{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"politics","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scots-tory-election-candidate-apologises-for-inappropriate-language-1-4786130","id":"1.4786130","articleHeadline": "Scots Tory election candidate apologises for ‘inappropriate language’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534525614000 ,"articleLead": "

A Conservative candidate in a forthcoming council by-election has apologised for using inappropriate language on social media.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4786129.1534525611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Tory candidate is standing for election in Fife"} ,"articleBody": "

Dave Coleman was criticised for using a derogatory term for a disabled person in a 2010 Facebook post, while in another message he called people shopping at supermarket chain Lidl “chavs” and “pikeys”.

The Tory is standing for election in the Dalgety Bay and Inverkeithing by-election for a place on Fife Council.

SNP candidate Neil Hanvey called for Coleman to stand down as a candidate. “These offensive Facebook posts by the Scottish Tory candiate are totally unacceptable and not befitting of someone seeking public office,” he said.

“Dave Coleman should stand down from the contest at once - if not then Ruth Davidson must remove him.”

READ MORE: Scottish Labour calls for ‘state intervention’ in private rented sector

Labour candidate Billy Pollock said: “Anyone who mocks people with disabilities is not fit to represent the electorate, it saddens me that any political party would select a candidate making these type of comments.

“Mr Coleman’s Tory party are a party that are driving people to the depths of despair with their savage cuts and yet he has the audacity to mock those suffering from mental health issues.”

Mr Coleman said: “These were daft comments made as a joke eight years ago and I understand that this isn’t the kind of language expected of a councillor.

“I sincerely apologise to anyone upset by them.”

READ MORE: Two-thirds of Scots teenagers don’t want immigration to rise

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANGUS HOWARTH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4786129.1534525611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4786129.1534525611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Tory candidate is standing for election in Fife","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Tory candidate is standing for election in Fife","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4786129.1534525611!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-labour-calls-for-state-intervention-in-private-rented-sector-1-4786060","id":"1.4786060","articleHeadline": "Scottish Labour calls for ‘state intervention’ in private rented sector","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534519927000 ,"articleLead": "

Richard Leonard has called for “state intervention” to tackle the spiralling costs faced by the growing number of tenants living in privately rented accommodation in Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4786059.1534519923!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard visited the Mary Barbour statue in Govan to launch his party's discussion paper on helping tenants in the private rented sector. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Labour leader visited Govan today to discuss his party’s plans for a so-called Mary Babrbour law - named after a central figure in the 1915 Glasgow rent strikes and one of the city’s first women councillors.

Mr Leonard said action was required as the private rented sector has grown from five per cent of households in 1999 to 15 per cent in 2016 - a figure that rises to 25 per cent in cities such as Edinburgh and Dundee.

Scottish Labour is now inviting private landlords and tenants to answer an anonymous survey on the sector which will help inform its final policy proposals.

“There’s been a massive increase in the size of the private rented sector and growing evidence that tenants, younger people especially, are seeing rent increases year after year with no improvements,” Mr Leonard told The Scotsman.

“There’s been a deterioration in the quality of the private rented sector. So we think the time has come for the state to intervene in the market and try and bring about some justice and control for tenants.

“Earlier this week we launched our plan for social housing, and that’s part of the solution as well. One of the reasons the private rented sector has grown so much is because of a failure over some time to invest in housing available for social rent.

“But in the meantime, we need a better relationship with the private rented sector.”

READ MORE: Rent in Scotland rising faster than wages, Labour says in cap call

In a discussion paper, Scottish Labour said there “was no quick fix” to the problems of rising rents and housing costs overall.

But it believes something should be done in the short term to improve the quality of life of those spending a high proportion of their incomes on rent and risk being pushed into poverty by continued rent increases.

Scottish Government research published in May found that private rents in property hotspots such as Edinburgh have already become “unaffordable” for many Scots.

Mr Leonard continued: “We need a massive investment in social housing, but we also need action on the private rented sector - there is not sufficient regulation over it.

“Rents are going up at a level that are way above the rate of pay rises. The private rented sector has played its part in the declining levels of living standards for working people and we think that’s something that should be addressed.”

John Blackwood, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords, said: “We work extensively with government and local authorities to ensure the private rented sector (PRS) is well regulated and professional.

“The PRS is a vital component in solving Scotland’s housing crisis but we too want to see an increase in social housing construction as well as private housing for purchase.

“Only by having a diverse range of housing available can we tackle the housing crisis and allow people to choose the right home for their circumstances and budget. An effective PRS is essential in delivering that choice.”

READ MORE: Lothians worst hit by ‘devastating impact’ of squeeze on rent costs

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4786059.1534519923!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4786059.1534519923!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard visited the Mary Barbour statue in Govan to launch his party's discussion paper on helping tenants in the private rented sector. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard visited the Mary Barbour statue in Govan to launch his party's discussion paper on helping tenants in the private rented sector. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4786059.1534519923!/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/revealed-what-scotland-s-political-leaders-get-up-to-on-their-summer-break-1-4786156","id":"1.4786156","articleHeadline": "Revealed: What Scotland’s political leaders get up to on their summer break","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534533311000 ,"articleLead": "

A nine-week break basking in the summer heatwave is a luxury that most people tied to the work treadmill cannot begin to imagine. But that is the length of the Scottish Parliament’s summer recess, which this year saw business end on 30 June and will not see MSPs return to Holyrood until 2 September.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4786155.1534533330!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Three politicians with very different summer plans"} ,"articleBody": "

A nine-week break basking in the summer heatwave is a luxury that most people tied to the work treadmill cannot begin to imagine. But that is the length of the Scottish Parliament’s summer recess, which this year saw business end on 30 June and will not see MSPs return to Holyrood until 2 September.

Given that MSPs earn a more than comfortable salary of £62,149, a two-month break seems rather indulgent. The impression of a cushy number is reinforced when Holyrood’s nine-week break is compared with the six-week Westminster recess.

Legislatures elsewhere in the world do not seem so generous when it comes to time away from parliament. In Italy, for example, the parliament takes off a month from the second week in August until the first week of September.

The Welsh Assembly has a lengthy summer recess, but at eight weeks it is still some way short of Holyrood. On Capitol Hill, the US Senate and the House of Representatives typically have a seven-week break, although it is shorter in the Senate this year.

So what exactly do MSPs do when parliament isn’t sitting for the whole of July and August?

The answer, at least in part, can be provided by a survey by The Scotsman of the activities of Scotland’s political leaders over the period.

So if you are Tory leader Ruth Davidson you bash Boris at the Fringe by the Sea and write your Scotsman newspaper column.

If you are Willie Rennie, Scottish Lib Dem leader, you spend some time on a fishing vessel in the North Sea and if you are Green co-convener Patrick Harvie you combine a holiday in Galway with a speech at the West Belfast Festival.

RAED MORE: Ruth Davidson on Trump’s attack on democracy

If you are Labour leader Richard Leonard you fly home from your holiday in Italy and Crete into his party’s anti-Semitism storm. Almost as soon as he was off the plane, Mr Leonard was in the radio studios trying to defend his UK leader Jeremy Corbyn.

And if you are Nicola Sturgeon, the business of government continues. There has been a meeting with Theresa May over Brexit, other official engagements and publicity stunts such as conducting an orchestra at the opening of the Glasgow 2018 European Athletic Championships and even attempting to play the guitar.

All this has been combined with a staycation with husband and SNP chief executive Peter Murrell touring antiquarian bookshops. According to Sir John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, the recess is the calm before the Brexit- inspired storm. Although in one important respect things have been quiet. Despite the SNP publishing its independence blueprint in the form of Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission, there has been relatively little pro-indy rhetoric from the party’s key figures.

READ MORE: Sturgeon urged to use independence ‘mandate’

“The way it has been quiet is that the SNP has not been campaigning about independence,” said Professor Curtice.

“If it were true that Nicola Sturgeon was strongly minded to try and say this autumn there should be an independence referendum, you might have thought that she would have been getting the troops out and making speeches about the subject.”

But in the meantime, there are the more mundane matters of constituency business – although there happens to be 56 list MSPs without a constituency. Part of the rationale behind such a long break is that it gives MSPs a chance to concentrate on their constituents as well as take a summer break. All of the political leaders with the exception of Mr Harvie conduct constituency surgeries. The Green list MSP says he has never found surgeries an efficient way of communicating with people and prefers to organise appointments to meet people “one on one” or liaise with them over email and social media. For those who believe the recess is too long,

Professor Curtice argues that it can give MSPs respite from the long hours at Holyrood, particularly for those commuting long distances. There is time to catch up with correspondence and campaign on behalf of the party. “Having a spell when you can take a break and be in the one place and recover from the inevitable wear and tear the lifestyle creates might be thought necessary for the health of the body politic,” he said.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4786155.1534533330!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4786155.1534533330!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Three politicians with very different summer plans","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Three politicians with very different summer plans","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4786155.1534533330!/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/joyce-mcmillan-edinburgh-festival-is-infected-by-the-age-of-rage-1-4785553","id":"1.4785553","articleHeadline": "Joyce McMillan: Edinburgh Festival is infected by the age of rage","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534510569000 ,"articleLead": "

Misdirected anger in Edinburgh is a microcosm of the wider debate over injustice in our world, writes Joyce McMillan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785552.1534507267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh's city centre is under increasing pressure from the wealthy, as well as the Festival. Picture: Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

We don’t have to look very far, around the landscape of contemporary politics, to understand that we live in an age of rage. From Donald Trump’s twitter account to the #metoo movement, anger both righteous and unrighteous is the common coin of current political debate; and although much of this anger thunders on at global and national level - between Donald Trump and the mainstream media, between the supporters and detractors of Jeremy Corbyn, or between the advocates and opponents of Brexit - we should be in no doubt that it also affects the quality of debate much closer to home, creating a culture where it’s easy enough to articulate problems and abuses, but increasingly difficult even to begin to find reasonable solutions.

Last weekend, for example, a huge and by no means unreasonable online row blew up over a strip of ugly 6ft solid black fencing that had been erected along the south pavement of Princes Street to screen off a series of commercial concerts being staged in West Princes Street Gardens. Within hours – in a classic example of the positive power of social media – photographs had been posted, and dozens of people had pointed out how wholly unacceptable it was to have the traditional glorious public view of Edinburgh Castle from Princes Street blocked in this way, either during the Edinburgh Festival or at any other time.

The leader of Edinburgh City Council tweeted his agreement, and within 48 hours the black barriers were gone, with more temporary arrangements in place to prevent the formation of big pavement crowds during the concerts. By that time, though, the whole incident had been weaponised, both by those with genuine questions to ask about the impact on Edinburgh’s people of its current status as one of the world’s most desirable destinations for tourism, education and the arts, and by those who simply fancied venting their rage at the whole business. The online magazine Bella Caledonia tweeted that the Festival is “an anarcho-capitalist spectacle masquerading as art, and destroying the city it inhabits”, a click-bait sentence so breathtakingly hyperbolic that it commands a certain wry respect.

READ MORE: Princes Street Gardens barriers blocking views to be removed

One tweeter roundly declared that the Edinburgh Festival “had ceased to be of any use to the people of Edinburgh decades ago”, a remark that would come as news to the tens of thousands of Edinburgh citizens currently buying Festival tickets, and the thousands actually involved in presenting shows; as well as the far greater number working in hotels, catering and other service industries whom the festivals – with their annual £300 million boost to the local economy - help to keep in business.

Another seemed to imply that the world’s biggest arts festival should be cancelled, because he had found, on a brief work visit, that it took him too long to walk along Princes Street among the festival crowds. And many, of course, showed a complete failure of imagination about what exactly Edinburgh and Scotland might look like today, if back in 1947, a group of arts activists and visionaries had not made common cause with the City Council to restore our dour postwar capital to its rightful place as a world city, and an instantly-recognisable centre of international excellence in education and the arts.

Edinburgh’s current ill-tempered discussion about tourism, development and the Festivals, in other words, has become a microcosm of the much wider, rage-driven debate about the systems that rule our world, and who is responsible for the abuses they produce. There is no question that Edinburgh – while far from “destroyed” – is currently suffering huge pressures, as the pound plummets, tourists crowd into its streets, and the city centre becomes, all year round, one of the places into which the wealthy of the earth want to pour their resources, whether they are buying up property, staying in five-star hotels, or renting luxury Airbnbs and student accommodation.

Residents rightly feel rage at the takeover of the city centre by developers like Richard Branson, whose new high-rise hotel in the Cowgate is set to block 80 per cent of the natural light from the reading rooms of Edinburgh’s Central Library; or Drum Properties, currently demolishing a much-loved parade of shops and community venues in Leith Walk to create yet more student accommodation. They observe their City Council’s often craven behaviour in the face of developers’ demands, and they feel that both their practical interests, and the heart and soul of the city they love, are not being protected by those elected to defend them; so that when – in August – the city centre is invaded yet further by what often seems like an army of posh kids using the place as a playground, something snaps, and the Festivals become the object of immense online venom.

If there is one thing that is clear amid all the sound and fury, though, it is that abolishing the Edinburgh Festivals, and slamming up the shutters to international arts and tourism, would help no-one, either economically or spiritually. Our problems are those of cities the world over which want to retain their own character, and serve their own people, while remaining connected to an international scene increasingly dominated by brutal wealth inequalities, and a form of capitalism based on unregulated exploitation of physical and cultural resources; and they are compounded, in our case, by a 40-year history of disempowerment of local government, begun across the UK by Margaret Thatcher, and sadly continued by Scotland’s current SNP government.

As it happens, many shows on these year’s Festival and Fringe, created by great artists from Scotland and far beyond, have plenty to say on these issues; it is also true, though that in low-wage Britain,many Edinburgh citizens cannot afford to see a single one of them. And so long as our society remains based on such a profound pattern of economic injustice, made more frightening by the increasing weakness of all our elected authorities in the face of overweening wealth, the age of rage is likely to continue; and, in its often misdirected fury, to risk destroying the good, the inspired and life-transforming, while leaving unscathed those masters of the current economic universe who perhaps most richly deserve our wrath.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785552.1534507267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785552.1534507267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Edinburgh's city centre is under increasing pressure from the wealthy, as well as the Festival. Picture: Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh's city centre is under increasing pressure from the wealthy, as well as the Festival. Picture: Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785552.1534507267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5823362123001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/ayr/scottish-council-first-in-uk-to-offer-free-sanitary-products-1-4785640","id":"1.4785640","articleHeadline": "Scottish council first in UK to offer free sanitary products","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534509844000 ,"articleLead": "

A council is to offer free sanitary products in all of its public buildings as part of a drive to tackle “period poverty”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785639.1534495158!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A council is to offer free sanitary products as part of a drive to tackle 'period poverty'. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Women in North Ayrshire will be able to access the products from vending machines in the toilets of up to 100 buildings such as libraries, community centres and public offices.

The council said it is the first local authority in the UK to offer free sanitary provision in all of its public buildings.

It comes after the local authority introduced free sanitary products in its secondary schools last August, with young women accessing more than 13,000 free sanitary towels and tampons while at school in the last year.

Council leader Joe Cullinane said: “Sanitary products are a necessity, not a choice. I wish for no women or girl here in North Ayrshire to find themselves in the embarrassing and often degrading situation of having to use improper sanitary protection simply because they cannot afford it.

READ MORE: Period poverty legislation to be introduced at Holyrood

“After all, periods are not exempt from poverty - they don’t take account of what is in your pocket or purse. Therefore, it is absolutely right that we should look at ways in which to tackle this gendered inequality.

“This latest announcement in our period poverty programme aims to help address the issue and make period poverty history in North Ayrshire.”

A study published by girls’ rights charity Plan International UK earlier this year found that 45% of those living in Scotland said they have been forced to use makeshift sanitary wear including socks or newspapers because they have struggled to buy products.

The Scottish Government is rolling out a project to provide free sanitary products to women from low-income households across Scotland following a pilot scheme in Aberdeen, while free sanitary products will also be available to those at school, college or university from this month.

Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon, who is bringing forward a Member’s Bill to create a statutory duty for free provision of sanitary products, welcomed the scheme in North Ayrshire.

She said: “Councillor Cullinane and North Ayrshire Council are leading the way on ending period poverty.

“Access to sanitary products should be a right, regardless of your income, which is why I am moving ahead with plans for legislation to introduce a universal system of free access to sanitary products for everyone in Scotland.

“I’m delighted that North Ayrshire will extend free sanitary product provision to all of its public buildings and I hope other organisations will follow their lead.

“No-one should face the indignity of being unable to access these essential products to manage their period.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Lucinda Cameron"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785639.1534495158!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785639.1534495158!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A council is to offer free sanitary products as part of a drive to tackle 'period poverty'. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A council is to offer free sanitary products as part of a drive to tackle 'period poverty'. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785639.1534495158!/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/unions-back-scottish-government-s-9-pay-rise-for-nhs-staff-1-4785882","id":"1.4785882","articleHeadline": "Unions back Scottish Government’s 9% pay rise for NHS staff","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534508829000 ,"articleLead": "

Unions have backed the Scottish Government’s proposed three-year pay deal for NHS workers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4779171.1534508825!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Unions have back a pay rise for NHS workers. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Nurses, midwives and paramedics are to be offered a minimum 9 per cent pay rise over the period.

The Scottish Government says its proposals will benefit 147,000 staff under the health services’ agenda for change pay system.

Workers earning under £80,000 will receive a rise of at least 9 per cent over the period, while those earning more will get a flat rate increase of £1,600 each year.

Unions have welcomed the deal but raised questions over the future role of the UK NHS pay review body.

READ MORE: Scottish Government employee pictured bound and gagged loses tribunal

Scotland’s biggest health union Unison urged the Scottish Government to break with the body and negotiate directly with NHS unions over pay and conditions.

Thomas Waterson, chair of the Unison health committee, said: “I am pleased to announce that 94 per cent of Unison members have voted to accept a pay deal which will put an additional £400m into NHS workers pay packets in Scotland.

“This deal delivers real increases of between 3 per cent and 27 per cent for NHS workers in Scotland.

READ MORE: Two-thirds of Scots teenagers don’t want immigration to rise

“The strong endorsement by Unison members makes it clear that we do not need to wait cap in hand for the pay review body. This institution as it stands is dead in the water.

“Eighteen months ago some people said that we couldn’t negotiate a separate pay deal for NHS workers in Scotland. Then they said that we couldn’t negotiate a better deal for Scotland.

“The Scottish Government should commit now to develop negotiating structures in Scotland and allow us to self determine on pay.”

The union consulted almost 60,000 NHS workers in Scotland in a four week ballot.

Unite members working in the NHS also voted to accept the pay offer, with 71 per cent backing it in a consultative ballot.

James O’Connell, Unite regional officer, said: “This was a complex pay deal which will deliver a well-deserved pay increase for our members.

“While we recognise the value of the offer to our members following years of austerity and pay restraint, we are not complacent.

“It is the start of a process of trying to make up for the years our members have struggled within a rigid pay policy. It is not right that they have had to wait several years to have their contribution properly recognised.

“Going forward we need to consider how we negotiate pay that will put money back in our members pockets faster and whether the pay review body is the right mechanism to do that.”

Members of the Royal College of Midwives in Scotland (RCM) accepted the proposals with 95 per cent voting in favour.

Emma Currer, RCM Scotland lead negotiator, added: “The RCM is pleased that our members have accepted this pay offer.

“It means that midwives, maternity support workers and other hardworking NHS staff in Scotland can finally begin to recoup the losses they incurred after years of pay freezes, pay stagnation and uplifts well below inflation.

“This is something the RCM and other unions have been fighting for. This is a good deal and one that we believe is the best that can be achieved in the current economic climate.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4779171.1534508825!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4779171.1534508825!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Unions have back a pay rise for NHS workers. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Unions have back a pay rise for NHS workers. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4779171.1534508825!/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/health-union-urges-scottish-government-to-break-with-pay-review-body-1-4785777","id":"1.4785777","articleHeadline": "Health union urges Scottish Government to break with pay review body","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534502873000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s biggest health union has called for the Scottish Government to break with the UK’s NHS pay review body.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785776.1534502869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's biggest health union has called for the Scottish Government to break with the UK's NHS pay review body."} ,"articleBody": "

Unison urged Scottish ministers to negotiate directly with NHS unions over pay and conditions as it confirmed members had voted to accept a new three-year pay deal.

Under the proposals nurses, midwives and paramedics are to be offered a minimum 9 per cent pay rise over the period.

The Scottish Government says its proposals will benefit 147,000 staff under the health services’ agenda for change pay system but would be linked to reforms to terms and conditions.

Unison accused the UK’s NHS pay review body, which negotiates with health unions on behalf of the NHS across the UK, of failing to listen to its concerns.

The union wants the Scottish Government to set up pay negotiating structures directly with NHS unions in Scotland.

This year is the first that Unison and other health unions have submitted a pay claim direct to the Scottish Government.

Thomas Waterson, chair of the Unison health committee, said: “Today I am pleased to announce that 94 per cent of Unison members have voted to accept a pay deal which will put an additional £400m into NHS workers pay packets in Scotland.

READ MORE: Council to offer free sanitary products in public buildings

“This deal delivers real increases of between 3 per cent and 27 per cent for NHS workers in Scotland.

“The strong endorsement by Unison members makes it clear that we do not need to wait cap in hand for the pay review body. This institution as it stands is dead in the water.

“Eighteen months ago some people said that we couldn’t negotiate a separate pay deal for NHS workers in Scotland. Then they said that we couldn’t negotiate a better deal for Scotland.

“The Scottish Government should commit now to develop negotiating structures in Scotland and allow us to self determine on pay.”

The union consulted almost 60,000 NHS workers in Scotland in a four week ballot.

Matt McLaughlin, Unison Scotland head of health, added: “This is a good result for Unison members and I am happy that across Scotland we reached out to and engaged with the vast majority of our members. Their decision is a ringing endorsement of the offer.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CATRIONA WEBSTER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785776.1534502869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785776.1534502869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland's biggest health union has called for the Scottish Government to break with the UK's NHS pay review body.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's biggest health union has called for the Scottish Government to break with the UK's NHS pay review body.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785776.1534502869!/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/two-thirds-of-scots-teenagers-don-t-want-immigration-to-rise-1-4785510","id":"1.4785510","articleHeadline": "Two-thirds of Scots teenagers don’t want immigration to rise","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534500995000 ,"articleLead": "

Almost two-thirds of Scottish teenagers think immigration levels should be cut or remain the same as they are now, according to official research.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785509.1534500991!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "15 per cent want immigration to rise. Picture: Jane Barlow"} ,"articleBody": "

The views of secondary school children emerged in a study commissioned by the Scottish Government, which sought their opinion on one of the biggest political issues in the UK.

The Young People’s Attitudes to Immigration report is based on research carried out by pollsters Ipsos Mori, who spoke to more than 1,700 secondary pupils in state schools across Scotland.

It found that 30 per cent of pupils in S1 to S6 – covering an age range of 11 to 18 – believe that immigration should be “decreased” or “stopped completely”.

More than a third (35 per cent) felt that immigration should be kept at the current level, meaning that a total of 65 per cent of teenagers think it should stay the same or fall. Only 15 per cent of those surveyed said they thought immigration should be increased, while the remaining 20 per cent said they did not know or would rather not answer.

The Scottish Government has repeatedly warned that the UK’s commitment to cutting net migration poses a major risk to economic prosperity north of the border.

There is general political agreement in Scotland that levels of immigration should be maintained rather than cut for the economy to grow, with working age migrants needed to fill jobs.

The SNP’s Growth Commission also called for migrants to be offered tax breaks if Scotland votes for independence, allowing the country to grow its population and support the economy.

The survey of young people also showed that older pupils were more likely to feel positive about the impact of immigration in Scotland than those in other year groups.

Almost 30 per cent of those in S6, who are generally aged 16 or older and can vote in Scottish Parliament elections, felt that the impact of immigration had been “mostly good”.

However, this dropped significantly among younger pupils, with only 12 to 14 per cent of those in S1, S2 and S3 agreeing. Girls also perceived the impact of immigration less negatively than boys.

Much like among adults, attitudes to immigration varied depending on people’s economic background, with wealthier students more positive than those from more deprived areas.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “It is important that we engage with young people and seek their views on issues which affect them and their future, including immigration.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785509.1534500991!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785509.1534500991!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "15 per cent want immigration to rise. Picture: Jane Barlow","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "15 per cent want immigration to rise. Picture: Jane Barlow","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785509.1534500991!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-councils-spend-more-than-600m-on-temporary-accommodation-for-homeless-1-4785514","id":"1.4785514","articleHeadline": "Scottish councils spend more than £600m on temporary accommodation for homeless","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534500423000 ,"articleLead": "

Local councils in Scotland have paid out more than £600 million on housing homeless people in temporary accommodation – including B&Bs, hotels and hostels – in just five years.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785513.1534492109!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/"} ,"articleBody": "

The figures were uncovered through Freedom of Information requests by investigations platform The Ferret and reveals public spend totalling around £660m between 2012 and 2017.

Almost a third of this total – over £210m – was spent by councils on private accommodation providers, including B&Bs and hotels run by private companies and flats owned by private landlords. Councils will recoup 
some costs through housing benefit.

Shelter Scotland said that the figures illustrated a “broken system” that was failing people, and called for investment in social housing.

Last year the number of homeless applications in Scotland rose by 1 per cent to 34,972. It is expected to rise steadily in coming years.

Crisis, which is campaigning for a strict time limit on temporary accommodation, claimed the statistics highlighted the need for better legislation to prevent homelessness. Opposition politicians called the “scandalous figures” evidence of the need for housing to take greater national priority.

Edinburgh City Council paid out the most, with figures recording a total of almost £192m. Payments to private providers totalled just over £145m.

This included substantial payments to private companies and landlords.

One company received at least £16.8m over the five years. Council chiefs said the local authority was facing “enormous challenges” due to escalating housing costs.

Glasgow recorded the second biggest figure with a total of £126m.

It spent over £10m on hotel and B&B provision in the period. North Lanarkshire, Fife and Aberdeen City were also amongst the top five in terms of spend.

Jon Sparkes, chair of the Scottish Government’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping action group, and chief executive of homeless charity Crisis, said: “We need to make sure that public money is 
being used as effectively as possible.

“Clearly funding landlords to provide poor quality accommodation in the private sector is not good for the people housed there or for the public purse.”

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, added: “Successive governments in London and Edinburgh have failed to fix our broken housing system.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Karin Goodwin and PETER GEOGHEGAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785513.1534492109!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785513.1534492109!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785513.1534492109!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5790399368001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/your-say/letters-scots-in-kilts-shouldn-t-fret-over-muslim-women-in-burkas-1-4785688","id":"1.4785688","articleHeadline": "Letters: Scots in kilts shouldn’t fret over Muslim women in burkas","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534497135000 ,"articleLead": "

As Brexit unfolds, “dragging” Scotland with it, this country will need all its international friends, so why get upset about Islamic dress, asks a Scotsman reader.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785687.1534497131!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "In a country where the national dress is a man in a tartan skirt, why are Scots upset by burkas, asks a Scotsman reader. Picture: Kiltwalk"} ,"articleBody": "

James MacIntyre hopes that ‘“immigrants” would be as “tolerant as we expect to be when we are in a foreign ­country” and that the adage “when in Rome do as the Romans do” will apply ­(Letters, 14 August).

This may reflect his personal behaviour but when it comes to respecting Muslim dress, it seems overly optimistic to expect this to apply as a ­matter of course. On 22 October, 2006, The Scotsman reported on an article entitled Show Some Respect that had appeared in an English ­language newspaper in Dubai.

READ MORE: Ruth Davidson backs calls for Boris Johnson burka apology

7 Days had expressed the ­dismay caused to Emirati Muslims by the inappropriate and (to their eyes) immodest clothing worn by tourists in public places during the holy month of Ramadan. The resulting discussion centred on the disrespectful behaviour of tourists whose habitual “indecent” dress made the minority indigenous Emirati population fear that they were “losing their basic identity ­forever”.

Emiratis believed that the robes of their national dress, black for women and white for men, made tourists see them as “aliens” in their own country. Far from cutting ­themselves off, young Emirati women wearing their black abayas set up booths where tourists could meet and speak with them.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson: Muslim women wearing burkas ‘look like letter boxes’

These modern, educated women knew that it wasn’t what they wore that ­mattered but what they said and thought.

Many of these women have studied in Scotland, visiting Dundee, Edinburgh, ­Glasgow, Aberdeen and elsewhere. They have created trans-national memories and friendships to take back to the Gulf, where they will assume leadership roles.

As the calamity of Brexit unfolds, dragging Scotland with it, this country will need all its international friends. It should be a matter of both courtesy and common sense to reinforce our bonds of cross-cultural friendship with the Gulf, rather than obsess about why high-achieving young women choose to wear modest national dress as a marker of identity.

In a country where the (glorious) national dress for a man is technically a skirt, isn’t that fair enough?

Geraldine Price, North Berwick

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785687.1534497131!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785687.1534497131!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "In a country where the national dress is a man in a tartan skirt, why are Scots upset by burkas, asks a Scotsman reader. Picture: Kiltwalk","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "In a country where the national dress is a man in a tartan skirt, why are Scots upset by burkas, asks a Scotsman reader. Picture: Kiltwalk","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785687.1534497131!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/business/trade-mark-clock-counts-down-to-brexit-1-4785657","id":"1.4785657","articleHeadline": "Trade mark clock counts down to Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534497025393 ,"articleLead": "Brands matter in the highly competitive food and drink market. Mike Vettese and Alain Godement look at how to make sure they are protected.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785655.1534495922!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Do you know how to protect your brand post-Brexit?"} ,"articleBody": "

Brexit is coming and many of our household food and drink brands could soon be feeling the impacts in one particular area – trade marks. Of particular concern to trade mark holders in the food and drink sector is the latest version (March 2018) of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement (DWA) for leaving the European Union (EU) which outlines the relationship between the UK and EU during the transition period and beyond in relation to trade marks.

In most jurisdictions, including the EU and UK, the law requires the owner of a trade mark to put it to use within five years of its registration, the most obvious of uses being affixing the mark on products (there are other types of “uses”).

If the mark is not used within the five-year deadline, the mark is open to being revoked by third parties for non-use. This is a fair and logical legal provision, as a trader cannot “lock down” a mark if he has no intention of using it.

In its current format, the DWA states that the owner of a European Union Trade Mark (EUTM) registered before the end of the transition period shall become the owner of a “clone” UK Trade Mark (UKTM), ensuring continued protection in the UK after Brexit.

It also states that that these “clone” UKTMs cannot be revoked for non-use during the transition period.

However, after the transition period ends, they are stripped from the immunity from revocation, and as soon as the deadline to put them to use has run out, they become vulnerable to attack from third parties.

Therefore, a “clone” UKTM could be revoked for non-use as early as the day after the end of the transition period, that is on 1 January, 2021.

This is a serious issue that cannot be left until the last moment to resolve, and for companies that do not have a presence in the UK, speed in addressing this issue is still more of the essence.

In addition, the DWA states that during the transition period, the fate of the “clone” UKTM is linked to that of the “parent” EUTM.

If the EUTM is revoked (for whatever reason), so too is the clone. The immunity is therefore somewhat virtual if you consider that one only needs to successfully attack the EUTM to revoke both the EUTM and the UKTM.”

Protected geographical indications (PGIs) – for Scottish salmon, Arbroath smokies etc – are another related area of uncertainty for food and drink brands: the DWA provides for a similar process to trade marks, but these provisions have not even been agreed to at the negotiator level.

Moreover, the UK does not currently have its own domestic legislation regarding the protection of these rights.

However, as we keep being reminded, “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, so the DWA should not be considered as legally binding in any way towards the UK and EU until both have ratified the agreement in its totality.

Therefore, there is still a degree of “wait and see” involved in defining what will be finally agreed as regards trade marks, PGIs and other crucial areas.

To quantify the importance of trade marks for the sector, one measure of this is the number of trade mark applications filed.

Since 2013, there has been a steady rise in the number of UKTM and EUTM applications for goods related to food and drink (in the related trade mark classes 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33).

Interestingly, of those, a sizeable number originate from applicants that are neither from the EU nor the UK, proving that these markets are still very much attractive for foreign direct investment in this sector.

A number of factors could be said to have influenced this growth, one of those surely being the emergence of new trends in consumer behaviour in relation to food and drink.

With consumers now leaning towards organic, allergen-free, vegan and responsibly sourced products, the industry as a whole has had to adapt by launching new products that meet these expectations. With new products come new trade marks. The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market is a highly competitive one where speed and accuracy are the key to success.

In terms of branding, the ability for companies to distinguish their products effectively from competing products is vital to consumer retention.

With the array of choice inundating the market, products with distinctive personalities are far more likely to become blockbusters.

The road to success is also conditional on a proactive branding strategy, which implies working hand in hand with trade mark attorneys during conception so as to avoid serious legal issues down the line.

One only has to look at the vast sums and the lengths to which industry leaders go to, to protect their brands, in order to understand their value and importance (for example, Nestlé litigated against Cadbury up to the Court of Justice of the European Union to protect the shape of the KitKat bar).

What is more, proactive branding can be a force multiplier for smaller businesses who do not have the same resources as sector giants, if they effectively leverage the goodwill associated with their brand.

With Brexit fast approaching (the transition period starts on 29 March), auditing the company’s intellectual property (IP) portfolio should be the first step in understanding its current positioning in this regard.

There are certain questions businesses need to ask themselves now:

- What are your current and prospective key geographical markets?

- Which are your key brands for which you cannot afford to lose protection?

- Where are these brands being used (within the legal definition of “use” of trade marks)?

Thankfully, there are a number of pre-emptive steps businesses can take in relation to their trade marks today, depending on their own individual circumstances:

- If the UK is a key market and you only hold an EUTM, filing an independent UKTM on top of the “clone” UKTM is of paramount importance as the latter can be indirectly revoked or invalidated, even during the transition period. Further, putting the marks to genuine use within the UK as soon as possible will be of equal importance, as use in the EU will only sustain the “clone” UKTM until the end of the transition period.

- If the UK and EU are both key markets, the same advice as above applies for the same reasons.

- If the EU is your key market, there isn’t much change other than future ownership of an identical “clone” UKTM. However, you should consider whether or not you may wish to expand to the UK in the future, in which case the same advice as above applies. Bear in mind that renewal fees in the UK are low and that this free trade mark should not be allowed to lapse.

- If you hold an international trade mark registration designating the EU, it should also initiate a subsequent designation of the UK.

- If the business holds both identical UK and EU trade marks and is considering expanding internationally, it should base its international application on the UKTM as a smaller territory of origin means a smaller risk of litigation against the base mark.

- For owners of PGIs, given that there may be an equivalent procedure to trade marks agreed, it may be possible to simply rely on the EU right being copied over to the UK. However, given the fact that this has not yet been agreed at negotiator level, precaution warrants registering it in the UK as and when such as scheme becomes available there.

Finally, it is recommended that all businesses with trade marks important to their commercial strategy take the opportunity, before the start of the transition period on 29 March, to speak with a trade mark attorney to discuss the best and most cost-effective strategy for safeguarding their brand assets.

Mike Vettese and Alain Godement are trade mark specialists at Murgitroyd, international patent and trade mark attorneys.

Protecting your brand

- Intellectual property (IP) – creative work which can be treated as either an asset or physical property. Intellectual property rights fall principally into four main areas: copyright, trade marks, design rights and patents.

- Intellectual Property Office (IPO) – the official government body responsible for intellectual property rights in the UK.

- Trade mark – a sign (eg a word or logo) capable of distinguishing the goods and services of one trader from another.

- Patent – a patent is granted by the government to the inventor, giving them the right to stop others, for a set period of time, from making, using or selling the invention without their permission.

- Copyright – the legal right that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution.

- Design rights – prevents someone else from copying your design and automatically protects it for ten years after it was first sold or 15 years after it was created, whichever is earliest.

- EU Trade Mark (EUTM) – a trade mark which is pending registration or has been registered in the European Union as a whole.

- Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) – a protection mark for products which are produced, processed or prepared in the geographical area you want to associate with it. The EU will only grant a product the PGI mark if they deem it to have a reputation, characteristics or qualities that are a result of the area you want to associate it with. Examples include Scottish Smoked Salmon, Scottish Farmed Salmon and Arbroath Smokies.

Don’t be innocent about your brands

Branding – just pick a name and start selling, right? Wrong. To illustrate the woes that can ensue from an ill-thought out branding strategy, we take a look at the example of an unfortunate vitamin manufacturer.

“Innocent Vitamins” came to the attention of well-known smoothie brand “Innocent Drinks” in 2011 when it started trading under the “Innocent” name in a font highly reminiscent of the smoothie company’s distinctive trade mark.

The intent to profit from the goodwill associated with the smoothie brand and from the confusion between the two marks was evident.

The reaction from Innocent Drinks was immediate and the owner of the competing product was politely asked to stop trading under that name, despite the fact that the vitamin pills had already been manufactured and sold in a number of high street supermarkets around the UK, resulting in the vitamin company having to abandon the name altogether, clearly incurring huge expense.

Contrast Innocent Drinks’ well thought-out branding and promotional strategy which included registering trade marks for its products and thereafter successfully marketing those trademarked products – resulting in the company founded in 1998 by a trio of Cambridge graduates now being valued at in the region of £320 million.

The risk in not getting professional advice on trade marks from inception of a product isn’t only litigation, but also the very real possibility of having to remove infringing products from the shelves.

Contacting a trade mark attorney early on in a product’s development can save time, expense and worry, and help to underpin branding strategies by providing legal certainty.

For more information, visit www.murgitroyd.com

This article is taken from The Scotsman's Annual Food & Drink Supplement which can be read in full here.

" ,"byline": {"email": "voicelocal@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Mike Vettese and Alain Godement"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785655.1534495922!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785655.1534495922!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Do you know how to protect your brand post-Brexit?","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Do you know how to protect your brand post-Brexit?","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785655.1534495922!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785656.1534495923!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785656.1534495923!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Applications are on the rise.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Applications are on the rise.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785656.1534495923!/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/john-swinney-under-fire-for-hypocrisy-over-private-school-tax-advice-1-4785581","id":"1.4785581","articleHeadline": "John Swinney under fire for ‘hypocrisy’ over private school tax advice","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534492878000 ,"articleLead": "

Education Secretary John Swinney has been accused of an “error of judgment” for making representations on behalf of Kilgraston School to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785579.1534492874!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Education Secretary John Swinney. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The accusation was made by Labour after it emerged that he contacted Mr Mackay over his private school tax plans.

READ MORE: Derek Mackay accused of passing the buck on private school tax changes

Mr Mackay wrote back to Mr Swinney suggesting schools could get round business rates hikes by seeking relief from councils. Labour education spokesman Iain Gray said: “The hypocrisy of this will anger parents and teachers across the country, this looks like another error of judgment from John Swinney.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Mr Swinney was fulfilling his obligation to raise an issue on behalf of his constituents, which is his duty to do so.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785579.1534492874!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785579.1534492874!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Education Secretary John Swinney. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Education Secretary John Swinney. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785579.1534492874!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5681801427001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-urged-to-act-on-exports-1-4785606","id":"1.4785606","articleHeadline": "Nicola Sturgeon urged to act on exports","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534492335000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to make sure Scotland has fast and efficient trading arrangements to get food exports to market as quickly as possible after Brexit.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785605.1534492332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: /AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, made the plea at a roundtable summit on EU withdrawal hosted by the First Minister in Edinburgh.

Ms Hesketh-Laird took part in discussions with Ms Sturgeon, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing and other representatives of food and drink industry, fisheries, port authorities, scientists, processors and environmentalists.

Scottish salmon is the UK’s biggest food exporter with export sales worth £600 million last year.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon to address fishing industry summit on Brexit

“We must ensure the home business environment in Scotland is really supportive,” Ms Hesketh-Laird said.

“It is critical we have really efficient and fast trading arrangements. Infrastructure at home is really important so that we can get stuff from Scotland direct to our markets.”

Ms Hesketh-Laird said markets like China were vital to the industry and emphasised the need to get farmed salmon, which is perishable, on to freight aircraft quickly while on ice.

She added that the Scottish salmon sector was also crucial for hauliers and processors and other related activities.

Mr Ewing said the UK Government’s “lack of clarity” on how the food industry would be affected by Brexit was “putting the livelihoods of workers and communities at risk”.

Mr Ewing said: “With seafood exports to the EU worth £725m last year, the industry needs an assurance that it can continue to easily access EU markets.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785605.1534492332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785605.1534492332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: /AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: /AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785605.1534492332!/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/eu-resisted-rejecting-theresa-may-s-brexit-plans-over-fears-for-uk-government-stability-1-4785526","id":"1.4785526","articleHeadline": "EU resisted rejecting Theresa May’s Brexit plans over fears for UK Government stability","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534482005000 ,"articleLead": "

The European Union was ready to torpedo Theresa May’s Brexit strategy before it was even agreed by her cabinet, but held back over fears it could topple the government, it has been claimed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785525.1534491811!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Chequers summit lead to two resignations. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

A detailed briefing ruling out large parts of the Prime Minister’s final offer on a new 
relationship with the EU was prepared the day before the crucial cabinet meeting at Chequers, but was held back after a handful of European governments backed a UK request for it to be kept private, amid fears about the impact a swift rejection would have in London.

Leaked papers are also said to reveal the EU’s concerns that UK spies have “bugged” their negotiators to get an advantage in talks.

UK and EU officials reconvened in Brussels after the summer holidays, with Brussels officials playing down the likelihood of a breakthrough when leaders meet at a summit next month in the Austrian city of Salzburg.

Brexit was added to the agenda for the meeting after Mrs May met the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz last month, giving Downing Street an extra opportunity to lobby all 27 EU governments face to face.

Westminster will return from its summer break in a fortnight amid mounting concern that the UK could tumble out of the EU without a Brexit deal.

Latvia’s foreign minister warned on Wednesday that he likelihood of a no-deal outcome was “50-50”.

The EU refused to deny reports that its Brexit negotiators believe they have been bugged by British spies.

Officials raised security concerns after the UK obtained sensitive documents “within hours” of them being 
discussed at the briefing on 5 July – the day before Mrs May’s cabinet gathered at Chequers.

Sabine Weyand, the EU’s deputy chief Brexit negotiator, reportedly told officials at a European Council 
working party on exit talks that “it could not be excluded” that British intelligence had penetrated their meetings.

British negotiators were said to have obtained the contents of a slide presentation that set out the European Commission’s negative economic assessments of UK plans to remain in a single market for goods.

Hours after the presentation, the UK lobbied at the “highest level” to block plans to publish the slides, according to the Daily Telegraph.

A European Commission spokesman told journalists in Brussels at a regular 
briefing: “The commission’s position today is that we cannot comment on this press report.”

Reports suggest that the Belgian, Dutch and Italian 
governments made representations to the EU following 
the 5 July briefing, backing 
UK calls for slides prepared at the meeting not to be made public.

The briefing is understood to have outlined that giving the UK the opportunity to diverge from EU rules on services, as proposed under Mrs May’s Chequers plan, would give London a significant competitive trade advantage.

Before the Prime Minister’s plan was presented to her government, Brussels officials concluded that “erosion in the single market” over a 15-year period would have similar negative impact on the EU economy as a no-deal is expected to have on the UK – 8 to 9 per cent of GDP.

The slides point out that while they are considered manufactured goods, 20 to 40 per cent of the value of a car is made up of services, and nearly 70 per cent of the value of chemicals relates to production and processing methods, areas where the UK could set its own standards and undercut EU rules.

The revelations will raise fears that the EU could be more willing than previously thought to accept a no-deal Brexit if it doesn’t secure the terms it wants in talks.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier are not involved in the latest round of discussions, which are focused on the Irish border and future relations, and are due to finish on Friday.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785525.1534491811!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785525.1534491811!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Chequers summit lead to two resignations. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Chequers summit lead to two resignations. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785525.1534491811!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5773872462001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/85-per-cent-of-police-reports-on-upskirting-fail-to-make-it-to-court-1-4785518","id":"1.4785518","articleHeadline": "85 per cent of police reports on upskirting fail to make it to court","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534482005000 ,"articleLead": "

Barely one in seven police reports of so called upskirting in Scotland lead to court action, official figures have revealed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785517.1534452375!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Covertly taking revealing pictures of victims was made an offence in Scotland in 2010"} ,"articleBody": "

It has raised fresh concerns over a “legal or procedural obstacle” to prosecutors in Scotland proceeding with such cases after specific laws were introduced to crack down on the problem in 2011.

The Scotsman revealed last week that concerns over loopholes in the law north of the Border had prompted concerns over the legislation aimed at cracking down on compromising pictures being taken of women, often on mobile phones.

At the time it was revealed that in the first six years of the law being in operation, just 21 prosecutions had taken place - an average of about three a year. It has now emerged that there were a total of 142 charges reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal’s Office in Scotland over the same period, meaning just 15 per cent of reports make court.

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur has now stepped up calls for answers from the prosecution service in Scotland.

Mr McArthur said: “There have been more than 140 charges reported to COPFS but only 21 people prosecuted. While this may be a result of individuals facing multiple charges, it also leaves open the possibility that some procedural or legal obstacle is preventing these cases from being taken forward. Experts have warned of loopholes in the law.

“I hope the Crown Office will be able to throw some light on this to help encourage victims of upskirting to come forward in the future.

“I have also written to the Lord Advocate and I would welcome his view on whether or not the law in this area, and guidance to prosecutors, remains fit for purpose.”

Upskirting was banned as a specific offence in Scotland in 2010.

The offences reported by police were mainly voyeurism offences under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009

A Crown Office spokesman said: “We can confirm that the Crown Office have received correspondence from Liam McArthur MSP and a response will be issued in due course.”

One teaching union has warned the laws introduced in Scotland at start of the decade are not working and want mobile phones banned in schools because of the growing problem of pupils using them to take inappropriate photographs.

An upskirting bill is currently being passed south of the Border. But campaigners involved with legislation have raised concerns over “limitations” in the law north of the Border, which they are seeking to address in the Westminster bill.

They claim images that are shared on social media for “group bonding” purposes or sold for financial gain, to a magazine or newspaper, can escape prosecution.

Clare McGlynn, a professor of law at Durham University has been working with MPs on the proposed changes and said the Scottish legislation “doesn’t cover every single instance of upskirting”.

The Scottish Government has said in addition to the specific “upskirting” ban north of the Border, a new offence was established last year of sharing “intimate images” without consent under the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm Act which was backed by a high profile media campaign to raise awareness.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785517.1534452375!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785517.1534452375!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Covertly taking revealing pictures of victims was made an offence in Scotland in 2010","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Covertly taking revealing pictures of victims was made an offence in Scotland in 2010","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785517.1534452375!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/education/john-swinney-no-morale-crisis-among-scots-teachers-1-4785006","id":"1.4785006","articleHeadline": "John Swinney: No ‘morale crisis’ among Scots teachers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534435559000 ,"articleLead": "

John Swinney has insisted Scotland there is no \"crisis in morale\" among Scottish teachers as he faced a grilling over punishing workloads and low pay.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785413.1534492007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Swinney was appearing on BBC Radio Scotland"} ,"articleBody": "

The education secretary was today told by one retiring head teacher that the profession is \"haemorrhaging\" staff with questions raised over his ability to deal with the situation.
Mr Swinney also played down the prospect of a strike over pay as he appeared on the BBC Radio Scotland phone-in with Stephen Jardine today.

But he admitted there were \"challenges\" in the profession as he was grilled by one retiring Primary teacher, identified as Susan, who has worked in the profession for the past 39 years.

She said: \"The number of teachers who are leaving - haemorrhaging out of the profession - I would like to know how many probationer teachers carry on and how many years they go into the profession.
\"You have a real crisis in recruitment and retention and I don't hear anything there that you've said this morning that would convince me that you have got a handle on this.\"

She added: \"The working time agreement for teachers is almost a joke - there's no way teachers can do the work in the contracted hours in enough time. The morale is so low.\"

The Education Secretary accepted that teaching is a \"very, very busy and demanding life\" and admits he often gets \"tough feedback\" in discussions with teachers.
He said: \"My door is very much ope on this question to try to reduce the amount of bureaucratic burden that teachers feel they are facing.\"

But Mr Swinney added; \"I don't think we have a crisis in morale. I think what we have got is a very challenging period in education where we have some staff shortages. The last vacancy survery said we were about 800 teachers short - about 1.5% of the teaching contingent in Scotland.\"

He said measures had been undertaken to attract new teachers including bursaries to attract professional people to switch careers and teach in the key science, technology and maths subjects.

Teaching unions are currently demanding a 10% pay hike after years of freezes, but only 3% is currently on the table prompting fears of strike action.

\"I'm working very hard to ensure there's an agreement and a resolution to teachers' pay claim,\" Mr Swinney went on.

\"Discussions have continued over the Summer and will continue over the Autumn period.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "scott.macnab@scotsman.com" ,"author": "Scott Macnab"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785413.1534492007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785413.1534492007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Swinney was appearing on BBC Radio Scotland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Swinney was appearing on BBC Radio Scotland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785413.1534492007!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5681801427001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/new-power-could-tackle-blight-of-abandoned-buildings-in-scotland-1-4785394","id":"1.4785394","articleHeadline": "New power could tackle blight of abandoned buildings in Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534434450000 ,"articleLead": "

The blight of abandoned buildings and parcels of derelict land in town centres and communities across Scotland could be tackled by a new power, a report by the Scottish Land Commission has said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785393.1534434447!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The former Big Bar in Bainsford, Falkirk, is one of a number of buildings to have lain empty for several years. Picture: Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

A proposed Compulsory Sales Order (CSO) would provide planning authorities with a straightforward mechanism to bring buildings that have been unoccupied or derelict for an undue period of time back into productive use.

Scottish Government data suggests there is around 11,600 hectares of vacant or derelict land in Scotland – an area twice the size of the City of Dundee.

This commission said this was an “entrenched problem” as the headline figures have not changed substantially since the late 1990s.

In addition, Shelter Scotland claim there are more than 37,000 long-term empty homes in the country.

READ MORE: Councils ‘must do more’ to reduce number of empty homes in Scotland

“Such sites often act as magnets for crime and anti-social behaviour,” said the commission’s Professor David Adams.

“This damages quality of life for existing residents and can act as a deterrent for inward investment, making it more difficult to bring about long-term regeneration and renewal.”

local authorities already have a number of policy instruments – including compulsory purchase orders – that can be used to help regeneration.

But the commission found these policies requirde a clear plan in place as to how the land or building in question would be used.

In many cases, public authorities and communities do not have a specific end use in mind for problematic sites but simply wish to see them used for some productive purpose.

Prof Adams added: “CSOs could be part of a tool kit to bring unused land – especially small parcels of land that have lain unused and unloved, in our city and town centres – back in to productive use.

“We envisage it being used as a power of last resort - councils and land owners should be working together to try and find solutions first.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785393.1534434447!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785393.1534434447!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The former Big Bar in Bainsford, Falkirk, is one of a number of buildings to have lain empty for several years. Picture: Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The former Big Bar in Bainsford, Falkirk, is one of a number of buildings to have lain empty for several years. Picture: Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785393.1534434447!/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/derek-mackay-accused-of-passing-the-buck-on-private-school-tax-changes-1-4784738","id":"1.4784738","articleHeadline": "Derek Mackay accused of passing the buck on private school tax changes","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534431497000 ,"articleLead": "

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has advised one of Scotland’s top boarding schools how it could get round Scottish Government proposals for a £5 million tax raid on private education.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4784737.1534404189!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Derek Mackay. Picture: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

Mr Mackay has said private schools can apply to local authorities for rates relief after he was contacted by Education Secretary John Swinney on behalf of Kilgraston School in Perthshire.

The SNP’s political opponents last night accused Mr Mackay of “passing the buck” to hard-pressed councils to mitigate his plans to end business rates charity relief for private schools.

They also claimed that Mr Swinney’s intervention showed that the SNP was divided on the issue.

Mr Mackay made the suggestion after Mr Swinney, the MSP for Perthshire North, wrote to him when he was contacted by a constituent, Thomas Steuart Fotheringham, a governor of the all-girls boarding school in Bridge of Earn. Private schools have expressed concern that hiking their tax bills will drive up fees, making independent education too expensive for many parents.

READ MORE: Explainer: The SNP’s bid to generate £5m that sparked political row

Critics of the tax rise claim it will put more strain on the state school system if parents are forced to take their children out of the private institutions.

The Scottish Government has signalled that it intends to press ahead with the recommendation of the Barclay Review of business rates to end charity relief for private schools.

Charity business rates relief is almost entirely funded by the Scottish Government and private schools have been able to reduce their business rates bills by 80 per cent.

In his reply to Mr Swinney, the Finance Secretary suggested that once charity relief has ended private schools could make use of council powers to give rates relief locally. Mr Mackay also said he appreciated Mr Swinney would want to “keep a close eye” on the subject “given your dual role as a constituency MSP as well as Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills”.

In the letter, which has been obtained by The Scotsman, Mr Mackay said private schools could apply for relief from councils under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. Mr Mackay’s letter said: “There would be merit in informing Mr Steuart Fotheringham that when developing business rates reliefs I am fully aware that national incentives are not always nuanced enough to fully flex to the needs of every sector and location. That is precisely why in 2014 I created a new power to allow councils the ability to offer bespoke local business rate relief schemes.

“Under section 140 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 each local council has wide-ranging powers to create rates reliefs to reflect local needs. This may apply to a sole business, sector or area and, for example, could be utilised to support independent schools where the council believes the local economic benefit is sufficient to merit such an intervention. The relief may be an adaptation of an existing national relief scheme or a unique standalone scheme.

“Mr Steuart Fotheringham may wish to approach the council to request that they explore all avenues open to them to support his arguments and I emphasise that it is incumbent on the council to give any such request proper and full consideration.”

The Scotsman understands that the issue is being looked into by the Scottish Council of Independent Schools.

Last night shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser attacked Mr Mackay.

Mr Fraser said: “Derek MacKay’s tax grab on independent schools is another example of this government’s short-sighted thinking. Rate relief currently allows independent schools to run bursary schemes that help to widen access to the sector.

“The SNP’s plans threaten to destroy that. This letter reveals that Mr Mackay is once again preparing to pass the buck to councils. Having already slashed funding to local authorities, he now appears to be demanding that they pick up the tab and mitigate his own tax-grabbing plans. It is outrageous.”

“The fact that John Swinney has raised concerns about this shows the divisions within the SNP about this proposal. The question now is whether he is now going to simply lie down and accept Mr MacKay’s tax grab, or stand up and fight against it.”

Mr Mackay’s approach was also criticised by Dorothy MacGinty, the Kilgraston head teacher. Mrs MacGinty said: “Mr Mackay has pointed out to John Swinney that actually there is still a route for independent schools still to get the 80 per cent rates rebate through the council.

“It is almost as if they are passing the buck. They are going to make this headline statement which garners great favour among the general population who don’t send their children to independent schools. But at the same time they are saying actually we’ll just pass it on to the local council and let them deal with it when they are already putting them under pressure.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are certainly not passing the buck to local authorities and have in fact given them greater powers over rate reliefs to allow flexibility to local needs. We accepted the independent Barclay review recommendation that reduced or zero rate bills relief for independent schools across Scotland was unfair on state schools and should be removed.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4784737.1534404189!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4784737.1534404189!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Derek Mackay. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Derek Mackay. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4784737.1534404189!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5681801427001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/education/snp-s-bid-to-generate-5m-that-sparked-major-political-row-1-4785167","id":"1.4785167","articleHeadline": "SNP’s bid to generate £5m that sparked major political row","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534422569000 ,"articleLead": "

SNP finance minister Derek Mackay announced in his Budget in December that Scotland’s independent schools would no longer receive business rates relief.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785166.1534422564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fettes in Edinburgh is among the private schools in Scotland that benefit from business rates relief because of their charitable status. Picture: Ian Rutherford."} ,"articleBody": "

Private schools benefit from the relief as a result of their charitable status, for which they have to show the public benefits from their work and that access to their services is not unduly restrictive.

Last year a government review - the Barclay Report on Business Rates - said private school rates relief was unfair on state schools and that scrapping it would generate £5 million annually.

READ MORE: Derek Mackay accused of passing the buck on private school tax changes

But experts have warned the move risks making the private sector more elitist because schools will have to cover the cost of their higher tax bills by increasing fees, reducing bursaries for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and selling off assets such as playing fields.

Rod Grant, headteacher at Clifton Hall School outside Edinburgh, said it will cost the taxpayer £10.8m a year to educate in the state sector the additional children whose parents cannot afford fee increases in the private sector.

He said around 1,800 pupils would return to the state sector “almost overnight”, with state education costing the Scottish Government £6,000 per child.

In an article on his school’s Facebook page, Mr Grant said scrapping the rates relief was a purely political decision, driven by a “narrow-minded” desire to “kick” private schools.

Cameron Wyllie, principal of George Heriot’s in Edinburgh, said that in addition to fewer bursaries and children from less well-off backgrounds having to go through a taxpayer-funded education, some smaller schools could be forced to close.

The change is due to come into effect in 2020.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Paul Wilson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785166.1534422564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785166.1534422564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Fettes in Edinburgh is among the private schools in Scotland that benefit from business rates relief because of their charitable status. Picture: Ian Rutherford.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fettes in Edinburgh is among the private schools in Scotland that benefit from business rates relief because of their charitable status. Picture: Ian Rutherford.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785166.1534422564!/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/scottish-government-employee-pictured-bound-and-gagged-loses-tribunal-1-4785141","id":"1.4785141","articleHeadline": "Scottish Government employee pictured bound and gagged loses tribunal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534419606000 ,"articleLead": "

A Scottish Government agency employee who was pictured bound and gagged at work has lost her case at an employment tribunal.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785139.1534419600!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A woman who complained of a racist and misogynistic culture in a Scottish government department claims she was taped to a chair and gagged by two male colleagues."} ,"articleBody": "

DeeAnn Fitzpatrick claimed she experienced bullying and harassment after she became a “whistleblower” while employed as a fisheries officer at Marine Scotland.

At an employment tribunal in Aberdeen in June the 49-year-old Canadian national said she felt intimidated after being sent anonymous cards, claiming she was targeted with sexual harassment and for being a woman, as well as over her age.

The abuse was said to have taken place between 2015 and 2017 while she was based in the government body’s Scrabster office in the Highlands and continued after she was signed off.

In a previous hearing, Ms Fitzpatrick alleged she was taped to a chair and gagged by colleagues in 2010.

However it is understood the tribunal was unable to consider that allegation as it was said to have taken place more than three years before the complaint was brought.

The employment tribunal ruled against Ms Fitzpatrick in its decision on the case.

Derek Mackay accused of passing the buck on private school tax changes

Giant new Calmac ferry delayed again

In its judgment the tribunal said it could not agree whether the cards could be said to have been likely to come from current colleagues.

In a statement the Fitzpatrick family said: “The Fitzpatrick family are hugely disappointed with the result of the Tribunal.”

However they said the decision was “not unexpected” as the alleged restraint incident could not be taken into account.

Earlier in the year First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had directed the government’s permanent secretary Leslie Evans to carry out a review of Ms Fitzpatrick’s case.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785139.1534419600!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785139.1534419600!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A woman who complained of a racist and misogynistic culture in a Scottish government department claims she was taped to a chair and gagged by two male colleagues.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A woman who complained of a racist and misogynistic culture in a Scottish government department claims she was taped to a chair and gagged by two male colleagues.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785139.1534419600!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785140.1534419602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785140.1534419602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "DeeAnn Fitzpatrick, Scottish Government agency worker. Picture: Family Handout/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "DeeAnn Fitzpatrick, Scottish Government agency worker. Picture: Family Handout/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785140.1534419602!/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-independence-activists-demand-nicola-sturgeon-use-the-mandate-1-4785105","id":"1.4785105","articleHeadline": "Scottish independence activists demand Nicola Sturgeon ‘use the mandate’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534419491000 ,"articleLead": "

Pro-independence activists are demanding that Nicola Sturgeon “use the mandate” at the SNP autumn conference by calling a second referendum.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785103.1534418295!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thousands of pro-independence marchers head through Glasgow in May 2018. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

A fringe group, Scotland Land of the Brave Saor Alba, has shared an invite with its followers to attend the party’s showpiece event in October at the Glasgow SEC with the hashtag #UsetheMandate.

The First Minister said in 2017 that if the SNP won a majority of Scottish seats at Westminster it would convert her already “cast-iron” mandate for a referendum into a “triple lock” one.

But a disappointing performance at that year’s general election - which saw the SNP lose 21 of the seats the party previously won in 2015 - saw Ms Sturgeon “reset” her plans.

Sir John Curtice, the country’s leading pollster, last week predicted a second referendum on Scottish independence was “unlikely” to take place in the next five years.

With the Scottish Government forced to deal with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, another vote on the constitution would be “kicked in the long grass”, he said.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon ‘will kick IndyRef2 into the long grass’

Independence activists regularly take to the streets to make their demands for a second referendum known. A march in Glasgow in May was hailed by organisers as the biggest of its kind to date, with more than 40,000 estimated to have taken part.

Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden said: “The SNP’s famous discipline is beginning to wilt, and it looks set to do so in spectacular style with a demo outside its own conference.

“Nicola Sturgeon has marched her independence diehards to the top of the hill and now they’re furious about being left in limbo.

“She should do what’s in Scotland’s best interests – march them back down and take another referendum off the table altogether.”

An SNP spokesman said: “As the First Minister has made clear, she will provide an update this autumn. Given the Tories’ shambolic mishandling of things, the terms of Brexit are currently far from clear – but it is positive to see people from across the country continue to campaign passionately for independence.”

READ MORE: The massive elephant in the room at the SNP’s conference

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4785103.1534418295!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4785103.1534418295!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Thousands of pro-independence marchers head through Glasgow in May 2018. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thousands of pro-independence marchers head through Glasgow in May 2018. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4785103.1534418295!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5802065688001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/michelle-mone-blasts-snp-moron-mp-after-criticism-of-daughter-s-reality-tv-stint-1-4784335","id":"1.4784335","articleHeadline": "Michelle Mone blasts ‘SNP moron’ MP after criticism of daughter’s reality TV stint","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534417070000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish Conservative peer Michelle Mone has hit back at an SNP MP who criticised one of her daughters for appearing on Channel 4’s Born Famous.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4784333.1534334456!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lady Michelle Mone stood up for her daughter's stint on Channel 4's Born Famous. Picture: PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Bethany Mone is to head to Bridgeton in Glasgow’s East End - where her mother grew up - to take part in the new four part reality show that sees the offspring of celebrities spend a week in deprived communities “to live the life they would have lived had their parents not found fame”.

MP for Glasgow Central Alison Thewliss described the programme as “poverty safari” in a response to a post on Twitter.

Ms Thewliss tweeted: “Utterly despicable exploitation of a kind, close-knit community. No area deserves “poverty safari” treatment, but particularly cruel of @MichelleMone to use East End roots to pick on Bridgeton, which has seen change led by local people, supported @clydegateway. @bridgeton_cc.”

READ MORE: Michelle Mone launches blistering attack on ‘SNP moron’ MP

Baroness Mone responded by blocking Ms Thewliss and branding her an “SNP moron”.

In a Twitter thread, the Tory peer said she felt the need to address the comments on social media on the show her daughter will appear in.

She wrote: “The rumours are frankly false gossip. My daughter Bethany has had an invaluable and overwhemingly positive experience filming recently.

“It’s so disappointing that people have made a snap judgement on what the series is about and I hope they will reserve further judgement for when they are able to view it.”

She continued: “I have so much respect for my background, home and the people of Glasgow especially the East End which you’ll be able to see very soon.

“Another SNP moron opening their mouth again without knowing the facts and trying to cause trouble.”

Darren Loki McGarvey, whose book Poverty Safari recently won the Orwell Prize, also waded into the online debate.

He tweeted: “If they want to ‘confront their feeling of privelege’, I’d be happy to have a chat with them. I know they might mean well, but class experiences can be so divergent that good intentions may appear extremely vulgar and patronising.”

READ MORE: Scotsman columnist Darren McGarvey wins Orwell Prize for political writing

Channel 4 commissioning editor Emily Jones said Born Famous was about addressing the opportunities that exist for working class children.

Speaking about the show, she said: “There is a myth that talent will out whatever the circumstances. Using extraordinary access to some of our most successful celebrities, Born Famous is a novel way to explore the degree to which we’re all in denial about how hard it is to be young today.”

Jack Ramsay, son of TV chef Gordon Ramsay, will also appear on Born Famous, as well as Phoenix Chi, daughter of Spice Girl and America’s Got Talent jduge Mel B.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4784333.1534334456!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4784333.1534334456!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lady Michelle Mone stood up for her daughter's stint on Channel 4's Born Famous. Picture: PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lady Michelle Mone stood up for her daughter's stint on Channel 4's Born Famous. Picture: PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4784333.1534334456!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4784334.1534334461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4784334.1534334461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "SNP MP Alison Thewliss described the reality show as "poverty safari". Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP MP Alison Thewliss described the reality show as "poverty safari". Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4784334.1534334461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5767604916001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/bill-jamieson-snp-s-nurse-ratched-wants-to-take-all-my-money-1-4784711","id":"1.4784711","articleHeadline": "Bill Jamieson: SNP’s Nurse Ratched wants to take all my money","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534404685000 ,"articleLead": "

I was a Corbynista once, until I woke from a sweat-drenched totalitarian nightmare, writes Bill Jamieson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4784771.1534404680!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bill Jamieson fears Nurse Ratched, from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, want to "set me free"."} ,"articleBody": "

To Alison Thewliss, SNP Treasury spokeswoman, a bouquet of ambrosia is due. In calling for an end to inheritance tax evasion and urging devolution of inheritance tax “so that the Scottish Government could deliver a system designed to meet Scotland’s needs”, she has awoken dreams long forgotten.

How I thoroughly agreed. For I was a Corbynista once – ahead of my time, back in the day when the US embassy was in stoning distance, Paris was burning and students really were revolting.

This is how my dream went. The wealthy were really getting away with too much. Wealth inequality was rising. The children of the wealthy were getting an unfair start. And inheritance tax? Hoarding money for private family gain truly lay at the heart of a rotten tax system that needed instead to pursue income redistribution and build a fairer society. All this came with a set of beliefs: public spending cut by Draconian Tory austerity.

Amassing inheritance windfalls was a particularly egregious example of unfairness. Are there not growing signs that more people are avoiding or evading tax when fortunes are passed on?

Recent figures show that HMRC raked in a record £5.1 billion from inheritance tax in the year up to May 2017. But this is a shadow of what it should be collecting. Figures show the gap between the amount expected and the amount received has grown to £600 million in 2016/17 – up 50 per cent from five years ago. Little wonder Ms Thewliss says “the current system of inheritance is not fit for purpose with loopholes allowing the wealthiest individuals to avoid paying their fair share. “With Westminster having repeatedly failed Scotland on this issue, it is high time inheritance was devolved so that the Scottish Government could deliver a system designed to meet Scotland’s needs,” she adds.

Loopholes include individuals buying shares in the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) which reduces the inheritance tax bill. Then there’s partnership and trust fund arrangements, tax sheltered Individual Savings Accounts and generous pension tax relief. These have enabled older people to accumulate large amounts, often well above their day-to-day needs while younger people can barely get on the housing ladder.

READ MORE: SNP calls for devolution of inheritance tax to Holyrood

So a sharp increase in inheritance tax, together with a lowering of the threshold for liability is long overdue. The present system only entrenches inequality and privilege.

And my dream did not stop there. A wealth tax needed to be introduced to promote equality and penalise wasteful consumption. The tax rate for higher earners is still well below those levied in socially progressive countries such as Sweden (highest rate 56.6 per cent) and Denmark (55.5 per cent). The greed culture of bonuses, sign-on payments, golden handshakes, and incentive awards should all attract higher tax levies.

Then there’s property taxes to curb the acquisition of needlessly large homes and, in particular, the growth of second homes in our Highlands and islands. A designated Second Homes Tax was required, together with higher council tax levy on properties other than main residence.

A tax on tourism was also overdue. Edinburgh has already reached peak tourism. Far too much money continues to be squandered on foreign holidays, luxury cruises – these appalling giant money-gobbling behemoths with slot machines in every open space and corridor. Hotels and B&Bs should also incur an additional levy based on the level of overnight rates. This would work to encourage eco-friendly, low-cost camping holidays. A fortnight spent cooking on a primus stove and foraging for food would do much to encourage healthy eating in line with Scottish Government guidelines and to combat obesity.

Extra levies should also be imposed on alcohol to combat anti-social behaviour and addiction. Ditto on chocolate products and sweets. Food distribution would be taken into public ownership and the likes of Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose replaced with community food banks.

READ MORE: Scots more supportive of tax rises

Now I did appreciate at the time that some might regard this programme as unpopular and oppressive. Would it not repress aspiration and life enjoyment? But that would be to overlook the huge increase in comfort and security we would enjoy through wealth redistribution and higher basic level of provision: the much under-appreciated social wage.

Health and social welfare programmes could be massively expanded. The ‘named persons’ scheme could be extended to all young people up to the age of 18, thus freeing parents of the burden of spending obligations and education provision – the government would provide. A massive extension of socially affordable homes could also be undertaken and existing social housing upgraded with municipal provision of all manner of facilities including exterior facelift, window lintels and personalised door colours to promote individuality.

Community gardens would be provided with council officers supervising fruit and vegetable cultivation. But that would not be the only area of guardianship oversight. Equality officers would monitor household spending and a needs inspectorate would be set up to ensure basic levels of provision of approved goods. Above all, the staff of HMRC would be extended, not only to ensure a clampdown on tax evasion and avoidance, but also to prevent individuals from over-saving for their pension and retirement needs. Thus we would all have uplift from a greatly enhanced and progressive social wage.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the rocky and hazardous path of growing up, I was shaken from this dream. I awoke instead into a sweat-drenched totalitarian nightmare. With control of inheritance tax, a fiery circle of hell had been made complete. I had no assets, no savings, no home, no life outside what the state ordained.

It suggested a psychiatric hospital with the soothing sound track of Charmaine playing as Nurse Ratched advanced towards me with the hypodermic syringe.

Or might it be Alison Thewliss MSP, quietly insisting that she could set me free, make me happy, banish my fears and return me to the blissful ambrosia of my dreams, where nothing is impossible and everything is free? But what in this world would be a return to dream, and what an extended nightmare with no escape?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4784771.1534404680!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4784771.1534404680!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bill Jamieson fears Nurse Ratched, from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, want to "set me free".","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bill Jamieson fears Nurse Ratched, from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, want to "set me free".","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4784771.1534404680!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5802065688001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/tom-peterkin-the-massive-elephant-in-the-room-at-the-snp-s-conference-1-4784704","id":"1.4784704","articleHeadline": "Tom Peterkin: The massive elephant in the room at the SNP’s conference","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534404278000 ,"articleLead": "

The lack of a debate on Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission at SNP conference is a startling omission, writes Tom Peterkin.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4784777.1534404275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon at the party's conference in June. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Councillor Christopher McEleny is fast emerging as one of the SNP’s more colourful characters. Twice he has stood to be SNP depute leader. Twice he has been defeated, firstly by Angus Robertson, and most recently by Keith Brown, the former Economy Secretary who is now Nicola Sturgeon’s right-hand man as far as the party is concerned.

Despite being on the receiving end of comprehensive defeats, the Inverclyde councillor refuses to slide back into the relative obscurity of local authority politics.

It was earlier this month that Mr McEleny found himself in the headlines when the judge in an employment tribunal ruled that his support for Scottish independence qualified as a “philosophical belief”.

The conclusion was reached by judge Frances Eccles in a case that saw Mr McEleny pursue his former employer, the Ministry of Defence, claiming he had been unfairly targeted over his views.

The background to the case was that around the time of his first unsuccessful attempt to become SNP depute leader in 2016, he was told that his security clearance had been revoked for his job as an electrician at the MoD munitions site in Beith, North Ayrshire.

He said he was interviewed by national security officials on issues including his pro-independence views. After being suspended from his job, he left it, claiming he was unfairly targeted for his stance on leaving the UK and his support for the “social democratic values” of the SNP.

READ MORE: SNP Growth Commission report: Five key points

In her judgment, Judge Eccles rather neatly summed up exactly how Mr McEleny felt about Scottish independence.

“The claimant was clear in his evidence that he does not believe in Scottish independence because it will necessarily lead to improved economic and social conditions for people living in Scotland”, she said. “It is a fundamental belief in the right of Scotland to national sovereignty.”

So there you have it. Mr McEleny’s belief in breaking up the UK runs through him like letters through a stick of rock. His desire for indep­endence is so strong that it trumps pro-indy arguments based on the notion that securing a Yes vote is the best way to improve Scotland economically and socially.

Given that independence – come what may and damn the consequences – appears to be an existential part of the councillor’s being, it was perhaps somewhat surprising to see his most recent contribution to internal SNP politics.

Earlier this week Mr McEleny took to Twitter to reveal that the party’s latest independence blueprint will not be debated at its October conference. He said it was “absolutely astonishing” that the list of 32 motions for debate in Glasgow did not include any of Andrew Wilson’s much-vaunted Growth Commission or his proposal to stick with the pound for around a decade after independence.

Even the man for whom independence is a “philosophical belief” is objecting to the party’s failure to take a long and hard look at the harsh economic reality at independence. A similar row erupted before the SNP’s most recent conference in June, which happened to take place shortly after Mr Wilson published his 354-page magnum opus.

Despite the fact that the SNP document was the hot topic of the moment, there was no formal debate on its proposals, which are absolutely fundamental to the party’s next drive for independence. Instead, discussion of the document was relegated to a fringe meeting. That meeting offered some explanation as to why it might suit the SNP not to pore over the document in public. It was easily the stormiest session of the conference as the former SNP MP and economist George Kerevan criticised its contents.

READ MORE: SNP Growth Commission strengthens case for union, claims pro-UK think tank

The future plotted by the commission would, said Mr Kerevan, leave Scotland “at the mercy” of the banks, because its plans to keep the pound without Bank of England protection for a decade would hinder the ability to grow the Scottish economy. This, he argued, would put the poor at risk.

The difficulty for the SNP is that Mr Kerevan’s views are shared by many who, like him, can be found on the left of the party. Mr Wilson won praise for constructing a more realistic case for independence than that made in Alex Salmond’s white paper published ahead of the 2014 referendum.

But realism can have its drawbacks. Mr Wilson’s approach to cutting Scotland’s £13.3 billion deficit has seen the highly respected Institute for Fiscal Studies warn that Scotland would see a “continuation of austerity”.

One can understand why the SNP leadership might be reluctant to air these points and internal divisions at their autumn shindig. Rather, the Growth Commission is to be discussed internally at a series of SNP National Assemblies. The outcome of these discussions are then scheduled to be brought before party conference in spring next year or the National Council this coming December. In the meantime, it feels strange to be heading to another SNP conference where the biggest elephant in the room will be Mr Wilson’s indy blueprint.

Or as the Inverclyde councillor who is rapidly becoming the SNP’s best-known controversialist put it: “How can we not be debating the biggest contribution to the independence case since 2014?”

That may not amount to a “philosophical belief” for Councillor McEleny, but it is still a pretty good point.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4784777.1534404275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4784777.1534404275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon at the party's conference in June. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon at the party's conference in June. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4784777.1534404275!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4784703.1534361599!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4784703.1534361599!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The SNP has been reluctant to talk about the massive elephant in the room, in the form of Andrew Wilson's Growth Commission report","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The SNP has been reluctant to talk about the massive elephant in the room, in the form of Andrew Wilson's Growth Commission report","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4784703.1534361599!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5802065688001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/poll-nearly-half-of-scots-would-support-brexit-deal-referendum-1-4784784","id":"1.4784784","articleHeadline": "Poll: Nearly half of Scots would support Brexit deal referendum","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534402552000 ,"articleLead": "

Just under half of people in Scotland want a referendum on the Brexit deal, according to a new poll.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4784782.1534402548!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Just under half of Scots want a referendum on the Brexit deal. Picture: AFP/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The YouGov poll, commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign calling for a public vote on Brexit negotiations outcome, found 48 per cent of respondents were in favour, with 31 per cent opposed.

This is greater than the UK wide-response of 45 per cent for and 34 per cent against.

Researchers surveyed 2,013 adults in Scotland between August 8 and 14 and found rising support for staying in the European Union.

Two-thirds (66 per cent) said they wanted to remain while 34 per cent were pro-Brexit, when the don’t knows were removed, while in the 2016 referendum voters in Scotland were split 62 per cent to 38 per cent for remain over leave.

The poll reveals around one in 10 Scots (12 per cent) believes Britain will get a good Brexit deal.

READ MORE: Over 100 constituencies that backed Brexit would now vote Remain

Most believe Brexit will make Scotland’s economy weaker at - 56 per cent to 12 per cent - and their standard of living worse at, 49 per cent to 7 per cent.

A majority of Scottish voters (65 per cent) believe the UK Government is ignoring Scotland’s concerns on Brexit, while 16 per cent believe it is listening.

There is a high level of distrust about the UK Government taking the right decisions on Brexit, with 70 per cent distrustful and 21 per cent the opposite.

In comparison, 48 per cent said they do not trust the Scottish Government to take the right Brexit decisions, while 42 per cent did.

The poll also indicated widespread support among SNP, Labour and Liberal Democrat voters for staying in the EU and at 73 per cent, 67 per cent, and 77 per cent respectively.

Conservative voters were 29 per cent in favour of staying in the EU with 64 per cent backing Brexit.

SNP voters back a Brexit deal referendum by a margin of more than four to one, 66 per cent to 18 per cent, when the don’t knows have been removed while for Labour this is 74 per cent to 26 per cent.

On Scottish independence, 43 per cent of respondents said Brexit would make this more likely and 6 per cent said it would be less likely.

More than a quarter (28 per cent) said it would make no difference as independence has little or no chance anyway, while 7 per cent believe Brexit would make no difference as Scotland gaining independence is likely regardless.

Former YouGov president Peter Kellner said the poll shows public opinion on Brexit shifting.

READ MORE: Scots shoppers ‘hit by £400 Brexit price hike since referendum vote’

He said: “Support for a public vote on the outcome is growing across the UK but is particularly strong in Scotland where most people did not want to leave in the first place.

“There is deep pessimism about what Brexit will mean for Scotland and the next generation. Around two-thirds of Scots think the UK is ignoring their concerns and don’t trust Westminster to take these decisions.

“But the survey suggests the leaderships of both the SNP and the Labour Party are in the wrong place with most of their supporters.

“There may be an electoral dividend in Scotland for one of these parties if they strengthen their position.

“For instance, by a margin of three to one Labour supporters want Jeremy Corbyn to campaign for a public vote while Nicola Sturgeon may yet want to move faster than she has in backing such a route on Brexit.”

The campaign group has organised a rally in Edinburgh on Saturday calling for a referendum on the Brexit deal.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "LAURA PATERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4784782.1534402548!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4784782.1534402548!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Just under half of Scots want a referendum on the Brexit deal. Picture: AFP/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Just under half of Scots want a referendum on the Brexit deal. Picture: AFP/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4784782.1534402548!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5670822690001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}