{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"politics","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/alex-salmond-claims-credit-for-snp-commons-walkout-1-4755781","id":"1.4755781","articleHeadline": "Alex Salmond claims credit for SNP Commons walkout","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529244908000 ,"articleLead": "

Alex Salmond has claimed he came up with the idea for the SNP's dramatic Commons walkout this week.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755780.1529240349!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

The former First Minister said he spoke with the SNP's Westminster chief Ian Blackford on Tuesday night, the day before nationalist MPs quit the Commons chamber after their leader was suspended by Speaker John Bercow.

Mr Salmond, who was himself suspended from the Commons in 1988, told the Sunday Herald: \"One of the iron laws of parliamentary politics is that if you always play the Westminster game then you will always lose.

READ MORE: Business leader urges SNP to drop disruption plan
\"And the way to turn that round successfully is to target interventions at those occasions which mean so much to the Westminster establishment - PMQs, budgets, state openings etc, and then use their own procedures against them.

\"Certainly that was my advice to Ian Blackford when he phoned me last Tuesday night and I was delighted to see him carry it through.\"

The former MP also criticised some of his former SNP colleagues who he said were \"too intent on winning the gold star\" at Westminster.

\"The challenge for the SNP is to keep up the momentum. Westminster is treating Scotland with contempt,\" he said. \"Now they are receiving a taste of their own medicine.

\"If they want business as usual then they should get their mitts off the powers of the Scottish Parliament. \"In my opinion the SNP fell into the Westminster trap after 2015 and then paid the price at the polls.

\"Too many of the current crop of MPs then seemed intent on winning the gold star for good attendance rather than independence.

\"Now all that has changed and well done to them. The people who send the SNP south expect their MPs to shake it up, not settle down.\"

READ MORE: Euan McColm: SNP ignores history with politics of grievance

" ,"byline": {"email": "paris.gourtsoyannis@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755780.1529240349!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.png","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755780.1529240349!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755780.1529240349!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.png","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5752726847001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/row-over-brexit-dividend-as-theresa-may-announces-20bn-nhs-boost-1-4755762","id":"1.4755762","articleHeadline": "Row over 'Brexit dividend' as Theresa May announces £20bn NHS boost","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529232438806 ,"articleLead": "

The NHS is to get an extra £384 million a week after Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May has said, but critics have called on her to come clean about future increases in tax and borrowing after she claimed the spending boost would be paid for by a 'Brexit dividend' that experts say does not exist.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755761.1529232712!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

In a major announcement to mark the 70th anniversary of the health service, the PM has said it will receive an additional £20 billion a year in real terms funding by 2024.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Mrs May admitted that \"to give the NHS the funding it needs for the future, this Brexit dividend will not be enough,\" but claimed that \"as we leave the European Union and stop paying significant annual subscriptions to Brussels, we will have more money to spend on priorities such as the NHS\".

READ MORE: £2bn Barnett windfall for NHS as May set to loosen the purse strings
Ahead of a major speech on the issue on Monday, Mrs May added: \"As a country, we need to contribute a bit more in a fair and balanced way. We will listen to views about how we do this and the Chancellor will set out the detail in due course. To deliver, this plan must be about more than money. \"

The figure tops the controversial £350 million a week increase promised by the Leave campaign during the referendum.

Mrs May told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show: \"Some people may remember seeing a figure on the side of a bus a while back of £350 million a week in cash. Well, I can tell you what I am announcing will mean that in 2023-24, there will be about £600 million a week in cash, more in cash, going into the NHS.\"

On what the percentage increase would be over five years, the PM said: \"It may vary a little from year to year, but it's about 3.4% average across the period. And that's in real terms.\"

Asked where the non-\"Brexit dividend\" element of the funding would come, Mrs May said: \"As a country we will be contributing more, a bit more, but also we will have that sum of money that is available from the European Union.\"

In an interview with LBC, Theresa May was pressed on where the extra money that is not part of the \"Brexit dividend\" may come from.

She said: \"The Chancellor will set out in due course before the spending review, he'll set out how the whole package of funding that we'll be putting, but it is right, I think, that we say to people that because the NHS is so important to us that we do look at asking for the country to contribute more, but in a fair and balanced way.

\"I think that's important. So yes, we take the advantage that we've got of the money we're no longer sending to the European Union, but also in putting the amount of money we want to put into the NHS for the future, I think we do have to look at contributing more.\"

The move comes as Mrs May faces another turbulent week in Parliament on the Brexit front with Tory rebels again threatening to defy her over how much influence MPs will have over any withdrawal deal.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who backed Remain in the referendum, wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that the extra NHS funding \"can now unite us all\".

As part of the initiative, the health service will draw up a long-term plan led by doctors setting out how the resources should be best used.

The Government said that under the initiative by 2023-24, the NHS budget will increase by over £20 billion a year in real terms compared to today, which is approximately £600 million a week in cash terms, and £384 million a week in real terms.

READ MORE: Scots NHS 'staffing crisis' as thousands of nurses quit
Mr Hunt said: \"This long-term plan and historic funding boost is a fitting birthday present for our most loved institution.\"

Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: \"The NHS is in crisis after eight years of Tory cuts and privatisation. Today's announcement confirms that Theresa May has failed to give the NHS the funding it needs, and much of the funding announced today is based on wishful thinking.

\"Labour would have invested nearly £9 billion extra this year in the NHS and social care, while asking the wealthiest and big corporations to pay their fair share of tax. Theresa May could have announced this but chose not to. She won't stand up to vested interests and is instead asking patients to rely on a hypothetical Brexit dividend.\"

Chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, said: \"As the NHS turns 70, we can now face the next five years with renewed certainty. This multi-year settlement provides the funding we need to shape a long-term plan for key improvements in cancer, mental health and other critical services.

\"And the invitation to the NHS to develop consensus proposals for legislation will help accelerate the move to more integrated care, and ensure taxpayers' money is spent to maximum benefit.\"

Tory chairwoman of the Health and Social Care Committee Sarah Wollaston described the Brexit dividend as \"tosh\".

She tweeted: \"The Brexit dividend tosh was expected but treats the public as fools. Sad to see Govt slide to populist arguments rather than evidence on such an important issue. This will make it harder to have a rational debate about the 'who & how' of funding & sharing this fairly.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "paris.gourtsoyannis@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755761.1529232712!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.png","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755761.1529232712!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755761.1529232712!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.png","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/door-closed-on-devolution-deal-mundell-tells-the-snp-1-4755843","id":"1.4755843","articleHeadline": "Door closed on devolution deal, Mundell tells the SNP","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529276460000 ,"articleLead": "

David Mundell has closed the door on a post-Brexit devolution agreement with the Scottish Government, saying the government will offer no new proposals to break the deadlock ahead of a major House of Commons debate today

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755842.1529264758!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "File photo dated 8/6/2018 of SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford who is to make the case for emergency legislation to end the "power-grab" on Scottish devolution. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday June 17, 2018. He is due to use a debate in the Commons on Monday to reiterate calls for the Prime Minister to halt the EU Withdrawal Bill to ensure it does not reduce the remit of the Scottish Parliament. See PA story POLITICS Devolution. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Secretary said he did not think a settlement could be reached over the EU Withdrawal Bill and blamed the Scottish Government for trying to change the constitution.

Mr Mundell rejected calls from the SNP and Labour for him to stand aside ahead of an emergency debate secured following last week’s turmoil over the lack of debate on devolution provision in the Withdrawal Bill.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who led his MPs out of the Commons chamber in protest last week, called plans to retain 24 powers in devolved areas after Brexit a “smash and grab” and said the row would “haunt the Tories for a generation just as the Poll Tax did”.

Mr Blackford is calling for legislation to secure the place of the Sewel Convention, which states that UK government may not normally act in devolved areas, in law. The SNP has threatened a “guerilla campaign” in the Commons if the government fails to meet its demands, with plans to hold up votes on crucial Brexit legislation and borrow tactics Charles Stewart Parnell’s 19th century Irish nationalists to frustrate the government’s agenda.

Relations between the two governments, and betweeen the Tories and SNP in the Commons, have reached a new low with a UK government source telling The Scotsman that it would no longer be “walking on eggshells” in talks with Edinburgh because “all the eggs are broken”.

“The UK government must now come to the table with emergency legislation, not just more excuses that simply will not wash with the Scottish people,” said Mr Blackford.

“There will be no business as usual until this attack on devolution ends. Scotland will not be silenced, and the SNP will do everything in our power to defend devolution and protect Scotland’s interests.”

Yesterday Mr Mundell told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland programme: “The government set out its position in line with the existing constitutional settlement and at the heart of this… is that the SNP don’t accept the existing constitutional settlement.

“They want to change that settlement, they want to bring about independence, they don’t hide that.

“The core of this dispute is that there are just two different views of how Scotland’s place should be in the future.”

He added: “I don’t think there is a settlement to be had. I’ve always looked to bring forward agreed amendments, amendments that had been agreed with the Scottish Government, but it’s become quite clear throughout this process that it’s not possible to reach that agreement.”

As recently as January, Mr Mundell had said he was “confident we can reach a place where the Scottish Parliament will give legislative consent”.

Labour MP Paul Sweeney repeated calls for Mr Mundell to step down, accusing him of an “abject failure of leadership”.

Shadow Scottish secretary Lesley Laird called for all-party talks to find a solution.

“The people of Scotland deserve nothing less than a devolution settlement that protects the integrity of the UK single market and upholds the powers of the Scottish Parliament,” Ms Laird said.

“This entire process has been marred by Tory chaos and Nationalist mischief making – with neither side putting forward a long-term plan for our country’s future. It is time for Scotland’s two governments to set aside their political differences.”

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said the two sides had months to reach a deal, adding: “The public would be forgiven for calling a plague on both their houses.” Conservative MP Kirstene Hair said the SNP were relying on “fake claims and hyperbole”.

Read more: Ian Blackford to call for emergency laws to end Brexit ‘power grab’

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755842.1529264758!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755842.1529264758!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "File photo dated 8/6/2018 of SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford who is to make the case for emergency legislation to end the "power-grab" on Scottish devolution. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday June 17, 2018. He is due to use a debate in the Commons on Monday to reiterate calls for the Prime Minister to halt the EU Withdrawal Bill to ensure it does not reduce the remit of the Scottish Parliament. See PA story POLITICS Devolution. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "File photo dated 8/6/2018 of SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford who is to make the case for emergency legislation to end the "power-grab" on Scottish devolution. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday June 17, 2018. He is due to use a debate in the Commons on Monday to reiterate calls for the Prime Minister to halt the EU Withdrawal Bill to ensure it does not reduce the remit of the Scottish Parliament. See PA story POLITICS Devolution. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755842.1529264758!/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/forces-need-20bn-to-face-russia-1-4755851","id":"1.4755851","articleHeadline": "Forces need £20bn to face Russia","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529276460000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish Government has raised the alarm over military bases in Scotland after a Commons committee report warned that Britain’s armed forces need a significant hike in funding to fill “black holes” in their finances

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755850.1529266081!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY JUNE 18''File photo dated 16/02/15 of British soldiers on patrol. Britain's armed forces need a significant hike in funding to meet the resurgent threat from states like Russia and fill existing "black holes" in their finances, a new parliamentary report has said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday June 18, 2018. The report from the Commons Defence Committee said the Government should start the process of moving the level of defence spending up from 2% to 3% of total GDP. See PA story DEFENCE Spending. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

MPs on the Commons defence committee said defence spending had to rise from 2 per cent to 3 per cent of total GDP in order to meet the growing threat from Russia.

A cash injection on that scale would cost around £20 billion a year, bringing defence spending to levels last seen in the mid-1990s.

Keith Brown, the Scottish Government’s economy secretary, said the report underlines “significant financial pressures” on the armed forces and said he would ask ministers for assurances about spending in Scotland at a meeting this week.

“Scotland has previously suffered brutal cuts to both military personnel and bases, with a further eight defence sites due for closure under MoD’s ill-conceived basing plans,” the Falklands veteran said. “I have repeatedly called on the Secretary of State for Defence to ensure that the on-going Modernising Defence Programme (MDP) will not result in further cuts in Scotland and that previous promises to base 12,500 regular armed forces personnel in Scotland by 2020 be honoured.”

In the report, entitled Beyond 2 Per Cent, MPs argue that a new financial settlement for defence is the “only solution” at a time when the UK faces a renewed threat from Russia, as well as increasing challenges from terrorism and cyber-warfare.

The committee warns of “serious deficiencies in the quantities of armour, armoured vehicles and artillery available to the British Army”.

Lack of vehicle-mounted anti-tank weapons and self-propelled artillery, as well as the need for modernisation of rocket artillery, leaves the army “at serious risk of being outgunned by its Russian counterpart”, it said.

The committee also warns that the Royal Navy must have enough ships to put together a carrier group to defend new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers without depending on other states.

Reports at the weekend revealed that two of the navy’s new Type 45 destroyers have not left port in over a year after engine problems were uncovered that mean they can’t operate in warm waters.

Findings from the MDP are expected in the coming weeks.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755850.1529266081!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755850.1529266081!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY JUNE 18''File photo dated 16/02/15 of British soldiers on patrol. Britain's armed forces need a significant hike in funding to meet the resurgent threat from states like Russia and fill existing "black holes" in their finances, a new parliamentary report has said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday June 18, 2018. The report from the Commons Defence Committee said the Government should start the process of moving the level of defence spending up from 2% to 3% of total GDP. See PA story DEFENCE Spending. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY JUNE 18''File photo dated 16/02/15 of British soldiers on patrol. Britain's armed forces need a significant hike in funding to meet the resurgent threat from states like Russia and fill existing "black holes" in their finances, a new parliamentary report has said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday June 18, 2018. The report from the Commons Defence Committee said the Government should start the process of moving the level of defence spending up from 2% to 3% of total GDP. See PA story DEFENCE Spending. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755850.1529266081!/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/more-than-2m-to-boost-energy-efficiency-in-homes-and-businesses-1-4755818","id":"1.4755818","articleHeadline": "More than £2M to boost energy efficiency in homes and businesses","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529253820000 ,"articleLead": "

More than £2 million is being put forward to help Scottish households and businesses boost energy efficiency

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755817.1529253817!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paul Wheelhouse MSP."} ,"articleBody": "

Money has been given to 15 councils to help projects as part of the new Energy Efficient Scotland programme.

The Scottish Government funding will also support local authorities to identify opportunities for efficiency improvements and heat decarbonisation.

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “There will be challenges and opportunities in transforming Scotland’s homes and buildings to be warmer, greener and more energy efficient, and so we are testing various approaches to drive further action on energy efficiency during the programme’s transition phase.

“This includes how best to engage with consumers, communities and Scotland’s businesses on this important issue, as demonstrated by the innovative project here in Peebles which, with this announcement of new funding, will now be extended to cover the wider Tweeddale area.”

Councils with projects receiving funding are Clackmannanshire, Edinburgh, East Lothian, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire.

Energy Efficient Scotland was launched by the First Minister in May.

The programme builds on existing legislation and programmes supporting the efficiency of homes, businesses and public buildings.

Read more: Energy-efficient homes ‘should get £500 off tax bill’

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Conor Riordan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755817.1529253817!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755817.1529253817!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Paul Wheelhouse MSP.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paul Wheelhouse MSP.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755817.1529253817!/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/mp-who-blocked-legislation-on-upskirting-says-he-is-being-scapegoated-1-4755787","id":"1.4755787","articleHeadline": "MP who blocked legislation on upskirting says he is being scapegoated","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529244022000 ,"articleLead": "

The Conservative MP who single-handedly blocked the criminalisation of upskirting has defended his much-criticised move

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755391.1529244020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christopher Chope MP. Picture: UK Parliament"} ,"articleBody": "

Sir Christopher Chope told his local newspaper he supports outlawing the “vulgar, humiliating and unacceptable” act of upskirting, and added: “The suggestion that I am some kind of pervert is a complete travesty of the truth.”

The 71-year-old MP for Christchurch in Dorset shouted down the bill that would have criminalised what Theresa May called “invasive” and “degrading” act when she pledged to revive an attempt to ban it.

In an interview published in the Daily Echo on Sunday, the Tory grandee said he was acting on a long-held principle that has seen him routinely oppose backbench private members bills.

“I feel a bit sore about being scapegoated over this,” he said.

“The suggestion that I am some kind of pervert is a complete travesty of the truth.

“It’s defamatory of my character and it’s very depressing some of my colleagues have been perpetuating that in the past 48 hours.”

He urged the Government to find the “fastest, fairest and surest passage” for a bill banning people from taking pictures up someone’s clothing without consent, and accused ministers of “hijacking” backbenchers’ time with the Friday afternoon debate.

Read more: New law to ban ‘upskirting’ blocked by one Tory MP

Sir Christopher was met with a barrage of criticism and heckled with cries of “shame!” when he shouted an objection during the second reading of the Voyeurism (Offences) Bill.

Gina Martin, an upskirting victim whose petition to criminalise the act won her a legion of celebrity supporters and political backing, said the move left her extremely upset.

Culture Minister Margot James said Sir Christopher had brought the Tories into disrepute, while the Prime Minister expressed her “disappointment” at his move.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “dismayed and appalled” and Labour MP Richard Burgon said he was “disgusted”.

Without a specific law, victims in England and Wales must seek prosecution of upskirting through other legal avenues, such as outraging public decency or harassment.

A specific law already exists in Scotland and the blocked bill would have seen upskirting offenders face a maximum of two years in prison.

Mrs May reassured on Sunday that the Government would provide time for anti-upskirting legislation to pass through Parliament.

“It is an invasive, offensive act and we need to take action against it,” she added.

Read more: Brian Wilson: No clear Brexit aim will fuel break up of UK

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Sam Blewett, Press Association"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755391.1529244020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755391.1529244020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christopher Chope MP. Picture: UK Parliament","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christopher Chope MP. Picture: UK Parliament","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755391.1529244020!/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/gordon-brown-nationalist-myth-about-social-justice-destroyed-by-report-1-4755782","id":"1.4755782","articleHeadline": "Gordon Brown: ‘Nationalist myth about social justice destroyed by report’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529242989000 ,"articleLead": "

Gordon Brown yesterday claimed the SNP’s independence blueprint had abandoned social justice and had neglected pensions, childcare, the NHS, education and progressive taxation

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4749960.1528220266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The former Prime Minister stepped up his criticism of Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission when he addressed the Scottish Fabians Future of Scotland conference in Edinburgh.

Brown said the economic and political path charted by the 354-page document left a gaping hole for Labour to exploit when it came to social justice.

According to Brown, the independence model set out by the Commission would see Scotland run up just under £100 billion of extra Scottish debt.

He said billions would be paid out on servicing the debt rather than being spent on the NHS, the elderly and schools.

In his speech, Brown said Labour could succeed in Scotland by rejecting “no change Conservatism” and “independence no matter the cost nationalism”.

Brown said the SNP used to say that independence would see a rise in pensions, millions on childcare, security for the NHS, more affordable housing, full employment and well-funded public services. “For 50 years they have led Scotland along this route. Independence was floated first on whisky revenues, then oil revenues – Alex Salmond’s White Paper forecast global oil prices would stick at about $120 a barrel – and then on less concrete promises that independence would magic us up higher productivity, higher population and higher participation in the workforce, which would create a post-independence utopia.

“But the arithmetic of the Wilson Commission report destroys forever the nationalist myth that the SNP’s priority is social justice.”

He said there was “nothing” in the report about pensions, childcare, funding the NHS or education.

A SNP spokesman said: “This is another tired and absurd intervention from Gordon Brown, who bears personal responsibility for ushering in a decade of austerity in the UK.

“While the SNP has consistently opposed cuts, and the Growth Commission explicitly rejects austerity, Labour has worked hand-in-hand with the Tories to slash financial support for millions of families, and cut the funding that supports Scotland’s public services.

“It speaks volumes that Labour should decide to attack the SNP rather than the Tories, whose power grab threatens devolution and whose shambolic Brexit plans are far and away the biggest threat to Scotland’s public services, jobs and economic wellbeing.”

Read more: Gordon Brown: Independent Scotland brings ‘austerity until doomsday’

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4749960.1528220266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4749960.1528220266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4749960.1528220266!/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/ian-blackford-to-call-for-emergency-laws-to-end-brexit-power-grab-1-4755775","id":"1.4755775","articleHeadline": "Ian Blackford to call for emergency laws to end Brexit ‘power grab’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529237897000 ,"articleLead": "

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford is to make the case for emergency legislation to end the “power-grab” on Scottish devolution.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755773.1529237894!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

He is due to use a debate in the Commons on Monday to reiterate calls for the Prime Minister to halt the EU Withdrawal Bill to ensure it does not reduce the remit of the Scottish Parliament.

Speaker John Bercow has accepted a request by the SNP for an emergency debate on devolution.


READ MORE: Watch SNP MPs walk out of PMQs after Ian Blackford ordered to leave

Mr Blackford said: “The Prime Minister gave a commitment that she would treat Scotland as part of a ‘union of equals’.

“Yet she pressed ahead with a power-grab in direct opposition to Scotland’s elected Parliament.

“We hear from the Prime Minister about respecting devolution - but the Prime Minister has ignored Scotland.

“The Tories haven’t won a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland for over 60 years, yet they press on to claw back powers from Holyrood without consent. Their respect for Scotland is skin-deep at best.

“History will remember this defining moment when the UK Parliament chose to reject devolution. This will haunt the Scottish Tories for a generation.”

Mr Blackford was kicked out of the chamber on Tuesday for repeatedly challenging the Speaker after claiming Scotland was being sidelined in Brexit debates.

The EU Withdrawal Bill related to devolution was passed by the House of Commons after just 15 minutes of debate - with Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington the only member who made a speech.

MPs from the party walked out of the question session in protest to Mr Blackford’s removal, with many shouting as they left.

Mr Bercow said he was suspending the party leader for the rest of the day following his “repeated refusal” to take his seat when told to do so.

Conservatives accused Mr Blackford of orchestrating a publicity stunt because Mr Bercow had agreed to hear his motion for the House to sit in private - which would have required a vote and disrupted PMQs - at the end of the session instead.

This suggestion was denied by the party leader.

A UK Government spokesman said: “The EU Withdrawal Bill is about ensuring that the whole of the United Kingdom has a functioning statute book on Exit Day.

“It is about providing legal certainty to businesses and individuals up and down the country.

“The UK Government is proceeding entirely in line with devolution.

“Rather than dealing with manufactured grievance we should be working together to get best deal for people in Scotland as we leave the EU.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755773.1529237894!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755773.1529237894!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755773.1529237894!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5797046653001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/education/pupil-workforce-facing-harassment-by-sex-pests-1-4755693","id":"1.4755693","articleHeadline": "Pupil workforce facing harassment by sex pests","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529231835000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s teenage school pupils are facing sexual harassment from employers and customers at their part-time jobs, say union officials.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755692.1529231833!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Unions into Schools project is helping youngsters to learn about their rights at work. Picture: Frazer Band"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) says many pupils working in cafés and restaurants are reporting being told by their employer that sexual harassment from customers is “just part and parcel” of the work.

Sarah Wiktorski, campaigns and communications officer, said that the STUC’s Union into Schools project, which sends speakers into state and private schools, is uncovering issues which would otherwise remain largely unchallenged by the pupil workforce.

“These younger people don’t have the knowledge or confidence to challenge behaviour which is quite scary and upsetting. They know they are very replaceable, they are very aware of that.

“But with sexual harassment we’re not just talking about the issue, we tell them there are ways they can stop it. It can be actions such as getting together with colleagues and recording incidents. We are educating them that customers and bosses don’t have the legal right to treat them like that.”

Other issues uncovered include older pupils struggling with zero hours contracts, not knowing they are paid less than older people for doing the same job, not being aware they are entitled to breaks, bullying, and worrying about getting home safely late at night because they cannot afford a taxi.

Union representatives said the taxi issue struck a chord with many pupils who were concerned about their friends.

Ross Greer, Scottish Green MSP, and his party’s education spokesman, said pupils should learn about their rights at work and the role of unions through school PSE (personal and social education) lessons .

Terry Anderson, STUC union and community development officer, said school sessions also “upskilled” union reps who got first-hand testimony from youngsters in the gig economy.

“I’m 51 and I’ve never worked a zero hours contract when you don’t know when your next shift is and have to keep checking your phone at all hours. These pupils are dealing with things experienced trade unionists have never experienced. But there is a lot of work to do. I remember one girl asking ‘what have unions got to do with hairdressing?’ which was actually a very good question and provided a good starting-point for a discussion.”

The Scottish Government has provided funding support for the project since 2010, giving £23,500 last year with a similar level of funding likely this year.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “As young people prepare for the world of work it is vital they are familiar with the rights and responsibilities associated with the workplace.

“The Unions into Schools project is a great resource helping young people develop the confidence and knowledge to ask questions and understand the importance of equal rights, while also making them aware of their responsibilities as employees and citizens.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Shan Ross"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755692.1529231833!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755692.1529231833!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Unions into Schools project is helping youngsters to learn about their rights at work. Picture: Frazer Band","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Unions into Schools project is helping youngsters to learn about their rights at work. Picture: Frazer Band","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755692.1529231833!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/forget-brexit-the-migrant-crisis-is-europe-s-big-challenge-1-4755720","id":"1.4755720","articleHeadline": "Forget Brexit, the migrant crisis is Europe’s big challenge","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529218510000 ,"articleLead": "

Forget Brexit or a looming trans-Atlantic trade war. The diplomatic spat last week between Italy, Malta and France over who should take responsibility for more than 600 people rescued at sea shows that the biggest challenge Europe faces today is migration

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755743.1529218507!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nigrants sit at the port of Tarifa, southern Spain, as they wait to be transported to a police station in Algeciras after being rescued in the Strait of Gibraltar. (AP Photo/ Marcos Moreno, File)"} ,"articleBody": "

It’s not about the hundreds of thousands of people who arrived across the Mediterranean in recent years seeking better or safer lives. The crisis threatening the very existence of the European Union is the enemy within: the inability of individual states to manage those migrant arrivals collectively.

The questions of who should take responsibility for those arriving – and whether there should be a quota system for European countries to share refugees – are fiercely disputed.

Long-suffering EU nations such as Italy and Greece, where most sea migrants enter, feel abandoned by other EU nations.

In response, some European countries have deployed troops, erected border fences or temporarily reintroduced ID checks, undermining Europe’s wide-ranging passport-free travel area. Others have welcomed the migrants in.

Those acting alone have mostly angered their neighbours by passing the problem on. Anti-migrant parties have exploited the chaos, winning votes as they foment fear of foreigners.

“As long as we keep refusing the idea that we have a collective problem that can only be tackled with collective solutions we will not find a solution,” European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans warned. EU nations are now struggling to reform the bloc’s asylum rules that states migrants must seek protection in the first European country they arrive in.

That rule was part of this week’s dispute over the Aquarius, a rescue ship carrying 629 people saved off the Libyan coast.

Italy, which controls Mediterranean rescue operations, halted the in-bound ship, claiming that the small EU island of Malta was closer and should take responsibility. French President Emmanuel Macron waded in, accusing Italy of cynical, irresponsible behaviour. Spain came to the rescue, offering the boat safe harbour in Valencia.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "LORNE COOK"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755743.1529218507!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755743.1529218507!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nigrants sit at the port of Tarifa, southern Spain, as they wait to be transported to a police station in Algeciras after being rescued in the Strait of Gibraltar. (AP Photo/ Marcos Moreno, File)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nigrants sit at the port of Tarifa, southern Spain, as they wait to be transported to a police station in Algeciras after being rescued in the Strait of Gibraltar. (AP Photo/ Marcos Moreno, File)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755743.1529218507!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/euan-mccolm-snp-ignores-history-with-politics-of-grievance-1-4755732","id":"1.4755732","articleHeadline": "Euan McColm: SNP ignores history with politics of grievance","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529217940000 ,"articleLead": "

Last week’s coup de théâtre has boosted nationalist support, but it’s unlikely to bring the dream of independence any closer, writes Euan MCColm.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755731.1529217937!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Blackford speaks in the House of Commons on Wednesday before he being dismissed for challenging Speaker John Bercow. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

No political party has better understood the dreams of Scottish voters in recent years than the SNP.

Obviously, when it came to the party’s central mission of achieving independence, it found itself out of step with the public, but in elections to both Holyrood and Westminster since 2007, the Scottish nationalists have dominated.

READ MORE: Watch SNP MPs walk out of PMQs after Ian Blackford ordered to leave

If you ask any of those – whether senior politician, special adviser or spin doctor – involved in the SNP’s transformation from fringe players to political titans how they achieved this remarkable turnabout, they will tell you two things.

First, the SNP fundamentally changed its message. Where, previously, the nationalists had stuck with tried and tested (and only partially successful) messages about Scotland’s victimhood within the Union, they now told a more optimistic story.

READ MORE: SNP membership surges by over 5,000 after MPs’ walkout

When Alex Salmond began his second stint as SNP leader, in 2004, he didn’t talk about what Scotland couldn’t achieve while it remained inside the UK but what it could be if his party ran the devolved administration in Edinburgh.

The second thing an SNP player who was in the game at the time will tell you is that the Scottish Labour Party had lost its way; a decades-long connection with enough voters to ensure victory after victory was more fragile than anyone had thought.

The SNP’s change of tack, from perpetually whining about Britain to cheerleading for a bright new Scotland, collided beautifully with Labour’s predicament.

Funny to think now, as former politician Salmond spends his life trying to restart fights long lost, that back then he was the master at soothing unionist fears. A vote for the SNP wasn’t necessarily a vote for independence but an indication that you were willing to give the nationalists a crack of the Holyrood whip.

With a change of approach, the SNP transformed the tone of Scottish politics which, between 2007-11, saw the nationalists happily work with Tories to ensure delivery of policies.

Those days might as well be a century ago, so dramatically has the political atmosphere changed. Now grievance and complaint – amplified as loudly and delivered as hysterically as possible – passes for debate.

Political discourse in Scotland is now conducted in a tone so increasingly shrill that by 2020 it will be audible only to dogs. But while we can hear it, it seems to be working.

The SNP’s Westminster group stormed dramatically out of the Commons on Wednesday because Scotland had been disrespected over Holyrood’s rejection of the UK government’s EU Withdrawal Bill.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed a day later that the stunt (she didn’t call it a stunt but it was a stunt despite SNP denial that it was a stunt. There is nothing wrong with political stunts but let’s call them what they are) had encouraged more than 5,000 people to join her party.

This was all beautifully constructed by the SNP. The UK government is not – unless threatened legal challenges prove otherwise – bound by a vote in the Scottish Parliament to refuse consent for the EU Withdrawal Bill. This means the SNP simply cannot get what it says it wants, But it can create a compelling story about Scotland being ignored.

Whether the vote at Holyrood was meaningful or not (and some might even say it deserves to be placed in the “stunt” category), it created something which the UK government had no choice but to ignore or “disrespect”. Of course, this was not simply a case of villainous Westminster rejecting the views of a Holyrood vote of no legal worth, it was an outrage against Scotland, and all who live here.

Since Wednesday’s events, the political narrative has shifted in the SNP’s favour. The declaration supporting independence by Murray Foote, has added to the SNP’s momentum. When editor of the Daily Record, he had devised the famous (some may wish to prefix that) Vow front page, which saw unionist political leaders offer a more powerful devolution settlement in return for a No vote.

Just a few days after an SNP conference during which she effectively took the prospect of a second independence referendum any time soon off the table, Sturgeon seems to have the wind at her back again.

Whether this remains the case is another matter entirely. The extraordinary influx of new SNP members after the referendum, the Westminster landslide in 2015, a Brexit result that saw Leave win despite most Scots voting Remain – none of these things has given the pro-independence movement the fillip it needs to take it over the 50 per cent mark.

Instead, the appetite for constitutional change remains as it was four years ago.

So does the arrival of new members who joined after the Westminster walkout signal that things are about to change? I have my doubts.

The sight of furious SNP MPs storming out of the House of Commons debating chamber helped build strong political narrative but with the Brexit process a continuing mess of complexity and unanswered (perhaps unanswerable) questions, the SNP may struggle to keep the focus on their party line of attack.

Not so long ago, the SNP’s agreed line on the prospect of a second independence referendum was that Sturgeon was not minded to hold one until opinion polls showed – over a substantial period of time – support for independence at 60 per cent. This, even her opponents privately conceded, was reasonable .

It would appear that this requirement is no longer considered necessary.

The SNP is now fighting an attritional battle, a long, slow grind where even the flicker of another polling point in favour of Yes has members champing at the bit for another round of constitution wars. But every time, in recent years, the SNP has heaved in an attempt to lift its cause, it has succeeded only in further entrenching the positions of both Yes and No voting Scots.

And so the argument rages on, ever louder, ever angrier, supported by the curious belief of politicians that this is now the sort of thing voters really want to hear.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Euan McColm"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755731.1529217937!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755731.1529217937!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Blackford speaks in the House of Commons on Wednesday before he being dismissed for challenging Speaker John Bercow. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Blackford speaks in the House of Commons on Wednesday before he being dismissed for challenging Speaker John Bercow. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755731.1529217937!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5797046653001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/business-leader-urges-snp-to-drop-disruption-plan-1-4755724","id":"1.4755724","articleHeadline": "Business leader urges SNP to drop disruption plan","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529188034000 ,"articleLead": "

The SNP’s Westminster walkout has triggered a business backlash with a leading figure from Scottish industry calling for a swift end to the Brexit powers dispute.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755722.1529180693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP MPs pose for a picture following the Westminster walkout last week. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA"} ,"articleBody": "

David Watt, executive director for the Institute of Directors in Scotland, said politicians needed to show more respect for each other at the end of a tumultuous week that saw the SNP and Tories at loggerheads over EU withdrawal.

Watt’s remarks came as the SNP was promising a campaign of disruption at Westminster whereby they use House of Commons procedure to frustrate parliamentary business.

Senior figures in the party have compared their guerilla plans to those adopted by the 19th-century Irish nationalist Charles Stewart Parnell, who used standing orders in the Commons to impede work at Westminster.

As Watt made his plea for politicians to work together, a senior SNP figure cautioned his party against going too far in its campaign of obstruction. Jim Sillars, a former deputy SNP leader, argued that a promise of disruption could backfire, because the party’s 35 MPs would struggle to deliver it.

Relations between the SNP and the UK government plummeted to a new low last week after the party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford led his MPs out of the Commons chamber during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The SNP made the gesture when Blackford was suspended by the Speaker after he refused to sit down in protest over the House’s failure to debate his party’s claims of a Brexit power grab.

Reacting to last week’s drama, Watt said: “Business needs some clarity about what is actually going on so they can start planning for Brexit. Any disruption between governments will cause uncertainty. This is about things like agriculture and fishing and any lack of clarity over control of these areas will not help us. Politicians need to sort these things out otherwise the economic consequences of Brexit could be severe. The politicians need to get co-operation internally [within the UK] and externally [with the EU] to get resolution on these issues. They need to get on with it.

“The UK government has got to respect devolution and the Scottish Government has got to respect that we are in the UK. They need a bit more respect for each other. There is not much more than nine months until Brexit. It is going to happen and we need to get the best arrangements.”

After the walkout the SNP succeeded in securing an emergency debate on the impact of Brexit on devolution, which will take place tomorrow morning.

Sillars, who himself was suspended from the Commons in 1989 when he was MP for Govan, said Blackford had been “very clever” to ask for parliament to sit in private to discuss Brexit – the demand that led to his suspension.

But he warned that the tight timetabling of the modern House of Commons would prevent the SNP from “doing a Parnell”.

Sillars said Blackford had “won an important battle” by securing a debate, but urged the party not to over-promise when it came to talk of disruption, arguing the SNP should avoid the type of scenario that saw Nicola Sturgeon forced to backtrack on her second independence referendum plans in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

“I think we have got to be very careful of promising what will be very difficult to deliver. It could backfire,” said Sillars. “We already have one example when the day after the referendum in Europe Nicola marched the troops up to the top of the hill and very, very gradually took them back down again. You can’t have that too often.”

Tomorrow Blackford will use the SNP’s emergency debate to make the case for emergency legislation to remove the contentious EU Withdrawal Bill clause at the heart of the devolution Brexit power row.

It was clause 15 of the EU Withdrawal Bill that led to the Scottish Parliament refusing to give its consent to the legislation, triggering the current constitutional stalemate.

Clause 15 would enable certain powers in devolved areas, which are returning from the EU, to be frozen by the UK government for a limited period of time while common frameworks are drawn up across the country.

The SNP believes this amounts to a “power grab” while the UK government argues that the move is essential so that a British-wide approach can be developed in certain areas to protect the UK internal market.

Blackford said: “I am very grateful to the Speaker for granting us this time to debate devolution following the shambolic proceedings in parliament.

“The Prime Minister gave a commitment that she would treat Scotland as part of a ‘union of equals’. Yet she pressed ahead with a power grab in direct opposition to Scotland’s elected Parliament. We hear from the Prime Minister about respecting devolution – but the Prime Minister has ignored Scotland.

“The Tories haven’t won a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland for over 60 years, yet they press on to claw back powers from Holyrood without consent. Their respect for Scotland is skin-deep at best.

“History will remember this defining moment when the UK Parliament chose to reject devolution. This will haunt the Scottish Tories for a generation.”

Blackford’s colleague Stewart McDonald, MP for Glasgow South, said there were “lessons to be learned” from Parnell, but said it would be “daft” to obstruct parliament every day.

“We are exploring options for what can be done,” he said. “If that means frustrating business, delaying votes, procedural tactics to delay government statements so be it.

“If it means doing that kind of stuff in order to be heard properly, we have no problem in doing that. We have used the procedures to make a point. I don’t want to abuse them. We will pick and choose when to do it. I am not saying we will disrupt every item of business on every day’s order paper. That would be silly. But when the time is right then we will.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755722.1529180693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755722.1529180693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "SNP MPs pose for a picture following the Westminster walkout last week. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP MPs pose for a picture following the Westminster walkout last week. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755722.1529180693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755723.1529180695!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755723.1529180695!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Watt, executive director of the Institute of Directors in Scotland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Watt, executive director of the Institute of Directors in Scotland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755723.1529180695!/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/scotland-should-be-exempt-from-immigration-target-1-4755636","id":"1.4755636","articleHeadline": "‘Scotland should be exempt from immigration target’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529158159000 ,"articleLead": "

A think tank has called for Scotland to be excluded from UK immigration targets following the relaxation of rules for NHS staff.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755634.1529158155!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Reform Scotland said the Home Office decision to exclude non-EU doctors and nurses from the cap on skilled migration could be extended to Scotland. Picture Ian Rutherford"} ,"articleBody": "

Reform Scotland said the Home Office decision to exclude non-EU doctors and nurses from the cap on skilled migration could be extended to Scotland.

The organisation said it was a “simple fact” that Scotland needs more immigration, highlighting the low fertility rate and ageing population.

It pointed out that previous initiatives such as the Fresh Talent scheme had considered the immigration situation in Scotland differently to the rest of the UK.

Director Chris Deerin said: “It is an unavoidable truth that Scotland needs immigration.

“Our old-age dependency rate is growing, and will grow at an even faster rate in the years ahead. We need more working-age people to pay the taxes that fund our public services and support our society.

“We need to attract people to come and live and work in Scotland. We need to attract families. And we need policies that will encourage that immigration.

“The UK Government’s decision to create an exemption for NHS workers shows that the mechanism is there to do the same for Scotland.

“This is not a constitutional issue, nor a party-political one.

“Creating the conditions for more immigration to Scotland does not require devolution of immigration to the Scottish Parliament - it simply requires an acknowledgement from the UK Government that Scotland has a more acute requirement than the rest of the UK.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We have been clear from the start that the devolved administrations should be fully engaged in the exit process.

“We are seeking a deal that works for the entire United Kingdom, for Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and all parts of England.

“We are developing from scratch a new digital, streamlined, user-friendly scheme for EU citizens to safeguard their right to stay in the UK after we leave the EU.

“We are working closely with EU citizens as part of its development.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755634.1529158155!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755634.1529158155!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Reform Scotland said the Home Office decision to exclude non-EU doctors and nurses from the cap on skilled migration could be extended to Scotland. Picture Ian Rutherford","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Reform Scotland said the Home Office decision to exclude non-EU doctors and nurses from the cap on skilled migration could be extended to Scotland. Picture Ian Rutherford","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755634.1529158155!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5797046653001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/uk-government-warning-as-snp-declares-guerrilla-war-on-brexit-1-4755536","id":"1.4755536","articleHeadline": "UK Government warning as SNP declares ‘guerrilla war’ on Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529147541000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK government has hit back following a week of attacks from the SNP over its handling of devolution and Brexit, claiming “we don’t have to tiptoe around anymore” when dealing with Scottish ministers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4750372.1529147528!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

In a sign that relations between the governments in Edinburgh and London have reached a new low, a senior UK source said: “We’ve been walking on eggshells. At least now all the eggs are broken.”

The declaration follows an explosive week at Westminster culminating in a threat by the SNP to launch a procedural ‘guerrilla war’ to bog down the government’s Brexit programme.

READ MORE: John McLellan: A pivotal point in independence trench war

Anger at the length of time given to debate on an alleged ‘power grab’ at the heart of Brexit legislation prompted a Commons walkout by SNP MPs.

Nationalist MPs followed their Westminster leader Ian Blackford out of the Commons chamber after he was suspended while trying to force a vote on the issue in the middle of Prime Minister’s Questions.

The SNP has accused Scottish Secretary David Mundell of “totally shafting” Scotland and seeking to reverse the devolution settlement, by pushing through legislation that will see Westminster retain 24 powers in devolved areas returning from Brussels after Brexit.

READ MORE: Glasgow School of Art engulfed in flames for a second time

Labour joined calls for Mr Mundell’s resignation over his handling of the Withdrawal Bill process and the row is set to flare again on Monday when an emergency debate is held on Brexit’s impact on devolution.

Nicola Sturgeon said relations between the two governments would no longer be “business as usual”. The SNP’s Brexit minister, Michael Russell, hinted that co-operation in technical talks on how post-Brexit devolution will work could be at risk.

Responding to this week’s dramatic events, and to Mr Russell’s demand for a seat at trade talks, a senior UK government source said: “We engaged until we were blue in the face. We’ve been walking on eggshells. At least now all the eggs are broken. We don’t have to tiptoe around anymore. There’s a devolution rulebook. We’re playing by the rules. They’re trying to bend the rules.”

A meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) subcommittee on Brexit involving Mr Russell and his counterparts at the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) had been expected next week, but may not now take place because of diary clashes, it is understood.

The source added: “The bottom line is people want, expect and deserve their two governments to work together constructively. We’d be very concerned if they start pulling out of meetings of the JMC and its off-shoots.” Downing Street has urged the Scottish Government to “work constructively” on ensuring Brexit goes smoothly.

Mr Blackford has targeted the upcoming Trade Bill for disruption in the Commons, claiming there was “a real threat, if the government is prepared to do a deal with North America for example, [about] our interests being defended”.

The SNP MP Stewart McDonald said in the Commons that his party would adopt the “legitimate tactics” of 19th century Irish nationalists under Charles Stewart Parnell and told a rally in Glasgow yesterday the SNP would “frustrate every piece of government business and legislation”.

The former Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny Macaskill also called on the SNP to adopt Parnellite tactics, saying Irish nationalists “flourished in the chamber when it suited them, but never forgot that their purpose was to leave it … hopefully that will now be the template for the modern SNP.”

Meanwhile, Theresa May has warned she is pursuing a “high-risk strategy” by going back on a deal with pro-EU rebels to ensure the passage of vital Brexit legislation.

Tory backbenchers led by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve say they are not happy with a new amendment put down by the government on the ‘meaningful vote’ MPs will be offered on the final Brexit deal and will push for Mr Grieve’s original proposal.

The government is resisting attempts to give MPs the power to direct negotiations if there is no deal with Brussels by the end of November. The breakdown in trust on the Conservative benches sets up a new showdown next week when the Withdrawal Bill returns to the Commons in the latest round of legislative ping-pong.

Pro-EU Tory MP Antoinette Sandbach said yesterday: “What seems to have happened is very late in the day that DExEU got involved and it looks like the process was hijacked.

“David Davis has sent out an email to the Lords which does not reflect the position and I would say is almost misleading in the way that it’s framed.

“It was quite clear that there were positive and constructive discussions that were taking place and in that very last hour something changed and there was no communication, no further discussion.

“I think it’s a very high-risk strategy.”

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “From our perspective, the amendment respects the tests set out by the Prime Minister and the Brexit Secretary.”

The Liberal Democrats have claimed a ‘Brexit effect’ boosted their result in Thursday’s Westminster by-election in London’s Lewisham East constituency, where the party’s share of the vote rose by five times to claim second, with 24.6 per cent.

Labour’s Janet Daby won comfortably with 50.2 per cent of the vote, but immediately put her party leadership on notice over its opposition to remaining in the EU single market.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4750372.1529147528!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.png","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4750372.1529147528!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4750372.1529147528!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.png","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755534.1529147534!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755534.1529147534!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A protest over the Westminster 'power grab'. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A protest over the Westminster 'power grab'. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755534.1529147534!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755535.1529147538!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755535.1529147538!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon has backed her MPs. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon has backed her MPs. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755535.1529147538!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5797046653001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/john-mclellan-a-pivotal-point-in-independence-trench-war-1-4755075","id":"1.4755075","articleHeadline": "John McLellan: A pivotal point in independence trench war","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529146331000 ,"articleLead": "

Given Brexit’s complexities, surely the answer cannot be to break up two unions at the same time, argues John McLellan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755074.1529145909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The SNP's walk-out at Westminster will prove to be a pivotal moment in the ongoing independence trench war. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

As the great political drama unfolded, representatives of all parties sat down to lunch at the White House and discussed the events of earlier in the day.
Donald Trump and the North Korean nuclear deal? The ongoing Brexit debacle? The SNP’s Commons walk-out? No, this White House was the one that has been an Art Deco landmark in Craigmillar since 1936, refurbished in 2011 and home to the Community Alliance Trust’s splendid cafe since 2013.

READ MORE: Watch SNP MPs walk out of PMQs after Ian Blackford ordered to leave

Unaware of what was unfolding in Westminster were Edinburgh city councillors half way through a tour of housing regeneration projects which have delivered a wide variety of high-quality homes of all types and tenures to breathe life into what have been problem areas.

The challenges facing Edinburgh as it wrestles with a commitment to deliver 20,000 new affordable homes in the next ten years are considerable and Brexit is undeniably one of them. Availability of labour and the cost of imported materials are issues on top of those problems unrelated to the political settlement, such as the painfully slow planning process.

SNP stunt maybe, but Wednesday’s debacle was unquestionably a pivotal moment in the independence trench war which has raged pretty much unabated since 2011. But the question for me as one of those councillors on that housing tour is what does the fall-out mean for real decisions politicians of all kinds have to make which have a direct impact on the lives of thousands of people.

The SNP’s Growth Commission was designed to form the foundation of the new case for independence and with some bravery proposed that the best way forward was strict limits on public spending, a cautious approach to tax, setting aside any oil revenues and maintaining sterling as long as necessary.

At its most optimistic it promised at least a decade of even tighter restraint that we have experienced in the past ten years. Set-up costs for the new state were put at £450m, which ignored several studies ahead of the 2014 referendum which put them at around £2bn. Nor is there any escaping the existing £9.6bn tax and spending deficit, around six per cent of Scotland’s GDP which the Growth Commission says needs to be halved.

For some this no longer matters; that Brexit and the supposed Westminster power grab mean the risk of independence is outweighed by the risk of staying in the United Kingdom. So ex-Daily Record editor Murray Foote, announcing his embracing of independence with the zeal of the relieved-to-be-converted, wrote in The Times : “The sacrifices we may need to make do trouble me. But what troubles me more is the prospect of bequeathing to my daughters an isolated Britain…”

For him the very thought the UK might re-elect the Conservative Party is now enough to justify another layer of constitutional upheaval and uncertainty onto the Micawberish basis that “I trust in us to solve the problems that will come our way”, discounting the possibility that the solution of better use of devolved powers, combined with the pooling of resources from the rest of Britain, is already with us.

Writing in The Guardian, Scotland on Sunday’s Dani Garavelli said Scottish voters are “already frustrated over the democratic deficit that allows Scotland be taken out of the EU when every part of the country voted remain” presumes there are no Scottish Remainers who accept the result or understand the benefit of maintaining the UK’s single markets. Like Foote, she ignores the 400,000 Nationalists furious at the prospect of escaping from Brussels to be dragged back against their will.

In piled Chris Deerin, now running the Reform Scotland think tank, and while not yet on the independence bandwagon he wrote in the New Statesman that “To be a Scottish Remain voter in the time of Brexit is to be in a sizeable democratic majority, but also to be disenfranchised and sneered at; to be marginalised and ignored.”

Well I voted Remain and regret the result, but disenfranchised and marginalised? I don’t think so. Sneered at? Almost certainly, but by the kind of people who defaced Stephen Kerr MP’s office this week, not Brexiteers.

While it might seem black and white to these commentators, a constant seems to be that the EU will continue to exist as it is, something an independent Scotland can choose to re-join. There will probably be something called the EU, but the one we know ceases to exist the moment its second-biggest donor leaves. Financial dependence on Germany and the inability to resist the demands of increasingly reactionary governments, especially in eastern Europe, is what really scares the Eurocrats and they knew this when they sent David Cameron packing in 2016.

It’s impossible to defend the way the Brexit process is being handled by the UK Government, but then it’s causing enormous difficulties for all parties with broad support across the demographic spectrum, including the SNP.

But given what we know now about the complexities of disentangling complex relationships when there is no unanimity about what should follow, the answer cannot be the break-up of two unions at the same time.

Back in Edinburgh, it was off to Leith Fort, an appropriate symbol of relationships gone wrong and what happens when there is stability and collaboration. It was built in 1780 in response to the aborted raid by a Scot who turned on the United Kingdom, US Navy founder John Paul Jones, and then housed French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars. Now, twelve years in the making, it’s an award-winning social and mid-market housing complex. .

You’ll have had your compost

Gardeners all over Edinburgh were so looking forward to the city council introducing a £25 charge to empty their brown bins in July but now they’ve got to wait till October because of hitches with the new system

The council only expected 46 per cent of the 124,000 brown bin users to pay for the new fortnightly service but it would still rake in around £1.5m.

Now the council will need to honour its commitment to continue collecting garden waste every three weeks till October, that’s a cost it didn’t expect on top of about £375,000 it’s not going to collect.

In the height of summer demand for the service would probably be at its highest, so what will happen in October when the old service was only weeks away from petering out to monthly anyway?

If there is one thing which needs recycling, it’s this year’s waste management budget.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "John McLellan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755074.1529145909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755074.1529145909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The SNP's walk-out at Westminster will prove to be a pivotal moment in the ongoing independence trench war. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The SNP's walk-out at Westminster will prove to be a pivotal moment in the ongoing independence trench war. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755074.1529145909!/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/2bn-barnett-windfall-for-nhs-as-may-set-to-loosen-purse-strings-1-4755529","id":"1.4755529","articleHeadline": "£2bn Barnett windfall for NHS as May set to loosen purse strings","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529094313000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s NHS is in line for a windfall of up to £2 billion by the end of this Westminster Parliament under plans to boost health spending set to be unveiled by Theresa May.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755528.1529094369!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Spending on the NHS is set to rise. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The Prime Minister is expected to announce a significant increase in funding for the NHS in coming days, which would be worth hundreds of millions of pounds to Scotland via the Barnett Formula.

Spending on the NHS in England would rise by between £4bn and £6bn a year by the end of the current parliament in a bid to ease the growing pressure on the health service from an ageing population and growing demand.

An announcement could be made as early as tomorrow, ahead of events to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS on 5 July.

A study in the British Medical Journal by Dr Mark Hellowell of the Edinburgh University Global Health Policy Unit this week warned that without additional funding, the NHS would find it “increasingly difficult to maintain performance on several high-profile targets”.

There have also been renewed calls from the head of the health service in England, Simon Stevens, for NHS spending to grow by between 3.5 and 4 per cent a year from the average of 1.4 per cent over the past decade.

Mrs May is expected to pay for the increased spending with higher taxes, more borrowing and a promised “Brexit dividend” from the UK’s contribution to the EU budget.

The Treasury is reported to support plans to increase tax revenue by freezing thresholds for the personal allowance and additional 40p rate by 2020.

Downing Street declined to comment on reports.

Spending increases in the health service have effectively been capped since the Conservatives came to power in 2008. A new settlement has been subject to tough negotiation within the cabinet.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has highlighted the Prime Minister’s commitment to the NHS this week.

He said talks about a new funding settlement, including multi-year budgets for the health service to improve planning, were “difficult but ongoing”.

The YouGov survey for pressure group 38 Degrees found 73 per cent of those asked did not believe politicians were prepared to make difficult decisions about how to fund the NHS.

Some 66 per cent said they would be ready to pay an additional 1 per cent in income tax to fund the NHS. The figure includes 63 per cent of Conservatives.

A report yesterday by former UK health ministers Lord Darzi and Lord Prior argued the case for guaranteeing growth of around 3.5 per cent a year in health spending over the long term in order to make sure the NHS was fully funded.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755528.1529094369!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755528.1529094369!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Spending on the NHS is set to rise. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Spending on the NHS is set to rise. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755528.1529094369!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/gordon-brown-independent-scotland-brings-austerity-until-doomsday-1-4755472","id":"1.4755472","articleHeadline": "Gordon Brown: Independent Scotland brings ‘austerity until doomsday’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529083393000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland would face “austerity until doomsday” if the country became independent, former prime minister Gordon Brown has said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755470.1529083390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown (left) speaking to Andrew Marr Picture:: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

He issued the warning as he called for politicians north and south of the border to increase investment in the NHS.

Mr Brown said the health service needed an injection of new cash similar to that provided by Tony Blair’s Labour government when it doubled NHS spending between 1997 and 2010.

READ MORE: Poll: Has Brexit made Scots more likely to vote for independence?

Speaking at a Labour rally for the NHS in Glasgow, Mr Brown, who served as chancellor under Mr Blair, recalled: “In 1997 when we came into power, the National Health Service was dying on its feet.

READ MORE: Editor responsible for ‘The Vow’ now backs Scottish independence

“So we had to take action and we did put in the biggest single tax rise in history – £9 billion extra for the National Health Service, health service spending rising by 5 per cent a year as a result of it, 30,000 more doctors, 80,000 more nurses, half the hospitals in this country rebuilt or repaired, so that they were fit for the modern era.

“I believe that this is what we have got to do again.”

Mr Brown said under the Tories in Westminster and the SNP at Holyrood, the NHS had seen its worst decade for spending growth since its creation in 1948.

He warned: “You look now at the Scottish National Party’s proposals for independence, they will not be spending money on the health service this decade.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755470.1529083390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755470.1529083390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown (left) speaking to Andrew Marr Picture:: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown (left) speaking to Andrew Marr Picture:: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755470.1529083390!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5734512594001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/new-law-to-ban-upskirting-blocked-by-one-tory-mp-1-4755393","id":"1.4755393","articleHeadline": "New law to ban ‘upskirting’ blocked by one Tory MP","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529074595000 ,"articleLead": "

A law that would make it a criminal offence in England and Wales to take “upskirting” photos was blocked today by one Conservative MP.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755391.1529244020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christopher Chope MP. Picture: UK Parliament"} ,"articleBody": "

The initiative was stopped by Christopher Chope who objected when the bill was put forward in the House of Commons.

READ MORE: Poll: Has Brexit made Scots more likely to vote for independence?

Some lawmakers who supported the measure shouted “shame” after the Christchurch MP singlehandedly thwarted The Voyeurism (Offences) Bill when he stopped it being given a second reading in the Commons by shouting “object”.

Theresa May’s government endorsed the legislation earlier on Friday.

READ MORE: Brian Wilson: No clear Brexit aim will fuel break up of UK

Upskirting is already illegal in Scotland. It involves taking a photo or video under someone’s skirt or dress without their consent. It has become more common in recent years with the rise of smartphones.

UK Justice Minister Lucy Frazer called the practice “a hideous invasion of privacy which leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed.”

She said making upskirting a specific offence would send a clear message that perpetrators will be punished.

The law would allow for prison sentences of up to two years in the most egregious cases. It is expected to be resubmitted in July.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755391.1529244020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755391.1529244020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christopher Chope MP. Picture: UK Parliament","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christopher Chope MP. Picture: UK Parliament","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755391.1529244020!/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/racially-motivated-hate-crimes-at-lowest-level-since-2004-1-4755372","id":"1.4755372","articleHeadline": "Racially motivated hate crimes at lowest level since 2004","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529073459326 ,"articleLead": "

The number of racially motivated hate crimes is at its lowest level for 14 years but there has been a 51 per cent increase in offences against disabled people, new figures show.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755371.1529252471!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Police say the death is not suspicious"} ,"articleBody": "

Statistics published by the Scottish Government and the Crown Office show there were 3,249 racial hate crime charges in 2017/18, the lowest annual total since consistent figures became available in 2003/4.

The figure continues a downward trend since a peak of 4,547 charges reported to prosecutors in 2011/12.

The number of charges reported with an aggravation of prejudice relating to disability rose 51 per cent to 284, the highest number since legislation creating the aggravation came into force in 2010.

It is thought this type of crime continues to be under-reported, with work underway to encourage victims to report incidents to the police.

The number of hate crimes related to the victim's sexuality also rose, up three per cent on the previous year to 1,112.

Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing said: “It’s reassuring to see more people are coming forward to report hate crime, and in particular disability hate crime. A significant amount of work has been done by Police Scotland, the Crown Office and community organisations over the past year to ensure this is happening.

“But I still believe this isn’t the full picture and remain concerned that crime motivated by prejudice is under-reported and would urge anyone who experiences it to ensure it’s reported properly.\"

Lord Advocate James Wolffe said: \"Crime motivated by hatred is not only a wrong against the individual, but is an affront to our collective values as a community, creating division and fear. That is why we treat it so seriously and why we will continue to do so.

“It is encouraging that many victims of hate crime have the confidence to report this type of offending and we would encourage more to do so.

“People who live in Scotland, regardless of their personal or social circumstances, can be assured that they live in a just society and that they will be protected from crime – and in particular from hate crime.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "chris.marshall@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Chris Marshall"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755371.1529252471!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755371.1529252471!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Police say the death is not suspicious","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Police say the death is not suspicious","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755371.1529252471!/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/poll-has-brexit-made-scots-more-likely-to-vote-for-independence-1-4755288","id":"1.4755288","articleHeadline": "Poll: Has Brexit made Scots more likely to vote for independence?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529065801000 ,"articleLead": "

The former newspaper editor behind the infamous Vow, published days before 2014’s Scottish independence referendum, yesterday came out in support of independence in a move hailed as “hugely significant” by Nicola Sturgeon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745025.1529065799!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The report addresses some of the key economic questions around independence. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE: Editor responsible for ‘The Vow’ now backs Scottish independence

The ideological outing of former Daily Record editor Murray Foote sparked debate around whether the UK Government’s handling of Britain’s EU withdrawal is driving more Scots towards independence.

The First Minister and her party saw 5,000 new members join in the 24 hours after SNP MPs walked out of the House of Commons in protest over what they view as a lack of debate on post-Brexit devolution and the raft of new powers to be taken back from Brussels.

Has the dial of public opinion really moved? Has the UK’s handling of the Brexit process made you more or less likely to vote for independence? Take our readers poll to have your say.

READ MORE: Brian Wilson: No clear Brexit aim will fuel break up of UK

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745025.1529065799!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745025.1529065799!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The report addresses some of the key economic questions around independence. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The report addresses some of the key economic questions around independence. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745025.1529065799!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brian-wilson-no-clear-brexit-aim-will-fuel-break-up-of-uk-1-4754855","id":"1.4754855","articleHeadline": "Brian Wilson: No clear Brexit aim will fuel break up of UK","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529063532000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May should take note. Failure to promote a ­sensible Brexit outcome that the great majority of us could live with is ­creating a platform for those who seek to separate the United Kingdom, writes Brian Wilson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4746087.1529063529!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon with European Union Chief negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier. (AP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)"} ,"articleBody": "

I flew this week from St Petersburg to Helsinki or, to put it another way, a quick leap from outside to inside the ­European Union. A planeload of Chinese tourists had landed just before us.
There was an immigration ­channel for EU citizens, I inserted my passport, looked at the camera and was in Finland within seconds. After Brexit, would I and – more importantly – those who come after me take our places behind 200 Chinese tourists? That question remains unanswered.

READ MORE: David Mundell says SNP blocked compromise and rejects resignation call

Once through immigration, my phone was delivering e-mails and I was free from fear of punitive roaming charges. Will I be able to do so after Brexit?

A recent report ­estimated the cost of a return to roaming charges, which the mobile companies fought so hard against the EU to maintain, would be higher even than before.

READ MORE: Creative Scotland must address ‘strategic failings’, says Holyrood Committee

For political grandees, this is the small change of diplomacy, barely worth a mention. They should be careful. It is the complete lack of regard for questions which directly affect people’s lives that is ­bringing government into contempt and stretching the patience of those who were perfectly prepared to give Brexit a chance.

Already, I hear the cry of “scaremongering” and it may still be that the final outcome will address such issues in a sensible and ­satisfactory manner. Until now, that has been my own working assumption but next week will mark the second anniversary of the EU referendum and the picture is still no clearer.

It is now bordering on ­scandalous that we are not one step closer to having a definitive answer to even the most basic questions because we are not one step closer to ­knowing the fundamentals of the deal on which the UK’s withdrawal will be based.

That scandal intensifies when you pin down the single reason for this astonishing lack of clarity. It is the existence of irreconcilable ­differences within the Conservative Party which the Prime Minister has felt unable to address, ­creating a climate of utter ­uncertainty which goes far beyond passports and mobile phones.

This week, Paul Drechsler, president of the CBI, blamed the Brexit impasse on “a tidal wave of ideology”; warned that large sections of British ­industry face “extinction” without a ­customs union and found “zero evidence” that other trade deals would ­compensate for that loss.

He will be disparaged as some inconsolable Remainer with an axe to grind.

But it is those who decry him who occupy a position of power without responsibility – the ­power to inflict the damage which Mr Drechsler warns against without responsibility for advancing a ­viable alternative which goes beyond Boris Johnson’s arrogant vacuities.

You might expect the vicar’s daughter to be familiar with ­Matthew 6, verse 24, which is the one about no man being able to serve two masters. At some point, she must take it as her text because the implications of ignoring it are so extreme.

Mrs May is dealing with a hard core of fundamentalists who ­simply don’t care about consequences.

This was reflected in the supposedly “leaked” recording of Johnson sneering at the Irish border issue as “pure millennium bug stuff” – an imagined inconvenience hardly worth discussing.

A man who can talk like that about a complex matter which could ­easily tip over into life and death is unlikely to give a toss for ­passports and mobile phones, or indeed jobs and businesses. That is not the world in which the Brexit ultras live and Mrs May has to confront that level of dogma or be consumed by it – as John Major was.

Even giving Parliament the power to block a bad deal remains shrouded in calculated ambiguity.

Its immediate effect is to offer cover for many more months of Tory in-fighting. The far better solution would lie in a belated declaration of clear-cut objectives which respect the Brexit vote while leaving us as close as ­possible to the existing relationship.

That solution comes closest to a national consensus and those who, on either extreme, reject it should be left to contemplate their options.

It is probably what has been going on behind the scenes all along but it cannot be done by stealth. There has to be some certainty and the anniversary of the referendum would – after two wasted years – be a suitable date on which to provide it.

What of the Scottish sub-plot?

While every part of the UK has an equal right to demand answers and evidence of progress on ­matters of substance, we – as ever – are ­consumed by the fixation on ­process and grievance peculiar to ourselves. Whether there had been a House of Commons debate for ten minutes or ten weeks, the outcome would have been the same.

Whatever the other merits or demerits of Brexit, the certainty is that it will result in more rather than fewer powers coming to ­Edinburgh. There is no “power grab”; only an inevitable dialogue over ­mechanisms for returning powers from Brussels – powers which were transferred at a time when devolution did not exist.

Not one Scot in a hundred could tell you what points of substance are at stake in this supposed ­constitutional outrage. Faced with the same challenges, Welsh ­ministers defended Welsh interests and reached a settlement. Scottish ­ministers had absolutely no interest in any such outcome for the simple reason that their objective is really not about Brexit at all. So we had the ritual walk-out over the vital issue of whether a vote on an arcane procedural point should be taken at 12.20 p.m. or 1 p.m. The crib sheet for Nationalist MPs left behind even offered stage directions to express “outrage/disappointment” which one might have thought they could be relied upon to manufacture without having it written down.

Nonetheless, Theresa May should take note. Failure to promote a ­sensible outcome that the great majority of us could live with is ­creating a platform for those whose destructive target is not the EU – but the United Kingdom. Another ­reason to remember Matthew 6, v24.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4746087.1529063529!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4746087.1529063529!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon with European Union Chief negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier. (AP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon with European Union Chief negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier. (AP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4746087.1529063529!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4754914.1528995423!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754914.1528995423!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Pro-EU protesters at Westminster this week ' two years after the vote the picture is still no clearer. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Pro-EU protesters at Westminster this week ' two years after the vote the picture is still no clearer. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4754914.1528995423!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5670822690001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/ruth-davidson-increases-pressure-for-migration-target-review-as-gp-rules-relaxed-1-4755005","id":"1.4755005","articleHeadline": "Ruth Davidson increases pressure for migration target review as GP rules relaxed","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529054597000 ,"articleLead": "

Hundreds more doctors from outside Europe will be available to NHS bosses in Scotland to help ease the recruitment crisis in the biggest relaxation of immigration policy in more than a decade.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755004.1529054595!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ruth Davidson has criticised the immigration target. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The UK government is expected to announce that it is removing NHS workers from the cap on tier-2 skilled worker visas, clearing a bottleneck that has prevented badly-needed doctors and nurses from being recruited to meet growing demand for healthcare.

An additional 8,000 skilled migrants in other professions including IT, engineering and teaching are expected to be allowed to come to the UK each year under the proposals.

It is a significant victory for the new Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who said he would examine the cap following concerns about doctors with job offers in the UK being turned away by immigration authorities.

The reports were welcomed by the British Medical Association (BMA) Scotland, the Scottish Government and the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who said “changing the rules to permit more doctors, engineers and other highly skilled professionals entry to the UK is good for the NHS and good for the economy”.

Ms Davidson has stepped up calls on Theresa May to review a controversial net migration target of 100,000 to boost the economy and ease pressure on public services, with Brexit expected to see a significant drop in workers arriving from EU countries. However, Downing Street has so far resisted any demands for a relaxation in immigration policy.

The number of workers from countries outside the European Economic Area allowed into the UK with a tier-2 visa is capped at 20,700 annually, a limit that has repeatedly been breached in every month since December as employers increasingly recruit from outside the EU.

GPs had warned Mr Javid of a “desperate need” for the cap to be lifted amid escalating patient demand and growing shortages of doctors in some roles.

In the three months to March 2018, more than 1,500 visa applications from doctors with job offers in the UK were refused as a result of the cap, according to the British Medical Journal.

The Home Office declined to comment on leaks. The exemption for NHS staff is expected to be time-limited.

The BMA Scotland welcomed the move to help ensure the supply of doctors meets demand. In the past few months, new figures have revealed how NHS Scotland staff have reported concerns about staff shortages 16,600 times in the past four years, while £26 million was paid in overtime to nurses in midwives last year.

Peter Bennie, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, last month met MEPs in Brussels to warn that “cutting off” the supply of EU medics coming to work in Scotland after Brexit will have a “disastrous” impact on the NHS.

BMA Council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said yesterday: “It will be a relief to patients and staff across the NHS that common sense has finally prevailed and the tier-2 visa restrictions on non-EU doctors and nurses are to be lifted. These regulations have prevented thousands of non-EU doctors being allowed to work in the UK to fill empty posts that the health service is unable to fill.

“The NHS has always relied on these highly-skilled, experienced overseas doctors to provide frontline care to patients, and they are needed more than ever at a time when the NHS is under mounting pressure from rising demand, stagnating funding and staff shortages.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “We wrote to Home Office Ministers in April to highlight the difficulties that visa refusals present to public services and businesses, and therefore welcome any proposed changes to policy that would mitigate the negative impact current immigration policies have on Scotland’s needs.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755004.1529054595!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755004.1529054595!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ruth Davidson has criticised the immigration target. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ruth Davidson has criticised the immigration target. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755004.1529054595!/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/teacher-hits-out-at-vague-tests-for-five-year-olds-1-4754993","id":"1.4754993","articleHeadline": "Teacher hits out at ‘vague’ tests for five-year-olds","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529054529000 ,"articleLead": "

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754992.1529054527!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tests have been criticised."} ,"articleBody": "

Standardised testing for five-year-olds have been set up to be “deliberately vague” to support the notion that Scotland’s attainment gap is closing, a primary teacher has claimed.

The claim was made in an email sent by the teacher to the Labour Party which outlines a series of criticisms of the controversial system of tests that primary one pupils have to carry out.

Under the system, five-year-olds have to sit literacy and numeracy tests lasting around 50-minutes. Critics have complained that testing children at such a young age creates undue anxiety and pressure.

The Edinburgh-based teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, voiced concerns about the system saying in school it had taken 30 hours of teacher time for numeracy and 40 hours for literacy to set the tests for 54 pupils.

According to the teacher, the test questions tended to be “very poorly phrased – often at best they are ambiguous and at worst they are so badly written that they are actually misleading”.

The teacher was also concerned by the outcome of the tests, which have been introduced by the Scottish Government for P1, P4, P7 and S3 pupils amid concern about falling standards and the lack of consistent data across the country. According to the teacher, primary one pupils are categorised as either high, medium or low.

“Having watched the children complete the tests I also have no confidence in the validity of the assessment of any of those three categories,” the teacher said. “Out of our 54 children, not one child came out as low on the numeracy test, even though some of them only gave a handful of correct answers. This assessment does not in any way support or marry up with the detailed understanding that we have developed over the past year of the strengths, challenges and support needs of our children.”

The teacher went on to suggest the tests had been created to support the notion that the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils was closing.

“The only conclusion I can reach having watched this process from beginning to end is that these tests have been set up to give a deliberately vague picture which broadly supports the idea that the attainment gap is closing,” the teacher said.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard raised some of the points made in the teacher’s email at First Minister Questions when he challenged Nicola Sturgeon to scrap the tests for five-year-olds.

Ms Sturgeon defended the regime. She said: “The vast majority of teacher feedback as I understand it has been positive about the depth of the diagnostic information available.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4754992.1529054527!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754992.1529054527!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tests have been criticised.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tests have been criticised.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4754992.1529054527!/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/creative-scotland-must-address-strategic-failings-says-holyrood-committee-1-4755067","id":"1.4755067","articleHeadline": "Creative Scotland must address ‘strategic failings’, says Holyrood Committee","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529051488000 ,"articleLead": "

Creative Scotland decision-making on funding fell well below the standard expected of a public body, a Holyrood inquiry has concluded.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755066.1529057056!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Janet Archer, Chief Executive Officer of Creative Scotland. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament"} ,"articleBody": "

A damning letter from the Culture Committee to chief executive Janet Archer said confidence in the arts funding organisation had been “badly damaged” by its actions earlier this year.

The committee held an inquiry after widespread criticism of Creative Scotland’s decision to axe funding to some companies.

A decision to hold an emergency meeting in February to reconsider some applications, without telling the wider sector, “appears to have undermined the sector’s confidence in Creative Scotland’s decision-making and underlying strategic approach to funding,” the letter said.

MSPs said it was a “serious matter” that while Creative Scotland said its board was unaware of any factual inaccuracies in assessment reports, this had been contradicted by written evidence from the companies involved.

The committee said it was “very concerned” by the handling of regular funding applications from touring theatre and dance companies which “fell well below the standard that is expected from a non-departmental public body”.

The approach the organisation had taken had “hampered the sector’s trust in Creative Scotland and added to ongoing uncertainty for the sector at a time when the funding pressures on the sector are already high”, the letter said.

A failure to address strategic issues within Creative Scotland at an earlier stage had left the sector “in a very challenging position”, it warned.

Concerns were also raised that too much regular funding was being directed away from artists towards network organisations.

The committee called on Creative Scotland to urgently address its strategic failings.

Convener Joan McAlpine MSP said: “We received unprecedented levels of representations from within the sector following Creative Scotland’s handling of regular funding for 2018-21.

“With more than 50 responses from artists and arts organisations, it is clear to us that the confidence of a significant element of the cultural sector in Creative Scotland’s regular funding process has been badly damaged.

“In particular we felt that the handling of the process in relation to touring theatre and dance companies fell well below the standard that is expected from a non-departmental public body.”

Deputy convener Claire Baker MSP added: “The committee has expressed serious concern over Creative Scotland’s regular funding for the 2018-21 period.

“We keenly await its written response to the issues we have raised and have set a deadline of August 31.

“We will also invite representatives of Creative Scotland to appear before the committee again when Parliament returns from summer recess.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755066.1529057056!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755066.1529057056!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Janet Archer, Chief Executive Officer of Creative Scotland. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Janet Archer, Chief Executive Officer of Creative Scotland. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755066.1529057056!/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/joyce-mcmillan-sting-musical-shows-peril-of-brexit-1-4754948","id":"1.4754948","articleHeadline": "Joyce McMillan: Sting musical shows peril of Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529038800000 ,"articleLead": "

On stage at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh, a company of 18 actors playing English working-class people gather to belt out their final number, a reprise of a mighty anthem called When The Last Ship Sails.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754947.1529001032!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Last Ship - Edinburgh Festival Theatre"} ,"articleBody": "

They gaze straight into the audience, as if inviting us to rush on stage and join them in their struggle; their voices are the voices of Tyneside, not so many miles south of Edinburgh, and as the show dazzles to its dream-like conclusion, with giant images of a great ship called Utopia thundering down the slipway to the sea, the young narrator rolls out a litany of resistance to “the world as it is”, ranging from Upper Clyde Shipbuilders in the 1970s, to Parkland, Florida, this year.

The show, of course, is Sting’s 2014 musical The Last Ship, now given a complete new script and production by Lorne Campbell, the young Scottish artistic director of Newcastle’s Northern Stage. The story is based on Sting’s own experience of growing up in a shipbuilding community on the Tyne; and it’s set in the pivotal decade of the 1980s, when Britain’s shipbuilding industry was all but wiped out by the fierce free-market ideology of Margaret Thatcher’s government.

The shipyard at the centre of the story is about to close, in a flurry of cruelly dismissive language - “dispensable”, “not viable” - from the government; but the people, led by a respected foreman played with passion by Joe McGann, sense something profoundly wrong with a world-view that dismisses them, their community and their skills as somehow completely worthless. So they fight, occupying the yard, completing the ship; and although any student of history knows that they lost in the end, the show’s ending transforms their struggle into a great symbol of resistance, nonetheless.

It’s not unusual for British film and fiction to revisit the Eighties, of course; it was a dramatic decade. Yet there was something about the physical presence of this living army of Tyneside actors on stage in Edinburgh - and the ecstatic, visionary quality of the final scene - that made me think hard, for a moment, about the alternative British future that was lost during that decade; the one where the ties that united working-class people across these islands were not crushed and pushed to the margins of politics, where trade unions remained a power in the land, and where the Labour party continued to represent the interests of ordinary workers, rather than ditching them to flirt with the bankers who brought us the 2008 crash.

I was thinking, in other words, of a Britain of 2018 that might have looked more like a sensible Nordic social democracy; and less like a deluded and bitterly divided ex-imperial power about to shoot itself in both feet by leaving the European Union, and preparing to sell off the last of its family silver - including the NHS - in a desperate quest for new trade deals with the big beasts of global commerce.

For the truth is that the constitutional impasse in which we now find ourselves - with Westminster MPs held hostage by the EU referendum result, and almost half of Scots ready to give up on the Union altogether - can all be traced back to that crucial decade, when the complex institutions and ideals of solidarity that bound postwar Britain together began to be talked down, sneered at, and gradually dismantled by an increasingly “radicalised” Conservative Party, never sufficiently opposed by New Labour.

Those who were not interested in such rabid cash-driven individualism, and wanted a politics better balanced between the individual and the collective, eventually began to have no option but to look to other levels of government - notably to the increasingly popular idea of Scottish devolution - to fulfil those social-democratic aspirations. And it is because they fail to grasp this profound element of traditional left-right politics in Scotland’s gradual move towards greater self-government, that many outside observers of the last 30 years of Scottish politics so often completely misread them.

In the effort to escape from extreme neoliberal economics, Scots turned first to the parties of devolution, and then, when New Labour moved too far to the right, to the SNP, which Alex Salmond had decisively placed on the centre left. And today, with a bizarre group of wealthy Brexit extremists exerting what seems an undue influence on Theresa May’s precarious UK government, even some on the centre-right are beginning to ponder whether Scotland should not go it alone, rather than be dragged down by this latest and most extreme right-wing scam, for which, once again, we did not vote.

So let it be said, loud and clear, that Scotland stands where it does this week - with two-thirds of its Westminster MPs marching from the Commons chamber in protest at the UK government’s approach to the Scottish dimension of Brexit - not because of some outbreak of blue face-painting or irrational patriotic sentiment (indeed, surveys have shown that Scotland’s sense of “Scottishness” has been in slight decline during this period), but simply because, over the years, the UK has become too right-wing to sustain the institutions and policies that held it together.

Scottish voters, in a large majority, do not want Brexit, do not want huge income inequalities, would prefer to see public services like the NHS in public hands, and do not want an ideology that values people only for what they own and what they earn, and not at all for what they do or create, and how they care for those more vulnerable than themselves. They share those values with millions of voters in England whose voices seem barely to have been heard, these last 30 years. And The Last Ship in Edinburgh (and in Glasgow next week) comes as a sharp, living reminder that the future of the UK may finally depend on whether that voice of solidarity and common sense can once again make itself fully heard in English politics; or is to remain marginalised and outvoted for ever, while the Brexiteers do their worst, and Scotland finally decides to sling its hook, and set a course of its own.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4754947.1529001032!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754947.1529001032!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Last Ship - Edinburgh Festival Theatre","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Last Ship - Edinburgh Festival Theatre","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4754947.1529001032!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}