{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"politics","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/nicola-sturgeon-brexit-bill-not-in-our-interests-1-4731214","id":"1.4731214","articleHeadline": "Nicola Sturgeon: ‘Brexit Bill not in our interests’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524812380000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon has made clear she will not do a deal to support key Brexit legislation unless further changes are made by the UK government.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731213.1524812377!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The FM said it would not be in Scotland's 'national interest' for Holyrood to give its consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill.''Picture: John Devlin."} ,"articleBody": "

The First Minister insisted that, as it stands, it would not be in Scotland’s “national interest” for Holyrood to give its ­consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Changes made by Westminster, including the introduction of a sunset clause limiting how long it could hold on to powers returning from Brussels, have secured the agreement of the Welsh Assembly to the bill.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson called on Ms Sturgeon to follow suit, saying while all parties at Holyrood had expressed concerns about the impact the legislation would have on devolution, changes were being made.

“There is a deal to be done here, the Welsh back it, other parties in this chamber back it,” Ms Davidson said. “I say to her, for once will you do a deal in the national interest and not your nationalist interest.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “This deal is not in the national interest, that is why I won’t sign up to it.” She said the sunset clause would still allow the UK government to restrict Holyrood’s powers for up to seven years.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4731213.1524812377!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731213.1524812377!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The FM said it would not be in Scotland's 'national interest' for Holyrood to give its consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill.''Picture: John Devlin.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The FM said it would not be in Scotland's 'national interest' for Holyrood to give its consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill.''Picture: John Devlin.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4731213.1524812377!/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/video-shona-robison-urged-to-quit-by-cancer-patient-after-two-hour-ambulance-wait-1-4730818","id":"1.4730818","articleHeadline": "Video: Shona Robison urged to quit by cancer patient after two hour ambulance wait","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524808738000 ,"articleLead": "

Pressure mounted on Shona Robison yesterday when a terminally ill cancer patient called on her to quit after she had to wait more than two hours for an ambulance.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4718846.1524808733!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Opposition politicians called on Health Secretary Shona Robison, who represents the Dundee City East area at Holyrood, to resign. Picture: Greg Macvean"} ,"articleBody": "

Margaret Goodman, 58, urged Ms Robison to resign as Health Secretary after her distressing ordeal was raised during a Holyrood session that saw three politicians call for her to stand down.

Later Ms Goodman described the indignity she suffered as a result of the “horrendous” episode which eventually saw her husband Gavin forced to drive her to A&E after an ambulance failed to arrive.

The grandmother and secondary school teacher from Clackmannanshire, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, collapsed in excruciating pain in her house earlier this month. Her husband found her curled in a ball at 11:30pm on Saturday 7 April and phoned the palliative care helpline that had been set up for her.

Mr Goodman was told to bring his wife to Forth Valley hospital, Larbert, at 2am. But given the extreme pain she was in, Mr Goodman was reluctant to move her and asked if a ­doctor could attend the house. The reply was that the couple would have to wait until 4am before a doctor could be spared to make a home visit.

READ MORE: Shona Robison under fire over ‘snub’ to doctors discussing pressures of NHS

At that moment, district nurses arrived at the family home and immediately declared that the situation was a medical emergency and telephoned 999 for an ambulance. There was no sign of the emergency vehicle, so they called another two times. The nurses were then called to another incident and told Mr Goodman to call for the ambulance again if one did not arrive within 15 minutes.

He telephoned at 2:15am to be told there was no record of previous calls on the system and he would have to initiate a new call. Mr Goodman then took the decision to drive her to hospital. A paramedic was asked for help, but Mr Goodman was told to take his wife to the A &E waiting room, which was full of Saturday night ­casualties.

After pleading with reception for help, a nurse gave Ms Goodman some morphine to relieve her pain at 3am. She was finally seen by a doctor at 7am.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard raised her case during stormy First Minister’s Questions, which saw Nicola Sturgeon apologise for the ordeal suffered by the brain cancer patient.

Ms Sturgeon agreed that her treatment had been “unacceptable” and extended an invitation to Ms Goodman to meet with Ms Robison.

Mr Leonard told the chamber research by his party had revealed that 16,865 emergency 999 ambulances took longer than an hour to arrive on scene in 2017.

READ MORE: Shona Robison under fire over ‘snub’ to doctors discussing pressures of NHS

Calling for Ms Robison’s departure, he said: “The debate about our NHS is not just about statistics in the end, it is about real lives and real people like Margaret.

“Out in the real world, Scotland’s health service staff are being failed. Those district nurses, our hospital doctors, those ambulance crews – they are all being failed, failed by your government, and Scotland’s patients, they are being failed as well, including people like Margaret.

“How much more failure must people endure, before you finally realise that we need a change in our NHS, starting with a change of your health secretary?”

Ms Goodman watched the exchanges from the public gallery and afterwards described how she had been left “in agony” and with “no dignity”.

She said it was “quite unlikely” that she would take up Ms Sturgeon’s invitation to see Ms Robison because she was “exhausted”. But she added: “What I would say is that, ‘This is really bad’. But should she be there? The health secretary?”

When asked if Ms Robison should resign, Ms Goodman replied: “I think she should. There should be something. This isn’t about, ‘We’ll look at it and put something in place for 16,000 people’. I was shocked. That’s scary. She’s the one at the top. It is always the one at the top. Who else is responsible? Who’s put this in place?”

Earlier the Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie called on Ms Robison to go when he highlighted the case of a pregnant woman from Caithness who was forced to give birth 260 miles from home because of a shortage of specialist cots.

Labour’s Neil Findlay joined the chorus of calls for her departure when he highlighted GP shortages at First Minister’s Questions. 

A spokesperson from the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We received a call at 01:26 hours which was not immediately life threatening and were advised at 02:11 that the ambulance was no longer required. However, Mrs Goodman waited longer than we would have liked and we would like to apologise. We are happy to meet with her to discuss this further and we are investigating the circumstances.  

“All patients are prioritised to ensure the sickest, and most seriously injured patients receive the fastest response and our median response time for immediately life threatening incidents in March was seven minutes and nine seconds.

“The priority of our hard-working staff continues to be on saving lives.”

Cathie Cowan, NHS Forth Valley chief executive, said: “We are sorry to hear that this family were unhappy with the care given at Forth Valley Royal Hospital and would be happy to meet with them to discuss any aspects of the treatment provided.

“An initial review has confirmed that this patient was triaged within minutes of arriving at the hospital at 2.44am and was moved shortly afterwards to a side room where she was assessed by a member of the clinical team and given pain relief.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4718846.1524808733!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4718846.1524808733!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Opposition politicians called on Health Secretary Shona Robison, who represents the Dundee City East area at Holyrood, to resign. Picture: Greg Macvean","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Opposition politicians called on Health Secretary Shona Robison, who represents the Dundee City East area at Holyrood, to resign. Picture: Greg Macvean","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4718846.1524808733!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5776696697001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brian-wilson-calmac-chaos-a-symptom-of-snp-s-centralising-obsession-1-4730912","id":"1.4730912","articleHeadline": "Brian Wilson: CalMac chaos a symptom of SNP’s centralising obsession","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524805200000 ,"articleLead": "

Weather-wise, conditions are calm on the west coast. In other respects, there are huge squalls which relate to the functioning of Caledonian MacBrayne. Has anyone in Edinburgh noticed?

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730910.1524754942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Some 15 out of 28 Calmac routes have been disrupted and the problems are set to continue for weeks (Picture: John Devlin)"} ,"articleBody": "

The CalMac web-site indicates “disruption” on 15 out of 28 routes. You expect that when winter gales are howling, but if it happens for reasons unrelated to weather when the tourist season is getting into its stride, then it is time for distress signals.

Rather forlornly, CalMac say they hope to run a full service by early June. Nobody is confident and it is not entirely CalMac’s fault. They don’t have enough vessels. The fleet is ageing and a couple of new ones which might bring relief are far behind schedule (and above budget). For those who support the concept of a publicly owned ferry company, it is not a pretty seascape.

However, the wider point extends beyond ferry services. For people living in the islands, a striking factor is invariably the remoteness of decision-taking that affects their lives. Scotland is a small country but, paradoxically (or maybe not), devolution has made it a more centralised one.

Local control of anything seems anathema. The boards and quangos which determine the fates of communities operate at safe distance from the outcomes of their labours. The idea of giving responsibility to people directly affected by how public money is spent and services provided remains unwelcome.

Scottish Government ministers have adopted a mantra that “these are operational matters for CalMac” which is (a) not entirely true and (b) certainly not what they say when there is a glimmer of good news to report. If you have a state-owned company, the buck stops with the state. Ahoy there, Mr Yousaf!

It is absurd to pretend that CalMac are masters in their own house. Their operations are dependent upon subsidy provided by the Scottish Government. Due to a ludicrous separation of powers, supposedly to satisfy EU rules, they are no longer responsible for procuring the infrastructure on which services depend.

READ MORE: Widespread CalMac disruption to last until end of May

That rests with a quango called Caledonian Marine Assets Limited (CMAL) which owns 32 ferries and most of the terminals. Many of CalMac’s current problems derive from the dysfunctionality of this arrangement. Synchronising construction of ferries and the design of terminals seems to be beyond the system’s capabilities.

It is surely shameful that neither the CMAL nor CalMac boards contain anyone who lives in a community directly affected by their actions. These are anonymous entities, stuffed with the usual quango “trusties”, serving the interests of those who appoint them. Natives would be dangerous!

Another farce is unfolding on the Ardrossan to Brodick route. The ferry has been built to specifications which have proved unsuited to the mainland terminal due to inadequate consultation between CMAL and CalMac. It is now necessary to modify the design for Ardrossan. How long will it be before new ferry (which is far behind schedule anyway) is ready for redesigned terminal? Will there be any calling to account for the dysfunctionality or the huge additional costs – far less public inconvenience - involved?

When a new ferry was introduced between Stornoway and Ullapool, every local voice pleaded for a two-vessel solution, to meet growing demand and also safeguard against risk – nay, certainty – of breakdowns during the lifespan of a ship. Every local voice was duly ignored.

READ MORE: The Two Eejits wins marketing award for CalMac

Instead, an opaque version of private-finance initiative (PFI) was applied for the first time to a vessel sailing under CalMac colours. The ‘Loch Seaforth’ is owned by Lloyd’s Bank, leased to CMAL and sub-leased to CalMac, who were allowed no part in her design. As the Western Isles Council pointed out this week, the result is “a less frequent service than the public had before”.

Efforts to uncover the terms of this deal have been blocked on grounds of “commercial confidentiality”. Already, the vessel is heavily over-subscribed for much of the year and questions of liability in the event of something going wrong remain unanswered, along with those about the lifetime cost of procuring a ferry in this way. Is there absolutely no public right to know?

The two ferries which are heavily behind schedule are being built by the Ferguson yard at Port Glasgow. The deal through which the Monaco-based cheerleader for independence, Jim McColl, took over the yard in 2014 has been followed by a flow of CalMac work. The speed with which the previously impossible became possible raised some eyebrows.

Criticism was muted by the fact that everyone wanted shipbuilding to survive on the Lower Clyde. Unfortunately, questions about the yard’s capabilities were kicked into touch and the islands currently awaiting long overdue ferries are paying the price. Again, there is a lack of transparency about causes, costs and implications.

The Scottish Government can point to higher subsidy and lower fares, contributing to increased demand. That, however, is of limited benefit if the infrastructure does not exist to support it. Local input would undoubtedly pre-empt many of the blunders which create these difficulties while communities have a right to know exactly what is going on, rather than being fobbed off with long-distance PR spin.

In one welcome development, a new CalMac Advisory Board, made up of people who actually live on islands, has hit out at the “significant economic damage and detrimental impacts on family life” being caused by the current chaos. It is inconceivable that the quango boards would speak out in this way, on islanders’ behalf.

One of the sterile features of Scottish politics is a complete lack of interest in learning from other countries which get things right. How does Norway run its ferry services? What models of public sector job dispersal could be adopted? How could we set about empowering communities rather than constantly centralising and cutting at local levels?

The CalMac chaos is a metaphor for these wider issues. Whether island or mainland, rural or urban, the specific needs of communities need to be treated with far more sensitivity and respect. The closer decision-making takes place to those directly affected, the more likely it is that positive outcomes will be achieved. CalMac serves islands and it would make sense to have islanders at the helm.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Brian Wilson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730910.1524754942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730910.1524754942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Some 15 out of 28 Calmac routes have been disrupted and the problems are set to continue for weeks (Picture: John Devlin)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Some 15 out of 28 Calmac routes have been disrupted and the problems are set to continue for weeks (Picture: John Devlin)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730910.1524754942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/joyce-mcmillan-despite-macron-trump-still-rides-populist-wave-1-4731164","id":"1.4731164","articleHeadline": "Joyce McMillan: Despite Macron, Trump still rides populist wave","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524805200000 ,"articleLead": "

Macron won praise for a defence of Enlightenment values, but Trump seems secure in this ‘age of rage’, says Joyce McMillan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731163.1524774307!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Emmanuel Macron criticised Donald Trump's policies during a speech to the US Congress (Picture: AFP/Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

When it comes to leadership of what still calls itself the “free world”, it seems the battle is on; and a fine old anthropological spectacle it is, worthy of a commentary by David Attenborough. For a while, after Donald Trump’s election in November 2016, there was an assumption that the real leader of the western democratic world was now Angela Merkel, Germany’s no-nonsense Chancellor.

Since May last year, though, a new and more popular star has risen in the west, in the shape of France’s dynamic young president, Emmanuel Macron. Aged only 39 at the time of his election, Macron is a small man of huge ambition, not unlike that other great French moderniser and disruptor, Napoleon Bonaparte; and now, on his state visit to Washington, Macron has thrown down an elegant Gallic gauntlet, and invited the western world to start making a choice, about which vision it prefers.

So in the red, white and blue corner (stars and stripes), we have Donald Trump, the “America First” president, the threatened builder of walls and wrecker of international deals, who believes that trade wars are good, and easy to win. And in the other red, white and blue corner (tricolor) we have Macron, the only centrist western leader with an overwhelming recent popular mandate, fully as patriotic as Trump, but also determined to resist the bonfire of Enlightenment values apparently planned by Trump and other populist leaders, across the world.

In a sometimes electrifying speech to both houses of Congress on Wednesday, Macron therefore made clear his belief that to depart from the Enlightenment principles of liberty, equality and fraternity – for which both France and the United States fought, against the imperial and monarchical powers of the 18th century – would be to betray the very foundations of the 250-year bond between the two nations, of which he spoke warmly, and at length.

READ MORE: Conservative groups urge Donald Trump to visit Scotland and skip London

He also spoke, though – in terms that often implied strong criticism of the Trump administration – of the meaning of those Enlightenment values in the face of the challenges our world now faces. He spoke of the need for multilateralism and enhanced co-operation, rather than nationalistic isolationism. He spoke of the importance of women’s equality, and of the #MeToo movement. He spoke of the need for rational regulation of markets, including the market in “fake news” that fills the minds of voters with “irrational fears and imaginary risks”. He spoke of how reason is the basis for all truly democratic decision-making, and defended the power of science and education. And he was cheered to the echo when he emphasised the need for a smooth and rapid transition to a low-carbon economy, suggesting that the lives of the current generation of politicians would have no meaning if we fail to pass on a habitable planet to our children and grandchildren.

All of which is fine stuff, and music to the ears of those horrified by the current mood of angry unreason in national and international politics. Yet despite the French president’s youth, his obvious vigour, and the sheer force of his arguments, I was left with the strange feeling that the encounter between Macron and Trump in Washington was not as decisive, or as one-sided, as it perhaps should have been – and all that, despite a torrent of strange and embarrassing visual imagery showing Trump trying to physically dominate and patronise Macron, whether by poking imaginary fluff from his lapel, or grabbing him by the wrist and towing him across the White House terrace.

READ MORE: Donald Trump warned of mass protests for Scotland summer visit

Macron’s defence of Enlightenment values is both eloquent and welcome. Yet like Tony Blair, the recent European leader he most resembles, he seems bent on trying to square the circle between a strong centre-left commitment to peace, democracy, human rights and human dignity, and an equally strong commitment to globalised capitalism in forms that notoriously undermine all those values. And if he reads recent British and US history, he will learn all he needs to know about the dangers of becoming a chocolate soldier for the great Enlightenment ideals he embraces; fond of trumpeting them in public, while privately forging alliances that increasingly discredit those ideals and those who promote them, particularly with those on the sharp end of economic exploitation.

And as for us here in Scotland, where many of the key ideas of the 18th century Enlightenment were born or nurtured, well, I think it is fairly clear that in this stand-off between Trump’s roaring might-is-right attitude to politics, and Macron’s 21st century internationalist and constitutional approach, we would tend to side with France. As we are learning to our cost in the maelstrom of post-Brexit politics, small nations – whether inside or outside larger states – rarely have anything to gain from a decline in international constitutionalism, and an increasing resort to the raw power of large, centralised sovereign states.

Yet we would be fools, I think, to expect too much from Macron and his followers as defenders of some kind of new Enlightenment. At best, they may fend off the worst excesses of hate-driven racist politics in Europe, and promote some serious moves to protect our global environment; and those are crucial victories, well worth winning.

Yet as Macron himself acknowledges, the true defence of democracy and freedom runs much deeper than that, into a profound culture of respect for individual and minority rights, for rational and well-informed debate, and for the constant redistribution and renegotiation of political power in a free society. And even the very manner of Macron’s election – borne aloft on a tide of personality politics and wild enthusiasm, without any deep roots in French society – suggests that in the “age of rage”, those values are increasingly under threat. Despite Macron’s triumph in Washington, in other words, it may still be old man Trump, along with other brazen populists across the world, who is riding the big wave of history; and young President Macron who is struggling to defend a set of values that no longer beats strongly in the hearts of the people – strongly enough, that is, to survive the coming onslaught, or the range of global threats he so eloquently described, in Washington this week.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4731163.1524774307!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731163.1524774307!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Emmanuel Macron criticised Donald Trump's policies during a speech to the US Congress (Picture: AFP/Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Emmanuel Macron criticised Donald Trump's policies during a speech to the US Congress (Picture: AFP/Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4731163.1524774307!/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/leader-comment-scotland-s-message-to-snp-fix-the-nhs-1-4731118","id":"1.4731118","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Scotland’s message to SNP: Fix the NHS","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524767907000 ,"articleLead": "

The National Health Service is in crisis. Hardly a week seems to go by without some kind of bad news.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731121.1524767903!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shona Robison, the Health Secretary, is facing calls for her resignation"} ,"articleBody": "

This is true in both Scotland and the rest of the UK, which suggests the problems here are not simply the result of the policies pursued by the Scottish Government. An ageing population and medical advances mean the NHS now has more patients to treat and more ways to treat them, but its finances have not risen to enable it to cope in the way we have come to expect.

The volume of public complaints is increasing, while it is also clear that many staff have too much to do, leading to falling morale and rising stress. No wonder there are significant recruitment problems. This vicious cycle – of substandard service, complaints, belt-tightening and increased workloads – may not end well for those who value a health service free at the point of delivery.

READ MORE: Video: Shona Robison urged to quit by cancer patient after two-hour ambulance wait

So there is no question that the job of Health Secretary is a particularly tough one, but there is now a serious question as to whether Shona Robison is up to the task.

Yesterday saw a terminally ill cancer patient, Margaret Goodman, who had to wait more than two hours for an ambulance after collapsing, join calls by Labour and the Liberal Democrats for Robison to resign. One of the SNP’s leading lights and an apparently capable politician, Robison still has to carry the can for the NHS’s overall performance – almost regardless of whether she is making the situation better or worse.

Nicola Sturgeon and Robison are close and the First Minister will be reluctant to discard a key ally, but realpolitik may ultimately decide her fate. If the complaints rise to a level that starts to cause real damage to the SNP’s reputation, she may have to go. But if the current political storm blows over and the NHS manages a few relatively untroubled months, she may survive.

READ MORE: Shona Robison under fire over ‘snub’ to doctors discussing pressures of NHS

The SNP will be hoping extra money from its controversial decision to increase income tax in Scotland will help, but it is likely to be not much more than a drop in the ocean.

While the Scottish Conservatives have not called for Robison’s resignation, they have been, like the other opposition parties, repeatedly highlighting problems in the NHS. One thing this demonstrates is that there are votes in this issue.

So the take-home message for Sturgeon from all this should be a resounding one: the people of Scotland are crying out for the NHS’s problems to be fixed.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4731121.1524767903!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731121.1524767903!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Shona Robison, the Health Secretary, is facing calls for her resignation","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shona Robison, the Health Secretary, is facing calls for her resignation","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4731121.1524767903!/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/main-players/conservative-groups-urge-donald-trump-to-visit-scotland-and-skip-london-1-4730745","id":"1.4730745","articleHeadline": "Conservative groups urge Donald Trump to visit Scotland and skip London","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524743412000 ,"articleLead": "

A trans-Atlantic coalition of conservative groups have called on US President Donald Trump to skip London when he visits the UK later this year, and travel directly to Scotland instead.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730744.1524743408!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

The Bow Group and Republicans Overseas Scotland have written to Mr Trump warning him that \"many in Britain have shown an extremely immature attitude\" towards his presidency, while his \"ancestral homeland of Scotland represents a powerful bond\" between the US President and the UK.

Their letter, backed by four other conservative associations including the Bruges Group, urges Mr Trump to make the Queen's Scottish resident at Balmoral his base on the upcoming visit in order to be \"afforded the warmest of welcomes\".

READ MORE: Donald Trump warned of mass protests for Scotland summer visit
Downing Street has indicated that a formal announcement of a short working visit, likely in the days after a NATO summit in Brussels on 12 July, could come within days. With the Mr Trump's mother hailing from the Western Isles and the US President owning two golf resorts in Scotland, speculation has focused on the possibility of a visit north of the border.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has pledged to lead protests if Mr Trump does come to Scotland as part of his itinerary.

\"The heart of the political and media establishment in Britain is based in London, and similar to Washington and New York, it is often far out of touch with ordinary people on the street,\" the letter states.

\"London has experienced several terrorist atrocities recently, and it is unlikely that it would be possible for you to make a state visit to the city without a level of security that would effectively place it at a stand-still.


\"With this in mind, and as supporters of your Presidency, we feel that London would not be the best location for your visit, and we wish to recommend an alternative.\"


The letter goes on: \"We note that your most recent visit to the United Kingdom was to Scotland, which passed without incident. Your ancestral homeland of Scotland represents a powerful bond between you and Britain, and given the nature of the climate in London, it is a superior destination.

\"As you know, the Royal Estate of Balmoral Castle sits in Scotland's Cairgorms National Park, thus allowing you to make a full state visit as the guest of the Her Majesty the Queen.\" The Queen is not normally at Balmoral in July.

Tory councillor Ben Harris-Quinney, the chairman of the Bow Group, added: \"Unfortunately, unlike countries such as Poland and France who have welcomed President Trump, many in Britain have shown an extremely immature attitude towards his important and necessary visit to America's closest ally.

\"A visit to London by the President is likely to draw major protests, crime and disorder, and we do not wish to see Britain or President Trump embarrassed by this. I have worked with President Trump's advisors previously to suggest a non London focussed visit, but we have now done so formally and publicly with this letter.

\"It is important that the people of the United States and its government know there are many in Britain who strongly support the President and the special relationship, and wish for President Trump to be afforded the warmest of welcomes, sadly that will not be the case in London\"


Drew Liquerman, the chairman of Republicans Overseas Scotland said: \"President Trump's strong contribution to the Scottish economy and unique relationship with Scotland in addition to security concerns brought about in London in part by large demonstrations supported and backed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, make Scotland a natural choice for a state visit to further the US – UK special relationship”

Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie MSP said he \"laughed\" at the idea of Scotland welcoming Mr Trump, who he claimed as an \"odious man\".

“If this group of Tories think coming to Scotland will avoid the level of opposition Trump would receive in London, they frankly misunderstand Scotland’s long history of opposing racism, sexism and bigotry,\" Mr Harvie said.

READ MORE: Leader comment: France usurping UK’s ‘special relationship’ with US

" ,"byline": {"email": "paris.gourtsoyannis@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730744.1524743408!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.png","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730744.1524743408!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730744.1524743408!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.png","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5750681308001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/fresh-call-for-mark-zuckerberg-to-appear-before-parliament-1-4731171","id":"1.4731171","articleHeadline": "Fresh call for Mark Zuckerberg to appear before parliament","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524775150000 ,"articleLead": "

The chairman of the parliamentary inquiry into fake news has threatened Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with a formal summons to give evidence before the inquiry in person.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731169.1524775148!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Mark Zuckerberg figure with people in angry emoji masks outside Portcullis House in Westminster, London. Picture: PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The move came after an “unsatisfactory” hearing with another Facebook executive today.

In a statement following nearly five hours of testimony from Facebook’s chief technical officer Mike Schroepfer, chairman Damian Collins said Mr Schroepfer “failed to answer many specific and detailed questions” about the company’s role in a number of ongoing scandals about how political campaigns use the platform to influence voters.

“As an American citizen living in California, Mr Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the UK Parliament, but he will the next time he enters the country.

“We hope that he will respond positively to our request, but if not the committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the UK,” Mr Collins said.

The statement issued by the select committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport accused Mr Schroepfer of failing to answer “nearly 40 separate points”, about how Facebook handles users’ data and interacts with political campaign groups.

Earlier, Mr Schroepfer told the committee that Aggregate IQ, a Canadian firm employed by multiple Brexit campaign groups, spent $2million (£1.4m) on political adverts on Facebook targeting the EU referendum, but had used “email lists” to target voters rather than Facebook data.

Mr Collins has asked Mr Zuckerberg to give evidence before the committee on multiple occasions since the fake news inquiry formed in late 2017.

In his statement issued after the hearing, Mr Collins said: “We are mindful that it took a global reputational crisis and three months for the company to follow up on questions we put to them in Washington DC on 8 February.

“We believe that, given the large number of outstanding questions for Facebook to answer, Mark Zuckerberg should still appear in front of the Committee.

“We note, in particular, reports that he intends to travel to Europe in May to give evidence to the European Parliament, and will request that he appears in front of the DCMS Committee before 24 May.”

If a formal summons is issued and Mr Zuckerberg refuses he could technically be in contempt of Parliament.

However, according to a green paper on parliamentary privilege, “the House’s power to punish non-Members for contempt is untested in recent times” .

Facebook is making numerous changes to its platform to emphasise “safety, transparency and control” for users and user data, said Mr Schroepfer.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HUGHES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4731169.1524775148!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731169.1524775148!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A Mark Zuckerberg figure with people in angry emoji masks outside Portcullis House in Westminster, London. Picture: PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Mark Zuckerberg figure with people in angry emoji masks outside Portcullis House in Westminster, London. Picture: PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4731169.1524775148!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5756358100001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/leader-comment-preparing-a-best-of-british-welcome-for-mr-trump-1-4731113","id":"1.4731113","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Preparing a best of British welcome for Mr Trump","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524767676000 ,"articleLead": "

Friday the 13th is “considered an unlucky day in Western superstition”, according to Wikipedia. But this year, it will be the date when lucky old Britain gets to play host to the greatest American president ever.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731112.1524767673!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trump is coming to the UK on 13 July (Picture: AFP/Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

Yes, you guessed it, Donald Trump is coming to the UK and everybody is really, really happy about it.

The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, surely spoke for the nation when he tweeted: “FANTASTIC news that President @realdonaldtrump will at last come to Britain on 13 July. Looking forward to seeing our closest ally and friend on the GREATest visit ever.”

Any remarks that Johnson, or indeed anyone else, like The Scotsman, may have made in the past should be forgotten. We’re sure Johnson didn’t mean it when he said, just over two years ago, that “the only reason I wouldn’t go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump”.

No, the UK Cabinet will now adopt the widest of fixed grins, let Mr Trump shake hands with them any way he likes and generally try to put on a good show.

After all, we need that post-Brexit trade deal. We really, really do.

READ MORE: Donald Trump warned of mass protests for Scotland summer visit

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4731112.1524767673!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731112.1524767673!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Donald Trump is coming to the UK on 13 July (Picture: AFP/Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trump is coming to the UK on 13 July (Picture: AFP/Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4731112.1524767673!/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/home-office-ditches-targets-for-removing-immigrants-from-uk-1-4731108","id":"1.4731108","articleHeadline": "Home Office ditches targets for removing immigrants from UK","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524767009000 ,"articleLead": "

Amber Rudd has said the Home Office will abandon ­targets for removing people in the UK illegally from the ­country, less than 24 hours after she told MPs that the ­targets didn’t exist.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731107.1524767228!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Picture: AFP/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The Home Secretary made clear she would not resign over the treatment of the Windrush generation, and secured the support of Downing Street and Conservative MPs.

But in a sign of the pressure Ms Rudd has faced over the past week, she refused to say if she had offered her resignation to the Prime Minister.

The Home Secretary was told she has the “total support” of Conservative MPs after being summoned to the Commons to explain why she told a committee on Wednesday that no targets exist for removing people from the UK.

She admitted the Home Office used ”local targets” for “internal performance management”, but said she hadn’t been aware of them and promised to ban them if they were being used “inappropriately”.

A 2015 report that came to light yesterday showed the Home Office did set targets for voluntary departures of people who could not lawfully stay in the UK. Civil Service union leaders said there were local targets for deportations.

SNP MP Alison Thewliss told Ms Rudd she had presided over “a litany of callous incompetence in the Home Office department”.

“The Home Secretary must come clean over this shameful scandal, stop shielding the Prime Minister, and do the right thing and resign,” Ms Thewliss said.

Later, speaking to journalists at a Westminster lunch event, Ms Rudd said: “I have not approved or seen or cleared any targets for removals looking ahead, and looking ahead I will not be doing that.”

The Home Secretary said she felt “very serious and responsible”, outlining a series of changes for her department.

“I want to make sure we focus more on the individual,” Ms Rudd said. “I’m confident that we will see a marked change in tone.”

Asked whether she regarded herself as a future leadership contender, she said: “I’m pretty much focused on what I have got to do now. I am not thinking about any balls coming out to the boundary, I’m just thinking about staying in the game.”

Ms Rudd denied she had been used as a “human shield” to deflect criticism away from Prime Minister Theresa May. But she did joke that she was unable to take advantage of ministers’ usual first line of defence in a crisis, “blaming your predecessor”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4731107.1524767228!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731107.1524767228!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Picture: AFP/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Britain's Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Picture: AFP/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4731107.1524767228!/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/rogue-scots-puppy-breeders-to-face-ban-1-4731094","id":"1.4731094","articleHeadline": "Rogue Scots puppy breeders to face ban","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524764531000 ,"articleLead": "

Irresponsible dog breeders found to be mistreating animals in Scotland could be stripped of their licences under new laws being drawn up, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731093.1524764528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Irresponsible dog breeders could be stripped of their licences under new laws being drawn up. Picture: SSPCA"} ,"articleBody": "

A national register of dog breeders could also be introduced as part of a drive to address the way some breeders operate, Holyrood’s public petitions committee was told.

It comes amid growing public concerns about the treatment of puppies and their mothers by some breeders. It included shocking footage of Furnish Kennels in Northern Ireland which emerged three years ago which showed “industrial scale” breeding and was branded “barbaric” by Scotland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas.

Ms Cunningham said yesterday that new laws are on the way which will see the creation of a “modern system of registration” of animal sanctuaries and rehoming activities in Scotland.

“Officials are drafting legislation which will include principles, for example the ability for local authorities to vary, suspend or revoke licences,” Ms Cunningham said.

It will also include a “risk-based frequency” of inspections by a third party and setting consistent fees to allow cost recognition.

The minister added: “There’s going to be a detailed requirement for licence holders to follow specific guidance on how to care for animals.”

Ms Cunningham also told MSPs that a national register was also under consideration by ministers.

“We haven’t ruled out a national register,” she added.

“We’re looking at whether setting a national register up is going to be practical.”

Ms Cunningham said it could include a “unique breeder” identification, although dogs are required to have a unique microchip id fitted already.

“Setting up a national register would take some consideration because you have to think through how you would manage that going forward,” she added.

“It would allow ease of access to information.”

MSPs were considering a petition calling for Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to investigate what action it can take to address the farming and illegal transportation of puppies which has lodged at Holyrood by Eileen Bryant.

It indicates that there are 132 licenced breeders in Scotland.

The RSPCA has raised a number of welfare issues in response to the rise of growing demand for “designer dogs” among the public in the UK with dogs bred in detrimental conditions. This includes bitches being bred so often that it affects their wellbeing and pups being separated from their mothers too early, resulting in poor physical and mental health.

The HMRC is also adopting the “Al Capone approach” to targeting the undeclared income of breeders.

The cabinet Secretary added: “That’s perhaps coming at it from a different angle but looks quite a fruitful way of tackling some of the issues, because it is about money, this whole thing.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4731093.1524764528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731093.1524764528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Irresponsible dog breeders could be stripped of their licences under new laws being drawn up. Picture: SSPCA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Irresponsible dog breeders could be stripped of their licences under new laws being drawn up. Picture: SSPCA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4731093.1524764528!/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/ruth-davidson-announces-she-is-expecting-first-child-1-4730964","id":"1.4730964","articleHeadline": "Ruth Davidson announces she is expecting first child","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524759670000 ,"articleLead": "

Ruth Davidson has announced she is expecting her first child with her partner Jen Wilson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730962.1524757327!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ruth Davidson and her partner Jen Wilson. Picture: Twitter"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Conservative leader said she and her partner since 2014 are “exited and daunted” about the months to come and are “over-joyed” at the prospect of starting a family together.
The couple will welcome the new arrival in late Autumn.

READ MORE: Video: Shona Robison urged to quit by cancer patient after two hour ambulance wait

Ms Davidson, 39, said the news does not change her political commitment or her plans to lead the Scottish Conservatives into the 2021 Holyrood elections, saying she is “simply doing what thousands of working women do every year”.

Her deputy within the party, Jackson Carlaw, will hold the fort for a few months while she is on maternity leave, which she will share with Ms Wilson.

The Lothians MSP, who has made no secret of her desire to be a mother, found out in March that an IVF procedure had been successful. She informed Theresa May of her news before Easter.

READ MORE: Conservative groups urge Donald Trump to visit Scotland and skip London

She said: “Jen and I are delighted to be able to say that we are starting a family. We weren’t sure that it was going to happen for us, but we’re really, really happy that it has.”

Ms Davidson, who says she has been affected by some morning sickness and fatigue during the early stages of her pregnancy, said it will be “business as usual” until she goes on maternity leave.

She said: “We have a very busy few months ahead, and I look forward to throwing myself into events with customary gusto.

“While it often goes unacknowledged, politicians have personal lives too, and I hope people will understand that I want to be able to combine my public role with a family life.

“Jen and I are incredibly lucky in the support we have received from our family and friends over the past few months - and we know we can rely on them in the months and years to come. I’d like to thank them all again today.

“We have always dreamed of starting a family and are pleased to be able to share our happy news.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took to Twitter to congratulate her political rival and joked a baby box (which the Tories opposed) was on its way.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730962.1524757327!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730962.1524757327!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ruth Davidson and her partner Jen Wilson. Picture: Twitter","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ruth Davidson and her partner Jen Wilson. Picture: Twitter","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730962.1524757327!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5776824034001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/donald-trump-s-working-visit-to-uk-confirmed-for-july-1-4731014","id":"1.4731014","articleHeadline": "Donald Trump’s ‘working visit’ to UK confirmed for July","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524758053000 ,"articleLead": "

US President Donald Trump will visit the UK in July - on Friday the 13th.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731011.1524758170!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "US President Donald Trump will visit the UK on Friday, 13 July. Picture: AFP/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The long-awaited and controversial trip is expected to be a “working visit” rather than a full-blown state occasion.

The UK’s ambassador to the United States confirmed the visit, which will include face-to-face talks with Theresa May.

Downing Street and the White House had hoped to co-ordinate releasing details of the trip, but Mr Trump’s spokeswoman Sarah Sanders apparently let slip the information first.

UK ambassador Sir Kim Darroch confirmed the date on Twitter, saying he was “delighted” that Mr Trump would visit the UK.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The President of the United States will visit the UK on 13 July.

“He will hold bilateral talks with the Prime Minister during his visit. Further details will be set out in due course.”

Mr Trump’s visit is likely to attract major protests, and even his supporters have urged him to stay away from London in an effort to avoid mass demonstrations.

In a letter to the US President, six conservative groups recommend he should instead focus his visit on his “ancestral home” of Scotland, including a meeting with the Queen at Balmoral.

Plans for a working visit to the UK in 2018 were announced when Mr Trump met Mrs May at Davos in January.

The July 13 date follows the Nato summit which the president is due to attend in Brussels on the previous days.

Interest in Mr Trump’s plans has been fuelled by this week’s high-profile state visit to the US of Emmanuel Macron, which some commentators have framed as a bid by the French president to make Paris Washington’s first port of call in Europe following Brexit.

Mr Trump cancelled a planned trip to London to open the new US embassy in Vauxhall earlier this year, complaining the move to an “off location” south of the Thames had been a “bad deal”.

But it is thought his decision may have been driven by a fear of protests in the capital, with whose mayor Sadiq Khan he has clashed over his response to terrorism.

The expectation of demonstrations is also believed to have played a part in the postponement of a state visit mooted for 2017.

That trip - which would involve lavish ceremonies and a stay with the Queen at Buckingham Palace - has been put off indefinitely, though Number 10 insists the invitation stands.

The letter to Mr Trump was signed by the heads of conservative thinktanks the Bow Group, Bruges Group, Parliament Street and the Freedom Association, as well as the chairman of Republicans Overseas Scotland and a contributor to ThinkScotland.

They told the president the political and media establishment in London was “far out of touch” with the feelings of ordinary people outside the capital, many of whom “strongly support” his leadership.

“Your ancestral homeland of Scotland represents a powerful bond between you and Britain, and given the nature of the climate in London, it is a superior destination,” they said.

“As you know, the Royal Estate of Balmoral Castle sits in Scotland’s Cairgorms National Park, thus allowing you to make a full state visit as the guest of the Her Majesty the Queen.

“Scotland and the North of England also offer a variety of locations where you would be able to speak directly to ordinary British people and witness the true level of support that exists for you and the special relationship between the US and the UK.”

Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group, said: “A visit to London by the president is likely to draw major protests, crime and disorder, and we do not wish to see Britain or President Trump embarrassed by this.

“It is important that the people of the United States and its government know there are many in Britain who strongly support the president and the special relationship, and wish for President Trump to be afforded the warmest of welcomes.

“Sadly that will not be the case in London.”

Mr Trump, whose mother was born on the Isle of Lewis, made frequent visits to Scotland before becoming president.

His last trip came during the presidential campaign in June 2016, when he visited his golf resorts.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4731011.1524758170!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4731011.1524758170!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "US President Donald Trump will visit the UK on Friday, 13 July. Picture: AFP/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "US President Donald Trump will visit the UK on Friday, 13 July. Picture: AFP/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4731011.1524758170!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5750681308001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/michael-gove-snp-willing-to-throw-farmers-under-bus-for-independence-1-4730868","id":"1.4730868","articleHeadline": "Michael Gove: SNP willing to ‘throw farmers under bus’ for independence","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524752826000 ,"articleLead": "

Michael Gove has accused the SNP of being prepared to throw Scottish farmers “under the bus” in pursuit of their “desperate desire” to secure independence.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730871.1524753263!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Britain's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Michael Gove. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The Environment Secretary took aim at the SNP amid mounting frustration from the Westminster Government over disagreements with their Scottish counterparts on key Brexit legislation.

Welsh ministers have agreed a compromise deal linked to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill but the Scottish Government has yet to consent to the legislation, which transfers EU law into UK law.

READ MORE: Video: Shona Robison urged to quit by cancer patient after two hour ambulance wait

Fears of a “power grab” were raised after the Bill outlined that some responsibilities would be returned to Westminster, instead of Edinburgh or Cardiff, to enable common frameworks to be put in place across the UK.

The UK Government has since proposed a “sunset clause” to ensure devolved powers returned to Westminster do not stay there indefinitely, although concerns remain at Holyrood.

Speaking in the Commons, SNP MP Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) said: “I don’t think anyone disagrees that there might be a need for common frameworks, but I don’t think they’d either disagree that democratic decisions by democratically elected parliaments are artificial barriers.

“So will the minister guarantee that no frameworks will be imposed across the UK without the democratic consent of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly?”

Mr Gove replied: “Well it’s a good try from the member for Glasgow North.

“He knows that the stark contrast between the constructive approach of the Labour administration in Cardiff and the obstructive approach of the nationalist administration in Holyrood does not redound to the credit of the Scottish National Party.

“The truth is with the SNP they have only one policy - that is separation, everything is tactics and they’re prepared to throw Scottish farmers under the bus - or indeed the bandwagon - in their desperate desire to elevate the destruction of the United Kingdom above the creation of wealth for the people of Scotland.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730871.1524753263!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730871.1524753263!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Britain's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Michael Gove. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Britain's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Michael Gove. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730871.1524753263!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5734512594001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/greens-attack-sturgeon-over-scottish-enterprise-funding-arms-firms-1-4730838","id":"1.4730838","articleHeadline": "Greens attack Sturgeon over Scottish Enterprise ‘funding arms firms’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524750612000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon has defended Scottish Government investment in companies involved in the manufacture of munitions.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730837.1524750609!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Patrick Harvie. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The First Minister said money from Scottish Enterprise was specifically to help firms diversify and develop non-military applications for their technology.

Ms Sturgeon was pressed on the issue by Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie, who called for the government to adopt an “ethical investment policy” during First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood.

Raising the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, he said: “The Scottish Government has contributed public money to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s appeal in response to that humanitarian crisis, and members of the First Ministers’ party have joined Greens and others in opposing the UK Government’s arms deal with Saudi Arabia which will continue to make that situation worse.

READ MORE: Patrick Harvie calls for protests when Donald Trump comes to UK

“Why then, is Scottish Enterprise also giving public money to the world’s largest guided missile manufacturer Raytheon which supplies Saudi Arabia?

“Is there not an immense contradiction between showing that legitimate and urgent concern for the victims of a humanitarian crisis caused by the brutality of the arms industry, while still funding the arms industry?”

He pointed to the “significant amount of money” received by aerospace and defence company Leonardo from Scottish Enterprise, adding it was “a company involved in supplying the weapons being used by Turkey against the Kurds in Afrin and elsewhere” and also raised concerns about Glasgow City Council “promoting” an arms fair involving undersea technology.

“Surely it is time for an ethical investment policy which moves away from the arms trade wholesale and invests instead in sustainable and ethical businesses,” he said.

READ MORE: Holyrood row breaks out over ‘fawning’ Royal baby motion

Ms Sturgeon said she agreed with Mr Harvie’s comments on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the causes of it and said she took the government’s ethical responsibilities “very seriously”.

She said: “The Scottish Government and our enterprise agencies do not provide funding for the manufacture of munitions.

“Our agencies’ support is focused on helping firms diversify and develop non-military applications for their technology, and we have been very clear in our expectation that the UK Government should properly police the export of arms and investigate wherever concerns are raised.”

Ms Sturgeon said the money from Scottish Enterprise to Leonardo had supported the company to diversify, citing its development of a radar system for the Norwegian search and rescue service and a contract with the Royal Canadian Air Force for a system to protect aircraft from heat-seeking missiles.

The First Minister said it was also important to recognise the importance of aerospace and shipbuilding to the Scottish economy, with the sectors employing 16,000 people in 2016.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Catriona Webster"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730837.1524750609!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730837.1524750609!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Patrick Harvie. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Patrick Harvie. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730837.1524750609!/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/president-of-malawi-addresses-msps-at-holyrood-1-4730813","id":"1.4730813","articleHeadline": "President of Malawi addresses MSPs at Holyrood","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524747998000 ,"articleLead": "

The President of the African nation of Malawi has addressed MSPs at Holyrood.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730812.1524747995!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The President in Edinburgh."} ,"articleBody": "

His Excellency Professor Peter Mutharika spoke in the Scottish Parliament’s chamber after First Minister’s Questions had concluded.

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh said the address was a symbol of the “deep and long-standing” friendship between the two nations.

READ MORE: New Scotland-Malawi agreement reached

Representatives from organisations working in Malawi were in the public gallery for the event - the fourth time a president from the country has addressed MSPs.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Macintosh said: “It will be a great honour for me to welcome President Mutharika to Holyrood, and to introduce him to Members here.

READ MORE: President of Malawi given capital welcome

“The guests coming to Parliament to hear the president reflect the breadth of this friendship and cooperation between the two countries. In addition to members of the Consular Corps, the Parliament’s public gallery will be filled with charity workers and church leaders.”

He added: “While Scotland and Malawi have ties which stretch back more than 150 years, this visit will also look to the future and the many ways in which we can work together in the coming years.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730812.1524747995!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730812.1524747995!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The President in Edinburgh.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The President in Edinburgh.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730812.1524747995!/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/vladimir-romanov-s-ex-pr-advisor-becomes-scottish-labour-comms-chief-1-4730768","id":"1.4730768","articleHeadline": "Vladimir Romanov’s ex-PR advisor becomes Scottish Labour comms chief","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524742953000 ,"articleLead": "

He was once employed to offer communications advice to one of Scottish football’s most controversial characters.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730767.1524742949!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Vladimir Romanov, pictured, was represented by Charlie Mann for over four years. Picture: Phil Wilkinson"} ,"articleBody": "

Now Charlie Mann, a well-known public relations executive and broadcaster, has reportedly taken on a challenge of a different kind by becoming head of communications for Scottish Labour.

Party insiders have confirmed that Mr Mann, 58, will soon take over from Gina Davidson as the party’s media chief. He is likely to have his work cut out as Labour currently trails both the SNP and the Conservatives in the polls ahead of the 2021 Holyrood elections.

New leader Richard Leonard has also faced accusations that he is failing to raise Scottish Labour’s profile in the same way as Jeremy Corbyn has done south of the Border.

READ MORE: Vladimir Romanov’s former right-hand man calls for Hearts to sell stars and start again

The appointment of Mr Mann is likely to raise eyebrows among some of Labour’s left-wing. He once represented Atos, a multinational company repeatedly criticised by Labour over their handling of benefits fitness tests.

A source close to Mr Mann defended his role, telling the Scottish Sun: “Charlie has never worked directly for Atos as an employee – he was part of a consultancy team and has not worked on the Atos account for the past year.”

But it is his work for former Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov that many will recall.

Mr Mann was spokesman for the Lithuanian businessman for over four years, an experience he later recalled as a “rollercoaster ride”.

Mr Romanov’s big-spending spell at Tynecastle saw the club win the 2006 Scottish Cup but later enter administration.

Mr Mann once said Mr Romanov had made a sizeable contribution to the club. “He has backed the club by spending £60m of his own money since he got involved in 2005. He has done his bit,” he commented in 2012.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730767.1524742949!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730767.1524742949!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Vladimir Romanov, pictured, was represented by Charlie Mann for over four years. Picture: Phil Wilkinson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Vladimir Romanov, pictured, was represented by Charlie Mann for over four years. Picture: Phil Wilkinson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730767.1524742949!/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/tom-peterkin-nicola-sturgeon-left-in-splendid-isolation-over-brexit-power-grab-1-4730523","id":"1.4730523","articleHeadline": "Tom Peterkin: Nicola Sturgeon left in splendid isolation over Brexit ‘power grab’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524734450000 ,"articleLead": "

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s splendid isolation in power grab row – following Wales’ decision to settle – will appeal to her hard-core supporters but few others, writes Tom Peterkin.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730522.1524734446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Russell has denied claims he wanted to do a deal with the UK Government in 'power grab' spat (Picture: PA)"} ,"articleBody": "

In the last 15 years or so, we have been spoilt for choice when it comes to being exposed to tedious, navel-gazing exercises set up to give Holyrood more teeth. There has been the Calman Commission, the Smith Commission, the fiscal framework, various Scotland Acts and, most recently, the question of how to distribute EU powers following the Brexit vote. It was the Calman Commission, set up by the pro-Union parties some years ago, that one cynical journalist nicknamed the Calpol Commission, because it made him sleep as soundly as a baby.

But this tortured journey through impenetrable process and repetitive arguments has not been entirely soporific.

There have been flashpoints of excitement and activity, most notably the establishment of devolution itself and the 2014 independence referendum.

This week saw a development that, while perhaps not a flashpoint, was highly significant when compared with the routine squabbling that characterises the mundane end of the constitutional debate.

Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to go out on a limb and reject the UK Government’s offer to resolve the row over how EU powers are divvied up after Brexit will have ramifications for the future. A frisson of excitement could be felt at Holyrood when it emerged that the Scottish Government was intent on playing hard ball with UK ministers.

READ MORE: Brexit bill: David Davis hopeful of late deal with Holyrood

The frisson intensified when news came through that the Welsh Government had taken the opposite view and decided that the concessions offered by the UK Government were enough for the Labour administration in Cardiff to accept a powers deal.

Until then, the Scottish and Welsh Governments had presented a united front. They had both insisted that all repatriated powers in devolved areas should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly.

This was originally unacceptable to Theresa May’s Government whose priority has been to protect the UK internal market by creating common frameworks across the UK in policy areas such as food labelling, animal health, agriculture, fishing and chemical regulation.

The UK Government was unwilling to give the devolved countries a potential veto over legislation that could threaten the internal market. In the opposite corner, the Scottish and Welsh governments argued that failure to hand over all the powers ‘in devolved areas’ would undermine devolution.

As Ms Sturgeon and her Brexit minister Michael Russell complained vociferously about Holyrood being the victim of a “power grab”, inter-governmental talks were held in an attempt to break the impasse.

Facing pressure from the SNP, Labour in Wales, and even the Scottish Tories, the UK Government offered a compromise that would see the powers passed directly to the devolved institutions.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says sunset clause can end ‘power grab’ row

Around 25, however, would be “frozen” temporarily so that a common UK-wide framework could be established.

This was good enough for the Welsh Government, but not good enough for the Scottish Government.

The official line from UK Brexit Secretary David Davis may be there is still hope the differences can be overcome, but the reality is that there is little wriggle room for further concessions from the UK Government because going down that road would anger the Welsh. Meanwhile Ms Sturgeon will be anxious to avoid anything that looks like a humiliating volte-face. Adding to the intrigue was the suggestion that Mr Russell, who has struck up a constructive relationship with Welsh finance secretary Mark Drakeford, was keen on doing a deal but was overruled by Ms Sturgeon.

Mr Russell has denied that was the case. But whatever the internal machinations of the SNP administration, the question is why is Ms Sturgeon so determined to stand in splendid isolation?

Ms Sturgeon’s opponents believe the SNP leader has calculated that her uncompromising stance will appeal to her hard-core support and is driven by her desire to use Brexit to trigger another Scottish independence referendum. Instead of accepting the UK Government compromise and dressing up the concessions as an SNP victory, she appears intent on winding up the grievance machine and blaming the stalemate on Westminster intransigence.

That approach will resonate with the hard-core activists in her party who are already involved in a depute leader contest dominated by the indyref2 question. Ms Sturgeon and co will play to their activists and hope that her argument that the solution to Brexit is Scottish independence will gather steam. Of course, this approach risks alienating those who would rather Scotland tries to make the best of Brexit rather than getting bogged down in yet more constitutional controversies. Therein lies the weakness of Ms Sturgeon’s isolated position. It appeals to those who are already convinced of the merits of Scottish independence but not further afield.

Furthermore, no matter how hard the First Minister bangs the indyref drum, the UK Government will stick to its position that one cannot be held while there is uncertainty about the options on offer. With Brexit scheduled for spring next year and a 20-month transition period to follow, Ms Sturgeon’s opponents still believe that a second referendum can be parked until after the 2021 Scottish election. But expect more sound and fury in the meantime.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730522.1524734446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730522.1524734446!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Michael Russell has denied claims he wanted to do a deal with the UK Government in 'power grab' spat (Picture: PA)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Russell has denied claims he wanted to do a deal with the UK Government in 'power grab' spat (Picture: PA)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730522.1524734446!/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/opinion/kenny-macaskill-why-charles-iii-should-be-the-last-king-of-britain-1-4730167","id":"1.4730167","articleHeadline": "Kenny MacAskill: Why Charles III should be the last king of Britain","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524734295000 ,"articleLead": "

A child being born is a magical moment and I wish the Royal Family well. The birth of my own sons remains the highlight of my life and something I’ll always treasure.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730166.1524734292!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "House of Windsor Inc believes in ensuring the new members of the family firm pull their weight. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

However, fawning coverage and sycophantic comments over the Royal birth have been wearisome, and, they’re but a prelude for a Royal Wedding to come. That’s already been heavily trailed and it’ll only increase as the big day draws near.

Now, I’m no devotee of the monarchy, nor am I an ardent republican, frankly I just don’t care. I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about the Royal Family, one way or another, though I know there are many as besotted of them, as others are of their football team. They seem as daft to me as the “fitba” fanatic, but good luck to them.

Likewise, I’m aware of politicians who are deeply republican and I respect their views. I suppose as a democrat and egalitarian I veer towards republicanism, in its constitutional form, it’s just that I’ve never seen it as the major issue. Indeed, I’ve more often felt it was a side issue that deflected from independence or other transformative social and economic policies.

So, long as it was a constitutional monarchy that eschewed political involvement that was fine by me, and to be fair, the House of Windsor has done that although the actions of the Governor General towards Gough Whitlam’s Australian Government were an aberration. Even the Queen apparently “purring” over the outcome of the independence referendum I could accept as just symptomatic of class and power, as well as the preservation of her British throne.

Moreover, I also built up a grudging respect for them over my ministerial years. They answered queries that I’d had such as whether they sang the national anthem – which they do – and our paths frequently crossed at events in support of charities and organisations, giving me a new insight that was much more appreciative of their work. I can’t say I was brought to my knees in deference but I did come to admire their ability to deal with all sorts of people and recognised there was a considerable work load involved.

READ MORE: Holyrood row breaks out over ‘fawning’ Royal baby motion

Of course, they’re remarkably well paid for it, provided for not just by the public purse but through other assets acquired over the years. The remarkable age and good health of both the Queen and Prince Philip are testimony to the best care and attention that can be provided, not just the longevity in the royal gene pool. My principal recollection of meeting the Queen was how small she was but otherwise non-descript. Interactions with Prince Charles and Princess Anne were far greater, given the charities and organisations they supported.

I first came across Prince Charles at Polmont Young Offenders Institution where he not only showed a keen interest but appeared genuinely distressed at the situation of many inmates. Neither shying away nor talking down to them, he engaged with challenged and challenging youngsters. He has been much derided by many and clearly has some quirky views, but I must say I took to him.

Princess Anne was more often in Scotland, whether supporting numerous charities or backing the national rugby team. Again, I grew to respect the way she and others could work a room and deal with people from all walks of life. It’s a real skill that some politicians acquire but the Royals have developed into an art form. They’re remarkably good at it and yet it isn’t easy and, equally, I’ve no reason to doubt the sincerity in what they say and do.

However, it’s also become clear to me that it’s not just a constitutional role that they perform but a business that they run. As the monarchy has evolved within the British constitution they’ve become the House of Windsor Inc. There’s always been the Crown Investments and Estates and now, as recent revelations have disclosed, it’s developed into off-shore assets – and not simply colonies that they reign over.

READ MORE: Michael Fry: Scottish monarchy depends on people’s will

Like all businesses, especially many family businesses, there are areas of operation to be managed and individuals are groomed to take charge of them. The idea that Princes Charles somehow or other developed a close affinity with Wales, or that Princess Anne awoke one day determined to follow the fortunes of the Scottish Rugby team is patently absurd. They were directed so to do as part of the business empire.

As another generation has come along they too have been directed to take responsibility for this or that and look after this charity or that aspect. In some ways, it’s no different from what happened centuries ago, with princes and princesses put in charge of principalities or fiefdoms.

Similarly, in the past, marriages were formed as part of strategic alliances, whether to acquire new territories, seal friendships between rulers and nations or maintain the royal lineage. Some criteria – in particular, religion – applied with the requirement to preserve the “Protestant ascendancy”, but often a willing partner was more than happy to change their faith to join the family empire.

Now I’m not suggesting that there’s no love or affection in more recent marriages, as I’m sure there’s mutual attraction, but it equally seems that the partner brings a strategic asset to the business. Once it was a prince or princess of good breeding stock or cementing a strategic alliance, but now in the media age it’s star appeal.

The Queen’s reign has been remarkable and likewise I feel Charles is entitled to inherit having waited patiently. But, beyond that no. That timescale also allows the space to agree new political and constitutional structures. Young playboys and glamorous wives are not what a democracy needs in the middle decades of the 21st century.

One of the strongest arguments against a presidency was the possible election of Tony Blair, but the Republic of Ireland’s been blessed with three outstanding presidents in succession. Let the celebrations take place, but let’s prepare for a democratic future.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kenny MacAskill"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730166.1524734292!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730166.1524734292!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "House of Windsor Inc believes in ensuring the new members of the family firm pull their weight. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "House of Windsor Inc believes in ensuring the new members of the family firm pull their weight. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730166.1524734292!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5775133600001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/rudd-has-total-support-of-tory-mps-over-windrush-scandal-1-4730614","id":"1.4730614","articleHeadline": "Rudd has “total support” of Tory MPs over Windrush scandal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524730767000 ,"articleLead": "

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has been told she has the “total support” of Conservative MPs after she was summoned to the Commons to explain why she told a committee on Wednesday that no targets exist for removing people from the UK.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730613.1524738331!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amber Rudd. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Addressing MPs, Ms Rudd admitted that the Home Office used ”local targets” for “internal performance management”, but said she hadn’t been aware of them and promised to ban them if they were being used “inappropriately”.

Following her evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, a 2015 report came to light showing the Home Office set targets for voluntary departures of people who could not lawfully stay in the UK. Civil service union leaders also told journalists that there were local targets for deportations.

Witht he Home Secretary under increasing pressure to resign, the Conservative MP Nicholas Soames told Ms Rudd she could “be assured that she has the total support of this side of the House... in trying to resolve a very difficult legacy issue”.

READ MORE: Amber Rudd expresses ‘regret’ over Windrush scandal

SNP MP Alison Thewliss told Ms Rudd she had presided over “a litany of callous incompetence in the Home Office department”.

“The Home Secretary must come clean over this shameful scandal, stop shielding the Prime Minister, and do the right thing and resign,” Ms Thewliss said.

On Wednesday, the powerful Home Affairs Select Committee investigating failures that affected the Windrush generation asked Ms Rudd whether her department has targets for migrant removals.

Ms Rudd, who took over from Theresa May as Home Secretary in July 2016, told the committee she was not familiar with suggestions that regional targets were in place.

Following Ms Rudd’s appearance before MPs on Wednesday, the Home Office said it had “never been policy to take decisions arbitrarily to meet a target”.

An inspection of removals by the borders and immigration watchdog said targets were set in 2014/15 and for 2015/16, which were then split between 19 Immigration Compliance and Enforcement (ICE) teams across the UK.

READ MORE: Windrush generation to get free UK citizenship papers

Jeremy Corbyn has also called on Ms Rudd to resign over the Windrush scandal, claiming she had inherited a “failing policy” and made it “worse”.

An outcry over treatment of migrants from the Caribbean who arrived after the Second World War has put immigration policy and its administration in the spotlight.

Ms Cooper said she had asked the Home Office whether it has targets for immigration removals after “contradictory evidence” from the Home Secretary and the Immigration Services Union.

A December 2015 report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration says that targets were set for voluntary departures, which took place when an individual or family notified authorities of their intention to leave the UK.

Voluntary departures included people who had approached the Home Office for financial assistance with their travel arrangements.

The assistance was available to anyone over 18 who was in the UK illegally, had been refused leave to remain in the UK or had applied for an extension of leave but wanted to withdraw the application and depart.

The report said: “For 2014/15 (10 full months) the Home Office set a target of 7,200 voluntary departures, an average of 120 per week, with the weekly target rising to 160 by the end of March 2015.

“For 2015/16, the annual target was raised to 12,000. These targets were split between the 19 ICE teams across the UK.”

The Home Office also had a process for returning families who had no legal right to remain in the UK, which had a “single numerical target”.

The report said the target was “not a useful performance measure” due to the varying nature of cases year to year.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730613.1524738331!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730613.1524738331!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Amber Rudd. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amber Rudd. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730613.1524738331!/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/snp-accused-of-dogma-in-brexit-row-as-mike-russell-rejects-uk-solution-1-4730526","id":"1.4730526","articleHeadline": "SNP accused of ‘dogma’ in Brexit row as Mike Russell rejects UK solution","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524718871000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK and Scottish Governments clashed over which side’s approach to post-Brexit powers risks undermining devolution, as the chances of deal to resolve the ongoing constitutional row all but disappeared last night.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730524.1524684357!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mike Russell. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Responding to the publication of the UK Government’s amendments to crucial Brexit legislation, Scottish government minister Michael Russell claimed it was “now crystal clear in terms never seen before that the Scottish Parliament can be over-ridden by the UK Government”.

But the Scottish Secretary David Mundell suggested the SNP’s refusal to follow the Welsh Government in agreeing to the amendments meant it doesn’t believe in devolution, Scottish Secretary David Mundell said as the Prime Minister called on the Scottish Government to reconsider.

Mr Mundell told MPs the “difference is that the Welsh Government believe in devolution and the Scottish Government believe in independence”. Theresa May said it was “disappointing” that the Scottish Government was not accepting “considerable changes” to the EU Withdrawal Bill in a continuing row over post-Brexit devolved powers.

Last night peers were briefed on the agreement between London and Cardiff. The split between the Welsh and Scottish government appears to have removed any risk that the Lords could reject the devolution provisions of the Withdrawal Bill, with Labour peer Lord Foulkes saying: “The approval by the Welsh Government shows it is a reasonable compromise. The SNP are putting party dogma ahead of achieving an agreement.”

Despite UK Government sources saying that London had made its final offer, Brexit Secretary David Davis told MPs that last ditch talks were taking place.

Mr Russell is expected in London for talks next week, but a breakthrough is thought to be unlikely.

Under the terms of the agreement between the UK and Welsh governments, UK ministers will seek the consent of devolved administrations to keep control of 24 devolved powers returning from Brussels after Brexit, but will be able to overrule any objections from Edinburgh or Cardiff.

New amendments to the Withdrawal Bill tabled yesterday will introduce a “sunset clause” extending five years from the end of the post-Brexit transition phase, so that devolved powers do not stay at Westminster indefinitely.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730524.1524684357!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730524.1524684357!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mike Russell. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mike Russell. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730524.1524684357!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5745942705001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/bill-jamieson-papers-please-id-cards-loom-for-uk-1-4730514","id":"1.4730514","articleHeadline": "Bill Jamieson: ‘Papers please!’ ID cards loom for UK","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524718800000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish NEC card could become the basis for a national identity system, writes Bill Jamieson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730513.1524683976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Will we all need to have national identity cards soon?"} ,"articleBody": "

In classic wartime movies there was often a tense scene when fugitives trying to escape from Nazi-occupied Europe were stopped and asked for identity papers by some jackbooted official.

Our sympathies were invariably with the fugitives, and I suspect it is the lingering memory of these fateful encounters that explains much of the UK’s persistent reluctance to adopt ID cards. And this has persisted despite previous compelling arguments made because of the 9/11 terror attacks, Islamist terror attacks at home, and benefit fraud.

Now, in the wake of the Empire Windrush debacle, the seconds are out for Round 15 of the great ID campaign battle.

I can certainly think of many benefits and I sense the public mood is now more sympathetic than at any time in the past. Are we not already accustomed to having to produce our passports for photo ID at banks, or our driving licence? There is barely a form nowadays that does not require presentation of proof of residence – a council tax letter or utility bill.

The arch-Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg describes the Windrush scandal as a result of a Home Office obsession with turning Britain into “the sort of country that demands to see your papers” – though it was largely the consequence of the Home Office destroying original documents that accounts for much of the furore.

READ MORE: Brexit: EU nationals will have to apply for identity cards

Nevertheless, a ‘one stop’ card with a name, number, photo, address and date of birth details would quickly and efficiently establish our credentials, assist in the curbing of voter fraud and help in issues ranging from street crime to tracking illegal immigrants.

It would also be a notable convenience for individuals and in particular those who because of age or medical condition are entitled to a range of benefits. Here Scotland has stolen a march over much of the UK with its National Entitlement Card system.

The NEC makes it convenient for citizens to access various public services and facilities with only one card. It can be used as a bus pass, library card, leisure membership card and as a Young Scot card. It can also be used as student matriculation card and for access to printing and photocopying credit or for secure door access control into authorised buildings. The card can be used to take advantage of discounted entry to cultural entitlements and for health reward programmes such as smoking cessation schemes. Some areas also use NEC as staff identity cards as well as work-time recording systems.

It’s surprising how useful it is. The card system is supported by the Scottish Government and administered by local authorities, and with appropriate modifications I cannot see why such a system could not be rolled out across the UK. So what’s not to like?

And who better to manage such a system across the UK, particularly in tagging migrants to our shores, than the Home Office? It has the computer technology, the personnel, the expertise and stacks of population data already: what could possibly go wrong?

READ MORE: Five Scots sent strangers’ passports in security blunder

Here my doubts outweigh the convenience. I have a visceral concern that an ID system hands potentially enormous power to government and the state. It curtails that preference for discretion and anonymity – those aspects of our daily lives which, however humdrum, we feel to be our private sphere. You do not need to be paranoic to feel uncomfortable that our movements can be tracked, our homes located, and private information made easily available and accessed by all and every department of government.

The advocates of an ID system always start with the harmless, innocent examples: the bus pass, the library card, the easy access to municipal discounts. But it also creates the foundations upon which all manner of additional information may be added – from our health records to employment data, from voting records to our income, earnings and tax returns.

We enjoy the freedom and privacy we have through a regard for personal liberty and an antipathy to an all-knowing, all-prying state. These limitations on the reach and power of government, deeply embedded in our culture and upheld through centuries, are the vital guardians of our liberty. They are the ingrained hesitancy of a free people. We may feel, because of this cultural heritage, presently safe in our homes and able to go about our business without inquisition or pester.

But what might the future bring, if these restrictions in this unwritten constitution, are compromised or swept away by an extreme government of the Left or Right? It is not hard to envisage how, in such circumstances, we would feel the arbitrary and peremptory continental-style demand for “papers, please” from some finger-snapping government official to be not just intrusive but intimidating.

Yet for many the introduction of an ID system holds no such concerns. If you have nothing to hide, as its defenders say, what is there to fear? For others, it may be a regrettable but unavoidable development of an altogether more complex and heterogeneous age, one in which citizens are far more mobile and transient, a fast-changing world in which we are less likely to know our neighbours.

And why should the technology stop at a physical smart card in our purses and wallets? With the relentless onward march of medical diagnostics and robotics, it is but a small step to the microchipping of the population. No need, then, to carry round a card that can be easily lost or stolen. A tiny microchip embedded in our fingertips would provide instant reading of our identity at the mere press of a thumb. After all, are we not already urged to microchip our pets, the injection of a tiny chip to help keep tabs on Misty the Moggie and protect her from the scourge of identity theft?

But for the moment, a card for every citizen will surely suffice – so long as we promptly report any details of our change in status, marriages and deaths, local authority and home and, of course, any loss or theft. Always whirring and ever-reliable government computers will provide a replacement and do the rest.

Who could possibly doubt that our information would be in safe hands? That the demands of the state would stop at the basics of our lives? Competence, trust and official assurances: what have we really to fear?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Bill Jamieson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730513.1524683976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730513.1524683976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Will we all need to have national identity cards soon?","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Will we all need to have national identity cards soon?","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730513.1524683976!/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/rory-mair-why-scotland-s-new-social-security-bill-really-matters-1-4730520","id":"1.4730520","articleHeadline": "Rory Mair: Why Scotland’s new Social Security Bill really matters","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524718800000 ,"articleLead": "

This Social Security Bill matters. Not just for those Scots who rely on benefits, now or in the future, but for Scotland as a whole.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730518.1524684015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Some Scots have been forced to rely on food banks (Picture: Sarah Peters)"} ,"articleBody": "

When it was announced that Holyrood would be getting more powers in this area, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) made the point that this should not just be about applying technical fixes to an imperfect system, important though these are. It was also a unique opportunity to create a new social security network, one which addresses the particular needs of Scotland and its people.

We called for the new system to be fair, equal and responsive and the government’s commitment that it should indeed be based on dignity, fairness and respect is commendable.

However, making those statements a reality is not easy when it comes to designing and implementing services. That is why we have been engaging with the Minister and her team to ensure that appropriate checks and balances are built into both the bill and the new agency to ensure that these truly meet people’s needs. We are pleased the bill recognises the value of independent advice: there are some occasions when people want to sense-check what’s happening with someone independent of government.

READ MORE: SNP brand Westminster offer of welfare help ‘ridiculous’

At CAS, we are uniquely placed to see the problems that people face. Last year in Scotland our advice helped more than 300,000 Scots. Nearly 40 per cent of these were people who had problems with the social security system.

And the raw statistics don’t show the human tragedies that we too often see – like people on low incomes having to wait weeks for payments due to administrative errors; others being pushed into poverty or debt because they don’t fit precise criteria or because they have been wrongly refused support; and the distress that can be caused to vulnerable people by the way the system communicates with them. Scots deserve better. Social security is after all an entitlement, not a charity handout.

We have been pleased with a number of commitments now in the bill, but particularly the clear commitment to improving communication with people, which includes a statutory duty do this in an inclusive way. It is our view that a clear measure of a social security system is in the way it treats disabled people. For years we have been concerned about face-to-face assessments for disability benefits, and in particular CAB advisers have been reporting that these interviews have been causing enormous distress for many disabled Scots. We argued these compulsory interviews should end, and assessments should be made instead using existing evidence from people who know the claimant, including health professionals, carers and relatives. This important change is now part of the bill and will lead to a more compassionate and effective system of support for disabled people.

For years we have also been asking for an increase in funeral grants. It’s difficult to think of a more deserving cause than someone who can’t afford to bury a loved one. Yet our research shows that one in ten Scots are in this position, and the level of support available has been frozen for years, even as the cost of funerals has substantially increased. We are pleased to see this too addressed in the bill.

The challenge will be for the Scottish Government to implement the bill’s intent on a day-to-day basis. We hope that intent is met, and the Scottish CAB network will be there to tell them if it is not, working hard to make society fairer and ensure people’s rights are respected.

Rory Mair is chair of Citizens Advice Scotland

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Rory Mair"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730518.1524684015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730518.1524684015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Some Scots have been forced to rely on food banks (Picture: Sarah Peters)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Some Scots have been forced to rely on food banks (Picture: Sarah Peters)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730518.1524684015!/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/leader-comment-france-usurping-uk-s-special-relationship-with-us-1-4730516","id":"1.4730516","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: France usurping UK’s ‘special relationship’ with US","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524718800000 ,"articleLead": "

Emmanuel Macron has crushed Donald Trump’s hand in a vice-like grip, publicly snubbed him by swerving away to greet Angela Merkel first, cheekily repurposed the US President’s favourite slogan in the cause of climate change, and even made a public appeal to US scientists to move to France because of the Republican tycoon’s anti-science rhetoric.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730515.1524684001!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump appear to be getting along famously despite the French President's snubs and criticism of his US counterpart (Picture: AP)"} ,"articleBody": "

And yet, there the French President was, giving a speech to the US Congress in Washington, on the first official state visit of the Trump presidency. In a tweet before the address, Trump said this was “a great honour and seldom allowed to be done … he will be GREAT!”

READ MORE: James Comey: Donald Trump is ‘morally unfit’ to be US President

Somehow Macron seems to have managed to become Trump’s greatest critic, but also perhaps his greatest friend on the global stage and certainly within the European Union. Somehow, he’s become the world’s “Trump whisperer”.

Such is the apparent closeness of the two presidents that some commentators have been abuzz with talk of a bromance – even though Trump expressed support for the far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen during her campaign against Macron, saying she was “strongest on borders and the she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France”. In Macron’s speech yesterday, he did not hold back from criticising Trump in return for the “great honour” of addressing Congress.

On the Iran nuclear deal, climate change, protectionism and international relations, he urged the US to adopt very different stances to those espoused by Trump. While Trump has threatened to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, Macron said France would stay a signatory “because we signed it” and because Iran would not develop nuclear weapons. Tackling global warming was vital because “a better future for our children … requires offering them a planet that is still habitable in 25 years”. And to choose “isolationism, withdrawal and nationalism” would only “inflame the fears of our citizens”.

But amid such pointed remarks, Macron said France and the US should have a “very special relationship”, pinching and upgrading a phrase of great importance to the UK.

Theresa May has seemed reluctant to criticise Trump, probably because Brexit Britain will need a good trade deal with the US. This may have been a mistake. For just as Trump responds well to strength, he may look down on weakness.

READ MORE: Ayesha Hazarika: The UK’s answer to smart, straight-shooter Macron

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730515.1524684001!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730515.1524684001!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump appear to be getting along famously despite the French President's snubs and criticism of his US counterpart (Picture: AP)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump appear to be getting along famously despite the French President's snubs and criticism of his US counterpart (Picture: AP)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730515.1524684001!/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/row-over-snp-s-link-to-cambridge-analytica-escalates-1-4730529","id":"1.4730529","articleHeadline": "Row over SNP’s link to Cambridge Analytica escalates","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524684894000 ,"articleLead": "

The SNP were still interested in working with Cambridge Analytica six weeks after party representatives met the controversial company, correspondence released today suggested.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4729216.1524684892!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Previously Nicola Sturgeon has claimed the SNP decided not to deal with the data harvesting firm after a meeting in February 2016."} ,"articleBody": "

Previously Nicola Sturgeon has claimed the SNP decided not to deal with the data harvesting firm after a meeting in February 2016.

Ms Sturgeon said a consultant working for the SNP had gone to the meeting and concluded that the company was run by a “bunch of cowboys”.

Last night the SNP released its email correspondence with the firm, which revealed the meeting took place on 18 February after the party had initiated contact. There was also a conference call ahead of the meeting. Six weeks later, an email from Cambridge Analytica sent to the party suggested the SNP was still interested in doing business.

READ MORE: Scotland in Union vice-chairman met Cambridge Analytica

In a tweet accompanying the release of the correspondence the SNP said the company “kept emailing and calling. We still didn’t reply and they wouldn’t take the hint.”

But the firm’s email dated 31 March said the SNP had just taken a phone call from Cambridge Analytica. It thanked the party for “discussing our potential co-operation in summer 2016; it was my pleasure to hear that you are still interested in working with SCL Group/Cambridge Analytica.”

A Tory spokesman said: “When Cambridge Analytica’s affairs were first exposed the SNP were the first to start throwing around accusations about other parties. But the more we have learned of their own involvement with the company the more their hypocrisy has become apparent.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4729216.1524684892!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4729216.1524684892!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Previously Nicola Sturgeon has claimed the SNP decided not to deal with the data harvesting firm after a meeting in February 2016.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Previously Nicola Sturgeon has claimed the SNP decided not to deal with the data harvesting firm after a meeting in February 2016.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4729216.1524684892!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5756358100001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/macron-urges-trump-to-reject-nationalism-and-politics-of-hate-1-4730510","id":"1.4730510","articleHeadline": "Macron urges Trump to reject nationalism and politics of hate","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1524683554000 ,"articleLead": "

French President Emmanuel Macron has used a speech to the joint houses of the US Congress to condemn nationalism and isolationism.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730508.1524683550!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Mr Macron urged the US not to “close the door to the world” and said stoking fear and anger would not “construct anything”.

In a speech seen as a rebuke to President Donald Trump, the French leader also warned against tearing up a multilateral deal on Iran and called on the US to re-join the Paris climate agreement.

He said he wanted the US to reject fear and isolationism and embrace the historic bond between the two countries to launch a new era of 21st century leadership and security.

Speaking almost directly to President Donald Trump, the French president quickly turned to the top issues of Syria, the Iran nuclear deal, free trade and the Paris accord on climate change – topics where he and Trump disagree.

He urged the United States not to retreat from its historic and military role in world affairs.

READ MORE: Donald Trump’s Turnberry wins top Scottish hotel award

“We are living in a time of anger and fear,” he said. “You can play with fears and angers for a time, but they do not construct anything.”

With a nod to great American leaders, including former President Franklin Roosevelt, he warned against withdrawing from the world in fear.

He said: “We have two possible ways ahead. We can choose isolationism, withdrawal and nationalism. It can be tempting to us as a temporary remedy to our fears.

“But closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world.”

At times during the nearly hour-long speech, delivered in English, he took turns playing into his friendly relationship with President Trump, while also highlighting their differences.

He reiterated French support for US sanctions on North Korea and said it was his country’s objective that Iran would never possess nuclear weapons.

But he warned against simply abandoning the multi-nation Iran nuclear deal, as President Trump has considered.

Refering to what President Trump calls, “fake news,” President Macron warned that lies disseminated online are threatening freedoms worldwide, and in a play on the US leader’s famous campaign slogan, he said he was confident the US will re-join the Paris climate agreement.

“Let us work together in order to make our planet great again,” he said, “and create new jobs and new opportunities while safeguarding our earth.”

Macron was speaking as part of his visit to the United States. It is the first time a president from France has addressed Congress in more than a decade, but follows a tradition of foreign leaders appearing at the US Capitol.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4730508.1524683550!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4730508.1524683550!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4730508.1524683550!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5750681308001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}