{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"politics","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/glasgow-secures-linda-mccartney-photography-exhibition-1-4844283","id":"1.4844283","articleHeadline": "Glasgow secures Linda McCartney photography exhibition","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544794769883 ,"articleLead": "

Intimate family portraits captured at the Argyll home of former Beatle Paul McCartney's home in Argyll during the sixties and seventies are to go on display in the UK for the first time.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4844282.1544794869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Linda McCartney captured this image of her husband Paul with children Mary and Heather in Campbeltown, Argyll, in 1970."} ,"articleBody": "

Kelvingrove art gallery in Glasgow has secured a major exhibition drawn from the extensive archives amassed by the late Linda McCartney, the American photographer and musician who married the chart-topping star in 1969.

Due to open next July, the six-month exhibition will also feature images of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton which were taken by McCartney, who passed away in 1998 after a battle with breast cancer,

The exhibition, put together by Sir Paul, and the couple's children Stella and Mary, will include a number of images taken at the family home at High Park Farm in Campbeltown, which McCartney bought try to protect his earnings from the taxman.

The McCartneys famously retreated there after the break-up of The Beatles in 1970.

Born in New York in 1941, Linda McCartney began her career in photography in the 1960s and would continue working until she passed away.

Sir Paul said: \"Linda would have been so proud of this exhibition being held in Scotland, a country she loved so much and spent so many happy days in.\"

Stella McCartney, added: \"Through these images you meet the real mother I knew. You see her raw and deep talent and passion for her art, photography.

\"Ahead of her time on every level this mother of four still held her camera close like a companion, she captures the world around her through her eyes and this can be seen on the walls around the exhibition.

Her humour, her love of family and nature and her moments framed with a slight surreal edge.

\"Scotland was one of her favourite places on earth and so many images were taken there.\"

David McDonald, chair of Glasgow Life, which runs Kelvingrove on behalf of the city council, said: \"This fascinating exhibition explores the full spectrum of photographic work by Linda McCartney, from her early career as a woman photographer working in a sector dominated at the time by men to her documentation of her family life and the natural world.

“Curated by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney this retrospective provides us with a fascinating and rare insight into a brilliant artist during the different periods of her photographic practice.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4844282.1544794869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4844282.1544794869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Linda McCartney captured this image of her husband Paul with children Mary and Heather in Campbeltown, Argyll, in 1970.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Linda McCartney captured this image of her husband Paul with children Mary and Heather in Campbeltown, Argyll, in 1970.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4844282.1544794869!/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/rise-in-young-scots-at-risk-of-exploitation-by-extremists-police-warn-1-4844249","id":"1.4844249","articleHeadline": "Rise in young Scots at risk of exploitation by extremists, police warn","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544793303000 ,"articleLead": "

There has been an increase in the number of young people believed to be at risk of exploitation by extremists in Scotland, according to police figures.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4844248.1544793301!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aqsa Mahmood, left, from Glasgow was described as a "bedroom radical" who travelled to Syria and married an Isis fighter in 2014"} ,"articleBody": "

A total of 28 children under the age of 15 were referred to the UK Government’s Prevent scheme over the course of 2017-2018, with a further 34 people aged between 15 and 20 also referred.

The numbers are up, with eight people under-15 and 23 aged between 15 and 20 referred to the scheme in the previous year.

Prevent was set up to “stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism”, Police Scotland said.

North of the border, the strategy aims to tackle all forms of violent extremism and terrorism, including international, Northern-Ireland related and extreme right-wing groups.

The Police Scotland figures show a total of 104 people were referred to Prevent last year, up from 59 in 2016-17.

In 35 cases, it was found no further action was needed, while 66 referrals were passed on to other agencies. Three cases are said to be “ongoing”.

According to the police document, 40 of the referrals came from education bodies, including schools, universities and colleges.

The bulk of the concerns focused on “international extremism”, with “extreme right-wing” also given as a main reason for referring someone.

The report acknowledged a rise in “extreme right-wing groups” across the UK and stated an increased awareness among the public reflected the heightened number of concerns.

Men made up the majority of the referrals at 96, with eight women being referred.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Johnson said: “The Prevent strategy in Scotland is delivered through a multi-agency approach which seeks to safeguard individuals vulnerable to radicalisation.

“All partners and communities can have trust and confidence in the process and the latest publication of Prevent referral data is an important step in increasing the transparency of this vital activity.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Lewis Mackenzie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4844248.1544793301!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4844248.1544793301!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Aqsa Mahmood, left, from Glasgow was described as a "bedroom radical" who travelled to Syria and married an Isis fighter in 2014","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aqsa Mahmood, left, from Glasgow was described as a "bedroom radical" who travelled to Syria and married an Isis fighter in 2014","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4844248.1544793301!/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/cost-of-staging-brexit-referendum-in-scotland-around-10m-1-4844243","id":"1.4844243","articleHeadline": "Cost of staging Brexit referendum in Scotland ‘around £10m’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544792823000 ,"articleLead": "

The cost of staging the EU referendum in Scotland amounted to around £10 million, according to figures published by the Electoral Commission.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4844242.1544792819!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Electoral Commission calculates the cost per vote in Scotland was �3.66"} ,"articleBody": "

The statistics give detail on the expenditure for administering the vote, including running polling stations across the country and issuing postal votes.

Scotland voted by 62% to 38% to stay within the EU, with all 32 council areas voting to remain.

The Electoral Commission calculates the cost per vote in Scotland was £3.66 - with a total of 2,681,179 people voting, adding up to a total of around £9.8 million.

Regional counting officers’ expenses for Scotland added up to £43,766.05 - a total that amounted to £27.95 over its funding allocation.

The total UK cost of delivering the vote on the EU in June 2016 totalled around £130 million.

The Electoral Commission will submit its recommendations on spending to the Cabinet Office to be considered for future elections.

Asked whether Prime Minister Theresa May regarded the cost of staging the referendum as good value for money, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The decision to hold a referendum was taken by the previous government.

“What is important now is that we are focused on delivering the result.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "LEWIS McKENZIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4844242.1544792819!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4844242.1544792819!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Electoral Commission calculates the cost per vote in Scotland was �3.66","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Electoral Commission calculates the cost per vote in Scotland was �3.66","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4844242.1544792819!/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/your-say/letters-derek-mackay-s-robin-hood-budget-could-bring-him-an-arrow-in-the-back-1-4844054","id":"1.4844054","articleHeadline": "Letters: Derek Mackay’s Robin Hood budget could bring him an arrow in the back","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544777773000 ,"articleLead": "

Letters to the editor: Friday, 14 December

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4844053.1544777768!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon and Derek Mackay on their way to the debate on the Scottish Government's draft spending and tax plans for 2019-20. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay’s budget proposals mean middle and higher income earners in Scotland will continue to pay more income tax than elsewhere in the UK.

While everyone earning over £33,000 will decidedly pay more here, the amounts aren’t massive, at least for ­middle income earners – so why ­bother?

The generosity of the ­Barnett Formula has long allowed more to be spent on public services north of the Border – not SNP tax tinkering. The reality is that Mr Mackay simply adheres to the nationalist party line of making anything they touch different to the rest of the UK, merely for the sake of manufacturing a difference.

So, if indyref2 were ever to happen, cue Nicola Sturgeon inevitably constructing a ­narrative that pretty much ­everything is divergent already in Scotland – independence just rubber stamps matters.

If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool nationalist you’ll nod approvingly – the rest of us marvel at the petty pointlessness of it all. Mr Mackay’s tax tinkering is a fiscal equivalent of adding Gaelic to road signs – different to England yet essentially futile.

Martin Redfern


Finance Minister Derek Mackay is sticking to his guns with a determination to rob the rich and give to the poor in Scotland with the highest personal taxation system in the UK.

This in addition to the ­crippling commercial taxes introduced could well be the straw that will break the back of the Scottish economy, which is currently in the doldrums.

Derek Mackay should be warned that while pioneering a punitive taxation system for Scotland may make him ­popular in the SNP party, it is the pioneers that end up with arrows in their backs.

Dennis Forbes Grattan


Mr Mackay is being true to form and simply carrying on regardless with the SNP’s desire to close attainment gaps artificially ( ‘Mackay’s budget moves on tax will hit middle earners’, Scotsman, December 13.)

This budget is obviously counter productive as it cannot stimulate the economy, merely depress it, so where is the logic in running a taxation system based simply on the stick with no carrot being dangled?

Joined-up thinking is not the forte of the SNP, hence the ­myriad previous failed and abandoned policies and the lack of progress in education and the health service.

This budget fails to address these fundamental problems by making recruiting ­badly-needed senior staff even ­harder to do.

As the next Holyrood ­elections are now coming that much closer, the negative results of this budget will take on a big electoral significance. Mr Mackay has obviously not factored that into his calculations.

Dr Gerald Edwards


" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4844053.1544777768!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4844053.1544777768!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon and Derek Mackay on their way to the debate on the Scottish Government's draft spending and tax plans for 2019-20. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon and Derek Mackay on their way to the debate on the Scottish Government's draft spending and tax plans for 2019-20. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4844053.1544777768!/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/why-tories-can-t-be-trusted-with-devolution-joyce-mcmillan-1-4843918","id":"1.4843918","articleHeadline": "Why Tories can’t be trusted with devolution – Joyce McMillan","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544785572000 ,"articleLead": "

The chaos over Brexit is of crucial importance to the powers Scottish ministers will have, says Joyce McMillan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843917.1544774651!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Derek Mackay and Nicola Sturgeon helped return politics to something like normality this week (Picture: Greg Macvean)"} ,"articleBody": "

There was a widespread sigh of relief, this week, as Scotland’s Finance Secretary Derek McKay rose at Holyrood to make his annual draft budget statement; not because the statement was a joyous or even particularly interesting one, but because it seemed to represent a brief oasis of ‘normal’ politics, amid the obsessive Brexit chaos now sweeping Westminster.

Among other familiar bread-and-butter issues, there were Tories arguing that taxes on the well-off should be lower, while the SNP suggested that maintaining those tax levels – while Westminster cuts them – is both sensible and right, to protect Scotland’s public services; and in a week that saw Westminster convulsed by one Brexit-related crisis after another, this straightforward budget discussion seemed like an old political colleague not encountered for a while, and greeted in the lobbies of power with a warm handshake. Nicola Sturgeon even said that it should remind people what “strong and stable” government really looks like; although that seemed a little bit of a stretch, for a Scottish Government not yet certain that its budget can even muster a Holyrood majority.

There is no room, though, for any complacency about the state of Scottish politics; and not only because of the growing threat of a chaotic Brexit. For while, at the moment, the focus is on the searing divisions in British politics opened up by the EU referendum of 2016, the fact is that the 2014 independence referendum also left Scotland deeply divided, with two roughly equal bodies of opinion completely unable to agree, in a dispute that encompasses every aspect of our future collective life, from practical economic policy to the deepest questions of identity and belonging.

And as if to remind us of those divisions, this week the UK Supreme Court delivered its opinion on the legitimacy of the Scottish Parliament’s Continuity Bill, designed to transfer EU legislation in devolved areas into Scottish law, and overwhelmingly approved by the Scottish Parliament in March of this year, with only the Tories voting against. The Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, Ken McIntosh, had already given his opinion that the bill was beyond the Parliament’s powers; Scotland’s Lord Advocate disagreed. And the UK Government, particularly exercised by a clause which suggested that it should not be able to change the balance of powers on devolved matters without the consent of the Scottish Government, decided to take the whole matter to the Supreme Court, in order to ensure that the writ of its own EU Withdrawal Act – complete with sweeping “Henry VIII” powers – would run across the whole of the UK.

READ MORE: Parts of Scottish Brexit bill ruled to be outside of Holyrood’s devolved powers

Now it would be possible to elaborate at some length on the wisdom and elegance of the Supreme Court’s judgment, which both confirms the essential legitimacy of Scottish Parliament’s decision to enact a Continuity Bill, and points out one section of the bill in particular, the one involving consent, which is beyond the Parliament’s powers, along with a few other paragraphs which have become so, thanks to a special amendment written into the UK’s EU Withdrawal Act after the Continuity Bill was passed.

What is most striking about this ruling, though, is the extent to which reactions to it immediately became polarised, with the Scottish Conservatives hailing the result as a well-deserved humiliation for the SNP, while the SNP and ‘Yes’ supporters immediately highlighted the Supreme Court’s recognition that Holyrood had the right to legislate in this matter, and that the British Government had changed the relevant UK legislation – “shifted the goalposts” – following the passage of the Bill.

The response, in other words, was dictated – like attitudes to Brexit at Westminster – by a series of visceral emotional decisions about where we belong, and whom we trust. To me, as a “yes” supporter, it seems pretty clear that a British Conservative Government some of whose supporters still think Ireland – after almost a century of independence – should “know its place”, cannot be trusted with the UK’s devolution settlement of 1998; that their treatment of Scottish opinion throughout the Brexit process has been contemptuous at best, and that their high-handed attitude puts our current devolved institutions at some risk.

Yet to a Conservative like Adam Tomkins MSP, the Scottish Tories’ constitutional spokesman, it seems equally clear that the SNP are just nasty schemers trying to break up the British state by underhand means, and that the Westminster Government are true-blue trusty sorts who, if they do remove powers from Holyrood, will only be doing it for our own good. He described the Supreme Court’s decision as “eviscerating” the Scottish Government’s bill, rejoiced that it had been “left in tatters”, and declared that Holyrood should simply bin it.

And the question that lingers, of course, is how any nation finally moves on from this kind of emotional deadlock. If we look across the sea to Ireland, we see a country that would not now dream of giving up its independence, even though it had to sacrifice a large dissident chunk of its territory to get it, and was so divided on competing visions of it that a bloody civil war ensued; but only time will tell, this time round, whether it is my gut feeling, or Adam Tomkins’s, that is on the right side of history. The common wisdom of Europe, after 1945, was to argue that it never pays, at least on our continent, to indulge in the politics of national identity; and that unity and compromise is always better than separation.

That settlement, though, depended on two things; on the implementation of enlightened postwar economic policies aimed at winning popular consent through full employment and mass prosperity, and on a dominant set of liberal values which allowed full expression and recognition of powerful national and regional identities within existing states. And once a state like the UK falls into the hands of a party and government which accepts neither of those preconditions, all bets are off; which is why the current spectacle at Westminster, increasingly driven by Conservative pro-Brexit extremists, is of such crucial importance to our future, and to the powers and resources future Scottish finance ministers will have to hand, when and if they rise to present their annual budgets for 2020, 2030, and all the years beyond.

READ MORE: Brexit: Imperial dreams leading to Little Britain – Kenny MacAskill

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843917.1544774651!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843917.1544774651!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Derek Mackay and Nicola Sturgeon helped return politics to something like normality this week (Picture: Greg Macvean)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Derek Mackay and Nicola Sturgeon helped return politics to something like normality this week (Picture: Greg Macvean)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843917.1544774651!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5796987730001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/john-swinney-hits-out-at-fife-council-for-scrapping-p1-tests-1-4843975","id":"1.4843975","articleHeadline": "John Swinney hits out at Fife council for scrapping P1 tests","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544776393000 ,"articleLead": "

A controversial national testing regime for five-year-olds in Scottish schools has suffered a fresh blow after one council announced it would be axing the assessments.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843974.1544776389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Swinney. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament"} ,"articleBody": "

Education secretary John Swinney last night hit out at the move by Fife Council, insisting that it made “little sense”.

But he is now facing accusations of having “ lost control of schools policy altogether” from opposition parties.

The action by Fife Council – a national first – comes despite Mr Swinney recently ordering a review of the policy, which could result in a recommendation for them to be scrapped.

Two other councils – Aberdeen and East Lothian – have also looked at the prospect of axing the tests, but have so far stopped short of making the change.

Mr Swinney said: “If Fife Council were to revert to their previous ­systems, P1 pupils would face two assessments per year, rather than the single assessment they currently undertake. It is difficult to see how this would address the concerns raised around workload and pupil experience.

“It is, in fact, the precise opposite of what they claim they are trying to achieve and would cost taxpayers more money to double the tests P1 pupils face. That makes little sense.”

Fife Council said it will revert to the previous PIPs regime, which will still see five-year-olds assessed, but not as part of a national regime.

Although the Scottish Government has a broad responsibility for setting the classroom curriculum, it is councils which employ teachers and have responsibility for the day-to-day running of schools.

Labour education spokesman Iain Gray said: “John Swinney has now lost control of schools policy altogether.

“His flagship education bill was binned, the budget leaves schools facing teachers’ strikes in a matter of weeks and now his national testing is no longer national, at least in Primary 1.

“Again and again he has refused to listen to teachers, parents and the councillors charged with actually delivering education on the ground. He was meant to be a safe pair of hands, but he has now completely dropped the ball.”

The tests for P1 pupils have proved contentious since they were introduced last year. The assessments have prompted claims from teachers they are a waste of time, and reports some youngsters have been left distressed after sitting them.

The Scottish Parliament has already voted for them to be axed after opposition parties combined to defeat the government on the issue earlier this year. This prompted Mr Swinney to order his review of the regime. Ministers insist the tests provide valuable information about where youngsters need help to support their learning and there is little difference from the assessments that all individual councils held before they were introduced. A full meeting of Fife Council yesterday voted 41 to 26 in favour of axing the tests as a motion lodged by Labour co-leader David Ross was passed despite opposition from SNP MSPs.

Councillor Kathleen Leslie, education spokeswoman for the Fife Conservative group, said: “The evidence is overwhelming. These assessments are educationally flawed and potentially damaging to such young children.

“This is another top-down policy by the Scottish Government, which is deeply flawed and poorly thought out.”

A spokesman for Fife Council said: “At a meeting of Fife Council earlier today, councillors agreed to withdraw from the P1 Scottish National Standardised Assessments scheme and replace it with PIPs assessments from the beginning of school session 2019-20.

“Scottish National Standardised Assessments will continue for P4, P7 and S3.”

The ruling administration in Aberdeen has expressed an interest in scrapping the tests. In East Lothian, council officers have also been ordered to look into whether the tests could be axed.

Liberal Democrat leader and North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie said: “It is now up to councils to see sense. Fife Council have done the right thing today.

“Teachers say national testing of five-year-olds wastes valuable class time and doesn’t tell them anything they do not already know.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843974.1544776389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843974.1544776389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Swinney. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Swinney. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843974.1544776389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5681801427001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/scottish-ballet-pays-tribute-after-its-first-stage-star-passes-away-1-4843969","id":"1.4843969","articleHeadline": "Scottish Ballet pays tribute after its first stage star passes away","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544767200000 ,"articleLead": "

Tributes have been paid to Scottish Ballet’s first ballerina after she passed away – four years after winning a landmark legal social care case.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843968.1544738348!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Ballet principal ballerina Elaine McDonald performs the Dying Swan from Swan Lake in February 1983."} ,"articleBody": "

Elaine McDonald spent 20 years with the company and was a leading figure in its formation in Glasgow in 1969.

Performances of its ongoing Christmas show Cinderella are now being dedicated to the memory of McDonald.

Born in 1943, she was renowned for her partnership with Scottish Ballet’s first artistic director, Peter Darrell, and briefly took over from him when he died in 1987.

She had relocated from Bristol in 1969 when Darrell decided to relocate his Western Theatre Ballet company to Glasgow, where it was renamed.

McDonald, who was left disabled after suffering a stroke in 1999, hit the headlines in later life when her local authority in London, where she had moved to, ruled she was not entitled to an overnight carer to help her go to the bathroom.

She took the case, which was backed by the charity Age UK, to the Westminster government and then the European Court of Human Rights, which partially ruled in her favour.

A spokeswoman for Scottish Ballet said: “Elaine was a great inspiration to our founder Peter Darrell. Their artistic relationship was central to the development of modern ­British ballet.

“Known for her extraordinary artistic range, she created the principal roles in many of Peter Darrell’s major new works, including Sun into Darkness, Tales of Hoffman, Mary Queen of Scots and Cinderella. She was also highly acclaimed in several of Darrell’s new productions of great romantic and classical ballets such as Giselle and Swan Lake.

“She performed with Scottish Ballet and as a guest artist around the world, one highlight of which was dancing opposite Rudolf Nureyev in La Sylphide in Madrid and then at the London Coliseum.”

Christopher Hampson, artistic director and chief executive, said: “Elaine was a rare talent, a truly creative artist and a leading ballerina of her generation. She dedicated her entire performing life to Scottish Ballet and, in turn, we dedicate our performances of Cinderella to her memory.”

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s chief executive, said: “We’re deeply saddened to hear of the ballerina and activist Elaine McDonald’s passing and our thoughts are with her family and friends. Just like she captivated audiences on 
Scottish Ballet’s stage in her earlier days, her presence and voice held another stage in ­later life.

“She became a well-known human rights trailblazer when she took her council to the European Court of Human Rights to request a night carer to support her additional needs as a disabled person.

“While she didn’t win round the clock support that she needed, it was the first time the court said a failure to consider a person’s dignity can be a breach of human rights. Her strength and persistence as a social care activist will be a lasting legacy.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843968.1544738348!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843968.1544738348!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scottish Ballet principal ballerina Elaine McDonald performs the Dying Swan from Swan Lake in February 1983.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Ballet principal ballerina Elaine McDonald performs the Dying Swan from Swan Lake in February 1983.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843968.1544738348!/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/new-measures-planned-to-create-zero-tolerance-of-harassment-at-scottish-parliament-1-4843977","id":"1.4843977","articleHeadline": "New measures planned to create ‘zero tolerance’ of harassment at Scottish Parliament","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544767200000 ,"articleLead": "

Complaints of sexual harassment against MSPs and former MSPs will be investigated independently and no longer time-barred under changes designed to introduce a culture of “zero tolerance”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843976.1544739028!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Parliament. Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

The Joint Working Group on Sexual Harassment recommends that complaints against MSPs be referred to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards and that the one-year limit on raising complaints be scrapped.

A report published yesterday says complaints against former MSPs or former members of staff should also be investigated.

However, it notes that in such cases parliamentary sanctions can no longer be applied, citing a case where Holyrood’s standards committee decided it couldn’t do anything.

Earlier this year, the committee found there was a lack of confidence in the way complaints are handled.

It followed the resignation from the SNP of former minister Mark McDonald after he admitted causing a woman “considerable distress” after sending inappropriate text messages.

Former First Minister Alex Salmond is currently taking legal action against the Scottish Government after it initiated complaint proceedings following allegations of sexual misconduct. Mr Salmond has denied any wrongdoing.

Following a confidential survey of people working at Holyrood, the new report calls for the introduction of “an overarching policy on sexual harassment,” setting out a zero tolerance policy.

It calls for the creation of an independent support service as a route which people can use to make a formal complaint.

And it says formal complaints should be investigated independently of parliament and political parties, meaning by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards for MSPs.

A joint letter to staff from Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh and Scottish Parliament chief executive Paul Grice said: “Important as policies and procedures are, we each have a duty to ensure our own behaviour meets the standard expected and to challenge the behaviour of others that falls short.

“And, while we want to ensure that any complaint is dealt with sensitively and fairly, we remain focussed on our goal of preventing sexual harassment happening in the first place. Achieving that will require the combined efforts of the parliament, the political parties and all those who work in and visit Holyrood and we are grateful for your continued support.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are committed to ensuring that everyone has the right to live their life free of abuse, harassment and intimidation, and expect all employers to provide safe and supportive environments for their employees.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843976.1544739028!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843976.1544739028!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scottish Parliament. Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Parliament. Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843976.1544739028!/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/outsourced-army-recruitment-fails-to-deliver-1-4843997","id":"1.4843997","articleHeadline": "Outsourced army recruitment fails to deliver","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544767200000 ,"articleLead": "

The British Army has failed to meet recruitment targets as it “under-estimated the complexity of what it was trying to achieve” when it embarked on a project with outsourcing giant Capita, a report has said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843996.1544739676!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The firm has failed to meet its targets in each year. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

Capita was controversially awarded the £495 million contract for Army recruitment in 2012, but the Army has not recruited the number of soldiers it requires in any year since the contract began.

The Commons Defence Committee was told in October that the Army currently has 77,000 fully trained troops compared with a target of 82,500.

A report by the National Audit Office (NAO), published today, found there were “significant problems” with the British Army Recruiting Partnering Project.

These included an online recruitment system that was planned for launch in July 2013 but launched 52 months late in November 2017 at a cost of £113m – triple the original budget.

Capita has consistently missed the Army’s recruitment targets, with the total shortfall ranging from 21 per cent to 45 per cent of the Army’s requirement, the report said.

The Army and Capita have introduced some “significant changes” in the last year, but none have resulted in enough soldiers being recruited, according to the NAO.

The report found that it took up to 321 days for new recruits to go from starting an application to beginning basic training, and that many drop out of the process while waiting.

Figures relate to half of regular soldier applicants in the first six months of 2018-19.

A total of 47 per cent of applicants dropped out of the process voluntarily in 2017-18, and both the Army and Capita believe the length of the process is a significant factor in this, the report said.

People trying to join the Army experienced technical problems with the online recruitment system after its launch.

The Army estimates there were 13,000 fewer applications between November 2017 and March 2018 than in the same period the previous year. This could lead to up to 1,300 fewer enlistments.

The NAO found that neither the Army nor Capita tested changes to the recruitment process before it was introduced and the number of local recruitment centres was cut from 131 to 68 to save costs. It said the project will not achieve its planned savings of £267m for the Ministry of Defence. Capita’s 10-year contract will end in 2022.

Both the Army and Capita “believe that recent changes will improve the recruitment of regulars and officers”, the report said.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843996.1544739676!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843996.1544739676!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The firm has failed to meet its targets in each year. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The firm has failed to meet its targets in each year. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843996.1544739676!/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/kevan-christie-what-plato-had-to-say-about-brexit-1-4843775","id":"1.4843775","articleHeadline": "Kevan Christie: What Plato had to say about Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544767200000 ,"articleLead": "

The European Court of Justice ruling that Brexit can be unilaterally halted by the UK, – meaning we can put a stop to our two-year bender and come home with our tail between our legs – should have led to parties in the street.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843774.1544715363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Plato and Aristotle, right, chat about the dangers of Nigel Farage 2,378 years ago (Picture: Picture Post/Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

It means the UK has our very own ‘get out of jail free’ card, allowing us to get back with the EU – provided we agree to behave, drink a bit less and do more jobs around the house. What an opportunity.

But no, rather than grasp this chance to jump into the liferaft, Theresa May and her kamikaze special attack unit decided to ignore the ruling and plough on with their own version of ‘Deal or No Deal’.

Off she went to get Angela Merkel telt over the Irish border backstop so she could eventually call a vote in the Commons that might have a chance of going through, thus avoiding an embarrassing defeat.

However, her failure to negotiate the car door on arrival in Germany left her with a bigger riddy than any gubbing she would face in Parliament, including the confidence vote.

This immediately put her on the back foot in terms of trying to renegotiate our messy divorce settlement and likely blew any chance she may have had of gaining custody of the Simply Red CDs. But she might still get that DVD of Funeral in Berlin.

I imagine she felt the same as a ScotRail passenger tasked with opening a train door with an outside handle, while a group of angry office workers wait to alight.

At this rate, May will be “coming to a garden centre near you shortly” to while away the time drinking coffee and eating traybakes when she is eventually handed her jotters.

Meanwhile, the Irish passport office has been inundated with Scots asking for their 80 Euros back after realising they were a tad hasty in pretending to be from the Emerald Isle, just to get past airport security a bit quicker.

“But I’ve never even been there, my grandad died before I was born and no I haven’t met my cousin Plunkett ... I don’t even like Guinness.” Of course, I jest but this Brexit malarkey is no laughing matter.

READ MORE: Brexit deal still in limbo as May refuses to name new vote date

As self-appointed spokesperson for ‘most people’ – in this case, the ones who voted for Remain – I’d like to say I did so in the belief that voting to stay in the European Union was the right thing to do.

Born and bred in the Athens of the North, I consider myself an enlightened Renaissance man of upper working-class stock. I can order both a coffee with milk and the bill in Spanish and have been to the Majorcan holiday resort of Santa Ponsa no less than 14 times. You don’t get more European than that.

However, my knowledge of the EU was scant to say the least and, if forced to name a Member of the European Parliament before the referendum, I would have said ... Nigel Farage and left it there. It was something to do with Ted Heath, that rang a bell in the back of my mind, and I always found the Sun headline ‘Up Yours Delors’ funny.

So, no I didn’t really have a clue what I was voting for other than to maintain the status quo.

This is why I find it a bit rich when fellow Remoaners belittle those who voted Leave with the standard accusation that they, like me, didn’t know what they were voting for.

Granted some of them didn’t have a clue and fell for the populist propaganda around the immigration issue and not wanting to let “that Isis” into the UK.

There was all the nonsense around migrants being military men of fighting age as opposed to 12-year-old bairns looking for shelter – so they must have been part of “that Isis”, looking to set up a caliphate in Sunderland. Here’s to you, Tommy Robinson.

READ MORE: EU has fun with Theresa May’s Brexit plight

Then there was the £350 million sent to the EU every week that could supposedly be spent on the NHS, according to Boris and the battle bus. A mere drop in the ocean – NHS Tayside chiefs would have spent that in a fortnight.

But there were genuine concerns around the make-up of the EU, seen by some as a bastion of corrupt neoliberalism as national populism swept across countries like Hungary, Italy, Poland and Austria before landing in the good old US of A.

No less a figure than Jeremy Corbyn (where’s he been hiding?) can barely disguise his contempt for the European Union and the current new version of Old Labour has concerns about the threat migration poses to skilled workers in the frozen north of England.

Of course, the real baddie in all of this is David Cameron.

‘Cam the Bam’ made the schoolboy error of asking the public what they thought. He offered them a choice to keep things as they were or opt for the specials board at the local Wetherspoons, which was offering homemade sticky toffee pudding and ice-cream with a hard Brexit.

This was an open goal to Vote Leave who were ahead of the curve in judging the public to be fed up with elites and feeling their elective representatives did not speak up for blue-collar workers or indeed no-collar workers in the shape of the so-called underclass.

Back in 360BC, Plato the Greek philosopher knew his onions when it came to referenda and the masses.

He believed that “a good decision is based on knowledge and not on a number” and was scared that a majority of people would make poor choices and could be too easily influenced by demagogues.

This is something characters like Farage and Trump have exploited to the maximum but old Plato predicted this kind of thing all those years ago. And yet people still express surprise at the results of the EU referendum and the US election.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kevan Christie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843774.1544715363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843774.1544715363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Plato and Aristotle, right, chat about the dangers of Nigel Farage 2,378 years ago (Picture: Picture Post/Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Plato and Aristotle, right, chat about the dangers of Nigel Farage 2,378 years ago (Picture: Picture Post/Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843774.1544715363!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5796987730001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/theresa-may-confirms-she-won-t-lead-tories-into-next-election-1-4843736","id":"1.4843736","articleHeadline": "Theresa May confirms she won't lead Tories into next election","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544711445442 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May has confirmed she will not lead the Conservative Party into the next general election after surviving a confidence vote in which a third of Tory MPs said they did not support her leadership.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843735.1544711576!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Theresa May"} ,"articleBody": "

Mrs May declined to put a date on her departure, and said she would not stand down as soon as the UK leaves the EU, but will not lead the party into the election scheduled for 2022.

Mrs May won Wednesday’s confidence vote by 200 votes to 117, a margin that has failed to quell divisions over Brexit or demands for her to quit.

READ MORE: Theresa May clings on but is urged to quit by Brexiteers
Jacob Rees-Mogg called on the Prime Minister to resign in the wake of the result, saying it showed she had lost the confidence of a majority of backbenchers.

And Dominic Raab, the former Brexit Secretary, said on Thursday morning that “it looks very difficult to see how this Prime Minister can lead us forward”.

Loyalists hit back, with one minister comparing members of the pro-Brexit European Research Group to ants surviving a nuclear holocaust.

\"They never, ever stop,” said Foreign minister Alistair Burt. “Votes against them, letters going in late - nothing matters to ERG.

\"After the apocalypse, all that will be left will be ants and Tory MPs complaining about Europe and their leader.\"

Arriving at the European Council summit in Brussels, Mrs May was asked to confirm publicly the promise she made behind closed doors to Tory MPs as she sought their support on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Theresa May returns to Brussels after surviving bruising Tory confidence vote
She said: \"Yes, I have said that in my heart I would love to be able to lead the Conservative Party into the next general election.

\"But I think it is right that the party feels that it would prefer to go into that election with a new leader.\"

Asked whether she has a date in mind, she said: \"No. People try to talk about dates. What I'm clear about is the next general election is in 2022 and I think it's right that another party leader takes us into that general election.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "paris.gourtsoyannis@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843735.1544711576!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843735.1544711576!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Prime Minister Theresa May","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Theresa May","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843735.1544711576!/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/theresa-may-faces-no-confidence-motion-in-her-government-1-4843971","id":"1.4843971","articleHeadline": "Theresa May faces no confidence motion in her Government","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544738510000 ,"articleLead": "

Prime Minister Theresa May is set to face another attempt to topple her administration next week, with Labour and the SNP both considering motions of no confidence in the final days before parliament rises for Christmas.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843970.1544777339!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

Opposition parties are understood to be waiting to see if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn lodges a parliamentary motion of no confidence after the Prime Minister updates the Commons on this week’s EU Council summit, before launching their own bid to force a general election.

Yesterday Downing Street confirmed that the government would defy opposition demands, with MPs not being asked to vote on Mrs May’s Brexit deal before the end of this year.

A Number 10 spokeswoman said yesterday: “The ‘meaningful vote’ will not be brought to Parliament before Christmas.”

The spokeswoman said the vote – which was scheduled for Tuesday this week but postponed by the Prime Minister after she accepted she would lose heavily – will come “as soon as possible in January”. A deadline of 
21 January for parliament to vote on the Brexit terms is set out in legislation.

In Brussels, Mrs May played down the prospects of an “immediate breakthrough” on the so-called Northern Ireland border backstop in talks with EU leaders.

The Prime Minister arrived for the summit seeking fresh legal and political assurances to help get her Brexit deal “over the line” in Parliament.

However, she acknowledged there was a limit to the progress she could make on the issue which has turned so many of her MPs against her during the two-day EU summit meeting.

“My focus now is on ensuring that I can get those assurances that we need to get this deal over the line, because I genuinely believe it’s in the best interests of both sides - the UK and the EU – to get the deal over the line, to agree a deal,” she said.

“But I recognise the strength of concern in the House of Commons and that’s what I will be pushing to colleagues.

“I don’t expect an immediate breakthrough, but what I do hope is that we can start work as quickly as possible on the assurances that are necessary.”

EU leaders arriving for the meeting insisted that while they want to be helpful to Mrs May, they are not prepared to reopen negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement. Another emergency summit is expected in January.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, who met Mrs May in The Hague on Tuesday, said they need to “demystify” the backstop.

“It will be impossible to break open the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement. That is a given,” he said.

Mr Rutte added: “There is nobody in his right mind in the European Union who wants to trigger the backstop because it is bad news not only for the UK but for the EU.”

Mr Corbyn said: “It is clear there will be no changes to the deal the Prime Minister brought back last month.

“There must be no more dither and delay … the Prime Minister should put her deal before Parliament next week.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843970.1544777339!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843970.1544777339!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Theresa May (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843970.1544777339!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5796987730001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-budget-warning-some-could-take-home-just-30p-in-the-pound-1-4843914","id":"1.4843914","articleHeadline": "Scottish Budget: Warning some could take home just 30p in the pound","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544729302000 ,"articleLead": "

Economists have said some higher rate taxpayers in Scotland could take home as little as 30p in the pound following decisions in the Scottish Government draft budget.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843705.1544729296!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Finance Secretary Derek Mackay delivered his draft budget yesterday. Picture: PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay outlined the Scottish Government’s draft tax and spending plans for 2019-20 on Wednesday.

These included freezing the threshold for the higher rate of income tax at £43,430, at odds with the rest of the UK, where it will increase to £50,000 from April.

This widens the tax gap for higher rate taxpayers from the existing difference in rates of 41p in Scotland compared to 40p elsewhere in the UK, introduced in last year’s Scottish Government shake-up of income tax rates and bands.

Members of the Scottish Fiscal Commission predict the changes will lead to some higher rate taxpayers leaving Scotland or deter others from moving in, with the total behavioural changes expected to cost £6 million next year.

READ MORE: Middle earner tax gap between Scotland and rest of UK rises

They pointed out the forecast reduction would involve small hundreds of taxpayers and freezing the threshold is expected to boost tax take by £68 million.

The commission’s head of economy, income tax and VAT, David Stone, said: “We try to think about how it will affect behaviour.

“If you are currently sat at £45,000 and facing a 53% marginal tax rate, you put student loan repayments and pension contributions on that as well, you could be taking home as little as 30p in the pound.

“So the incentive to go for a promotion, work more hours it is going to have an effect in the income range and we’ve tried to capture that in our behavioural costing.”

READ MORE: Recap updates as Derek Mackay delivers speech

Commission chief executive John Ireland said: “We think that bigger gap will affect where people chose to locate over time, both people thinking of coming to Scotland and people living in Scotland who can either leave Scotland or change their residency.

“We think it will knock off about £6 million from income tax revenues.”

Commission chairwoman Dame Susan Rice warned of the tight labour market in Scotland and said people might “think twice about coming to Scotland for a job”.

The commission also forecasts the Scottish Government could have to pay back £472 million to the UK Government due to differences in the forecast between the block grant and devolved tax take.

It was stressed the number is volatile and could become positive in future years, leading to the UK Government having to pay more to Scotland to reconcile the difference.

Overall, the commission has improved its economic growth forecast for 2018 to a 1.4% rise in GDP from its 0.7% prediction in May.

Recent strong economic performance is credited for the increase, which in 2019 is predicted to be 1.2% rather than the May forecast of 0.8%.

Post-2020 this becomes more subdued, said to reflect forecast low productivity growth.

Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said Nicola Sturgeon is imposing a “tax on aspiration in Scotland”.

“As the impartial Commission says, people who might be thinking of putting in more time, or working to get a bonus may well conclude there is little point, given the extra tax they will have to pay,” he said.

“If the tax gap means that higher rate taxpayers could lose as much as 70p of every £1, is it any wonder it changes the way people behave?”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Most taxpayers will pay less income tax next year than if they lived elsewhere in the UK, while 99% will pay less than they do in the current financial year, assuming the same income.

“Anyone moving to a higher salary will still earn more in take-home pay than they would without any promotion.”

Minister for Public Finance Kate Forbes said: “It is absurd to suggest that anyone will be paying tax at a rate of 70% in Scotland - and any analysis of the actual figures proves this.

“It also is totally incorrect to say that pension contributions or student loan payments are a form of tax, or to suggest that they don’t exist in the rest of the UK.

“Those who do pay more tax than in the rest of the UK also gain the benefit of substantial social entitlements that are not available in the rest of the UK.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843705.1544729296!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843705.1544729296!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Finance Secretary Derek Mackay delivered his draft budget yesterday. Picture: PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Finance Secretary Derek Mackay delivered his draft budget yesterday. Picture: PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843705.1544729296!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brexit-uk-politics-in-persistent-vegetative-state-feargal-cochrane-1-4843738","id":"1.4843738","articleHeadline": "Brexit: UK politics in persistent vegetative state – Feargal Cochrane","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544711589000 ,"articleLead": "

After the Prime Minister survived an attempt to oust her as Conservative party leader, Professor Feargal Cochrane says the UK must understand that there is gridlock in Government and the only things moving are the hands on the Brexit clock that are ticking inexorably towards the 29 March 2019.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843737.1544711586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May is still in power, but British politics seems to be in a persistent vegetative state"} ,"articleBody": "

Theresa May won her confidence vote as leader of the Conservative Party by 200 votes to 117. In one sense, a win is a win and the Prime Minister can soldier on and tout her withdrawal agreement around the EU in the hope of getting some concessions that will make it more acceptable to her party.

But she is limping not striding forwards, her feet of clay dragging more obviously from the steps of Downing Street to the lectern outside the building. For a politician for whom humiliation is an almost weekly occurrence, her problems are only increasing and the Confidence vote last night has done nothing to help her move out of her political purgatory.

During the 2017 General Election when she became aware that things were beginning to unwind for her campaign, she plaintively exclaimed ‘Nothing has Changed – Nothing has Changed’. And the same could be said now. Nothing has changed. The Prime Minister remains the Prime Minister, Brexit still means Brexit – but that also means that there is no coherent policy and there is no viable route forwards.

READ MORE: Theresa May clings on but is urged to quit by Brexiteers

The current Withdrawal Agreement cannot command support within the Conservative Party, never mind the House of Commons and the minority government that is propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Theresa May effectively threw the DUP under the bus with a commitment to a legally binding backstop on the Irish border in the Withdrawal Agreement. But she was then forced to pull the vote in the face of a humiliating defeat, with the DUP left under the wheels of a bus that had stopped. Hardly surprising in this context that the DUP no longer trusts the government as far as it can throw it.

However, despite the soap opera at Westminster and the disarray in UK Brexit negotiations there are some relatively fixed dimensions to keep in mind.

There will not be a UK deal with the EU without a legally enforceable backstop on Ireland.

The EU will not penalise a state that is staying (Ireland) on behalf of one that is leaving (UK). This is something that UK negotiators do not really seem to understand.

The DUP red line on the Withdrawal Agreement is non-negotiable and unless there is a revised legal text on the backstop, they will not support this under any circumstances when it eventually comes before the House of Commons.

READ MORE: Brexit: Imperial dreams leading to Little Britain – Kenny MacAskill

Nothing has Changed – but everything has changed. The choice is now stark. It is boiling down to a choice between the current Withdrawal Agreement, a No Deal car crash, or an extension of Article 50 to allow a second referendum to take place on the Withdrawal Agreement or a vote to remain within the EU.

Theresa May will limp on, flogging a compromise Brexit policy that has no support, to negotiating partners who have little faith in her capacity to deliver it. UK politics is currently in a persistent vegetative state over Brexit, with no capacity to move forwards and no capacity to move backwards.

There is gridlock in government and the only thing moving are the hands on the Brexit clock that are ticking inexorably towards the 29 March 2019 when the UK will, by default, leave the European Union.’

Feargal Cochrane is vice chair of the Political Studies Association and professor of International Conflict Analysis at the University of Kent. He is director of the Conflict Analysis Research Centre and deputy head of the School of Politics and International Relations at Kent. His current research is examining the impact of Brexit on the peace process in Northern Ireland and its devolved institutions.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843737.1544711586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843737.1544711586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May is still in power, but British politics seems to be in a persistent vegetative state","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May is still in power, but British politics seems to be in a persistent vegetative state","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843737.1544711586!/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/theresa-may-returns-to-brussels-after-surviving-bruising-tory-confidence-vote-1-4843614","id":"1.4843614","articleHeadline": "Theresa May returns to Brussels after surviving bruising Tory confidence vote","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544702113000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May heads to Brussels on Thursday seeking fresh concessions for her Brexit deal after emerging from a confidence vote by Tory MPs bloodied and bruised but victorious.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843610.1544702109!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May survived the Tory confidence vote. Picture AFP/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The Prime Minister will address EU leaders at the two-day European Council after seeing off rebels who attempted to remove her from the party leadership, winning by 200 votes to 117 in a secret ballot.

She will hold one-on-one talks with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before the summit opens, after cancelling a planned trip to Dublin on Wednesday in order to fight for her leadership.

After a day of drama in Westminster, the Prime Minister was still faced with the dilemma of how to convince the EU to tweak the Withdrawal Agreement so that it will be passed by Parliament.

Speaking in Downing Street moments after the result was announced, Mrs May acknowledged that a “significant” number of her MPs had voted against her and said: “I have listened to what they said.”

She pledged to seek “legal and political assurances” on the Brexit backstop to allay MPs’ concerns about her Withdrawal Agreement when she attends a European Council summit in Brussels on Thursday.

And she said she and her administration had a “renewed mission”, saying: “Following this ballot, we now need to get on with the job of delivering Brexit for the British people and building a better future for this country.”

READ MORE: Parts of Scottish Brexit bill ruled to be outside Holyrood’s devolved powers

She said this must involve “politicians of all sides coming together and acting in the national interest”.

But she had earlier sowed the seeds for her eventual departure by telling Tory MPs at a meeting of the backbench 1922 committee that she would not lead the party into the next general election, expected in 2022.

According to MPs present at the meeting, she also promised to find a “legally binding solution” to ensuring that the UK does not get permanently trapped in a backstop arrangement to keep the Irish border open after Brexit.

The scale of this task was highlighted by Irish premier Leo Varadkar and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who insisted in a phone call as MPs voted that the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement “cannot be reopened or contradicted”.

DUP leader Arlene Foster, who met Mrs May shortly before the ballot, insisted that “tinkering around the edges” of the agreement would not be enough to win her party’s support for the deal.

Mrs Foster, whose 10 MPs prop up the minority Conservative administration, said she told the PM that “we were not seeking assurances or promises, we wanted fundamental legal text changes”.

Immediately after the vote result was announced by 1922 chairman Sir Graham Brady, she faced calls to resign from Brexit-backing MPs including Jacob Rees-Mogg, who said that she had lost the confidence of more than one-third of her MPs and a majority of backbenchers.

Mr Rees-Mogg said Mrs May should resign “as soon as the Queen has a moment in her diary to see her”.

The hardline European Research Group (ERG) vowed to continue opposing Mrs May’s “disastrous” Brexit deal, with a spokesman warning: “The parliamentary arithmetic remains unchanged.”

But other Brexiteers said they would end their efforts to unseat the Tory leader.

Crispin Blunt said: “The leadership question is now behind us for a year and we must get behind Theresa May in delivering Brexit.”

It was Mrs May’s decision to pull a vote on her deal in the face of what she acknowledged would have been a heavy defeat earlier this week which sparked a new wave of letters of no confidence from Tories, triggering the challenge to her position.

READ MORE: Theresa May clings on but is urged to quit by Brexiteers

Mrs May’s victory in the confidence vote means that another challenge cannot be mounted against her position as Tory leader for a year.

But she still faces the danger of a no-confidence motion in the House of Commons, which could bring her Government down if backed by more than half of all MPs.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the “dismal” deal should be put before MPs next week.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell hinted that Labour could call the motion next week if Mrs May does not get changes to the Withdrawal Agreement that it wants, telling ITV’s Peston: “We will just have to judge what she comes back with on Sunday night, Monday morning, see what the statement is in the House of Commons on Monday and take a proper judgment then.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843610.1544702109!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843610.1544702109!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May survived the Tory confidence vote. Picture AFP/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May survived the Tory confidence vote. Picture AFP/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843610.1544702109!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5967347971001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/parts-of-scottish-brexit-bill-ruled-to-be-outside-holyrood-s-devolved-powers-1-4843515","id":"1.4843515","articleHeadline": "Parts of Scottish Brexit bill ruled to be outside Holyrood’s devolved powers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544697308000 ,"articleLead": "

Both the UK and Scottish Governments claim they have been vindicated after the Supreme Court partially upheld a Brexit bill passed by Holyrood, which is at the heart of a row over an alleged ‘power grab’.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843514.1544695775!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A ruling will be made at the Supreme Court in London today"} ,"articleBody": "

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that except for one section, the Scottish Parliament’s Continuity Bill - which asserts Holyrood’s authority over 24 disputed powers in devolved areas that are returning from Brussels after Brexit - is within the Scottish Parliament’s competence.

Only Section 17, which would require UK ministers to get the consent of their Scottish counterparts before passing subordinate legislation in devolved areas, was found to be outside Holyrood’s competence.

However, because the UK Withdrawal Act, which brings EU law into British statute, received Royal Assent while the Continuity Bill was challenged to the Supreme Court, judges in London found that several more sections of the Scottish bill are now also outside Holyrood’s competence.

READ MORE: Theresa May clings on but is urged to quit by Brexiteers

Responding to the judgement, the Scottish Government accused London of “constitutional vandalism” and having “changed the rules of the game midway through the match.”

The UK Withdrawal Act was added to Schedule 4 of the Scotland Act, a list of legislation that is ‘protected’ and cannot be modified by the Scottish Parliament.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the ruling was “an important vindication” for the Scottish Government.

“With the exception of just one section, the Scottish Continuity Bill WAS within Scottish Parliament competence at point of introduction,” she added.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “The Supreme Court has provided much-needed legal clarity that the Continuity Bill goes beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

“This demonstrates clearly that it was the right thing for the UK Government to refer the Bill to the Court.

“It is now for the Scottish Government to consider how to proceed, and we hope Holyrood will take a pragmatic approach and work constructively with us as we leave the EU.”

The Scottish Government’s Constitutional Affairs Secretary Michael Russell said parts of the Holyrood bill had been “thwarted as a result of steps taken by the UK Government”.

“For the first time ever, UK Law Officers delayed an act of the Scottish Parliament from becoming law by referring it to the Supreme Court,” Mr Russell said.

“Then the UK Government, for the first time ever, invited the UK Parliament to pass a Bill which they knew would cut the powers of the Scottish Parliament without its consent.

“The UK Government changed the rules of the game midway through the match.

“This is an act of constitutional vandalism but that does not take away from the fact this judgment makes clear MSPs were perfectly entitled to prepare Scotland’s laws for Brexit at the time this Bill was passed. The UK Government’s arguments have been clearly rejected.

“We will now reflect on this judgment and discuss with other parties before coming back to Parliament to set out the best way forward.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PARIS GOURTSOYANNIS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843514.1544695775!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843514.1544695775!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A ruling will be made at the Supreme Court in London today","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A ruling will be made at the Supreme Court in London today","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843514.1544695775!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1496158247544"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/main-players/theresa-may-clings-on-but-is-urged-to-quit-by-brexiteers-1-4843444","id":"1.4843444","articleHeadline": "Theresa May clings on but is urged to quit by Brexiteers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544687823000 ,"articleLead": "

Over a third of Conservative MPs voted against Theresa May remaining as Conservative leader as she survived an attempt to oust her, but conceded she could not lead the party into the next general election.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843443.1544648831!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May. Picture: Getty Images."} ,"articleBody": "

Mrs May had vowed to fight “with everything I’ve got” to remain Prime Minister, but signalled she would end her premiership after the UK leaves the EU to stem the anger at her handling of Brexit.

She won the secret ballot of MPs by 200 to 117, having needed a simple majority of 159 votes to survive. Under Conservative Party rules, Mrs May cannot now be ousted for a year.

Before the vote, one Tory MP supporting Mrs May was heard to say that they hoped the victory would “drive a stake through the heart” of the European Research Group of pro-Brexit parliamentarians.

However, the level of opposition is higher than expected and above the number of voted that supporters had briefed as a ‘safe’ margin, meaning her stay in 10 Downing Street could be cut even shorter.

The vote will also do little to end divisions within the Conservative Party over the EU with just weeks until the Commons must endorse a deal or allow the UK to leave without one.

Loyal MPs and ministers said the result was “good” and “clear”, but Nicola Sturgeon said the vote was “barely even a Pyrrhic victory” for a “lame duck Prime Minister saddled with a lame duck Brexit deal”.

Speaking in Downing Street following the result, Mrs May said MPs “now need to get on with the job of delivering Brexit”.

But she conceded that “a significant number of colleagues voted against me, and I have heard what they said”. The Prime Minister said she would go to a European Council summit today seeking “legal and political assurances” on the controversial Irish backstop proposal.

Appearing at a meeting of the backbench 1922 Committee to make her case before MPs cast their votes, Mrs May received an enthusiastic welcome with backers banging their desks in support.

Afterwards, solicitor general Robert Buckland told reporters: “She said ‘In my heart I would like to lead the party into the next election’ and then that was the introductory phrase to her indication that she would accept the fact that that would not happen, that is not her intention.”

And Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said: “She was very clear that she won’t be taking the general election in 2022.”

Earlier, the Prime Minister’s political spokesman had said the Prime Minister “does not believe this vote today is about who leads this party into the next election, it’s about whether to change prime minister now.”

Other MPs indicated that Mrs May had promised to find a “legally binding solution” to ensuring that the UK does not get permanently trapped in a backstop arrangement to keep the Irish border open after Brexit - despite the EU’s insistence that no binding commitments are on offer.

Her decision to defer a vote on the proposed Brexit to avoid a humiliating defeat sparked a new wave of letters of no confidence from Tory MPs, pushing the total beyond the threshold of 48 needed to trigger a ballot.

READ MORE: Brexit deal still in limbo as May refuses to name new vote date

Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, who had campaigned for weeks to trigger a confidence vote in Mrs May’s leadership, said he was not persuaded by the Prime Minister’s assurances.

After the vote he said the result was “terrible” for Mrs May, adding: “She ought to go and see the Queen urgently and resign.”

Fresh challenges await the Prime Minister today as she travels to Brussels for an EU Summit to ask fellow leaders for assurances that the backstop will never be used.

Trouble could break out again at Westminster, where the SNP group held a special meeting yesterday to discuss their response to the abandoned Brexit deal vote, and consider whether to lodge a motion of no confidence in the government that could trigger a general election if supported by Labour.

Responding to the result, the Scottish First Minister said: “This result is barely even a pyrrhic victory for the Prime Minister, who has now admitted her time in office is limited.

“She may have clung on to the Conservative leadership, but her remaining authority has been fatally undermined.

“Even after being forced into saying she would stand down soon, almost 40% of her parliamentary group have voted against her – meaning presumably a majority of her backbenchers did so. In any normal situation, the Prime Minister’s position would be untenable.

“The crisis and chaos currently facing the UK is entirely a result of the vicious civil war that has engulfed the self-centred Conservative Party – at a crucial time in the UK’s history, it has a lame duck Prime Minister saddled with a lame duck Brexit deal.”

Mrs May was informed that she would face a ballot by the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, in a phone call at 10.35pm on Tuesday, after a day of meetings with EU leaders in The Hague, Berlin and Brussels.

In an early morning statement outside 10 Downing Street, Mrs May warned that a change of prime minister would put the UK’s future at risk and could delay or halt Brexit, she insisted she would stay on to “finish the job”.

The Prime Minister cleared the decks to lobby Tory MPs for their backing, cancelling a planned meeting of Cabinet and a trip to Dublin for talks with Irish premier Leo Varadkar.

Despite the risk that her premiership could end within hours, Mrs May put in a bullish performance at Prime Minister Questions, watched by her husband Philip in the public gallery.

Tory elder statesman Kenneth Clarke told MPs that a leadership contest would be “irresponsible and unhelpful”.

None of the Prime Minister’s critics took the opportunity to attack her, while there was strong support from backbenchers including Neil O’Brien, who condemned “headbangers from all sides” for undermining her.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843443.1544648831!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843443.1544648831!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May. Picture: Getty Images.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May. Picture: Getty Images.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843443.1544648831!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5838151705001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/john-mclaren-scottish-budget-likely-to-unravel-as-spending-felt-1-4843438","id":"1.4843438","articleHeadline": "John McLaren: Scottish budget likely to unravel as spending felt","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544680800000 ,"articleLead": "

A very odd Scottish Budget.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843437.1544647476!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Finance secretary Derek Mackay speaks in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament about his spending and tax plans for 2019/20. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament"} ,"articleBody": "

Despite the extra Barnett consequential’s money from the UK Budget, the day-to-day (resource) Scottish budget actually fell in real terms (i.e. its spending power is reduced, after adjusting for inflation) moving from financial year 2018-19 to 2019-20.

This appears to be associated with the Scottish Fiscal Commission having revised down Scottish income tax take by a considerable sum.

As a result, and despite the finance secretary foregoing any increase in the higher tax threshold, Scottish income tax revenue fell, when it should have increased given the policy choice.

This is a big worry for future budgets.

However, we will have to wait to understand this better as the finance secretary did not refer to it in his speech and it was barely brought up in the debate that followed.

Despite the talk of a good deal for local government, the general resource grant (used to support day-to-day spending) fell, in cash terms, by almost £400 million.

However, the finance secretary was helped 
out by a big rise in 
non domestic rates income (NDRI) that supports local government spending.

It seems clear that the Scottish Government take these two sources together in determining a settlement in this area, rather than NDRI being seen as an autonomous funding source for local government.

Further gains were seen in specific resource grants but this may be of limited use in terms of funding the core public services provided by local government.

Despite all the talk of extra NHS funding, only just over half of the health budget’s £724 million increase actually ends up with the NHS.

Instead, it was other, non-NHS, areas of health spending that benefitted the most (in percentage terms), including primary care services and support for social care.

What the overall plan, for NHS spending in particular and health spending in general, is remains as clear as mud.

One area that has done well is investment (capital spending) which rises by 9 per cent in real terms in 2019-20.

So is there a plan, cunning or otherwise, behind all this?

If there is it’s difficult to discern it. The SFC’s contributions, and the associated increased Scottish revenue powers, are making for increasingly difficult budget decisions.

The degree to which higher taxes in Scotland are feeding through to higher spending is questionable, versus what would otherwise have been available using the old system.

The finance secretary may have been able to disguise this on the day of the budget but it is likely to increasingly unravel as time goes on.

It would appear that Brexit is not the only major headache that the finance secretary is facing.

l John McLaren, Scottish Trends

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "John McLaren"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843437.1544647476!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843437.1544647476!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Finance secretary Derek Mackay speaks in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament about his spending and tax plans for 2019/20. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Finance secretary Derek Mackay speaks in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament about his spending and tax plans for 2019/20. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843437.1544647476!/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/a-strange-paradox-at-the-heart-of-the-scottish-economy-bill-jamieson-1-4843418","id":"1.4843418","articleHeadline": "A strange paradox at the heart of the Scottish economy – Bill Jamieson","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544680800000 ,"articleLead": "

Assumptions about the link between employment, average earnings and high street spending no longer seem to apply, writes Bill Jamieson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843417.1544645155!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street draws in shoppers from far and wide but high street spending is declining (Picture: Allan Milligan)"} ,"articleBody": "

These days, you can’t look away for five minutes. The dramatic delay of the crunch EU Withdrawal Agreement vote in the Commons; Theresa May’s desperate whistle-stop mission around European capitals, as embarrassing to watch as it was humiliating to endure; a no-confidence vote triggered by rebellious Tory MPs; then, just before the 9am news yesterday the Downing Street rostrum is trundled out for the PM’s “I’m fighting on” declaration.

Barely had the day begun than we were reeling from it all. And then what? Yet another extension of Brexit Hell – the crisis with no end.

Pity Scotland’s Finance Secretary Derek Mackay who had to give his budget to Holyrood amid the din and cacophony of the greatest political crisis for a generation. This was the time for him to hit the high notes. He might have been Chopin playing etudes on the piano. But who could hear a note amid the thunderstorm?

It is hardly surprising, amid this bombardment of events, that a strange paradox in everyday Scottish life has unfolded. It was barely mentioned in the Scottish budget yesterday. It is one that has defied the most sophisticated forecasts and has yet to yield a credible explanation.

Put simply, it is this: how is it that unemployment in Scotland has fallen to the lowest level recorded, and pay growth across the UK has reached the highest level for a decade – and yet spending in our high streets fell last month – this despite a blitz of ‘Black Friday’ promotions and a rising onslaught of Christmas TV jingles?

By arguably the most important measure of our economic well-being, we have good news to celebrate. Figures this week showed that in the three months August to October, Scotland’s unemployment rate fell to 3.7 per cent, 0.4 percentage points down on the previous quarter. It now stands lower than the UK rate of 4.1 per cent and is the lowest jobless rate in Scotland on record.

Previous Scottish administrations would have declared a national holiday to mark such an achievement. And although overall employment fell very slightly over the quarter, Scotland continues to outperform the UK on employment for females (71.3 per cent against 71.2 per cent for the UK) and for young people (58.8 per cent here compared with 55.9 per cent for the UK overall). Meanwhile, a near-record 848,000 vacancies UK-wide suggests companies remain keen to employ.

READ MORE: Scottish Budget: Middle-earner tax gap between Scotland and UK grows

These figures are all the more startling given the relentless gloom and foreboding over Brexit and the black cloud of uncertainty that protracted negotiations with Brussels have cast over business investment and expansion.

Scotland’s Brexit Secretary Mike Russell has lost no opportunity to warn of gloom and catastrophe set to befall us on a ‘no-deal’ outcome. In this, he has if anything ‘out-doomed’ the Bank of England’s Mark Carney. Indeed, if there was ever to be a Central Bank of Scotland, Mr Russell would be the prime candidate for Governor, warning us of our bleak debt-ridden prospects while expounding on the perils of the bond yield curve inversion (as if).

So, within one paradox lies another: if our future is so appalling, why have so many companies persisted in hiring more staff?

If the fall in unemployment was not cheering enough, pay growth across the UK overall reached the highest level for a decade. Both total and regular annual earnings growth climbed to 3.3 per cent in the three months to October. Regular earnings growth was 3.5 per cent in October while total earnings growth spiked to 3.8 per cent, boosted by higher bonus payments.

READ MORE: Brexit poll: Britons back Theresa May to stay as Prime Minister

And real, after-inflation earnings growth is looking healthier, rising to 1.1 per cent in the quarter from 0.1 per cent in June – taking it to the highest levels since late 2016.

Falling unemployment and higher real earnings: what better background could there be for a consumer spending uplift – particularly in the approach to Christmas?

But retail spending is not buoyant at all. Figures released yesterday by the Scottish Retail Consortium showed retail sales in Scotland falling by 2.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis compare to November 2017 (when they were down by 1.3 per cent).

Total sales in Scotland were down by 1.6 per cent on November last year – the deepest decline for 21 months. And even adjusting for the estimated effect of online sales, total non-food sales are down 4.1 per cent on a year ago.

Said SRC Director David Lonsdale, “Retailers now have a nerve-wracking few weeks leading up to the crucial festive season, after what has been a bruising year for many.”

So what might explain the breakdown of the conventionally assumed relationship between employment, average earnings and high street spending? And if the extra money isn’t flowing into retail, where is it going?

Fractured consumer confidence may be part of the answer. Who can be surprised at the absence of a “feel-good factor” when every day – from the first news bulletins in the morning to last thing at night we are soaked in the minutiae of the Brexit imbroglio and are losing the will to live?

Households may well be taking heed of all those warnings of supply breakdowns, disruptions to medical supplies, food rotting in giant lorries on the M25 and companies including food retailers starting to hoard: all this could be impacting on consumer confidence and our predisposition to spend.

It could also be that most of that extra household income has been gobbled up by higher utility bills – gas, water, electricity and other essential spending items such as rail travel.

Apprehensive shoppers may also be holding off spending until the last few days of Christmas or deferring major purchases altogether until the last week of Christmas.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Fiscal Commission will deliver the detail of its economic forecasts today. It predicts economic growth of 1.4 per cent in 2018 and 1.2 per cent in 2019, reflecting stronger recent economic performance, a more positive prospect for earnings over the next few years and the fiscal expansion announced in the UK Autumn Budget.

The Fraser of Allander Institute says Scotland’s economy is on track to grow at its fastest rate since 2014 – assuming no Brexit debacle. What a caveat! Who could possibly assume that after a week like this?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843417.1544645155!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843417.1544645155!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street draws in shoppers from far and wide but high street spending is declining (Picture: Allan Milligan)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street draws in shoppers from far and wide but high street spending is declining (Picture: Allan Milligan)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843417.1544645155!/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/cutting-scotland-s-drink-drive-limit-fails-to-make-roads-safer-1-4843403","id":"1.4843403","articleHeadline": "Cutting Scotland’s drink-drive limit fails to make roads safer","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544680800000 ,"articleLead": "

The reduced drink-drive limit in Scotland has had no impact on cutting road accidents, a new study has found.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843402.1544644024!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A reduction in the Scottish drink-driving limit has been shown not to have made roads safer"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Government cut the legal blood alcohol limit for motorists from 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood to 50 in December 2014.

It argued the change would help save lives and make the country’s roads safer.

But Jim Lewsey, professor of medical statistics at Glagsow University’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing said the “unequivocal” results of the research was that this “simply did not have the intended effect of reducing 

The “most plausible” explanation for this “surprising” finding was the lower limit in Scotland was not backed up with sufficient police enforcement or media campaigning, he added.

The research, which was carried out alongside NHS Health Scotland, the University of Stirling and the University of East Anglia, looked at police data on road traffic accidents in not just in Scotland but also England and Wales – where the drink-drive limit has remained at 80 millilgrams of alcohol.

This was combined with market research data showing alcohol consumption rates - with the researchers believing the design of the study allowed them to isolate the impact of the policy change.

Prof Lewsey said: “Our findings are surprising, given what we know from previous international evidence, which generally supports a reduction of RTAs following the same lowering of a blood alcohol concentration limit.

“However, the results of our high quality study are unequivocal – they indicate that the reduction in Scotland’s drink-drive limit in December 2014 simply did not have the intended effect of reducing RTAs.”

When the lower drink driving limit was introduced, then-Scottish justice secretary Michael Matheson said he believed the change would “not only reduce accidents but also reduce fatalities on Scottish roads and in that way make Scottish roads safer”.

Prof Lewsey added: “In our view, the most plausible explanation for our findings is that the change in legislation was not backed up with additional police enforcement, nor sustained media campaigning.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843402.1544644024!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843402.1544644024!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A reduction in the Scottish drink-driving limit has been shown not to have made roads safer","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A reduction in the Scottish drink-driving limit has been shown not to have made roads safer","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843402.1544644024!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/how-to-fix-the-nhs-and-scotland-s-health-catherine-calderwood-1-4843424","id":"1.4843424","articleHeadline": "How to fix the NHS and Scotland’s health – Catherine Calderwood","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544680800000 ,"articleLead": "

Improving cancer treatment and mental health care, persuading people to take more exercise, and ensuring parents and babies are healthier are among the most important steps that could be taken to improve the NHS, writes Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4834730.1544645281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Investing in the health of babies is a wise move (Picture: PA)"} ,"articleBody": "

“If you had all the money in the world and were in charge of the NHS, what would you invest in?” – a question asked at a medical school interview this week. Not an easy one to answer but perhaps timely given the increased investment in the NHS in Scotland announced in the budget yesterday.

I wonder what I would have answered as Chief Medical Officer for Scotland. Our population is aging – by 2035 we will have 82 per cent more people aged 75 and over. Increased life expectancy is a good thing – I do not agree with the portrayal of the aging population as a ‘burden’ – and it is a testament to improved healthcare, but we will need more and different health and social care to ensure people live longer healthier lives. On average, 80 per cent of a person’s lifetime NHS spend is in the last two years of life.

Cancer rates are increasing in part because we are living longer – we have improved rates of survival for many cancers, but there is more to be done in earlier detection, access to treatment and research.

READ MORE: NHS Scotland is ‘not financially sustainable’, says watchdog

What about preventing ill health? The first professor of transport and health in the UK, Adrian Davies, was recently appointed at Napier University, recognising the key links between active transport, improving health and the unhealthy environment which exists for many due to our traditional forms of transport.

What can be done to encourage people to exercise more? The recommended daily amount is 30 minutes of moderate activity or 150 minutes a week for adults. The good news is that many of us are doing this. However almost one in five do not walk for more than 20 minutes even once a month – yet it is a simple, free way of improving the risks of diabetes, hypertension, cancer, dementia and improving mood and sleep.

A bank in Ukraine is offering preferential interest rates to those who have an active lifestyle – as measured by step count – and in Singapore employees in high-rise blocks are given rewards at the end of the month if they use the stairs, not the lifts.

The decreasing stigma around mental health issues has led to a positive increase in those coming forward for help. Mental ill-health affects whole families, employment, finances and physical health and we know those with chronic ill-health suffer from more anxiety and depression. We still do not have parity of services for those with mental health issues.

READ MORE: Hayley Matthews: A bit more milk of human kindness for NHS please

Perhaps I can give a steer as to how an obstetrician would have answered that question. The importance of the first 1,000 days of life, including that important time before birth, is beginning to be recognised more widely. Good health of mothers and fathers leaves a lasting legacy for the baby and adult of the future. The knowledge that many adult diseases, such as those mentioned above, originate before we are born is more than 40 years old. The chances of an adult whose mother was obese during her pregnancy having a heart attack aged 50 is five times higher than if the mother was a normal weight.

Anxiety and depression in pregnancy and after birth can result in poor bonding and lead to the risk of mental ill-health for the child. Prevention of preterm birth would save millions of pounds in intensive care and longer term health needs. Investment in the early years of life, health, education, and good parenting, has been shown in studies to give a return of at least eight times what is invested, largely in future earning power for the child. The health of the nation in our hands ... what would you choose?

Catherine Calderwood is Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer and is on Twitter @CathCalderwood1

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Catherine Calderwood"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4834730.1544645281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4834730.1544645281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Investing in the health of babies is a wise move (Picture: PA)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Investing in the health of babies is a wise move (Picture: PA)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4834730.1544645281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brexit-imperial-dreams-leading-to-little-britain-kenny-macaskill-1-4843420","id":"1.4843420","articleHeadline": "Brexit: Imperial dreams leading to Little Britain – Kenny MacAskill","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544680800000 ,"articleLead": "

As Brexiteers try to bully Ireland – a country where the Famine is imprinted on people’s collective memory – with talk of food shortages, the UK is trashing its international reputation and heading not to a new Golden Age of Empire but to state best described as Little Britain, writes Kenny MacAskill.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843419.1544689930!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Little Britain stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams take to the stage at the Point Theatre in Dublin (Picture: ShowBizIreland/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

“Oh, the Empire it is finished, no foreign lands to seize, So, the greedy eye of England, is turning towards the seas” is a verse from an Irish republican ditty from a few years back.

I was put in mind of it by comments from a Tory MP about using a threat of food shortages as leverage against Ireland in the Brexit negotiations. Whilst Priti Patel didn’t threaten starvation, the comments were crass, insensitive and downright disgusting. Imprinted on the Irish collective memory is the Famine and it was caused by Britain’s callous indifference.

The real rage is that Ireland, backed by the EU, isn’t susceptible to British threats, let alone Cromwellian commands. The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, is probably not as well known as previous holders of that office but possesses more clout than any in Irish history.

Patel’s attitude simply replicated that of so many other Brexiteers. As Theresa May has become more demented, the Little Englanders have turned more rabid. The insults have been flying from Nigel Farage’s disgraceful comments towards leading politicians in the European Parliament to the unseemly war sentiments by so many others against entire nations from Germany to France.

The unbridled arrogance of those seeking the “New Golden Age of British Empire” has seen them cast derision and scorn at all and sundry. If it’s not “Croppy Lie Down” then it’s “hop off Johnny Foreigner” that’s carelessly bandied about without a thought as to consequences. No wonder racism has been on the rise, when venting your spleen seems second nature to many leading political figures. And whilst May herself has been tempered in her comments her actions as Home Secretary on immigration set the tone.

READ MORE: Brexit chaos could snuff out signs that austerity is finally ending – leader comment

Yet the great irony is that whatever the final outcome of Brexit, restoration of the glory days of Empire there won’t be and Britain will be diminished and tarnished. The cause of that? Those self-same zealots for whom Britain’s rightful place in the world isn’t duly recognised. It wasn’t the return of sovereignty they sought, but the right to command.

So instead, we’ve been subjected to a Prime Minister jetting to European cities pleading for something, anything, to provide a fig leaf for her nakedness. But the door’s as firmly shut now as it was briefly in her car when meeting Chancellor Merkel. An act of utter futility and total pointlessness, as the EU’s position was stated at the outset and has been adhered to consistently.

The problem has not been their intransigence nor even Theresa May’s failure to properly negotiate as the European Research Group of hard-Brexiteer Conservatives suggests. Frankly, she’s appeared less maladroit and indeed less downright useless than Davis, Raab or Fox.

Meanwhile, European leaders from countries large or small have appeared statesman-like, acted diplomatically and their negotiator Michel Barnier has oozed more class and intellect individually than the British team collectively.

For Britain has come up against not just realpolitik but its real place in the modern world. Britain is no longer the major power it once was. Nothing is going to bring that back and certainly not leaving the EU, where power can be increased and prestige enhanced, as the Irish have shown. The clues though had been there for decades and not just with long overdue decolonialisation, after the war.

From being bailed out by the IMF in the 1970s to more recent times with American involvement in supposedly “sovereign affairs” of Northern Ireland, power has waned. In some ways, it’s been harder for Britain than many other countries, as most Empires collapsed after war or revolution. That hasn’t been the case with Britain where it’s just slowly sunk. But, gone it has. That ought to have afforded advantages not least in less upset and dislocation.

READ MORE: Labour warns UK at risk as Scots pick independence over Brexit

Britain was well-placed in the EU. London especially but Britain more generally were the preferred places for inward investment. Now, the Japanese and Chinese are incredulous at the self-harm inflicted. And the Indians are gobsmacked that it was simply assumed they would welcome back the Raj, rather than enjoy being able to dictate the terms of trade. Eastern Europe looked to London through choice, as well as being a bulwark against Berlin and English, not French, became the lingua franca of the 28 EU countries.

But actions have consequences and that applies as much in politics, as in ordinary life. It’s not just sterling that’s crashed but fondness for Britain and it’s not just investment that’s ebbing but respect. Whatever the Brexit outcome, Europe and indeed the world will look differently upon the UK. That’ll be damaging for the economy and for influence, whether through direct say or soft power.

World leaders have looked on incredulously as British politics has become dysfunctional, with the opposition as inept and divided as the administration. The supposed Mother of Parliaments simply looks like a House of Contempt, and Brexit Britain has replaced Italy as the failing European democracy to scorn.

Admiration and friendships are also being lost. I remember ribbing a young East European about his support for the English football team and reverence for London. It was real and genuine, for him it was the country he admired. But no more, as his own country’s economic well-being is threatened and obvious contempt heaped upon it.

Likewise, I recall a friend’s elderly Irish father demurring at my condemnation of British actions in his native land, expressing gratitude instead for what he had received having left a poverty-stricken country. Irish self-confidence, that has grown and grown despite the Celtic Tigers crash, has retained a genuine warmth towards Britain, even if mixed with some laughter. But now it’s turning to contempt, even if not yet dislike.

There’s some schadenfreude for Scots like me that never bought into the glory days of Britain. It being neither as benign nor great as portrayed and the Indyref showed its capacity for ruthlessness when threatened.

But there’s still been much to celebrate with many friendships and much-shared history. Even if Britain was not so Great, it’s still tragic that it’s now Little Britain that beckons.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kenny MacAskill"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843419.1544689930!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843419.1544689930!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Little Britain stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams take to the stage at the Point Theatre in Dublin (Picture: ShowBizIreland/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Little Britain stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams take to the stage at the Point Theatre in Dublin (Picture: ShowBizIreland/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843419.1544689930!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5796987730001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brexiteer-fantasies-are-wrecking-britain-leader-comment-1-4843451","id":"1.4843451","articleHeadline": "Brexiteer fantasies are wrecking Britain – leader comment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544680800000 ,"articleLead": "

The attempt to oust Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party was bound to fail from the start and was nothing but a meaningless distraction.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843450.1544690240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg's efforts to oust Theresa May were in vain (Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire)"} ,"articleBody": "

They were doomed to fail from the start, they knew it, yet still they sallied forth to make a stand for Britain. Perhaps Jacob Rees-Mogg shed a patriotic tear as he put a cross in the box marked “I DO NOT HAVE confidence in Theresa May as Leader of the Conservative Party”.

The trouble is that a guide to good governance is seldom, if ever, to be found in the pages of historical fiction. Fighting battles you know you are going to lose is not brave, it’s stupid, whether they are physical or political.

So the failed attempt by a minority of Conservative MPs to unseat the Prime Minister – at a critical moment in the Brexit process – was nothing more than an utterly unhelpful distraction. The public will wake up today with May still in Downing Street, still struggling to win even small concessions over the Irish backstop from the EU, and trying keep her splintering party together. And people are likely to wonder, “what was that all about?”

READ MORE: Brexit: Tory chaos shows need for general election – Danielle Rowley MP

If it demonstrates anything, it is an attitude that is all-too-common among hardcore Brexiteers: warnings by respected economists about the adverse effects of a no-deal Brexit are dismissed airily as “Project Fear” despite the lack of rigorous analysis to the contrary; blind faith is preferred to expert advice; romantic fantasy believed over hard truths.

These are the people who sold the country an unachievable dream and now complain it has turned into a nightmare. The people who, in their own minds but nowhere else, would go to Brussels, issue their demands and watch the EU do its best to please.

Back in the real world, a weakened May continues to lead almost by default as the UK stumbles towards an accidental no-deal Brexit that could wreck our economy for years.

READ MORE: Brexit exposes failings of UK’s political elite – Paris Gourtsoyannis

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843450.1544690240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843450.1544690240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg's efforts to oust Theresa May were in vain (Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg's efforts to oust Theresa May were in vain (Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843450.1544690240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5796987730001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/scottish-budget-a-question-of-fairness-leader-comment-1-4843421","id":"1.4843421","articleHeadline": "Scottish Budget: A question of fairness – leader comment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544646083000 ,"articleLead": "

As he unveiled his Budget yesterday, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay claimed that Scotland was now the “fairest taxed part of the UK”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843342.1544646079!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Finance Secretary Derek Mackay."} ,"articleBody": "

But, as the Scottish Conservatives pointed out, it is also now the highest taxed part of Britain. Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said a nurse manager would pay around £1,350 more in income tax than their equivalent in England, while a principal teacher would be charged about £1,500 more.

Taxes will be slightly lower in Scotland for those earning less than £27,000 – although the maximum benefit is a saving of just over £20 a year – but higher for those earning above that figure.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission also warned that the difference in tax rates between Scotland and the rest of the UK would “start to have an effect on tax residency decisions”.

READ MORE: Scottish Budget analysis: Income tax differences still dominate

In an encouraging sign he intends to keep an eye on this potentially serious problem, Mackay acknowledged there was a risk that the diverging rates of tax might have adverse effects on the Scottish economy.

If people in middle management and more senior roles begin to move south, then the public and private sectors in Scotland could be plunged into a leadership crisis.

Many would also question his claim that Scotland’s tax burden was fairer than the UK’s.

Is it fair for police sergeants, experienced people in the NHS and education, and the like to pay hundreds of pounds more in tax than those in England? These people could hardly be classed as members of the super-rich. They are people who have been successful because of their hard work, and they are vital to Scotland’s future.

READ MORE: Scottish Budget analysis: What a relief! – Bill Jamieson

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843342.1544646079!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843342.1544646079!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843342.1544646079!/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/theresa-may-leadership-challenge-recap-prime-minister-wins-confidence-vote-1-4843038","id":"1.4843038","articleHeadline": "Theresa May leadership challenge Recap: Prime Minister wins confidence vote","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544652058000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May has vowed to fight an effort to oust her as Conservative leader and Prime Minister “with everything I’ve got”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843036.1544629135!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a leadership challenge. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

In a dramatic early morning statement outside the door to 10 Downing Street, Mrs May warned a change of Prime Minister would put the UK’s future at risk and could delay or halt Brexit.

She insisted she would stay on to “finish the job” she has set herself as Prime Minister. A vote of confidence in Theresa May’s leadership of the Conservative Party will be held this evening after 48 MPs said they no longer support her.

READ MORE: Theresa May faces leadership challenge from Conservative MPs

Press F5 or refresh the page for the latest updates as the Prime Minister fights for her job.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "REBECCA PARKER AND ROSS MCCAFFERTY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4843036.1544629135!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4843036.1544629135!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a leadership challenge. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a leadership challenge. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4843036.1544629135!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5848074148001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}