{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"uk","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/queen-elizabeth-what-will-happen-when-the-monarch-dies-1-4667401","id":"1.4667401","articleHeadline": "Queen Elizabeth - What will happen when the monarch dies?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516525818000 ,"articleLead": "

While the monarchy may divide opinion, what happens when our monarch dies?

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4667400.1516525815!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Her Majesty The Queen. Picture; PA"} ,"articleBody": "

We need to talk about Elizabeth. There’s a conversation taking place in secret – in rooms just off the corridors of power – about what happens when Her Majesty The Queen dies, as all must sadly do. “I can’t talk about this publicly,” one of those involved told me a while ago.

“We’re not thinking about what happens next. It would be improper to do so while the Sovereign is alive. But if we were to do so, it might look something like this.”

The high-ranking figure looked down at notes they would have to deny ever making.

READ MORE: Queen pays tribute to Duke of Edinburgh in Christmas message

But lately there has been a shift in mood. Elizabeth Windsor is 91 years of age now, it will be 65 years since her coronation this June. Without really realising it, we are being prepared for regime change.

The celebrations of her Golden and Diamond jubilee have provided a chance for the nation to say a long, grateful goodbye.

Netflix series The Crown has given British viewers a chance to understand the pressures that were placed on her so young and to feel a new sympathy for a woman who has often otherwise seemed distant.

The real Elizabeth Both have helped alter perceptions but then suddenly at the weekend the real Queen intervened with an extremely rare interview. By looking back at her own Coronation, she inevitably raised the subject of the next one, the event that none of those who serve her will ever admit to talking about.

Elizabeth Windsor is an expert at symbolism, having skilfully positioned herself in recent years as the nation’s Granny. Having such photogenic grandsons helps, and it’s a big year for them. William and Kate will have another baby in April and the following month Prince Harry will marry Meghan Markle – the divorced, American mixed-race actor whose entry into the family will reboot the House of Windsor.

Meanwhile, the actual heir to the throne is keeping a low profile. Prince Charles fulfilled more than 500 engagements last year but made few (if any) startling interventions into politics, which is unusual for him.

There are increasing signs of other people getting ready for change, too.

“The chat has broken surface rather more,” says Dr Bob Morris of the Constitutional Unit at University College London.

He points for example at the website of the Privy Council, that grand gathering of advisors to the Queen, which has recently posted a remarkably detailed account of what it will do when she dies.

The next King

Within hours, the next king – presumably Charles, still grieving – will stand before an emergency gathering of peers, MPs, archbishops and other Privy Councillors to make the Oath of Accession, swearing to uphold the kingdom and “inviolably preserve and maintain the Settlement of the true Protestant religion”.

He won’t have a choice about that, it’s the law.

Separately, details have emerged of Operation London Bridge, a protocol beginning with news of the death being passed from palace to Downing Street with the words, “London Bridge is down.” A footman will pin up a notice edged in black on the gates of Buckingham Palace, even as the Press Association tells the world electronically.

The BBC will switch to the national anthem, sombre music and news programmes hosted by presenters in black.

But what happens afterwards largely remains secret, even though a group led by the Duke of Norfolk has been meeting to discuss this for over a decade, under the code name Operation Golden Orb. They won’t say anything publicly, of course, but the group is planning an event with the potential to redefine us as a nation. The last Coronation was an ostentatious declaration that post-war Britain still had power and glamour, with 8,000 guests – many in ermine – enduring a three-hour service.

The next will be half as long, with a much smaller but more inclusive guest list and far less bling. “The 1953 Coronation was the last imperial hurrah,” says Dr Morris. “I can’t see we would put the same sort of resources into the next one.”

The budget will depend on who is in power – Jeremy Corbyn might have strong ideas, for example – but for now the politicians are leaving others to think about it.

“My understanding is that the Queen herself, being a very pragmatic lady, realises there is going to be concern about this at some point,” says Dr Morris.

Prince Charles insists that he has no part in the planning; but given how forthright she was on Sunday’s programme, it would be extraordinary if the Queen had not at least sought to give her own personal advice.

The other people with a stake in this are the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Westminster Abbey, who will write and host the service. The ancient Coronation liturgy expresses a long-held deal between the Church of England and the Crown.

“We’ll declare you to have been appointed by God, you swear to preserve our unique rights and privileges,” is what it says in so many words.

No other faiths were allowed near the service in 1953. That just won’t wash this time, which is why the senior leadership of the Church has privately accepted the need to “involve” other faiths in the Coronation, breaking with a millennium of tradition.

The other people with a stake in this are the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Dean of Westminster Abbey, who will write and host the service. The ancient Coronation liturgy expresses a long-held deal between the Church of England and the Crown.

“We’ll declare you to have been appointed by God, you swear to preserve our unique rights and privileges,” is what it says in so many words.

No other faiths were allowed near the service in 1953. That just won’t wash this time, which is why the senior leadership of the Church has privately accepted the need to “involve” other faiths in the Coronation, breaking with a millennium of tradition.

For now, even republicans have to admire the dignity and sense of duty with which the Queen has done her job. Many others feel a genuine, gratitude and warmth towards her. Servants of the Crown will hope to move fast to install the new King while memory of that warmth remains strong. The Queen has been a constant presence in almost all our lives.

She’s seen off Stalin, Churchill, Thatcher, Reagan, Gorbachev and all the rest and allowed herself to become a symbol of values that now seem on the verge of being lost. Whatever you think of them or her, the death of Queen Elizabeth will leave a huge hole in national life and raise questions about who we are.

Those who want to keep the Crown in place are already talking about that, among themselves. Perhaps the rest of us should be too.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "COLE MORETON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4667400.1516525815!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4667400.1516525815!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Her Majesty The Queen. Picture; PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Her Majesty The Queen. Picture; PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4667400.1516525815!/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/protest-held-over-ongoing-closure-of-vital-children-s-ward-1-4666760","id":"1.4666760","articleHeadline": "Protest held over ongoing closure of vital children’s ward","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516428089000 ,"articleLead": "

Parents and carers held a protest outside a hospital yesterday over the continued closure of a children’s ward to in-patients who have been seen out of hours.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4666759.1516403631!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "St John's Hospital in Livingston. Picture: Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

The demonstration at St John’s Hospital in Livingston called on the Scottish Government and NHS Lothian to sort out staffing issues that have led to the vital ward being closed for more than 200 days.

This has meant that more than 400 children from West Lothian have not been treated locally and have had to travel through to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. The ward, which has been closed for out of hours inpatients since July last year, was hit by similar summer shutdowns in 2012 and 2015.

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay said the situation has been going on for six years and called on NHS Lothian and the Scottish Government to sort out the problem.

He said: “This demonstration today has come about because parents of children who have had to use this service are frustrated and angry that there appears to be no resolution to this problem. It has been going on for six years with no end in sight and only recently we have discovered that since 7 July a total of 414 children have had to be transferred out of hours to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. They should have been treated in their own hospital. NHS Lothian and the SNP government must know bring about a plan to end this scandal.”

The latest update comes after the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health published a second review into the service in October and warned there was no “quick fix” to the fragile rota.

The expert body also endorsed NHS Lothian’s decision to temporarily suspend inpatient services in order to maintain safe facilities for children and it said the service should only resume once the extra staff are recruited or trained.

The health board have recruited two staff since the end of 2017 and are looking to recruit more consultants.

Jacquie Campbell, Chief Officer of Acute Services, NHS Lothian, said the latest additions would not immediately solve the issues around staffing.

She addded: “We last updated in October and we are really keen families and patients know exactly what is happening in paediatric services in St John’s Hospital. This is a really positive move. We have our sixth consultant joining the team and we have made an offer to another clinician which means seven new consultant posts have been filled.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4666759.1516403631!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4666759.1516403631!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "St John's Hospital in Livingston. Picture: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "St John's Hospital in Livingston. Picture: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4666759.1516403631!/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/stephen-jardine-veganism-and-brexit-show-how-divided-we-are-1-4666665","id":"1.4666665","articleHeadline": "Stephen Jardine: Veganism and Brexit show how divided we are","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516428000000 ,"articleLead": "

Vegans and the rest are further apart than Remainers and Brexiteers, says Stephen Jardine.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4666664.1516391197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A green salad with spinach, quinoa, walnuts and dried cranberries (Picture: Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

This time last January, things were going so well. For a month I switched to a vegetarian diet to test the impact on someone who has always been a happy carnivore. By this stage I was already enjoying the experience and feeling the benefits and by the end of the month, I’d decided to cutback my meat consumption permanently.

Given that positive experience, this year I decided to go the whole hog, or rather mung bean, and embrace Veganuary. After last year, just how hard could it be? The answer is, too hard for me.

It didn’t begin well. At the start of the January I emptied the fridge and then stocked it with vegetables, nut butter, hummus and other vegan-approved foods. I then stepped back and realised, there was actually nothing I really wanted to eat. Putting that down to years of conditioning by the meat industry, I turned instead to the groaning shop shelves of vegan snack and meals. While they kept hunger at bay, I couldn’t help but think of all the things I would rather be eating.

One week in, I downloaded some vegan recipes and cooked roast vegetable salads, coconut curries, baked sweet potatoes and black bean burgers. Everything was fine but it wasn’t delicious and the thought of eating food like that for the rest of my life filled me with more than the January blues. But it wasn’t the food that finished off Veganuary for me, not even the vegan cheese, which deserves a special place in hell.

It was not what you eat but who you are. When you say you are trying vegetarianism, most people just want to know how it’s going. Say vegan and the frequent reaction is a narrowing of the eyes and simple question, why?

READ MORE: Is Edinburgh becoming Scotland’s vegan capital?

If you thought the gap between Remainers and Brexiteers was wide, it is nothing compared to the divide between Vegans and the rest. “How do you know if someone is vegan? They will tell you,” goes the old joke. There is a suspicion veganism and insufferable smugness are too closely related. You don’t have to look further than the Veganuary website and it’s claim that 23,831 animals will be saved as a result of the initiative. That probably sits alongside the promise of £350 million of EU cash for the NHS in terms of spurious fantasy.

The reality is, no animals are saved by 60,000 extra people eating vegan in January. The global meat industry will keep on turning and for every person turning their back on a lamb chop, another is ready to pick up the cutlery.

READ MORE: Vegans are going wild for vegan square sausage

In terms of how our industrial food system operates, veganism changes virtually nothing. However that doesn’t make it wrong. Once you top up your vitamins to avoid any deficiency, there is plenty of evidence it’s a healthy diet. And vegans can be assured they are not helping to perpetuate the industrial food.

There is a way to bridge the divide between vegans and the rest – through part-time approaches like VB6. It involves eating vegan during the day then whatever you want after 6pm. A mass adoption of that more achievable goal would be much more likely to impact on the meat trade but it would also involve some understanding on either side of the vegan debate and that still seems to be unpalatable.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Stephen Jardine"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4666664.1516391197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4666664.1516391197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A green salad with spinach, quinoa, walnuts and dried cranberries (Picture: Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A green salad with spinach, quinoa, walnuts and dried cranberries (Picture: Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4666664.1516391197!/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/jane-bradley-toxic-plastic-waste-is-returning-from-sea-to-poison-us-1-4666669","id":"1.4666669","articleHeadline": "Jane Bradley: Toxic plastic waste is returning from sea to poison us","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516428000000 ,"articleLead": "

Wet wipes, straws and ‘mermaids’ tears’: Jane Bradley on the marine plastic epidemic that’s poisoning our food.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4666668.1516391204!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Plastic-stemmed cotton buds were one of the most common items found on Cramond Beach (Picture: Catherine Gemmell/Marine Conservation Society)"} ,"articleBody": "

‘Ohhhh, it’s garbage,” said the fresh-faced American tourist, clearly relieved to realise that the giant bags we were lugging onto Cramond promenade did not actually contain dead bodies.

His expression changed and he looked us straight in the eye, in that sincere way that only Americans can. “I thank you,” he said.

It was a freezing Saturday morning and while most of you were probably happily tucked up your beds, I was out in my gardening gloves and a woolly hat, plucking revolting items of sewage from the beach. I can’t claim a great gesture of altriusm: my far more motivated friend had suggested we take part in a beach clean and with a new year’s resolution to say yes to as many things as possible, I had agreed.

I was glad I did. Walking along the seafront before the clean up, I’d thought the beach hadn’t looked too bad, from a distance. What I had expected to find was litter left by people who had enjoyed summer picnics on the sand a few months ago. A discarded drinks can, maybe, a couple of chocolate bar wrappers. Bright-coloured pieces of litter which would have been obvious to the naked eye, perhaps slightly faded by their time in the sun.

On closer inspection, however, while a few bits of dropped packaging were indeed lurking among the rockpools, it was sewage waste which was the major culprit, discharged – somehow – into the sea and washed straight up onto the beach. Cramond, in north-west Edinburgh, is particularly bad, apparently, an issue which Scottish Water is currently investigating to pinpoint why so much debris washes up on the beach there.

They have, according to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), which coordinated the clean-up, checked sewage pipes in the area and have found no problem. Yet, there is no doubt that a problem exists, somewhere. The evidence is all over the beach.

READ MORE: Joyce McMillan: Action against climate change could be David Attenborough’s lasting legacy

We picked up thousands of wet wipes. There were huge clumps of the things, snagged in among seaweed and peppered with plastic cotton bud sticks, the kind that the Scottish Government thankfully banned last week. When I heard the news of the ban, I have to say I was surprised that they had chosen to focus on cotton buds. I’ve never bought them in my life, I’m not sure I know anyone who has, so the fact that they were apparently littering our seas in their tiny, stick-y glory was news to me.

Yet they are. Blue ones, white ones, yellow ones. They wash up on the beach in Cramond with alarming regularity. An image from American wildlife photographer Justin Hofmann, part of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition which opened at the National Museum of Scotland yesterday, offers a chilling insight into the impact of these items. His photograph shows a tiny sea horse, its tail wrapped around a pink cotton bud stick as it swims through the ocean. Its title is ‘Sewage Surfer’.

READ MORE: Theresa May vows to eliminate avoidable plastic waste in 25 years

While the 88 volunteers at the clean-up were spread out to tackle a long stretch of beach, those who were working in a designated 100-metre section were asked to document everything they found, in a bid to get some kind of feel for the scope – and type – of rubbish which is on the beach. In that tiny section alone, 335 ear buds were found. Meanwhile, of all of the 8,585 items found in the 100m stretch, a massive 6,583 or 76.7 per cent were classed as “sanitary”, ie wet wipes and their possibly even more unpleasant cousins: nappies and sanitary towels. All of this came out of sewage pipes after someone put them into their toilet. Last year, the MCS launched its Wet Wipes Turn Nasty campaign, which, as well as trying to educate people about what should actually go down the loo – the “three Ps” of “poo, pee and paper”, apparently – also asked producers and retailers of wet wipes to ensure there packaging was clearly labelled with “Do Not Flush” messaging. The friendly American was not the only passerby to remark, positively, on our work.

There is no doubt that the public’s attitude towards attempts, however meagre, to clean up our oceans and beaches has, if you’ll pardon the pun, undergone something of a sea change in just the past few months. It is no longer the work of environmentalists and beach users. It has became a problem for all of us.

The BBC’s Blue Planet series, which aired last year, showcased the damage that our lifestyle is doing to the seas and the marine life which lives there. The MCS survey actually found that just 12 per cent of the rubbish was left on the beach by members of the public. We have woken up to the reality. Beach littering is no longer what we leave behind when we are visiting, it is what we put down our toilets and into our bins, which is ending up in the sea.

Plastic has been found in the stomachs of almost all marine species including fish, birds, whales, dolphins, seals and turtles, according to the MCS. On our beach clean, plastic accounted for 1,755 items of rubbish, 20 per cent of the waste found. While a few of these items – just nine plastic drinks bottles on the 100m stretch – were plastic bottles, there were 63 items such as single-use plastic straws, cutlery and trays and we also spotted tiny little plastic pellets known as “nurdles”, which are used as a raw material by industry to make new plastic products. The tiny pellets, which also go by the misleadingly attractive name of “mermaids’s tears”, soak up chemical pollutants from their surroundings and then release the toxins into the animals, such as birds and fish, that eat them.

If the idea that microplastics have been found in the stomachs of fish and shellfish is not enough to raise alarm, the MCS says it has been estimated that an average European seafood consumer ingests 11,000 plastic particles a year.

We are actually eating the plastic we are allowing to pollute our seas. Let’s take action now.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jane Bradley"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4666668.1516391204!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4666668.1516391204!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Plastic-stemmed cotton buds were one of the most common items found on Cramond Beach (Picture: Catherine Gemmell/Marine Conservation Society)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Plastic-stemmed cotton buds were one of the most common items found on Cramond Beach (Picture: Catherine Gemmell/Marine Conservation Society)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4666668.1516391204!/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/john-mclellan-how-i-took-on-a-dodgy-cold-caller-selling-insurance-1-4666663","id":"1.4666663","articleHeadline": "John McLellan: How I took on a dodgy cold caller selling insurance","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516428000000 ,"articleLead": "

About half of all calls to landlines in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen are unwanted, writes John McLellan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4666662.1516391145!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Many calls to landlines are unwanted (Picture: Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

Nine out of ten Scots know what it’s like. Just as tea is on the table the phone rings with what looks like a proper number: “Hi, is that John? You had a good day? No, I’m not trying to sell you anything…”

Those that come up “international” are easy to ignore, but not-so-cleverly disguised cold calls are the bane of modern life. Sometimes, I can’t help stringing them along to see what happens, although my wife took great exception when I told one in a solemn Late Call voice that I was terribly sorry but Mr McLellan has only just passed away that very morning.

Just before Christmas I took a call from a woman sounding like an EastEnders extra who said my boiler insurance was due for renewal and she could save me £150 there and then. She asked what bank I was with, wanted to check my card details, but got extremely shirty when I refused even get the card, never mind read her the number. The call ended.

READ MORE: Ban on cold callers in 100 residential areas throughout Edinburgh

Of course we don’t have boiler insurance. A check on the “Who Called Me” website revealed three entries for the company name that she mentioned since August. “I’ve just been conned out of £150,” said one. “The company managed to get £150 out of my partner. Disgusting organisation,” said the second. And the third: “Called my parents who were conned into paying two £75 payments.” Another website, DIYnot, told a similar story: “They’ve taken £150 from my mum’s bank account.”

I looked up the address for the company in north London, which Google Streetview showed was an unassuming street of terraced houses facing the back of a disused DIY store. But it was also the address of another firm which, according to its website, is a major UK incorporation agent that apparently is “not just a faceless, web-based company”. It has “a team of skilled and friendly staff for all your business questions”. Which is just as well because there are over 15,000 companies registered at that address, although how they all fit into a three-bedroom house is another matter.

READ MORE: Nuisance calls firm fined £400,000 for 100 million calls

The firm that called me has one director, who lives in Essex. He is also director of another company which describes itself as a provider of “home tech specialist solutions” and is connected to reports of attempts to sell unauthorised insurance for Sky boxes. Its website is beyond parody, offering a “fully focused system signal check to insure (sic) the system is receiving the best signal possible for its geo location. This includes a customer visual check of the area concerning the dish so we can assess the dishes (sic) range.” In other words, you go outside and have a look.

Part of the pitch was to give me a telephone number and sure enough, on a calling back, it was answered by someone saying it was indeed the firm mentioned in the call. I first rang to lodge a complaint and the promised return call never came. I called again to speak to the director, and when I said I was both a journalist and a councillor, the chap said he didn’t know him, that he was only maintenance and everyone had gone home for the night.

But he took my details and, lo-and-behold, the next day the director rang; bit of a diamond geezer who’d probably be good fun down the boozer.

“We’re a reputable company, don’t think ill of us because of what you’ve read, I’m a young guy setting out trying to earn a living …” that sort of thing.

I began to feel a bit sorry for him, which shows what a good operator he is, a natural-born Apprentice candidate. “Lord Sugar, my business is low-cost, high turn-over and very scalable, and boiler maintenance to maximise efficiency has an ecological message which is very much in keeping with the times…” You’re hired….

Being public-spirited, I tried to call the local council’s trading standards department and got a chap with a vaguely familiar but hard-to-locate accent, not that surprising for London. He took down the details but warned that as he was part of a UK-wide service he couldn’t guarantee what would happen. “Where are you based?” I asked, thinking it would be somewhere like Slough or Stoke. “We’re in the Western Isles,” he said.

It’s not just London; if you’ve got a problem with a nuisance cold caller, rogue trader, or generally dodgy service in Glasgow, Aberdeen or Dundee and you phone the council trading standards department, you’ll be speaking to a Hebridean working for Citizens’ Advice whose UK call centre is in Stornoway.

Edinburgh and Stirling councils are two of a dwindling number of councils not to have outsourced their trading standards contact system, but the consumer affairs organisation Which? has been running a reporting service as part of its campaign to clamp down on unwanted calls.

Their research shows that 90 per cent of Scots received nuisance calls on their landlines (can it be that low?), the worst being Glasgow where 51.5 per cent of all calls to landlines are unwanted. In Edinburgh the figure was 48 and in Aberdeen 45.

The Scottish Government announced an action plan in September to boost the Which? campaign, so if you get a call from one of these companies, make sure you report it.

John McLellan is director of The Scottish Newspaper Society and a former editor of The Scotsman

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "John McLellan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4666662.1516391145!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4666662.1516391145!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Many calls to landlines are unwanted (Picture: Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Many calls to landlines are unwanted (Picture: Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4666662.1516391145!/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/hotel-owner-bans-vloggers-after-free-stay-request-1-4666626","id":"1.4666626","articleHeadline": "Hotel owner bans ‘vloggers’ after free stay request","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516386917000 ,"articleLead": "

A popular vlogger who asked a hotel owner for a free stay was given a scathing response - and her request posetd online.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4666625.1516386913!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Youtube influencers are now banned. Picture: PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Elle Darby, 22, wrote to a Dublin hotel and cafe about a “possible collaboration,” involving free accommodation for her and her partner.

The “influencer” said: “I would love to feature you in my Youtube videos/dedicated Instagram stories/posts to bring traffic to your hotel and recommend others to book up in return for free accommodation.”

But it was greeted with disdain by Paul Stenson, of the White Moose Café and Charleville Lodge Hotel in Dublin, who poured scorn on the request - and has now banned bloggers.

Ms Darby, based in Bath, Somerset, said she had 87,000 Youtube subscribers and 76,000 Instagram followers, and “work as a social media influencer, mainly lifestyle, beauty & travel based.”

READ MORE: Youtube star slammed for mocking suicide

However, Mr Stenson responded: “Thank you for your email looking for free accommodation in return for exposure.

“It takes a lot of balls to send an email like that, if not much self-respect and dignity.

“If I let you stay here in return for a feature in your video, who is going to pay the staff who look after you? Who is going to pay the housekeepers who clean your room?

“The waiters who serve you breakfast? The receptionist who checks you in? Who is going to pay for the light and heat you use during your stay? The laundering of your bed sheets? The water rates?

“Maybe I should tell my staff they will be featured in your video in lieu of receiving payment for work carried out while you’re in residence?”

The Facebook post was greeted with a mixed reaction, with some accusing Paul of bullying and others accusing Ms Darby of being a “spoiled brat.”

She responded by posting a video on her YouTube channel, under the heading “i was exposed (SO embarrassing)”.

READ MORE: Call for Youtube star to be banned over suicide video

In the video, Ms Darby claimed people over the age of 30 “had no idea how social media works these days”, and revealed she had received hundreds of messages of abuse.

She said: “I feel disgusting having to say this. As a 22-year-old girl, who’s running her own business from her home … I don’t feel like I did anything wrong.”

The emotional vlogger accused internet users of targeting her.

She added: “These were all 30 years plus people internet bullying a 22-year-old girl who is just trying to run her own business and raise awareness of what appeared to be a stunning Dublin hotel.”

Ms Darby also claimed the response of hindering “the younger generation from doing what they enjoy”, and that she “cried my eyes out in my car alone”.

The hotel has announced that all bloggers are banned from the business.

Mr Stenson wrote: “I never thought we would be inundated with negative reviews for the simple reason that somebody was required to pay for goods received or services rendered.

“The girl in question was never identified in my original post, but she herself went on to create a video explaining how she was “exposed” with “malicious intent” for asking for a freebie.

“This kind of victimisation is very prevalent in the blogging industry, and is in keeping with their general modus operandi of wanting everything for nothing.

“If any of you attempt to enter our premises from now on, you will be ejected.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4666625.1516386913!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4666625.1516386913!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Youtube influencers are now banned. Picture: PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Youtube influencers are now banned. Picture: PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4666625.1516386913!/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/prince-william-s-new-buzz-cut-cost-180-1-4666257","id":"1.4666257","articleHeadline": "Prince William’s new buzz cut ‘cost £180’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516372062000 ,"articleLead": "

The Duke of Cambridge’s new haircut reportedly cost as much as £180.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4666256.1516372059!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Duke of Cambridge shows off his new haircut. Picture: Matt Dunham/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Members of the public got their first look at Prince William’s closely cropped hair as he launched a health programme at Evelina London Children’s Hospital on Thursday.

READ MORE: Meghan Markle gets an apron as first official Royal gift

It is understood the heir to the throne, 35, opted for a buzz cut after receiving advice from the Duchess of Cambridge’s hairdresser, Richard Ward.

Mr Ward charges a base fee of £125 for a men’s cut and finish, his website states.

According to The Sun, the cut was reportedly carried out by Joey Wheeler, one of Mr Ward’s deputies, during a private session at Kensington Palace.

Younger brother Prince Harry, 33, has openly joked about William’s receding hairline and once said: “I think he definitely is brainier than I am - but we established that at school, along with his baldness.”

READ MORE: Joyce McMillan: How will Scots react to this nostalgic vision of merry old England?

Reports that the haircut cost £180 have been greeted with surprise and disbelief on social media.

Twitter user Andrew S said: “The real news about Prince William’s haircut is that mine is virtually identical to his and cost £6.”

RC Robjohn tweeted: “Why did Prince William’s haircut allegedly cost £180? He hasn’t got much of it left to cut.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RUSSELL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4666256.1516372059!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4666256.1516372059!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Duke of Cambridge shows off his new haircut. Picture: Matt Dunham/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Duke of Cambridge shows off his new haircut. Picture: Matt Dunham/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4666256.1516372059!/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/boris-johnson-proposes-bridge-across-the-english-channel-1-4665843","id":"1.4665843","articleHeadline": "Boris Johnson proposes bridge across the English Channel","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516369268000 ,"articleLead": "

Boris Johnson has raised the prospect of a second crossing for the English Channel after top-level talks between the UK and France.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4658013.1516351518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson made the suggestion following talks between the UK and France."} ,"articleBody": "

The Foreign Secretary said “good connections” were important to the relationship between the two countries and wondered whether the Channel Tunnel should merely be regarded as “a first step”.

Mr Johnson said the UK-France summit, attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Theresa May, had agreed to establish a panel of experts to look at major projects.

READ MORE: The government of Glasgow: SNP administration opts for name change

The Foreign Secretary is understood to want a new fixed link between the UK and France and believes “it’s crazy that two of the biggest economies in the world are connected by one railway line when they are only 20 miles apart”.

But suggestions that the new link could come in the form of a bridge over the Channel won a sceptical response from representatives of UK shipping.

Trade body the UK Chamber of Shipping said in a tweet: “Building a huge concrete structure in the middle of the world’s busiest shipping lane might come with some challenges.”

Sources close to Mr Johnson said the French President was enthusiastic about the idea of a new link.

A joint declaration after the summit at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, said: “The United Kingdom and France have a long history of collaboration in delivering cutting-edge technologies.

“Whether pioneering supersonic travel or better connecting our countries through the Channel Tunnel, co-operation between our nations has produced radical innovation.

“We will continue to partner to invest in the technologies of tomorrow, including through a joint scheme, supported by up to 100,000 euro (£88,000) per year, to support academic exchanges, scientific collaboration, and innovation.“

READ MORE: Brian Wilson: The one thing that could make me a Brexiteer

The communiqué added: “As we look to the future of our relationship through the 21st century, we have agreed to establish a joint group of eminent and qualified persons to examine other options for future co-operation, including for significant projects.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "RUSSELL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4658013.1516351518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4658013.1516351518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Boris Johnson made the suggestion following talks between the UK and France.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson made the suggestion following talks between the UK and France.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4658013.1516351518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brian-wilson-the-one-thing-that-could-make-me-a-brexiteer-1-4665523","id":"1.4665523","articleHeadline": "Brian Wilson: The one thing that could make me a Brexiteer","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516341600000 ,"articleLead": "

Sometimes it helps to see events through the prism of local experience rather than relying on pronouncements from those who present themselves as all-knowing. This may apply to the strange case of Brexit, the dog that isn’t barking.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4665522.1516296669!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brexit may prove to have positive benefits for Scotlands fishing fleet. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Judging by the daily outpourings of doom, gloom and apocalypse, you might expect the nation to be up in arms and flocking to the Sturgeon standard, demanding not one second referendum but two and living in fear of penury inflicted by callous Brexiteers.

Ms Sturgeon has invested heavily in the hope that this scenario will at some point unfold. Maybe she will get lucky. For the time being, support for independence is down and most Scots seem willing to wait and see what Brexit yields.

Through my local prism, I can help explain why. I was talking to Duncan MacInnes, secretary of the Western Isles Fishermen’s Association, who seemed amused by the anti-Brexit rhetoric: “Since the referendum, the prices our fishermen are getting for shellfish have gone through the roof – they’re double what they were this time last year.”

Instead of relying on EU markets, the industry looked for new ones, particularly in the Far East. Prices there are forcing EU buyers to match them. There’s a strong suspicion that, for years, the Europeans took advantage of market dominance to hold down prices. Now they must compete.

READ MORE: Poll: Voters ‘in the dark’ over Labour’s position on Brexit

Across from Stornoway harbour lies Arnish fabrication yard, created at the height of the oil platform boom and struggling ever since. Again this week, redundancy notices have been issued as work runs out on the sole renewables contract, farmed out from troubled BiFab in Fife. I suppose the Scottish Government’s defence of its lamentable failure to turn the thousands of turbines which adorn Scottish hillsides into a manufacturing industry would be along the lines of: “It wisnae us. The EU said these things could be made in Spain, Denmark and Germany, and there’s hee-haw we could do about it.”

In the 1970s, a strong government used its leverage to ensure a great Scottish supply chain was formed to support the North Sea. Nothing remotely similar happened with renewables. Is it not possible that, outside the EU, manufacturing jobs could have been linked to approval of projects, which demonstrably has not happened?

In other words, no matter how one voted, the hyperbole of recent days does not square with experience here, and perhaps elsewhere. For years we heard the EU blamed for unwanted diktats, from ferries to environmental designations. Is all this to be forgotten as Sturgeon promotes the new article of faith that Brussels is the font of goodness while life without it would be intolerable? That case has to be argued rather than asserted from Edinburgh in a glossy brochure filled with worst-case scenarios which probably won’t happen. An almost comical touch was added with a map which showed, via a big blob, that we send 43 per cent of our “international” exports to the EU. Sadly, the map did not show the 63 per cent of our overall exports (worth four times as much) that we send to the rest of the UK, the single market which Ms Sturgeon is hell-bent on breaking up. That contradiction does not go unnoticed.

READ MORE: No-deal Brexit will cost Scotland £12.7bn a year, finds report

I do not pretend that the price of shellfish or travails of a fabrication yard constitute a metaphor on the Scottish economy. There are real risks in Brexit which is why, on balance, I voted to remain. But sensible people can also see opportunities to do things better which are actually quite exciting if that is how events develop. There is a more nuanced view of the EU than Ms Sturgeon invites us to believe.

She could have put herself in a more credible position by simply saying: “We are ruling out a second independence referendum until after the 2021 Holyrood elections when many matters will be clearer. Meanwhile, our efforts will be concentrated on the best possible deal for Scotland and planning for the creative use of new options outside the EU.”

Instead, she did the opposite by dangling the prospect of Indyref2 to the faithful, with an announcement later this year in the light of Brexit developments. Refusing to separate the timescales for these two processes guarantees an approach that will inevitably be tactical in pursuit of the Nationalists’ raison d’etre, rather than transparent in advancing Scotland’s urgent interests.

That may be as big a tactical mistake as the attempt to link the Brexit vote to demands for a second referendum. People, businesses, communities do not like being used as pawns and if it transpires that Brexit is heading towards an accommodation most Scots can live with, then the Scottish Government’s unremitting search for squabbles is unlikely to be seen as an adequate contribution. The shape of Brexit will evolve in the months ahead. The same interests that need defended in Scotland – such as access to immigrant labour – apply throughout the UK. Reasonable solutions will probably be arrived at because failure to do so is obviously self-defeating. Labour’s position of trying to shape Brexit through scrutiny and responding to outcomes which emerge is easy to ridicule but actually quite sensible.

If one thing could turn me into a Brexiteer it would be the elitist complaint that voters were too ill-informed to answer the question. That is an argument against holding referendums rather than for re-running them till they give the right answer. Let events take their course and seek to influence them – but the starting point of negating a democratic decision is wrong and dangerous.

I had departed politics before Lord Adonis, who has emerged as leader of that tendency, was fast-tracked to the status of “Labour grandee”. As far as I can see, he is an FT journalist who joined the gilded set and was duly shrouded in ermine. It is unfair to say nobody ever elected him since he was once an SDP councillor but heaven knows what mandate he thinks he has to frustrate what 17 million people voted for, without regard for how they might react if he succeeded.

Lessons in humility are required, north and south of the border.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Brian Wilson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4665522.1516296669!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4665522.1516296669!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Brexit may prove to have positive benefits for Scotlands fishing fleet. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brexit may prove to have positive benefits for Scotlands fishing fleet. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4665522.1516296669!/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-ferris-bueller-s-warning-to-today-s-young-generation-1-4665627","id":"1.4665627","articleHeadline": "Jim Duffy: Ferris Bueller’s warning to today’s young generation","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516341600000 ,"articleLead": "

Real life moves quickly, warned Ferris Bueller, so don’t be distracted by social media too much or it could pass you by, writes Jim Duffy.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4665626.1516304036!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ferris"} ,"articleBody": "

Bueller … Bueller … Bueller …! Yes, I just loved Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the movie. It was one of those right-of-passage movies along with The Breakfast Club, that changed how I thought and perceived the world. But, only this week I was flabbergasted to discover that many twenty-somethings have never even heard of these movies never mind seen them.

They’re missing out on so much, but no-one has alerted them to the fun and knowledge that jump out from this genre of film. It’s time to change that. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when we have great films about growing up that still hold magic today and can still communicate a message.

A young family member this week was updating his LinkedIn profile as he was about to ping some people on the social media platform to inform them about his availability for a job. I thought this was great.

He was using the site to sell himself in as a decent candidate for an internship. It wasn’t exactly a cold call, but a warmish tap on the shoulder to prospective hosts. Most industrious I thought. He asked me for a headline that he would pop into the title text for the message.

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

I thought for a while, then said: “How about ‘Watch out Ferris Bueller!’” I expected a rousing “wow” or “nice one”. But all I got was: “Who is Ferris Bueller?”

“You’ve never seen Ferris Bueller?” I taunted. It appeared not. I was genuinely amazed. After all, we’ve all seen Matthew Broderick annoy, outwit and devastate Ed Rooney, the dean of pupils, right?

When I was at school, there were two ways to take the day off. One was to “dog it”. By dog it, I mean play truant. A phrase I never understood as if you invite a kid to play, then they will right? So playing truant must have seemed like fun to many. I must admit I never dogged it as I didn’t see the logic here and in any case, I quite enjoyed school. But a few in my class did play truant and, every now and then, took a Friday off. The second way to get the day off school was to pull a sickie.

And this is what Ferris Bueller did with great aplomb. He totally conned his parents into thinking he was sick, albeit his sister Janie was having none of it. He then sailed really close to the wind when winding up Ed Rooney, who for some reason just did not like Ferris.

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

Alas, it did not work out well for Rooney but, as you would expect, our little hero won the day. The movie is a metaphor for disruption and has magnificent quotes. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Even more poignant today, I would suggest. What about The Breakfast Club then? Everyone has seen that, surely? The film with the worldwide hit theme song by Scottish legends Simple Minds – Don’t You Forget About Me – and that amazing cast of young actors? With Molly Ringwold, Emilio Estevez and Ally Sheedy just to name a few, this movie was a classic in its day. A bunch of kids who did not know each other in school and would not have even talked to each other, all couped for a whole day in detention. Yes, detention on a Saturday folks.

If that had been allowed at my secondary school, I know a whole load of boys, me included, who would have spent 50 per cent of their weekends back in the school assembly room writing meaningless essays. And what a day it turned out to be for all the characters in The Breakfast Club. Both movies were directed by the late John Hughes and spoke to a whole generation. They were about teenagers and young people discovering who they are and rebelling against the system, social class and parental expectation pressuring young people to select certain subjects and friends, achieve specific grades and leave these institutions ready for the next stage of their education.

Mind you, that was not going to happen for John Bender, played so well by Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club. He was going home after his visits to the club to an alcoholic father who used cigarette butts to burn his arm in order to teach him some discipline. No change here then as we still have weirdos who treat their kids as dolls as we have seen only this week in California.

Both movies have lessons for us parents, teachers and guardians. But, both movies were screened at a time when there was no social media. Ferris at no time can be seen checking his Instagram account. The additional pressure on young people as a result of the need to see and be seen in the virtual world has ramped up. Indeed The Breakfast Club today would have consisted of five young people texting, tweeting and Facebooking for hours with no interaction between them, while they hid their phones from Mr Vernon. Not much of a movie.

I’d love our young people to watch and enjoy and learn from the these two films I like. But, as they sit glued to iPhones and Androids, thumbing away, what else is this generation missing out on? My own daughters doesn’t talk to me anymore. They text me or message me on Messenger. I guess that’s ok as at least I am in their mind’s eye, especially when they want money. Things have changed. I only hope that today’s young people take heed of Ferris’ words and don’t miss too much.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Duffy"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4665626.1516304036!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4665626.1516304036!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ferris","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ferris","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4665626.1516304036!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/leader-comment-holiday-lets-shouldn-t-be-hell-for-neighbours-1-4665633","id":"1.4665633","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Holiday lets shouldn’t be hell for neighbours","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516341600000 ,"articleLead": "

The boom in short-term holiday lets in Scotland has had a significant impact on the economy.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4665632.1516304108!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon signalled the Scottish Government may act over short-term holiday lets"} ,"articleBody": "

According to industry leader AirBnB, the people who book through its website alone are worth about £1m a day to Scotland.

A lot of people are clearly finding a cheap, easy and pleasant way to visit Edinburgh, Glasgow, scenic Highland glens and other parts of the country, while many Scots have discovered a welcome alternative source of income.

READ MORE: AirBnB proposes 90-day curb on Edinburgh lets – except during Festival

However, the boom has also brought problems, some utterly appalling. In one of the worst examples, a student and her flatmates in Edinburgh were issued with rape alarms and advised to move after the creation of a “party flat” in the same Edinburgh tenement. They said stag parties of up to 40 middle-aged men were turning up “nearly every weekend”. There was “constant noise”, broken glass in the stair and, on one occasion, a man tried to force his way into the flat. A councillor told one of the flatmates that “one girl got raped in a stairwell” of another property. Most issues are thankfully much less terrifying; residents can find it difficult getting hold of the owner of a holiday flat to deal with communal repairs. There are also concerns about empty properties reducing the sense of community in city centres and the failure of some holiday landlords to pay business rates.

AirBnB is now proposing to restrict people to renting out properties in Edinburgh to 90 days a year, outwith peak festival periods.

READ MORE: Edinburgh students given rape alarms over ‘party flat’ concerns

But it is not the only short-term letting website, so Nicola Sturgeon is right to consider whether councils should be given greater powers to deal with situations that get out of hand.

If nothing else, establishing some new ground rules might help create a level-playing field for everyone involved. At present, councils can act if there are complaints but they can be perhaps understandably slow to respond, given the cuts in local authority spending. The real issue might not be a lack of regulation, but a lack of resources to enforce existing ones.

Most people using AirBnB-style websites simply want to have a nice holiday and Scotland, in particular, should be careful not to do anything to put tourists off. After all, VisitScotland estimates tourism is worth £11bn to the economy.

But exploring ways to ensure neighbours’ lives are not blighted seems a sensible idea.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4665632.1516304108!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4665632.1516304108!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nicola Sturgeon signalled the Scottish Government may act over short-term holiday lets","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nicola Sturgeon signalled the Scottish Government may act over short-term holiday lets","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4665632.1516304108!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/leader-comment-excitement-growing-over-new-v-a-museum-in-dundee-1-4665631","id":"1.4665631","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Excitement growing over new V&A museum in Dundee","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516341600000 ,"articleLead": "

The V&A Museum of Design in Dundee was designed to look like the prow of a ship pointing out into the Firth of Tay, so it is apt that the opening exhibition will be Ocean Liners: Speed & Style.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4665630.1516304066!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ocean liners will form part of the opening exhibition at the great ship of the V&A museum in Dundee in September"} ,"articleBody": "

Visitors will get an idea of what life was like for the wealthiest passengers on board these “great floating palaces”, but also for those who worked in the depths of the engine room, in what organisers have promised will be a “breath-taking” show. If the outside of the dramatic museum building – part of a £1 billion redevelopment of the Dundee waterfront – is anything to go by, we will not be disappointed. As its contents are revealed, excitement is growing in Scotland and beyond about the opening in September. The Wall Street Journal has named Dundee Scotland’s “coolest city” and one of the top 10 places in the world to visit in 2018, alongside Shanghai and Madagascar.

Eight years in the planning, the new V&A could become a global attraction that puts the city very much on the map.

A lot of money and hope has been invested in the project and so far the signs have all been positive. The Scotsman can’t wait.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4665630.1516304066!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4665630.1516304066!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ocean liners will form part of the opening exhibition at the great ship of the V&A museum in Dundee in September","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ocean liners will form part of the opening exhibition at the great ship of the V&A museum in Dundee in September","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4665630.1516304066!/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/lifestyle/chris-tarrant-fined-after-pleading-guilty-to-drink-driving-1-4665152","id":"1.4665152","articleHeadline": "Chris Tarrant fined after pleading guilty to drink-driving","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516285789000 ,"articleLead": "

Radio host and TV presenter Chris Tarrant has apologised after he was given a road ban for drink-driving.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4665151.1516285786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chris Tarrant outside London Studios on the Southbank"} ,"articleBody": "

The 71-year-old was over the limit while behind the wheel of his Mercedes on December 16 in Bucklebury, close to his home in Berkshire.

Tarrant, wearing a navy suit and striped tie, entered a guilty plea to the charge at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Thursday morning.

He was disqualified from driving for 12 months and fined £6,000.

READ MORE: Chris Tarrant charged with drink driven in his Mercedes

The court heard Tarrant’s breathalyser reading was 50 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit being 35 microgrammes.

After the hearing, Tarrant told reporters: “I made a mistake and I paid for it. I shouldn’t have driven. Full stop.”

The presenter, famous for his role hosting hit quiz show Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?, said he was “very sorry”.

He said he drank “just enough to be over”, adding: “I honestly didn’t think I was over, but apparently I was, so fair enough.”

Asked if he thought the punishment was fair, he said: “Yes.”

Tarrant was at the Bladebone Inn in Bucklebury from 12.30pm and the court heard he was served four drinks - all brandy and ports - but it was pointed out by his counsel that they were not all drank by him.

READ MORE: 1 in 28 drivers stopped over Christmas failed drink driving test

Prosecutor Hasrat Ali said that staff and others in the pub were “concerned” that he had decided to drive home after 2pm.

“One member of the public had noticed that Mr Tarrant had stumbled near the bar area,” she said.

As a result of a discussion in the pub, a member of the public phoned the police.

Officers arrived at Mr Tarrant’s home at 2.25pm - 13 minutes after the phone call was made.

“He claimed that he had just drank three glasses of wine just prior to police arriving,” Ms Ali said.

The court heard that he refused to sign a pocketbook and after a breath test he was taken to the police station where he was interviewed about the offence.

“He gave a different version of events in the sense that it wasn’t three glasses of wine that he had drank, that in fact he had a large glass of brandy and a glass of wine,” Ms Ali said.

Tarrant’s counsel, Simon Ray, said the drinks that were bought in the pub were not all consumed by Tarrant.

Sentencing the TV host, District Judge Shomon Khan said drink-driving was “serious” and puts others “at serious risk”.

The judge, who said he was giving Tarrant credit for pleading guilty at the first hearing, imposed a fine of £6,000 and disqualified him from driving for 12 months.

If Tarrant completes a rehabilitation course by August 18, he will be allowed to drive again on October 18.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4665151.1516285786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4665151.1516285786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chris Tarrant outside London Studios on the Southbank","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chris Tarrant outside London Studios on the Southbank","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4665151.1516285786!/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/regions/edinburgh-fife-lothians/edinburgh-workers-spend-a-quarter-of-their-salaries-on-rent-1-4664944","id":"1.4664944","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh workers spend a quarter of their salaries on rent","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516285508000 ,"articleLead": "

Nearly a quarter of the average income earned by residents in Scotland’s capital is spent on rent, a new study has shown.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664943.1516310236!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rent levels in Edinburgh are among the highest in the UK. Picture: Callum Bennetts"} ,"articleBody": "

Edinburgh is among a group of UK cities identified as having high rent levels by analysts at jobs site CV-Library.

READ MORE: V&A Dundee to open in September with ocean liners exhibition

The average monthly rent in the city is £463, which equates to 23 per cent of the typical salary.

However, this is significantly lower than in London, where workers pay a “staggering” 37 per cent of their monthly salary on rent - more than three times as much as in other parts of the country.

The average monthly rent in London is now £836. This compares with Hull, where average rents are £227.68 - around 11.6 per cent of wages.

Other cities with high rents included Brighton at £623 a month (32 per cent) of average wages, Bristol (£458, almost 22 per cent) and Southampton (£418, around 21.8 per cent).

The highest monthly pay was said to be in Aberdeen, at £2,300, just more than London, while the lowest was in Exeter, at £1,855.

Lee Biggins, managing director of CV-Library, said: “Generation ‘rent’ is well and truly in full swing, and while some cities offer manageable living costs and generous pay packets, others could be pushing workers to breaking point.”

READ MORE: Poll: most Scots back SNP’s tax rise plan

The study did not factor in additional costs on top of rent, such as council tax, electricity, water and gas bills, or other monthly outgoings including mobile phone and internet contracts, pension, transport and insurance.

People living in cities such as London, Brighton, Edinburgh and Bristol could be heading towards “debt levels” each month, said the report.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALAN JONES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664943.1516310236!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664943.1516310236!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Rent levels in Edinburgh are among the highest in the UK. Picture: Callum Bennetts","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rent levels in Edinburgh are among the highest in the UK. Picture: Callum Bennetts","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664943.1516310236!/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/brexit-msps-to-set-out-repeal-bill-fears-at-house-of-lords-1-4664961","id":"1.4664961","articleHeadline": "Brexit: MSPs to set out Repeal Bill fears at House of Lords","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516278251000 ,"articleLead": "

A delegation of MSPs is due to raise concerns over key Brexit legislation in talks at the House of Lords.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616092.1516278249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A cross-party group of MSPs will attend the inter-parliamentary forum on Brexit."} ,"articleBody": "

Senior parliamentarians representing three Holyrood committees will set out cross-party concerns over the EU Withdrawal Bill on a visit to London.

They will attend the inter-parliamentary forum on Brexit, which brings together the relevant committees from both Houses of Parliament and the devolved legislatures.

The MSPs will criticise the lack of progress the UK Government has made on amending the Bill during its Commons passage.

READ MORE: Poll: most Scots back SNP’s tax rise plan

Both the Scottish and Welsh Governments have branded the legislation a “power grab”, saying they cannot recommend it be granted consent in its current form, which would see EU responsibilities in devolved areas initially transferred to Westminster.

A promise to introduce changes to address concerns about the problematic clause 11 during report stage in the Commons slipped, with the amendments now expected to emerge in the Lords.

Holyrood’s cross-party finance and constitution committee has unanimously agreed that the clause is “incompatible” with the devolution settlement.

SNP convener Bruce Crawford MSP said: “It is hard to overstate our concern, indeed dismay, that the UK Government did not amend the Bill during its Commons passage, despite a clear commitment to do so from UK ministers towards the end of 2017.

“If a constitutional crisis is to be averted, it is vital that the UK Government brings forward changes to the Bill that properly respect the devolution settlement.

“All three of our committees welcome this chance to share our concerns with the Lords and appreciate their willingness to engage on issues that potentially endanger the devolution settlement.”

He will be joined by Tory MSP Graham Simpson, convener of the delegated powers and law reform committee, who said: “My committee is strongly of the view that the Withdrawal Bill should be amended so that UK ministers can only legislate in devolved areas with the consent of devolved governments.

“At the same time, there needs to be a process for the Scottish Parliament to scrutinise Scottish ministers’ decisions before that consent is given.

“Ministers will have extraordinary powers to make laws under this Bill, so it is vital that each of the UK’s legislatures have the opportunity to scrutinise effectively regulations made under these highly unusual ministerial powers.”

Also attending the talks will be the SNP convener of the Europe committee, Joan McAlpine, who added: “As the Bill approaches its passage through the Lords, this is a timely opportunity for us to raise again the concerns that my committee has highlighted on the implications of EU withdrawal for Scotland.

READ MORE: Bill Jamieson: Carillion’s failure was necessary, nationalisation isn’t

“As the House of Lords committees identified many similar concerns to us in their extensive work on Brexit, I hope that these joint discussions will feed into the consideration and scrutiny of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill by the Lords.”

The three will be joined by deputy conveners Tory Adam Tomkins, the SNP’s Stuart McMillan and Labour’s Claire Baker.

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “Every part of the United Kingdom needs a functioning statute book, and that applies as much to Scotland as elsewhere.

“We have made good progress in our discussions with the Scottish Government on common frameworks and we look forward to making significant further progress over the coming weeks.

“We have made clear that we will bring forward an amendment to Clause 11 of the Bill in the Lords, and are confident we can get to a position which has the support of all sides.”

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CATRIONA WEBSTER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4616092.1516278249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616092.1516278249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A cross-party group of MSPs will attend the inter-parliamentary forum on Brexit.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A cross-party group of MSPs will attend the inter-parliamentary forum on Brexit.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4616092.1516278249!/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/sport/tennis/andy-murray/andy-murray-wins-battle-to-build-pool-and-gym-at-new-home-1-4664948","id":"1.4664948","articleHeadline": "Andy Murray wins battle to build pool and gym at new home","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516277550532 ,"articleLead": "

SIR Andy Murray has won a battle to build a new multi-million pound mansion with a swimming pool and gym.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664947.1516277621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Murray will knock down the existing property in Surrey. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The tennis ace plans to demolish a property he bought for nearly £3 million and construct a new home in its place.

However, Andy Murray's project hit a snag when permission for separate outbuildings housing a pool and gymnasium were refused by council planners because they were too big and did not fit in with the surrounding area.

The house is in Leatherhead, Surrey, just a few miles from 30-year-old Murray's current £5 million home in Oxshott which he shares with wife Kim and their two young daughters.

The double Wimbledon champion's house plans have now been given the go-ahead after his architects submitted revised plans for the leisure facilities which means they will be smaller than originally planned.

READ MORE: Andy Murray mocks US President Donald Trump on Twitter
In a written report, planning officials at Mole Valley District Council said: \"The proposal is for two separate outbuildings to be used for purposes incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse, one for a gym and garden room and the other for a swimming pool and sauna.

\"This application follows on from two separate applications for the outbuildings that were refused.

\"The agent has addressed the height issues by setting the building more within the slope of the land which allows for the height to be taken from the highest part of the surface of the ground next to it.\"

The proposals show the swimming pool building, which must not exceed four metres in height, will also include a massage room, changing facilities and a sauna while the gym will have a summer house attached to it.

The pool and gym could be used to help Murray's rehabilitation from injury. He is currently recovering from hip surgery in Australia and is not expected to be back on the tennis court until the summer's grass court season.

He and wife Kim bought the house, which has a tennis court in its 28 acres of grounds, in November, 2016. They initially built an extension before deciding to demolish it and build their own bespoke home in its place.

Plans show the new house will be a two-storey home with five en-suite bathrooms on the first floor and a library and a study on the ground floor. It will also have a large dining room, a larder and a snug room.

Murray's architects said the existing house was \"of no particular historic or architectural merit\" and would be replaced by an \"attractively designed property\".

Planners granted planning permission and said: \"The design of the property would be one of a Georgian appearance with narrow long windows and stone detailing.

\"The position of the new property would be close to the existing and therefore the spacious nature of the site would be maintained.

\"It is considered that the design of the building and its position within the plot would not cause harm to the character of the area.\"

In an interview last year, Murray said he intended to spend more time in Scotland when he retired from tennis but would remain living in the south of England as long as his family were happy there.

READ MORE: Aidan Smith: Is Andy Murray really done with scowling and ice baths?

" ,"byline": {"email": "russell.jackson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "RUSSELL JACKSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664947.1516277621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664947.1516277621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andy Murray will knock down the existing property in Surrey. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Murray will knock down the existing property in Surrey. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664947.1516277621!/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/s-karly-kehoe-debora-b-f-kayembe-and-shawki-al-dubaee-academic-refugees-have-much-to-offer-countries-which-give-them-a-safe-haven-1-4664819","id":"1.4664819","articleHeadline": "S. Karly Kehoe, Debora B. F. Kayembe and Shawki Al-Dubaee: Academic refugees have much to offer countries which give them a safe haven","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516271535000 ,"articleLead": "

Imagine what it would feel like if you had your career ripped out from under you. If you had your entire life’s work destroyed by people who feared your critical appraisal. How would you feel if, all of the sudden, you became a ­target for violence or retribution just because you worked at a university and were considered to have intellectual ­abilities?

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664816.1516271528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "S. Karly Kehoe, Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland"} ,"articleBody": "

In 2016, the Royal Society of ­Edinburgh’s Young Academy of ­Scotland (YAS) decided to recognise the rights of academic researchers and practitioners fleeing conflict by introducing the at-risk academic and refugee membership initiative (ARAR). Founded in 2011, YAS brings together the next generation of Scotland’s talent and its mission is to achieve transformative societal change through citizenship, ­innovation, collaboration, evidence and leadership.

According to the UN, the number of people displaced worldwide due to war and conflict has now topped 65 million. The Geneva Convention defined a refugee as someone who is displaced, has been forced to cross national borders and who ­cannot return home safely. To receive ­refugee status, a person must have applied for asylum, making them an asylum seeker while awaiting a ­decision.

A displaced person, even though legally entitled to refugee status, ­cannot apply for asylum and is excluded from official asylum seeker status. The United Kingdom has adopted the Geneva Convention as well as the two additional protocols which states that people whose ­liberty has been restricted shall, if made to work, have the benefit of working conditions and safeguards similar to those enjoyed by the local civilian population.

When YAS inducted the first four ARAR members into its wider ­membership of 126 in 2016, it became the first young academy in the world to welcome these professionals into its ranks. In taking this bold, but ­necessary step, the YAS membership not only acknowledged the potential of these colleagues to make outstanding and meaningful contributions to the future prosperity of Scotland, but it committed to helping them to regain some of the social and professional capital that they had lost during their displacement.

If we exclude these professionals, we run the risk of losing out on what they would have accomplished or on the discoveries they might have made. For the academic researchers and practitioners, accessing the ­networks needed to recover their careers is vital but, more often than not, what they experience is a long corridor of closed doors. Some also have additional needs including building stronger language skills, understanding the academic culture and, at a basic level, settling their ­families into a routine and trying to establish a level of normality.

Living in the global north, many of us have no idea that this is the ­reality for many people. Many more of us have no awareness of the fact that some of these at-risk scholars are now our neighbours.

When we do find out about them, though, it is incumbent upon us and the organisations we represent to find ways of sharing our resources and of making space for them in our networks, ­universities and social circles. It is also important that we find ways of considering and evaluating fairly their academic qualifications and that we establish systems to either recognise them as being on par, where possible, or provide routes to enable upgrading.

At a panel at the recent Protecting the Rights of Individuals Fleeing Conflict symposium organised by the Committee on Human Rights of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, legal health and human rights advocate Leonard Rubenstein made the point that “you don’t have to grant rights to recognise rights”.

Building resilient societies, as ­countries like Scotland, Canada and others seek to do, requires us to look for and capture talent wherever we find it. It also requires us to have a moral compass and to extend the hand of friendship to newcomers. YAS seeks to build empathy among the scholarly ­community and use that to ­create meaningful opportunities for ­integration. This is an essential part of keeping research fresh and ­progressive. While governments have a major role to play in enabling this, we, as individuals, must bear some of the responsibility. You can read more about YAS’s work, and our current ARAR member recruitment round, on our website: https://www.youngacademyofscotland.org.uk/.

S. Karly Kehoe, Debora B. F. Kayembe and Shawki Al-Dubaee, members of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664816.1516271528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664816.1516271528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "S. Karly Kehoe, Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "S. Karly Kehoe, Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664816.1516271528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664817.1516271530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664817.1516271530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Shawki Al-Dubaee, Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Shawki Al-Dubaee, Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664817.1516271530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664818.1516271532!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664818.1516271532!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Debora B. F. Kayembe, Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Debora B. F. Kayembe, Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664818.1516271532!/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/bill-jamieson-carillion-s-failure-was-necessary-nationalisation-isn-t-1-4664410","id":"1.4664410","articleHeadline": "Bill Jamieson: Carillion’s failure was necessary, nationalisation isn’t","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516255200000 ,"articleLead": "

The demise of the corporate behemoth Carillion is no argument for nationalisation, writes Bill Jamieson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664409.1516219329!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Carillion's collapse was spectacular and questions must be asked, but the answer is not nationalisation (Picture: SWNS)"} ,"articleBody": "

Few more tasty dishes could have been served up to Jeremy Corbyn than the collapse of Carillion, the construction and services behemoth.

Tens of thousands of jobs at risk, hundreds of small firms facing bankruptcy over unpaid bills and critical public services from hospitals to schools facing uncertainty.

What more damning exposure could there be of public-sector outsourcing and private-sector failure? Carillion’s handling of numerous projects came under criticism and maintenance contracts were withdrawn. Three public profit warnings in five months were issued last year – but ignored by the UK Government, which continued to award Carillion huge contracts. Once again, it seems, the capitalist model has failed.

New contracts were taken on in the hope that extra revenues would make good the shortfalls in existing ones – a giant Ponzi scheme in effect. Meanwhile Carillion’s management kept shelling out millions in dividends to shareholders while the group’s pensions deficit ballooned.

READ MORE: What Carillion collapse means to Scotland

Enough, already! The solution is blindingly obvious: bring all those infrastructure projects and long-term public service contracts in-house, to be overseen and managed by the public sector, cutting out the need for profits to finance dividends, fees to banks and costly advisors – and bringing to an end the fat cat pay circus. That’s one way of summing up this corporate debacle. But there’s another. This is not a “failure of capitalism” but an object lesson in how sanction and penalty should work to enforce reform. On this perspective, Carillion is a necessary failure. It sends a clear and salutary signal on the constant dangers of aggressive ambition and over-reach, while reinforcing the cautionary principle that should govern all undertakings: mind that you do not bite off more than you can chew – you may choke to death. A set of searing post-mortems is now underway – as well they should – questioning the award of government contracts, the project accounting system, the oversight of so-called watchdogs and auditors, and above all the Carillion management.

These may take many months. For not least of the questions to be explored is how this company, the UK’s second largest construction concern with a £1.5 billion debt pile, was allowed to grow so big.

The scale of Carillion’s operations almost beggars belief. Contracts embraced institutions from the Royal Opera House, Library of Birmingham and Tate Modern to the controversial HS2 high-speed rail line and the headquarters of GCHQ.

READ MORE: Darren McGarvey: Carillion – giants of capitalism or scroungers?

Built up through the acquisition of parts of Tarmac, Mowlem, Wimpey and Alfred McAlpine, it came to hold some 450 government contracts spanning the departments of Education, Justice, Defence and Transport. Its projects included the running of libraries under the fanciful brand name “Cultural Community Solutions”. Amey Housing took on the maintenance of some 50,000 army homes across the UK. Contracts worth between £700 million and £1bn in total. Last year a report by the Public Accounts Committee described the group’s performance for the MoD as “totally unacceptable”.

Carillion maintained approximately half of the UK’s prisons and Young Offender Institutions – again, widely criticised by independent monitoring boards. Two major hospital building contracts have fallen behind schedule, while responsibility for handling the delivery of school meals in Oxfordshire has now been handed to firefighters. Critical issues need to be explored here, three in particular. The first relates to the culture within Carillion – but is by no means confined to it – that encouraged aggressive fixed-price contract bidding to secure business and the booking of profits before contracts (with inevitable cost over-runs) were completed.

Second is who, if anyone, in government had overall oversight of the totality of all the public sector contracts and projects that Carillion was taking on. And who was checking on the competence of Carillion’s finances and its management to handle them? The third relates to the banks, City institutions and investors who for the past 30 years sought to dismantle the corporate behemoth conglomerates and mouthed the mantra of focused business models: no management, the mantra insisted, could possibly have a uniformity of competence across many disparate activities.

Yet multi-contract corporates such as Carillion and Interserve sprang up amid all this, with fund managers and analysts extolling the so-called ‘defensive’ qualities of these all-purpose infrastructure and service models – just so long as they paid the dividends. Ever-rising order intake seemed to be the only metric that mattered, blinding them to issues of managerial competence – and of course, ever-rising debt. As for the £600m pension fund deficit, who seemed much concerned about that, such was the flawed culture within Carillion?

While the post-mortems get underway, it is tempting to urge that public service contracts are now brought in-house and managed by central and local government: tempting, but blind to past experience. The land is littered with examples of public sector failure – projects that overran massively such as Edinburgh’s trams, rail line extensions that billowed in cost, buildings that fell years behind schedule, poor workmanship, inefficiency and wasted resources.

No public sector approach can ever be total, for which local authority can afford a fully staffed, full-time, multi-skilled and multi-specialist workforce to meet all contingencies? Heavy assurances would be given that small-scale outsourcing would be allowed to enable contracts to be undertaken and completed with confidence. But for years, small and medium-sized enterprises have railed against the exclusive nature of public sector procurement.

Nowhere has this complaint been louder than in Scotland, where the business community has constantly lobbied government ministers for a more equitable slice of the pie. Qualification hurdles working against small firms can range from lack of historic track record to size of balance sheet and gender and diversity requirements. All these can effectively bar all but the biggest private sector firms from bidding for contracts. The system favours the biggies. But, hey, isn’t this where we came in? The path out of this trap inevitably involves pain: sanction, behaviour change and cultural shake-up. In this respect ‘capitalism’ must be allowed to work: managers and government agencies brought to account, and business models obliged to reform and adapt.

Seventeen years ago, the US – that epitome of unbridled capitalism – threw the book at the gross corporate mismanagement at the corporate giants Enron and WorldCom. Government did not step into ‘rescue’ them but instead ensured that market sanction had its chastening effect. That is why Carillion is indeed a necessary failure and why the sanction of bankruptcy and searching inquest must apply. Just as an enterprise system should reward success, it needs also to penalise failure – the endgame business seeks to avoid.

There is every reason to despair at what has happened, but every reason, too, for hope that Carillion will stand as a lesson that will bring about a chastened but more responsible business culture.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Bill Jamieson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664409.1516219329!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664409.1516219329!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Carillion's collapse was spectacular and questions must be asked, but the answer is not nationalisation (Picture: SWNS)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Carillion's collapse was spectacular and questions must be asked, but the answer is not nationalisation (Picture: SWNS)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664409.1516219329!/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-tory-tin-ear-on-scotland-is-fuelling-power-grab-row-1-4664421","id":"1.4664421","articleHeadline": "Tom Peterkin: Tory tin ear on Scotland is fuelling ‘power grab’ row","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516255200000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK Government’s failure to meet a deadline to amend legislation to devolve some EU powers to Scotland after Brexit may play into the SNP’s hands but a deal can still be struck, writes Tom Peterkin.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664420.1516219868!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson's frustration with Conservative party leaders at Westminster has boiled over into public view in recent days (Picture: Greg Macvean)"} ,"articleBody": "

The tortuous process of extricating the United Kingdom from the European Union appears to be triggering quite an array of responses from Conservative politicians.

A few days ago the Scottish Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw complained – only half in jest methinks – that the prospect of speaking in a Brexit-related debate gave him a migraine.

The eleventh day devoted to debating Brexit in the House of Commons proved all a bit much for dear old Sir Desmond Swayne, who very publicly nodded off while the finer points of EU withdrawal were being discussed. The Brexiteer blamed the rigours of an early morning swim in the Serpentine rather than weariness with the arch-Europhile Ken Clarke, who happened to be speaking at the time.

For Ruth Davidson the over-riding emotion of the moment has been frustration.

READ MORE: Adam Tomkins: How to avoid a Brexit ‘power grab’ crisis

In a series of interviews, the Scottish Conservative leader has expressed her exasperation at the UK Government’s lack of progress when it comes to setting out which EU powers will come to Holyrood.

Ms Davidson’s frustration is widespread across the Scottish party and nearly boiled over on Tuesday night when Conservative MPs from north of the border complained vociferously about the behaviour of the UK Government.

The frustration stemmed from Scottish Secretary David Mundell’s admission earlier this month that changes to Clause 11 of the EU Withdrawal Bill, which deals with devolution, had been delayed.

As it stands, Clause 11 would result in 111 powers in devolved areas being retained by Westminster when they are transferred from the EU.

This state of affairs that has led to long-standing SNP claims that Theresa May’s administration is undermining devolution by indulging in a power grab at the expense of the Scottish Parliament.

READ MORE: Tommy Sheppard: Brexit bill is the power grab of the century

Scottish Conservatives have been acutely alert to these criticisms and, in fact, the UK Government agrees that a substantial raft of powers should come to Holyrood, aside for those best dealt with across a common UK framework.

Therefore the missed deadline is a source of embarrassment, as is the fact that the changes to Clause 11 will be brought forward in the House of Lords rather than the Commons.

Hence Ms Davidson’s frustration and some forthright remarks in the House of Commons chamber from Stirling Tory MP Stephen Kerr.

“It sticks in my craw,” said Mr Kerr. “It’s not really good enough and as a member of the House of Commons I hang my head to think that we have somehow dropped the ball.”

Mr Kerr lamented the lost opportunity to make the changes and thereby “pull the rug from under” the SNP’s “squalid argument”.

His frustration was palpable. “It would have shown them (the SNP) up as the creators of grievance rather than giving grievance a voice,” he said. “The [UK] Government had control of the timetable. The deadlines were created by them, but they have let this chamber down by not delivering on what they promised.”

With the Scottish Tories now a force at Westminster thanks to the swelling of their ranks to 13 MPs and Mrs May’s failure to win an outright majority, the UK Government should listen to the likes of Mr Kerr.

The problem for Mr Kerr and his Tory colleagues north of the border, however, is that the UK Government appears to have a bit of a tin ear when it comes to matters Scottish.

UK ministers should remember that sorting out the Irish border is not the only constitutional hurdle that has to be overcome when exiting the EU. The politics of Scotland and Wales have to be taken into account when devising Brexit strategies.

Scottish Conservative sources say it was the sudden departure of Damian Green from Mrs May’s Cabinet, rather than ignorance of Scottish politics, that has led to the current situation. Mr Green, they say, was adept at over-ruling Whitehall officials whose default position was for powers to go London.

Whatever the reason, missing the Clause 11 deadline gives the SNP ammunition and complicates an already complex situation.

Much of the frustration felt in Tory circles north of the border is down to a feeling that progress is being undermined. Last year there was a suggestion that talks between the Scottish and UK Governments were unusually constructive. A more collegiate atmosphere was evident in negotiations and it seemed as though Scottish Tory attempts to act as honest broker between the two governments was bearing fruit.

The Clause 11 public relations foul-up has rather spoiled that atmosphere, but the Scottish Tory insiders say there is still optimism that a ‘more powers’ deal can be struck.

Their optimism is based on the notion that striking a deal will suit both governments in one way or another. Mr Mundell has promised that Brexit will bring a “powers bonanza” to Holyrood. The Tory calculation is that the SNP may be critical of any arrangement short of outright independence, but will generally support moves that help make the Scottish Parliament more powerful.

As one senior Scottish Conservative put it yesterday, if a more powers deal fails to materialise the SNP has nowhere to go other than a second independence referendum.

With a YouGov poll suggesting yesterday that only 36 per cent of Scots want another independence vote in the next five years, calling indyref2 is a gamble – a massive gamble that would wake Sir Desmond Swayne from his slumbers and do little for Jackson Carlaw’s migraine.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Peterkin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664420.1516219868!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664420.1516219868!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson's frustration with Conservative party leaders at Westminster has boiled over into public view in recent days (Picture: Greg Macvean)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson's frustration with Conservative party leaders at Westminster has boiled over into public view in recent days (Picture: Greg Macvean)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664420.1516219868!/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-this-year-s-flu-isn-t-australian-1-4664412","id":"1.4664412","articleHeadline": "Kevan Christie: This year’s flu isn’t Australian","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516255200000 ,"articleLead": "

The current furore around the outbreak of so-called Aussie flu has led to outlandish comparisons with the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 which claimed the lives of around 50 million people.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664411.1516219340!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The take-up of the flu vaccine has been too low (Picture: SWNS)"} ,"articleBody": "

Like hurricanes an outbreak of flu isn’t deemed to be serious unless it is given a name – in this case a country with a tenuous link to the virus.

Spanish flu, the H1N1 strain of the bug, was given its name primarily due to the fact that it received greater press attention after it moved from France to Spain in November 1918. The Spanish were not involved in the First World War and had not imposed wartime censorship like the Allied forces.

The epicentre of worldwide pandemic is actually thought to have been a major troop staging post and hospital in war-torn France.

Aussie flu, a series of H3N2 viruses, was particularly strong in Australia and Hong Kong from June through to August last year. It is said to be responsible for the death of 300 Australians, while 170,000 people were affected.

These viruses were seen in the UK during the winters of 2014/15 and 2016/17 and in each of these two winters it had a considerable impact in Scotland. So it’s not new and it’s not really got anything particularly to do with Australia – it’s basically the flu.

READ MORE: Scottish A&E wait times soar to new high as flu rates jump

The World Health Organisation says the current rate of influenza in the UK is considered to be ‘medium activity’ at present and higher than the rate seen at the same time last year. Not exactly a pandemic then.

In Scotland, the flu rate for the first week of 2018 was four times higher than the same week last year with statistics from Health Protection Scotland showing 107 Scots in every 100,000 of the population were diagnosed with the virus in the week ending January 7. New figures for the flu are out later today so we’ll know if the virus is spreading.

Tragically, eight Scots have died as a result of complications caused by the disease, including 18-year-old Bethany Walker, from Applecross in the Highlands.

Other than the most vulnerable groups, the flu will leave the rest of us miserable but, as the NHS suggests, plenty of bed rest, staying hydrated and using Ibuprofen for any aches or pains should see you over the worst.

However, questions remain around this year’s vaccination process in Scotland.

READ MORE: Calls to make free flu jab ‘a priority’

While children receive a protective nasal spray at school and pensioners are entitled to the jab on the NHS, adults who do not have long-term health problems are not routinely innoculated.

NHS staff are also offered a free vaccination but this year only 40 per cent of them have had the jab.

This is lower than chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood would like but she believes this is something that should not be mandatory and I tend to agree.

Apart from in war-zones, employers can’t be sticking needles in the arms of their staff, even if they think it’s for the greater good.

What’s of wider concern is the lack of take-up in the under 65s considered “at risk”. This year’s vaccine is believed to be a good match for the current strains of flu virus, but has been met with general apathy.

Professor Harry McQuillan, chief executive of Community Pharmacy Scotland, has said there has been a “missed opportunity” in not getting pharmacists to administer the vaccinations.

Predictably, this all comes back to a familiar tale of under-pressure GPs and NHS staff struggling to cope.

Here’s hoping lessons are learnt next winter.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kevan Christie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664411.1516219340!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664411.1516219340!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The take-up of the flu vaccine has been too low (Picture: SWNS)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The take-up of the flu vaccine has been too low (Picture: SWNS)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664411.1516219340!/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/lifestyle/leader-comment-rude-uk-must-learn-from-macron-s-bayeux-diplomacy-1-4664414","id":"1.4664414","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Rude UK must learn from Macron’s Bayeux diplomacy","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516255200000 ,"articleLead": "

Emmanuel Macron has just given Britain a masterclass in diplomacy. His announcement that the Bayeux Tapestry will be loaned to the UK has already created a significant stir. Just imagine what it will be like when the 950-year-old artefact actually arrives.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664413.1516219346!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Bayeux Tapestry would be 'probably the most significant' loan of art by France to the UK, according to the British Museum (Picture: PA)"} ,"articleBody": "

In contrast, British politicians involved in the Brexit process have been calling our European allies “the enemy” (Philip Hammond), telling them to “go whistle” (Boris Johnson) and warning against trying to “administer punishment beatings” in the style of “some World War Two movie” (Boris, again).

If you’re trying to reach an agreement with someone, it’s a good idea to at least pretend you like them. It’s really that simple.

READ MORE: Theresa May says loan of Bayeux Tapestry to UK is ‘very significant’

Macron’s generosity will win France friends and, consequently, influence. China does the same with pandas; when Macron visited Beijing, he took a presidential cavalry corps horse.

Should the UK carry on like this, Macron is likely to let us know. Remember his marked swerve away from Donald Trump to embrace Angela Merkel instead?

This is a politician who knows the power of symbolism.

READ MORE: Emmanuel Macron: I will reunite split France

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664413.1516219346!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664413.1516219346!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Bayeux Tapestry would be 'probably the most significant' loan of art by France to the UK, according to the British Museum (Picture: PA)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Bayeux Tapestry would be 'probably the most significant' loan of art by France to the UK, according to the British Museum (Picture: PA)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664413.1516219346!/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/lifestyle/whisky-distilleries-on-the-rise-south-of-scottish-border-1-4664405","id":"1.4664405","articleHeadline": "Whisky distilleries on the rise south of Scottish border","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516218851000 ,"articleLead": "

It has long been regarded as Scotland’s national drink. But now, a growing number of whisky distilleries are opening south of the Border, with the number of new spirits manufacturing facilities rocketing in England and Wales over the past five years.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664404.1516218848!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Whisky distilleries are opening in greater numbers south of the border. Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Official figures from HMRC showed that 42 more distilleries making a range of spirits are open now than in 2013. Of the new distilleries, 20 were in Scotland, 22 were in England, four in Wales and another three in Northern Ireland.

Trade body the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) said the figures were not broken down into types of drink, but said that whisky distilleries are increasingly opening in England and Wales.

The figures showed that 149 distilleries are now online in Scotland compared with 90 in 2010 – a two-thirds increase.

The WSTA added that the boom in gin sales – which has seen a record number of bottles of gin sold last year, with an estimated 95 different gin brands now on the UK market, has contributed to the increase – but said that whisky making was becoming increasingly popular in England and Wales. More than 47 million bottles of gin have been sold in the UK in the last 12 months, up seven million bottles on the same period a year ago.

UK distillery openings have gone up 172 per cent from 116 since 2010 when the WSTA first started collecting the data – adding 199 in just seven years. The region showing the most rapid growth is England which in 2010 had only 23 distilleries but grew to 135 in 2017, accounting for 56 per cent of all UK openings in the last eight years.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, pointed to research which states that since 2010 the number of Scotch brands in the UK market has more than doubled to 246 from 119.

He said: “It is welcome news that another 49 new distilleries opened in the UK last year, bringing new jobs to the British spirit industry and helping boost Britain’s export potential.

“There is a significant amount of investment going in to the British spirits industry and the Chancellor’s welcome boost [duty was frozen in the November Budget] is likely to see this trend continue into 2018 – as well as broadening out into new variations of English and Welsh whisky.”

He added: “Gin is the key driver behind the surge in new distillery openings in the UK in the last five years.”

Ciaran Myles, WSTA head of research and insights, said that some newer distilleries are currently selling gin, but are also waiting for their whisky to mature.

He said: “While no-one should assume that there are many who are out solely to make great gin and lots of it, there are incidents of gin producers making gin but also biding their time until the brown stuff is ready for sale.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664404.1516218848!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664404.1516218848!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Whisky distilleries are opening in greater numbers south of the border. Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Whisky distilleries are opening in greater numbers south of the border. Picture: Carl Court/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664404.1516218848!/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/historic-milestone-hailed-as-mps-vote-through-brexit-withdrawal-bill-1-4664400","id":"1.4664400","articleHeadline": "‘Historic milestone’ hailed as MPs vote through Brexit Withdrawal Bill","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516218192000 ,"articleLead": "

Flagship Brexit legislation has cleared the House of Commons in a significant parliamentary milestone on the way out of the European Union.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664401.1516218585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brexit Secretary David Davis described the passing of the EU Withdrawal Bill as an "historic milestone""} ,"articleBody": "

The EU Withdrawal Bill was passed by MPs at its Third Reading by 324 votes to 295, and now moves to the House of Lords for further scrutiny this month. It is likely to return to the Commons following amendments by peers.

Brexit Secretary David Davis hailed the vote as a “historic milestone” and said he hoped peers will debate the bill, which will transfer EU law into British statute on the day the UK leaves the bloc, “in the same constructive way” as the Commons.

A cross-party amendment supported by the SNP and Liberal Democrats that would have tied the Withdrawal Bill to keeping the UK in the European single market fell after Labour ordered its MPs to abstain.

The amendment failed by 99 votes to 322, with 48 Labour rebels defying the party whip. SNP MP Peter Grant said Labour had chosen to “sit on the sidelines”.

An SNP attempt to have the bill thrown out because the government failed to implement promised changes to prevent a devolution “power grab” also fell. The SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the unamended bill was “a constitutional outrage”.

The bill will be corrected in the Lords, ministers have said. A Scottish Parliament delegation is due to meet with peers today.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664401.1516218585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664401.1516218585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Brexit Secretary David Davis described the passing of the EU Withdrawal Bill as an "historic milestone"","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brexit Secretary David Davis described the passing of the EU Withdrawal Bill as an "historic milestone"","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664401.1516218585!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664399.1516218597!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664399.1516218597!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664399.1516218597!/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/meghan-markle-gets-an-apron-as-first-official-royal-gift-1-4664396","id":"1.4664396","articleHeadline": "Meghan Markle gets an apron as first official Royal gift","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516217594000 ,"articleLead": "

Meghan Markle may not be a member of the Royal family, but she has already received an official gift - an apron.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664395.1516217709!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Meghan Markle received an apron as an official Royal gift last year. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The present - a joint gift to the US actress and her fiance Prince Harry - may be fought over as the couple are known to like to cook together.

Harry famously proposed to his bride-to-be as they prepared a roast chicken dinner at his cottage home in the grounds of Kensington Palace.

The apron was one of hundreds of official gifts received by members of the Royal family last year.

The Queen received glitter balls for the Royal Christmas tree, a purple fleece dog bed and the Union Flag from Major Tim Peake’s spacesuit.

The annually released list of gifts revealed Harry and Ms Markle’s apron was received on their behalf by the Duke of Cambridge, from an unnamed individual, during a trip to Finland in November.

The monarch was also given an ostrich egg decorated with Maasai beadwork as a 91st birthday present from the Kenyan president.

British astronaut Major Peake, who became the first Briton to form part of the crew of the International Space Station, handed over his own historic gift at Windsor Castle.

He gave the Queen the flag from his spacesuit when he stayed with the monarch for a “dine and sleep” gathering at her Berkshire residence in April last year.

In November, the Queen was presented with two sets of glitter balls for her Christmas tree by the German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

GCHQ also opted for an early Christmas theme when the monarch opened the National Cyber Security Centre in London in February last year, with the British security agency giving the Queen a Christmas decoration containing Enigma machine paper.

The dog-loving head of state, who now has one corgi and two dorgis, received a purple fleece dog bed and soft toy after a visit to the Canine Partners National Training Centre in November.

She was also given a silver-plated filigree pumpkin during an audience with the Cambodian Ambassador.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte received armfuls of gifts on their overseas tour to Poland and Germany in July, receiving 59 presents between them.

This included 17 soft toys, two lollipops, three toy trains, a toy pram, three dresses, two pairs of socks and a dreamcatcher.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also received a variety of gifts on the high-profile trip, including 19 books, three pairs of earrings for Kate and three pairs of cufflinks for William.

There were two handbags for the duchess and replica cavalry sabre for the duke from the president of Poland Andrzej Duda.

During her solo visit to Luxembourg, Kate received a bamkuch by a member of the public, a traditional European cake with a hole in the middle that is served on important occasions.

When William and Kate visited Paris the outgoing president Francois Hollande gave the couple some decorative arts - a vase for William and a ceramic rose sculpture for Kate.

Official gifts can be worn and used, but are not considered the royals’ personal property. The royals do not pay tax on them.

They can eat any food they are given and perishable official gifts with a value less than £150 can also be given to charity or staff.

Gifts cannot be sold or exchanged and eventually become part of the Royal Collection, which is held in trust by the Queen for her successors and the nation.

The rules on official presents were tightened following the Peat inquiry in 2003 into the sale of royal gifts and the running of St James’s Palace.

JK Rowling refutes claims that £4m pub inspired Harry Potter

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4664395.1516217709!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4664395.1516217709!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Meghan Markle received an apron as an official Royal gift last year. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Meghan Markle received an apron as an official Royal gift last year. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4664395.1516217709!/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/bernard-ingham-press-freedom-attack-could-turn-uk-into-a-totalitarian-state-1-4663198","id":"1.4663198","articleHeadline": "Bernard Ingham: Press freedom attack could turn UK into a totalitarian state","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516215600000 ,"articleLead": "

Heaven only knows what they would call me now in this at once sensitive and insensitive age. As Margaret Thatcher’s press secretary for 11 years, I copped a lot of abuse and ridicule.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4663197.1516215307!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher's former press secretary, fears the House of Lords' attempt to control the press could have serious consequences for democracy"} ,"articleBody": "

It did not do me much harm. Indeed, in my retirement, I find my notoriety is an extremely commercial commodity. I rejoice in being called, among many other things, the sewer but not the sewerage, a mound of poisoned suet, a rough-spoken Yorkshire Rasputin and Mrs Thatcher’s personal Rottweiler. They also called me her vicar on Earth, which is somewhat contradictory.

READ MORE: Minister accuses peers of voting to curb press freedom after double defeat

It was, and remains, like water off a duck’s back. Sticks and stones may break my bones but calling me names never hurt me. It is true that I worked in a gentler, more inventive, era and did not have to contend with the pestilential internet. But, with certain provisos, I do wish people would not take so seriously the often empty-headed exhibitionists who are colonising the ether with their tweets. Are you listening, Donald Trump?

My provisos stem from the coarsening of society in the last 25 years with its free use of filthy and obscene language, often directed at women, especially Tory women MPs, and racialism. The lingering antisemitism in the Labour Party – or more accurately Momentum – is a disgrace and a disqualification for office. My contempt for once-moderate and humanitarian Labour MPs who put up with Jeremy Corbyn’s mob increases by the week.

It is against this background that we are seeing new assaults on free speech from many angles. In the process, the laws of defamation and pornography, generally observed by newspapers, are brushed aside by the malcontent Twitterati.

READ MORE: John McLellan: Data Protection Bill has been hijacked

As if that were not enough, we are assailed by political correctness at every turn. Hypersensitive souls lurk behind every sculpture, portrait, sign and label demanding their removal. It is no longer acceptable to some to distinguish between a man and a woman, notwithstanding Adam and Eve; gender neutrality is the order of the day. It is ages since I could preside over a meeting as chairman. Instead, I am consistently transmuted into an inanimate chair.

Such is the state of our education system that obviously very few people have heard of the French philosopher Voltaire, who famously said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Oh Voltaire, wouldst thou were living at this hour.

I recognise that Mr Trump is not exactly an example of balanced thinking – more a mouth disengaged from brain – but does he deserve to be kept from these shores for fear he would not be welcome? Can we no longer entertain our principal ally lest he provoke a riot by activists? If we can’t, we are already ruled by the mob. Another high on the narcissistic scale – to wit, Sir Richard Branson – led to Virgin trains banning the Daily Mail before backtracking. This is no way to run a railway, especially when newspapers, unlike trains, operate reliably on time. Didn’t Virgin see that this was likely to be counter-productive? Newspapers are entitled to expose, condemn, criticise, lampoon and entertain us with their censure. What is more, they inevitably have the last word. This always assumes that the government and Commons will tell the unelected House of Lords where to put its current attempt to muzzle a free press. It is almost beyond belief that their Lordships should seek to bring the press under state control.

Yet that is precisely what they have in mind in latching on to a bill to update Britain’s data protection laws. They want all newspapers that fail to sign up for state regulation to be liable for the legal costs of anyone who brings a complaint against them – even if the publication wins. Just imagine what that would do to the local press with its limited resources and already fighting for its life against the weakening of community life and competition from the internet to which advertising has migrated.

You would not think that virtually all newspapers are already governed by an independent regulatory body chaired by a neutral Appeal Court judge with power to order front-page corrections and impose fines of up to £1 million. Prime Minister Theresa May is clearly dismayed by the Lords’ incipient dictatorship which some see as vindictive. We should all join her in the fight to preserve press freedom. Otherwise, you will soon wake up to a totalitarian Britain.

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