{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"uk","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/business/retailer-next-to-unveil-fall-in-profits-amid-high-street-woe-1-4707620","id":"1.4707620","articleHeadline": "Retailer Next to unveil fall in profits amid high street woe","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521328996000 ,"articleLead": "

Difficult trading conditions on the high street as inflation exceeds earnings growth will be highlighted this week as fashion retailer Next unveils a slide in annual profits.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707619.1521306901!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Next has been caught up in the high street malaise."} ,"articleBody": "

Next, which along with the likes of Marks & Spencer and Primark is a bellwether for the sector, is the first non-food retail giant out of the blocks with yearly results amid concerns that another Bank of England interest rate rise is in the pipeline for spring.

That would be seen as putting further pressure on household budgets and the prospects for retailers.

The City consensus is for Next’s chief executive Lord Wolfson to unveil an 8 per cent fall in earnings to £725 million, further dampening sentiment in a sector that has had a torrid start to 2018.

Toys R Us and electronics retailer Maplin have collapsed into administration, and profit warnings have been made by Debenhams, Mothercare and Carpetright (the second earnings alert at the floorings specialist since Christmas).

Next has been caught up in the high street malaise, but the chain posted a surprise rise in sales over the festive period and upgraded its profit forecast. It said full-price group sales, including Next Directory, in the 54 days to Christmas Eve rose 1.5 per cent, ahead of expectations,

It attributed part of the rise to much colder weather in late December. However, sales at the shops fell 6 per cent.

Even so, Next upped its full-year profit guidance by £8m to £725m, although the figure is still significantly shy of last year’s £790.2m.

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Next’s Christmas trading update showed high street sales continuing to suffer.

“That’s a trend that looks set to continue, but the outlook for next year has improved.”

Salmon added: “Next expects sales growth to firm up as online continues to deliver good results. Meanwhile, cost inflation is expected to ease, and then disappear, over the course of 2018.

“All that bodes well – higher sales and higher margins mean doubly higher profits in the longer term.

“However, [physical] retail still accounts for a huge slice of sales, and with conditions remaining tough, it’s likely to be far from plain sailing.”

Wolfson has previously said that Next will look to cut costs by renegotiating rents with landlords and controlling wages and man hours.

Meanwhile, firms including Jamie’s Italian, burger chain Byron and Prezzo have shut hundreds of stores amid tough trading.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "martin flanagan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707619.1521306901!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707619.1521306901!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Next has been caught up in the high street malaise.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Next has been caught up in the high street malaise.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707619.1521306901!/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/uk/newsnight-denies-jeremy-corbyn-soviet-stooge-photoshop-stunt-1-4707696","id":"1.4707696","articleHeadline": "Newsnight denies Jeremy Corbyn ‘Soviet stooge’ photoshop stunt","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521320985000 ,"articleLead": "

A Newsnight boss has dismissed claims the programme photoshopped Jeremy Corbyn’s hat to make him look more Russian.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707695.1521320981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Newsnight boss has dismissed claims the programme photoshopped Mr Corbyn's hat to make him look more Russian. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Supporters of the Labour leader, including prominent left-wing writer Owen Jones, attacked the BBC Two programme for using an image they claim had been altered.

Mr Jones appeared on the show to discuss Labour’s response to the Salisbury nerve agent attack and claimed Mr Corbyn had been made to look like a “Soviet stooge”.

“The media framing has been a disgrace and I have to say that includes your own programme,” he told presenter Evan Davis on Friday.

READ MORE: Russia expels 23 British diplomats as stand-off intensifies

“Yesterday the background of your programme you had Jeremy Corbyn dressed up against the Kremlin skyline, dressed up as a Soviet stooge.

“You even photoshopped his hat to look more Russian.

“People should complain to the BBC about that kind of thing.”

Mr Corbyn was pictured wearing a hat against a backdrop of Moscow’s Red Square.

Newsnight acting editor Jess Brammar denied the hat had been altered.

“Newsnight didn’t photoshop a hat,” she tweeted.

“Our (excellent,hardworking) graphics team explained the image has had the contrast increased & been colour treated, usual treatment for screen graphics as they need more contrast to work through the screens.

“If you look you can see it’s same hat in silhouette.

“Apparently (forgive me for passing on tech details I don’t understand firsthand) some detail might also have been lost with it going through the screen and then being filmed back through a camera, again the standard effect on images on that big back panel.

“And finally, the Russia background was a rehash of one Newsnight used a few weeks ago, for a story about Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary.”

Mr Jones responded to the tweets saying the programme had picked an image of Mr Corbyn that was as “Leninesque as possible”.

“The photo of Williamson is in a suit and his photo remains clear,” he said.

“There is no shortage of photos of Corbyn in a suit. A photo was selected which was as Leninesque as possible in combination with a red Kremlin background.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707695.1521320981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707695.1521320981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A Newsnight boss has dismissed claims the programme photoshopped Mr Corbyn's hat to make him look more Russian. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Newsnight boss has dismissed claims the programme photoshopped Mr Corbyn's hat to make him look more Russian. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707695.1521320981!/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/uk/polls-reveals-sizeable-support-for-england-world-cup-boycott-1-4707650","id":"1.4707650","articleHeadline": "Polls reveals sizeable support for England World Cup boycott","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521311189000 ,"articleLead": "

A third of people would support a World Cup boycott by the England football team, according to a new poll.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707649.1521311185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

A YouGov survey of 1,986 adults for the Times found 34% of those it questioned would back pulling Gareth Southgate’s team out of the finals in Russia this summer.

Some 39% rejected the idea and 27% said they were unsure, while among those who were football fans, 32% also favoured a boycott and 56% believed the team should take part.

Twelve percent of football fans said they were unsure.

MPs have raised questions over the national team’s participation, as well as concerns over the safety of the travelling fans.

The four-yearly sporting extravaganza is due to kick off in Moscow on June 14, and is expected to be used by Vladimir Putin as a massive PR opportunity for his country.

But Labour’s Stephen Kinnock suggested Britain should ask Fifa to postpone the tournament to 2019 and take it away from Russia in retaliation for the Salisbury poisoning.

His fellow Labour MP John Woodcock also called for Parliament to debate whether the Government should ask its allies to advocate postponing the summer championship or move it to another country.

The Barrow and Furness MP earlier said England’s participation “ought to be in question”, while Conservative chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, raised fears football fans travelling to the country for the tournament may be at risk of harm if tensions escalate between London and Moscow.

Theresa May has said no Government ministers or members of the Royal Family will attend and the Foreign Office has warned England fans planning to travel to Russia that they should “be aware of the possibility of anti-British sentiment or harassment”.

But the Government has not given its backing to a boycott of the tournament, insisting that the England team’s involvement is a matter for the Football Association.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707649.1521311185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707649.1521311185!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707649.1521311185!/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/uk/russia-expels-23-british-diplomats-as-stand-off-intensifies-1-4707499","id":"1.4707499","articleHeadline": "Russia expels 23 British diplomats as stand-off intensifies","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521285710000 ,"articleLead": "

Russia’s government is expelling 23 British diplomats and threatened further measures in retaliation in a growing diplomatic dispute over a nerve agent attack on a former spy in Britain.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707497.1521285705!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "British ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow, leaves after a meeting at the Russian foreign ministry building in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)"} ,"articleBody": "

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it is also ordering the closure of the British Council in Russia and ending an agreement to reopen the British consulate in St Petersburg.

It ordered the diplomats to leave within a week.

READ MORE: Leader comment: This is Russia’s weak spot

The statement said the government could take further measures if Britain takes any more “unfriendly” moves toward Russia.

British Prime Minister Theresa May this week expelled 23 Russian diplomats and severed high-level contacts over the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

They remain in critical condition in hospital.

Moscow and London have both ordered diplomats to be expelled in the deepening dispute.

READ MORE: Defiant Alex Salmond says “I can say what I like” on Russia Today

Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of the Russian parliament, spoke on Saturday after Russia ordered 23 British diplomats to leave the country and that the British Council in Russia to be closed.

Britain this week ordered 23 Russian diplomats to leave the country, saying that Russia was not co-operating in the case of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, both found poisoned by a nerve agent that British officials say was developed in Russia.

“It is possible that (Britain) will continue to respond; we are ready for this. But London must understand that this will not do anything, it is useless to talk with Russia with such methods,” Mr Dzhabarov was quoted as saying by the state news agency RIA Novosti.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707497.1521285705!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707497.1521285705!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "British ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow, leaves after a meeting at the Russian foreign ministry building in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "British ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow, leaves after a meeting at the Russian foreign ministry building in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707497.1521285705!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5752726847001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/stephen-jardine-the-real-story-about-salt-in-chinese-meals-1-4707317","id":"1.4707317","articleHeadline": "Stephen Jardine: The real story about salt in Chinese meals","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521266400000 ,"articleLead": "

Real Chinese food is good for you, unlike the heavily salted, processed version adapted for Western tastes, writes Stephen Jardine.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707316.1521225382!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Warnings about salt in Chinese meals apply to the Western version not the real thing"} ,"articleBody": "

If you were looking forward to relaxing in front of the telly tonight with your favourite Chinese takeaway meal, you might want to think again. Campaigners this week called for a health warning on Chinese food from supermarkets and takeaways after new research showed some popular dishes featured five times more salt than a Big Mac. Of the meals tested, the majority contained half the recommended adult daily salt allowance of 6g. Add in a side dish of egg fried rice and some prawn crackers and your salt intake is through the roof. That is a serious problem because too much salt in your diet can raise your blood pressure, putting you at increased risk of health problems such as heart disease and strokes.

READ MORE: Unhealthy Chinese meals ‘should carry health warning’

Those blooming Chinese. Coming over here with their highly salted food and giving us heart attacks. It makes for a good tabloid headline but totally misses the truth. Just as a Britain’s favourite curry, the chicken korma, would be unrecognisable in India, the dishes on the salt list of shame would confuse any Chinese cook. Instead they are highly processed attempts to fool us into thinking we’re eating traditional Chinese food. And to cover up the fact that most ready meals feature low-quality ingredients, the manufacturers turn to their old friend to deliver flavour, salt.

In reality, authentic Chinese food is incredibly healthy. With lots of steamed rice and green vegetables and little saturated fat, it is a recipe for staying well. But that is not the version of Chinese food we’ve been sold here.

Our taste buds have been trained to expect sodium in the Western diet so Chinese dishes have been adapted to deliver it; some supermarket rice dishes have as much salt as 12 bags of ready salted crisps.

READ MORE: Kevan Christie: You can’t offset tray bakes by eating the odd avocado

Chinese cooking has taken the hit in the great salt witch hunt but in reality the processed food industry should take the blame. Amoy, which supplies sauces and noodles, is owned by US food giant Heinz, while Blue Dragon is owned by Lancashire-based AB World Foods. With these companies serving up what we expect from Chinese food, it’s no surprise your local takeaway offers the same. It takes a brave chef like Jimmy Lee in Glasgow to serve stir-fried king scallops with mange tout in chilli garlic when he could just jump on the bandwagon. As Brexit proves, it’s always tempting to blame others for our own problems but Chinese food is really not the bogeyman when it comes to salt in our diet. Instead we need to look much closer to home. With the dangers of too much in our diet well established, the use of salt in the home has fallen but hidden salt when we eat elsewhere is the real enemy. Campaign group Action on Salt has recognised that and called on the Government to set tough new targets for reduction. They also want to see salt levels on front of pack labels and warnings on menus as is now done in New York.

We also need to big food processers to step up to the mark as responsible members of society. Some have reformulated popular dishes to reduce salt content without any consumer backlash. The giant food producers got us to where we are today in terms of salt consumption so now they must take us somewhere better.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Stephen Jardine"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707316.1521225382!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707316.1521225382!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Warnings about salt in Chinese meals apply to the Western version not the real thing","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Warnings about salt in Chinese meals apply to the Western version not the real thing","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707316.1521225382!/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/uk/police-launch-murder-inquiry-over-death-of-russian-nikolai-glushkov-1-4707136","id":"1.4707136","articleHeadline": "Police launch murder inquiry over death of Russian Nikolai Glushkov","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521217165000 ,"articleLead": "

British police have launched a murder investigation after the death of Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov in south-west London.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707135.1521217160!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ex-deputy director general of Aeroflot airlines company Nikolai Glushkov. (Pavel Smertin/Kommersant Photo via AP, file)"} ,"articleBody": "

Scotland Yard said a post-mortem examination found that Mr Glushkov’s cause of death was “compression to the neck”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon hits out at Russia over ‘highly likely’ poisoning

The businessman was a close friend of Vladimir Putin critic Boris Berezovsky.

The Met added: “At this stage there is nothing to suggest any link to the attempted murders in Salisbury, nor any evidence that he was poisoned.”

Mr Glushkov, 68, was found dead at a residential address in New Malden on Monday.

More to follow.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4707135.1521217160!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4707135.1521217160!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ex-deputy director general of Aeroflot airlines company Nikolai Glushkov. (Pavel Smertin/Kommersant Photo via AP, file)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ex-deputy director general of Aeroflot airlines company Nikolai Glushkov. (Pavel Smertin/Kommersant Photo via AP, file)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4707135.1521217160!/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/giving-back/charities/video-girl-5-goes-viral-with-heartwarming-down-s-syndrome-day-message-1-4706854","id":"1.4706854","articleHeadline": "Video: Girl, 5, goes viral with heartwarming Down’s Syndrome Day message","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521202633000 ,"articleLead": "

A five-year-old Scot with Down’s syndrome has captured hearts around the world after her mother posted a video of her to raise awareness for World Down’s Syndrome Day.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706853.1521203197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chloe Lennon in her video message. Picture: Facebook/Jade Lennon"} ,"articleBody": "

Chloe Lennon’s video, urging viewers to wear odd socks to celebrate the day on 21 March, has received over 13 million views on Facebook and has been shared more than 473,000 times across the world.

READ MORE: Revealed: The 10 ‘best places to live’ in Scotland

Chloe’s mother Jade, from Irvine, Ayrshire, said she filmed the clip to change perceptions of children with the condition and break down stereotypes.

Jade told BBC Scotland: “Chloe is just like any other five-year-old and it is heartbreaking when people take one look at her and assume she is not intelligent and she is not capable.

“She is capable, as are all people with Down’s syndrome.”

The video campaign has been a huge hit.

Jade said she had been contacted by people from around the world “inspired” by the video of her daughter.

She said: “I’ve had 7,000 comments and so many messages. I am so proud of Chloe for being such a positive influence.”

In the past, Jade said she had experienced “a few horrible comments” about Chloe’s condition, both online and in person.

Jade was contacted by well-wishers and lots of couples who had been told there was a chance their babies would be born with Down’s syndrome.

One American mother-to-be said she had been battling with a difficult decision about whether to continue with her pregnancy after doctors had diagnosed her baby with Down’s syndrome at 20 weeks. Jade said: “She didn’t know what to do. She told me she came across the video of Chloe, talked to her partner and showed it to him – and they have decided to go ahead with the pregnancy.”

World Down Syndrome day takes place on 21 March and aims to raise awareness of the condition while fundraising for charities.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706853.1521203197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706853.1521203197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chloe Lennon in her video message. Picture: Facebook/Jade Lennon","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chloe Lennon in her video message. Picture: Facebook/Jade Lennon","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706853.1521203197!/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/uk/topman-withdraws-shirt-which-inadvertently-mocks-hillsborough-disaster-1-4706784","id":"1.4706784","articleHeadline": "Topman withdraws shirt which ‘inadvertently mocks Hillsborough disaster’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521197785000 ,"articleLead": "

Retailer Topman has apologised and withdrawn a shirt following criticism by some that it was mocking the Hillsborough disaster.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706783.1521197781!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Topman has withdrawn the shirt which some have criticised for mocking Hillsborough. Picture; Topshop"} ,"articleBody": "

The red shirt with a large number 96 is being seen by some Liverpool fans as a reference to ‘inadvertently’ mocking Hillsborough and number of victims killed in the 1989 disaster.

Topman apologised “unreservedly” saying it was based on a Bob Marley track and the shirt is no longer on sale online or in stores, the shop said.

READ MORE: Hillsborough police chief faces 95 manslaughter charges

Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South, called for the shirt to be removed from sale, in a tweet saying the shirt was “very unfortunate”.

Join our Facebook group Our Edinburgh to share images and news from and around the Capital

The shirt provoked anger as written under the white 96 the words “What goes around comes back around”.

The word “Karma” is also written on one sleeve of the shirt.

READ MORE: Gerry Farrell: Justice at long last for dead of Hillsborough

Twitter users have been quick to point out the similarities between the number of associations with Hillsborough from he red colour, the number 96 and the rose, all of which are associated with remembrance of the victims.

The shop said in a statement: “Topman apologises unreservedly for any offence caused by this T-shirt.

“The design was inspired by a Bob Marley track with the number referring to the year of re-release. The garment has been removed from sale online and in stores.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706783.1521197781!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706783.1521197781!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Topman has withdrawn the shirt which some have criticised for mocking Hillsborough. Picture; Topshop","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Topman has withdrawn the shirt which some have criticised for mocking Hillsborough. Picture; Topshop","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706783.1521197781!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/education/marian-docherty-history-of-learning-that-helps-to-transform-lives-at-newbattle-abbey-college-1-4706152","id":"1.4706152","articleHeadline": "Marian Docherty: History of learning that helps to transform lives at Newbattle Abbey College","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521194583000 ,"articleLead": "

WHEN visitors come to ­Newbattle Abbey College, they soon realise that it is steeped in ­history. Part of the original 12th century Cistercian monastery remains and what became the Declaration of Arbroath was drafted at Newbattle in 1320.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706151.1521192905!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marion Doherty has been appointed as new principal and chief executive at Newbattle Abbey College, Scotland's national centre of excellence for adult learning."} ,"articleBody": "

Most of the central structure of our beautiful building dates from the 16th century when it was the family home of the Marquis of Lothian.

The Lothian family bequeathed the building to the nation in 1937, to serve as ­Scotland’s first national ­residential college for adults seeking a second chance in education.

We celebrated our 80th ­anniversary last year, ­following an exciting project to highlight Newbattle’s role as a training centre for service personnel during the Second World War and a retraining centre thereafter.

This is just a snapshot of Newbattle’s history. In 2020, we will host an international conference (complete with a Harvard professor) to mark the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, and Newbattle’s part in it.

When I took over as principal last month I was honoured to become part of Newbattle’s long and rich history.

I would encourage all ­visitors and partners to look beyond that history and ­recognise Newbattle’s vital role in ­education in 2018 and beyond. At this pivotal time, our national and local role has never been more relevant. We are key members of the National Strategic Forum for Adult Learning and have ­hosted several national conferences to promote adult learning across all educational sectors. We have also established ourselves as a hub for Gaelic and Celtic culture in south east Scotland.

Newbattle plays a key role in offering a second chance to adults for whom education didn’t work out first time around. Our Access to Higher Education Courses have been very successful in enabling adults to progress to a range of higher education options and transform their lives.

Newbattle also has a crucial part to play in ­supporting young people, ­particularly those who have faced challenges in their lives. The ­college has developed ­relationships with local primary and high schools and is a member of Midlothian Council’s ­Community Planning Partnership. Our successful Associate Programme with Queen ­Margaret University has ­enabled us to offer an HNC in Social Sciences.

Our Rural Skills courses have also been a real ­success. These are designed for people of all ages who enjoy working ­outdoors, including those who might not thrive in a classroom. Students learn about estate maintenance, trees and wildlife and also make the environment more attractive for those who use our grounds. Later this year we will be launching our new Forest Awards, a unique development in Scotland for adults and younger learners.

Newbattle has already led the development of Adult Achievement Awards, another first for Scotland. These enable adults to gain national accreditation in a wide variety of contexts – the community, the home, the workplace, in employability programmes and through volunteering. They have helped many adults progress to ­further learning and boosted their confidence and wellbeing.

It’s encouraging to see new, flexible opportunities for adults returning to learning. But it’s clear that adults need accurate information about what is on offer locally and nationally. Many also need support to access these opportunities and to progress to other options. There is a need to develop adult guidance locally and nationally for the benefit of learners and providers. That’s why Newbattle has included this important theme in its next national adult learning conference on 24 April.

Newbattle is constantly developing programmes and partnerships in response to the needs of learners. We are proud of our national role in adult learning and look forward to continuing this leadership in the years ahead.

Marian Docherty is principal, Newbattle Abbey College.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706151.1521192905!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706151.1521192905!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Marion Doherty has been appointed as new principal and chief executive at Newbattle Abbey College, Scotland's national centre of excellence for adult learning.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marion Doherty has been appointed as new principal and chief executive at Newbattle Abbey College, Scotland's national centre of excellence for adult learning.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706151.1521192905!/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/alex-neil-urges-antiques-roadshow-to-avoid-home-of-buckfast-1-4706021","id":"1.4706021","articleHeadline": "Alex Neil urges Antiques Roadshow to avoid home of Buckfast","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521189599000 ,"articleLead": "

The former Scottish health secretary has urged BBC bosses to ditch plans to film the Antiques Roadshow at Buckfast Abbey over fears it may promote the controversial drink.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706019.1521189595!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Buckfast has been criticised in the past. Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Presenter Fiona Bruce will be heading to the historic site near Buckfastleigh, Devon, on September 13 to film the BBC show for an edition celebrating the abbey’s thousand-year anniversary.

But Alex Neil has criticised the public broadcaster for “even inadvertently” advertising the tonic wine by hosting the show there.

The SNP MSP says the tonic wine has had a damaging impact on his constituency and is now urging the BBC to change location.

READ MORE: Defiant Alex Salmond says “I can say what I like on Russia Today”

He said: “My concern is that this programme could be used, even inadvertently, to advertise Buckfast.

“Viewers might get the impression that the BBC is endorsing Buckfast as a product.

“Clearly this would not be good given the concerns about the effect of Buckfast on the people who drink it

“The important thing is that they make it clear they are not promoting or endorsing Buckfast.

READ MORE: Population fear as Scots births sink to 17-year low

“I think a change of venue would be the best way to achieve this. I am going to write to them about it.”

Mr Neil, who last year called for Buckfast to cut their 37mg per 100ml caffeine content added: “Excessive caffeine levels in drinks like this can cause people to misbehave.”

In a letter to the Director General of the BBC, Lord Hall, Mr Neil said: “For many years there has been great concern in Scotland about the sale of Buckfast and its adverse impact on the behaviour of those who drink it, owing to its excessive caffeine content, etc.

“A lot of anti-social behaviour is caused by the use of this drink

“By using this Abbey as a location of this (excellent) programme it could send out the wrong message, especially to young people, that the BBC was giving respectability and credibility to this drink.

“I would strongly urge you not to use this location; or if you insist on doing so ensure that the BBC makes it clear that it does not in any way endorse the production and sale of this product.”

A spokeswoman for the Antiques Roadshow said that the abbey was chosen for the show because of its historical importance.

She said: “Buckfast Abbey is a site of historical significance, celebrating one thousand years of worship in 2018, and is set in a beautiful landscape in an area of the country that the Roadshow has not visited in some time.

“It also has facilities to cater for the large number of visitors the Roadshow expects to draw to its free, public events.”

BBC sources insisted there will be no on-air promotion of the product.

Stewart Wilson, a spokesman for J Chandler and Co - the manufacturers of Buckfast, was surprised by the remarks of the former health secretary.

He said: “We are somewhat surprised my Mr Neil’s comments.

“We wrote to Mr Neil when he was the health secretary.

“We received a reply back clearly indicating that the Scottish Government has no evidence to suggest that our brand causes any issues.”

A spokeswoman for Buckfast Abbey said that 2018 is a significant year for the abbey.

She said: “This year is an important year for Buckfast Abbey, marking 1000 years since the monastery’s founding in 1018.

“With this important landmark year and the wealth of history at Buckfast Abbey, we are very much looking forward to welcoming the Antiques Roadshow.

“We feel this is a wonderful opportunity for the viewers of Antiques Roadshow to learn more about the life and history of Buckfast Abbey, as well as welcoming the wider community for what will be an exciting event for all.”

Buckfast is a drink with a chequered past owing largely to both its high alcohol and caffeine content.

Since 2014, the drink has been linked to more than 6,500 reports of antisocial behaviour and violence in Scotland.

And in 2015, the Scottish Prison Service reported that more than 43 per cent of inmates had consumed Buckfast before their last offence, despite accounting for less than one per cent of Scotland’s total alcohol sales.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706019.1521189595!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706019.1521189595!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Buckfast has been criticised in the past. Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Buckfast has been criticised in the past. Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706019.1521189595!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5647351805001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/education/frank-mitchell-it-s-essential-that-we-get-the-country-s-young-bright-sparks-interested-in-engineering-1-4706162","id":"1.4706162","articleHeadline": "Frank Mitchell: It’s essential that we get the country’s young bright sparks interested in engineering","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521180024000 ,"articleLead": "

This week is British Science Week, a celebration of ­science, technology, ­engineering and maths (STEM). Across the UK, pupils and the public will take part in hundreds of events to help them learn more about science.

In Scotland, it’s absolutely vital that we find ways to engage primary and secondary school pupils in STEM subjects and give them the skills needed to work in engineering.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706161.1521116850!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Inspiring school pupils towards engineering through STEM subjects"} ,"articleBody": "

We anticipate as many as four out of five workers in the energy sector will retire over the next 15 years. ­Without a pipeline for producing a skilled workforce in Scotland, it would be impossible for us to deliver the essential upgrades that will be needed for Scotland’s electricity network in the next 50 years.

That’s why SP Energy Networks is making major moves to support STEM education in schools and find new ways to inspire the next generation of engineers. A basic knowledge of science and maths alongside a ­passion for engineering and technology are essential skills for any ­aspiring power engineer.

Last year, more than 200 SP ­Energy Networks staff members ­volunteered more than 700 hours to visit local schools and colleges to talk with young people about life as an engineer. A further 3,000 schools across the UK were involved in our education programme, PowerWise, which teaches children about electricity networks and how to stay safe around them.

We have been finding creative ways to inspire teachers and get pupils interested. This includes providing training and resources for teachers, hosting fun ‘meet the expert’ sessions at the Glasgow Science Centre, ­running educational STEM ­workshops alongside the Glasgow Warriors, and using virtual reality technology to sell power engineering at career fairs.

A huge part of our engagement work in schools and colleges is to introduce young people to apprenticeship opportunities. More than 230 apprentices and 84 graduates have joined in the last five years and hundreds of engineers in the SP Energy Networks workforce have been through apprenticeships. This year, we’ll help to fund 16 students’ master’s degrees through the ScottishPower Scholarship Programme.

Alongside our colleagues across the wider ScottishPower group, we are also working with industry leaders as part of the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership. It has brought together power, gas, water and waste management companies to create new apprenticeships and launch the talentsourcenetwork.co.uk website to help young people look for vacancies and apprenticeships.

Getting Scottish school children inspired by STEM at an ­early age is an essential part of ensuring we have a skilled workforce in the future. Taking part in British Science Week will ignite the imagination of some young ­people and we’ll be here to ­nurture their talent for the long-term benefit of our business, the country and our customers.

Frank Mitchell is CEO of SP Energy Networks, part of ScottishPower.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706161.1521116850!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706161.1521116850!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Inspiring school pupils towards engineering through STEM subjects","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Inspiring school pupils towards engineering through STEM subjects","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706161.1521116850!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/education/dr-paul-kelley-pupils-are-losing-vital-sleep-1-4706157","id":"1.4706157","articleHeadline": "Dr Paul Kelley: Pupils are losing vital sleep","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521180005000 ,"articleLead": "

What would you do if the NHS told you your teenager was more likely to be obese, depressed, ­risk- taking with alcohol, tobacco and drugs, and less likely to do well at school?

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706155.1521116778!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dr Paul Kelley is Honorary Associate in Sleep, Circadian and Memory Neuroscience at The Open University."} ,"articleBody": "

Since 2014, we have had clear ­medical evidence that starting school too early has a negative effect on ­adolescent health due to their ­biology. They need more sleep at this age. So why do some schools in Scotland still start at 8:30 a.m. or earlier when this makes their students more likely to have these problems?

Unfortunately for you and your teenager we haven’t been told that these higher health risks arise from sleep loss. Although there are teenagers with individual sleep issues that Sleep Scotland and the NHS support, this is not the same.

Parents know teenagers can be hard to wake for school, and they seem tired every morning. That’s partly because they are tired in the morning and more alert in the evening. They do sleep in at the weekend to try to catch up the sleep they lost during the week. Unfortunately, if you are sleep deprived in your working week, you can’t make up for it by ‘sleeping in’.

This teenage time zone is really very different. To give you an idea of how teenagers feel in schools that start at 8:30 a.m. or earlier, imagine how you would feel if someone woke you up at 4:30 a.m. in the morning every working day. The underlying biological processes are simple: not only do teenagers need an hour (or more) sleep compared to adults, they also need to wake up, and go to sleep, much later in the day. For the last 30 years or more, research worldwide has consistently shown teenagers are losing two or more hours of sleep each school night because they are being forced to fight body clocks ­created to ensure they have longer sleep and later wake times.

Disrupting body clocks that control our wake and sleep cycles has ­other consequences. Our body clocks ­control time patterns (called circadian rhythms) in our organs, most of our biological processes and even our feelings of hunger and being full.

So teenagers may find their eating patterns going awry with late-night snacks and not being hungry at the traditional breakfast time that suits early school starts. More worryingly, sleep deprivation is associated with the onset of mental illnesses.

Evidence that early school starts cause negative health risks from obesity to drug abuse has been established over decades of research. In the last ten years the ­evidence has been so strong that medically advanced ­countries with very early school starts are now ­taking action. In Korea, one province of 11 million has moved all start times to much later.

Most significantly, from 2014-2016 the American medical community (including the American Medical Association) and the US Department of Health recommended that all schools with secondary ­students start later. Specifically, schools should not require students to start earlier than 8:30 a.m. The medical evidence was clear that in these early-starting schools, ­teenagers would be more likely to become obese, depressed, risk-taking with alcohol, cigarettes and drugs, and less likely to do well at school. This challenging message does not just apply to more than 80 per cent of secondary schools in America but to schools around the world: teenagers in Scottish schools that start before 8:30 a.m. have the same increased health risks.

There is a positive side: ­teenagers in Scottish schools that start later are more likely to be healthier and do better. But is 8:30 a.m. still too early? Yes – a new four-year study of students in an English state school saw their rate of illness fall by 50 per cent when they moved the start time to 10 a.m. Their results improved too.

The Year of Young People in Scotland is an opportunity to improve young people’s lives. Scotland and NHS Scotland could lead the UK and the rest of Europe in improving teenage heath by ensuring ­secondary schools in Scotland start at 9 a.m. or even 10 a.m. There will be challenges: in the Central Belt, transport to school is fast, but in the Highlands and Islands many teenagers may need even later times. Scotland showed commitment to public health by banning smoking in the workplace, and commitment to young people by granting them the right to vote. It can give a commitment to let its teenagers have the sleep they need by ­starting secondary schools later. It’s only a matter of time.

Dr Paul Kelley is honorary associate in Sleep, Circadian and Memory Neuroscience at The Open University.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706155.1521116778!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706155.1521116778!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dr Paul Kelley is Honorary Associate in Sleep, Circadian and Memory Neuroscience at The Open University.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dr Paul Kelley is Honorary Associate in Sleep, Circadian and Memory Neuroscience at The Open University.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706155.1521116778!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706156.1521116781!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706156.1521116781!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Every parent who has tried to get a teenager out of bed for an early school start knows how difficult it can be","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Every parent who has tried to get a teenager out of bed for an early school start knows how difficult it can be","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706156.1521116781!/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/joyce-mcmillan-hawking-was-an-enlightenment-giant-for-21st-century-1-4706581","id":"1.4706581","articleHeadline": "Joyce McMillan: Hawking was an Enlightenment giant for 21st century","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521180000000 ,"articleLead": "

Professor Stephen Hawking was a beacon of reason, humanity and scientific progress, writes Joyce McMillan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706580.1521143577!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The physicist detested Brexit, was passionate about fighting climate change and sought to protect the NHS (Picture: Ian Rutherford)"} ,"articleBody": "

In December 2016, just 15 months before his death in Cambridge this week, Stephen Hawking wrote a powerful column for The Guardian about the Brexit vote earlier that year, and how the world’s elites should react to it. He made no bones about his professional and personal opinion that Brexit would be a disaster – bad for universities, bad for the economy, bad for young people, bad for Britain.

Yet he also understood that there was something going on that made his opinion – as a Cambridge professor, and one of the world’s leading physicists – less important in the debate than it might once have been. “The recent apparent rejection of the elites in both America and Britain is surely aimed at me, as much as anyone,” he wrote. “I warned before the Brexit vote that it would damage scientific research in Britain, that a vote to leave would be a step backward; and the electorate – or at least a sufficiently significant proportion of it – took no more notice of me than any of the other political leaders, trade unionists, artists, scientists, businessmen and celebrities who all gave the same unheeded advice, to the rest of the country.”

And it was wholly characteristic of Hawking that he went on not to bemoan the stubbornness of Brexit voters who failed to heed his words, but to urge the elites of Britain and the world – whether academic, political, or financial – to recognise their error in creating or condoning an economic system that leaves so many people without dignity or hope, and to strive to address the sense of anger and disaffection that led so many British voters to lash out at the establishment by voting to leave the European Union.

READ MORE: Stephen Hawking’s Scottish best friend pays tribute

Any death, of course – particularly of a well-known figure like Hawking – marks a moment for re-assessment and appreciation. Yet there’s something about the passing of Hawking at this particular moment, when the world seems locked in a new battle between scientific rationalism and a new wave of militant unreason and belligerence, that seems particularly resonant. Hawking, after all, was born in 1942, raised in the age of the NHS and free university education, and dedicated to the cause of scientific research, which he combined with a strong moral sense of the value of every human life. What’s more, his own life, shaped from his early 20s by a slow-burning form of motor neurone disease that left him increasingly disabled, represented a tribute to the power of medical science, not only to keep him alive, but to enable him, for most of his life, to live fully and productively.

Hawking was, in other words, an enlightenment figure par excellence; a believer in reason and humanity, a mighty scientist, an atheist with powerful moral views, a man whose own day-to-day life demonstrated what human intelligence and political goodwill can achieve, given a chance. And the very reaction to his death – greeted by some with astonishingly bitter comments about how Hawking must know by now how wrong he was to reject the idea of God – demonstrates how close we may be, in these times, to losing all the present advantages and future potential of a society founded on the values Hawking represented.

READ MORE: Professor Stephen Hawking’s triumph over motor neurone disease

There is no avoiding the truth, after all, that many of the opinions to which Hawking’s sharp intelligence led him are controversial in the political climate of 2018. He was passionately committed to the battle against climate change, and the transition to a low-carbon economy. He detested Brexit, and all that it stands for. He was a socialist and a life-long Labour voter, although not a fan of Jeremy Corbyn; some of his recent contributions to public debate warned that we should be afraid not so much of the robots and artificial intelligence that might take our jobs, but of the capitalist system that creates the financial incentive to sack and discard human beings. And he believed so passionately in the National Health Service that he joined the group currently seeking a judicial review of the conduct of the UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, over the general introduction into NHS England of “accountable care organisations” – private providers by another name.

Yet although he was involved in struggles to protect the best legacies of the age of enlightened modernisation in which he grew up, no one could truly accuse Hawking – with his immense track-record of innovative thinking on the outer limits of physics – of being backward-looking, or a mere nostalgist. He held firmly to the enlightenment ideals of scientific progress, reason and humanity; but he was also brilliant enough to reimagine them for the 21st century, and to understand how reason without humanity and compassion makes science complicit with the elite thinking that voters across the West have begun to reject.

And to the end, Hawking retained the precious sense of hope that comes with that forward-looking set of values. Three years ago, he sent a message to the 2015 World Economic Forum at Davos, summing up his view. “We are here together,” he said, “and we need to live together with tolerance and respect. We must become global citizens, our only boundaries the way we see ourselves, our only borders the way we see each other. Let us fight for every woman and every man to have the opportunity to live healthy, secure lives, full of opportunity and love. We are all time-travellers, journeying together into the future. But let us work together to make that future a place we want to visit. Be brave, be determined, overcome the odds; it can be done.”

It may have been Stephen Hawking’s brilliance as a scientist that gave him a public platform and voice, along with his huge determination and courage in achieving that eminence despite his disability. In the end, though, I think his greatest legacy will lie in his gift for combining that brilliance with a passionate moral commitment to humanity and its future; and in his encouragement to us all to use our minds and our hearts to the full, in navigating the dangerous times we face now, and building a future worth the journey, for all of humanity.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706580.1521143577!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706580.1521143577!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The physicist detested Brexit, was passionate about fighting climate change and sought to protect the NHS (Picture: Ian Rutherford)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The physicist detested Brexit, was passionate about fighting climate change and sought to protect the NHS (Picture: Ian Rutherford)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706580.1521143577!/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/jim-duffy-i-could-be-a-tory-but-here-s-why-corbyn-offers-more-hope-1-4706577","id":"1.4706577","articleHeadline": "Jim Duffy: I could be a Tory but here’s why Corbyn offers more hope","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521180000000 ,"articleLead": "

I’m a massive believer in enterprise, but it’s not right that the richest one per cent own as much as poorest 50 per cent, says Jim Duffy.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706576.1521143425!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (left) and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard after his address to delegates at the Scottish Labour Party Conference in the Caird Hall, Dundee."} ,"articleBody": "

I was searching for a most decent quote to begin this week’s column. So, who better to start with than Tony Blair … no, I jest of course. A much bigger and more important and global game-changer I have chosen. It has to be Dr Martin Luther King. Dr King once said: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Never a truer word was spoken that is more relevant to the world we live in today.

Which brings me back to Tony Blair. No, I’m not going to take a cheap shot at the ex-prime minister. But, as I watched the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, respond to the Tiggerish Mr Hammond this week, I saw a glimmer of hope. He accused the government benches of being Tory posh boys, which is where my reference to Mr Blair comes in. I always felt he was the archetypal Tory posh boy, who just chose the wrong party when he was younger.

But, there you go, the choices we make have a huge impact on the hope we create for ourselves and for others. As our politicians in Scotland and at Westminster crack on with the formalities and react to local and world events, I’m looking for a glimmer of hope for the next decade.

And maybe I have just found it in Mr McDonnell. But, before I go on, as many of you know, I have not really chosen a political party that I want to join. No party gets my juices going enough that I want to become a card-carrying member. The SNP nearly had me at one point. And I sometimes think that being a Conservative would be okay as I look at Ruth Davidson. But, to date, I have not signed up yet. However, I could be convinced as I look at the Corbyn/McDonnell ticket.

READ MORE: Jim Duffy: Tensions rising in the real-life Town Called Malice

Why? Well, I see a little hope there for the future in these two gents. To be honest, I just don’t think the Tories have delivered as I had hoped. When he was Chancellor, George Osborne repeatedly said “we’re all in this together” as he chiselled out cuts and promoted austerity. In 2012, the then chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander, told the Liberal Democrats, “we simply will not allow the books to be balanced in a way that hits the poorest hardest”. But alas, the poorest have been hit hardest and the Tories have not done enough, in my opinion, to tax their chums and share the wealth. So, can Mr McDonnell offer hope to the teachers, police officers, nurses, firefighters, whom he quotes as feeling the pain with no tangible hope at present?

For the first time in years, I can see clear blue water between Labour and the Conservatives. I didn’t see it with Miliband. But now the socialist policies that Mr McDonnell would pursue kind of make sense to me. He has a plan. Crikey, am I becoming more left-leaning as I get older?

So, I looked a bit deeper at how his plan would work in Scotland. How would it offer hope when juxtaposed alongside Scottish Labour? Well, now’s the time for Richard Leonard to enter stage left. As I flicked through the TV channels, I came across Mr Leonard giving his speech at the Scottish Labour conference in Dundee. Initially, I found him a bit awkward, but the man got into his stride. And he was being watched and studied and scrutinised by Mr McDonnell, who was sitting in the hall.

READ MORE: Jim Duffy: Embrace the joy of missing out on social media

I bet he was well pleased with Mr Leonard as they were definitely singing from the same hymn sheet. This address to the party faithful in Scotland was the most unabashedly left-wing speech I have ever heard from a mainstream party leader. Again, I felt that something was happening across the Corbyn/McDonnell ticket that was being mirrored here in Scotland. I liked that and it added to my sense of hope. So what now?

We are reaching a crossroads that has huge implications for hope in Scotland and the UK. If we believe that capitalism and capitalists, tycoons and the market are working well, then stick with the Tories I would suggest. Albeit the deficit is not looking great and they are all over the place with Brexit.

Or if we want a big change, a disruptive change that will alter the social fabric of our society in a corrective sense, then choose Labour in Scotland and at Westminster. But, do not get misty-eyed. This is not a Labour leadership across the UK that wants to go back to strikes, the comrades and builder’s tea round a crackling brazier.

No, this is a Labour Party that wants to put a stop to the “low-wage, low-output economy, built on the quicksand of precarious work, zero-hour contracts, agency working and umbrella companies”. And for once, I actually believe that hope is in the air as they mark out their political territory.

If the richest one per cent in Scotland own more wealth than the poorest 50 per cent – a statistic that is exactly the same the USA, funnily enough – then somethings badly wrong.

I’m a huge, no a massive believer in enterprise and business building. But, it seems that business building has not made everyone wealthy. So, I can see hope in Labour policies that may well address this, if it can get into power.

Yes, our economy is teetering on a knife edge, but if it is going to jitter and bumble along, then at least let’s do it together providing everyone with some form of hope.

To be continued, Mr McDonnell …

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Duffy"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706576.1521143425!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706576.1521143425!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (left) and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard after his address to delegates at the Scottish Labour Party Conference in the Caird Hall, Dundee.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (left) and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard after his address to delegates at the Scottish Labour Party Conference in the Caird Hall, Dundee.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706576.1521143425!/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/uk/royal-navy-submarine-breaks-through-arctic-ice-for-major-exercise-1-4706283","id":"1.4706283","articleHeadline": "Royal Navy submarine breaks through Arctic ice for major exercise","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521129620000 ,"articleLead": "

Royal Navy submarine HMS Trenchant has broken through the metre-thick ice of the Arctic Ocean to join two US boats on a major exercise.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706282.1521124684!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "HMS Trenchant up through ice on ICEX18. Picture: Ministry of Defence"} ,"articleBody": "

Ice Exercise 18 (ICEX) is a series of demanding trials in the frigid climate of the Arctic Circle, designed to test submariners’ skills in operating under the Arctic ice cap.

HMS Trenchant joins US submarines USS Connecticut and USS Hartford for the drills, co-ordinated by the US Navy’s Arctic Submarine Laboratory.

This combined team of military staff and scientists run the testing schedule from an ice camp established on an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean, north of Alaska.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The Arctic Ocean is one of the most unique and harshest environments on earth. The ability of our submarines to operate with our US allies here demonstrates how the Royal Navy is always on hand and ready to defend our nation anywhere in the world.”

The Ice Camp consists of a series of temporary shelters and houses up to 50 people from Britain, Canada and the US. Temperatures at the camp frequently drop to -40F.

Commander David Burrell, the Commanding Officer of HMS Trenchant, said: “This is a tremendous opportunity to really test our skills. Working alongside the US submarines is great for us. It is like dogfighting in an ice jungle.”

ICEX provides a perfect opportunity for UK and US submariners to learn and develop the skills to operate under the Arctic ice cap.

Rear Admiral James Pitts, US Navy, said: “With every ICEX we are able to build upon our experience and continue to learn the best way to operate in this unique and harsh environment. We are constantly testing new tactics under the ice and this exercise allows us to do this on a larger scale and alongside our UK, joint and academic partners.”

This allows the Royal Navy to test a series of equipment, notably sonar, against live ‘targets’ and to practice tracking and simulating attacks against other submarines.

Exercises such as this are said to be vital in maintaining the operational readiness of the Royal Navy’s submarine fleet and in maintaining the security of the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

The release comes amid escalating tension between Russia and the UK after the poison attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury earlier this month.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared this morning that Scotland was ready to deal with a future chemical weapons incident in the aftermath of the attack.

The SNP leader branded the nerve attack a “gravely serious issue” at First Minister’s Questions today, but said emergency services were prepared for a similar incident on the streets of Scotland.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706282.1521124684!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706282.1521124684!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "HMS Trenchant up through ice on ICEX18. Picture: Ministry of Defence","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "HMS Trenchant up through ice on ICEX18. Picture: Ministry of Defence","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706282.1521124684!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5752005960001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/nicola-sturgeon-says-scotland-ready-for-chemical-weapons-attack-1-4706176","id":"1.4706176","articleHeadline": "Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland ready for chemical weapons attack","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521118467000 ,"articleLead": "

Nicola Sturgeon has declared Scotland ready to deal with a future chemical weapons incident in the aftermath of the Salisbury attack.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706175.1521117685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Daniel Leal"} ,"articleBody": "

The SNP leader branded the nerve attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal a “gravely serious issue” at First Ministers Questions today, but said emergency services were prepared for a similar incident on the streets of Scotland.

The First Minister said: “Scotland’s preparedness to successfully respond to attacks of this nature - chemical biological, radiological attacks - have been developed over a number of years.

“In relation to the type of incident encountered in Salisbury, our excellent emergency services would be in a position to respond to the initial incident.

“But again as this investigation progesses and as more information comes to light, we will continue to discuss these matters with our emergency services, involving of course our resilience arrangements more generally, to make sure that they have the capability and the resources that is required.”

Ms Sturgeon discussed the issue with Prime Minister Theresa May during talks in London yesterday, along with the national Security Advisor.

READ MORE: Defiant Alex Salmond says “I can say what I like” on Russia Today

Ms Sturgeon also indicated that the Scottish authorities could play a role in stripping UK-based Russian oligarch of their assets and called for ongoing “dialogue and discussion.”

There have been claims that shell organisations registered north of the border as Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLP) have been linked to money laundering and corrupt wealth.

She added: “If it is the case that further action is proposed in future, for example action that may include asset recovery of sanctions, then whereas that is the responsibility of the National Crime Agency in other parts of the UK, in Scotland, of course, it is the responsibility of Police Scotland and the Crown Office and the civil recovery unit in particular.

“So it is important that there is ongoing discussion and dialogue on these matters as well.

“Perhaps if there is any criticism to be made of the behaviour in the past of the UK, it’s perhaps that there has not been a stronger response in the past in terms of the influence of Russian money.

“These matters all require to be looked at very very carefully.”

READ MORE: Russia will expel British diplomats ‘soon’

Ms Sturgeon’s assertions came as Britain’s defence secretary said Russia should “go away and should shut up” as Britain prepares for retaliation from Moscow over its response to the Salisbury attack.

Gavin Williamson said relations with Russia were in an “exceptionally chilly” period and called for the whole country to unite behind Mrs May.

It comes as the Prime Minister visited Salisbury to speak to emergency services, members of the public and local businesses.

She will also receive a briefing from Public Health England.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd was chairing a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee in London to discuss the latest situation.

And Environment Secretary Michael Gove led a cross-governmental ministerial recovery group looking at support to go to the people and city of Salisbury in the aftermath of the incident.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned Moscow would expel British diplomats “soon” after Mrs May announced the biggest expulsion of Russian embassy staff since the Cold War.

During a visit to Bristol, Mr Williamson said: “It is absolutely atrocious and outrageous what Russia did in Salisbury. We have responded to that.

“Frankly, Russia should go away and should shut up.”

Mr Williamson described Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s response as “disappointing”.

READ MORE: Mark McDonald collects £7,000 pay-off after quitting Scottish Government

France publicly backed the Prime Minister’s assessment that Russia was culpable for the attack and said it stands in solidarity with the UK.

Mrs May and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by telephone at 7:30am to discuss the latest developments in the case.

The talks came after reports of a lukewarm response from the French government, but Paris later issued a statement saying there was “no other plausible explanation” for the poisoning.

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson confirmed the UK would submit a sample of the nerve agent to the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for it to carry out its own tests.

The US threw its diplomatic weight behind the UK, saying it “stands in solidarity with its closest ally”.

Mr Johnson said the UK’s response means Russia’s intelligence capabilities in the country had been “basically eviscerated” for decades.

He claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to send a message to any defecting Russians that “you’re going to die”.

Announcing sanctions in the House of Commons, the PM said the attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia amounted to “an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom”.

Mrs May announced the suspension of high-level contacts with Russia, including a boycott of this summer’s World Cup by Government ministers and members of the royal family.

She said Russian state assets will be frozen “wherever we have the evidence that they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents”.

Twenty-three Russian diplomats identified as undeclared intelligence officers have been given a week to leave the UK, in the largest mass expulsion since 31 were ordered out in 1985 following the defection of double agent Oleg Gordievsky.

Mr Corbyn drew criticism for his stance on the Salisbury incident after his spokesman said the history of the use of information from UK intelligence agencies is “problematic” and refused to say that the Labour leader accepted the Russian state was at fault.

The spokesman’s comments prompted Labour backbencher John Woodcock to table an Early Day Motion “unequivocally” accepting the “Russian state’s culpability” for the attack, and supporting “fully” the statement made by Mrs May in the Commons.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706175.1521117685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706175.1521117685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Daniel Leal","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Daniel Leal","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706175.1521117685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5750315203001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/tiny-pieces-of-plastic-found-in-almost-all-bottled-water-1-4706121","id":"1.4706121","articleHeadline": "Tiny pieces of plastic found in almost all bottled water","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521114846000 ,"articleLead": "

Tiny pieces of plastic is contained in most bottled water drunk from around the world.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706120.1521114843!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Microplastics were found in more than 90 per cent of bottled water"} ,"articleBody": "

The alarming discovery was revealed in a new study of some of the world’s most popular bottled water brands.

The analysis found more than 90 per cent of bottled water contained tiny pieces of plastic.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a review into the potential risks of plastic in drinking water in the wake of the analysis.

A previous study also found high levels of microplastics in tap water.

The microscopic plastic particles, which come from sources including cosmetics, clothing and industrial processes, were detected in almost all of the bottles of water tested by researchers at the University of East Anglia.

Thought to be the largest study of its kind, scientists examined more than 250 bottles of water from 11 different brands from around the world and found “almost all were contaminated to some degree”.

Dr Andrew Mayes, who led the study, said: “We are becoming increasingly aware of microplastics in the environment and their potentially harmful effects, but their prevalence in other areas has been much less studied.

“They have been reported in tap water, beer and many other foods, but I think that people will be surprised that almost all bottled water appears to be contaminated too.”

Dr Mayes and his team pioneered a new method of detecting the tiny bits of plastic that can be ingested and accumulate in the body.

He said conventional methods would have been hugely time consuming and prohibitively expensive, although the new technique uses dye to rapidly screen for the particles.

The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

READ MORE: Swap haddock for less popular fish in chippies, says guide

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706120.1521114843!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706120.1521114843!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Microplastics were found in more than 90 per cent of bottled water","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Microplastics were found in more than 90 per cent of bottled water","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706120.1521114843!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/kevan-christie-you-can-t-offset-tray-bakes-by-eating-the-odd-avocado-1-4706109","id":"1.4706109","articleHeadline": "Kevan Christie: You can’t offset tray bakes by eating the odd avocado","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521114575000 ,"articleLead": "

The revelation that Chinese takeaways and ready meals carry an “astonishing” amount of salt provides little comfort for food fantasists like me who believe unhealthy lifestyle choices can be offset by eating the odd banana.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706108.1521114571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "We are still eating too much salt despite a reduction by food manufacturers (Picture: PA)"} ,"articleBody": "

A hardy band of corner-cutters and cheats have convinced ourselves that the epitome of a balanced diet is to have the odd avocado and a daily handful of almonds to be consumed in between steak bakes, tray bakes and macaroni pies. A trip to the boozer for too many pints is allowed provided you’ve been to the gym beforehand and flirted with the idea of porridge with blueberries for lunch.

We ‘offsetters’ celebrated the news that black pudding may be a ‘wonder food’ like Scotland had beaten Brazil 8-0 in the World Cup Final. Pass the brown sauce.

However, this self-deluding fantasy has ground to a shuddering halt with the announcement last week that people who eat copious amounts of fruit and veg may still have an increased risk of high blood pressure if they consume a lot of salt.

The offset genie is out of the bottle, it doesn’t work, our worse fears have been confirmed – it’s a case of one or t’other.

The Action on Salt survey found that the worst offending Chinese takeaway dishes were found to contain as much salt as five McDonald’s Big Macs (before you put extra salt on them) so it’s fair to say that’s a large amount of sodium chloride in anyone’s book.

READ MORE: Healthy diet ‘doesn’t protect against too much salt’

The inevitable calls for more labelling are coming thick and fast but it’s questionable whether that would make any difference. Certainly some kind of dietary information system in restaurants would be beneficial, but that may just put a downer on your night as each dish comes with a health warning.

This wasn’t so much of a problem for my generation of 1980s teenagers who were at the forefront of the ready-meal revolution. I use the term ‘revolution’ lightly – what I actually mean is Findus Crispy Pancakes and a small piece of cod in parsley sauce that came in a polybag.

No-one was under the illusion that a gloop-filled pancake was good for you, because we never gave these things a second thought.

Food was food, the term ‘junk food’ hadn’t been invented but your mum would still give you a row for eating too much ‘rubbish’ before your tea.

A trip to the Chinese takeaway was often a rare treat for my teenage pals after a hard night spent sitting on a park bench – but this was only to buy chips and curry sauce. On the rare occasions someone got fancy and bought chow mein or an actual curry there was no salt warning on the side of the foil tray.

According to Action on Salt, the average person in the UK is thought to eat around 8.1g salt a day.

This has reduced by 15 per cent over the last decade, primarily due to product reformulation, whereby the food industry has gradually reduced the amount of salt added to their food.

But we are still eating a third more than the maximum recommended intake of 6g a day, putting us all at increased risk of a range of disease later in life.

The Holy Trinity of the food industry – sugar, salt and fat – are now inextricably linked to high-blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and obesity. So, time’s up for these shocking ready meals, we should all take a few seconds to read the traffic light warning system on the side of dishes and aim to wean ourselves off the salt.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kevan Christie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706108.1521114571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706108.1521114571!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "We are still eating too much salt despite a reduction by food manufacturers (Picture: PA)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "We are still eating too much salt despite a reduction by food manufacturers (Picture: PA)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706108.1521114571!/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/grenfell-tower-doors-blocked-fire-for-half-the-time-expected-1-4706071","id":"1.4706071","articleHeadline": "Grenfell Tower doors blocked fire for ‘half the time expected’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521112834000 ,"articleLead": "

Flat doors in Grenfell Tower could only hold back a blaze for half the time they were supposed to, investigators have found.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706070.1521112832!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Seventy-one people were killed in the Grenfell Tower blaze"} ,"articleBody": "

Experts acting on behalf of the Metropolitan Police tested an undamaged front door from the west London block.

They found it could withstand a blaze for 15 minutes – not the 30 for which it was designed.

Seventy-one people died when a fire ravaged the residential building on 14 June last year.

A vast police investigation is continuing into the causes of the fire, Scotland Yard said, as it announced the new findings.

A statement said: “The Metropolitan Police Service is conducting a comprehensive investigation into what happened at Grenfell Tower in June last year.

“We have previously described that our forensic examination at the scene would be followed by a phase of off-site testing to be conducted by experts on our behalf.

“As part of this investigation, experts tested a flat front door taken from Grenfell Tower. The door tested was designed to resist fire for 30 minutes, but during the test it was only found to resist the fire for approximately 15 minutes – a much shorter period than expected.

“The forensic examination and testing phase is ongoing and we are not able to comment on the potential impact or otherwise that any test result may have on the overall criminal investigation.

“We have shared this information with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as the appropriate Government department, so that they are able to take any action required.”

READ MORE: Defiant Alex Salmond says “I can say what I like” on Russia Today

Natasha Elcock, a survivor from the tower and a representative of the bereaved and survivors’ group Grenfell United, said: “It’s shocking. First the cladding and insulation, then the doors. Who knows what else is putting peoples lives at risk. It’s time people lives are taken more seriously and that includes everyone from every walk of life.

“People’s homes must be made absolutely safe for them and their children. The Government should have improved regulations after previous fires. We can’t listen to anymore excuses.

“Grenfell United will not stop campaigning until the lessons of Grenfell are learnt. Nothing can bring our loved ones back, but we must make sure a fire like this never happens again.”

It is believed Manse Masterdor was the manufacturer of Grenfell Tower’s fire doors, which were installed between 2011 and 2012.

Since then, the company’s trade and operating assets were taken over by Synseal, which continues to trade under the name Mastedor.

Synseal said the products in question were no longer being sold.

The former owners changed the company’s name in November 2014 from Manse Masterdor to Litchfield Investments Limited, public records show.

In January of this year it was agreed Litchfield Investments would be wound up voluntarily. Liquidators were called in to oversee the process and distribute assets.

A spokesman for Synseal said: “The doors were fitted in 2011 and 2012. There was a two-year gap between Manse Masterdor installing the doors and Synseal taking over.

“In terms of products, when Synseal came to the company it was because it wasn’t performing very well, they changed lots of products, lots of specifications of doors.

“In terms of the doors used in Grenfell Tower, those would not be the same doors that are manufactured today.”

READ MORE: Rangers and Celtic fork out £500k to police Old Firm games

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706070.1521112832!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706070.1521112832!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Seventy-one people were killed in the Grenfell Tower blaze","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Seventy-one people were killed in the Grenfell Tower blaze","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706070.1521112832!/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/defiant-alex-salmond-says-i-can-say-what-i-like-on-russia-today-1-4705933","id":"1.4705933","articleHeadline": "Defiant Alex Salmond says “I can say what I like” on Russia Today","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521111683000 ,"articleLead": "

A defiant Alex Salmond has declared he can “say what I like” on Russia Today (RT), claiming any move to shut down his television show would make a “mockery of freedom of speech”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705932.1521103508!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Lesley Martin/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The former Scottish First Minister said no guests invited on his show aired on the Kremlin-backed broadcaster had been “silenced”.

He also denied operating to any brief or directive from the Kremlin.

The determined stance was issued with The Alex Salmond Show under investigation by UK broadcaster Ofcom.

Ofcom had warned on Tuesday RT could lose its right to broadcast in Britain if it failed a so-called “fit and proper” test.

READ MORE: Tom Peterkin: Why Alex Salmond must now quit Russia Today show

Russia’s foreign ministry has warned British media will be expelled if the UK shuts down RT.

Speaking at the end of this morning’s episode, Mr Salmond stressed his show was “independently produced” amid calls for the programme to be banned from British airwaves.

“I host this independently produced television show, which is broadcast on RT International,” he said.

“Within the broadcasting laws that normally pertain to this country, I can say what I like about any issue and so can any one of my interviewed guests.

“We have included current heads of state and government, past Prime Ministers and presidents, MPs from different parties, baronesses, lords and knights of the realm.

“Not a single one of them has complained about being silenced because not a single one of them has been.

“I hold no brief from the Kremlin, nor am I required to have.

“No-one has tried to influence the content of this show in any way, shape or form whatsoever.

“By definition RT has not been a propaganda station because it is regulated under a UK licence by Ofcom.

“Yes, it’s had breaches of the Ofcom code, but so have Sky, ITV and BBC. For some however, independent regulation is not enough.

“Newspapers who objected to even the mildest of statutory regulation of their own industry now think that independent regulation is somehow inadequate for broadcasting and should be replaced by effective state censorship.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she had previously made clear her dislike of RT – and then questioned if her Tory rival had spoken out against Russian donations to UK political parties.

But she also stressed the “bigger issues” raised by the Salisbury attack, describing it as a “gravely serious incident”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “What happened in Salisbury is a matter of very serious national security. It has very grave implications.

“These are the issues I think we should be focused on. That is why I gave support to the Prime Minister for the initial actions she has taken.”

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell called for Mr Salmond to “reconsider his position” over his programme’s connections to RT.

“I think Mr Salmond really ought to reconsider his position,” he said.

“I just think whatever the rights or wrongs are, the fact that he’s associated with a broacasting outlet, which is very largely believed to be under the control of the Russian Government at this particular moment, may be thought to be by many people, to put it mildly, unfortunate.”

Mr Salmond’s comments come with British Prime Minister Theresa May announcing yesterday that 23 UK diplomats were being expelled from the UK as part of the Government’s “full and robust response” to the “barbaric” poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The former First Minister added: “Don’t shut down TV stations because you’re standpoint is so uncertain that you must exclude other perspectives.

“Between Monday and yesterday, the Prime Minister sensibly drew back from that proposal, but nor should this be attempted by pressure on an independent regulator.

“To censure would make a travesty of the concept of nations speaking unto nations, a mockery of freedom of speech and it would portray an image of a country lost in self doubt.

“It would also strike a fatal barrier.

“Liberal democracies don’t succeed in international confrontations by sacrificing their dearest held values of freedom of speech. Until next week – I hope – goodbye for now.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon backs Theresa May as Russian diplomats expelled

Mrs May said Russia was guilty of “an unlawful use of force” against the UK and it was time to “send a clear message” to Vladimir Putin.

But Mr Salmond issued a warning to the UK Government, hinting Mrs May had gone a step too far in blaming the Russian state for the Salisbury poisoning attack without “conclusive” evidence.

“The chemical poisoning in Salisbury was a heinous crime and should be universally condemned,” Mr Salmond said.

“The best way to deal with crime is to take the suspects when identified thought the courts, domestic and international.

“The UK government is totally convinced that the Russian state is involved and are therefore entitled to take a range of additional measures, diplomatic and economic.

“Of course, it’s much more effective to operate in concert with friends and allies.

“To succeed the evidence has to be overwhelming and the case cast iron as the leader of the Opposition correctly pointed out to the Prime Minister.

“He didn’t get much support for making that point in the House of Commons, but that does not make him wrong.

“Pursuing the case internationally is essential and you’re unlikely to succeed at the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons or at the United Nations without the production of such conclusive evidence.

“When the UK Government produces their evidence then the Russian Government will have no alternative but to answer.”

READ MORE: Kenny MacAskill: UK’s Brexit strategy means it’s alone against Russia

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705932.1521103508!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705932.1521103508!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Lesley Martin/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former First Minister Alex Salmond. Picture: Lesley Martin/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705932.1521103508!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5750315203001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/russia-will-expel-british-diplomats-soon-1-4706016","id":"1.4706016","articleHeadline": "Russia will expel British diplomats ‘soon’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521110386000 ,"articleLead": "

Russia’s foreign minister has declared the country will expel British diplomats “soon” as it moves to match the UK’s aggressive stance.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706015.1521110383!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov"} ,"articleBody": "

Sergei Lavrov told Russian media the expulsions would “definitely” happen.

The announcement follows suit with the UK, with Prime Minister Theresa May having confirmed yesterday that 23 Russian envoys would be made to leave Britain within a week.

Mrs May also revoked an invitation to Russia’s foreign minister and said the Royal family would not attend the FIFA World Cup in Russia later this year.

The UK took its action after Moscow refused to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy and his daughter in Salisbury.

Moscow has denied any responsibility.

The allegations by Mrs May have been labelled “insane” by Russia’s foreign ministry.

When asked when the expulsions would happen, Mr Lavrov was quoted as saying: “Absolutely. Soon. I promise you that.”

He reportedly referred to the UK allegations against Russia as “absolutely boorish”.

Mr Lavrov has linked Britain’s reaction to the spy poisoning affair to Brexit.

He said the UK’s approach to the matter was partly prompted by the Government’s problems over negotiating its way out of the European Union.

READ MORE: Defiant Alex Salmond says “I can say what I like” on Russia Today

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4706015.1521110383!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4706015.1521110383!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4706015.1521110383!/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/environment/swap-haddock-for-less-popular-fish-in-chippies-says-guide-1-4705964","id":"1.4705964","articleHeadline": "Swap haddock for less popular fish in chippies, says guide","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521105863000 ,"articleLead": "

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705963.1521105861!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A woman eating fish and chips outside Nardini's in Largs"} ,"articleBody": "

Eco-conscious diners should swap traditional favourites such as haddock and cod for less familiar options like megrim or dab, according to a new green fish list.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has updated the “best choice” section of its Good Fish Guide, which rates seafood on its sustainability.

In it the charity suggests replacing the most popular fish species with others that are just as tasty but not so well known, in a move that will help both the environment and the country’s seafood sector.

UK consumers currently tend to favour cod, salmon, haddock, tuna and prawns, but the MCS has drawn up a post-Brexit top 10 which includes fish that are not household names.

Top of the rankings is seine-netted dab from the North Sea. Megrim caught in the northern North Sea or West of Scotland comes in at number five, followed by UK rope-grown mussels at six and brown crabs from Devon Inshore Potting Area at seven. Pollack caught by hand-line in the Celtic sea is in ninth place.

Bernadette Clarke, MCS Good Fish Guide programme manager, said: “Although they may not trip off the tongue like cod, mackerel and plaice, these could, and should, be the fish supper of the future.

“UK consumers tend to stick to their tried and tested top five – both in taste and familiarity, but not always sustainability.

“Cod, tuna, salmon, haddock and prawns from the right sources are all OK, but there’s so much more to explore and the new additions to the best choice list are a good place to start.”

Around three quarters of all fish caught and landed in the UK is exported. At the same time the country is a major importer of seafood.

Ms Clarke says buying home-caught species will benefit ecosystems and the economy.

“By choosing more sustainable sources and keeping it local it will help reduce wasting wild caught fish that are discarded dead because they have less value,” she said

“By choosing from a wider range we’ll be putting far less stress on individual fisheries.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705963.1521105861!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705963.1521105861!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A woman eating fish and chips outside Nardini's in Largs","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A woman eating fish and chips outside Nardini's in Largs","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705963.1521105861!/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/david-davis-says-he-can-accept-shorter-brexit-transition-period-1-4705954","id":"1.4705954","articleHeadline": "David Davis says he can accept shorter Brexit transition period","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521104959000 ,"articleLead": "

Brexit Secretary David Davis has signalled he is prepared to accept a shorter transition period than the UK wanted.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705953.1521104956!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Britain's Brexit Minister David Davis (R) reacts as he talks with the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstad. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Mr Davis said he could “live with” the proposed arrangement ending in December 2020, rather than the March 2021 date London has asked for, if that would help secure a deal.

The Brexit Secretary, who is to meet the European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday, said the EU and the UK would establish a joint committee during a transition period to guarantee a “duty of good faith” by both sides.

Prime Minister Theresa May has called for an implementation period of “around two years” after Britain formally quits the EU in March 2019.

Mr Davis said his priority was to secure an agreement on the transition phase at next week’s EU heads of government summit, telling BBC2’s Newsnight: “That is more important to me than a few months either way. So, I’m not bothered too much about the question of whether it is Christmas 2020 or Easter 2021.”

Asked if he could live with the transition ending in December 2020, Mr Davis said: “I would live with that. We are still in the middle of a negotiation. Frankly, what I would not do is delay the decision in order to get a month or two more.”

Mr Davis downplayed concerns expressed by arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg Britain would be a “vassal state” during the transition.

The Brexit Secretary said most EU laws take two years to pass, which is three months longer than the proposed transition timetable.

Mr Davis said: “It is not going to be a big material issue. But we want to have in place, and we will have in place, is a joint committee which will oversee any issues like this that come up and a duty of good faith, good faith on both sides so neither side is disadvantaged. So, we won’t fall into Mr Rees-Mogg’s interesting definition of our position.”

Mr Davis said his team had been working “flat out” in discussions with the EU, mainly in Brussels, adding: “That will continue through this weekend, and I shall join them on Sunday, and we’ll have another meeting with Michel on Monday.”

The Brexit Secretary said the talks with Brussels were “just one strand” and he would be holding other meetings before the upcoming European Council summit.

He said: “It’s the council that make the decision on what our future partnership will be. That’s the member states. The council is made up of member states.

“I will be going around talking to them, listening to their concerns, explain what we’ve got in mind, what we aim to do and understanding what their interests are and their concerns are. So we can incorporate that and make sure that we get the right decision.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon backs Theresa May as Russian diplomats expelled

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705953.1521104956!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705953.1521104956!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Britain's Brexit Minister David Davis (R) reacts as he talks with the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstad. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Britain's Brexit Minister David Davis (R) reacts as he talks with the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstad. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705953.1521104956!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/tom-peterkin-why-alex-salmond-must-now-quit-russia-today-show-1-4705858","id":"1.4705858","articleHeadline": "Tom Peterkin: Why Alex Salmond must now quit Russia Today show","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521102365000 ,"articleLead": "

Amid mounting tensions between the UK and Russia, former SNP leader Alex Salmond should axe his RT show, writes Tom Peterkin.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705857.1521102362!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former First Minister Alex Salmond Picture: Lesley Martin/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

It is time for a confession. Some time ago I made the mistake of appearing as a political pundit on RT, the Kremlin-backed broadcaster.

A journalist from RT, formerly Russia Today, rang up and asked me if I’d care to comment on the impact that Brexit would have on the SNP’s drive for Scottish independence.

READ MORE: Defiant Alex Salmond says “I can say what I like on Russia Today

I told the journalist I was extremely busy writing stuff for the paper (I was … believe it or not) and would struggle to find the time.

Not to worry, he said. It would only take a couple of minutes and he would come to me. Before I knew where I was and without thinking through what I was doing, I found myself outside the Scottish Parliament doing my best to answer questions on the complexities of the EU withdrawal bill.

As I rushed back to my Holyrood office, it dawned on me that the moment or two I had spent appearing on RT was perhaps not the most sensible act of my career.

Through a mixture of misjudgement and naivety I had left myself open to accusations that I had become a pawn of Putin or one of Lenin’s “useful idiots” – guilty of legitimising a Russian propaganda outlet.

As I settled down at my keyboard and got on with the day job, I consoled myself that if I was a pawn or an idiot, I was – in the grand scheme of things – a rather insignificant one.

Surely the unpaid appearance of a rather shabby middle-aged Scottish journalist on RT was unlikely to make anyone sit up and take notice.

READ MORE: Russia warns UK: ‘No one should threaten a nuclear power’

Nevertheless I cursed my naivety and silently vowed to reject RT’s advances if they were to come my way again.

Adding to my irritation was the fact that I had gone on RT despite having written an article that pointed out that it distributed pro-Putin propaganda.

My article had also described criticism directed against a prominent politician for using the channel to attack UK mainstream media and BBC “propaganda”.

The politician in question was Alex Salmond, who appeared to have undergone an irony bypass when he appeared on RT. Back then the former SNP leader was promoting his 2014 referendum diary “The Dream Will Never Die”. This was long before he became one of RT’s highest profile presenters.

Between then and now I had cause to reflect on my RT appearance as I reported on the Kremlin-backed Sputnik news agency opening an office in Edinburgh amid suggestions it had done so to destabilise the UK.

And then, of course, there was Mr Salmond’s hugely controversial decision to cement his relationship with RT by hosting a current affairs show on it.

By no means can Mr Salmond be cast as an insignificant pawn. As a highly experienced politician with a consuming interest in world affairs, he must have known exactly what he was doing when he took the Russian Rouble.

READ MORE: Leader comment: Russia is creating a new Cold War

As has been well documented, Mr Salmond’s choice of broadcaster for “The Alex Salmond Show” has not gone down well with his colleagues.

Nicola Sturgeon said she would have advised her predecessor against furthering his broadcasting career on RT – a form of words that when put into political context expressed a great deal of displeasure.

The SNP MEP Alyn Smith was more blunt. “What the f*** is he thinking?” exclaimed Mr Smith when told about his former boss’s career move. Meanwhile his critics made the point that when it came to talk of pawns and idiots, securing the services of a politician of Mr Salmond’s status was of considerable usefulness to RT.

The weekly RT screening of The Alex Salmond Show has looked increasingly incongruous as tensions between the UK and Russia have escalated in the most distressing circumstances.

Last week the show failed to mention the big news story of the week – the attempted murder with a Moscow-made military nerve agent of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

By any normal journalistic standards, it was an extraordinary omission. Facing a growing clamour to cut his ties with RT, Mr Salmond has suggested this remarkable oversight will be corrected when his programme is screened today.

“I shall be addressing the developing crisis on Thursday, so watch the show to find out what I think,” Mr Salmond said this week, encouraging viewers to tune into the controversial RT channel.

In the current climate, anything short of ending his relationship with RT will fail to extricate him from this row, which has done so much damage to his reputation.

In the past, Mr Salmond has argued that his programme is independently produced and broadcast on a station which is licensed by OfCom, the UK’s broadcast watchdog. But maintaining that argument looks increasingly difficult with Ofcom investigating whether RT is “fit and proper” to hold a licence.

Even if Mr Salmond uses his RT platform to condemn the Salisbury attack and unequivocally condemn Putin’s murderous regime, his reputation is still tarred by appearing on the channel.

It can be argued that a Salmond denunciation of Putin would suit RT in that it would enable the broadcaster to argue that it does tolerate dissent at the same time as it continues to push a pro-Putin message. The bottom line is that it is Mr Salmond’s association with RT that serves to legitimise the Kremlin-backed broadcaster.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705857.1521102362!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705857.1521102362!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former First Minister Alex Salmond Picture: Lesley Martin/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former First Minister Alex Salmond Picture: Lesley Martin/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705857.1521102362!/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/kenny-macaskill-uk-s-brexit-strategy-means-it-s-alone-against-russia-1-4705915","id":"1.4705915","articleHeadline": "Kenny MacAskill: UK’s Brexit strategy means it’s alone against Russia","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521098534000 ,"articleLead": "

No Government can allow violence to be perpetrated upon its soil and most certainly not by another country’s forces, as a state has no greater duty than to keep its citizens safe. For that reason alone, the Prime Minister had to speak out about the attack upon Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705914.1521098530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May would be better having closer integration with our natural allies, not farflung mythical mates"} ,"articleBody": "

Theresa May was also right that the evidence does point towards Russian involvement, though the case isn’t conclusive. Past actions, the modus operandi and even the nerve agent used make it look like the work of a state agency. So, maybe not proof beyond reasonable doubt but it certainly casts a huge shadow of suspicion.

Where I take issue with her is how she’s acted on Brexit and where that leaves Britain’s ability to act.

For there to be effective actions over the Salisbury incident and more widely to curtail Russian actions elsewhere, international co-operation’s required. Yet, on that front, she and her Brexiteer colleagues have played right into Russian hands. When solidarity is required she has undermined it, deserting the organisation best placed to face down Russia, side-lining allies and pursuing false friends.

For sure, expelling some diplomats and restricting international engagement with Russia sends a message of reproach. But, it was ever thus through the Cold War and it’ll hardly make a dent in the Russian machine, whilst having the Royal Family and Ministers boycott the World Cup is frankly laughable.

Sanctions on Russian oligarchs and others who are in the UK and have invested much of their ill-gotten gains here are long overdue. There’s been far too close a relationship between many senior Tories and some of these people. Questions are rightly being asked about substantial donations from dubious sources.

READ MORE: Russia warns UK: ‘No one should threaten a nuclear power’

But, beyond that, actions to freeze or confiscate assets will be limited. There are legal restrictions on what can be done, and more importantly, the reason that many people, not just Russians, are in London and the UK is they can hide and move their money pretty freely. Transparency International and other nations have long complained of London, never mind British dependencies, being the source of financial obfuscation to put it mildly.

If it’s being applied to Russians, what about other nationalities where a few oligarchs and their super rich also use London, the British Virgin Islands or wherever to launder their cash? The UK has been far to free and easy in welcoming investment. But, with Brexit looming, that was what many sought – a global trading entrepot welcoming cash from everywhere and asking few questions. They’re unlikely to roll back on that.

There’s still the possibility of closing down RT which would be popular with some, but so what? Many can’t even get it, let alone want to watch it. It might also result in a retaliatory closing down of the BBC Russian service, problematic for efforts to sustain wider democratic society there.

For Russia is far from benign under Putin as not just individuals in the UK have discovered to their cost, but entire countries and even her own citizens. Georgia may have been foolish in its provocation of the Russian Bear but it paid a heavy price when the tanks rolled in.

READ MORE: Leader comment: Russia is creating a new Cold War

Ukraine has seen the Crimea annexed and parts of its eastern border lands fall under Russian control. Moldova and Georgia have seen similar territorial loss with what to all intents and purposes are Russian client states established. They may have Russian minorities or even majorities in parts but annexation by force is illegal under international law and many are frankly almost bandit states.

The Baltic states have likewise seen Russian minorities stirred up, threats made to democratic nations and even cyber-attacks perpetrated upon them. As a consequence of all that international sanctions have been applied to Russia but despite that Putin and the regime survive.

Russia has financial challenges despite huge natural wealth, and faces marked population decline. But, it remains a country prepared to endure hardship, even at great suffering to its people to achieve its aims, and it’s been ever thus from the days of the Mongol hordes, through Napoleon to Nazi Germany. International solidarity is what’s required and there May’s been found wanting. The organisation best placed to deal with it is the EU, yet not only is she seeking to exit it but she’s been alienating almost every major leader within it.

Her Brexiteer zealots have argued it was Nato that kept the peace in Europea after the Second World War and in that they have a point, given establishment dates and military power. But, future security and a long-term solution is more likely to be provided by a closer working of the EU than through Nato, which has lost its way over recent years.

Formed to keep the USA involved in Europe as a bulwark to the USSR, it has seen America firstly pivot towards Asia and then became about getting other nations’ “boots on the ground” involved in American ventures. Trump has also undermined it with caustic comments about other member nations.

So, whilst it might be Nato troops that provide immediate defence, the long-term solution is through closer European integration. Rather than pursuing trade deals with Singapore or Saudi Arabia, the UK should have been showing greater solidarity with the Ukraine and closer integration with the Baltics.

An offer of solidarity from Trump is as empty as his commitment to a free trade deal. For him, it’s about America First not a safer Europe, never mind his courting of Putin. Europe is threatened not just militarily but economically by Russia through supplies of natural gas.

Working together for common solutions both to protect borders and identify new resources is essential. May now seeks support from those she’s treated with disdain and undermined.

She’s swapped our natural allies to pursue mythical relationships and now we face the consequences. For it’s a common interest in our shared European home that best fends of the Great Bear.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kenny MacAskill"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4705914.1521098530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4705914.1521098530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May would be better having closer integration with our natural allies, not farflung mythical mates","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May would be better having closer integration with our natural allies, not farflung mythical mates","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4705914.1521098530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}