{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"scottishindependence","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/we-re-not-bluffing-about-no-deal-brexit-says-fox-1-4759003","id":"1.4759003","articleHeadline": "We’re not bluffing about no-deal Brexit, says Fox","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529796307000 ,"articleLead": "

Brexiteers in Theresa May’s government have warned they would be taking an uncompromising approach to EU withdrawal as thousands marched in London yesterday in protest at Brexit.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4759002.1529785817!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Protestors took part in the People's Vote demonstration against Brexit on Saturday. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the UK was “not bluffing” about being prepared to walk away from Brussels talks without a deal.

Fox, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis lined up to defend their Brexit strategy as protesters and business figures expressed their anger at how negotiations were going.

Organisers said that about 100,000 demonstrators marked the second anniversary of the Brexit vote by marching from Pall Mall to Parliament, demanding another referendum – this time on the terms of Brexit.

Fox told the BBC it was “essential” the EU “understands ... and believes” the Prime Minister’s assertion that no deal would be better than a bad deal.

He said the threat had “added credibility because if we were to leave, the economic impact on a number of European countries would be severe”.

“I think our negotiating partners would not be wise if they believed that the Prime Minister was bluffing,” he said.

Davis said the UK was “able to leave without a deal”, arguing that walking away had to be an option, no matter how unpalatable.

“We don’t want to do that, never have,” he said. “The best option is leaving with a good deal, but you’ve got to be able to walk away from the table.”

Rejecting claims the government had failed to make adequate preparations for a no-deal Brexit, he told a national newspaper: “There’s lots going on. We haven’t made it public for very simple reasons. This is a careful process. It is not designed to scare the horses or to worry people. It is designed to get the work done.”

The Brexit Secretary cited planning on migration matters and health standards, as well as treatment available to Britons in Europe.

“Work is going on all these things for both the negotiated outcome and if something goes wrong,” Davis said.

Johnson meanwhile indicated he intended to pursue a hard Brexit, saying people would not tolerate a “bog roll Brexit” that was “soft, yielding and seemingly infinitely long”.

But the remarks were criticised by business figures the day after both Airbus and BMW voiced concerns about Brexit.

Airbus warned it could pull out of Britain with the loss of thousands of jobs, while BMW demanded clarity by the end of the summer.

Siemens UK chief executive Juergen Maier yesterday said the ministers’ remarks were “incredibly unhelpful” and it was time to work for a more pragmatic deal with the EU.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today the firm wanted a soft Brexit with “minimum friction”, saying the government had presided over “two years of not having achieved what we were promised, which is that this was all going to be easy”.

“I think the realities are setting in and I think it is time to get away from slogans – ‘full British Brexit’, ‘going into combat with Europe’,” he said.

“It’s all incredibly unhelpful and what we need to do now is to get closer with our European partners and work out what a realistic, pragmatic Brexit is that works for both sides, the EU and ourselves.”

Crowds waving flags and placards filled Parliament Square yesterday chanting “We demand a people’s vote”.

Comedian Andy Parsons introduced prominent Remainers on-stage, including campaigner Gina Miller, actor Tony Robinson and former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, who claimed Brexiteer politicians were resorting to insults because the political momentum was falling away from them.

As Remainers marched in London, around 8,000 Scottish independence supporters also made their annual pilgrimage to Bannockburn. More marches are planned for Edinburgh and Dundee later this year.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4759002.1529785817!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4759002.1529785817!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Protestors took part in the People's Vote demonstration against Brexit on Saturday. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Protestors took part in the People's Vote demonstration against Brexit on Saturday. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4759002.1529785817!/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/thousands-march-in-scottish-independence-rally-in-bannockburn-1-4758900","id":"1.4758900","articleHeadline": "Thousands march in Scottish Independence rally in Bannockburn","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529762050000 ,"articleLead": "

Thousands of campaigners have taken to Bannockburn on the 704th anniversary as part on an independence rally.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4758898.1529762046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thousands took part in the march, similar to this one held in Glasgow."} ,"articleBody": "

The event organised by All Under One Banner, is one of many being held across the country with events also taking part in Dumfries and Glasgow.

Organisers estimated that up to 8,000 people took part in Saturday’s march.

Leaving Stirling at 1:30pm, marchers walked two miles to Bannockburn.

READ MORE: More than 10,000 take part in pro-independence march in Dumfries

Neil Mackay, spokesman for AUOB, said: “We greatly look forward to tomorrow’s massive demonstration for independence at Bannockburn when the modern day clans, the Yes family, will gather at Kings Park and march for Bannockburn Field leaving at 1.30pm sharp.

“This demonstration has profound significance for even though the Bruce and his captains were in command 704 years ago at this most famous Scottish battle, it was nonetheless the ordinary people of Scotland who made the victory for Scotland.

READ MORE: Pro-independence group reveals plan for ‘biggest march yet’ in Edinburgh

“And so the Yes Clans descend on Stirling to once again prove that the people of Scotland demand Independence now and that it is the people who are driving this movement and who will be victorious at the fast approaching Indyref2.

“As the independence movement works from the ground level up, we have witnessed the effects that our street demonstrations have had on the SNP leadership, giving them the courage to stand up to Westminster’s tyranny knowing that back home the people are showing the way and stating loud and clear that the way is now.”

All Under One Banner describes itself as a “pro-independence organisation whose core aim is to march at regular intervals until Scotland is free” and says it is open to “everyone who desires to live in an independent nation”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4758898.1529762046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4758898.1529762046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Thousands took part in the march, similar to this one held in Glasgow.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thousands took part in the march, similar to this one held in Glasgow.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4758898.1529762046!/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/nicola-sturgeon-says-brexit-negotiations-have-eroded-trust-in-westminster-1-4758816","id":"1.4758816","articleHeadline": "Nicola Sturgeon says Brexit negotiations have ‘eroded’ trust in Westminster","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529740134000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon has declared trust in Westminster has been “eroded” by European Union withdrawal negotiations as she indicated Holyrood would refuse consent to further Brexit legislation.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4758815.1529740131!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The row between the Scottish and UK governments escalated when the First Minister and other senior SNP figures yesterday said Scottish ministers intended to play hard ball on Brexit laws in devolved areas. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The row between the Scottish and UK governments escalated when the First Minister and other senior SNP figures yesterday said Scottish ministers intended to play hard ball on Brexit laws in devolved areas.

Speaking at the British Irish Council in Guernsey, Ms Sturgeon said: “Our experience in recent weeks and months around the Withdrawal Bill discussions have put a strain on that trust and I think inevitably have eroded it.”

Ms Sturgeon said “respect and consent” must be the basis of working relations.

READ MORE: Brexit ‘power grab’ row: What could happen next?

Her comments came as senior colleague, Brexit minister Michael Russell, warned Holyrood would not give its consent to any further Brexit legislation until the “broken” devolution system had been properly fixed.

Mr Russell said he “couldn’t conceive of circumstances” where MSPs would vote to give approval for further legislation related to leaving the EU such as trade, agriculture and fisheries.

The Brexit minister said the Sewel Convention, which states that Westminster does “not normally” legislate on devolved matters without Holyrood consent, should be made legally binding.

“What we’ve presently got is a situation where the UK government makes the rules and then breaks them themselves, and there are no sanctions,” he said.

With today marking the second anniversary of the Brexit vote, Mr Russell also said jobs and living standards across Scotland and the UK risked being “sacrificed because of an extreme Brexit, which is pushed through because of the bitter Tory civil war that now leaves the whole UK on the brink of a catastrophic no-deal outcome”.

David Lidington, de facto deputy prime minister, said there had been a “real” ­disagreement over the Brexit process.

He said: “I’m not going to hide at all from the fact the UK and Scottish governments have had a serious disagreement over the EU (Withdrawal Bill).”

READ MORE: Lord Sewel: Brexit legislation is ‘not a power grab’

But he said he believed the Sewel Convention, which means Westminster does not normally legislate on devolved matters without Holyrood’s approval, had been “upheld in full”.

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “Like everything the SNP does, this is a calculated tactic, which it thinks will bring independence closer.

“The nationalists don’t care about making Brexit work for Scotland or indeed the well­being of devolution.

“They simply want to break up Britain and this is the latest ploy in that process.

“If anyone is proving untrustworthy, it’s the SNP government.”

A UK government spokesperson said: “The EU (Withdrawal) Bill is about ensuring that the whole of the United Kingdom has a functioning statute book on exit day.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4758815.1529740131!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4758815.1529740131!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The row between the Scottish and UK governments escalated when the First Minister and other senior SNP figures yesterday said Scottish ministers intended to play hard ball on Brexit laws in devolved areas. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The row between the Scottish and UK governments escalated when the First Minister and other senior SNP figures yesterday said Scottish ministers intended to play hard ball on Brexit laws in devolved areas. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4758815.1529740131!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-government-underspent-annual-budget-by-half-a-billion-pounds-1-4758170","id":"1.4758170","articleHeadline": "Scottish Government underspent annual budget by half a billion pounds","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529647281000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish Government underspent its budget by almost half a billion pounds in 2017/18, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay told Holyrood today.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4758168.1529608046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The Finance Secretary said the £453 million underspend was a product of prudent budgeting but his opponents accused him of “gross financial mismanagement” and hoarding cash when councils faced cuts.

Mr Mackay said the government had spent £30.9 billion out of a budget of £31.4 billion for the most recent financial year.

The leftover funds

Of the £453 million unspent cash, £66 million is to be added to Scotland’s reserves in case of future budget “volatility”.

Mr Mackay also said there were already plans to carry forward £235 million to 2018/19, emphasising that none would be returned to the Treasury.

A further £100 million will go towards Scotland’s new social security agency and comes from UK Government cash given to the Scottish Government for that purpose one year earlier than expected.

Another £50 million was the result of higher than forecast tax receipts from the Scottish Government’s new Stamp Duty replacement – the Land and Buildings Transactions Tax (LBTT) and Scottish Landfill Tax.

The underspend was more than twice the £191 million recorded in the previous 2016/17 financial year. The most recent underspend also exceeded the £392 million recorded in 2015/16 and the £200 million of 2014/15.

READ MORE: FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon slams Donald Trump ‘red carpet’ plan

“Piling up” cash

Mr Mackay was accused of “piling up” a slush fund to “bribe” Green support to get his budget through parliament. But he defended himself by saying that the £66 million destined for Scotland’s reserves amounted to just 0.2 per cent of the overall budget.

Labour’s James Kelly called on Mr Mackay to apologise for failing to spend the cash.

“Labour will always fight to protect Scotland’s vital public services but SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay underspent almost half a billion pounds whilst cutting council budgets by £1.5 billion,” Mr Kelly said.

“Money is piling up in his slush fund for his annual bribe to win Green votes to get his budgets passed. This is simply a gross mismanagement of Scottish finances by a Finance Secretary that is clearly out of his depth.

“Throughout his tenure as Finance Secretary Mr Mackay his tinkered on tax instead of ensuring the richest pay their fair share to fund our schools, hospitals and other vital public services.”

Mr Kelly added: “Derek Mackay must apologise to communities across Scotland that have been damaged by his reckless actions. Scottish Labour will always put our public services first and will use the powers of the Parliament to end austerity.”

Future shortfalls

Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser claimed the Finance Secretary was having to set money aside to pay for future shortfalls in the tax take.

Mr Fraser said: “Derek Mackay might like to fool us all into thinking this £453 million underspend figure is an insignificant sum.

“But it’s worth noting that it’s higher than what the SNP’s independence blueprint said it would cost to create a separate state. The finance secretary is having to put money aside to meet a projected shortfall in tax revenues due to Scottish economic underperformance.

“If the SNP could grow the Scottish economy at least at the same rate as the rest of the UK, there would be hundreds of millions more to spend on public services and reduce the tax burden on hardworking people and businesses.”

New forecasts published by the Scottish Fiscal Commission last month anticipated Scotland’s overall revenue from devolved taxation will be just over £1.7 billion lower for 2018/19 to 2022/23 than was forecast in February.

But Mr Mackay said income from devolved taxes had increased for the second year running.

The total provisional income from Land & Buildings Transactions Tax and Scottish Landfill Tax is £706 million, £50 million above initial budget forecasts and an increase of £73 million, or 12 per cent, from 2016-2017.

Mr Mackay told MSPs: “After taking into account the social security funding, the planned carry forward for the 2018/19 budget, surplus tax receipts and fees for guarantees, there is then a remaining underspend of £66 million not yet committed to expenditure.

“This modest sum represents just 0.2 per cent of the overall fiscal budget and will also be carried through the Scotland reserve, and will be available to support management of future budget volatility - a key feature of the new world we live in.”

He added: “The 2017/18 provisional outturn results show that once again this government has prudently and competently managed Scotland’s finances.

“The prudent management of our 2017 budget and the new financial powers has been delivered against the backdrop of uncertainty around the UK’s exit from the EU, and the UK Government’s continued austerity measures.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4758168.1529608046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4758168.1529608046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4758168.1529608046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5680204816001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/guy-verhofstadt-scotland-obliged-to-follow-brexit-decision-1-4757296","id":"1.4757296","articleHeadline": "Guy Verhofstadt: Scotland ‘obliged to follow’ Brexit decision","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529512184000 ,"articleLead": "

The European Parliament’s chief negotiator has said Scotland was ‘obliged to follow the decision of the majority’ on Brexit despite voting to remain in the European Union.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4757295.1529500266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Guy Verhofstadt, today appearing before the House of Commons’ Brexit committee, told SNP MP Joanna Cherry that while he had sympathy with opposition in Scotland to leaving the EU, the ‘institutional structure’ of the UK meant it was obliged to go with the majority decision.

READ MORE: Theresa May calls US child migrant policy “deeply disturbing” and “wrong”

The former Belgian Prime Minister’s comments cast doubt over previous claims from the EU that an independent Scotland could rejoin the bloc quickly, as he appeared to distance himself from his own previous comments appearing to suggest it would be easy for a newly independent Scotland to join.”

He said: “It’s obvious, everybody sees the contradiction but because of the institutional structure of your country, you are obliged to go with the decision of the majority.

“We have to recognise that for a number of people are bound by a decision they didn’t vote for, that’s the consequence for the region or nation.”

READ MORE: Lord Sewel: Brexit decision ‘not a power grab’

In response to Ms Cherry’s questions, Mr Verhofstadt said: “We will not, as I have said from day one, interfere in the institutional debate in Britain, that’s not our job, that’s your job.”

Reminded by Ms Cherry about comments attributed to him where he said there was ‘no great obstacle’ to an independent Scotland joining the EU, Mr Verhofstadt replied: “I said that? I don’t remember a tweet about it.”

“In any way, I repeat what I said: I will never ask a negotiator or coordinator for the European Parliament to intervene in the institutional set up of any of the countries involved in this.”

Tory MP Paul Masterton said: “The SNP yet again claim to be speaking for Scotland; they do not. Just a reminder, more people in Scotland voted to leave the EU than for them in last year’s general election.

“I’m not surprised Ms Cherry obsessed over independence in her questioning. The EU have always said that an independent Scotland would not be fast tracked to membership and will be treated like every other country wishing to be a member.

“They need to get over their obsession and start working together with the UK Government to ensure the best Brexit deal for Scotland.”

Joanna Cherry said: “It’s vital that Scotland maintains its place in the Single Market and Customs Union – to protect our economy, jobs and living standards.

“These comments from European Parliament’s chief negotiator signal that any failure to bring forward proposals for sensible compromise are squarely the fault of the Tories.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ross McCafferty"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4757295.1529500266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4757295.1529500266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4757295.1529500266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5773872462001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/ayesha-hazarika-emotion-over-reason-is-the-new-politics-and-that-has-stunted-discourse-1-4756583","id":"1.4756583","articleHeadline": "Ayesha Hazarika: Emotion over reason is the new politics – and that has stunted discourse","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529470851000 ,"articleLead": "

I spent my Saturday at a ­rather exciting, well ­publicised Labour party event at a football ground with the leader. No. Not Jez Fest. I shared a stage with Scottish Labour ­leader Richard Leonard at the home of Hamilton Academical for a ­fundraiser for Hamilton, ­Larkhall and Stonehouse Constituency Labour Party.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4756582.1529409250!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour was unable to recapture the 'Oh Jeremy Corbyn' magic of Glastonbury with its festival in north London. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

This about as close as I will get to football during the World Cup. It was a great evening to help raise money so that the local party can be ready for a general election in case one is suddenly upon us. That’s a big part of Jeremy Corbyn’s political strategy, which is why Labour has been busy selecting ­candidates to fight the next general ­election even though we just had one last year. That might sound mad, but it’s not a bad idea. Especially given the ­volatile nature of ­politics right now and the precarious nature of ­Theresa May’s leadership, ­especially with those tricky Brexit votes coming back soon.

Candidates who have more time to establish themselves with their local community have a shot at doing better and it boosts the local party campaigning capacity. When you’re knocking on doors, it helps to have the actual human being who may be the MP present. This is, of course, after you’ve priced in annoying the poor house dweller by ­disturbing them just as they’ve laid out tea for the kids or they’ve just come out of the bath.

This happened to me once. A very unhappy, almost naked man stood dripping wet at the door as I ­mumbled whether there were any local issues bothering him. “Do I look like I want a ****ing in-depth chat about local politics right now hen?” he boomed. He got so angry, his towel almost fell off. I scuttled away and put him down as a maybe.

Lanark and Hamilton East have just selected Andrew Hilland as its Westminster candidate. Hilland contested the seat in 2017 and although Angela ­Crawley of the SNP won, her vote went down from 26,976 to 16,444 with Hilland losing out by 360 votes. Like many of Labour’s candidates and ­members, Hilland feels confident about signs of a Labour comeback. There is a feeling that Labour is ­relevant again, ­especially as there is now a chance of a Corbyn-led government at Westminster. The mood at the fundraiser was more upbeat that I have recently witnessed at Labour events.

Since the wipeout in 2015, the mood in Scottish Labour has veered between suicidal and homicidal depending on who you talk to. I would have liked to put the jolly mood on Saturday night down to my presence, but it was mainly because we had a special appearance from Hilland’s former boss (and mine) Gordon Brown.

I hadn’t seen Gordon in a good while. He has largely kept his head down since leaving frontline ­politics in 2010, although he made a significant intervention in the 2014 Scottish referendum campaign when he was heavily involved in drawing up The Vow agreement to transfer more powers from ­Westminster to Holyrood. Many argue this 11th-hour intervention was the thing which persuaded people to stay within the union and that’s either very good or bad depending on which side you’re on.

It was interesting to see Brown back in political action. In some ways it was if nothing had changed and he was in charge. He still has the stature, gravitas and intellectual heft which feels very missing from politics today.

When I arrived at the venue as one of the speakers I was taken to have a private meet with the “top table” and it was like going back in time to when I worked for him and he was Prime Minister. I was led into a boardroom where there were a lot of men in suits gathered round him hanging on his every word. It was like the old days. Except of course, everything had changed.

David Cameron once said that Brown was an analogue politician in a digital age back in 2006, which seems a lifetime ago. Both men have since left the political frontline (I suspect history will be far kinder to Brown) and every rule that they knew in politics has been ripped up.

We live in an age of big feelings over facts. Emotions trump reason and we have decided to dispense with experts for the time being. Those who thrive in today’s political climate need not have all the ­arguments, like how will you pay for things, they need to be able to speak to the anger that people have.

That’s why we ended up with Brexit. That’s why Jeremy Corbyn became leader and exceeded expectations at the last election. That’s why the SNP still push the case for independence, even though we had a decisive referendum. Even the Tories are at it.

This week saw Theresa May attempt to deceive the public with talk of funding the NHS in England and Wales via a Brexit dividend and “a bit” of other stuff. We all know that there will be no such thing as a Brexit dividend. There will be so many start-up costs to recreate all the administration when we leave the EU, plus the ­massive divorce bill, and there’s a good chance that our trade and economy will take a hit. This is all a fig leaf for her Brexiteers over the massive lie on the ­Brexit bus of £350 million a week. We all know that the lion’s share of the extra money for the NHS will come from more taxes and more borrowing, not a Brexit bonanza.

It’s a political stunt but it kind of worked because it got us all ­talking about more money for the NHS. But we are getting used to that. Just last week we saw the SNP walk out of the Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions in anger at how Scotland was being treated over Brexit.

In a way, fair play to them. If you’re going to pull a stunt, you’d be mad not to do it at the most important event of the parliamentary week. It got ­everyone talking about the SNP, Brexit and independence, and whether the non-stunt had in fact been a stunt (it had). Perhaps it was to detract attention from the fact that some of the figures in the Growth (or Cuts depending on your point of view) Commission showed that growth in Scotland was likely to be less with independence than it would be under a Tory government. This is important as it points at two choices. Austerity under the Tories. Or even more self-inflicted austerity in an independent Scotland.

Then there was Labour Live. A stunt to show that Labour could ­recreate the magic of all those young people chanting “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” at Glastonbury last year. Turns out it couldn’t. The party ended up giving away tickets, bussing people in and made a significant loss on the day but it got people ­talking about Labour, so maybe it was worth it.

In an era of political stuntmen, Gordon Brown probably feels glad he’s not in frontline politics anymore. The closest thing he got to one was an awkward appearance on American Idol, which didn’t go so well. But as he said recently on the Andrew Marr show, everything in politics is a phase.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4756582.1529409250!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4756582.1529409250!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Labour was unable to recapture the 'Oh Jeremy Corbyn' magic of Glastonbury with its festival in north London. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour was unable to recapture the 'Oh Jeremy Corbyn' magic of Glastonbury with its festival in north London. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4756582.1529409250!/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/brexit-power-grab-row-what-could-happen-next-1-4756766","id":"1.4756766","articleHeadline": "Brexit ‘power grab’ row: What could happen next?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529420060000 ,"articleLead": "

If the consequences of the ‘Brexit power grab’ row are as severe as had been claimed, Scotland must be many accounts be in the throes of a constitutional crisis.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755886.1529422088!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mr Mundell rejected calls from the SNP and Labour for him to stand aside"} ,"articleBody": "

Since the SNP MPs walked out of the House of Commons in protest at how the Brexit debate was conducted, the rhetoric between the two sides has only become more fierce.

The Scotsman revealed between the Scottish and UK Governments is increasingly improbable as Scottish Secretary David Mundell that he wouldn’t change his position on the so-called power grab, which will see powers in devolved areas repatriated from Brussels to Westminster, rather than Holyrood.

On Saturday, we broke the news that UK Government sources had stressed a tougher line against the SNP, with one senior source claiming that the Conservatives would no longer ‘tiptoe around’ the Scottish Government.

We look at what could happen next as the prospect of a ‘no deal’ outcome between the two Governments looms larger.

Is there a power grab?

In common with many political rows, there is no straight answer to this question, which serves to allow both sides to interpret circumstances in their own way.

It is certainly the case that some of the powers which are being returned to Westminster once Britain leaves the EU (pencilled in for April 1 2019) are in areas that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, including in fishing and agriculture.

The Scottish Government say that this amounts to an effective veto over devolved administrations, something they say not only defies the spirit, but the letter, of devolution laws.

They have accused the UK Government of breaching the Sewel Convention, which decrees that Westminster should not “normally” legislate in devolved areas.

READ MORE: Lord Sewel: Brexit legislation ‘not a power grab’

That argument was dealt a blow, however, by the declaration of the man who created that convention, Lord Sewel, that the unique challenge of Brexit meant the actions of the UK Govrnment didn’t merit a power grab.

Not that the SNP will give up their fight, and the notion of a power grab will still likely remain a matter of opinion.

Possible Scottish Government next steps

Even as there is a period of relative calm between dramatic days of voting in the House of Commons, the Scottish Government is showing no sign of letting up in the row.

SNP Brexit Minister Mike Russell told MSPs that “devolution cannot continue” like it’s “business as usual” after Westminster legislated on Brexit without strict observance of the Sewel Convention.

READ MORE: Ian Blackford calls for emergency laws

While further mass-walkouts at Prime Minister’s Questions by SNP MPs may seem unlikely, there are still plenty of opportunities for ‘guerilla tactics’ that could see the party disrupt parliamentary proceedings.

In Holyrood, there could be direct action taken to ‘protect’ devolution, but with the Scottish Parliament’s withholding consent from Westminster already, any actions could be largely symbolic.

As for the perennial elephant in the room of Scottish politics, independence, there has been little movement since the SNP published the results of their ‘Growth Commission’ report.

While Nicola Sturgeon is hardly likely to call a second referendum as the House of Commons votes on amendments to the Brexit bill, that threat is ever present.

UK Government next steps

While it was undoubtedly something of a slip of the tongue when David Mundell said Scotland was a ‘part, not a partner’ of the UK, but he may have betrayed the feeling in certain quarters of the UK Government that the Scotland issue is one of many which require urgent attention.

A solution to the Irish border problem, as well as calming pro-EU backbenchers who have rebelled against the Government, are among the difficulties currently demanding the attention of Prime Minister Theresa May.

However, it is apparent that the UK Government is content to allow the battle with the SNP to play out, and, as their sources stressed to the Scotsman at the weekend, ‘stop walking on eggshells’.

Whatever actions either the UK or the Scottish Governments take, one thing is undeniable – the ‘power grab’ row is not going anywhere.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755886.1529422088!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755886.1529422088!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mr Mundell rejected calls from the SNP and Labour for him to stand aside","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mr Mundell rejected calls from the SNP and Labour for him to stand aside","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755886.1529422088!/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/politics/snp-brands-tories-anti-scottish-as-door-closes-on-brexit-deal-1-4755843","id":"1.4755843","articleHeadline": "SNP brands Tories ‘anti-Scottish’ as door closes on Brexit deal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529397706000 ,"articleLead": "

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

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4756425.1529397634!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford speaks in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

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

READ MORE: Government defeated heavily in Lords on ‘meaningful’ Brexit vote

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

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

READ MORE: Call for overhaul of Scotland’s ‘feudal relic’ Crown Estate

Mr Blackford claimed the devolved settlement had been “emasculated by an anti-Scottish Government,” which had used its majority in England to perpetrate a “power-grab” from the Scottish Parliament.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4756425.1529397634!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4756425.1529397634!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford speaks in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford speaks in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4756425.1529397634!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755886.1529422088!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755886.1529422088!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mr Mundell rejected calls from the SNP and Labour for him to stand aside","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mr Mundell rejected calls from the SNP and Labour for him to stand aside","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755886.1529422088!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5745942705001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/ian-swanson-independence-an-uphill-trudge-for-snp-despite-walkout-1-4756184","id":"1.4756184","articleHeadline": "Ian Swanson: Independence an uphill trudge for SNP despite walkout","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529387849000 ,"articleLead": "

THE expulsion of Ian Blackford from the House of Commons and the immediate walkout by all the other SNP MPs catapulted Scotland to the front of UK political consciousness in a way little else short of another independence referendum could.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4756183.1529387847!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "MP Chris Law takes a selfie with colleagues at Westminster after the SNP walkout. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Opponents ­dismissed the drama as a stunt, but it was none the worse for that. It achieved its objective of grabbing headlines and reminding MPs, UK media and the general public of Scotland’s existence as a distinct political entity – and it also secured Commons time for a debate on the Westminster “power grab” into the bargain.

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

After the months of argument over the UK Government’s insistence that some powers coming back from ­Brussels must be retained at Westminster for up to seven years, it was ­adding insult to injury that only 19 minutes was devoted to the issue when it came before MPs for approval as part of the EU Withdrawal Bill debate last week – and even worse that no Scottish MP was allowed to speak.

READ MORE: Business leader urges SNP to drop disruption plan

Mr Blackford’s protests and his temporary expulsion by the Speaker had echoes of previous Common walkouts by Alex Salmond – suspended for five days after interrupting Chancellor Nigel Lawson’s Budget speech in 1988 – and Donald Dewar, who led 50 Labour MPs out of the chamber in 1987 in protest at Scotland not being taken seriously.

The latest “stunt” led more than 5000 people to join the SNP in just 24 hours. Now the party is threatening “guerrilla” tactics to make life even more difficult for Theresa May and her already struggling government. If the procedural sabotage takes off it could mean regular filibustering, ­all-night sittings and legislative ­timetables upset.

Former Justice Secretary and ex-Edinburgh East SNP MSP Kenny MacAskill welcomed the walkout as a “long overdue” change in the party’s attitude to Westminster and an end to the “far too supine posture” that had been taken up till now.

Alex Salmond, claiming he had advised Mr Blackford on the walkout, also criticised the previous record of the Westminster group, saying “too many seemed intent on winning the gold star for good attendance rather than independence”.

He added: “The people who send the SNP south expect their MPs to shake it up, not settle down.” On top of the extensive coverage of Mr Blackford’s protest, the SNP got another unexpected boost when ex-Daily Record editor Murray Foote, the man behind The Vow on more powers for Holyrood if Scots voted No in 2014, came out in support of independence.

The conversion of someone who played such a key role in the other side’s victory is a powerful signal of a shifting mood. But the SNP is still up against opinion polls which show little advance in support for independence, despite the party’s clear lead for both Westminster and Holyrood elections.

The Scottish Government still also faces a UK prime minister who will not countenance another referendum and shows little respect for devolution.

The SNP’s Westminster walkout was an important gesture and concerted filibustering and other procedural disruption have the potential to cause trouble for the government.

But trying to secure a better Brexit deal or move Scotland closer to independence both remain uphill struggles for the SNP.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4756183.1529387847!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4756183.1529387847!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "MP Chris Law takes a selfie with colleagues at Westminster after the SNP walkout. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "MP Chris Law takes a selfie with colleagues at Westminster after the SNP walkout. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4756183.1529387847!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5797046653001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/darren-mcgarvey-journalists-must-leave-their-ivory-towers-to-gain-respect-1-4756300","id":"1.4756300","articleHeadline": "Darren McGarvey: Journalists must leave their ivory towers to gain respect","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529387238000 ,"articleLead": "

Many journalists don’t have a clue how the communities they cover live their day-to-day lives, writes Darren McGarvey.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4756371.1529387068!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Journalists don't have a clue about how communities such as Grenfell tick, writes Darren. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

“It is a truly terrifying thought, but the ­Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the Kensington and ­Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their ­tenants and leaseholders.”
This was the ominous prediction, made by the Grenfell Action Group, in November 2016.

READ MORE: Darren McGarvey: Why I’m not a traitor to Scottish independence

By June the following year, they were proven right. Mainstream media scrambled to the West ­London borough, attempting to make sense of the tragedy in which 71 people perished and hundreds were left displaced or homeless. But many journalists, usually at ease with covering fast-moving stories, found themselves anxious and ­disorientated. The rage was ­palpable, and as journos attempted to frame the events, often clumsily, the real story was going on behind them: Grenfell stood on the cliff-edge of civil unrest, as the ­pampered leaders of the KCTMO retreated to their Forbidden City, petrified of the local people beating down their door for answers. And many of these locals were not interested in talking to media, because for them, media was part of the problem.

READ MORE: Darren McGarvey: Why I’m not a traitor to Scottish independence

Veteran journalist and Channel Four news anchor Jon Snow used his MacTaggart Lecture, in November that year, to warn his profession of a worrying disconnect between the people living in such communities and the people reporting on them. Snow said media was ­“comfortably with the elite, with little awareness, contact or connection with those not of the elite” and that the fire proved this lack of ­connection was “dangerous”.

The extent to which the voices of the Grenfell community had been routinely ignored played a key role in the sequence of decisions that led to the fire, not least the choice, made in the name of cost-saving, of flammable cladding and insulation materials that encouraged the fire’s rapid, deadly spread through the building.

Many online, were quick to warn against “politicising” the fire and dismissed, with ­alarming alacrity, local people’s “paranoid” assertions that the cladding was ­fitted to give the neighbouring ­community something less hideous to look at.

The notion that ­gentrification was a peripheral factor was laughed off, by the same people who ­disputed that Grenfell was a deprived ­community – because people who own Ikea furniture can’t be poor or socially excluded. A quick glance at the 2014 planning application, ­confirms the “paranoid” locals were, again, correct: “The changes to the existing tower will improve its appearance especially when viewed from the surrounding area”, being one sentence that really leaps off the page.

Yet, it took trained, professional journalists months to uncover basic truths about the context of this tragedy. It took so long because they first had to get their heads around what life in such a community was like when that’s something they ought to have understood intimately.

Unfortunately, local politics is regarded by too many as unglamorous and low-stakes.

This belief, that local issues are inferior to the more pressing matters of superficial, stage-managed press conferences, celebrity break-ups and ­royal weddings, often begins when a ­journalist is being trained.

The first part of a journalism course, where students will be asked to attend laborious community ­council meetings and chase up quotes from people nobody has ever heard of, is something most people are glad to get out of the way.

This must change.

If you observe any experienced political commentator, musing about the trials and tribulations of a prime minister, for example, you’ll be treated to so much social political and historical context that it’ll make your brain hurt. A reporter, reflecting on the significance of a political decision or event, will be able to lay out, in a very detailed but clear and concise way, precisely what events preceded it, the political implications and even a prediction of what may occur as a result.

For journalists of this sort, it’s a matter of intuition because they are deeply immersed in the world on which they are reporting.

But if you parachute those same journalists into a community like Grenfell, they spend most of their time trying to conceal their anxiety and confusion; suddenly giving the appearance of rookies on their first beat, able to speak only in platitudes, while they desperately attempt to connect with what is going on and what it means.

After the fire, a window opened into Grenfell.

Countless articles and broadcasts attempted to ­capture what it was like to live in a tower block.

A tower block that dominated the skyline for more than 40 years yet remained invisible to most ­people in media. Having been ignored – and dismissed – for so long, now suddenly everybody was interested in what life in a ­community like this entailed.

But most people, despite their noble intentions, were just passing through on a short-lived expedition, where the indigenous population is observed from a safe distance for a time, before the window ­closes and everyone gradually forgets about it. Then we move quickly to the aftermath phase, where those very media institutions, which demonstrated such a cack-handed approach, begin to take charge of the evaluation process.

That’s when you hear organisations, attempting to atone for being so disconnected from the concerns of local people, asking “what could we have done differently?” or “how can we listen better?” Well, you do that by paying attention to a ­couple of basic things.

First, how many ­people, hailing from such communities, do you employ?

Secondly, how much time do your staff spend in communities when they are not in crisis? You bridge the gap between media and working class communities, by ­walking ­alongside people without an agenda. You build trust and mutual respect by seeing these communities as more than attitudes, behaviours and social problems, learning not only what matters to people, but also how they think and speak about such things.

You immerse yourself in a community, like you immerse yourself in parliament, making your values as a journalist visible, not to extract narrative or find a scoop, but because that is what gives your profession integrity.

What you will find is the real context in which our political leaders find themselves; a country where many ­people have stopped listening to politicians, and routinely shrug at the news.

Not because they aren’t intelligent enough to understand what is going on, but because they reason most journalists regard their lives as parochial and ­uninteresting. And once again, they are correct.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4756371.1529387068!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4756371.1529387068!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Journalists don't have a clue about how communities such as Grenfell tick, writes Darren. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Journalists don't have a clue about how communities such as Grenfell tick, writes Darren. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4756371.1529387068!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1487174994382"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/alex-salmond-claims-credit-for-snp-commons-walkout-1-4755781","id":"1.4755781","articleHeadline": "Alex Salmond claims credit for SNP Commons walkout","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529244908000 ,"articleLead": "

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "paris.gourtsoyannis@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755780.1529240349!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.png","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755780.1529240349!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755780.1529240349!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.png","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5752726847001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/gordon-brown-nationalist-myth-about-social-justice-destroyed-by-report-1-4755782","id":"1.4755782","articleHeadline": "Gordon Brown: ‘Nationalist myth about social justice destroyed by report’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529242989000 ,"articleLead": "

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4749960.1528220266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4749960.1528220266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Picture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4749960.1528220266!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/euan-mccolm-snp-ignores-history-with-politics-of-grievance-1-4755732","id":"1.4755732","articleHeadline": "Euan McColm: SNP ignores history with politics of grievance","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529217940000 ,"articleLead": "

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755722.1529180693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755722.1529180693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "SNP MPs pose for a picture following the Westminster walkout last week. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "SNP MPs pose for a picture following the Westminster walkout last week. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755722.1529180693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755723.1529180695!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755723.1529180695!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Watt, executive director of the Institute of Directors in Scotland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Watt, executive director of the Institute of Directors in Scotland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755723.1529180695!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/uk-government-warning-as-snp-declares-guerrilla-war-on-brexit-1-4755536","id":"1.4755536","articleHeadline": "UK Government warning as SNP declares ‘guerrilla war’ on Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529147541000 ,"articleLead": "

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ll have had your compost

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

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

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

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

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "John McLellan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755074.1529145909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755074.1529145909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The SNP's walk-out at Westminster will prove to be a pivotal moment in the ongoing independence trench war. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The SNP's walk-out at Westminster will prove to be a pivotal moment in the ongoing independence trench war. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755074.1529145909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/gordon-brown-independent-scotland-brings-austerity-until-doomsday-1-4755472","id":"1.4755472","articleHeadline": "Gordon Brown: Independent Scotland brings ‘austerity until doomsday’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529083393000 ,"articleLead": "

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4755391.1529244020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4755391.1529244020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christopher Chope MP. Picture: UK Parliament","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christopher Chope MP. Picture: UK Parliament","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4755391.1529244020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/poll-has-brexit-made-scots-more-likely-to-vote-for-independence-1-4755288","id":"1.4755288","articleHeadline": "Poll: Has Brexit made Scots more likely to vote for independence?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1529065801000 ,"articleLead": "

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745025.1529065799!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745025.1529065799!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The report addresses some of the key economic questions around independence. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The report addresses some of the key economic questions around independence. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745025.1529065799!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/fmqs-nicola-sturgeon-hints-at-offender-tagging-law-change-1-4754698","id":"1.4754698","articleHeadline": "FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon hints at offender tagging law change","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1528982996000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon has signalled that she will look at Scottish Government plans that could see offenders, who breach tagging orders, escape further prosecution.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754697.1528982993!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon questioned on tagging"} ,"articleBody": "

The First Minister said she would look at the legislation when it was raised at Holyrood following the murder of 31-year-old Craig McClelland.

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

Ms Sturgeon said she would review the circumstances surrounding the case that saw Mr McClelland murdered by James Wright,25, after the killer had been illegally at large for six months.

Wright had 16 previous convictions, including two for knife crimes, when he was let out of jail last February on home detention curfew.

READ MORE: Thousands to rally against Donald Trump in Edinburgh

He had tampered with his electronic tag and breached the curfew after just 11 days, but remained illegally at large for six months before stabbing Mr McClelland to death in Foxbar, Paisley.

The case was raised at First Minister’s Questions by Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who objected to the idea that offenders who breach tagging orders would not automatically see their actions treated as a crime.

 Ruth Davidson asked Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister’s Questions today if she would commit to changing the proposed legislation in the Management of Offenders (Scotland) Bill.

Ms Sturgeon said cases of breaches of hiome detention curfew were taken “very seriously”.

“If the conditions are considered to be breached, the prison service will revoke the individual’s licence and issue a recall order,” the First Minister said.

“Police Scotland is notified and makes arrangements to apprehend prisoners so there are processes in place. It is important though that we always keep these processes under review so that when cases such as the one we were talking about last week happen.”

She added: “Thankfully these are rare cases although that offers no comfort to the family affected in that case. Where situations like that arise, we review that properly and if there are lessons or changes that require to be made then we take action to do that.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "TOM PETERKIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4754697.1528982993!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754697.1528982993!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon questioned on tagging","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon questioned on tagging","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4754697.1528982993!/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/editor-responsible-for-the-vow-now-backs-scottish-independence-1-4754433","id":"1.4754433","articleHeadline": "Editor responsible for ‘The Vow’ now backs Scottish independence","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1528977135000 ,"articleLead": "

The former newspaper editor behind The Vow published days before 2014’s Scottish independence referendum has said he now supports leaving the UK, in a move hailed as “hugely significant” by Nicola Sturgeon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754431.1528977131!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A woman poses with a copy of the Daily Record on September 16, 2014, ahead of the referendum on Scotland's independence. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Murray Foote, who led the Daily Record when it ran its famous front page promise of more powers for Scotland in the wake of a No vote, said Brexit had changed his mind.

The Vow, signed by the then Prime Minister David Cameron, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband, was published two days before the referendum took place.

Although a major study three years ago found it did not change the result of the vote, it led to the creation of the Smith Commission and the devolution of significant new powers to Scotland.

Mr Foote, who stood down as editor of the Record in March, said the UK Government had show “blatant contempt” for devolution by refusing to properly debate the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The crucial legislation’s impact on the devolved nations was debated for less than 20 minutes on Tuesday evening before being voted through, triggering fury from the SNP.

Writing in the Times, Mr Foote said: “I can no longer stand by while a cabal of the privileged deprive our sons and daughters the right to live in 27 European countries because they don’t like Johnnie Foreigner encroaching their elite club.

“I can’t remain silent as [Theresa] May, [David] Davis, [Jacob] Rees-Mogg, [Boris] Johnson and [Michael] Gove undermine the stability of a continent that has largely been at peace for 70 years.”

Mr Foote admitted that an independent Scotland would face “financial challenges” in the years after a Yes vote.

“The difficult decisions our independent nation would face and the sacrifices we may need to make do trouble me,” he wrote.

“But what troubles me more is the prospect of bequeathing to my daughters an isolated Britain governed indefinitely by the progeny of Rees-Mogg and their ilk.

“I have reconciled that independence would herald good and bad. I trust in us to solve the problems that will come our way. If so many other countries can, it is inconceivable that Scotland can’t.”

He concluded that were there to be another independence referendum, he would “strap on my work boots and take that leap” to support the campaign.

His decision was immediately welcomed by the Scottish First Minister, who said she was “delighted” to hear of his change of heart.

Ms Sturgeon’s husband, the SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, described it as “big and very welcome news”.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney added: “I applaud his willingness to take the next step on the journey and we should persuade others to follow his lead.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS GREEN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4754431.1528977131!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754431.1528977131!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A woman poses with a copy of the Daily Record on September 16, 2014, ahead of the referendum on Scotland's independence. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A woman poses with a copy of the Daily Record on September 16, 2014, ahead of the referendum on Scotland's independence. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4754431.1528977131!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4754432.1528977133!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754432.1528977133!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The tabloid ran several front page follow-up stories calling for the implementation of 'The Vow'","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The tabloid ran several front page follow-up stories calling for the implementation of 'The Vow'","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4754432.1528977133!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/kenny-macaskill-there-will-be-a-second-referendum-it-s-timing-that-s-the-issue-1-4754145","id":"1.4754145","articleHeadline": "Kenny MacAskill: There will be a second referendum, it’s timing that’s the issue","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1528952400000 ,"articleLead": "

The SNP has come out of its conference in better heart than expected and probably, if truth be told, even party bigwigs anticipated. Much was due to factors beyond its making, but in politics it’s events that matter and as in life luck that’s needed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754144.1528956969!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon was able to address conference delegates from a reasonably commanding position. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

As delegates gathered, favourable opinion polls gave a much needed boost to the leadership and to weary activists from a seemingly constant diet of negative headlines. It’s been rough going in recent weeks with health, policing and education all coming under the cosh. But, polling figures were still quite remarkable for a governing party that’s now been in power for 11 years.

Likewise figures on how people viewed the economic future of Scotland gave heart to independence footsoldiers only too well aware of the political saying “it’s the economy stupid” and still wounded by the failure to persuade many four years ago. Now, independence no longer looks so scary, though it probably has more to do with the UK no longer looking so secure and with some Brexit scenarios looking positively disastrous.

So, that all put a spring in the step of those there to set out a direction for the party and others there to hear what was planned. It also took the sting out of criticism of Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission and allowed Nicola Sturgeon to address the gathered faithful from a reasonably commanding position.

As ever it was the overall tone and direction that mattered rather than the giveaways to induce wild applause from the audience – a 3 per cent pay rise for NHS workers as necessary internally as outside the hall. But the setpiece announcements keep the rank and file happy and offset the diet of negativity abroad.

The First Minister then set out the wider strategic tactics to be followed, emphasising the need to build the base for independence rather than obsess about the date. That appears eminently sensible but also a bit like groundhog day. We’re back where we were when she entered into office in November 2014. Just why the party was primed for another referendum battle so soon only she can explain. It’s certainly been a bitter lesson for her and most of all her former colleagues who lost their seats last year.

There will be a second referendum that’s for certain, it’s the timing that’s the issue. Brexit has hindered, not helped, and the situation remains too unclear to go for one just yet. But that could change very quickly and preparation both organisationally and politically required. That would have been better done than marching up to the battlefront of a second referendum only to stand the troops down again. So, there’s lessons to be learned by the SNP and also by their opponents.

Those who oppose both SNP and independence can rest on the old adages that governments lose elections and political gravity brings them all down sometime, as well as the need for those seeking significant constitutional change to make the case successfully. But resting on those assumptions isn’t working and is playing a dangerous game.

For sure the SNP is making heavy weather of being in government but it’s hard and the public know that. They castigate them as they lambast the weather and complain about buses. But, they’ll stay where they are and still use them when they come along. Simply berating them or offering the moon doesn’t wash with the electorate who want a credible alternative, not just an echo chamber of their grievances.

As the Tories and Labour are discovering, it’s not enough to chide the SNP, they need to be seen as a credible alternative which they’re not. The Tories cannot wash away the dysfunctionality and downright brutishness of their London masters and Labour has more faces than Janus, leaving voters unsure just who or what they’re voting for. Scottish politics is beginning to copy Wales where Labour remain in power not through the success of that party but the nature and failure of others.

Likewise on the constitution the assumption by unionists that they could simply rest on the status quo and the failure of the independence campaign to make the case is unravelling. As Brexit beckons with the economic price increasingly being felt by ordinary people and Britain becoming a marginal and sometimes even a malign state, a step into the great unknown isn’t only less fearful but can even become a necessity.

Other nations have experienced that, from the Irish Free State in 1922 to the Baltic States with the collapse of the Soviet Union. There many who would never have countenanced independence saw no alternative to it, due to the behaviour and actions of their former Empire or Union. Those who support the union, as with a political alternative to the Scottish Government, need to articulate a positive case, not rest on perpetual negativity, or they’ll find that the reality of the status quo is worse than the fear of the unknown for many.

There’s also lessons for the SNP though, as chatter is taking place by many inside it and drift being perceived by those outwith it. A ministerial reshuffle is needed not just to reinvigorate them collectively but protect good ministers who are simply suffering from the demands of office. A few new faces would help and moving a few to keep them in the team essential.

Likewise internal debate in the SNP’s long overdue. Top down lectures from the leadership aren’t working and boring many. Vigorous debate is needed and so far most of the best ideas are coming from outwith the party. Embracing not excluding the wider independence support is required. The party leadership need to loosen up. It’s too presidential a government and too centralised a party. Ministers need to be allowed to blossom and ideas within the party flourish. Rather than a coterie directing things from the top, the base needs built from the bottom.

That’s how independence movements succeed and unions fall apart.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4754144.1528956969!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754144.1528956969!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon was able to address conference delegates from a reasonably commanding position. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon was able to address conference delegates from a reasonably commanding position. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4754144.1528956969!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5734512594001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/general-election/derek-mackay-slams-claim-independence-would-bring-decade-of-pain-1-4754191","id":"1.4754191","articleHeadline": "Derek Mackay slams claim independence would bring ‘decade of pain’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1528912681000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s Finance Secretary has hit back at claims that independence would result in a “decade of pain” for Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754196.1528912678!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Finance Minister Derek Mackay. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Instead Derek Mackay insisted Scotland could be “one of the most successful countries in the world” if it left the UK.

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

He made the claim as Holyrood debated the findings of the Sustainable Growth Commission - a body set up by the SNP to examine the economic prospects for an independent Scotland.

Mr Mackay said the report, produced by former SNP MSP Andrew Wilson and others, showed how the “London-centric UK economic model has failed” Scotland, with economic potential held back in a “fiscal straight jacket”.

The Finance Secretary said: “If we look at what small successful advanced economies across the globe have got that we have not, there is only one answer - independence.”

He told MSPs: “We have the potential to become one of the most successful countries in the world.”

Pro-UK parties argued the report - which included plans to keep the pound as Scotland’s currency after leaving the UK for a 10-year transition period - would leave the country facing spending cuts if it was no longer part of the Union.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “In short, an independent country would face at least a decade of pain, with cuts to public services, without the back-up of significant oil revenues.

“It would have no control over its own currency, with an economy prone to greater volatility.”

He claimed the “financial weakness” Scotland would face would be “a direct threat to our National Health Service”.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said the proposals would result in “austerity max”.

He said: “Austerity on a scale this country has never seen - £27 billion of austerity over 10 years meaning massive tax rises and spending cuts.

“This is exactly why so many on the left, why so many who were part of the Yes campaign in 2014, have rejected the Growth Commission proposals, and let us never again hear from a single member on the SNP benches bleating about Westminster austerity - what they are proposing is many times worse.”

Labour’s James Kelly branded the report the “cuts commission”.

“It would pile the pain on to Scotland’s communities and bring the country to its knees,” he said.

Meanwhile Patrick Harvie of the pro-independence Scottish Green Party criticised the “absence of green economics” in the report.

“For Greens, if independence meant a version of conventional economic policy decided here instead of London we would have very little interest,” he said.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4754196.1528912678!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4754196.1528912678!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Finance Minister Derek Mackay. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Finance Minister Derek Mackay. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4754196.1528912678!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5789587885001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scott-macnab-nicola-sturgeon-s-big-gamble-on-childcare-1-4753531","id":"1.4753531","articleHeadline": "Scott Macnab: Nicola Sturgeon’s big gamble on childcare","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1528866013000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon was in her pomp as she basked in hearty applause from the SNP faithful at the weekend after hailing the “transformational potential” of her plans to introduce a system of effective universal childcare in Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4753530.1528869174!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

About 750 nurseries will be built or refurbished as part of a national construction programme, she revealed to supporters, aimed at giving Scots children the “very best start in life.” Fast forward 36 hours and the entire policy was plunged into fresh doubt as nursery leaders announced they are at crisis point over chronic funding shortfalls and have little faith in the pledge of extra cash from ministers.

Less than a third of private providers say will take part in the Scottish Government’s scheme.

It is the latest siren call for this laudable initiative which could make such a difference to the lives of young families in Scotland and allow a generation of mothers to return to the workplace.

The plan to double free childcare to 1140 hours in Scotland would effectively mirror the primary school term time - about 30 hours a week. It is due to be up and running in just two years.

Ms Sturgeon has been driving this. She was the one who decided to press ahead with the scheme at Holyrood under devolution. It had been at the heart of the SNP’s plans for independence in the 2014 referendum campaign, but there were fears that costs would be prohibitive after the No vote.

The scale of the likely impact is clear to see from the latest unemployment figures for Scotland unveiled just yesterday. There is little difference between the number of men and women in work. About 1.4million men have jobs, compared with 1.3 million women, while 118,000 men are unemployment against 69,000 women. The really stark gender divide emerges in the type of work being done. About 1.2 million men are in full-time jobs compared with 733,000 female workers. And most telling of all there are 536,000 women doing part-time jobs, four times higher than the 164,000 men in such posts. Unforgiving workplace cultures also mean may Scots exceed their contracted hours, with previous research indicating that about two-thirds of women - and half of men - would think carefully about role changes, including promotion because of childcare issues.

The First Minister has shown real political bravery in taking on something which could bring about such fundamental change. But it’s now becoming increasingly clear it won’t be easy to deliver. The first problems emerged with the parental campaign group Fair Funding For Our Kids who drew attention to the difficulties with the current scheme which should provide 600 hours free childcare. In practice this means half a day - morning or afternoon paid for the state.

The problem comes when families then seek to “top up” and keep their youngsters in the same nursery for the full day by funding the remainder themselves. At the moment this can’t be done in many nurseries as they don’t have “partnership” status with councils. It means many families are missing out on their entitlement as they are forced to pay the full whack themselves or face one parent having to quit their job. Ministers have indicated they plan to address this with a credit-style system which would provide greater flexibility in the way parents would be able to use their 1140 hours entitlement, but it remains unclear how this would work in practice.

The sheer costs, staffing and infrastructure requirements for the scheme are also increasingly raising concerns. The public spending watchdog Audit Scotland warned that the Scottish Government’s £840 million estimate for the annual cost of the scheme was well short of the near £1 billion required and that the estimated 6,000-8,000 extra staff required was also likely to be short. In the end, minsters were forced into an embarrassing climb down and agreed to cough up an extra £150 million a year to fund the scheme and concede that actually 9,000 new staff would be needed to deliver the flagship project.

The fact that such an important brief has been left in the hands of rookie minister Maree Todd - who has only been an MSP for two years - is also perhaps surprising. She was appointed after previous incumbent Mark McDonald’s unsavoury departure, but floundered when she faced MSPs earlier in the year, unable to state how many staff are currently working in the sector. Publicly available records put this at just over 33,000. And concerns came to a head this week with publication of the report by the National Daycare and Nursery Association (NDNA) which found widespread discontent.

Many say they are unlikely to get involved in the scheme and have little faith that the additional cash pledged by ministers will reach them on the frontline. Most say they face an annual shortfall of more than £1,000 a child under the current 600 “funded” hours and don’t see this changing when its expanded. The UK Government has already run into trouble with its 30 free hours of childcare for three and four-year-olds. This differs from the Scottish scheme in that it is only available if both parents are working. Providers have made it clear that they will charge a fee for meals, nappies and day trips along with others fees, complaining that the UK Government’s funding is inadequate, leaving them with a shortfall.

The stakes are high. If the Scottish Government gets this right it has the potential to deliver lasting change for families across Scotland. For Ms Sturgeon it is the political equivalent of big game hunting, while the Twitterati obsess (in the words of the First Minister) about the timing of the next referendum. Perhaps it would bolster Nationalist propositions that Scotland can do things differently and create that Scandi-style modern democracy where higher taxes are complemented by the best in public services. In so doing it may just help provide the foundation for that next push for independence when the time comes.

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Despite what you might have heard from the SNP conference over the weekend, independence isn’t going to happen. There. I’ve said it.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4752938.1528787763!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Sustainable Growth Commission chair Andrew Wilson outside the Scottish Parliament.Picture; PA"} ,"articleBody": "

A social attitudes survey published last week suggested that as many as 59 per cent of Scots feel strongly British. That warms my pro-UK heart, because it may finally signal the loosening of the constitutional knot that has throttled the consideration of all other public policy in Scotland this past decade.

It comes hot on the heels of the so-called Growth Commission’s report into how an independent Scotland could tough it out if ever we severed ties with the rest of the UK.

That report has been awaited by the ranks of nationalists for years. It was delayed several times to the point where it became so mythologised by those in the Yes base, they believed that it would represent a road map to the promised land. That it would finally win over those pesky No voters still clinging to their “facts”.

So reverentially was the Growth Commission talked about amongst the pro indy, or indy-curious commentariat that there were shudders of mild anxiety and nervous glances on our side of the aisle.

But we needn’t have worried, what started out as “what have they got up their sleeve”, swiftly turned to “is that it?”. Its publication was greeted initially with bewilderment and some degree of hushed consideration – not unreasonably – it was a very long and technical piece of work. Usually ardent unionist pundits even suggested that it was quite well written with interesting comparisons to successful small countries like New Zealand and Hong Kong.

This must have lit the touch paper because the far left of the independence movement went berserk. Suddenly, a document that was going to provide the much needed answers to the questions that had thwarted the independence cause in 2014, saw guns drawn within the Yes camp. Why? Because the comparisons it made with those countries would require one small ingredient for our fledgling country to get there – austerity on steroids.

Shortly after publication, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a well-respected think tank, was swiftly backed up economist and blogger Kevin Hague’s widely circulated analysis, that the commission’s formula would see public spending having to fall three per cent behind GDP growth within ten years (austerity is classified as the point where public spending has to dip more than one per cent behind GDP). It was clear and it was damning.

Now, I’m not going to spend the rest of this article talking about what an economic disaster area our country might become. I don’t hate Scotland, as some in the dark underbelly of the SNP might suggest, and I won’t do it down. I love my country. But so too do I love the United Kingdom. You see, I’m an internationalist– for the same reason I am unashamedly Europhile, I proudly support the continuance of the political and social union within these islands. I believe in forging political unions with those countries close to you geographically and those who share your values. That’s the way to prosperity and a shared answer to the macro issues of climate change, human trafficking and terrorism.

I said at the top of this article that independence isn’t going to happen, but that doesn’t mean that we are out of the woods. The new SNP deputy leader was elected on a mandate to push for another referendum as soon as possible, so we in the pro-UK camp need to be ready. That means putting aside our differences, Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem and start pulling together once again to make a positive case for the union.

Alex Cole-Hamilton is the Lib Dem MSP for Edinburgh Western.

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