those affected. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Flights to and from the UK's two busiest airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, appear to be among those affected.

By 9am on Thursday, 45 flights due to land at Heathrow had been delayed by more than 45 minutes.

The worst affected was Flight BA170 from Pittsburgh, in the US, which was more than 12 hours behind schedule.

A spokeswoman for the airline said: \"Our teams are working hard to resolve a technical issue which is affecting some of our flights, and we have rebooked customers on to alternative flights and offered hotel accommodation where they have been unable to continue their journeys last night.

\"We are very sorry for the disruption to their travel plans.

READ MORE - Young Scottish woman says girls' trip to Magaluf saved her life after friends noticed her anorexia

\"We plan to operate a full flight schedule today.\"

Customers were urged to check ba.com for latest flight information and ensure their contact details are up to date on their booking.

The airline has suffered a series of systems failures in recent months.

READ MORE - What are 'identity politics' and why do they matter in the general election?

In August, an IT glitch caused the cancellation of more than 100 flights and disrupted the travel plans of tens of thousands of passengers.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel magazine, said: \"This is the latest in a long line of British Airways technical glitches causing delays and cancellations and yet again it's thousands of passengers who are paying the price - left tired, frustrated and with a lack of information and assistance from the airline.

\"BA must do the right thing and reroute passengers as quickly as possible, using other airlines where necessary, as well as informing customers facing disruption about their entitlement to compensation.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "newsdeskts@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5050152.1574344876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5050152.1574344876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Flights to and from the UK's two busiest airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, appear to be among those affected. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Flights to and from the UK's two busiest airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, appear to be among those affected. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5050152.1574344876!/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/columnists/here-s-what-will-happen-when-brexit-hits-poor-leave-voting-areas-hard-kenny-macaskill-1-5049671","id":"1.5049671","articleHeadline": "Here’s what will happen when Brexit hits poor Leave-voting areas hard – Kenny MacAskill","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574339606000 ,"articleLead": "

Brexiteers triumphed in the EU referendum by persuading people that their problems were caused by Brussels bureaucrats and immigrants. When Brexit happens, we should all be worried about the backlash as it becomes clear this was untrue, writes Kenny MacAskill.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049670.1574339601!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson's 'Get Brexit done' mantra has been echoed by Labour (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)"} ,"articleBody": "

Get Brexit done is the election mantra, with Boris Johnson implying that all that’s needed is to pop his deal in the microwave and “Bob’s your uncle”. How glib and trite.

But tragically it’s even been echoed by Jeremy Corbyn arguing that he’d do it quicker and better with his renegotiations. Equally vacuous and false. Everyone, and especially them, knows it’s not so. Yet both are shameless in their evangelism of it as the solution to all our ills.

The tragedy is that it has resonance with the electorate. For some, it’s the deliverance of a democratic will but for many more, it’s a weary response to political exhaustion. They’re tired, fed-up and even angry. It seems to have gone on forever and they’re just sick of it.

Whether they voted Leave or Remain, they just want it over. It’s even seen here in Scotland though because of the constitution and other issues it’s less of a factor. But in England and Wales, it seems to have become the main focus in many parts, especially deprived areas which voted heavily Leave and are now the electoral battlefield.

READ MORE: Leaders Debate: Tories slammed after rebranding official Twitter account ‘factcheckUK’

READ MORE: Election explained: Is Conservative opposition to IndyRef2 really ‘crumbling’?

Leaving the EU was sold there, all those years ago now, as the panacea to their ills. It wasn’t unemployment, the imposition of austerity and just being left to rot that was the cause of their woes. Instead it was big bad Brussels and its bureaucrats, as well as the migrants who came and apparently took their jobs.

That was played on shamefully at the time by Johnson and, sadly, not positively countered by Corbyn. It was allowed to take root with calamitous results and it’s still reverberating today.

False prophets of a new dawn

Both Labour and Tory are pandering to that simplistic view for their own electoral expediency. But what happens when the election’s over and neither popping it in the microwave nor quick renegotiations work? Who’ll be to blame then and how will folk react? For fail it will, in whatever shape or form, and people will be looking to take out their rage on something or someone.

The real causes of their misery will have been exacerbated, rather than alleviated. Poverty and misery will have been compounded as recession bites.

The “just about managing” people, who Theresa May targetted, won’t be keeping their heads above water as short-term contracts increase and other employment rights are lost. The social services that were supposedly under pressure due to migrants will be collapsing as skilled labour heads home, sometimes for better pay or just to avoid having their families live in an unpleasant environment.

The EU demon will have been slain but the age-old problems will remain all too evident, yet with even more bite. More worryingly, the false prophets of a ‘new dawn’ will have been exposed as frauds, the people’s gods will have failed. But those left disappointed may not be able to vent their spleen, as some of the charlatans have already skipped abroad and many more may do so. Others who preached the great deception will be insulated from them by their wealth or social status.

Anger and defeatism

But anger and rage will fester. For some, it will simply be defeatism. There’s nothing that can be done, the game was a bogey from the start. Many were subscribing to that view before being converted to the cause of blaming the EU. They’ll return to despair and despondency with an even greater belief that nothing can or will change for them. Often their pain will be internalised within them and their communities. Increased crime and violence and self-medication with drugs and alcohol. Deprived communities are the same the world o’er. For others, though, there’ll be a desire to continue the struggle but against whom and for what?

It’s a year since the Gilet Jaunes took to the streets in France. A strange phenomenon. Some left, some right, many more just nihilistic. They were poor and angry, left behind and ignored, and they reacted. Neither one of the largest Communist parties in the West nor the National Front even represented them anymore and certainly not a neo-liberal French President.

They weren’t the poor or migrants in the urban banlieues who’d erupted before but from small-town and rural France. Some may have been active in the past but many were not. Leaders were few and the organisation more organic than structured. But they were the outlet for the angry and dispossessed and they raged.

Those providing glib sound bites in this country, rather than solutions to institutionalised inequality, should beware of the anger they’ll provoke when their charlatanism’s exposed and all the people’s gods revealed as false idols.

Kenny MacAskill is the SNP’s general election candidate for East Lothian

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049670.1574339601!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049670.1574339601!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Boris Johnson's 'Get Brexit done' mantra has been echoed by Labour (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson's 'Get Brexit done' mantra has been echoed by Labour (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049670.1574339601!/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/people/rachel-riley-embroiled-in-online-row-over-jeremy-corbyn-racism-t-shirt-1-5050042","id":"1.5050042","articleHeadline": "Rachel Riley embroiled in online row over Jeremy Corbyn racism T-shirt","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574337874000 ,"articleLead": "

Rachel Riley has been embroiled in an online row after editing a photo of Jeremy Corbyn at an anti-apartheid protest as she accused him of racism.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5050041.1574337870!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Riley - pictured here in the T-shirt - has been a vocal critic of Labour's handling of anti-Semitism"} ,"articleBody": "

In a photo posted on Twitter, the Countdown presenter could be seen wearing a T-shirt of the Labour leader holding a placard, which read: \"Jeremy Corbyn is a racist endeavour.\"

However, the original image actually showed Mr Corbyn being led away by police during an anti-apartheid rally in 1984, with the sign reading: \"Defend the right to demonstrate against apartheid; join this picket.\"

Riley, who is Jewish, has been a vocal critic of Labour's handling of anti-Semitism and has regularly accused Mr Corbyn of failing to properly address the issue.

Ahead of the TV debate between Mr Corbyn and Boris Johnson at MediaCity in Salford on Tuesday, she tweeted: \"I didn't feel comfortable knowing my workplace was to be full of racists tonight. I don't endorse Boris, but I do endorse Never Corbyn.\"

• READ MORE: High profile celebs pledge not to publicise social media abuse they receive from vile trolls
The tweet attracted criticism online, with some accusing her of hypocrisy and alleging that removing the reference to apartheid was itself offensive.

However, actress Tracy Ann Oberman - who has also criticised the party over anti-Semitism - tweeted: \"Saw @RachelRileyRR was trending. Assumed she'd had her and Pasha's baby. NOOOO just another massive evil organised Corbyn Troll Army pile on. They hate because they know you're getting your message out there Rachel. Stay strong #NeverCorbyn.\"

Riley responded to criticism by referencing claims that Nelson Mandela declined to meet Mr Corbyn's anti-apartheid movement CLAAG (City of London Anti-Apartheid Group).

She said on Twitter: \"Without feeding individual ignorant trolls, this is why I have no qualms using this photo to highlight Corbyn's racism.\"

During the ITV Leaders' Debate between Mr Corbyn and the Prime Minister on Tuesday, the Labour leader said anti-Semitism was \"an absolute evil and scourge within our society\".

When asked further about the issue by host Julie Etchingham, Mr Corbyn responded: \"I have taken action in my party, where anyone who has committed any anti-Semitic acts or made any anti-Semitic statements, they are either suspended or expelled from the party and we've investigated every single case.\"

After the debate, Jewish Labour Movement national secretary Peter Mason alleged the claim that every case had been investigated was a \"lie\", adding: \"There are at least 130 outstanding anti-Semitism cases, some dating back years, that still haven't been dealt with.\"

A spokesman for the Labour Party declined to comment on the incident involving Riley.

" ,"byline": {"email": "sean.murphy@jpimedia.co.uk" ,"author": "Sean Murphy"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5050041.1574337870!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5050041.1574337870!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Riley - pictured here in the T-shirt - has been a vocal critic of Labour's handling of anti-Semitism","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Riley - pictured here in the T-shirt - has been a vocal critic of Labour's handling of anti-Semitism","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5050041.1574337870!/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/people/rachel-riley-defends-photoshopped-anti-jeremy-corbyn-t-shirt-1-5050024","id":"1.5050024","articleHeadline": "Rachel Riley defends photoshopped anti-Jeremy Corbyn t-shirt","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574337125408 ,"articleLead": "Rachel Riley has been embroiled in an online row after editing a photo of Jeremy Corbyn at an anti-apartheid protest as she accused him of racism.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5050055.1574339648!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The presenter has defended her t-shirt."} ,"articleBody": "


In a photo posted on Twitter, the Countdown presenter could be seen wearing a T-shirt of the Labour leader holding a placard, which read: "Jeremy Corbyn is a racist endeavour."

However, the original image actually showed Mr Corbyn being led away by police during an anti-apartheid rally in 1984, with the sign reading: "Defend the right to demonstrate against apartheid; join this picket."

Riley, who is Jewish, has been a vocal critic of Labour's handling of anti-Semitism and has regularly accused Mr Corbyn of failing to properly address the issue.

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Ahead of the TV debate between Mr Corbyn and Boris Johnson at MediaCity in Salford on Tuesday, she tweeted: "I didn't feel comfortable knowing my workplace was to be full of racists tonight. I don't endorse Boris, but I do endorse Never Corbyn."

The tweet attracted criticism online, with some accusing her of hypocrisy and alleging that removing the reference to apartheid was itself offensive.

However, actress Tracy Ann Oberman - who has also criticised the party over anti-Semitism - tweeted: "Saw @RachelRileyRR was trending. Assumed she'd had her and Pasha's baby. NOOOO just another massive evil organised Corbyn Troll Army pile on. They hate because they know you're getting your message out there Rachel. Stay strong #NeverCorbyn."

Riley responded to criticism by referencing claims that Nelson Mandela declined to meet Mr Corbyn's anti-apartheid movement CLAAG (City of London Anti-Apartheid Group).

She said on Twitter: "Without feeding individual ignorant trolls, this is why I have no qualms using this photo to highlight Corbyn's racism."

During the ITV Leaders' Debate between Mr Corbyn and the Prime Minister on Tuesday, the Labour leader said anti-Semitism was "an absolute evil and scourge within our society".

When asked further about the issue by host Julie Etchingham, Mr Corbyn responded: "I have taken action in my party, where anyone who has committed any anti-Semitic acts or made any anti-Semitic statements, they are either suspended or expelled from the party and we've investigated every single case."

After the debate, Jewish Labour Movement national secretary Peter Mason alleged the claim that every case had been investigated was a "lie", adding: "There are at least 130 outstanding anti-Semitism cases, some dating back years, that still haven't been dealt with."

A spokesman for the Labour Party declined to comment on the incident involving Riley.

READ MORE - Labour manifesto: Party says it'll bring about 'real change' to overhaul UK's 'rigged' society

" ,"byline": {"email": "newsdeskts@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5050055.1574339648!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5050055.1574339648!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The presenter has defended her t-shirt.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The presenter has defended her t-shirt.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5050055.1574339648!/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/columnists/hong-kong-pro-democracy-campaigners-must-beware-ghost-of-tiananmen-square-kenny-macaskill-1-5049667","id":"1.5049667","articleHeadline": "Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigners must beware ghost of Tiananmen Square – Kenny MacAskill","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574336400000 ,"articleLead": "

Democracy campaigners in Hong Kong need to realise they are unlikely to get significant international help and know when to push and when to back off, writes Kenny MacAskill.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049666.1574270794!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Unwell and injured protesters leave the Hong Kong Poytechnic University after clashes between pro-democracy campaigners and police (Picture: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

Pulling on a T-shirt last week, I noted it was from my trip to Hong Kong in 2016 and it brought back fond memories. The great natural harbour and the huge urban expanse surrounding it provide one of the great vistas of the world. But what a troubled land.

Reading a piece from the Brookings Institute compounded my pessimism. That institution is one I admire, being both hugely well informed and politically non partisan. The author expressed natural sympathy for those seeking democracy but counselled caution. Whimsically quoting the Kenny Rogers’ song “The Gambler” he wrote you’ve “got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them”.

And he’s right. Politics is the art of the possible and there’s only so far you can go with China as it’s presently constituted.

They’re willing to allow some leeway in a highly centralised state but there are limits.

I was also minded of going around the Solidarity Museum in Gdansk a few weeks back, even though it’s on a different continent. Lech Walesa and his colleagues were heroic. But it was hard to think of an alternative in the early 1980s to General Jaruelska. That was in the days of the Soviet Union before Mikhail Gorbachev. Glasnost hadn’t been heard of and the spectre of invasion, as in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, loomed. In Hong Kong, it’s the ghost of Tiananmen Square that looms. Trump doesn’t care and the West isn’t going to intervene. Time needs bought until change can come. In the interim, don’t risk it all.

READ MORE: Scottish students told to return home from Hong Kong amid increased civil unrest

READ MORE: Brexit: UK may be divided, but we are united by this one key thing – leader comment

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049666.1574270794!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049666.1574270794!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Unwell and injured protesters leave the Hong Kong Poytechnic University after clashes between pro-democracy campaigners and police (Picture: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Unwell and injured protesters leave the Hong Kong Poytechnic University after clashes between pro-democracy campaigners and police (Picture: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049666.1574270794!/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/labour-manifesto-party-says-it-ll-bring-about-real-change-to-overhaul-uk-s-rigged-society-1-5049955","id":"1.5049955","articleHeadline": "Labour manifesto: Party says it'll bring about 'real change' to overhaul UK's 'rigged' society","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574335853284 ,"articleLead": "Labour said its manifesto would bring about \"real change\" to overhaul Britain's \"rigged\" society as it pledged to boost wages, tackle climate change and re-nationalise key utilities.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049954.1574336061!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mr Corbyn called the fresh plans a 'manifesto of hope'"} ,"articleBody": "

Leader Jeremy Corbyn will reveal the full details of his election manifesto in Birmingham on Thursday, which is set to include promises of free broadband for all homes and businesses by 2030, more money for the health service and a fresh Brexit referendum.

Mr Corbyn called the fresh plans a "manifesto of hope" that were "fully costed", involving no tax increases for 95 per cent of taxpayers.

He issued a warning to supporters that his vision for government would be met with opposition in the remaining three weeks leading up to the December 12 polling day.

• READ MORE: Richard Leonard left ‘ashen faced’ at oil windfall tax within ‘most radical’ Labour manifesto

"Over the next three weeks, the most powerful people in Britain and their supporters are going to tell you that everything in this manifesto is impossible," said Mr Corbyn.

"That it's too much for you. Because they don't want real change. Why would they? The system is working just fine for them. It's rigged in their favour."

On Brexit, the party will keep to the position decided at its autumn conference of renegotiating an exit deal with the European Union by March and then putting those terms to a public vote within another three months, with Remain as an option.

The manifesto will contain intentions to significantly boost NHS spending, create a £10 minimum hourly wage for all, and tackle climate change by creating jobs in a "green industrial revolution".

A spree of social house building - the largest since the 1960s - will also feature, with a £75 billion plan, paid for through borrowing, to construct 150,000 homes a year.

The Labour leadership will be hoping the plans can turn around their fortunes in the polls.

The latest Telegraph/Savanta ComRes poll gives the Conservatives a double-figure lead of 11 points over Labour - the largest Tory lead seen by the poling company since before the 2017 snap election.

The results of the research, completed before Tuesday's head-to-head leaders debate between Boris Johnson and Mr Corbyn, has the Conservatives on 42 per cent and Labour lagging behind on 31 per cent.

The polling boost comes as the Tories look to drip-feed policy announcements in the run-up to the party's own manifesto launch next week.

Mr Johnson made a tax cut promise while on the campaign trail on Wednesday, vowing to lift 2 million low-paid workers out of making National Insurance contributions altogether by raising the threshold from £8,628 per year to £9,500.

Labour criticised the headline-grabbing move, estimating it would save low earners only £1.64 per week.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick will on Thursday divulge plans to build one million extra homes over the next five years.

• READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon warns of triple Tory threat, but opponents dub her ‘deluded’

He will also outline measures to make it easier for renters to buy, while providing more security for the 4.5 million people in the private rented market.

The announcements included providing more long-term fixed-rate mortgages that require only 5 per cent deposits, selling new-build homes to first-time buyers at a 30 per cent discount and banning no-fault rental evictions, while allowing tenants to "passport" their deposits from one property to another.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to announce plans for the Tories to consult on doubling the jail sentence for those found guilty of attacking police and other emergency service workers, extending their time behind bars from one year to two.

The party was dogged by further controversy on Wednesday, however, after it barred The Daily Mirror from boarding its election bus in Manchester.
The left-leaning newspaper said it was the first time since the creation of touring election battle buses in the 1970s that it had been denied access to a Tory leader on the campaign trail.

Ian Murray, executive director at the Society of Editors, said the Mirror's exclusion was a "disturbing development" and "not acceptable nor compatible with the principle of media freedom".

The decision follows stinging criticism of the Conservative Campaign Headquarters' (CCHQ) for re-branding its Twitter account to look like a fact-checking operation during the leadership debate on ITV.

The Greens and the Liberal Democrats have already publicised their plans for government this week, with Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson declaring that her pro-EU party was not a "one-trick pony" after announcing a wide-range of incentives, including plans to provide childcare for all pre-school children over the age of nine months.

But, in what appeared to be an acknowledgement of the squeeze the Lib Dems have experienced in the polls, Ms Swinson acknowledged it would be a "big step" for her to get to Number 10 following months of insisting she was a credible contender for prime minister.

Sir Ed Davey, the party's Treasury spokesman, went so far as to open the door to supporting a minority Tory administration.

He told the BBC's Andrew Neil programme that the Lib Dems could strike a deal if Mr Johnson signed-up to holding a new referendum on Europe.

The senior figure said: "We will challenge him and we will work with others to say 'if you want to do what you said, Mr Johnson (to deliver Brexit)... if you want to do what you said, work for a 'people's vote'."

" ,"byline": {"email": "sean.murphy@jpimedia.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049954.1574336061!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049954.1574336061!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mr Corbyn called the fresh plans a 'manifesto of hope'","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mr Corbyn called the fresh plans a 'manifesto of hope'","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049954.1574336061!/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/people/liam-gallagher-sorry-after-female-fan-left-scarred-for-life-at-one-of-his-gigs-1-5049851","id":"1.5049851","articleHeadline": "Liam Gallagher 'sorry' after female fan left scarred for life at one of his gigs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574329466000 ,"articleLead": "

Liam Gallagher last night apologised to a 27-year-old female fan left \"scarred for life\" by a flare thrown during one of his gigs this week.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049848.1574329459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stacey Andrew was near the front of the stage when she was struck by the lit projectile, which ignited her clothing and burned her skin underneath."} ,"articleBody": "

The former Oasis frontman also urged his fans to \"chill out\" in a message he posted on Twitter.

Stacey Andrew was near the front of the stage when she was struck by the lit projectile, which ignited her clothing and burned her skin underneath.

She was rushed from the venue, the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield, South Yorks, with severe burns to her chest and arms as well as damage to her hair.

As news of the incident, which happened on Monday, broke yesterday Gallagher took to Twitter to address the issue.

He posted: \"I'm sorry to hear what happened to Stacey Andrew in Sheffield the other night it's not cool people need to chill the fuck out with the flares can someone from her family get in contact with us thanx LG x.\"

READ MORE - Scots couple heartbroken as daughter stillborn after no C-section performed at 37 weeks despite 'high risk' pregnancy

Stacey's brother Leon, who says his sister \"could have been taken away\" as a result of the incident, today said Gallagher is yet to get in touch with his family.

Leon has also slammed the venue, the FlyDSA Arena, for allowing someone into the concert with a concealed flare.

\"Those flares shouldn't of been in there,\" he said.

Venue spokesman Dominic Stokes has today spoken about what happened, although he didn't comment on how or why a projectile was allowed in.

He said: \"The irresponsible behaviour of the concert goer who threw the flare along with any other people within their party who were aware of the possibility of their actions cannot be condoned and they should be held accountable for their actions.\"

READ MORE - Potentially deadly tick-borne parasite found in Scotland for the first time

The identity of the individual who threw the flare is not known, but they are thought to have been located further back in the crowd.

South Yorkshire Police yesterday said they were planning to interview anyone who was injured at the gig in a bid to gather information about what happened.

A number of other concert-goers have taken to social media to say there were lots of flares set alight in the crowd throughout the concert on Monday.

Leon described the perpetrators as \"scumbags\", and said whoever is responsible for his sister's injuries \"needs to pay\".

He added: \"I want justice for the pain they have caused my sister because she will now have scars for the rest of her life.\"

A Facebook user shared a story from her children's experience at the same gig.

Sharon Gibb Vanes posted: \"My 23-year-old son took my 12-year-old daughter as she loves Liam.

\"We bought her the tickets for her birthday and she was so happy last night we purchased the tickets seated as we knew under 14s couldn't be in standing.

\"I never thought for one minute she wouldn't be safe but how wrong I was.

\"A fight broke out in the seats behind and one of the men came flying over seats kicked her in back.\"

Gallagher is currently at the start of a UK-wide tour.

" ,"byline": {"email": "claire.mckim@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049848.1574329459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049848.1574329459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stacey Andrew was near the front of the stage when she was struck by the lit projectile, which ignited her clothing and burned her skin underneath.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stacey Andrew was near the front of the stage when she was struck by the lit projectile, which ignited her clothing and burned her skin underneath.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049848.1574329459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049849.1574329460!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049849.1574329460!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Liam Gallagher last night apologised to a 27-year-old female fan left "scarred for life" by a flare thrown during one of his gigs this week.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam Gallagher last night apologised to a 27-year-old female fan left "scarred for life" by a flare thrown during one of his gigs this week.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049849.1574329460!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049850.1574329461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049850.1574329461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "She was rushed from the venue, the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield, South Yorks, with severe burns to her chest and arms as well as damage to her hair.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "She was rushed from the venue, the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield, South Yorks, with severe burns to her chest and arms as well as damage to her hair.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049850.1574329461!/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/health/musicians-urged-to-use-protective-earplugs-on-stage-following-tinnitus-study-1-5049825","id":"1.5049825","articleHeadline": "Musicians urged to use protective earplugs on stage following tinnitus study","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574327220000 ,"articleLead": "

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049824.1574327215!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Eric Clapton is one of the musicians to be diagnosed with tinnitus. Picture: Shutterstock"} ,"articleBody": "

Musicians are being urged to wear protective earplugs on stage after a new study reveals they are twice as likely to develop tinnitus as people working in quieter jobs.

The study, lead by researchers from the University of Manchester analysed 23,000 people from the UK Biobank, an online database of medical and lifestyle records of half a million Britons.

The team compared levels of hearing difficulties and tinnitus in people working in noisy ‘high-risk’ construction, agricultural and music industries compared to people working in finance, a quiet ‘low-risk’ industry. Tinnitus is a potentially devastating condition in which people hear ringing, buzzing or whistling noises in the absence of any external sounds.

The list of high-profile musicians who reportedly suffer from tinnitus continues to grow, including Liam and Noel Gallagher, Eric Clapton Chris Martin, Ozzy Osbourne and Bob Dylan.

In 2017 the wife of Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill told the inquest into his death that he suffered from “unbearable” tinnitus in the weeks before he took his own life.

Rosie Marie Gill found the 44-year-old hanging at their home in Greenfield, Oldham, in 2016 as she came back from a trip with their children.

However, classical music players are at risk too: earlier this year, the Royal Opera House lost its appeal over the life-changing hearing damage caused to a viola player at a single rehearsal of Wagner’s Die Walkure.

Dr Sam Couth, who is based at the University’s Centre for Audiology and Deafness, said: “Our research shows that people working in the music industry are at considerable risk of developing tinnitus, and this risk is largely due to exposure to loud noise. This includes performing musicians, music directors and production staff for all genres of music. Musicians are advised to wear hearing protection when noise levels exceed 85 decibels, which is roughly equivalent to the noise produced by a passing diesel truck.”

Experts say the length of safe noise exposure is reduced by half for every 3 decibels increase in noise intensity. That equates to four hours of daily exposure for 88 decibels of noise, two hours for 91 decibels, and so on.

“Most amplified concerts exceed 100 decibels, meaning that musicians shouldn’t be exposed to that level of noise for more than 15 minutes without proper hearing protection,” added Dr Couth.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049824.1574327215!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049824.1574327215!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Eric Clapton is one of the musicians to be diagnosed with tinnitus. Picture: Shutterstock","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Eric Clapton is one of the musicians to be diagnosed with tinnitus. Picture: Shutterstock","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049824.1574327215!/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/uk-consulate-worker-held-in-china-says-he-was-tortured-1-5049819","id":"1.5049819","articleHeadline": "UK consulate worker held in China says he was tortured","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574325514000 ,"articleLead": "

A former employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong says he was detained and tortured by Chinese secret police trying to extract information about massive anti-government protests in the territory.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049818.1574325509!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Simon Cheng's job was to promote Chinese investment in Scotland. Picture: BBC"} ,"articleBody": "

Simon Cheng, whose job was promoting Chinese investment in Scotland, said in an online statement and media interviews that he was hooded, beaten, deprived of sleep and chained to an X-shaped frame by plainclothes and uniformed agents as they sought information on activists involved in the protests and the role they believed Britain played in the demonstrations.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab summoned the Chinese ambassador in London in protest.

“I summoned the Chinese Ambassador to express our outrage at the brutal and disgraceful treatment of Simon in violation of China’s international obligations,” Raab said in a statement. “I have made clear we expect the Chinese authorities to investigate and hold those responsible to account.”

Chinese police in August announced Mr Cheng’s release after 15 days of administrative detention but gave no details of the reasons behind his detention.

China’s foreign ministry responded angrily to the allegations and the summoning of the ambassador at a daily briefing yesterday.

Ambassador Liu Xiaoming will “by no means accept the so-called concerns or complaints raised by the British side,” said ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

In his account on Facebook, Mr Cheng wrote that he had been asked about whether Britain was promoting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, and his own involvement in them.

He wrote that while being held he was shuttled between detention and interrogation centres while hooded and handcuffed. In addition to being shackled to the frame, he wrote he was ordered to assume stress positions for “countless hours”, and was beaten with what felt like “sharpened batons” and poked in the knee if he faltered. He was also punished for dozing off during the sessions by being forced to sing the Chinese national anthem.

“I was blindfolded and hooded during the whole torture and interrogations, I sweated a lot, and felt exhausted, dizzy and suffocated,” Mr Cheng wrote.

Mr Cheng no longer works at the consulate and has fled to a third country. Mr Raab said the UK is working to support him, including a possible move to Britain.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049818.1574325509!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049818.1574325509!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Simon Cheng's job was to promote Chinese investment in Scotland. Picture: BBC","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Simon Cheng's job was to promote Chinese investment in Scotland. Picture: BBC","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049818.1574325509!/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/richard-leonard-left-ashen-faced-at-oil-windfall-tax-within-most-radical-labour-manifesto-1-5049809","id":"1.5049809","articleHeadline": "Richard Leonard left ‘ashen faced’ at oil windfall tax within ‘most radical’ Labour manifesto","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574324788000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard was left “ashen faced” at a proposal for a windfall tax on the North Sea oil industry that has an “85% chance” of being included in the party’s manifesto when it is unveiled today, according to reports.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049808.1574324783!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn won the debate, it was claimed. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The Financial Times reported that a plan for an offshore oil industry windfall tax was likely to feature in the document.

The newspaper reported that Mr Leonard’s “face was ashen when this came up” at a meeting of the party’s national executive on Saturday. The Unite branch representing oil workers is the union’s largest in Scotland. Scottish Labour did not comment.

Unveiling the manifesto in Birmingham today, Jeremy Corbyn will accuse the “bankers, billionaires and the establishment” of trying to stop a radical Labour government being elected as he reveals a manifesto for “real change”.

The Labour leader will appeal to voters by saying the policies are “fully costed”, with no tax hikes “for 95 per cent of taxpayers”, when he sets out his party’s plans on Thursday.

Mr Corbyn is to tell supporters that the “manifesto of hope” for the 12 December election is full of policies “that the political establishment has blocked for a generation”.

The proposals are expected to include renationalisation plans for key utilities, following Labour’s pledge to take part of BT into public ownership to deliver free full-fibre broadband for all.

It will contain pledges to significantly boost NHS spending, create a £10 minimum wage for all and tackle climate change, creating jobs in a “green industrial revolution”.

The document will also set out Labour’s plan to get a new Brexit deal and put it back to the people in a referendum with the option to remain within six months.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049808.1574324783!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049808.1574324783!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jeremy Corbyn won the debate, it was claimed. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Corbyn won the debate, it was claimed. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049808.1574324783!/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/business/highland-spring-has-the-bottle-to-invest-in-rail-freight-john-yellowlees-1-5049205","id":"1.5049205","articleHeadline": "Highland Spring has the bottle to invest in rail freight – John Yellowlees","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574316078000 ,"articleLead": "

A recent presentation by Ken Russell of JG ­Russell Transport and Morwen Mands of the Highland Spring Group at Blackford, below the rolling Ochils of Perthshire, slaked the thirst of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport for a model of how to embed sustainability in Scottish business.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049204.1574245647!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Yellowlees Chair CILT Scotland"} ,"articleBody": "

Highland Spring Group was established in 1979. The business employs more than 470 staff across four sites and is the UK’s leading producer of natural-source bottled water.

Its core purpose is to provide healthy hydration in an environmentally sustainable way. Bottling capacity was increased in 2017 by installing a new production line at Blackford to provide the fastest, most technologically advanced bottled drinks line in the UK.

Highland Spring water is carefully drawn from the Ochils in an environmentally sustainable way. A mere 3 per cent of the total rainfall is abstracted and the business protects the land and environment around the water sources.

Highland Spring was the first ­bottled water brand in the UK to have its catchment area certified as organic by The Soil Association.

In 2018, the business rolled out a 100 per cent recycled and recyclable Highland Spring ‘eco bottle’ of which more than 10 million have been sold to date.

Construction will shortly begin on a new rail freight facility, adjacent to the group’s main bottling plant in Blackford. This will enable the business to transport goods in a more environmentally sustainable way and reduce its carbon footprint through the removal of about 8,000 truck movements from the road each year, saving 3,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The new facility will be operated by JG Russell, a long-term strategic partner of the business.

Russell Group has been pioneering the use of rail freight as a sustainable transport method since the 1970s.

It currently operates six rail-linked sites and has an impressive delivery performance of 99.4 per cent on southbound rail transportation.

With a wealth of experience in both rail and multimodal logistic solutions, it is an ideal partner to assist Highland Spring’s desire to increase use of rail freight.

Highland Spring Group was granted planning permission for the rail freight facility in 2016 and entered the Network Rail GRIP (Governance for Railway Investment Projects) ­process in February 2017. GRIP is a management and control ­process developed by Network Rail for ­delivering projects on the operational railway.

Highland Spring Group emphasised how supportive Network Rail has been throughout the design and approval process, and it has developed an excellent working ­relationship based on mutual trust and co-operation.

During design development, ­Network Rail discussed any future-proofing requirements in the Blackford area, such as proposed electrification of the main line between ­Dunblane and Perth and Scottish Governments plans for improved passenger services, and agreed a new south-facing connection to enter and leave the facility for which planning permission was granted in 2018.

Highland Spring Group has ­sensitively designed the facility to minimise the noise and visual impact on the community and the business is committed to being a good ­neighbour.

Each train will be equivalent in size to 22 HGVs. Two daily train paths on Monday to Friday and a weekly Saturday train path have been secured.

A fully electric rubber-tyre crane will lift and position containers on the train, and Highland Spring is exploring opportunities to bring raw materials to site by rail which will ­further reduce their carbon footprint.

Rail freight reduces CO2 emissions by up to 76 per cent compared to road and if the main line between Dunblane and Perth is electrified in future, there is an opportunity to consider the use of electric freight locomotives with a diesel engine for shunting in the yard.

Luddon Construction will soon begin construction of the new freight facility, the first in Scotland for more than 10 years. Construction is expected to take 12-14 months with the facility being operational in early 2021. Highland Spring Group highlighted that excellent collaborative working relationships have been key to the progress and success of the project to date.

CILT commends their lead to other Scottish companies seeking a response to the climate emergency in which we now find ourselves.

John Yellowlees, chair, CILT Scotland.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "John Yellowlees"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049204.1574245647!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049204.1574245647!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Yellowlees Chair CILT Scotland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Yellowlees Chair CILT Scotland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049204.1574245647!/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/business/stuart-goodall-a-central-plank-of-the-election-should-be-climate-change-and-more-trees-1-5049214","id":"1.5049214","articleHeadline": "Stuart Goodall: A central plank of the election should be climate change – and more trees","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574316021000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s election time again! ­Nowadays they seem to come around as quickly as ­Christmas. So much so it appears we’re combining them this year.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049212.1574246718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stuart Goodall is Chief Executive of Confor: promoting forestry and wood"} ,"articleBody": "

But this election is different and in a worrying way….

It may be a result of the apparently never-ending saga of Brexit, but I’ve detected a real lack of interest in this election from people I speak to both in and outside of work. Perhaps fatigue with politics has set in, but from political lobbyists to neighbours to family members, I’m hearing a variation on “I just can’t get interested, never mind excited, about this election”.

That’s understandable, but it’s also a danger. The UK Government is a major global player and it has been in the forefront of pressing for action to tackle the threat of climate change. Who’s in power matters, and the next government needs to know its election promises will be remembered.

Here in Scotland, people can take pride that the Scottish Government has led in recognising the climate emergency and acting to both reduce emissions and take carbon out of the atmosphere. However, the task is made easier if the UK Government is similarly committed to act where it has reserved powers, including ­fiscal and regulatory.

Brexit has engulfed UK politics for more than three years and distracted and detracted from other vitally important matters. We need to ensure politicians are reminded of the importance of urgent action on carbon.

Climate change was identified in a YouGov poll as the second most important issue for young people in the 2019 election, after Brexit. The environment is rising up the agenda for voters of all ages.

This has been referred to as “the climate election” and as Chris Stark, CEO of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), said: “It is enormous – there is no bigger challenge.” In response, the parties are committing to acting on the climate emergency in their manifestos, but is this box-ticking or are they serious?

In the forestry sector, we’re looking for the new UK Government to tackle its utter failure to drive up tree planting in England and smash the ‘business as usual’ approach to building homes which sees high-carbon ­materials like brick, steel and ­concrete preferred to wood, which locks up carbon and requires little energy to produce.

We also need the next UK Government to support management of neglected woodland to let in light to support greater biodiversity and stimulate tree growth, to lock up more carbon.

For this election, Confor wants the parties to commit to plant 30,000 hectares annually (about 60 million trees) by 2025. At the time of writing, both the Conservatives and Lib Dems have accepted this, with Labour still to declare its position. The Lib Dems also highlight the need to produce more home-grown wood, which will lock up carbon and help displace more energy-intensive materials.

When speaking to UK politicians, we need to cite the success of ­Scotland which comfortably ­surpassed its 10,000 hectare target last year, achieving 11,200 hectares. Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, has supported Confor’s 2030 ambition and we would now like to see this adopted by the Scottish Government.

I am excited by a national endeavour to plant more trees and use more home-grown wood. Forests planted to modern standards for sustainability can be rich in nature and support local jobs. I’m privileged to see how wood is being used in homes and offices to create attractive places to live and work that also reduce atmospheric carbon.

My frustration is that UK politicians haven’t yet shown the political leadership needed to rise to the climate challenge. There were hopeful signs from Zac Goldsmith, one of the greenest MPs on the Conservative benches, who announced plans for a new forest in Northumberland in September, while a cross-party group of MPs recently committed to increasing the use of wood.

But we need to ensure politicians clearly hear the voices calling for greater action to tackle the climate emergency, now and after 12 December.

For the 2019 election, we have produced a simple, three-point plan – plant more trees, use more home-grown wood, and manage our woodlands better. If we can get this message heard, and hold the new government to account, we can make a meaningful contribution to mitigating against the damaging impacts of climate change.

Stuart Goodall is chief executive of Confor: promoting forestry and wood.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Stuart Goodall"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049212.1574246718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049212.1574246718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stuart Goodall is Chief Executive of Confor: promoting forestry and wood","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stuart Goodall is Chief Executive of Confor: promoting forestry and wood","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049212.1574246718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049213.1574246720!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049213.1574246720!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A new forest in Northumberland is starting to get underway ' but all the parties contesting this election should make a commitment to do more to lock away carbon in woodlands and increase its use in construction","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A new forest in Northumberland is starting to get underway ' but all the parties contesting this election should make a commitment to do more to lock away carbon in woodlands and increase its use in construction","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049213.1574246720!/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/opinion/columnists/scotland-2035-could-be-an-amazing-place-to-live-bill-jamieson-1-5049669","id":"1.5049669","articleHeadline": "Scotland 2035 could be an amazing place to live – Bill Jamieson","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574316000000 ,"articleLead": "

Bill Jamieson travels forward in time to a peaceful, prosperous Scotland, then returns back to today’s angry factionalism.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049668.1574270803!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stirling will become home to a centre for excellence and enterprise (Picture Robert Perry)"} ,"articleBody": "

On the bedside table, my battered Alexa buzzed in the darkness. Exhausted, I could barely read the date: was it not November 21, 2035?

Time to rise as a pearly morning light suffused the room. Brightness lay beyond the bedroom window. I pulled back the curtain and looked down as sunlight transformed Loch Earn into a sea of glittering diamonds. Here I was the richest man on Earth.

Alexa clicked on to Radio Scotland. The soft Orkney lilt of First Minister Ailsa Cunninghame was setting out an ambitious new water pipeline project set to bring more than £100 million of revenue over the next ten years. Then came a progress report on one of the most ambitious forestry schemes in Europe – and an update on food and farm exports: the highest on record.

READ MORE: An accountant’s guide to Scotland’s future prosperity – Craig Vickery

READ MORE: Here’s how Edinburgh aims to go carbon neutral by 2030

Scotland was on a roll. Everything was the opposite of conventional prediction – and for the better. Transformational social change had swept the country. Scotland was enjoying a natural resource boom to combat climate change – forestry, farming, water and food products. Huge behavioural change was evident everywhere – and the country an investment, tourism and visitor magnet.

None of this could have been imagined in the tumult and trauma of the early 2020s. The SNP had swept all before it, the Conservatives wiped out and Labour little more than a rusting industrial memory. Rising over the Glasgow skyline is the headquarters of the new Scottish Infrastructure Commission. In Stirling, the foundations were laid for the new Scottish Centre for Excellence and Enterprise, with offices, conference halls, exhibition centres and health and wellbeing stadia.

A step back from full independence

We prepared to join the EU and, at the borders, large welcoming signs and saltires gave the first inkling of a country redefined and reborn: a complex of border posts and the presence of smartly uniformed guards and customs officers turned the crossing into an event.

An unstoppable in-tide of change swept all before it as new institutions were born and old ones re-imagined and energised. The surging waves of ambition seemed relentless. But then, imperceptibly at first, the tide paused and began a slow and gradual retreat.

The new and experimental gave ground to what worked and was practical. It was as if we discovered that while we wished to be independent, we stopped short from the full version: we aspired to be different and distinctive, but a metre short of separate. Over time we came to prefer ease of business and movement. In due course, the border checks and paperwork became little more than a formality, the form-filling and paperwork perfunctory. For the private motorist and Eddie Stobart juggernaut alike, the traffic flowed with the salute of the guards little more than the tapping of a finger on cap badge.

Economically, the big push was now massive water pipeline development. We had no lack of it, but areas of middle and southern England battled against increasing drought. Water was now a cash-generating export par excellence.

The Behaviourist Movement

Economic development overall came to be shaped by the dynamics of climate change. Forestry planting made a dramatic step forward. In the lowlands, arable farming expanded as dietary habits changed. Food and farming development became turbo-charged in the face of changes in lifestyle choices. A threatened breakdown in health provision obliged us to adapt.

Running parallel to this and spreading out from university campuses was a remarkable behaviour change: a steady falling out of fashion of alcohol consumption and, indeed, mood-altering substances such as cannabis and cocaine. This was in recognition of the part they played, not only in overloading health services but also in violent, abusive and anti-social behaviour. It was not simply that it was seen to be cool to be straight: here was the iron law of rational choice.

Here at home, the Behaviourist Movement, as it came to be known, brought a surge in voluntary collective action in neighbourhoods to clean up, smarten and improve. It seemed a hopeless aspiration as retail degeneration in town centres gathered force. But one bold fiscal change brought an immediate turnaround: business rates were slashed and lifted altogether for tens of thousands of small firms. Many start-ups failed. But many more brought a surge of enterprise, creativity and purpose.

Scotland was buzzing. But so, too, was my chipped and tarnished Alexa on the bedside table. I looked again, to see the time: November 20 2019. An election broadcast on the radio filled the room with angry voices of factionalism, cynicism, argument and despair. How quickly the past can become a foreign country. But if that is true, it can surely apply also to a future – one of unforeseeable possibility.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049668.1574270803!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049668.1574270803!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stirling will become home to a centre for excellence and enterprise (Picture Robert Perry)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stirling will become home to a centre for excellence and enterprise (Picture Robert Perry)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049668.1574270803!/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/columnists/general-election-the-uk-now-has-an-utterly-astonishing-election-issue-leader-comment-1-5049722","id":"1.5049722","articleHeadline": "General election: The UK now has an utterly astonishing election issue – leader comment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574316000000 ,"articleLead": "

Deception should have no place in politics, but two weeks after a fake video falsely showed Keir Starmer unable to answer a question, a Conservative Twitter account masquerades as a ‘fact checker’.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049721.1574275024!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson must make clear to his campaign team that they should 'give a toss' about not misleading people (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)"} ,"articleBody": "

In a world where fake news is destroying trust in what is real and what is not, degrading our political discourse and damaging democracy, one would have thought that all honourable politicians would do their utmost to resist this sinister trend.

Two weeks ago, The Scotsman urged all parties uphold basic standards of truth, following a Tory election video apparently edited to show Keir Starmer unable to answer a question about Brexit that he, in fact, did answer.

Today we feel compelled to do so again.

The reason is that the Conservative campaign’s official Twitter account was renamed “factcheckUK” during the TV debate between Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. Not only that, but the party blue tree logo and usual picture were removed and replaced with a purple tick. It did say it was “fact checking Labour from CCHQ” and the account name was also @CCHQPress, which for those who do not know, stands for Conservative Campaign Headquarters.

READ MORE: General Election: Boris Johnson and Tories must stick to the truth – leader comment

READ MORE: Brexit: We will always call out post-truth politicians – leader comment

We suspect many members of the public would not know this, particularly those who are not Conservative members. Importantly, the official Twitter account for the Conservative campaign has a “blue tick”, which is the social media platform’s main way of fighting back against fakery by signalling bona fide accounts. This was retained by the renamed account, giving it added credibility.

Under Twitter’s rules, renaming a blue-tick account in order to deceive people is grounds for removal of the tick. Twitter issued an unequivocal statement: “Any further attempts to mislead people by editing verified profile information – in a manner seen during the UK election debate – will result in decisive corrective action.”

Will Moy, of real fact-checking agency Full Fact, was equally forthright, saying “pretending to provide independent fact-checking information when what you are doing is providing party lines, many of which were not accurate, is doing voters a disservice”.

The response by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was dismissive. “No one gives a toss about social media cut and thrust,” he told the BBC, claiming people could “see it’s from CCHQ”.

It is utterly astonishing and extremely worrying that this is becoming a serious election issue. If politics descends into a battle of deception and half-truths, we are lost.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049721.1574275024!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049721.1574275024!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Boris Johnson must make clear to his campaign team that they should 'give a toss' about not misleading people (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson must make clear to his campaign team that they should 'give a toss' about not misleading people (Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049721.1574275024!/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/queen-gives-permission-for-duke-of-york-to-step-back-from-public-duties-following-epstein-criticism-1-5049700","id":"1.5049700","articleHeadline": "Queen gives permission for Duke of York to 'step back from public duties' following Epstein criticism","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574272966873 ,"articleLead": "The Queen has given permission for the Duke of York to \"step back from public duties for the foreseeable future\" amid criticism over his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the duke said in a statement.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049699.1574272860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Duke of York also said he was "willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required" over the Epstein probe."} ,"articleBody": "

The Duke of York also said he was "willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required" over the Epstein probe.

In his statement, Andrew said: "It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family's work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support.

"Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission."

The duke added: "I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.

"I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.

"Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."

READ MORE - Prince Andrew likely to be sidelined after car-crash Epstein interview

" ,"byline": {"email": "newsdeskts@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049699.1574272860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049699.1574272860!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Duke of York also said he was "willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required" over the Epstein probe.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Duke of York also said he was "willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required" over the Epstein probe.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049699.1574272860!/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/columnists/artificial-intelligence-and-big-data-vital-to-uk-s-nuclear-deterrent-rear-admiral-john-weale-1-5049338","id":"1.5049338","articleHeadline": "Artificial intelligence and ‘big data’ vital to UK’s nuclear deterrent – Rear Admiral John Weale","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574269200000 ,"articleLead": "

Glasgow Science Centre’s forthcoming innovation exhibition, Idea No59, should encourage everyone to consider how society is being shaped by technology and how we need to inspire the next generation of experts in STEM subjects, writes Rear Admiral John Weale.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049337.1574252899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Vanguard class nuclear submarines in the dock at HM Naval Base Clyde (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)"} ,"articleBody": "

HM Naval Base Clyde will become the home to all of the UK’s submarines by 2020, meaning that we must have the right people with the right innovation skills, in the right place at the right time.

I have been a submariner for 32 years and sadly, the time has come for me to move on from the post of Rear Admiral.

The Faslane base on which I serve is a small site, constrained by sea to the west and road and rail on the east. However, with 11 submarines and 8,500 people with their families, we have an abundance of ambition.

This year has been a year of delivery, with the arrival of two new submarines and the development of a new submarine escape school. An increase in personnel means we are building accommodation blocks that will likely be on a par with the number on any large UK university campus.

READ MORE: How Google DeepMind’s AlphaZero chess program could shape our future

READ MORE: Emergency at sea – the crisis on a nuclear sub that had to stay secret

Here I have two key jobs; the first is to perform my duties as Flag Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland and the second is to serve as Head of the Royal Navy submarine force.

The overall objective of both has been to maintain the status of the submarine service as a world-leading fighting force, in part by exploiting new technologies.

Outside help not an option

Our Vanguard class submarines have been an essential part of the Continuous At Sea Deterrent that has been in place for 50 years and is more technologically complex than any space shuttle.

These impressive Vanguard vessels can carry a nuclear weapon in a canister, surrounded by high-pressure systems. We then place Royal Navy personnel in these submarines and ask them to live in it, often for months at a time.

To live in such an environment, where outside help is not an option, all our personnel must harbour first-class technical skills and crucially, possess an ability to problem solve.

If our branch of the armed forces is to be at the forefront of emerging technologies, then we must work collaboratively with a myriad of organisations. This transformation is about engaging more broadly with the wider science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) community to gain a competitive advantage. Any tech start-up will advise you to do that.

Society being shaped by technology

That is why we are delighted support Glasgow Science Centre forthcoming innovation exhibition, Idea No59. When Idea No59 opens in March 2020, I am confident it will encourage everyone to consider how society is being shaped by technology and innovation and inspire the next generation of problem-solvers and creative thinkers.

Artificial intelligence and ‘big data’ are two emerging trends that I am pleased the exhibition will explore. Warships can suck in huge amounts of data and evidently it takes time to work out equations with pen and paper. A computer completes this process much more quickly and we want the most efficient decision-making process for our submarines and crew to deliver its task.

We are getting good at data management, but we are still on a journey. So much of what we do is automated, including the use of drones to improve maintenance, but that in itself brings complexities.

For decades, physics and maths has been helping us to understand the oceans and advanced computer systems. Now we need people with a good grasp of big-data management and artificial intelligence.

The characteristics associated with innovators are precisely what we are looking for in Royal Navy personnel. When you are at sea, you can’t give up. The ocean is not your friend.

The Royal Navy must remain relevant with STEM and its skills to allow us to train and educate a workforce to achieve their ambitions and our aims. I have every confidence that we will continue to rise to these challenges.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "John Weale"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049337.1574252899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049337.1574252899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A Vanguard class nuclear submarines in the dock at HM Naval Base Clyde (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Vanguard class nuclear submarines in the dock at HM Naval Base Clyde (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049337.1574252899!/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-hints-tories-are-planning-big-changes-to-national-insurance-1-5049538","id":"1.5049538","articleHeadline": "Boris Johnson hints Tories are planning big changes to National Insurance","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574265691771 ,"articleLead": "Boris Johnson has hinted the Tories are planning a big cut in National Insurance (NI) for low-paid workers when they unveil their General Election manifesto.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049537.1574264364!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson has hinted the Tories are planning a big cut in National Insurance (NI) for low-paid workers when they unveil their General Election manifesto."} ,"articleBody": "

The Prime Minister appeared to blurt out the plan to raise the threshold at which workers start paying NI from £8,628 a year to £12,000, during a campaign visit to Teesside.

Speaking during a question-and-answer session with staff at an engineering plant in Middlesbrough, he said the Conservatives were committed to a policy of "low tax for... working people".

He went on: "If you look at what we're doing and what I've said in the last few days, we are going to be cutting National Insurance up to £12,000, we are going to be making sure that we cut business rates for small businesses.

READ MORE - Potentially deadly tick-borne parasite found in Scotland for the first time

"We are cutting tax for working people."

Mr Johnson originally raised the idea of upping the threshold for NI contributions during the Conservative leadership contest last summer - although at that stage he did not put a figure on it.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) calculated that for each £1,000 that it was raised, 600,000 workers would be lifted out of NI altogether.

If just employee and self-employed thresholds were lifted the cost to the Exchequer would be £3 billion a year rising to £4.5 billion if the employer threshold was raised as well.

To raise the threshold to £12,500 - as Mr Johnson's then leadership rival Dominic Raab was proposing - was put at £11 billion, rising to £17 billion if the employer threshold was included.

The IFS said that 2.4 million workers would be taken out of NI.

READ MORE - General Election 2019: Nicola Sturgeon warns 'Scotland’s future at risk''

" ,"byline": {"email": "claire.mckim@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049537.1574264364!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049537.1574264364!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Boris Johnson has hinted the Tories are planning a big cut in National Insurance (NI) for low-paid workers when they unveil their General Election manifesto.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson has hinted the Tories are planning a big cut in National Insurance (NI) for low-paid workers when they unveil their General Election manifesto.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049537.1574264364!/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/health/mother-of-three-who-died-during-brazilian-bum-lift-operation-was-paranoid-about-her-body-inquest-hears-1-5049429","id":"1.5049429","articleHeadline": "Mother-of-three who died during Brazilian bum lift operation 'was paranoid about her body' inquest hears","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574261415629 ,"articleLead": "The partner of a mother-of-three who died during a \"Brazilian butt lift\" operation was told following her death that the procedure was a \"guessing game\", an inquest has heard.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049427.1574259134!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa Hall, the mother of deceased Leah Cambridge. Picture: SWNS"} ,"articleBody": "

.
Leah Cambridge, 29, was keen to have the work done as she was "paranoid about her body" and had seen it advertised on Instagram but was unaware of the risks involved, Wakefield Coroner's Court heard on Wednesday.

The beautician, a mother to three young boys, travelled to Izmir in Turkey last August to have the "butt lift" done but died during the operation, the inquest was told.

Her partner, Scott Franks, said he travelled to see her body and meet those who conducted the operation as soon as he heard she had died.

He told the inquest that the surgeon who undertook the procedure, Dr Ali Uckan, had appeared "nervous and scared" when they spoke a day after Miss Cambridge's death.

Mr Franks told the inquest the surgeon said of the operation: "It's a guessing game, you can't see where you are going into."

He said Dr Uckan's "exact words" were: "It's a matter of life and death when you are doing it."

READ MORE - Potentially deadly tick-borne parasite found in Scotland for the first time

The surgeon said in a statement that he had performed the procedure "in the region of a thousand times", with no complications like those suffered by Miss Cambridge.

Asked about his reaction to his partner's death, Mr Franks said: "You don't think it's real, and I still don't now.

"You never expect something like this to happen to yourself."

Mr Franks said his partner had been keen to have the operation - which reshapes the buttocks by transferring fat from areas including the stomach and back - and had saved up thousands of pounds after he refused to pay for it.

He added that he was "not very happy" when Miss Cambridge, from Leeds, told him she had put down a deposit for the surgery through Elite Aftercare, a company which acts as a go-between linking clients and surgeons.

Choosing to stay at home and look after their children while his partner underwent the procedure, he said he became panicked after searching Google for information and discovering an article on fatalities resulting from the surgery.

READ MORE - Scottish police confirm body found in search for 'loving family man' who never returned home from work

The court heard how Mr Franks's grief was compounded when his solicitors received a letter from Elite falsely claiming Miss Cambridge had died after taking "illicit drugs".

Giving evidence, Miss Cambridge's mother Theresa Hall said she and her daughter had flown to Turkey overnight on August 26 last year.

She said they were taken to the hospital upon arrival and handed over £6,500 for the operation.

Miss Hall said that after Miss Cambridge was taken down to theatre, she fell asleep, and was woken by a member of staff who said there had been "a complication" during the operation and that the patient had died.

Breaking down at the end of her sentence, Mis Hall told the inquest: "One of them put a tablet in my mouth and gave me a drink of water."

Miss Hall added that after taking the pill she felt dazed and sleepy and, after being taken to a hotel, woke up the following morning.

Dr Lisa Barker, a consultant histopathologist for Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said Miss Cambridge died after fat entered her circulatory system and eventually blocked the pulmonary artery to the lungs.

The inquest, which is due to last three days, continues.

" ,"byline": {"email": "claire.mckim@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049427.1574259134!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049427.1574259134!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa Hall, the mother of deceased Leah Cambridge. Picture: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa Hall, the mother of deceased Leah Cambridge. Picture: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049427.1574259134!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049428.1574259136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049428.1574259136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scott Franks, the fiance of Leah Cambridge outside Wakefield Coroner's Court. Picture: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scott Franks, the fiance of Leah Cambridge outside Wakefield Coroner's Court. Picture: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049428.1574259136!/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/world/woman-in-australia-walked-into-a-wildfire-to-save-a-badly-burnt-koala-1-5049450","id":"1.5049450","articleHeadline": "Woman in Australia walked into a wildfire to save a badly burnt koala","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574260337000 ,"articleLead": "

A woman in Australia walked into a wildfire to save a badly burnt koala.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049449.1574260333!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The koala named Lewis was given water and wrapped in a blanket after being found on a road in the New South Wales state town of Wauchope."} ,"articleBody": "

The koala named Lewis was given water and wrapped in a blanket after being found on a road in the New South Wales state town of Wauchope.

Rescuer Toni Doherty told Network Nine it was her \"natural instinct\" to rescue the koala from the fire.

She said she \"immediately thought just get to him, put the fire out\".

READ MORE - Potentially deadly tick-borne parasite found in Scotland for the first time

The 14-year-old animal was taken to the nearby Port Macquarie Koala Hospital for treatment for severe burns to his feet, chest and stomach.

The hospital commented on its Facebook page: \"She (Ms Doherty) is an absolute legend for capturing this male koala who was so disorientated by the flames and unfortunately was burnt further as he headed back into active fire.

\"He has been treated and is now in the five-star accommodation at the Koala Hospital.\"

Wildfires in South Australia and New South Wales have prompted fire officials to issue emergency warnings.

" ,"byline": {"email": "claire.mckim@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Claire McKim"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049449.1574260333!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049449.1574260333!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The koala named Lewis was given water and wrapped in a blanket after being found on a road in the New South Wales state town of Wauchope.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The koala named Lewis was given water and wrapped in a blanket after being found on a road in the New South Wales state town of Wauchope.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049449.1574260333!/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/general-election-2019-lib-dems-put-stopping-brexit-at-the-heart-of-their-campaign-1-5049392","id":"1.5049392","articleHeadline": "General Election 2019: Lib Dems put stopping Brexit at the heart of their campaign","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574257796000 ,"articleLead": "

The Liberal Democrats have put stopping Brexit at the heart of their General Election platform as they sought to underline their claim to be the party of Remain.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049391.1574257791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said that their manifesto will focus on stopping Brexit."} ,"articleBody": "

The party's manifesto, published on Wednesday, holds out the prospect of a £50 billion \"Remain bonus\" to be spent on public services and tackling inequalities if they succeed in keeping Britain in the EU.

It sets out plans to tackle the climate change \"emergency\" through generating 80 per cent of the country's electricity through renewables by 2030, provide free childcare from the age of nine months, and recruit 20,000 more teachers.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said: \"This manifesto is a bold plan to build a brighter future for our country, and that starts with stopping Brexit.

\"Labour and the Conservatives can't offer the country a brighter future because they both want Brexit. We know that will be bad for our economy, bad for our NHS and bad for our environment.

• READ MORE: Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson condemns 'very fake story' she abused squirrels
\"Our politics has been dominated by the two, tired old parties for too long. This election provides an opportunity to change the future of our country and build a brighter future with the Liberal Democrats.\"

The manifesto reaffirms the party's commitment to end the Brexit process by revoking Article 50 if there is a majority Lib Dem government following the election on December 12.

If not, the manifesto says they would continue to campaign for a \"people's vote\" in a fresh referendum with on option to stay in the EU on the ballot paper.

• READ MORE: My constituents are proud I’m taking on Boris, says Jo Swinson
\"The election of a Liberal Democrat majority government on a clear stop Brexit platform will provide a democratic mandate to stop this mess, revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU,\" the manifesto says.

\"In other circumstances, we will continue to fight for a people's vote with the option to stay in the EU, and in that vote we would passionately campaign to keep the UK in the EU.\"

The Lib Dems argue that staying in the EU would generate a £50 billion \"Remain bonus\" over five years, through higher levels of growth.

They estimate the economy will be 1.9 per cent larger in 2024-25 than it would be under Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, giving them extra funding to spend on their priorities in the years ahead.

They include a target of doubling the amount of power generated through renewables by 2030 while investing £15 billion over five years in retro-fitting 26 million homes with insulation and zero-carbon heating.

The party says it would increase opportunities through providing 35 hours a week free childcare for all two to four year-olds - with the offer extended to those aged nine to 24 months where the parents are working.

At the same time the party says it would give all adults £10,000 to spend on skills and training throughout their lives through the creation of a new \"skills wallet\".

The manifesto promises to reverse frontline budget cuts for schools in England since 2105 with an emergency cash injection of £4.6 billion next year.

It says that by 2024/25, they will be spending £10.6 billion more on schools than is currently being spent - enabling them to increase the number of teachers by 20,000 over five years.

The party is also promising that mental health services would be treated with the same urgency as physical health with a £11 billion cash injection over the lifetime of the parliament.

" ,"byline": {"email": "sean.murphy@jpimedia.co.uk" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049391.1574257791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049391.1574257791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said that their manifesto will focus on stopping Brexit.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said that their manifesto will focus on stopping Brexit.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049391.1574257791!/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/people/sponsors-flee-embattled-prince-andrew-1-5049046","id":"1.5049046","articleHeadline": "Sponsors flee embattled Prince Andrew","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574250000000 ,"articleLead": "

The Duke of York’s role in public life has suffered further major setbacks with another multimillion-pound business cutting ties and universities reviewing their association with him.

" ,"articleBody": "

Standard Chartered has joined KPMG in deciding not to renew its sponsorship of Andrew’s Pitch@Palace scheme. London Metropolitan University is to consider the duke’s role as patron, while a student panel at Huddersfield University has passed a motion to lobby the duke to resign as its chancellor.

Amid the unravelling of the duke’s position, former home secretary Jacqui Smith made fresh claims of racism, saying Andrew made “racist comments about Arabs that were unbelievable” at a Buckingham Palace state banquet.

The Queen’s second son is facing the embarrassing prospect of charities and institutions he is associated with distancing themselves after his controversial Newsnight interview.

Andrew discussed his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who took his own life in jail while facing sex trafficking charges.

The duke has faced criticism and been accused of having a lack of empathy with Epstein’s victims and a lack of remorse for his friendship with the disgraced financier.

A spokesman for Standard Chartered said: “We can confirm we are not renewing our sponsorship of Pitch@Palace for commercial reasons once our current agreement terminates in December.”

London Metropolitan University said the duke’s role as its patron will be considered at its board of governors meeting next Tuesday.

A spokesman added: “The university opposes all forms of discrimination, abuse, human trafficking and any activity that is contrary to the university’s values.”

At Huddersfield University, the motion said: “We as students at the University of Huddersfield and members of Huddersfield Students’ Union should not be represented by a man with ties to organised child sexual exploitation.”

AstraZeneca’s three-year partnership with Pitch@Palace is due to expire at the end of this year and is being reviewed, and Outward Bound Trust, of which Andrew is patron, is to hold a board meeting in the next few days to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, a former home secretary has said she was left “slack-jawed” by alleged racist comments by the Duke of York.

Jacqui Smith, who served at the Home Office under Tony Blair, said Andrew made racist comments about Arab people during a state dinner. She said Andrew’s remarks to her “involved a comment about camels” and were “as worse as you could imagine”.

Ms Smith said: “I met him several times, including once at a state banquet where, after dinner, I and my husband and another Labour minister had a drink with him. I have to say the conversation left us slack-jawed with the things that he felt it was appropriate to say.”

It comes after former Downing Street aide Rohan Silva claimed he once heard Andrew use the expression “n***** in the woodpile”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/general-election-the-life-and-death-issue-that-s-virtually-ignored-martyn-mclaughlin-1-5048751","id":"1.5048751","articleHeadline": "General election: The life-and-death issue that’s virtually ignored – Martyn McLaughlin","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574244138000 ,"articleLead": "

The homelessness crisis should be front and centre in the general election campaign, writes Martyn McLaughlin.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5048750.1574244133!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The number of homeless people has been rising for several years (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)"} ,"articleBody": "

With the trickle of election leaflets dropping through letterboxes quickly becoming a barrage, the tactics being employed by parties has not escaped the attention of ordinary voters.

Some candidates have chosen to include only minimal references to the party they are standing for, while many more devote the unsolicited correspondence to attacking their political rivals.

But perhaps what has most conspicuous by its absence is any attempt to set out policy pledges in black and white.

The leaflets are, almost without exception, devoted to constitutional affairs. These are issues of fundamental importance, but the ­contracting nature of political debate in Scotland and the UK means that issues just as crucial – indeed, ones that are a matter of life and death – are being overshadowed. There is no better example of this than homelessness. It is an escalating crisis which occupies the periphery of the campaign.

In 2018/19, 36,465 homeless ­applications were made across Scotland. That is the highest number in five years, and the ­second successive year the figure has crept upwards. Similarly, the number of households assessed as homeless by councils stood at 29,894 in 2018/19, the highest number since 2013/14 and part of a four-year-long increase.

READ MORE: Man dies in Glasgow after being found in freezing city centre car park

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Such vast figures, striking though they may be, blunt the sharper ­edges of the suffering. Every 18 minutes, a household in Scotland becomes homeless, and every day, the same plight befalls 38 children. That is not good enough. It cannot be good enough.

Yes, there has been a downward trend in the number of homeless applications and assessments in the decade since the recession tore ­families and communities apart.

Boris Johnson’s track record

This encouraging direction of travel was aided in large part by the local authority-wide Housing Options, which not only utilises ­private rented accommodation as well as council and housing association properties, but attempts to identify and provide support for people with underlying issues such as mental health conditions and crippling debt. Even so, the efficacy of such ­measures has proven ­limited. The trend, once again, is taking a turn for the worse.

The same miserable slew of ­statistics is evident at a UK ­level, where 319,837 people are now classed as homeless, a year-on-year rise of 12,607. And if, perhaps by dint of blunt head trauma, you expect Boris Johnson to be the very chap to solve this, consider for a moment his own record on the issue.

It is ten years since he railed against the scandal of people ­having to sleep on the streets of London. As that city’s mayor, he promised to end the indignity endured by the capital’s rough-sleeping population – which then numbered 3,673 – within three years.

You can probably guess what happened next. By the end of those three years, the number of rough sleepers had spiked by 60 per cent, and today it stands at 8,855.

Given his unique capacity for callousness and self-interest, Mr Johnson’s reasons for ignoring this shameful trend should be self-evident. Even so, it is simultaneously remarkable and predictable that such a crisis is not one of the most prominent issues in the general election campaign. The gaping maws of Brexit and #indyref2 devour all around them, of course, but it has been dispiriting to see so little in the way of substantive policy or debate over what is, and should be, a basic human right.

Labour’s £10bn pledge

The only party to have addressed the issue with any kind of prominence is Scottish Labour, which has pledged to invest £10 billion from a new UK-wide pot known as a National Transformation Fund to build 120,000 council and social homes in Scotland over the next decade.

Its promise to invest such significant sums is welcome and timely, given there are only 314,000 local authority homes in Scotland, and nearly half as many – a staggering 156,000 households – on waiting lists or transfer lists.

But even this headline figure is problematic, in that it fails to address the fact that funding decisions for housebuilding lies with the devolved administration. Then there is Labour’s claim that this money would end homelessness “once and for all”, an announcement that, at best, seems naive.

Bricks and mortar alone will not tackle the complex, underlying drivers of homelessness. Perhaps Labour know this, and simply take the view that structural reform is not a snazzy enough soundbite to generate headlines.

As any practitioner working in the social housing sector will attest, it is not soundbites that matter. It is hard-won legislative amendments, evidence-based approaches, and partnership working.

With the vast majority of the parties yet to publish their manifestos, there is a chance that such issues will form part of their campaign, but they will not be front and centre.

The question of the harm being caused by the primacy of constitutional politics in our national debate is one being asked before the nation goes to the polls, but it will remain valid in the weeks and months ­afterwards.

No one realistically expects the big ticket issues to be resolved any time soon, so Europe and the Union will continue to dominate. The repercussions of that are troubling, and do not bode well for the kind of rigorous, committed debate required to bring about lasting change.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Martyn McLaughlin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5048750.1574244133!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5048750.1574244133!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The number of homeless people has been rising for several years (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The number of homeless people has been rising for several years (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5048750.1574244133!/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/columnists/why-some-labour-voters-plan-to-vote-tory-in-bid-to-save-their-party-murdo-fraser-1-5049017","id":"1.5049017","articleHeadline": "Why some Labour voters plan to vote Tory in bid to save their party – Murdo Fraser","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1574243451000 ,"articleLead": "

Council by-elections and polls suggest Labour risks going the way of the dinosaurs as traditionally left-wing voters hold their noses to back the Tories because of fears over the Union or in the hope that the party will pick a more moderate leader after a big defeat, writes Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049160.1574243443!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: JPIMedia"} ,"articleBody": "

On my son’s bedroom wall is a poster depicting a number of dinosaurs. It is a daily reminder of these great beasts who ruled the Earth for millions of years, dominating all forms of life. And yet, today, they are all gone, and the only trace we find of them is when we dig up the odd fossil.

It is hard to find a better metaphor for the current state of the Scottish Labour Party. For most of my lifetime, Scottish Labour was the Tyrannosaurus rex of the political world, striking fear into political opponents.

The first-past-the-post voting system meant that Westminster elections throughout the 80s and 90s were dominated by Labour, who gave us giants like John Smith, Robin Cook and Gordon Brown.

How different is the picture today. In the 2015 general election, Labour lost all but one of their Scottish seats at Westminster. At the Holyrood election in the following year, they were relegated to third place at Holyrood behind the Conservatives.

READ MORE: Scottish Secretary Alister Jack backs indyref2 ‘mandate’ if SNP wins 2021 Holyrood majority

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The trend continues. In recent council by-elections across Scotland, the Labour vote was in freefall, collapsing to just five per cent in last month’s contest in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen. And, last week, in a by-election in Dunfermline Central, in what was once the South Fife fiefdom of Gordon Brown, the Labour vote share was cut in half to just 13.5 per cent, with the party trailing in a poor fourth behind SNP, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Right across Scotland, the story is the same. The Labour vote is collapsing, with former supporters switching either to the Scottish Conservatives, or in places to Liberal Democrats, depending on how strongly they feel about either independence or Brexit.

Four policies in two days

Scottish Conservatives have made it quite clear that our primary message in the general election is our opposition to a second independence referendum. Unsurprisingly, this is attractive to the majority of Scottish voters who voted ‘No’ in 2014, and do not wish to have to go through that experience again.

And that group includes a large chunk of former Labour supporters, who are now upset and confused by their own party’s swithering stance on this most vital of issues. During Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to Scotland last week, he contrived to announce four quite distinct positions on the second independence referendum, in just 48 hours.

Firstly, he pledged that indyref2 would be ruled out for the whole five years of the next Westminster parliament. This was quickly contradicted, however, in a briefing from his aides, who said that position would change if the SNP won the majority in the 2021 Holyrood election.

Only hours later, the position had shifted again, saying that the referendum would not happen within “the early years of a Labour government”. The following day, this was refined to no referendum within the first two years of Labour being in power at Westminster, a position which was repeated by Corbyn in television interviews on Sunday.

Observers might wonder why Labour simply do not take the easy option, and rule out a second independence referendum for the next parliament, as the Conservatives have done. But Labour have to keep the door open to a possible coalition deal, or at least confidence-and-supply, with the SNP, in the event that they are the largest party after the general election. Ruling out indyref2 indefinitely will make that deal much harder to do. So the narrow partisan interests of Labour are being put ahead of the future of the Union.

No fans of Johnson

In light of all this confusion, it is not surprising that there is despair within Labour ranks in Scotland. Corbyn, with his warmness towards terrorist groups in the past, and with his extreme left-of-centre views, was always regarded as an electoral liability even before his swithering on the referendum question.

Labour’s longest serving MP in Scotland, Ian Murray, does not mention Corbyn at all on his election literature, and indeed it is a struggle even to see the word “Labour” on his leaflets. It speaks volumes that the most successful Scottish Labour politician of this generation views his re-election prospects as enhanced by putting as much distance as possible between himself and his party leader.

We have also seen two former Labour MPs in the shape of Michael McCann and Tom Harris now stating they cannot vote for Labour in the forthcoming general election, and in the case of Tom Harris even going so far as to say he would vote Conservative, as the only party that should be trusted to defend the Union.

In contrast to this confusion, the Conservatives have been entirely clear. Boris Johnson has made it plain that if he is Prime Minister he will not grant consent to a second independence referendum. Pro-Union voters in Scotland can support the Conservatives on 12 December, in the confidence that a Conservative government will not be subjecting Scotland to a re-run of 2014, a referendum which, we should always be reminding ourselves, the SNP told us would be a “once-in-a-lifetime” event.

I have personally met a large number of former Labour voters who, whilst being no particular fans of Boris Johnson, will in this coming election hold their noses and vote Conservative, because right at this point in our history the future of the Union is the overriding political issue of the day. I have met other traditional Labour voters who simply cannot bring themselves to support Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, and who will be making a tactical vote for the Conservatives in the hope that a crushing defeat for Labour nationally will bring the party to its senses, and see the election of a more moderate figure as Labour leader in the future.

Whatever their reasons, the opinion polls confirm the results of recent council by-elections, in that Scottish Labour are heading for a humiliating fourth place in the upcoming general election. It could well be Scottish Labour’s worst election result in a century. And they will only have themselves to blame, with a deeply unpopular leader, and a highly confused position on the constitution.

The dinosaurs might well have ruled the Earth for millions of years, but they are now all extinct. Scottish Labour may well be heading the same way.

Murdo Fraser is a Conservative MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049160.1574243443!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049160.1574243443!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: JPIMedia","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: JPIMedia","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049160.1574243443!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.5049016.1574243446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.5049016.1574243446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Once Labour strode like Tyrannosaurus rex across Scotland's political landscape, but now it could be heading for its worst election result in a century (Picture: Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Once Labour strode like Tyrannosaurus rex across Scotland's political landscape, but now it could be heading for its worst election result in a century (Picture: Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.5049016.1574243446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}