{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"politics","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/dani-garavelli-striking-schoolchildren-are-a-beacon-of-hope-1-4874300","id":"1.4874300","articleHeadline": "Dani Garavelli: Striking schoolchildren are a beacon of hope","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550391750000 ,"articleLead": "

The striking schoolchildren were a beacon of hope to all but the feckless and greedy whom they will soon drive from power, writes Dani Garavelli

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874298.1550391747!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Striking pupils gather outside the Scottish Parliament on Friday. Picture: Greg Macvean"} ,"articleBody": "

It makes sense that those who mocked the striking school children most savagely were those who had failed them most comprehensively.

To the hollowed out shells who long ago sold their souls for a shot at power or, more cheaply still, for a Spectator column, the sight of thousands of impassioned youngsters, still in possession of their moral compass and with their belief systems intact, must have felt like a stake through the heart.

After all these glib, old charlatans had done to crush their hopes and lay waste to their futures, there they were, refusing to be beaten or to surrender to the nihilism of their elders.

With their banners aloft, in cities across the country, they stood as a rebuke to the Brexiteers and the climate change deniers, who have shrugged off their responsibilities like Bullingdon tailcoats.

Taking to the streets so soon after MPs voted against the negotiating position they had endorsed a fortnight earlier, the strikers’ principled stance made Westminster’s shallow and shambolic politicking at a time of national crisis seem even more crass.

The children’s resolve should have shamed those politicians and their hangers-on. It would have shamed Tories of yore. But, as we long ago established, this lot are beyond shame. And so, instead of reflecting on their own inadequacy, they chose to double down on the protesters, trolling them in language so lacking self-awareness it felt like they were set-up lines for some awful joke.

Theresa May, who has frittered away the past two years, castigated the children for time-wasting; Andrea Leadsom , who has achieved precisely naught in this process, threw up her hands in horror at their “truancy”; and Toby Young, who swallowed and perpetuated all the Brexit spin, accused them of falling for “crude propaganda”.

When did the baiting of young people become the leisure pursuit of choice for angry, white commentators who dismiss them as conformist, then call for them to be suspended for skipping a single school day?

Despite studying harder and facing a more precarious jobs market than previous generations, they are relentlessly denigrated by hostile nonentities with a fraction of their insight or spirit. And they cannot win. If they are not apathetic, they are virtue signalling. If they don’t have opinions, they are ignorant; but ditto if they do. Last week they were criticised for being uncouth by allies of Jacob Rees-Mogg after he had defended Boer War concentration camps on the grounds that they had the same mortality rate as Glasgow at that time.

You only had to watch Piers Morgan shout down Green MSP Ross Greer as he tried to voice dissenting views on Winston Churchill to understand what they are up against. Morgan is the acme of middle-aged entitlement; the template for the kind of men who so fear the ebbing away of their power, they treat every bold new idea as a threat to be extinguished.

Those of us who despise these figures, seize on the images of the striking children with a desperation born of watching our country systematically dismantled.

In the US, it was the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High massacre who rekindled hope in a nation worn down by its leader’s refusal to do anything to halt the succession of school shootings.

Emma Gonzalez held Republican politicians to account for taking money from the National Rifle Association and got called a “skinhead lesbian” by a GOP candidate for her trouble.

For others, however, the rally was evidence that the next generation was the answer to our prayers; that one day, the current crop of amoral dissemblers would be swept away by these amazing campaigners.

Here in the UK, it is those school pupils who refuse to sit back and let the planet expire that are keeping us the right side of sanity. Inspired by Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg, these children are determined to force governments to prioritise climate change.

Young accused Thunberg of peddling falsehoods because she said no action had so far been taken when, of course, hundreds of countries signed up to the Kyoto protocol and the Paris Agreement. Well, Toby, aren’t you the big man, picking up on a 16-year-old’s word choice, while ignoring her broader point? You founded a free school and yet you sneer at these children instead of trying to harness their energy. I bet you let out a victory whoop when you thrash your kids at tennis.

The striking children were also criticised because they weren’t being specific enough about what they 
wanted politicians to do; as if it’s reasonable to expect teenagers to have written up a 10-point plan for stopping the polar ice caps from melting when world leaders have failed to make any serious impact.

This hostile attitude was mirrored by the Metropolitan police who – having turned a blind eye to the aggressive pro-Brexit yellow vests – were seen putting several teenagers in handcuffs.

Although the temptation to treat the climate change strikers as mini-Messiahs is strong, we have to be realistic. Those who took part will be a mish-mash of genuine activists, the curious and kids who just fancy missing double maths. Some of them may – as has been suggested – be calling for others to make grand gestures, while leaving their phones on charge all night .

But, at a time when so many politicians are out only for what they can get, these children are taking a stand. Wiser than their years, they understand climate change ought to be top of the agenda. They can see our politicians are too busy “taking back control” from the EU to take back control of climate change policy and meet our own greenhouse gas emissions target. And they know education is about more than sitting in a classroom.

By striking, the pupils are shouldering the responsibility that rightly belongs to adults. They are shining a harsh light on the feckless and the greedy; the do-littles who have allowed so much of the world’s animal life to be wiped out on their watch.

Fortunately, these kids are only a few years off voting age. Judging by their chants of “F*** off Theresa May,” they won’t be backing the Tories, but the fact they are already politically active increases the prospect of them participating in the democratic process. By the time the Brexiteers are toasting their own wickedness in their special place in hell, some of them could well be in power.

In the next few weeks, we may pay the price of governmental indifference and crash out of the EU with a No Deal. Shop shelves could be stripped bare and medicines impossible to come by. All this while David Attenborough is warning of the potential collapse of civilisations.

But look at all those bright, shiny faces; beacons of hope on a desolate landscape. If these children are the future, then – despite everything – we might yet be saved.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Dani Garavelli"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874298.1550391747!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874298.1550391747!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Striking pupils gather outside the Scottish Parliament on Friday. Picture: Greg Macvean","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Striking pupils gather outside the Scottish Parliament on Friday. Picture: Greg Macvean","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874298.1550391747!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/insight-is-the-workplace-car-levy-a-panacea-for-urban-congestion-or-a-poll-tax-on-wheels-1-4874369","id":"1.4874369","articleHeadline": "Insight: Is the workplace car levy a panacea for urban congestion or a poll tax on wheels?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550391410000 ,"articleLead": "

Seven years after Nottingham first imposed its workplace car levy, Dani Garavelli assesses what the impact of such a policy might be on Scotland

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874366.1550390849!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Car parking could become a lucrative revenue stream for Scottish towns and cities, such as Glasgow, under the budget proposals. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

When Nottingham City Council first announced its plans for a workplace parking levy, the backlash was immediate.

“Lots of businesses were trying to work out ways to get round it,” says BBC Nottingham journalist Rebecca Brice, who covered the story. “I spoke to one employer who was talking about painting huge [bays] in the car park so it looked as if there were only 10 spaces [because 10 is the maximum number allowed before a company must start paying].”

Under Nottingham’s WPL scheme, businesses with 11 or more spaces must pay an annual tax (currently £415 per space); but an estimated 40 per cent of employers have passed the cost on to their workers. “People were initially outraged because they were paying the money, but not seeing the benefits,” says Brice.

Seven years on, however, the city’s WPL scheme is held up as a model and has helped the city win an Ashden Award for sustainable travel.

Under the English legislation, the money collected must be ring-fenced for public transport improvement projects. So far, the revenue – £53m and rising – has helped secure a £570m extension to the tram network, a £60m redevelopment of the city’s railway station and support for the £15m electric Link bus network.

Though the WPL scheme is not without its critics, there has been a 100 per cent compliance rate and no impact on inward investment, and Nottingham’s integrated transport network is now the envy of neighbouring cities.

“It’s noticeable how much easier it is to use the Nottingham Park & Ride tram services compared with our services,” says Michael Gayler, a retired healthcare worker who lives in Leicester. “The trams always seem to be reliable and clean. Bus services in Nottingham appear to run on a much more comprehensive network, compared with Leicester where we have a fragmented and disjointed effective duopoly [First & Arriva with each company dominating one side of the city].”

The WPL scheme may also have helped Nottingham slash its carbon emissions by a third since 2005, allowing it to meet the city council’s 2020 target four years early. So successful has the scheme proved that other places, including Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol, and the London boroughs of Merton, Brent and Camden, look set to follow suit.

In England, the legislation allowing councils to implement such a levy was introduced back in 2000 by Tony Blair’s government. Yet a proposal to introduce similar legislation in Scotland – one of a number of concessions the Greens won to secure their backing for this year’s budget – has caused consternation north of the Border. So fierce was the opposition in some quarters that the topic overshadowed even the tourist tax.

The proposal was branded “an outrage” by Scottish Labour MSP James Kelly despite the fact that it was a Labour government that introduced the legislation in England and Nottingham is a Labour-led council. Willie Rennie also spoke out against it despite it being on the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ manifesto in 2000 and 2003.

Some of the opposition has been based on a misunderstanding. Complaints that there were no details about how a WPL would work in practice ignored the fact that, as in England, this legislation would simply grant local authorities the power to act. Edinburgh and Glasgow City Councils are actively considering WPL schemes. Were they to press ahead, the specifics would be up to them.

Other criticism, however, has mirrored that experienced in Nottingham. The AA has claimed that – if passed on from employer to employee – it is a “poll tax on wheels”; others that it discriminates against shift workers and those who live in places poorly served by public transport. Teachers have been particularly vocal, with the EIS warning its members would demand the refund of any charges they were forced to pay.

Another congestion-busting plan announced last week – car-free zones outside seven Glasgow primary schools – met with a similar ambivalence. This time, critics feared the scheme would penalise working parents who travel straight to the office from the school-run and those whose children’s primaries were far from a bus stop or train station.

Both debates illustrate the contradiction at the heart of efforts to cut down on traffic and pollution. While most motorists want to see congestion reduced, they are reluctant to alter their own driving habits. Or – to put it another way – everybody wants the open road to themselves.

Green MSP Andy Wightman believes such attitudes are unsustainable. “The point is that driving cars involves a whole lot of externalities – pollution, inefficient use of urban space and so on – so the users of cars need to be paying a little bit more towards these externalities,” he says.

However, he points out there would be nothing to stop employers exempting low-paid workers from any parking charges they decide to impose. “If I were designing a scheme I would, as a council, be providing incentives for employers to give their workers public transport vouchers.”

But surely, for that to work, the existing public transport system has to be fully integrated and efficient? “It’s a chicken and egg thing. Public transport improvements are easier to implement with a revenue stream than they would be if you were to insist those improvements have to be in place before a WPL can be implemented,” he says.

Nottingham City Council decided to introduce its WPL after studies showed congestion was costing the city £170m a year, with commuters accounting for 70 per cent of congested peak-time traffic.

Similar schemes had proved successful in Australia and Canada, but Nottingham was the first (and so far only) city to implement it here in the UK. The decision was taken to include the whole city (Nottinghamshire County Council, a Tory/Mansfield Independent Forum coalition was not interested in extending it out to more rural areas).

The local authority opted for the WPL as opposed to, say, a congestion charge because it is simpler to administer, with employers managing their own accounts online. As a result only 5 per cent of revenue is spent on managing the scheme.

The WPL revenue is used as local match funding to enable the city council to bid for external funds from the Department of Transport and elsewhere; so, for example, the government agreed to pay 75 per cent of the tram extension if Nottingham City Council paid the remaining 25 per cent.

Revenue from the WPL has also contributed towards the development of Nottingham’s integrated all-operator, pay-as-you-go smartcard, its real-time information system with over 1,500 displays, two refurbished bus stations and technology for priority and late running buses at key junctions.

“We have always been at the forefront of a public transport network,” says Nottingham City Council leader Jon Collins. “We still own our own bus companies. And we had secured the funding to build line one of the tram system, which had been a success. We wanted to extend the tram network and this was the most effective way of funding it.

“Nobody likes paying extra for anything, but the most important point from our perspective was being very clear that the money raised was to improve public transport and that it was the improved public transport that gave people options not to use the car and travel in a way that eased congestion.”

Being the first of its kind, Nottingham’s WPL scheme has not been without its teething problems. One of the principal challenges, particularly in the early days, was that those commuters who were unwilling to pay for parking spaces at work either switched to free on-street parking or left their cars just outside the city boundary in order to hop on a bus, leading to greater congestion at those spots. This has been targeted by making some of those areas residents’-permit-only (with those permits being free).

Chris Norton works for a company which has two offices in Nottingham no more than a mile apart. One introduced parking charges and the other didn’t, which led to resentment.
“There were also instances at our office of people trying to avoid paying the levy by parking on streets, including residential roads,” he says. “This caused issues where cars had aggressive and threatening notices left, tyres were slashed and cars were keyed. It also created difficult relations with neighbours, but [the workers] weren’t breaking the law.”

Norton believes the WPL causes problems for firms that rely on staff from further afield. “I work for a company that requires people with specialist qualifications and skills who travel to our office from outlying towns and cities like Northampton, Leicester, Derby, Mansfield, and beyond,” he says. “It would take longer and be more expensive to travel by public transport than by car. And then what about ad hoc meetings in the day which require onward travel? Not all locations are serviceable by public transport.

“In a lot of respects, [the WPL] has been a great success, as it puts people on to the trams, takes traffic off the streets and has reduced pollution. Car share schemes are very popular, especially at big employers like Boots. But for people in areas where bus services have been cut back, or who live outside a reasonable commute, it’s a cost incurred for no benefit.”

Hugh McClintock, a committee member of Pedals, says cyclists have benefited from the grants given to many workplaces for cycle parking and shower facilities, but that not enough has yet been invested in initiatives 
aimed at encouraging more people to cycle.

“Nottingham still has a quite a lot of pollution particularly on the bridges and some of their approaches. Without more radical measures on a comprehensive basis, the benefits are limited,” he says.

However, independent research carried out by Stephen Ison, professor of transport at Loughborough University, found the WPL levy had slowed the growth in the number of cars (though not reversed it), increased the number of people using public transport and made a significant impact on congestion in Nottingham.

“The Loughborough study found Nottingham was doing well economically when you compare it to similar cities in England, so the WPL hasn’t deterred business, but what it has done is improve the transport network quite considerably so people are benefiting,” says Professor Tom Rye, director of Napier University’s Transport Research Institute.

“That’s not just because of the WPL. If you look at the council’s transport department, it has always had inspirational people; people who have been willing to look for new solutions and to put those solutions in place. But the WPL is definitely helping.”

In Scotland, we are still at the point of exploring the terms of the proposed legislation. Wightman says public acceptance of any future scheme will be more likely if ours, like England’s, stipulates revenue must be ring-fenced for transport projects.

Rye would like to see the charges extended to off-street parking spaces for visitors and shoppers. “In England, the law only allows the levy to be applied to parking spaces for employees – that makes it very complicated and the council has to rely on employers to be honest about how many workers’ spaces they have,” he says.

“I think it would be great if the Scottish Government gave serious consideration to widening this so councils could, if they wished, place a levy on other types of off-street parking. That would make it easier to implement and it could help the competitiveness of city centres because it would be possible to put a levy on out-of-town shopping centres.”

When and if the legislation is introduced here, individual councils could customise their schemes . The Scottish government has already said there would be exemptions for NHS employees, but this could be extended to all emergency workers. And the levy would not need to apply to the entire council area; it could be confined to specific zones.

“Just as with a congestion charge, one of the questions would be: ‘Where do we draw the line?’ and there’s nothing to stop different councils drawing that line in different places. There is nothing to stop North Lanarkshire having a scheme just in Airdrie or Edinburgh having a scheme just in the centre or just in the west,” says Wightman.

The MSP is, as you would expect, enthusiastic. But given the negative response to both the WPL and the pilot of car-free zones round Glasgow schools, does he believe the public is ready to accept measures that make demands on their time and/or their pocket?

“From the evidence of the last couple of weeks, I would say no. But a WPL or curb in parking near schools needs to be part of a strategic plan to reduce car use in urban areas,” he says.

“I think if you asked people if we needed to reduce the reliance on cars most people would say ‘yes’. It’s when you get to the point of ‘what exactly are we going to do?’ that they start factoring in their own personal preferences and those preferences sway their opinions.

“But that is a conversation councils should be having with their electorate. Edinburgh is already having those kinds of conversations and a WPL would further stimulate the debate.”

Wightman believes the Nottingham experience proves that public transport systems are more likely to improve when there is a catalyst for change.

“In Nottingham, the WPL is changing behaviours of employers, it is changing the behaviour of planning authorities, it is changing the behaviour of business associations, so it is beginning to align a lot more interests in the city with improvements in public transport system.

“While the car has a relatively free reign, the chambers of commerce, employers’ associations and trade unions don’t have the same incentive to lobby for better public transport because their members or employees use cars.

“The minute the car is made just that little bit more difficult, however, you get to a tipping point where people start talking seriously about what can be done to improve things.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Dani Garavelli"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874366.1550390849!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874366.1550390849!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Car parking could become a lucrative revenue stream for Scottish towns and cities, such as Glasgow, under the budget proposals. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Car parking could become a lucrative revenue stream for Scottish towns and cities, such as Glasgow, under the budget proposals. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874366.1550390849!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874367.1550390855!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874367.1550390855!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Car-free zones outside Glasgow primary schools have met with hostility. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Car-free zones outside Glasgow primary schools have met with hostility. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874367.1550390855!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874368.1550390864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874368.1550390864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "In Nottingham receipts from the levy have helped extend the tram system. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "In Nottingham receipts from the levy have helped extend the tram system. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874368.1550390864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/jo-swinson-warned-she-will-face-challengers-for-lib-dem-leadership-1-4874377","id":"1.4874377","articleHeadline": "Jo Swinson warned she will face challengers for Lib Dem leadership","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550392454000 ,"articleLead": "

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable could step down before the end of the year – but the favourite to succeed him, deputy leader Jo Swinson, should expect a challenge for the top job, senior party sources have said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874376.1550392450!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jo Swinson's appointment as deputy leader of the Lib Dems was uncontested - but she has been warned landing the top job will be tougher. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

And the East Dunbartonshire MP could find herself up against a “celebrity” candidate under new rules set to be approved next month that will open up the party’s leadership to non-members.

Insiders said that Swinson had broad support for a leadership bid, but insist there has to be a full contest after Cable won the role unopposed following the 2017 general election.

Sources close to Cable (above), who is 75, have signalled that he does not intend to lead the party into another election, unless a snap vote is called in the near future.

Rather than a timetable for his departure, he has set a series of objectives, including passing reforms to turn the Lib Dems into a “movement for moderates”, and campaigning to stop Brexit through a second EU referendum.

The reforms are set to be debated and passed next month, with the UK leaving the EU shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, there has been speculation that Prime Minister Theresa May could call a snap general election in the summer, timed to coincide with local elections in England on 2 May.

“Vince set himself some clear goals when he became leader,” one Lib Dem MP said, adding that it was “entirely possible they could be met by the end of the year”.

Swinson is understood to still be considering whether she wants to run for the party leadership, but she is popular among party members and would be expected to win the backing of most of the Lib Dem parliamentary group, including her three fellow Scottish MPs.

A second Lib Dem MP said: “I really hope Jo runs, and if she does, she’ll win – but the party membership doesn’t want a coronation. There has to be a challenge.

“The Tories had a coronation in 2016, and look what happened there. It just wouldn’t look good.”

The first source said demands for a contested leadership election were “a correct reading of opinion in the party”.

Potential challengers inside the parliamentary group could include the Oxford and Abingdon West MP Layla Moran, the first person of Palestinian origin to sit in the Commons, and former energy minister Ed Davey.

But Cable’s bid to turn the Lib Dems into a mass-movement similar to Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party in France could attract some well-known anti-Brexit names to the contest.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874376.1550392450!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874376.1550392450!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jo Swinson's appointment as deputy leader of the Lib Dems was uncontested - but she has been warned landing the top job will be tougher. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jo Swinson's appointment as deputy leader of the Lib Dems was uncontested - but she has been warned landing the top job will be tougher. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874376.1550392450!/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/euan-mccolm-at-last-a-refreshing-blast-of-candour-over-brexit-1-4874289","id":"1.4874289","articleHeadline": "Euan McColm: At last, a refreshing blast of candour over Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550390632000 ,"articleLead": "

Let’s hope the Tory business minister has started something by saying the unsayable regarding his treacherous colleagues, writes Euan McColm

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874288.1550390628!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Richard Harrington said members of the European Research Group were 'not Conservatives'. Picture: John Stillwell/PA"} ,"articleBody": "

At last, a refreshing blast of candour over Brexit.

After more than two years of Prime Minister Theresa May’s rather degrading attempt to keep the rabid Eurosceptic right-wingers of the Conservative Party happy, a member of her team decided to speak his mind.

And, boy, did business minister Richard Harrington let rip.

Interviewed by Kevin Schofield for The House magazine, Harrington diverted from the standard – and entirely unconvincing – line that the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union might be achieved in such a way as to bring together the Tories (and, indeed, the country) in a new era of unity.

Members of the European Research Group – the Eurosceptic cabal headed up by the deeply reactionary Jacob Rees-Mogg – were “not Conservatives” said Harrington.

Recalling an ERG gathering last month, where Rees-Mogg and his cronies sipped champagne after May’s Brexit deal was defeated by 230 votes, Harrington added that he considered this as gathering evidence of their “treachery” and – fully getting into his stride – suggested that these monomaniacal anti-EU MPs might be better off joining former Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.

Harrington’s remarks caused quite the kerfuffle at Westminster where, despite the best efforts of the ERG to make the Prime Minister’s life as miserable as possible – including a failed attempt to remove her as PM though a confidence vote – May has striven to remain diplomatic.

Harrington, who voted Remain in the 2016 EU referendum, did not stop at the ERG. He also had – less ferocious, it must be said – criticism of the PM. May’s continued refusal to rule out a no-deal Brexit was disappointing, he said.

What’s more, the Malthouse Compromise – an agreement drawn up between Tory MPs backing both Remain and Leave which suggests the use of technology to maintain an open border in Ireland – was, said Harrington, “fanciful nonsense”.

We are used, by now, to backbenchers in the Commons speaking their minds about Brexit. Whether it’s Rees-Mogg opining about the need for the most Brexity Brexit possible, or his colleague, Anna Soubry, making the case that any kind of Brexit will be a disaster for the UK, those who don’t feel the restrictions of office have been enthusiastic in sharing their views.

But when a government minister speaks up, using the sort of language employed by Harrington, that’s a whole new ball game. And I’d like to hear more of it.

The Prime Minister convinces nobody when, through a rictus grin, she speaks of the possibility of post-Brexit harmony. Doesn’t she, in fact, look weak and unsure as she tries to herd the feral cats of her party’s rightmost wing?

So Harrington’s furious intervention brings us some clarity about the problems the ERG and their fellow pro-Brexit MPs (members of the Labour Party front-bench, for example) have created with their blanket refusal to consider any kind of compromise.

This sort of outspokenness is to be encouraged.

Perhaps moderate Labour frontbenchers – by which I mean shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer – might feel emboldened to be similarly frank about the treachery of those in his own party who, despite claiming to stand up for the poorest in society, are – even now – preparing to help the Prime Minister deliver a Brexit that stands to cause deep and lasting damage to the UK economy. And while he’s about it, maybe he could speak more clearly about the appalling failure of the Labour leadership to do anything approaching useful about the abhorrent anti-Semitism that now disfigures his party.

Let Richard Harrington be your guide, Keir. Go on. Speak your mind.

The SNP could also do with some straight-talking from those in authority. A group of MPs including Joanna Cherry and Angus MacNeil are currently engaged in a campaign to force the First Minister’s hand on the issue of a second referendum. Nicola Sturgeon’s preference is to take things more slowly. Only last week she said she would like to see how Brexit plays out before calling for the powers to hold indyref2.

This makes perfect sense. Voters are divided as never before and the idea that, amidst this political turbulence, a new Yes campaign might cut through and bring about a majority in favour of the break-up of the UK is utterly fanciful.

Perhaps a wise authority figure – deputy First Minister John Swinney, say – might have a public word. Those who rebel against the leadership position are doing the nationalists’ cause absolutely no favours at all.

Political leaders find it difficult to speak truth to their parties. Splits over policy and strategy require those in charge to do what they can to keep everyone happy. This diplomacy is, by and large, a good thing. If differences of opinion can be contained and smoothed over, a party can convincingly present itself as a broad church.

But sometimes those differences of opinion are of such a magnitude that no amount of desperate spin can hide the splits. To varying degrees, the Tories, Labour and the SNP are now split over how they should tackle big constitutional questions. The stable governance of the country is not helped by circumstances where small cabals of extremists are indulged by their leaders.

Harrington expressed an exasperation that will be familiar to many of us. He has watched as a small group of right-wingers have held the government and – by extension – the country to ransom. And now he has decided that enough is enough. May has allowed this bizarre situation to develop because of her unwillingness to stand up to these critics, to these zealots who would throw her under a bus given half a chance.

Constitutional change can never – no matter what its most enthusiastic proponents would have us believe – be an entirely painless process. By its very nature it is divisive and creates uncertainty. But, here we are, facing these big questions about both the UK’s place in the world and Scotland’s place in the UK.

If we are to find our way through these minefields, we will not be helped by giving credence to the arguments of extremists for whom compromise and pragmatism are dirty words.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Euan McColm"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874288.1550390628!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874288.1550390628!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Richard Harrington said members of the European Research Group were 'not Conservatives'. Picture: John Stillwell/PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Richard Harrington said members of the European Research Group were 'not Conservatives'. Picture: John Stillwell/PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874288.1550390628!/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/purge-your-sites-of-online-bullies-or-face-regulation-social-media-told-1-4874363","id":"1.4874363","articleHeadline": "Purge your sites of online bullies or face regulation, social media told","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550389788000 ,"articleLead": "

Social media platforms must face statutory regulation, a Scottish MP has said following the suicide of a 13-year-old constituent who was the victim of a campaign of cyber-bullying.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874362.1550389768!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Undated family handout photo of Molly Russell, 14, who took her own life in November 2017. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Paul Masterton raised the case of Ben McKenzie with Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions in December.

The Eastwood High School pupil took his own life in October after what Masterton called “cruel online threats and bullying on social media and his mobile phone”.

After his death, members of Mackenzie’s extended family called for action to combat the “faceless, shameless little bastards who sit behind a keyboard and use words that push a child beyond human endurance at the age of just 13”.

Masterton said: “There are young people who are harming themselves and taking their own lives because of this. That shouldn’t be happening.”

A government white paper on online harm is expected in the next fortnight. Last month, the cross-party science and technology committee backed a statutory code of practice for all social media companies, with a duty of care enshrined in legislation for children using their services.

Masterton backed the call, saying companies like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube should use the vast amounts of data they collected on users to help identify young people who may be at risk of harm.

“Social media companies are doing a lot to improve, but at the moment they adhere to codes of conduct that are voluntary and frankly toothless,” the East Renfrewshire MP said.

The call follows another high-profile case in which a 14-year-old, who took their own life, was found to have looked at images of self-harm after clicking on links and searching for terms like “suicide” and “depression”.

Many of the images Molly Russell was exposed to on the picture-sharing platform Instagram breached its own terms of use. The site, which is owned by Facebook, last month agreed to remove all images of self-harm.

Masterton said: “Social media platforms harvest a huge amount of data from their users, mining their interests to target content at them. They could use that data to help, rather than to add to existing problems.”

The father-of-two said users could be prompted with contacts for mental health services and charities if they show a persistent interest in images of self-harm.

“There must be a way for companies to flag repeated searches of certain terms, like suicide, so that rather than sending vulnerable people another 50 suggestions involving self-harm, they point them towards services such as the Samaritans,” he said.

Masterton admitted it was difficult for parents to restrict young people’s access to the internet via handheld devices, but said limits to screen time should be encouraged at home and at school.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874362.1550389768!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874362.1550389768!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Undated family handout photo of Molly Russell, 14, who took her own life in November 2017. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Undated family handout photo of Molly Russell, 14, who took her own life in November 2017. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874362.1550389768!/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/brexit-turmoil-has-dealt-damaging-blow-to-snp-s-independence-hopes-says-willie-rennie-1-4874365","id":"1.4874365","articleHeadline": "Brexit turmoil has dealt ‘damaging blow’ to SNP’s independence hopes, says Willie Rennie","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550383202000 ,"articleLead": "

Scots want to “move on” after nearly a decade of constitutional upheaval, with the Brexit turmoil having dealt a “damaging” blow to the case for Scottish independence, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has declared.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874364.1550356454!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie."} ,"articleBody": "

And as Nicola Sturgeon prepares to set out her plans for a second referendum in the coming weeks, Rennie has warned she would be repeating the biggest mistake of her political career if she forged ahead with a fresh vote on leaving the UK.

In an exclusive interview with Scotland on Sunday, Rennie extended an “open hand” to Scots dismayed by the Brexit and independence debates as the Lib Dems prepare to meet for their spring conference in Hamilton this week. Rennie insisted the party could “fill the gap” for those who yearn for a more moderate, progressive approach.

The Lib Dems have been at the forefront of the drive for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal and as time runs down to the 29 March deadline, he said he believed this may yet emerge as the only solution to the impasse.

The turmoil and paralysis at Westminster has given many Scots a reality check about the dangers of breaking up a centuries-old union, he said.

“Breaking up something that’s been 40 years old has been really tough,” he said. “Breaking up something that’s 300 years old with the even deeper family ties, business ties, economic ties, government ties, the welfare state, the NHS, all the health and safety legislation – it’s going to be so many more times more difficult.

“Surely the lesson of Brexit is not to repeat it with independence.

“I meet a lot of people now who say clearly to me ‘I did vote for independence in 2014 but now…’ – and they suck their teeth and go, ‘Mmm – I’m not sure I want to go through that again’.

“I think that’s incredibly damaging for the SNP and their campaign.”

The First Minister has faced pressure from key SNP figures such as Angus MacNeil and Alex Salmond to press ahead with demands for a second referendum when she sets out her plans in the next few weeks. Scots voted decisively in favour of Remain in the Brexit referendum, but the weight of votes south of the Border swung the outcome in favour of Leave. Many grassroots nationalists feel this “democratic deficit” and the turmoil engulfing Westminster leaves the independence movement with a golden opportunity.

But Rennie added: “I think Nicola – if she pursues this – she’s going to repeat the mistake that she made in the autumn of 2016 where everybody was telling her that you should not push ahead with a call for another referendum, but she put her foot on the accelerator and just a few months later she lost a whole load of her seats at Westminster.

“She’s been struggling to recover ever since. If she wants to repeat that again, she should go ahead. I think she would be in real trouble.”

The First Minister has hinted she may adopt a more medium-term approach if – as expected – the UK government refuses a section 30 order that would allow a second Scottish referendum to take place. The right to stage a referendum may then become the defining issue of the Holyrood election of 2021.

But such an approach may backfire. “It will be a decade worth of constitutional argument by 2021 and people will have to decide then whether they want more of that,” Rennie said.

He said he believed issues such as mental health and difficulties with the education curriculum were the things that really mattered to Scots.

“The government is just so besotted by constitutional upheaval of one kind of another and the UK government is in exactly the same boat. We just have been incapable of focusing on what really matters.

“We’re just utterly driven by two nationalist parties who are hell-bent on pursuing constitutional upheaval at the cost of so much in the country.

“We’re very clear that we need to move on from this. I think the public out there, they just sigh and groan at the endless debate about this stuff, whether it’s on Brexit or independence. So let’s get this solved properly and get back to the big domestic issues that need to be resolved.”

And despite what Rennie refers to as the “extremist” drift in British politics of the Tory Brexiteers, Labour’s hard left and nationalism in Scotland, he said he believed there remained a strong liberal constituency.

“There are a lot of people yearning for that progressive, moderate force in the middle,” he said. “There are people who are attracted by the simplistic solutions round about independence and Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s easy slogans – and they’re perfectly entitled to that. But there’s a huge chunk of people who are yearning for something else. I’m determined to make that happen and meet their needs and I think we’re part of that answer.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874364.1550356454!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874364.1550356454!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874364.1550356454!/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/subversive-sewing-book-gets-straight-to-the-point-1-4874291","id":"1.4874291","articleHeadline": "Subversive sewing book gets straight to the point","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550358477000 ,"articleLead": "

SS leader Heinrich Himmler’s struggle with the French Resistance for ownership of the medieval Bayeux Tapestry, and elderly men in Edinburgh compiling a collage on sectarianism, are just two of the stories in a debut book about subversive needlework by a Scottish textile artist attracting interest worldwide.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874290.1550340542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Clare Hunter, author of Threads Of Life, billed as a history of the world through the eye of the needle."} ,"articleBody": "

Clare Hunter’s Threads Of Life, billed as a “history of the world through the eye of the needle”, reveals how the “voiceless” – including political prisoners in Chile, women in the Japanese Changi Prison in Singapore during the Second World War and Mary Queen of Scots –used symbols in their sewing to send out messages.

Hunter’s manuscript was snapped up by major UK publishing house Sceptre at Hodder & Stoughton. It was then chosen for BBC Radio 4’s Book Of The Week earlier this month. She has since featured in blogs worldwide.

It was while on a visit to see the Bayeux Tapestry in France that Hunter, who graduated from the MLitt Writing Practice and Study course at the University of Dundee in 2014, said she was “seized with fury at the injustice” that the people, mostly women, who embroidered the tapestry now on Unesco’s Memory of the World Register, had been largely unacknowledged.

She said: “All those hours of labour, all that deployment of a practised skill, women’s inventiveness and imagination, dismissed as if it did not matter.”

Hunter, who has worked in a variety of community arts projects, including helping women make banners during the 1984 miners’ strike, said: “I was determined to write a book about people using the language of sewing to make their voices heard.”

Her research uncovered a host of hidden messages “hiding in plain sight”.

“Sewing is inclusive, you don’t need expensive tools,” she said. “No wonder it’s an arts medium for the dispossessed.”

Edinburgh-born John Cumming, director of live music and events producer Serious, was struck by the “survival instinct” embodied in a quilt panel his mother stitched in Changi.

Describing identifying her work – an angel and her maiden name signature Marion Williams – on a Changi quilt in the British Red Cross headquarters in London, he said: “I felt pretty emotional, seeing the evidence of someone who’d spent three-and-a-half years in that prison.

“There were multiple statements on that quilt, each stitched by someone as a statement of their own individuality.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SHN ROSS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874290.1550340542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874290.1550340542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Clare Hunter, author of Threads Of Life, billed as a history of the world through the eye of the needle.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Clare Hunter, author of Threads Of Life, billed as a history of the world through the eye of the needle.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874290.1550340542!/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/no-fly-zones-extended-at-all-airports-following-drones-chaos-1-4874359","id":"1.4874359","articleHeadline": "No-fly zones extended at all airports following drones chaos","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550356200000 ,"articleLead": "

A hardline UK-wide crackdown on the use of drones near airports has been announced in a drive to avoid any repeat of the chaos witnessed at Gatwick in the run-up to Christmas.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874358.1550354777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh Airport's no-fly zones have been extended in line with new regulations affecting all airports in the UK. Picture: Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

The “no-fly” zone around all UK airports, including those such as Edinburgh and Glasgow, will be extended to 5km from the existing 1km limit under new laws being introduced at Westminster this week.

Police will also be handed tougher “stop and search” powers to target people suspected of using drones maliciously. They will come into force next month.

The approach to countering the malicious use of drones is also being reviewed by the Home Office. This will go beyond airports and look at how best to protect all “critical national infrastructure”. It will include testing and evaluating technology to counter drones.

UK transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “The law is clear that flying a drone near an airport is a serious criminal act. We’re now going even further and extending the no-fly zone to help keep our airports secure and our skies safe.”

Gatwick suffered a level of unprecedented chaos after reported drone sightings on 19 December, with hundreds of flights cancelled over a 24-hour period.

The new exclusion zone will mean banning drone flights within 5km of runway ends. It will come into force on 13 March. A new Drones Bill is being progressed that will give additional powers to the police, including the power to access electronic data stored on a drone with a warrant.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874358.1550354777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874358.1550354777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Edinburgh Airport's no-fly zones have been extended in line with new regulations affecting all airports in the UK. Picture: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh Airport's no-fly zones have been extended in line with new regulations affecting all airports in the UK. Picture: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874358.1550354777!/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/silent-protest-as-orange-walk-passes-glasgow-church-of-attacked-priest-1-4874227","id":"1.4874227","articleHeadline": "Silent protest as Orange Walk passes Glasgow church of attacked priest","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550328730000 ,"articleLead": "

A silent ‘no anti-Catholic marches’ protest was held today outside of St Alphonsus in Calton as an Orange Walk passed by.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874225.1550328382!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Silent protesters as Orange walk passes Glasgow church of attacked priest. Picture: John Devlin."} ,"articleBody": "

The church was where Canon Tom White was spat at by Bradley Wallace during an Orange march last year.

Posting on Twitter last night, anti-catholic bigotry campaign group Call It Out posted details of the protest, which they wanted to be silent and peaceful.

In July last year Canon Tom White had been speaking to parishioners outside St Alphonsus Church in Glasgow when he was spat on twice before being lunged at by a man with a baton.

The Archdiocese of Glasgow said that both Canon White and his parishioners had been “subjected to vile abuse” and Police Scotland investigated the incident as a hate crime.

Bradley Wallace, from Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court today to assaulting Father White on July 7 2018.

Sheriff Andrew Cubie told him “I want you to be under no illusion at all, spitting is disgusting and cowardly and this was done in the context of a sectarian atmosphere which is an embarrassment to the West of Scotland.

“You should be under no illusion all options are open to the court.”

Since the attack took place last July, several marches set to pass the church have been ordered to be re-routed on police advice about potential protests.

Read more: Man who spat on priest during an orange walk caught by his DNA

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874225.1550328382!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874225.1550328382!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Silent protesters as Orange walk passes Glasgow church of attacked priest. Picture: John Devlin.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Silent protesters as Orange walk passes Glasgow church of attacked priest. Picture: John Devlin.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874225.1550328382!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874226.1550328387!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874226.1550328387!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Orange Order parade was scheduled for Glasgow's East End and was the first to go past St Alphonsus Church since Canon Tom White was spat on last July. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Orange Order parade was scheduled for Glasgow's East End and was the first to go past St Alphonsus Church since Canon Tom White was spat on last July. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874226.1550328387!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-labour-defends-offering-free-passes-to-party-conference-1-4874193","id":"1.4874193","articleHeadline": "Scottish Labour defends offering free passes to party conference","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550319682000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish Labour has defended offering free passes to the party’s annual conference to new supporters, pensioners, the unemployed and youth amid a fall in members.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874192.1550319678!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The event is taking place in Dundee from 8-10 March and will feature speeches from Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard."} ,"articleBody": "

The party has lost nearly 5,000 members over the past year – about 20 per cent of its overall base.

Day passes typically cost £15 for members or affiliated supporters.

The event is taking place in Dundee from 8-10 March and will feature speeches from Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.

A party spokesperson said: “Scottish Labour is a party of the many, not the millionaires.

“Democracy and equality are at the heart of everything we do and this means ensuring the widest possible participation in our annual conference.

“Shutting out members on the basis of ability to pay is the opposite of what we’re about and that is why we will again be ensuring our young, senior and unemployed members face no financial barriers to participating in conference.”

Read more: Brexit ‘high noon’ could see Theresa May lose six ministers

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Scotsman Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874192.1550319678!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874192.1550319678!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The event is taking place in Dundee from 8-10 March and will feature speeches from Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The event is taking place in Dundee from 8-10 March and will feature speeches from Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874192.1550319678!/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/runaway-schoolgirl-shamima-begum-fears-her-unborn-baby-will-be-taken-away-1-4874186","id":"1.4874186","articleHeadline": "Runaway schoolgirl Shamima Begum fears her unborn baby will be taken away","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550316731000 ,"articleLead": "

Runaway schoolgirl Shamima Begum fears her unborn baby will be taken away from her as her family pleaded for the teenager to be allowed back to the UK “as a matter of urgency”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874145.1550316728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Renu Begum holds a picture of her younger sister, Shamima. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Ms Begum said she understood the controversy and intense media scrutiny a return to the UK would bring, but said she did not want to be separated from her child.

Speaking to The Times at a refugee camp in northern Syria, she said: “What do you think will happen to my child?

“Because I don’t want it to be taken away from me, or at least if it is, to be given to my family.”

She also said she had been taken to hospital after having contractions following her arrival at the refugee camp, and could give birth “any day”.

The pregnant 19-year-old was tracked down by the newspaper four years after she travelled to Syria as a 15-year-old to join Islamic State, and she told how she would “do anything required just to be able to come home and live quietly with my child”.

Her case has been the subject of intense debate over what should happen to the teenager.

In a statement issued by their lawyer, her family urged the Government to help her return to Britain to protect the welfare of her baby.

“Given Shamima’s four-year ordeal, we are concerned that her mental health has been affected by everything that she has seen and endured,” they said.

“Now, we are faced with the situation of knowing that Shamima’s two young children have died - children that we will never come to know as a family.

“This is the hardest of news to bear.

“The welfare of Shamima’s unborn baby is of paramount concern to our family, and we will do everything within our power to protect that baby who is entirely blameless in these events.”

Read more: Joyce McMillan: Whether it’s Winston Churchill or Shamima Begum, beware the simplicity of hate

Ms Begum told The Times she understood she could face a police investigation on her return, admitting: “I knew that coming back to the UK wouldn’t be a quiet thing. It’s uncomfortable.

“If I ever do go back, it’ll be a long time before the cameras stop and all the questions stop.”

The former east London schoolgirl had previously admitted that she did not regret travelling to IS-controlled Syria, and asserted she was “not the same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago”.

The statement her family issued on Friday evening said they were shocked by her comments in the interview, but her words were those “of a girl who was groomed”.

“We are also mindful that Shamima is currently in a camp surrounded by IS sympathisers and any comments by her could lead directly to danger to her and her child,” they added.

Her family said her unborn child had “every right as a total innocent to have the chance to grow up in the peace and security of this home”.

“We welcome an investigation in what she did while she was there under the principles of British justice and would request the British Government assist us in returning Shamima and her child to the UK as a matter of urgency,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the head of MI6 warned that Britons returning from Islamic State were likely to have acquired “potentially very dangerous” skills and connections.

Alex Younger, who did not comment specifically on the case of Ms Begum, said UK nationals have a “right” to come home but that public safety was the first priority.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid warned he would “not hesitate” to prevent the return of Britons who travelled to join IS, while security minister Ben Wallace said runaways who now wanted to come back must realise that “actions have consequences”.

The head of Counter Terrorism Policing, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, said anyone returning from a conflict zone having gone to support a terrorist group should expect to face a police investigation.

“Any investigation is carried out with an open mind and based on the evidence available,” he said.

“This is to determine if individuals have committed any terrorist or other criminal offences, regardless their motivation, and to ensure that they do not pose a danger to the public or the UK’s national security.”

Any hopes of a rescue mission by British officials were also swiftly quashed on Thursday as the Government ruled out an effort inside Syria to assist Ms Begum.

While refusing to comment on individual cases, Mr Wallace told the BBC: “I’m not putting at risk British people’s lives to go and look for terrorists or former terrorists in a failed state.

“There’s consular services elsewhere in the region and the strong message this Government has given for many years is that actions have consequences.”

Questions have been raised over whether Britain would be able to prevent Ms Begum’s eventual return to the UK.

Former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation Lord Carlile told the BBC that if Ms Begum has not gained a second citizenship of another country, she will have to be allowed back to her homeland because under international law it is not possible for a person to be made “stateless”.

Meanwhile, Richard Barrett, a former director of global counter-terrorism at MI6, suggested it would be “unreasonable” to expect the Syrian Defence Force to look after her indefinitely.

He also warned that summary execution is the “most likely outcome” for such captured foreign nationals who are handed over to Syrian or Iraqi authorities.

Ms Begum was one of three schoolgirls, along with Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, from Bethnal Green Academy who left the UK in February 2015.

Another girl, Sharmeena Begum, also from Bethnal Green but not related to Shamima, had travelled to Syria two months earlier.

Ms Sultana was reported to have been killed in an air strike in 2016.

Shamima Begum said she had recently heard second-hand that the other two girls may still be alive.

Read more: Britons who left to join IS could be stopped from returning to the UK

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PA Reporter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874145.1550316728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874145.1550316728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Renu Begum holds a picture of her younger sister, Shamima. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Renu Begum holds a picture of her younger sister, Shamima. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874145.1550316728!/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/scotrail-contract-could-have-been-stripped-over-falling-performance-1-4874183","id":"1.4874183","articleHeadline": "ScotRail contract could have been stripped over falling performance","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550316021000 ,"articleLead": "

Lowering ScotRail’s passenger satisfaction targets two years in a row allowed Abellio to avoid the possibility of being stripped of its contract to run the franchise, Scottish Labour has suggested.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874182.1550316017!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lowering ScotRail's passenger satisfaction targets two years in a row allowed Abellio to avoid the possibility of being stripped of its contract to run the franchise, Scottish Labour has suggested."} ,"articleBody": "

Under the terms of the franchise agreement, a breach of the target in two consecutive years would be marked as a “continuing and material event of default”.

In such an event, the Scottish Government would then have the option to terminate the agreement if performance levels were not deemed to be acceptable - although the issuing of a remedial plan notice would be the more likely first step as this would give the franchisee the opportunity to address the issues at hand.

A section of the franchise agreement reads: “If overall satisfaction does not meet the overall passenger satisfaction target in any two consecutive franchisee years, such shall constitute a continuing and material event of default ...

“The authority shall be entitled to terminate this agreement by serving a termination notice on the franchisee.

“The agreement shall terminate with effect from the date specified in any such termination notice.”

ScotRail has been issued two remedial notices by the Government in less than two months - the first on December 24 and the second on February 8.

A response on how outstanding issues will be resolved, as set out in the remedial notice, must be submitted within 12 weeks of a notice being issued.

Read more: ScotRail commuter train uncoupled at station because of power surge, operator reveals

The train operator has faced criticism over cancellations and delays to its services, with the most recent satisfaction figure standing at 79%.

The target figure is usually set at 88.5% but this was lowered in 2016-17 to 84% and in 2017-18 to 85%.

If the figure had stood at 88.5% between 2016 and 2018, ScotRail would have been in breach of its passenger satisfaction agreement, which would have potentially left open the possibility for the Scottish Government to terminate the contract.

The Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe) said the decisions on lowering targets for ScotRail were taken following a full analysis of factors which may impact upon performance outwith the control of the operator.

These include an extensive programme of electrification and the Queen Street Tunnel works during 2016-2017, and changes to Transport Focus’ survey methodology.

Other factors considered as being outwith the control of ScotRail include infrastructure issues - under the remit of Network Rail - and extreme weather conditions such as the Beast from the East last year.

MSPs rejected a Scottish Labour proposal in November to enact a break clause in the ScotRail contract, which would have ended the agreement in 2022.

The party has campaigned for the rail network to be brought into public ownership.

Scottish Labour’s transport spokesman Colin Smyth said the Scottish Government was allowing ScotRail to get “off the hook” over its franchise obligations.

Mr Smyth said: “Whilst passengers stood on platforms for trains that never came, SNP ministers were secretly cutting deals to allow the firm to fail commuters across the country.

“Instead of hauling these chancers in and demanding they deliver what they are paid to do so by the taxpayer, the SNP Government let them off the hook.

“And we know this is not the only occasion when the SNP Government has granted ScotRail a licence to fail.

“No wonder the SNP voted with the Tories to block Labour’s plans to exercise the break clause in the ScotRail franchise, ministers have been bailing Abellio out in secret.

“Instead of moving the goalposts for a failing franchise, Scottish Labour will bring our railways into public ownership to give our country a transport system that delivers for the many.”

A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said that proposals to end the contract would prove costly for taxpayers.

She said: “Performance has not been where it should be and any agreed remedial plans must bring swift change to reach the levels passengers expect and deserve.

“While we can and do hold the franchisee to account for matters within their control, it is only reasonable we also take account of impacts over which any operator would have no influence.

“Suggestions that we should do otherwise are short sighted, as is the notion we can simply rip up contract given that current reserved legislation requires us to run a competitive tender exercise for any new operator.

“This would come at significant cost to the public purse and bring upheaval to staff up and down the country.”

Read more: Drone near Glasgow Airport came so close to aircraft that pilot ‘thought it had been hit’

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Lewis McKenzie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874182.1550316017!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874182.1550316017!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lowering ScotRail's passenger satisfaction targets two years in a row allowed Abellio to avoid the possibility of being stripped of its contract to run the franchise, Scottish Labour has suggested.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lowering ScotRail's passenger satisfaction targets two years in a row allowed Abellio to avoid the possibility of being stripped of its contract to run the franchise, Scottish Labour has suggested.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874182.1550316017!/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/brexit-high-noon-could-see-theresa-may-lose-six-ministers-1-4874154","id":"1.4874154","articleHeadline": "Brexit ‘high noon’ could see Theresa May lose six ministers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550303001000 ,"articleLead": "

A dozen or more government ministers could quit by the end of the month if Prime Minister Theresa May refuses to extend the Brexit negotiating period beyond 29 March, a leading Tory opponent of EU withdrawal has said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874152.1550302992!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dominic Grieve says the government could be brought down. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve said the next round of Brexit votes on 27 February would be a “high noon” moment when resignations on this scale – which he said could include six Cabinet members – might bring Mrs May’s government down.

He was speaking as Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt made clear his unwillingness to accept a no-deal departure, telling hardline Brexiteers in a tweet: “We are not leaving without a deal. If you want to leave, you’d better agree one. In the next fortnight would help.”

Angry Tory loyalists have turned on the party’s Brexiteers after Mrs May’s plans suffered another humiliating Commons defeat on Valentine’s Day.

Business minister Richard Harrington accused the European Research Group (ERG), led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, of “treachery” and said they were “not Conservatives” and should join former Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.

Defence minister Tobias ­Ellwood accused the ERG of acting as “a party within a party” and described their behaviour as “provocative”.

Digital minister Margot James last night became the latest figure to rule out remaining in her post under a no-deal Brexit, saying: “I could not be part of a government that allowed this country to leave the European Union without a deal.”

Downing Street insisted the Prime Minister would continue with her negotiating strategy, with ministers dismissing Thursday’s vote as no more than a “hiccup”.

Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom acknowledged that Thursday’s defeat had not strengthened Mrs May’s hand in her effort to persuade the EU to change the proposed backstop arrangements to keep the Irish border open after Brexit.

But she said: “The Prime Minister carries on. She will continue to seek those legally binding changes to the backstop that will enable Parliament to support our deal.

“The one problem with last night’s vote is that it allows the EU to continue with this pretence that they don’t know what we want. They do know what we want.” Ms Leadsom did not discount the possibility of ministerial-level resignations, saying: “Resignations from government do happen ... people have very strong, heartfelt views.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "GAVIN CORDON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874152.1550302992!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874152.1550302992!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dominic Grieve says the government could be brought down. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dominic Grieve says the government could be brought down. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874152.1550302992!/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/pupils-across-scotland-strike-for-climate-change-action-1-4874148","id":"1.4874148","articleHeadline": "Pupils across Scotland strike for climate change action","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550297453000 ,"articleLead": "

Thousands of pupils from schools across Scotland went on strike yesterday as part of a global youth action protest over climate change.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874147.1550265328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Protesters gather to protest in George Square, Glasgow, Downing Street and at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Around 60 planned protests, organised by Youth Strike 4 Climate Change, took place across the UK with large protests outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, George Square in Glasgow and cities including London, Cardiff and Manchester.

Protests were also held in European cities, including outside the Swiss parliament in Bern and the Bundestag in Berlin.

Mounted police were used near Westminster to move protesters off the roads near Downing Street as a number of pupils took to the city’s buses to demonstrate, scaled traffic lights and statues in Parliament Square, or sat down in front of double-deckers.

Some protesters were led off in handcuffs after being removed from the road by police.

Prime Minister Theresa May criticised the protests.

Her official spokesman said: “It is important to emphasise disruption increases teacher’s workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for.”

The protests have been inspired by Greta Thunberg, 16, a Swedish activist who held a solo protest outside the Swedish Parliament. This has led to around 70,000 schoolchildren taking action each week across 270 towns and cities worldwide.

Scottish Greens education spokesman Ross Greer, who joined the strike by youth climate campaigners in Glasgow yesterday afternoon, said: “These strikes represent a movement of young people who won’t settle for anything less than the transformation required to save this world from climate breakdown.

“Scotland’s curriculum calls on our young people to be responsible citizens. Those taking this action are shining examples of that. Rather than be punished, they should be commended for fighting for our collective future.”

Scottish Labour shadow cabinet secretary for environment and climate change Claudia Beamish said: “The school pupils and students joining the strikes over climate change are an inspiration. These strikes provide the perfect opportunity for the SNP government to back Scottish Labour’s ­commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest.”

John Bynorth, policy and communications officer at the charity Environmental Protection Scotland, said the protests gave voice to Scots schoolchildren excluded from the climate change debate.

He said: “The students who made their voices heard will be in their mid to late-20s in 11 years – the time left for the world to get its act together on climate change by keeping global warming to a maximum of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels or face catastrophic environmental change, according to the UN IPCC report published last year.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874147.1550265328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874147.1550265328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Protesters gather to protest in George Square, Glasgow, Downing Street and at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Protesters gather to protest in George Square, Glasgow, Downing Street and at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874147.1550265328!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/britons-who-left-to-join-is-could-be-stopped-from-returning-to-the-uk-1-4874146","id":"1.4874146","articleHeadline": "Britons who left to join IS could be stopped from returning to the UK","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550297013000 ,"articleLead": "

The Home Secretary has warned he “will not hesitate” to prevent the return of Britons who travelled to join Islamic State as debate flared over what should happen to runaway schoolgirl Shamima Begum.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874145.1550316728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Renu Begum holds a picture of her younger sister, Shamima. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Sajid Javid said those who left the UK to join IS were “full of hate for our country”. Meanwhile, security minister Ben Wallace warned that runaways who now want to come back must realise that “actions have consequences”.

Ms Begum’s family have pleaded for the 19-year-old, who is pregnant, to be shown mercy and to be allowed to return home to east London. Ms Begum was one of three schoolgirls from Bethnal Green Academy who left the UK in February 2015.

Speaking at a refugee camp in northern Syria this week, Ms Begum said she would “do anything required just to be able to come home and live quietly with my child”.

Her case has received high-profile backing, with a former MI6 chief saying the teenager should be given a chance “if we are to stand by our values”.

But her plea has been strongly rejected by others, including the brother of Alan Henning, the British aid worker murdered by IS in Syria in 2014, who said she should “absolutely not” be allowed back.

Mr Javid said: “We must remember that those who left Britain to join Daesh [IS] were full of hate for our country.

“My message is clear: if you have supported terrorist organisations abroad, I will not hesitate to prevent your return. If you do manage to return you should be ready to be questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted.”

Labour shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “We are not in favour of making people stateless. However, if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that anyone who is entitled to return to this country either committed or facilitated acts of terrorism, they should be fully investigated and where appropriate prosecuted. Our priority must always be public safety.”

Questions have been raised over whether Britain would be able to prevent Ms Begum’s eventual return to the UK.

Former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation Lord Carlile said if Ms Begum has not gained citizenship of another country, she will have to be allowed back to the UK because under international law it is not possible for a person to be made stateless.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874145.1550316728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874145.1550316728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Renu Begum holds a picture of her younger sister, Shamima. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Renu Begum holds a picture of her younger sister, Shamima. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874145.1550316728!/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/crown-office-baulks-at-role-in-cyber-kiosks-as-police-offer-contrary-view-1-4874153","id":"1.4874153","articleHeadline": "Crown Office baulks at role in cyber kiosks as police offer contrary view","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550296838000 ,"articleLead": "

Fresh concerns have emerged over the legality of plans to roll out police “cyber kiosks” across Scotland after prosecution chiefs warned they can’t get involved.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874151.1550265757!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur said that even basic information on the legality of this technology is proving 'difficult to pry out'. Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Senior officers had indicated the Crown Office (COPFS) would be providing advice in relation to data protection.

The kiosks would allow the police to gather data from mobile phones or laptops and even to override passwords.

But the Crown Office has now written to Police Scotland to say there had been a ‘misunderstanding’ of its role.

Crown Agent Lindsey Miller said it would be “inappropriate” for the body to give broad guidance on police powers as they only give advice on admissibility of evidence into court on a case-by-case basis.

“In terms of the data protection and human rights implications of processing information whilst seizing and investigating digital devices, that is a matter on which Police Scotland as a public authority must satisfy themselves,” she said.

But Police Scotland has since written to Holyrood’s sub-committee on policing to suggest the Crown Office had been supportive of the force’s position.

MSPs have now written to Police Scotland demanding clarifications. Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur said: “Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has said that public confidence and policing by consent is key for the use of cyber kiosks, yet even basic information on the legality of this technology is proving difficult to pry out.

“Now we have a situation in which the police are offering assurances that their position is supported by the Crown Office. But COPFS themselves are saying that it would be ‘inappropriate’ for them to comment on a request for broad guidance on police powers.

“It’s entirely reasonable for the police to look at ways of improving the way in which they work.

“It is equally reasonable for the public to demand answers on the legality of new and controversial technology in which the police have already invested hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

The Chief Constable has pledged that no roll-out would take place until they were resolved.

Ministers say this is still “some way off”.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The police can only seize phones or other electronic devices where there is a lawful basis for doing so and the introduction of cyber kiosks will not change this.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874151.1550265757!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874151.1550265757!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur said that even basic information on the legality of this technology is proving 'difficult to pry out'. Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur said that even basic information on the legality of this technology is proving 'difficult to pry out'. Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874151.1550265757!/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/how-tech-giants-are-suffocating-journalism-john-mclellan-1-4874074","id":"1.4874074","articleHeadline": "How tech giants are suffocating journalism – John McLellan","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550296800000 ,"articleLead": "

The Cairncross Review highlighted how news organisations are losing advertising revenue as tech companies like Google, Apple and Facebook take a significant slice of the advertising market, writes John McLellan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874073.1550251869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Frances Cairncross's review of quality journalism included a misspelling of John McLellan's name"} ,"articleBody": "

Nothing to do with the Cambridge Spy Ring but everything to do with shedding light on the activities of Government, the Cairncross Review, published this week, marked a significant moment for the way in which democratic accountability of public services can be sustained.

Dame Frances Cairncross isn’t exactly a household name, although her uncle John achieved notoriety as a Soviet double agent. But as a highly respected journalist, economist and academic (she chairs the Heriot Watt University Court), she was ideally placed to take a hard, brass-tacks look at the future of quality journalism in the UK.

It won’t have been the talk of many dinner tables or bar-rooms, but for readers of this newspaper and many like it, the report should be of grave concern. In particular, her exposure of the fiendishly complicated, and in large part unintelligible, systems behind digital advertising show how the life-blood is being sucked out of news organisations around the world, not just in Britain.

Digital advertising accounts for 63 per cent of all UK advertising, according to the eMarketing website, and PricewaterhouseCooper figures showed UK digital advertising in the first half of 2018 grew by 15 per cent to £6.3bn, with £3.3bn going to search engines alone. By contrast, the total advertising spending with UK news publishers in the whole of 2018, according to then Advertising Association, was expected to be around £1.8bn, a drop of five per cent.

Starting with the tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook, the Cairncross Review highlights the growing number of participants in the supply chain, each adding a complication and each taking a slice of the advertising cake, while the organisations which rely on those resources to fund the supply of information are slowly asphyxiated. Ironically, other tech giants like Amazon are also waking up to this murky bonanza and are looking at ways of cutting out as many middle-men as possible to, literally, deliver the goods more effectively.

Finding solutions is another thing and, to some extent, that was beyond both her remit and resources so the Department of Culture Media and Sport, which commissioned the report, has quickly followed her recommendations for further investigations. Firstly the Competitions & Markets Authority is to look at the way digital advertising markets operate and secondly Ofcom is to examine the extent to which the BBC’s free online services impact on commercial news publishers. Both are long overdue but more immediately the recommendation that online subscriptions be VAT exempt, as are hard-copy newspaper and magazine sales, is now being put to the Treasury.

If there is a criticism of the report, it is in its somewhat narrow definition of what represents quality journalism, and also the notion that public interest investigative journalism was ever a commodity which could stand on its own two feet. In separating sport and lifestyle, it glosses over the fact that successful broadsheet newspapers traded as much on what might be seen as sideshows as their political coverage. It was no coincidence that when the Daily Telegraph was in its pomp and outselling the Mail and Express in places like the West Country, it ran in-depth coverage of grass-roots club rugby and its Page Three court reporting was every bit as salacious as the News of the World.

Of course, as the former editor of this newspaper and the current director of the Scottish Newspaper Society, I can hardly be described as an impartial observer and I met with Dame Frances to discuss the Scottish industry and helped set up consultations in Scotland.

So I could afford a wry smile when, in a report which made an impassioned case for the importance of quality journalism, with which I would hardly disagree, I found my name misspelled. We all make mistakes.

We all make mistakes, Mr McVey

Corrections and clarifications are part and parcel of news publishing now, but some readers of the Edinburgh Evening News may have missed an important one.

Nothing that fine paper had done wrong, but the clarification involved an article about Edinburgh’s £207m tram completion project and Lord Hardie’s ongoing inquiry into the disastrous project to build the current line from the airport.

The piece in Monday’s paper stated: “The council has engaged with the tram inquiry and the expert witnesses to make sure we cover any eventuality”, which prompted a response the next day on the Tram Inquiry website.

“In a recent news article considering the business case for the Newhaven tram extension,” it said, “it was stated the Tram Inquiry has engaged with the Edinburgh City Council to make sure it ‘can cover every eventuality’. For the avoidance of doubt, the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry has had no discussions with Edinburgh City Council about the tram extension, or any eventuality in relation to it.”

Oops. On Wednesday the clarification was duly re-published in the paper, so who could have got it so wrong? Step forward City Council leader Adam McVey whose original article it was, and who then had to tweet on Thursday afternoon that the council had “engaged with the tram inquiry by providing evidence and has monitored proceedings to capture evidence”.

A clumsy phrase was to blame apparently, certainly not any willful intention to mislead the public into thinking the Council had actually spoken to the expert witnesses. We all make mistakes.

Peter Wood, a much-esteemed man

Three years ago, an important study was undertaken to quantify the full economic impact of the Scottish newspaper industry to underpin the case, particularly to government, that the news industry was about a lot more than just headlines. It was able to show the sector was worth over £1bn a year to the Scottish economy and supported over 4,000 full time jobs.

The work was carried out by the widely respected economist Peter Wood, a man with the ability to cut through to the nub of both political and economic arguments and who had been an adviser to the UK Government and local authorities as well as private business.

The esteem in which he was held was obvious from the number of people who packed Edinburgh’s Reid Memorial Church on Tuesday morning for his funeral after his sudden death a couple of weeks ago aged just 66, leaving wife Lindsay and daughters Rebecca and Paula.

He was also a friend. I don’t think either of us were particularly religious, but God bless you, Peter.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874073.1550251869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874073.1550251869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Frances Cairncross's review of quality journalism included a misspelling of John McLellan's name","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Frances Cairncross's review of quality journalism included a misspelling of John McLellan's name","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874073.1550251869!/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/hillary-clinton-hails-girls-like-13-year-old-scot-over-climate-strikes-susan-dalgety-1-4873879","id":"1.4873879","articleHeadline": "Hillary Clinton hails girls like 13-year-old Scot over climate strikes – Susan Dalgety","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550296800000 ,"articleLead": "

Hillary Clinton says ‘something extraordinary’ is happening over climate change as teenagers like Greta Thunberg in Sweden, Anuna De Wever in Belgium and Holly Gillibrand in Fort William lead school-strike protests, writes Susan Dalgety.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873878.1550236248!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "School strikes to demand action over climate change are being led by teenage girls all over Europe (Picture: Sam Russell/PA Wire)"} ,"articleBody": "

Hillary Clinton passed a powerful baton earlier this week to a new generation of women. In a tweet, she pointed out that something “extraordinary” was happening in Europe “and perhaps soon in America”.

She went on: “Teen girls are leading a movement to stop climate change.” Intrigued, I clicked on the link and whole new world opened up in front of me.

I had no idea thousands of school girls in Sweden, Belgium and Germany were boycotting classes in protest against climate change, inspired by 16-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg.

Greta has become somewhat of a celebrity since last August, when she started skipping school every Friday to picket the Swedish Parliament to demand MPs meet the country’s obligations under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

When I was Greta’s age, I cut classes to wander the streets of our small Galloway town, furtively smoking Number 6 and dreaming of David Bowie. The nearest I got to protest was drawing a CND symbol on my history jotter.

Greta now has a CV all Generation Z campaigners dream of, and she is still two years away from being able to vote.

She has given a Ted Talk, has hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, and in a move that would impress even the most jaded baby-boomer politician, she spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month.

And she has inspired other young women to make their voices heard. Belgian student Anuna De Wever, 17, is leading protests every Thursday, which have swollen to as many as 30,000 a week taking part. “It’s given me a voice better than voting,” she said in a recent interview.

READ MORE: Joyce McMillan: Why it’s time to panic about climate change

And in Germany, environmental campaigner Luisa Neubauer, 22, says that Greta’s example has inspired more young women to speak up about the single biggest issue facing the world.

Greta’s influence has now spread to the UK. Yesterday, students from more than 60 towns and cities left their classrooms to take part in a co-ordinated climate change protest.

One of Scotland’s most determined teen campaigners is 13-year-old Holly Gillibrand from Fort William. She has been skipping school for an hour every Friday since the new year. She and a few of her friends picket the school gates with banners demanding: “End the Ignorance.”

Holly, who displays a calm determination I still aspire to, told the BBC earlier this week that the threat of detention was a small price to pay for making her voice heard.

“If you get a detention, that’s nothing to how we will suffer in future if nothing is done,” she said, adding, “I want to get Scottish leaders to take climate change seriously and [know] that they’re destroying my future.”

The poster girl for these young women eco-warriors is junior US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known to her three million Twitter followers and senior political commentators alike as AOC.

Last year AOC was a New York barmaid, with a strong social conscience and hair to die for.

She is now one of America’s leading politicians, tipped to become a future President, and seems determined to single-handedly transform the Democrat Party from a centrist establishment party into a green, socialist movement.

READ MORE: Donald Trump: Climate change not a hoax, but I don’t know that it’s man-made

And central to her ambitions is the Green New Deal, which she unveiled last week with a middle-aged, grey-haired, male senator, Ed Markey.

In what could be a sign that the future is truly female, Markey’s involvement in the launch was completely overshadowed by AOC’s vibrant, Insta-friendly political charisma.

Their ambitious plan is modelled on Franklin Roosevelt’s economic New Deal which rescued Americans from the 1930s Great Depression.

It proposes nothing short of a revolution in America’s economy to tackle climate change, and argues that clean water, adequate healthcare and education, as well as healthy food, should be accessible to all Americans, regardless of income.

Not surprisingly, it was met with derision by President Trump and his Republican Party enablers.

He tweeted: “I think it is very important for the Democrats to press forward with their Green New Deal. It would be great for the so-called “Carbon Footprint” to permanently eliminate all Planes, Cars, Cows, Oil, Gas & the Military – even if no other country would do the same. Brilliant!”

But if Trump didn’t welcome AOC’s plan to save America from the terrible damage climate change will wreak, then Millennials and Generation Z fervently embraced it.

Polls show that Americans aged between 18 and 37 support, rather than oppose, the Green New Deal by a 30-point margin.

And members of the Sunrise Movement, who describe themselves as “ordinary young people scared about what the climate crisis means for the people and places we love”, are taking to the road to sell the plan.

They are planning a 15-city tour and a 50-state campaign to build political and public support for the Green New Deal, particularly among young people.

It is easy to dismiss young women like Greta and Holly, or even AOC, as nothing more than naïve day-dreamers.

“They don’t understand how the real world works,” their critics opine. “They’ll get fed up playing politics,” they sneer.

But even a cursory understanding of climate change should be enough to scare all but the most cynical of capitalists.

A temperature rise of just 2C will reduce our food security and damage water and energy resources across the globe. It will lead to widespread migration and conflict, and natural disasters will be more frequent, and even more deadly.

And climate change will affect women and girls much more than men, argues Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the executive director of UN Women.

She warned recently: “Women and girls are the last to eat or be rescued. They face greater health and safety risks as water and sanitation systems become compromised. And they take on increased domestic and care work as resources dwindle. Poverty, meanwhile, leads to earlier marriages, lost education and diminished opportunities.” But the sisters are organising, and are on the march, from Fort William to Washington.

AOC cautioned earlier this week: “Don’t mess with our future. When it comes to climate, it’s all our lives at stake. The younger you are, the more consequences you’ll see. It’s life and death for us. And we will fight like it.”

As President Trump would say: “Brilliant!”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873878.1550236248!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873878.1550236248!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "School strikes to demand action over climate change are being led by teenage girls all over Europe (Picture: Sam Russell/PA Wire)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "School strikes to demand action over climate change are being led by teenage girls all over Europe (Picture: Sam Russell/PA Wire)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873878.1550236248!/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/brexit-sturgeon-can-end-threat-of-no-deal-if-she-wants-to-brian-wilson-1-4873925","id":"1.4873925","articleHeadline": "Brexit: Sturgeon can end threat of no-deal if she wants to – Brian Wilson","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550296800000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon need only say one sentence to ruin Jacob Rees-Mogg’s hopes for a no-deal Brexit, writes Brian Wilson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4856043.1550240602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon could end uncertainty over a no-deal Brexit (Picture: PA)"} ,"articleBody": "

Another week, another series of mini-dramas. At the end of it, what has changed? Absolutely nothing.

Realities which have been obvious for months, to anyone lacking a vested interest in avoiding them, are simply becoming more urgent. Yet there are still hiding places in empty rhetoric and useless posturing.

Amidst all the skirmishes, there have been two sets of straight lines with clear destinations in sight. Theresa May is custodian of the first and, let’s say, Jacob Rees-Mogg of the alternative.

The Prime Minister aims to deliver a negotiated withdrawal deal by 29 March, give or take a few months, very close to the one agreed with the EU on 13 November. If that option prevails, life will go on pretty much as at present and negotiations will continue.

This is an interim outcome I can live with. I do not want a physical border within Ireland and I support remaining close to a Customs Union, so I welcome the “backstop” rather than revile it and have yet to hear any convincing counter-argument.

Mrs May is accused of “running down the clock”. But why wouldn’t she? What is her realistic alternative to ultimately forcing MPs to decide between a negotiated deal which they might not like or a “no deal” departure which would represent collective insanity?

It suits her opponents to personalise this as “the Prime Minister’s deal” as if she is its unilateral author. Actually, it represents the limits of what the EU would agree to and is unlikely to revisit because it too has wider interests to protect.

READ MORE: Brexit: No one should be ‘hung from a lamp post’ – Ayesha Hazarika

Otherwise uncritical admirers of Brussels direct their contempt at “the Prime Minister’s deal”. This avoids the paradox of explaining how an organisation which they hold up as the font of all good can also be partner in something they condemn so comprehensively – or of admitting that, actually, the deal is not the disaster they pretend.

So Mrs May’s straight line is clear. Go through the motions of flying back and forwards to Brussels, Belfast or even Sharm el-Sheik while she keeps her eyes on the prize – which is to secure an exit based on the existing deal, preferably without going down in history as the leader who split the Tory Party.

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s straight line can be defined more briefly. It is to withdraw from the European Union without any irksome deal and to hell with the consequences which will be for others to cope with. The ideological prize transcends all. Full stop.

I accept there are still a couple of variations to explore. Maybe MPs will take “no deal” off the table without waiting for the final few days. Maybe life can be breathed into the demand for a second referendum, though I doubt it and don’t particularly want it.

But if not, we’re back to choosing between the two straight lines which is where the focus has to be applied much more sharply in order to expose the ultimate intentions of all opposition parties. With which set of Tories will they vote in the same lobby? Is it “deal” or “no deal” they will facilitate when there is no third way?

READ MORE: RBS issues stark warning over Brexit despite doubling of profits

Ultimately, I believe and hope that Labour MPs will collectively reject “no deal” because that is where their responsibility to working people and their families so clearly lies. I have no such faith in our Nationalist chameleons and it is the question they really must be pinned down on – but never are.

Nicola Sturgeon was making great play this week about having to make emergency plans for “no deal”. It is time to point out with some regularity that one sentence from her over the next few weeks would totally remove the need for any more time to be wasted on such madness.

All she has to say is: “However reluctantly, our MPs will vote for a deal in order to avoid the catastrophe of no deal.” Instead, they seem to be positioning for an attack on anyone who has the responsibility and sense to reach that same, sane conclusion. Must opportunism always prevail? We shall see.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Brian Wilson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4856043.1550240602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4856043.1550240602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon could end uncertainty over a no-deal Brexit (Picture: PA)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon could end uncertainty over a no-deal Brexit (Picture: PA)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4856043.1550240602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brian-wilson-ian-blackford-needs-remedial-class-in-his-adopted-home-s-history-1-4874059","id":"1.4874059","articleHeadline": "Brian Wilson: Ian Blackford needs remedial class in his adopted home’s history","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550296800000 ,"articleLead": "

Never mind shouting “liar” at the Prime Minister and thinking it the height of Parliamentary wit and wisdom. It was another of Ian Blackford’s bons mots that troubled me more this week, writes Brian Wilson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874058.1550249469!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Blackford suggested the loss of 18 call centre jobs was the 'New Highland Clearances' (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA)"} ,"articleBody": "

In response to news that Abellio intend to transfer 18 call centre jobs from Fort William to Glasgow, he declared this to represent “the new Highland Clearances”.

Perhaps Holyrood could introduce legislation to ban offensive metaphors. Anyone using the cliché “new Highland Clearances” to describe some minor economic upset in the crofting counties could be sentenced to eviction, destitution and forced emigration. That would soon stop it.

When next Mr Blackford requires calming therapy, he might take refuge in the House of Commons Library and request Volume One of “Evidence Taken by Her Majesty’s Commissioners of Inquiry on the Condition of Crofters and Cottars in the Highlands and Islands” (aka the Napier Commission, 1883).

READ MORE: Brian Wilson: Highland Clearances must not be erased from history

Pages 362-437 contain evidence heard when the Commission sat in Glendale which is Mr Blackford’s adopted home since retiring from investment banking. I feel sure that, after reading first-hand accounts of wholesale evictions, starvation and gross over-crowding, he will never devalue the term again.

The Abellio issue reminded me of a great public meeting Charles Kennedy and I addressed in the old Town Hall in 1995 when the Fort William sleeper was under threat. The Highland Clearances were never mentioned but by working across party lines, the campaign succeeded in de-railing the proposal, under a Tory government.

Mr Blackford does not even have these lines to cross. Abellio is in situ purely on the grace and favour of his own colleagues in Edinburgh. Perhaps he should put down the megaphone and pick up a telephone.

READ MORE: The last township that survived the Highland Clearances

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874058.1550249469!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874058.1550249469!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Blackford suggested the loss of 18 call centre jobs was the 'New Highland Clearances' (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Blackford suggested the loss of 18 call centre jobs was the 'New Highland Clearances' (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874058.1550249469!/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/roseanna-cunningham-scotland-we-need-your-help-to-save-the-natural-world-1-4874116","id":"1.4874116","articleHeadline": "Roseanna Cunningham: Scotland! We need your help to save the natural world","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550296800000 ,"articleLead": "

Today the Scottish Government is launching a consultation on future environmental standards, writes Roseanna Cunningham.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874114.1550257466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "One of the Cadzow Oaks ' reputedly dating from the 12th century ' in the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve (Picture: Donald Macleod)"} ,"articleBody": "

Scotland’s natural environment is our greatest national asset. It sustains and nurtures our lives, refreshes our spirit and is central to our national identity. We all have a duty and responsibility to protect it – for its own sake but also because the success of our nation depends on it. It is vital to our well-being and achieving a sustainable, inclusive economy.

I am proud of the bold, imaginative action people across Scotland are taking to protect our environment and help our country to become a world leader on global environmental issues. From communities tackling the litter on their streets to local beach cleans, people across the country are embracing grassroots action to help protect our environment.

However, our momentum cannot be undermined. Despite the on-going chaos created by Brexit, we must keep a clear focus on the challenges and opportunities that will influence the health of our environment in the coming years.

Ever since the referendum on EU membership in 2016, I have been concerned that our natural environment may be at risk under future trade relationships.

EU membership has enabled us to apply high and improving environmental standards to the benefit of our most precious natural assets. The EU provides a system of environmental protection, agreed across a community of 500 million people. These standards exist hand in hand with the single market and customs union. All member states keep to the same standards, and trade arrangements ensure that these standards are not undercut by imports and that there is no downward spiral to lower environmental standards to make cheaper goods. To ensure the effectiveness of this system, environmental standards are backed by credible enforcement by EU authorities.

READ MORE: Joyce McMillan: Why it’s time to panic about climate change

We face losing so much from leaving the EU, but this must not come at the expense of Scotland’s environment. Although the people of Scotland did not want to be in this position, it is Scotland’s business to secure our environment for the future. The Scottish Government has committed to maintain or exceed current EU environment standards.

This is essential to secure all the benefits a healthy natural environment brings to our economy and society, and to protect the treasures of our environment for generations to come.

The future relationship between the UK and the EU is still uncertain and the UK Government remains unable to provide much needed clarity about the future. My choice would be to remain fully within EU governance systems. However, as a responsible government, we need to prepare for whatever the future brings. That is why, today, I am publishing a consultation to gather views on the best approach to underpinning future environmental standards. We need to ensure that our policies continue to reflect the four key environmental principles that have formed a solid foundation for EU law.

We need to secure clear, appropriate governance arrangements to challenge the Scottish Government and public authorities if we fall short of our obligations. These governance arrangements must complement the existing role of Parliament in holding Government to account and respect the role of the Scottish courts in interpreting and upholding the law.

Moreover, we must have a role in developing future trade agreements as they will affect so many devolved policy areas, including the environment. It is vital that these agreements include full mutual respect for environmental standards in order to prevent a race to the bottom.

READ MORE: Global cardon dioxide emissions rise to new record high in 2018

The Scottish Government has been clear that powers in currently devolved areas like the environment must transfer directly to the Scottish Parliament in the event of withdrawal from the EU. However, during the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 there were sustained efforts by UK Government to introduce wide-ranging restrictions on currently devolved powers.

Maintaining environmental standards is a matter for Scotland. While we will continue to work with our partners across the UK where this is in our best interests, we need to find solutions that meet Scotland’s unique aims and ambitions.

Having broken our relationship with the EU, the UK Government must not be allowed to use that resulting damage as a reason to creep into devolved areas.

It is right that we take this systematic approach to safeguarding Scotland’s environment in the event of an EU exit. I will not, however, allow Brexit uncertainty to derail our ambitions for the future.

I have been leading a discussion on Scotland’s environment strategy to define our long term, guiding ambitions for the environment and our role in tackling global challenges. It will provide the setting within which our future environment governance will work.

I launched an online discussion last year seeking views on these ambitions and on the evidence base that supports decisions on future priorities for action. I was pleased to see so many people engage in this discussion and today I am publishing an independent analysis of the responses.

The strategy will demonstrate how a healthy environment is fundamental to the well-being, equality and prosperity of Scotland’s people. It will therefore be vital to take time to engage widely during its development, to ensure it reflects these wider impacts and works for all of Scotland. This work will be undertaken in close connection with the development of future arrangements for environmental principles and governance.

Protecting our environment and fulfilling our role in tackling global challenges is a moral obligation and one that the Scottish Government is fully committed to – whether by ensuring the right and proper environmental governance is in place, as a necessary but unfortunate part of our EU exit preparations, or by progressing our ambitions to develop an environmental strategy that will safeguard our environment for generations to come.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Roseanna Cunningham"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874114.1550257466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874114.1550257466!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "One of the Cadzow Oaks ' reputedly dating from the 12th century ' in the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve (Picture: Donald Macleod)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "One of the Cadzow Oaks ' reputedly dating from the 12th century ' in the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve (Picture: Donald Macleod)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874114.1550257466!/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/brexit-concentrates-theresa-may-s-mind-about-food-waste-stephen-jardine-1-4874119","id":"1.4874119","articleHeadline": "Brexit concentrates Theresa May’s mind about food waste – Stephen Jardine","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550296800000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May’s food waste advice – about scraping off mould from jam – may be more important after Brexit, writes Stephen Jardine.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874118.1550257482!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May runs through fields of wheat and also scrapes mould off jam (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

As confessions go, it wasn’t that impressive. While some famous people admit to drug-fuelled orgies or drink-soaked violence, Theresa May this week revealed she has been known to scrape the mould off the top of a jar of jam, as long as no one is looking.

In the league table of misdemeanours, it probably sits alongside running through a field of wheat or licking the mixing bowl but it did have a serious intent. The Prime Minister was discussing ways of reducing food waste and pointed out a thin layer of mould on the top of the jam should not consign the jar to the bin. That might be what the rest of us would do but as her commitment to a Brexit deal few want proves, she is nothing if not tenacious.

Our upcoming exit from the European Union and concerns about resulting food shortages have helped put food waste back on the menu. Every year around £200 million worth of food is wasted in Scotland’s hospitality sector. Around 34 per cent of this is estimated to be perfectly good food left over at the end of the meal.

READ MORE: Scotland’s national chef Gary Maclean gives top tips for reducing food waste

This week Zero Waste Scotland renewed its campaign urging more restaurant customers to take leftovers home. Research shows nearly half of diners in Scotland are currently too shy to ask for a doggy bag. That may be down to not wanting to appear mean or not fancying walking about town afterwards with a tinfoil handbag smelling of smoked haddock.

Zero Waste Scotland want to change that dynamic and make it cool to ask for leftover restaurant food to go. Why wouldn’t it be? The only judgement about someone asking for a doggy bag should be that they are environmentally aware and not stupid enough to throw away good food they have paid for.

Of course restaurants can help make this easier by asking customers if they would like to take food home when plates are cleared. They can also then present it in smart, attractive packaging instead of the tinfoil dishes most familiar from dodgy backstreet takeaways. Away from restaurants, our food waste in the home is also staggering with campaign groups estimating up to 10 million tonnes of food is binned in the UK every year. Most of this is household waste and it’s estimated about 60 per cent of that could be avoided.

READ MORE: Brexit: To expats in EU< the UK sounds like it’s preparing for war – Alastair Stewart

Initiatives like Locavore are offering a different way of doing things. The Glasgow-based social enterprise provides a wide range of loose goods allowing customers to just buy what they need and no more.

So no mouldy bags of salad or lentils way past their sell-by date. While consumers can try to cut their waste, it is the food industry that must take most of the blame for profligacy with multipack promotions and heavily packaged ready meals leading the way.

Back in the world of political preserves, it’s time for a contribution from the leader of the opposition. Jeremy Corbyn is an enthusiastic producer of homemade jam with raspberry top of his list. A Labour spokesman said it is so delicious, it doesn’t survive long enough to develop any mould. Unless our politicians get their act together soon, making homemade jam and scraping mould off food could soon be essential skills to eat well post Brexit.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874118.1550257482!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874118.1550257482!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May runs through fields of wheat and also scrapes mould off jam (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May runs through fields of wheat and also scrapes mould off jam (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874118.1550257482!/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/edinburgh-sport-clubs-warn-city-council-not-to-slash-leisure-budget-1-4874109","id":"1.4874109","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh sport clubs warn city council not to slash leisure budget","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550296800000 ,"articleLead": "

Sports clubs have warned councillors that cutting £3.35m from Edinburgh Leisure’s budget will “endanger the health of vulnerable people” in the Capital.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874108.1550256773!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A physical activity class to support people living with dementia takes place at the Royal Commonwealth Pool.'' Clubs have warned the council it is the most vulnerable that will be impacted by cuts to the sport budget"} ,"articleBody": "

One proposal by the city council in a bid to shave up to £41m from next year’s budget is to cut £350,000 from Edinburgh Leisure’s £8.15m of current funding - before £1m could be cut in each of the following three financial years. But the results of the council’s budget public consultation have revealed that there is “strong opposition to the reduction in spending on Edinburgh Leisure due to the importance of this service in meeting many of the council’s goals for physical activity, health and well-being”.

Edinburgh Leisure said it is likely the funding cuts will have “serious implications” on the “health and well-being of the city”.

The council will set its 2019/20 budget on Thursday (21) - and now requires £33m of cuts to balance the books after receiving £8m more than first expected from the Scottish Government.

Colin McMillan, chairman of ClubSportEdinburgh, has called to councillors to think again about the impact of removing funding from Edinburgh Leisure.

In a letter to councillors, Mr McMillan said: “The overall trend of reduction in payment to Edinburgh Leisure has been striking, seeing a reduction of £4.5m over 20 years.

“This additional £3.35m cut over four years will result in facility closures and therefore endangering the health of vulnerable people in communities across Edinburgh. We can’t believe that the council would set a budget knowing that leisure centres would almost certainly close as a result.”

Mr McMillan has also blasted the council’s proposal to cut £62,000 of the £106,000 currently handed over to sport and learning activities, labelling the funding a “tiny but crucial budget”.

The council says the reduction will mean the authority will “no longer provide funding which can be sources elsewhere” but has committed to maintaining the holiday activity fund.

Mr McMillan added: “The shocking and perhaps most concerning factor is the apparent disregard in which sport and physical activity is considered by parts of the council.

“The proposed action of removing a tiny but crucial budget from sport organisations delivering activities for people with a disability and in deprived communities is staggering. This funding is used by Lothian Disability Sport, Team United, an autism support programme, girls self-defence classes, over 50s football and rugby, girls football, women into netball, walking groups in Pilton to name but a few.”

Edinburgh Leisure said: “Next year, 19-20, will be challenging but our budget proposals for this year have been working with these reductions in mind. However, the magnitude of reductions in future years, 20 to 23, is going to challenge us.

Cllr Adam McVey said that the SNP and Labour groups will be meeting early next week to examine the consultation feedback ahead of Thursday’s budget meeting.

He said: “It’s worth saying that the funding reduction for 19/20 is based on discussions we have had with Edinburgh Leisure to ensure that any reduction should not have an impact on facilities that people use. The discussions that we will be having are around the future years of funding which is the thing that Edinburgh Leisure are expressing more concern about.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID BOL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874108.1550256773!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874108.1550256773!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A physical activity class to support people living with dementia takes place at the Royal Commonwealth Pool.'' Clubs have warned the council it is the most vulnerable that will be impacted by cuts to the sport budget","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A physical activity class to support people living with dementia takes place at the Royal Commonwealth Pool.'' Clubs have warned the council it is the most vulnerable that will be impacted by cuts to the sport budget","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874108.1550256773!/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/victims-should-be-at-centre-of-criminal-justice-not-an-afterthought-tom-wood-1-4874121","id":"1.4874121","articleHeadline": "Victims should be at centre of criminal justice, not an afterthought – Tom Wood","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550296800000 ,"articleLead": "

The recent furore over a dental student given an absolute discharge for sexually assaulting a young girl demonstrated the victim’s needs were not met, writes Tom Wood.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874120.1550257604!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "In England and Wales, changes to the way Parole Boards make decisions are being brought in following the outcry over the proposed release of serial rapist John Worboys"} ,"articleBody": "

Stories about victims of crime seem to be everywhere at the moment and it’s good news – it shows we are heading in the right direction.

One odd tale was about the seemingly inexplicable case of an 18-year-old boy, a dental student, who having been found guilty of repeated sexual assaults of a young girl, was then given a “wholly exceptional” absolute discharge, thus avoiding a conviction or being placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

Naturally the victim’s parents were bewildered and the media have been in full cry. The sheriff in the case has been the focus of particularly bitter recrimination with calls for his sacking along with the usual tropes about “out of touch judges” and “class-based judgements”.

It does sound bizarre and at first sight the sheriff in question seemed “bang to rights”, but I’m wary. I don’t know the sheriff involved but in a previous life I crossed paths with a number of judges and sheriffs and, on the whole, found them a pretty shrewd bunch.

They may look like relics from a bygone age sitting on the bench in their black gowns but beneath the 18th century wigs are usually very sharp 21st century brains. And don’t fall for the old “Ivory Tower” slur either. Sheriffs see more of the harsh realities of life in a week than most of us see in a year. But don’t take my word for it, pop into your local Sheriff Court on any weekday, it’s free and you will get some idea of the range and complexity of the cases they have to deal with – it’s mind boggling.

READ MORE: Labour demands change in how sexual assault crimes are dealt with by Scottish courts

I don’t know the full details of this particular case and I suspect many of the critics don’t either, but two things are clear: the decision of the court was inadequately explained – too little, too late – and the victim’s needs were not met.

One sentence from a media statement given by the parents of one of the girls jumped out: “No one asked me how my daughter is.” And that, I suspect, is at the heart of this sorry affair. Perhaps had the victim’s family been included in the process, had their views been taken into consideration, their additional hurt and pain as well as this furore could have been avoided. Most victims of crime, even serious crime, don’t want revenge or even punishment, they just want to be respected and kept in the picture, they want to feel at the centre of the case, not an afterthought.

READ MORE: Euan McColm: When a sheriff goes easy on child abuse we must speak out

On a more positive note, it’s good to see the Parole Board in England and Wales moving to strengthen the role of victims in their considerations. Not only will the new procedures give victims a right to request reconsideration of a release decision, but victim contact schemes will be streamlined to make them easier for victims and their families to access. It’s a pity it took the debacle of the serial taxi rapist John Worboys to bring about these changes but at least it’s a step forward.

We are surely moving in the right direction and, as a next step, we could perhaps take a lead from the world of child protection where the principle of “getting it right for every child” or GIRFEC underpins everything that’s done. It’s a valuable point of reference in complex cases for it places the child at the centre of all consideration. It’s also a failsafe, it’s notable that in the child protection disasters we have had, GIRFEC has seldom been properly implemented.

Perhaps we could develop a “getting it right for every victim” scheme (GIRFEV). There, it has a ring to it – a new acronym and it’s only Monday.

Tom Wood is a writer and former Deputy Chief Constable

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874120.1550257604!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874120.1550257604!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "In England and Wales, changes to the way Parole Boards make decisions are being brought in following the outcry over the proposed release of serial rapist John Worboys","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "In England and Wales, changes to the way Parole Boards make decisions are being brought in following the outcry over the proposed release of serial rapist John Worboys","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874120.1550257604!/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/youth-strike-4-climate-change-should-spur-adults-into-action-leader-comment-1-4874113","id":"1.4874113","articleHeadline": "Youth Strike 4 Climate Change should spur adults into action – leader comment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550296800000 ,"articleLead": "

The Youth Strike 4 Climate Change campaign shows children have a better understanding of the science – and the urgency of the situation – than many adults.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874112.1550257453!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hundreds of young people take part in the Youth Strike 4 Climate Change in Glasgow's George Square (Picture: John Devlin)"} ,"articleBody": "

Schoolchildren going on ‘strike’ is an idea to which The Scotsman is fundamentally opposed. A good education is one of the most important things in any individual’s life and also for society in general.

So it is cause for concern – and headline news – when thousands of pupils take such action, joining a movement that appears to be sweeping the world.

But, in this case, it is the adults whose education is lacking and the children who are teaching the rest of us, so the “Youth Strike 4 Climate Change” is an exception to The Scotsman’s stance on what we would normally call truancy.

The warnings from scientists about the dangers of global warming have become increasingly urgent. And yet the actions that have been pledged by the nations of the world to address the problem fall far short of what is required to prevent the situation becoming dangerous on a global scale.

Children have been learning about the science of climate change in school and, clearly, are aghast at this pitiful state of affairs and the recklessness of adults who should know better.

READ MORE: Thousands of UK school pupils and students strike over inaction on climate change

The basics of that science are simple and well-understood. Carbon dioxide and other gases were discovered to have a ‘greenhouse effect’ on the Earth’s climate nearly two centuries ago. Global warming was predicted in the late 19th century by a Nobel Prize-winning chemist.

As our columnist Susan Dalgety points out today, the teenagers leading the school strike campaign in Europe are winning praise from some influential people.

Hillary Clinton, the former US Secretary of State, tweeted that “something extraordinary is happening in Europe – and perhaps soon in America. Teen girls are leading a movement to stop climate change”.

Nicola Sturgeon also chided the journalist Toby Young – who dismissed the school strike as “idiotic” and “self-important” – by tweeting: “Some adults seem determined today to show exactly why we should be listening more to young people.”

And the reason we should listen to them is that they have been listening to the scientists. Too many adults, perhaps set in their ways, have closed their minds to the warnings from researchers working in a host of different fields – from physics to chemistry to biology – or downplayed the need for radical change.

It’s time to listen to our children – so they can get back to work.

READ MORE: Sir David Attenborough: Climate change is greatest threat in millennia

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