{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"uk","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/edinburgh-voted-britain-s-best-city-to-visit-for-fifth-year-running-1-4841845","id":"1.4841845","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh voted Britain’s best city to visit for fifth year running","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544447776000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh has retained the title of Britain’s best city to visit for the fifth year running.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841844.1544456089!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh topped the list of 20 UK destinations. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The annual Telegraph’s Top 20 Travel Destinations is voted for by members of the public, who have opted for the Capital once again.

According to the paper, Edinburgh won the top spot for its ‘history-soaked medieval tenements, vennels and wynds of the Old Town’ as well as the ‘sweeping elegance of the Georgian New Town”.

The report adds: “Edinburgh deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and compelling cities in the world.”

Taking second place, once again, was the historical city of York, followed by Bath, another non-mover in third place.

London climbed a place to get into the top four, followed by Cambridge which gained two places on its ranking from last year.

Sixth place went to Wells, Liverpool was in the seventh spot, after moving up four places from last year, trailing just behind was its neighbour Chester.

However another poll this week rated Liverpool as the third worst place to live, topped by Rotherham.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841844.1544456089!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841844.1544456089!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Edinburgh topped the list of 20 UK destinations. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh topped the list of 20 UK destinations. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841844.1544456089!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1488377598653"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/nicola-sturgeon-enters-spat-with-fifa-over-edinburgh-world-cup-map-omission-1-4841761","id":"1.4841761","articleHeadline": "Nicola Sturgeon enters spat with FIFA over Edinburgh World Cup map omission","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544445986000 ,"articleLead": "

A Twitter spat threatened to turn into a diplomatic incident over the weekend after Edinburgh was seemingly omitted from a map of timezones showing when football fans could tune in to watch the draw for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841759.1544445980!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ms Sturgeon posted the tweet ahead of Saturday's FIFA Women's World Cup draw."} ,"articleBody": "

The map featured a selection of cities, many of them capitals, from around the globe to represent teams participating in next year’s competition.

Major world capitals such as London, Stockholm and Canberra were on the map but Edinburgh was not included, despite the Scotland women’s team having successfully qualified.

Having spotted the graphic posted by the tournament’s official account on Saturday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote: “Dear @FIFAWC - many of us will be watching from Scotland to find out which nations draw the mighty Scottish Women’s National Team - so maybe add Edinburgh to your map?”

To further illustrate her point, Ms Sturgeon followed up the tweet with a string of Saltire emojis.

The team running the World Cup’s official account were swift in their response, tweeting out an updated map that included Edinburgh a short while later.

However, they were also keen to point out that the graphic was intended to simply show timezone information spread across the world map.

Ms Sturgeon thanked those responsible for taking the time out to revise the graphic and include Edinburgh.

While some Twitter users praised the First Minister for taking to social media to argue for Scotland’s inclusion, others highlighted that it was not necessary to include both Edinburgh and London as the two cities share a timezone, with fans from both sides of the border able to watch the draw at 5pm.

@emerald_229 tweeted: “We’re in the same time zone as London. A lot of countries competing in the World Cup aren’t on the map.”

A closer look at the map shows that Edinburgh was not alone in being omitted.

Cities representing other participating nations such as Berlin, Madrid, Seoul and Rome also didn’t make the cut, presumably due to the fact that they also share timezones with other cities represented on the map.

@boycey1988 added: “State ah this man! I’m sure the Norwegian PM is sitting raging on Twitter because Oslo hasn’t been squeezed into the timezone map! This is utterly pathetic.”

Meanwhile, and despite the Russian and United Arab Emirates national sides having no involvement in next year’s World Cup, Moscow and Abu Dhabi, were visible on the graphic, further adding credence to the timezone claim by FIFA.

As for the draw, Scotland were placed in a formidable-looking Group D alongside England, Argentina and Japan.

Next year’s tournament kicks off on 7 June with the first match to be played at the Parc des Princes in Paris between hosts France and Korea Republic.

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841759.1544445980!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841759.1544445980!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ms Sturgeon posted the tweet ahead of Saturday's FIFA Women's World Cup draw.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ms Sturgeon posted the tweet ahead of Saturday's FIFA Women's World Cup draw.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841759.1544445980!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841760.1544445981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841760.1544445981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A number of capital cities from other participating nations also didn't make the cut on the timezone graphic.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A number of capital cities from other participating nations also didn't make the cut on the timezone graphic.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841760.1544445981!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/brexit-uk-can-revoke-article-50-unilaterally-eu-judges-rule-1-4841642","id":"1.4841642","articleHeadline": "Brexit: UK can revoke Article 50 unilaterally, EU judges rule","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544432141000 ,"articleLead": "

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the UK can unilaterally stop Brexit by revoking its Article 50 notification.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841641.1544431729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg"} ,"articleBody": "

Judges in Luxembourg decided that the UK can stay in the EU \"under terms that are unchanged\" if it decides to change its mind on Brexit \"through a democratic process\".

It comes on the eve of a crucial vote in the House of Commons on Theresa May's Brexit deal. Scottish politicians who brought the case said \"a bright light has switched on above an 'EXIT' sign\" that meant a second EU referendum was \"closer than ever before\".

Issuing its judgement, the EU’s top court said that “when a member state has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, as the UK has done, that member state is free to revoke unilaterally that notification.”

READ MORE: Brexit: Downing Street rejects legal opinion on Article 50

Downing Street has said it will not revoke Article 50 under any circumstances. Judges at the ECJ went further than a legal opinion issued by a top law officer at the court last week, in confirming the UK can retain its existing membership terms if it revokes Article 50 before the official Brexit day of 29 March, 2019.

The ruling was welcomed by the cross-party group behind the case, which began the action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, supported by campaigners at the Good Law Project. Andy Wightman, the Green MSP who was the lead petitioner, said judges in Luxembourg had been \"clear and unambiguous\" in backing their claim.

The Scottish Government's Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell also welcomed the \"hugely important decision\".

“People in Scotland overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU and that continues to be the best option for Scotland and the UK as a whole,\" Mr Russell said.

“This judgment exposes as false the idea that the only choice is between bad deal negotiated by the UK Government or the disaster of no deal.

“We now know, thanks to the efforts of Scotland’s parliamentarians, that remaining in the EU is still on the table.”

SNP MP Joanna Cherry said she was “delighted that we now know definitively that there is an option to stay in the EU”.

Ms Cherry said: “The UK government has ignored Scotland’s vote to remain and all compromises suggested by the Scottish Government.

“They also fought us every inch of the way in this case, so it’s a particularly sweet irony that Scottish parliamentarians and the Scottish courts have provided this lifeline to the UK parliament at this moment of crisis.”

SNP MP Alyn Smith described the ruling as “dynamite.”

\"Bringing the case was a risk but it has worked better than we could have hoped for,” Mr Smith said.

\"The timing is sublime. As colleagues in the House of Commons consider Mrs May’s disastrous deal we now have a roadmap out of this Brexit shambles.

“A bright light has switched on above an 'EXIT' sign.”

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said the ruling meant the UK was \"now closer than ever before\" to a new referendum on EU membership.

\"For the sake of people's livelihoods, the Prime Minister must end the uncertainty and rule out a no-deal,\" Mr Brake said.


\"It is clear any Brexit will make people poorer and reduce the UK's standing in the world. MPs should not only vote down Theresa May's deal, but back a People's Vote with the option to remain in the EU.\"

READ MORE: UK can cancel Brexit, according to top law officer


Labour MEP Catherine Stihler said the ruling \"paves the way for the disastrous Brexit process to be brought to a halt\".

Ms Stihler said: “When MPs vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, they now know they can ultimately choose to stop Brexit and keep the best deal we currently have as a full member of the EU.

“I am increasingly confident that is what will happen if MPs agree to a People’s Vote, which is what the country now urgently needs.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "paris.gourtsoyannis@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Paris Gourtsoyannis"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841641.1544431729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841641.1544431729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841641.1544431729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5796987730001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/we-proved-brexit-can-be-stopped-public-must-now-be-given-the-choice-catherine-stihler-1-4841994","id":"1.4841994","articleHeadline": "We proved Brexit can be stopped, public must now be given the choice – Catherine Stihler","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544458675000 ,"articleLead": "

Brexit is not inevitable and the UK should now grasp the opportunity to remain within the EU, writes Catherine Stihler MEP, one of six Scottish parliamentarians who won a ruling from the European Court of Justice that the UK was legally able to stop the process of leaving without any change in its current membership conditions.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841993.1544458673!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A protester dressed as a caricature of Theresa May hands out 'May's Brexit Fudge' (Picture: Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

What an utter shambles. Just one day before the most momentous vote in modern times, Theresa May cancelled it in a futile attempt to renegotiate with the EU.

She is a Prime Minister in office but not in power, and the question now is whether she will still be Tory leader when MPs do finally get to vote on the Brexit deal?

We live in chaotic times, led by the most incompetent Government in living memory. Yesterday’s delay was a sign of weakness because the vote will still have to happen eventually. But it’s worth remembering that, originally, the UK Government desperately wanted to bypass parliament.

It was a legal challenge by Gina Miller that forced Theresa May to accept that her final deal must be put before both Houses of Parliament. It’s extraordinary that it took a court case to secure this. Left to her own devices, rather than returning to Brussels with her tail between her legs, the Prime Minister would right now be railroading the UK into a bad deal that is the worst-of-all-worlds – outside the EU, yet transformed into a long-term rule taker with no say.

I pay tribute to Gina Miller for fighting to uphold the democratic rights of our parliament, and I hope MPs reject the Prime Minister’s deal when they do finally get the chance.

But, as if there wasn’t already enough drama this week, I’ve been involved in another Brexit legal battle which reached its dramatic climax yesterday at the European Court of Justice.

Along with five other Scottish parliamentarians – my Labour colleague David Martin; the SNP’s Joanna Cherry and Alyn Smith; and the Greens’ Andy Wightman and Ross Greer – we asked if Westminster could unilaterally stop the Article 50 process.

READ MORE: Brexit: Nicola Sturgeon says vote delay is ‘pathetic cowardice’

It is, after all, the first time it has been used by a member state of the EU. The result? Yes, it can.

Theresa May launched the Article 50 process on March 29, 2017, which started the two-year ticking clock. She did so without any knowledge of what the Brexit deal would look like. There were no negotiations with EU member states and no agreement within her Cabinet.

But while the Tory Government gave the impression that the decision was final, others – including the author of the Article 50 notice Lord Kerr – argued otherwise.

Last week, in a landmark opinion, the European Court of Justice’s Advocate General said the UK should be able to unilaterally cancel its withdrawal from the EU. Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona said “the dispute is genuine, the question is not merely academic, nor premature or superfluous, but has obvious practical importance and is essential in order to resolve the dispute”. He proposed that the court should declare that Article 50 “allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU”.

Yesterday, in a fast turn-around, the court agreed with him. It ruled “the United Kingdom is free to revoke unilaterally the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU” and would therefore remain in the EU “under terms that are unchanged” – ie, it would keep the euro opt-out.

This resounding victory means the UK can stop the ticking clock of Brexit before it is too late. And the timing of this announcement is perfect. MPs know they now have a choice.

READ MORE: Bianca Jagger warns of Brexit threat to human rights

Yes, they can eventually back the Prime Minister’s flawed deal and take us out of the EU, jeopardising the very future of the United Kingdom in the process.

Or they can reject it and assert the authority and sovereignty of the House of Commons, paving the way for Britain to remain in the EU.

The suggestion put forward by both Tory backbenchers and Labour frontbenchers that a ‘better’ Brexit deal can be secured is nonsense.

It has been a painful effort to get to a point where there is an agreement that member states will accept, and – as the EU made clear yesterday – there is no more room for manoeuvre. The only realistic alternative that still involves leaving the EU is a Norway-style agreement.

That would be far from perfect, but it is the least-worst option for our economy, and would allow for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the European Single Market.

However, the best option we can choose is to have a People’s Vote with the option of remaining in the EU on the same terms we currently enjoy. If – as I hope and expect – the British people subsequently opt to stop Brexit, we now know this is legally possible.

Failing to stop Brexit means the poorest in society will suffer, with thousands of job losses and an erosion of workers’ rights. For the sake of the workers of this country, and the generations to come, I have never been prepared to sit back and accept that Brexit is inevitable.

Over 20 years, I have witnessed the EU expand and reform to bring nations closer together in the interests of co-operation and peace. I am incredibly proud to have been involved with what is the most importance peace process the world has ever known.

But, whatever happens, I am leaving the European Parliament at the end of January. I had always planned on leaving in 2019 to take on a new challenge, and I’m incredibly excited to have been offered an amazing new opportunity with Open Knowledge International, where I will start as chief executive officer in February.

I hope I have been a relatable role model for young women during my two decades in frontline politics, and have proved that as a young woman you can hold elected office and have a family. I hope, in the years ahead, that more young women from across Europe become MEPs and join the European Parliament which has delivered so much for half-a-billion European citizens.

And I hope, following a People’s Vote, that Britain will reverse the reckless plan to walk away from this unique union of nations. If MPs give us the chance to choose the best deal – the one we currently have – then we can give the next generation the same opportunities that we all enjoy today: to travel, explore, work in, live in, and fall in love with the countries of the European Union.

Catherine Stihler is a Labour party MEP for Scotland

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Catherine Stihler"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841993.1544458673!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841993.1544458673!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A protester dressed as a caricature of Theresa May hands out 'May's Brexit Fudge' (Picture: Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A protester dressed as a caricature of Theresa May hands out 'May's Brexit Fudge' (Picture: Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841993.1544458673!/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/what-conservative-brexiteers-want-from-theresa-may-steve-baker-mp-1-4841931","id":"1.4841931","articleHeadline": "What Conservative Brexiteers want from Theresa May – Steve Baker MP","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544454328000 ,"articleLead": "

Theresa May must now return to Brussels to renogotiate the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, writes Conservative MP Steve Baker, a key member of the Eurosceptic European Research Group of Conservative MPs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841930.1544454324!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Conservative MP Steve Baker speaks to the media in Westminster (Picture: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

The postponement of the Commons’ vote is essentially a defeat of the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.

The terms of the Withdrawal Agreement were so bad that they didn’t dare put it to Parliament for a vote. This isn’t the mark of a stable government or a strong plan.

READ MORE: Brexit: Nicola Sturgeon says vote delay is ‘pathetic cowardice’

The Prime Minister should now go back to Brussels and demand a better deal:

1, get rid of the dreaded backstop or at least seek a right to leave the backstop unilaterally so that our UK Parliament is truly sovereign;

2, reform the political declaration so that it commits us to a free-trade agreement, rather than to “build and improve on the single customs territory”;

3, keep hold of our £39 billion and use it to negotiate a Canada-style trade deal with the EU – something they’ve offered us already

4, ensure there is no role for the European Court in our affairs.

Parliament should have been allowed to voice its concerns about the proposed Withdrawal Agreement.

Without a clear rejection of the terms by MPs, the Prime Minister has kicked the can down the road and the EU is very unlikely to re-negotiate.

READ MORE: Brexit: Theresa May ‘to delay Commons vote on deal’

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Steve Baker"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841930.1544454324!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841930.1544454324!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Conservative MP Steve Baker speaks to the media in Westminster (Picture: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Conservative MP Steve Baker speaks to the media in Westminster (Picture: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841930.1544454324!/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/lesley-riddoch-norway-plus-is-not-an-option-for-the-uk-s-brexit-1-4841537","id":"1.4841537","articleHeadline": "Lesley Riddoch: Norway Plus is not an option for the UK’s Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544438142000 ,"articleLead": "

Amber Rudd and her colleagues are deluding themselves with their Brexit plan B, writes Lesley Riddoch

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841571.1544428298!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amber Rudd supports a 'Norway-plus' approach. Pic: Jack Taylor/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Scots stand today, surveying the collapse of British governance, like folk on lifeboats watching the mighty Titanic start to slip beneath the waves.

Most of us do not vote Conservative and never will. Most of us voted to Remain in the EU in 2016. And now most of us would opt for independence in the EU if a self-harming Brexit goes ahead. And no matter which withdrawal deal is advocated by desperate members of both main political parties south of the Border, each one is more damaging than simply staying in the EU.

That includes Amber Rudd’s crazy, last gasp advocacy of “Norway-plus” as a Brexit option, if or really when Theresa May’s dead duck is finally allowed to waddle off the stage.

Of course, on the face of it, Norway-plus looks inviting.

The UK was one of the founding members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1960. Britain left to join the EEC in 1973, so EFTA membership could be portrayed as a return to the fold we should never have left. Rejoining EFTA would let the UK remain inside the European single market by also gaining eligibility to join the European Economic Area (EEA) and that would guarantee genuinely frictionless trade.

Britain would leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, the common agricultural and fisheries policies and be free of the drive towards “ever closer union” from the end of 2020. And the “plus” bit – remaining in a temporary customs union – would allow goods to join services enjoying business as (almost) normal instead of the impending chaos of a no-deal Brexit.

But the price is high, especially for a party which consciously decided to follow the irresponsible and malicious path of blaming Brussels, EU nationals and immigrants for the Dickensian levels of poverty, inequality, starvation, collapse of public services and general hopelessness created by their own policies in Britain. There is therefore no way the Tories can sell a Norway-plus deal which accepts freedom of movement and “rule-taking” from Brussels while paying 75-85 per cent of full membership fees to feverishly Brexit-ready English voters.

Of course, there’s another tiny problem with the Norway-plus option.

Norway will block it.

Last week, Heidi Nordby Lunde, Conservative MP and president of Norway’s European Movement, kicked British membership of the EFTA roundly into touch, telling Channel 4: “I’m sceptic to letting the UK into the EFTA family because it’s kind of like having an abusive partner spiking the drinks and inviting them to the Christmas party.”

When asked if she felt that the potential of Britain joining the EFTA would upset the balance in that group, she added: “I think you would mess it all up for us, the way you have messed it up for yourselves.”

This kind of reality check has so far been completely missing from Britain’s pie-in-the-sky Brexit debate and is all the more significant because Norwegians are usually the world’s most diplomatic people – the product of compromise and consensus that comes from almost a century using PR in elections.

But Lunde summed up Britain’s Norway-plus problems succinctly: “The Norway deal has four issues that I don’t think UK politicians want. First of all, we accept migration internally in the EU, we also accept rulings by the European Court of Justice, we accept the rules and regulations that we get from the EU. Also, being in the EFTA bloc, we can’t make our own free trade agreements without having Liechtenstein and Iceland with us.”

Interestingly, none of these obstacles for “red line” Britain would create an insuperable barrier to an independent Scotland which wanted to pursue the EFTA/EEA route if EFTA members and Scots decided that was preferable to full EU membership.

But after this one short interview on Friday, Norway-plus stood roundly demolished as an option for Britain. Yet, unbelievably, the very next day, flying in the face of all that had just been said, Rudd became the first Cabinet minister to publicly back the Norway-plus model if May’s Brexit deal is defeated in the Commons tomorrow.

Even more incredibly, Rudd’s desperate advocacy of this non-viable Norway deal propelled the Work and Pensions Secretary back up the pollsters’ rankings in the race to become the next Tory leader. Mind you, since the attempt to keep legal advice from MPs also shunted Attorney General Geoffrey Cox into the running, why should anyone be surprised? Despite defeat in the Commons, Tory MPs and London-based political commentators were apparently moved and impressed by the gravelly, authoritative quality of his voice. These are the depths to which “leadership” in British politics has sunk.

In short, a proposal that was comprehensively trashed only 24 hours earlier by a Norwegian Conservative politician has earned the deluded or deliberately obfuscating Rudd an even greater chance of taking over when May has gone.

If folk believe this bourach can still be described as governance, they must be part of the minority – according to weekend surveys of Scottish public opinion – that still prefers Brexit in the UK to Scottish independence in Europe.

You don’t have to be a card-carrying Christian for a verse of Matthew to come to mind: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them.”

Well, now all Scots know how the Conservative Party and the British Government choose to operate. They are always focused on the short term, always seeking one-off deals instead of long-term relationships, always feathering their own nests – recent European investments by leading Brexiteers haven’t escaped public attention – and always suspicious or careless of neighbours’ interests. It’ll be a very long time before the Irish forget Priti Patel’s appalling suggestion that the prospect of food shortages should be used to scare Irish people into submission over the backstop.

Of course, Scots are not immune from Brexit or its ill effects.

But looked at from the perspective of those boarding the lifeboat north of the Border today, there’s only one question left as Britain embarks on its final act of jaw-dropping self-harm.

Must we really go there too?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841571.1544428298!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841571.1544428298!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Amber Rudd supports a 'Norway-plus' approach. Pic: Jack Taylor/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amber Rudd supports a 'Norway-plus' approach. Pic: Jack Taylor/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841571.1544428298!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5796987730001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brian-monteith-voting-down-may-s-brexit-plan-is-about-more-than-the-backstop-1-4841539","id":"1.4841539","articleHeadline": "Brian Monteith: Voting down May’s Brexit plan is about more than the backstop","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544436900000 ,"articleLead": "

There is far more to worry about in the Prime Minister’s plans than just Northern Ireland, writes Brian Monteith

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841538.1544428934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tata steel works . Pic: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images."} ,"articleBody": "

It does look likely that the vote on the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement will go ahead tomorrow and will be heavily defeated.

There is a large exercise in expectation management emanating from Downing Street, with the possible scale of a defeat being talked up so that if it happens to be less than a hundred it can then be portrayed as not as bad as it might have been and this will justify Theresa May carrying on to try and get some concessions from the EU.

This behaviour should not be acceptable to anyone who supports democracy. The Withdrawal Agreement is completely and utterly owned by Theresa May. She has told everyone it is her deal or no deal – or even no Brexit. She has sought to rely on the votes of Labour MPs – providing briefings for key Labour MPs ahead of those from her own party. Accordingly the deal has undergone close detailed scrutiny and been found wanting. Some of the legal advice that the Government then chose to ignore has exposed the deal’s real weaknesses – which, crucially, are far more than the Irish Protocol known as the backstop.

Of real concern must also be the failure of Theresa May’s government to show that it has made a serious effort to prepare for No Deal. Those two counts – losing a vote over her flagship policy and leaving the country ill-prepared to face an economic risk – are capital offences that would normally warrant removal from office. It should be remembered that in 1940 the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain actually won a vote of confidence following the failure of the Norwegian campaign yet he knew he no longer had moral or political authority and resigned with dignity. Theresa May must also resign to maintain any degree of political respect, and if she does not she should be subject to a vote of confidence within her parliamentary party, for that is the only way to replace her with someone who can get down to the task of preparing the country for leaving without a deal while trying to get the EU to compromise.

A vote of no confidence put forward by Labour would most likely fail, as the DUP would not wish to bring down the governing party in favour of Jeremy Corbyn – and recalcitrant Tory MPs would also fall into line rather than be responsible for the fall of the government and the calling of an early general election. So it must be down to backbenchers to submit their letters to trigger the Conservative Party’s own procedures. At that point I would expect the likes of Jeremy Hunt and Savid Javid to tell the Prime Minister it was time to step aside or face humiliation from her own colleagues.

There is much talk for May being given one last chance in Brussels this week and that if she can get a time limit on the Irish Protocol or other such fix that allows the UK to claim a minor victory then her deal could then pass. This would be a foolish and dangerous approach, for even without the backstop the deal is not Brexit. It would still tie the UK into many Single Market rules overseen by the European Courts of Justice and throw away £39 billion for nothing in return. Countries like South Korea and Canada make no contribution to access the EU’s markets and the House of Lords found there was no obligation to pay the EU £39bn.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to meet, Simon Boyd, the Scottish CEO of Reid Steel. Simon, who served his apprenticeship in a Clyde shipyard, explained to me how the company he runs, which exports to some 140 countries around the world, was originally established in France in 1919 – but is now located in Dorset. Yet despite this pedigree and the existence of the so-called Single Market he finds it easier to export steel to Mongolia than he does to France. He gave me two examples of why; the first was when his company had a UK Government contract to build storage facilities at Calais, and the second was for a £1.5M aircraft hangar in Toulouse – but Reid Steel could not do either because it is not a French company. In France only French companies can buy the insurances needed to work in their country. Those insurances also require that all materials have been approved by the French testing authorities, making it more difficult for UK manufactured goods.

Far from creating a level playing field like the single market Scotland enjoys across the whole of the United Kingdom, the EU has rigged the game; rampant protectionism is the only winner – and this state of affairs is what the Withdrawal Agreement seeks to maintain.

Boyd also explained to me how the EU’s Eurocodes system for design uniformity ensures each different country, and in some cases different regions, have their own local ‘annexes’ or conditions. Often they are in native languages and are simply a means to tie up competition in a tangle of prohibitive and costly red tape. Businesses have to purchase Eurocodes from the British Standards Institute, which is a significant overhead and can be a barrier to entry for many SMEs. To purchase just one part of the Eurocodes for Reid Steel’s type of work costs circa £2,000, and that is for just one of the 10 parts of the codes that relate to their industry. For an SME like Reid Steel these overheads are burdensome, if not completely unaffordable.

As a further example Boyd told me of how Reid Steel designed and helped build 150 structures in the Caribbean, all designed to British Standards (BS). Every single one stood up to the category five hurricanes last year. Boyd doubted Reid Steel would have been able to win that work using Eurocodes as the use of Eurocodes internationally is rare.

The UK needs to be free from the EU’s bureaucratic restraints of the Single Market, Customs Union and the jurisdiction of the ECJ if companies like Reid Steel are to maintain their global reach and grow. The Withdrawal Agreement is a bad deal – with or without the Backstop – and on Tuesday MPs need to take the brave pills and defeat it to ensure a real Brexit can be delivered by setting up the chance for a better deal.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841538.1544428934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841538.1544428934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tata steel works . Pic: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tata steel works . Pic: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841538.1544428934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5796987730001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/culture-of-bullying-claim-investigated-by-royal-bank-of-scotland-1-4841596","id":"1.4841596","articleHeadline": "‘Culture of bullying’ claim investigated by Royal Bank of Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544434187000 ,"articleLead": "

Royal Bank of Scotland has launched an investigation into bullying following claims from a whistleblower that ­harassment is rife at the state-backed lender.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841595.1544434183!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ross McEwan, Chief Executive of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group"} ,"articleBody": "

Staff are subjected to persistent intimidation, threats and humiliation amid a “culture of bullying”, according to private emails seen by the Press Association.

The allegations are linked to the troubled Amethyst project, which has become the focus of a wide-ranging investigation by RBS, and involve two senior managers. It is claimed that workers on the project faced attacks based on personal intimidation and others in which they were forced to change the outcomes of cases to manipulate figures sent to the Financial Conduct Authority.

One source at the bank with direct knowledge of the matter said: “There is a persistent and normally deliberate misuse of power or position to intimidate, humiliate or undermine.

“It is all mentally, intimidation, manipulating you, by saying if you don’t do this, you will lose your job. Do it our way, even if it is wrong, as we are in charge, and do as you are told.

“Nothing has yet been done about the individuals. This is then interlinked with the overall bullying culture within the project and this is to do within the work itself.”

The whistleblower, who has reported the abuse to chief executive Ross McEwan and his successor in the role, Alison Rose, has also cast doubt on the inquiry being carried out by RBS, which he claimed is not independent.

The Amethyst project was set up to carry out complex investment reviews of ISAs, funds, bonds, pensions and tax planning products.

“Upper management bullied people into making decisions that they know are incorrect. If you don’t do exactly as told, even when you know it is wrong, they will just get rid of you, and have done so,” the source added.

The whistleblower has also offered to write a report into the project’s overall failings, but has been rebuffed by RBS.

An RBS spokesman said: “RBS takes whistleblowing very seriously. The bank was made aware of a series of allegations in July, of which this is one, and is investigating them thoroughly. No conclusions have been reached at this stage but the appropriate action will be taken if any of the allegations are substantiated.”

The damning revelations come after PA revealed the bank is investigating allegations of cronyism after a whistleblower claimed the lender appointed a man to a top role on the basis that he is the friend of a senior staff member.

RBS was also exposed for paying contractors on the project £400 a day to stuff envelopes, more typically a minimum wage-level role.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ravender Sembhy"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841595.1544434183!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841595.1544434183!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ross McEwan, Chief Executive of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ross McEwan, Chief Executive of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841595.1544434183!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5806067705001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/walkers-launching-crisp-packet-recycling-in-move-to-cut-waste-1-4841600","id":"1.4841600","articleHeadline": "Walkers launching crisp packet recycling in move to cut waste","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544421600000 ,"articleLead": "

Walkers has won the backing of Environment Secretary Michael Gove as it launches a crisp packet recycling scheme in response to a public campaign against plastic waste.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841599.1544391609!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Walkers has won the backing of Environment Secretary Michael Gove as it launches a recycling scheme in response to a public campaign against plastic waste. Picture: Andrew Parsons/Parsons Media/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Campaigners had called on consumers to post the non-recyclable crisp bags back to the manufacturer and celebrate their environmentally-conscious act on social media.

Now Walkers is launching a free scheme, which it describes as a nationwide first, to recycle the packets of any crisp brand in response to the backlash.

Snackers will be asked to send their bags to recycling firm TerraCycle, which will shred them into plastic pellets to be used in everyday items, like outdoor furniture and trays.

Mr Gove said: “As the custodians of our planet, we must take action now to protect our oceans and wildlife from single-use plastic pollution.

“Walkers are setting a fine example with this new scheme, and I want to see other companies step-up, follow suit and reduce their environmental impact.”

As the campaign gained traction, Royal Mail had to ask customers not to post anything that is not correctly packaged after the online petition against Walkers’ plastic waste soared past 300,000. Consumers were taking selfies of themselves posting empty crisp packets to Walkers and putting them online with the hashtag #PacketInWalkers.

In the first instance, Walkers is asking customers to collect a batch of packets and drop them off at collection points manned by volunteers – but with only 191 participating collection points around the UK this could be a long journey.

If you live near the Welsh border in Hay-on-Wye you would need to travel more than 40 miles by car to get to the closest drop-off location near Caerphilly. A courier can be arranged for free, however.

Despite a claim on Walkers’ website that 400 packets must be collected for this service, a spokeswoman insisted a courier would be dispatched to collect even one empty crisp bag offered for recycling.

Emily Stevenson, a 21-year-old campaigner against crisp plastic waste, celebrated Walkers’ move as a “step in the right direction”.

“We all need to keep working together with Walkers to find better solutions because this is a short-term fix and we do need to keep working towards getting risk of plastic packaging altogether,” she said.

“To save the planet people need to be thinking that we are going to have to be making sacrifices – or stop eating crisps.”

PepsiCo, which owns Walkers, has pledged to make all its packaging completely recyclable, biodegradable or compostable by 2025.

Ian Ellington, PepsiCo UK’s general manager, said: “This is the first crisp packet recycling scheme in the UK and it will only work if everyone gets collecting and sending in.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841599.1544391609!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841599.1544391609!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Walkers has won the backing of Environment Secretary Michael Gove as it launches a recycling scheme in response to a public campaign against plastic waste. Picture: Andrew Parsons/Parsons Media/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Walkers has won the backing of Environment Secretary Michael Gove as it launches a recycling scheme in response to a public campaign against plastic waste. Picture: Andrew Parsons/Parsons Media/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841599.1544391609!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brexit-how-i-decided-how-to-vote-on-brexit-christine-jardine-mp-1-4841119","id":"1.4841119","articleHeadline": "Brexit: How I decided how to vote on Brexit – Christine Jardine MP","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544421600000 ,"articleLead": "

If all goes to plan, and the Prime Minister does not have another rush of blood to the head, I shall be rising to my feet this evening in the House of Commons to explain how I shall be voting on the EU withdrawal deal, and why, writes Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841118.1544205559!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The House of Commons' vote on Brexit could be a defining moment in British history (Picture: PRU/AFP/Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

I think that, in this most momentous decision for my generation, it is also appropriate to explain it here.

By that I do not mean the party position or the politics of it, but how, as MP for Edinburgh West, I have made my decision.

The debate over our future relationship with the European Union has dominated my elected career – it was the Prime Minister’s decision to go to the country over Brexit which led to my election.

In fact, I was elected on a platform of keeping Scotland in the UK, the UK at the heart of Europe and calling for the public to have the final say on whatever deal was negotiated.

That position has not changed.

But that does not mean that I have not agonised over how best to be true to that and to reflect the views of those I represent. What do my constituents, or at least the majority of them, feel I should do?

The atmosphere at Westminster has at times been what is best described as ‘febrile’. Much more experienced colleagues tell me they have known nothing like it.

Since the start of the week, however, and three straight defeats for the Government, it’s probably been much more about mutual, cross-party team spirit and comparing notes.

Team spirit may seem like an odd phrase to use about a place much more used to tribalism. But that is exactly what has been happening.

I’ve had snatched conversations with colleagues from other parties, sharing our confidence that we might still be able to pause this economic disaster long enough to give the people the chance to have their say. A final say. A people’s vote.

READ MORE: Hard Brexit makes these people fear for their lives – Christine Jardine

But, and I shall come back to this later, I have also spent hours reading the hundreds of emails, letters and postcards that I’ve been sent by constituents eager for me to know their views.

I appreciate that many of you will be worried that a referendum on the deal could create yet more divisiveness. But, at this point, with parliament in gridlock and no majority for any deal, going back to the people might just be the best option. By far.

Our five days of debate in the Commons have, so far, been long, tiring and, at times surprising. There is no cohesion on the Government benches.

A Tory rising to their feet is as likely to be criticising their own party for either falling short on delivering Brexit or for ignoring the national interest as they are to be attacking the opposition. Even the Cabinet is unpredictable.

And for each of us individually, there is the thought that this is a decision we cannot afford to get wrong. The country cannot afford for us to get it wrong.

Which brings me back to the correspondence I have had from my constituents.

I take the privilege of representing the people of Edinburgh West more seriously than any role I have ever had, outside parenting.

And for me that has meant taking every opportunity to check that their views have not changed since the referendum on 23 June, 2016.

On that night, I left the count at Meadowbank with the figures ringing in my ears. More than 70 per cent of the voters in Edinburgh wanted to stay in the European Union. The support in Edinburgh West was among the highest in the country.

READ MORE: Refugees like young Alan Kurdi are still dying in the Med – Christine Jardine

Now, 19 months later, I have little reason to doubt the solidarity of that opinion.

Out canvassing, I have listened carefully to what both myself and my colleagues have been told on the doorsteps.

I have kept a careful log of what those who have written to me have had to say.

I also have my own reasons, of course, for thinking our national interest is not well served by the current proposals.

I do not think this, or any deal, can deliver the continued economic stability we have in the European Union. Our industries and businesses need an end to the uncertainty.

Even the Chancellor Philip Hammond said recently that we will not be as well off economically outside of the EU.

I have also argued consistently that the people should have the final say and that is now, I believe, even more pertinent.

The issue of Northern Ireland, the problems created for a still-fragile peace process and the fact that the Government seems content to let them drift away from the UK in this agreement has also been a factor.

And then there are my constituents. Their future and their views.

Of the several hundred who have taken the time to share their views with me, more than 80 per cent want me to vote against this deal.

That, if you believe in representative democracy, is a strong argument.

The people who elected me, to whom I will answer at the next election, do not like what this Government has presented as our future.

If all the other arguments were put aside that would still be enough to persuade me of what I should do.

So tomorrow night, I expect to go through the lobbies to vote down the proposals for our departure from the European Union.

I shall hold fast to my promise last year to the people of Edinburgh West and keep faith with all of those who are looking now to Westminster to sort this mess and then give them the final say.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Christine Jardine"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841118.1544205559!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841118.1544205559!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The House of Commons' vote on Brexit could be a defining moment in British history (Picture: PRU/AFP/Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The House of Commons' vote on Brexit could be a defining moment in British history (Picture: PRU/AFP/Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841118.1544205559!/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/scottish-downton-abbey-composer-had-to-become-english-to-do-his-job-on-tv-hit-1-4841610","id":"1.4841610","articleHeadline": "Scottish Downton Abbey composer had to ‘become English’ to do his job on TV hit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544421600000 ,"articleLead": "

The composer behind the Downton Abbey soundtrack has said he had to “become English” in order to craft the score that evokes a lost time.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841609.1544393245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The composer behind the Downton Abbey soundtrack has said he had to 'become English' in order to craft the score that evokes a lost time."} ,"articleBody": "

John Lunn, who is from Glasgow, has said the music accompanying the dramas of Downton resonates with audiences who are looking for a faded era.

The composer is set to showcase the soundtrack at a concert next year, held in the grounds of Highclere Castle, Hampshire, which served as the stately home in Downton.

He has agreed that the appeal of the show is tied to the wish for a lost epoch which the drama series conjured up.

Lunn said: “I did listen to music of the time, but music was so overwrought then. It’s not that I don’t like it, I do like Elgar and Vaughan Williams.

“It’s not really my job to invoke England, 1912. But there were times during the series where I was required to be ‘English’ musically.

“I think people do like to be brought back to that period. The concert I did in Paris, people were actually invited to come as if they were coming to an event in Downton Abbey.

“Although the music doesn’t sound like 1912 or 1920, they associate with it.”

Lunn said that this evocation was part of the appeal of the show to fans around the world.

That’s a sentiment shared by one of the show’s stars, Jim Carter, who plays the traditionalist butler Charles Carson and says the show offers a haven from modern life and politics. Carter, 70, said the class system is in the DNA of the British people and that Downton offers an illusory ideal.

In real life he favours the fall of the class system. He has benefited from social fluidity, which allowed him an education and a career that was chosen not enforced.

But the Yorkshire-born actor believes the appeal of Downton and his character is one of preserved traditions.

He said: “It harks back to a more ordered time. It’s a big part of the appeal. It’s safe, and it seems like a safe world.

“Everything is ordered, everything is in its place. In the chaos of the modern world I think that’s a nice haven. You you can never go back. We just have to cope with the chaos of modern living – too much information, too many mad people in charge. It’s a spooky world.”

Downton is set between 1912 and 1926, which encompasses the period of the First World War and the first Labour government but also shows a deferential working class and traditional social attitudes.

Carter will be part of the show’s special retrospective showcasing Lunn’s sountrack.

For his part, Lunn has also had his turn as a Downton actor. He helped out on the show when a cast member was required to play the piano for a scene, and on one occasion donned a wig and fake moustache in order to stealthily provide the piano work on screen.

He is delighted that his score has become so recognisable. “It’s an amazing feeling. It’s a really good tune but it becomes iconic because of the number of times it has been played, then it takes on a life of its own.”

The score will be revived on June 22, 2019, with tickets available from December 14 for a concert in the grounds of the stately home.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841609.1544393245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841609.1544393245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The composer behind the Downton Abbey soundtrack has said he had to 'become English' in order to craft the score that evokes a lost time.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The composer behind the Downton Abbey soundtrack has said he had to 'become English' in order to craft the score that evokes a lost time.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841609.1544393245!/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/devastated-brother-of-grace-millane-pays-tribute-after-backpacker-s-body-found-1-4841532","id":"1.4841532","articleHeadline": "Devastated brother of Grace Millane pays tribute after backpacker’s body found","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544373739000 ,"articleLead": "

The brother of British backpacker Grace Millane has paid tribute after police found what they believe to be her body near a beauty spot on the outskirts of Auckland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841531.1544373735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Grace Millane. Picture: PA WIRE"} ,"articleBody": "

Detective Inspector Scott Beard, of Auckland City Police, said formal identification was yet to take place, although “based on the evidence we have gathered over the past few days we expect that this is Grace”.

A 26-year-old man has been charged with the murder of the 22-year-old and is due to appear at Auckland District Court on Monday.

Declan Millane shared pictures on social media of him and his sister and added the lyrics of You Are My Sunshine.

Detectives said they had identified a “location of interest” after the investigation led them to a spot on Scenic Drive, a country road about 12 miles west of the city centre, on Saturday night.

Speaking at the scene on Sunday afternoon, Mr Beard said investigators had “located a body which we believe to be Grace” about 10m from the roadside.

“The formal identification process will now take place, however, based on the evidence we have gathered over the past few days, we expect that this is Grace,” he said.

“Obviously this brings the search for Grace to an end. It is an unbearable time for the Millane family and our hearts go out to them.”

A stretch of the road was closed on Sunday while forensics officers scoured the area.

Two large blue and white tents had been erected and investigators wearing white overalls were seen nearby.

Scenic Drive snakes through dense rainforest in the Waitakere Ranges, which lie to the west of Auckland.

The spot where police found the body is in the vicinity of the Waitakere Reservoir and dam, a beauty spot with hiking trails.

Mr Beard said investigators were analysing a hire car as part of the probe.

The red Toyota Corolla hatchback was hired from a central Auckland rental firm just before lunchtime on December 2, the day after Ms Millane was last seen alive.

Police have appealed for sightings of the car in the west Auckland area between 6.30am and 9.30am on Monday.

The last confirmed sighting of Ms Millane was at 9.41pm on December 1, the day before her birthday, at the CityLife Hotel in central Auckland, when she was seen with a “male companion”.

READ MORE - Hostile immigration policies threaten pilgrimage to Iona

Since arriving in New Zealand from Peru on November 20, she had been in near-daily contact with her family.

Police received a missing person report on Wednesday and began a major search and public campaign that saw dozens of calls made to a helpline.

Ms Millane’s father, David Millane, flew to Auckland and made a public appeal for help finding his daughter, who he described as “lovely, outgoing, fun-loving (and) family-orientated”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841531.1544373735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841531.1544373735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Grace Millane. Picture: PA WIRE","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Grace Millane. Picture: PA WIRE","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841531.1544373735!/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/david-mundell-i-would-not-serve-in-boris-johnson-s-cabinet-1-4841484","id":"1.4841484","articleHeadline": "David Mundell: I would not serve in Boris Johnson’s cabinet","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544362763000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish Secretary David Mundell has revealed he would not be in Boris Johnson’s cabinet if the former foreign secretary became prime minister.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841483.1544362759!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Mundell. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Mr Mundell, who has served under both David Cameron and Theresa May, said his disagreements with the outspoken former London mayor would make it “extremely difficult” for him to stay on as Scottish Secretary.

He spoke out as Mr Johnson refused to rule out challenging Theresa May for the Tory leadership, as he called for her Brexit deal to be renegotiated.

The Brexiteer told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “It’s a relatively simple job to do.

“We can have a withdrawal agreement that does not contain the backstop.

“We can do much, much better than this.”

READ MORE - Scottish farmer sued for £2 million after he ‘spoiled huge crop of Christmas trees’

But Mr Mundell, who campaigned for Remain in the run up to the 2016 referendum, hit back and said: “A lot of people have the fanciful idea that Santa is going to turn up and put a new deal in their stocking.

“That’s not going to happen.”

The Scottish Conservative MP told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland that it had “always been a condition of the withdrawal agreement” that it would contain a backstop deal for Northern Ireland, to prevent the return to a hard border there.

And he insisted Mr Johnson’s suggestion that this could be removed from the deal was “simply not possible”.

Mr Mundell added: “Mr Johnson knows that, he was in the cabinet till relatively recently.

“I don’t understand how he has come to that conclusion.”

Asked if he would remain in the cabinet if he replaced Mrs May in Number 10, the Scottish Secretary stated: “Given my views about Mr Johnson which are well known that would be extremely difficult.

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“Mr Johnson and I don’t agree on a whole range of issues and I don’t see myself being able to serve in that way.”

While both Mr Mundell and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson had both threatened to quit their posts if the PM’s Brexit deal jeopardised the “integrity of the UK”, the MP insisted the future of the union would be more at risk if the UK was to leave the European Union without a deal being in place.

He stated: “The threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom, which I regard as the principle issue......it is most likely to be threatened by the crash, by the uncertainty, by the division, by the chaos which provides the backdrop nationalists want to move forward with their independence referendum here.”

And he said: “I have had to make a judgment on what is in the backstop, which is a temporary measure which may never come into force, and what risk that causes to the integrity of the United Kingdom, compared to crashing out of the EU in less than four months time, which I regard as the most significant threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841483.1544362759!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841483.1544362759!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Mundell. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Mundell. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841483.1544362759!/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/mum-s-fury-after-son-s-teeth-knocked-out-after-hammer-accident-at-school-1-4841461","id":"1.4841461","articleHeadline": "Mum’s fury after son’s teeth knocked out after hammer accident at school","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544351631000 ,"articleLead": "

A mum is fuming after her six-year-old son’s teeth were knocked out - when he was hit in the face with a HAMMER at school.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841459.1544351625!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A six-year-old boy had his front teeth smashed out with a hammer as pupils took part in a lesson designed to give young children hands-on learning experiences of the great outdoors. Picture: SWNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Little Riley Meredith-Morgan lost his two upper front teeth when the tool was thrown during an outdoor school forest lesson.

The youngster is unable to eat or drink without using a straw - and will be toothless for Christmas as he waits to see if the adult teeth will grow back.

A dental x-ray revealed a third set of teeth above the gum, but it could take up to SIX YEARS for these to grow through.

Mum Susan, 29, is “disgusted” after an external health and safety review investigated the incident and concluded it was an “accident”.

Susan, a mum-of-three, claims she has not even had an apology from Riley’s school, Severnbanks Primary in Lydney, Glos., following the incident on November 22.

Susan was shocked when she saw Riley after getting a message to say he had been injured during forest school, which teaches children about natural woodland.

She said: “When I got to the school he was still in shock. My six-year-old boy had been hit in the mouth with a hammer and had his front teeth knocked out.

“It broke my heart to see him. He had to have time off school because of the severe discomfort and and he couldn’t eat or drink without a straw.

“The injury itself is healing now but it’s not just the physical damage.

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“I had to fight with him to get him back to school and I feel sick to my stomach every second he is there.”

Susan is also mum to Riley’s twin brother Alfie and older sister Layla.

The exact circumstances of the accident are unclear, but Susan claims it happened after a group of six-year-old boys were given a safety talk.

Forest lessons, such as making campfires and learning practical woodland skills, are growing popular with schools.

But Susan, who lives in Lydney, says more needs to be done to make the lessons safer after Riley’s injuries.

She said: “They can’t seem to see any safeguarding issue here and that’s what bothers me.

“Something more needs to be done. I haven’t even had an apology from anyone involved. The lack of compassion is unreal, it’s diabolical.”

She says a dentist told her the hammer must have hit Riley in the face with some force to have knocked his teeth out.

The following day she was told the other child involved had been excluded for the rest of the day. The pupil then had to spend the following day in isolation.

Susan was assured there would be an investigation, and the school referred the incident to external health and safety consultants - during which nobody asked Riley what had happened.

And she was left angry to find out Riley’s injury was concluded as an “accident”, and that the school deemed they had taken “appropriate action”.

She said: “The punishment for the child is not my issue. Accidents do happen. I just want justice for my boy.

“I left it over a week to see what they came back with and to see if I would have a written apology, but nothing.

“They have left me with no choice but to let people know what happened.”

Susan says she does not want to take the “easy option” of removing her three children from the school, which is rated good by Ofsted.

She says she will carry on fighting until somebody is brought to book for the accident which could have left Riley needing false teeth at the age of six.

Rod Johnson, chairman of the governors at Severnbanks, said the health and safety of pupils has always been paramount at the school and will continue to be so.

He said in a statement: “The recent Ofsted report acknowledges that the school places pupils’ well being and safety at the heart of all it does.

“The incident referred to happened during an outdoor Forest School session where children may use a variety of tools.

“The headteacher delegated the responsibility to the deputy head to investigate this matter to ensure it was dealt with impartially, and so there could be no inference of bias or prejudice.

READ MORE - Grace Millane: Body of missing backpacker found in New Zealand

“The school has followed its normal policies and procedures. An investigation has been undertaken of the incident including risk assessments and interviews with all parties involved.

“When an incident like this occurs, the school refers the incident to external health and safety consultants.

“They have considered all the evidence and it is their view that this was an accident.

“As is standard for any accident such as this, the school has conducted a further review of its procedures and risk assessments.

“The school has taken action that it deems to be appropriate in the circumstances of this accident.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841459.1544351625!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841459.1544351625!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A six-year-old boy had his front teeth smashed out with a hammer as pupils took part in a lesson designed to give young children hands-on learning experiences of the great outdoors. Picture: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A six-year-old boy had his front teeth smashed out with a hammer as pupils took part in a lesson designed to give young children hands-on learning experiences of the great outdoors. Picture: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841459.1544351625!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841460.1544351627!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841460.1544351627!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841460.1544351627!/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/lifestyle/remembering-the-highland-land-raiders-who-defied-their-nazi-sympathising-boss-1-4841377","id":"1.4841377","articleHeadline": "Remembering the Highland land-raiders who defied their Nazi sympathising boss","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544350232000 ,"articleLead": "

They were the band of West Highland “land-raiders” who decided to defy their Nazi-sympathising landlord in the wake of the Second World War.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841375.1544350219!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sandy Macphee stakes out a claim to land in 1948. Picture: ANL/REX/Shutterstock"} ,"articleBody": "

The group of war veterans famously staked out 65 acres of arable land each and 10,000 acres of sheep-grazing land on the Knoydart estate to protest against its stewardship by the English aristocrat Lord Brocket.

Now locals in the remote peninsula’s main village are set to honour the efforts of the “Seven Men of Knoydart” by raising a glass of the first ever beer produced in the area.

A former chapel in Inverie, the UK’s largest settlement unconnected to the road network, has been converted into a microbrewery and released its first product – The Seven Men.

Knoydart boasted a population of around 1,000 until the end of the 18th century, but the impact of the Highland Clearances saw it slump to just 80.

A new law allowed servicemen returning from the Second World War to take land and use it as their own, but efforts to release land in Knoydart were resisted.

Led by a priest, Father Colin Macpherson, Sandy Macphee, Duncan McPhail, Henry MacAskill, Jack MacHardy, Archie MacDonald and William Quinn decided to take matters into their own hands in 1948.

Lord Brocket secured a court order to remove them and eventually won a bitter legal cattle. However, their actions are largely seen as paving the way for an eventual community buyout of the Knoydart estate in 1999 after decades of battles with absentee landlords.

Described as “a malty pale ale”, The Seven Men has gone on sale in the village shop and at events in the community hall – the main social hub for locals. Matthew and Samantha Humphrey, a couple who have spent three years working on the brewery, hope to turn it into a visitor attraction by operating a tap room for tours and tastings.

Matt Humphrey said: “We decided to call our first beer The Seven Men to keep alive the story of the Knoydart land-raiders and their relevance to the latest chapter in Knoydart’s history, when it was brought into community ownership.

“We moved here in 2002 when we bought the old St Agatha’s chapel and manse. We thought the chapel would be a brilliant location for a brewery at the time – this is the realisation of a dream.

“We bought some second-hand equipment from a microbrewery in Somerset, although it was actually built in Fort William, so it felt like it was coming home. We’ve produced about 400 bottles so far and have just got it into the shop in Inverie.

“We can’t sell it ourselves as we don’t have an off-licence yet. That’s the next step, but ultimately we would like to have a tap room so people could do a tour, buy a pint over the bar and take a few bottles away with them.”

Jackie Robertson, from the community hall committee, said: “We took delivery of a couple of cases last Saturday for a concert and sold out in the first half hour, having to send the owners back with a headtorch up the hill to get another case.

“We’re very proud of this homegrown product, crafted, bottled and sold here. It’s fitting to see a nod to the Seven Men with their first brew.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841375.1544350219!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841375.1544350219!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sandy Macphee stakes out a claim to land in 1948. Picture: ANL/REX/Shutterstock","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sandy Macphee stakes out a claim to land in 1948. Picture: ANL/REX/Shutterstock","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841375.1544350219!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841376.1544350224!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841376.1544350224!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The new ale","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new ale","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841376.1544350224!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841374.1544350228!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841374.1544350228!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Matthew and Samantha Humphrey","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Matthew and Samantha Humphrey","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841374.1544350228!/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/uk/grace-millane-body-of-missing-backpacker-found-in-new-zealand-1-4841452","id":"1.4841452","articleHeadline": "Grace Millane: Body of missing backpacker found in New Zealand","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544347841000 ,"articleLead": "

A body believed to be British backpacker Grace Millane has been found near a beauty spot on the outskirts of Auckland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841451.1544347836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Grace Millane, 22, as a body believed to be that of the British backpacker has been found near a beauty spot on the outskirts of Auckland. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Detective Inspector Scott Beard, of Auckland City Police, said formal identification was yet to take place, although “based on the evidence we have gathered over the past few days we expect that this is Grace”.

A 26-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Ms Millane, 22, and is due to appear at Auckland District Court on Monday.

Detectives said they had identified a “location of interest” after the investigation led them to a spot on Scenic Drive, a country road around 12 miles west of the city centre, on Saturday night.

Speaking at the scene on Sunday afternoon, Det Insp Beard said investigators had “located a body which we believe to be Grace” around 10m from the roadside.

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“The formal identification process will now take place, however based on the evidence we have gathered over the past few days we expect that this is Grace,” he said.

“Obviously this brings the search for Grace to an end. It is an unbearable time for the Millane family and our hearts go out to them.”

A stretch of the road was closed on Sunday afternoon while forensics officers scoured the area.

Two large blue and white tents had been erected and investigators wearing white overalls were seen nearby.

Scenic Drive snakes through dense rainforest in the Waitakere Ranges, which lie to the west of Auckland.

The spot where police found the body they believe to be the backpacker is in the vicinity of the Waitakere Reservoir and dam, a beauty spot with hiking trails.

Det Insp Beard revealed that investigators are analysing a hire car as part of the probe.

The red Toyota Corolla hatchback was hired from a central Auckland rental firm just before lunchtime on December 2, the day after Ms Millane was last seen alive.

Police have appealed for sightings of the car in the west Auckland area between 6.30am and 9.30am on Monday.

The last confirmed sighting of Ms Millane was at 9.41pm on December 1, the day before her birthday, at the Citylife Hotel in central Auckland, when she was seen with a “male companion”.

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Since arriving in New Zealand from Peru on November 20, she had been in near-daily contact with her family.

Police received a missing person report on Wednesday and commenced a major search and public campaign that saw dozens of calls made to a helpline.

Ms Millane’s father, David Millane, flew to Auckland and made a public appeal for help finding his daughter, who he described as a “lovely, outgoing, fun-loving (and) family-orientated”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841451.1544347836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841451.1544347836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Grace Millane, 22, as a body believed to be that of the British backpacker has been found near a beauty spot on the outskirts of Auckland. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Grace Millane, 22, as a body believed to be that of the British backpacker has been found near a beauty spot on the outskirts of Auckland. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841451.1544347836!/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/day-outings-for-killer-mum-of-mikaeel-kular-just-four-years-into-jail-sentence-1-4841255","id":"1.4841255","articleHeadline": "Day outings for killer mum of Mikaeel Kular just four years into jail sentence","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544272341000 ,"articleLead": "

The killer mum of tragic toddler Mikaeel Kular has been allowed on trips outside of jail amid reports that she will soon be formally released.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841256.1544273871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rosdeep Adekoya pled guilty to the culpable homicide of Mikaeel Kular after his body was discovered in Fife."} ,"articleBody": "

Rosdeep Adekoya has been photographed out of prison on shopping trips, travelling on public transport and studying at the library in Stirling.

It is understood the 38-year-old has been granted temporary freedom ahead of a full release that could be rubber-stamped as early as next year.

The Edinburgh mum-of-five was jailed in 2014 after being found guilty of beating her three-year-old son Mikaeel Kular to death.

She lost her temper and killed the toddler after he was repeatedly sick following a family day out at a Nando’s restaurant in January of that year.

After discovering his body on the floor of their Edinburgh home, she wrapped it in a duvet cover, concealed it in the suitcase and drove 25 miles to Fife to hide it in woodland.

A major search was launched for the youngster after she called 999 and reported him missing in an effort to conceal the crime. She finally broke down and admitted to police: “It was an accident and I panicked.”

Adekoya was subsequently jailed for 11 years at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Despite having spent less than half of that sentence at Cornton Vale prison in Stirling, sources say she is close to getting out.

A source told The Scottish Sun: “She’s a monster and she’s out in the community. She’s getting used to the outside — she takes it at her own pace and she decides when it happens.”

They added: “She never thought she’d be sussed because she dyed her hair and all the rest of it.

“She just needs to say, ‘I’m going downtown’ and that’s it. She thinks she’s invisible and can roam about with nobody recognising her.

“Nobody will recognise her in Stirling because that’s not where she committed that crime.

“But it’s not anything anyone should ever forget about. Is that what we call the system doing us justice now?

“She’s posing a risk to every child out there. If you could do that to your own, then what can you do to someone else’s child? It’s disgusting.

“That’s not justice. That’s not serving a sentence. The sheriff should be gutted because 11 years isn’t enough for a little boy’s life.”

Speaking of Adekoya’s potential for early release, the source added: “She walks around the jail with her make-up done, hair done. She was the most privileged prisoner anyone’s seen. She got extra — clothes, ornamentals, pictures of her kids. You go to the houses when you’re getting paroled.

“That’s to introduce you to the outside environment again so you’re used to it for when you’re getting released.

“That’s usually within six to nine months of your release and she’s been in there six, since June.

“You have to check out from the prison to let them know you’re away from those houses. She can go a certain number of miles.

“She had dark hair, she lost a load of weight. It looks like she doesn’t give a s*** about what she’s done.

“It’s a normal day-to-day life. The social workers failed Mikaeel the first time.

“And now they are failing him the second time.”

A separate source said: “Relatives of this wee boy will be outraged to know she has this kind of freedom.”

The Scottish Prison Service were not able to comment.

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841256.1544273871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841256.1544273871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Rosdeep Adekoya pled guilty to the culpable homicide of Mikaeel Kular after his body was discovered in Fife.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rosdeep Adekoya pled guilty to the culpable homicide of Mikaeel Kular after his body was discovered in Fife.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841256.1544273871!/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/edinburgh-concert-hall-should-be-set-in-stone-not-concrete-john-mclellan-1-4841103","id":"1.4841103","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh concert hall should be set in stone, not concrete – John McLellan","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544248800000 ,"articleLead": "

Cost concerns cannot override history in central Edinburgh when it comes to the debate over stone or concrete for the planned concert hall, writes John McLellan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841101.1544204714!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An artist's impression of a planned �45m concert hall in Edinburgh's New Town"} ,"articleBody": "

Concrete or stone? Now the growing row over the materials for Edinburgh’s new concert hall in the heart of the New Town has made the front of the Evening News, it is not something which can be swept under the carpet.

A heritage statement submitted to the council by the design team for the St Andrew Square Impact project clearly states the intention to use aggregated concrete for the main exterior finishes.

But the management plan for the World Heritage Sites, published with much fanfare earlier this year, is equally clear that the predominant materials should be stone. “From 1674 even the most ordinary buildings were constructed of stone,” it says. “What distinguishes Edinburgh from other European capitals is the consistent use of ashlar (dressed stone) in the ‘show’ parts of the facades: those parts of the building which are on public view.”

Aggregated concrete appears to be at odds with those principles and debates about new statement buildings have centred on what kind of stone, not alternatives. Although entirely finished with high-quality concrete inside, the Scottish Parliament exterior is granite, despite criticism it was fine for Aberdeen but not central Edinburgh.

Planning officers recommended refusal for the St James Centre to use limestone because it wouldn’t weather like Craigleith sandstone, the predominant New Town material. The developers successfully argued no single sandstone quarry could supply the vast quantities needed and the only way to avoid a patchwork was importing limestone from Germany.

St James Centre development chief Martin Perry this week wrote to all Edinburgh councillors saying that, having just removed one concrete monolith, why allow another in a more sensitive site, and that weathering would be an issue.

What will be an issue is cost, as stone would inevitably increase the £45m price tag. But just as small householders are regularly prevented from fitting UPVC windows in conservation areas, the budget cannot be a consideration.

READ MORE: St James developers slate concrete plans for concert hall

Westminster consensus shifts towards second Brexit referendum
In London this week for a series of meetings, the normally self-assured, plugged-in, savvy media and political types are instead holding up their hands in confused in despair at the Brexit chaos. “Parliament has gone absolutely bonkers,” said one very close to the heart of government.

These people like to convey the impression they know what’s what; no-one wants to look like they’re not in the loop, fingers not on the pulse and all that. But the reality now is that no-one knows if there is a loop to be in. In the thick of it certainly, but in the thick of what?

Consensus is moving towards a second referendum, especially with the European Court of Justice expected to uphold the view of its Advocate General that Britain’s EU membership will continue if the decision to leave is reversed, but the route is far from clear. And even if she wouldn’t agree, few expect Mrs May to be hanging the baubles on Number 10’s big Christmas tree in 2019.

But if there is a second vote and it does reverse the decision, what will proving Scotland’s voice in the UK matters, successfully arguing for remaining in a strong union, supporting a way to back out of a chaotic divorce, and returning the focus on domestic politics do for the SNP? Be very, very careful what you wish for.

READ MORE: Brexit: Why MPs of all parties must back Theresa May – Brian Wilson

Tragicomic timing
Amidst the political social media mud-slinging, one rejoinder stood out this week. Ex-Sinn Fein leader and IRA man Gerry Adams tweeted innocently how his house was like Santa’s Grotto. “Takes half an hour 2 switch off fairy lights and assorted Yule illuminations,” he said.

To which Labour-supporting comedian Eddie Izzard replied, “Surely you know someone who could fit a timer.”

I didn’t understand grief for a pet until now
Life, as they say, goes on but of course sometimes it doesn’t. Apart from psychopaths, like some of Mr Adams’ former associates, we all understand human tragedy. But I’ve never fully appreciated how some people are so attached to a dog or a cat that when they go it’s like the death of a close relative.

I mean, when a dog reaches 15 it’s on borrowed time anyway, isn’t it? We had a family dog which died at that age when I was in my 20s and, well, I thought, it was just one of those things.

Maybe it’s an age thing, but this week I learnt. Our West Highland terrier Maggie (no, not named after the late Prime Minster, but my then eight-year-old daughter’s choice) enjoyed her usual walk up Craiglockhart Hill on Saturday and again on Sunday, but by Sunday night was looking wobbly on her feet and was grizzling.

By Monday morning, she couldn’t walk very well at all and wasn’t eating. At the vet by lunchtime, we were told she hadn’t had a stroke, our biggest fear, but was running a temperature and there might be a problem with her liver, but they’d X-ray her to check and keep her in for observation.

But by 4pm the vet rang to say she was deteriorating fast and just after 4.30pm she was put to sleep.

I had a meeting at 4.30pm and couldn’t speak without welling up so I had to make my apologies. Pathetic, eh? Maybe not so much. Maggie was part of the kids’ growing-up and my reaction took me totally by surprise. I was bereft.

Rationally speaking it was pointless, but we felt we had to see her so we drove to the vet where she was still warm and we were able to stroke her and tell he what a good little dog she’d been and close her eyes for the last time and say goodbye.

We’ll get her ashes in a couple of weeks and scatter them in Craiglockhart Woods where she used to chase the squirrels. You never got one, did you Maggie, you daft old thing?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "John McLellan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841101.1544204714!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841101.1544204714!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "An artist's impression of a planned �45m concert hall in Edinburgh's New Town","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An artist's impression of a planned �45m concert hall in Edinburgh's New Town","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841101.1544204714!/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/sleep-in-the-park-to-finish-as-founder-vows-to-return-with-new-event-1-4841199","id":"1.4841199","articleHeadline": "Sleep in the Park to finish as founder vows to return with new event","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544248800000 ,"articleLead": "

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn has revealed he is to wind up his “Sleep in the Park” event after just two years – as it emerged that the nationwide fundraisers will fall short of official targets.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841198.1544219408!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sleepers bed down for the night during the Sleep in the Park, West Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh."} ,"articleBody": "

He admitted it had proved more difficult than he expected to persuade people to sleep out overnight to raise awareness of homelessness.

But the award-winning social entrepreneur said he was already working on ideas for a “new and different” event to launch next year.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon slams UK Government over fees paid by EU citizens in public sector

More than 8,000 people who braved sub-zero temperatures in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh last year raised more than £4 million for several initiatives aimed at tacking homelessness.

Mr Littlejohn said nearly 10,000 people will be raising around £3.2m at mass sleep-outs in Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen today. But he admitted planning this year’s event, which will see Scottish singing stars KT Tunstall and Amy MacDonald travel by helicopter to perform in all four locations, had involved “four times the work” than last year’s fundraiser.

READ MORE: Fiona Bruce unveiled as new BBC Question Time presenter

Mr Littlejohn, who has won the backing of George Clooney, Leonardo di Caprio and Prince Harry for his Social Bite chain of sandwich shops and cafes, said he was “relieved” so many people had signed up to take part in the second Sleep in the Park event.

All participants must pledge to raise at least £100 to secure a place at the event, with corporate teams being asked to pay a minimum of £3,000.

The top fundraisers receive a personalised Christmas hamper from Nicola Sturgeon and the chance to meet Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai at a gala Sleep Out “thank you” dinner in March.

When the expanded event was announced in the summer, Mr Littlejohn said he had hoped to sign up 12,000 people and raise at least £6m as part of a drive to “eradicate” homelessness in Scotland within five years.

Mr Littlejohn said: “It’s a really difficult event to do two years in a row. A lot of people who did it last year viewed it as a once in a lifetime experience. It is a lot of effort for people to raise money from their friends and families, and everything else that is entailed with it.

“I’m really delighted to get to the level of participation and fundraising that we have.

“It could have gone the other way. We could have really struggled. I’m relieved and very grateful to everyone that has signed up and got behind it.”

Around 4,000 people will take part in the Edinburgh event, which will be staged in Princes Street Gardens again, where Lulu, Admiral Fallow, Siobhan Wilson and Martha Ffion will be performing.

Frightened Rabbit will perform for the first time since the death of frontman Scott Hutchison in May when they headline the Sleep in the Park event in Glasgow, which The Twilight Sad, Kathryn Joseph and another “surprise act” will also be appearing at.

Kyle Falconer, Fatherson, Hunter & The Bear and Withered Hand will perform for about 1,500 participants in Dundee.

A total of 1,800 people have signed up to sleep out in Duthie Park in Aberdeen, where Eddie Reader, Kris Drever and the Nevis Ensemble will be providing the musical entertainment.

Mr Littlejohn added: “It’s definitely been more of a challenge this year but it was definitely the right thing to do to spread it geographically.

“If we’d just done it in Edinburgh we’d have got a significant reduction in participation.

“We’ve not just done another event for the sake of it. We had a target to raise £1.5m this year to put towards our ‘Housing First’ programme to lift more than 800 rough sleepers out of homelessness across Scotland.

“It will definitely be a different kind of event next year. I do have an idea I am working on at the moment. It won’t be the same kind of thing.”

Littlejohn first came to prominence six years ago when he and business partner Alice Thompson launched the first Social Bite sandwich and coffee shop to help create jobs for homeless people.

Social Bite has grown into a chain which has five retail outlets throughout Scotland, two large staff canteens, a central production kitchen and a corporate catering business.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841198.1544219408!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841198.1544219408!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sleepers bed down for the night during the Sleep in the Park, West Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sleepers bed down for the night during the Sleep in the Park, West Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841198.1544219408!/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/frightened-rabbit-star-nervous-over-sleep-in-the-park-reunion-1-4841201","id":"1.4841201","articleHeadline": "Frightened Rabbit star nervous over Sleep in the Park reunion","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544248800000 ,"articleLead": "

Frightened Rabbit star Grant Hutchison has revealed his “more nervous” about playing a gig without his brother than any other in his life.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841200.1544219645!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Grant Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit"} ,"articleBody": "

The celebrated indie-rock band’s appearance at the Sleep in the Park fundraiser in Glasgow will be their first since singer Scott Hutchison’s body was found near South Queensferry in Edinburgh nearly two days after he was reported missing in May.

READ MORE: Empty Leith Docks warehouse to become ‘world class’ film and TV studio

The Selkirk band – who have hinted that they will play further gigs next year – played the first Sleep in the Park in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens last December and had signed up for the expanded event and decided to honour the booking as a tribute to the singer.

Grant Hutchison said: “It seemed like the right thing to do, and like a natural thing to do – to make a positive thing out of something that personally was a very tragic event – to be able to help two charities and two causes, and also to play with people that are good friends.

READ MORE: Fiona Bruce unveiled as new BBC Question Time presenter

“I don’t think it’s something I can really prepare for. It’s going to be highly emotional, but I think the setting for it, both physically and the fact that it’s a charity event for Social Bite, means it’s a positive way to do that for the first time. I think I’ll be more nervous than I’ve ever been for a Frightened Rabbit gig before. It’ll be strange.”

Grant Hutchison took part in the Great Scottish Run in the summer in memory of his brother and to raise awarness of mental health issues.

He added: “All of us are dealing with Scott’s death on a personal level. It’s been seven months, that’s a very short time. We do have something planned which was meant to happen this year which we’ll hopefully announce at the start of the year.”

Scott Hutchison had spoken openly about mental health problems and his battles with depression before vanishing after checking out of a hotel in the early hours of 9 May.

In a statement after his body was found, Scott Hutchison’s family said he “wore his heart on his sleeve, and that was evident in the lyrics of his music and the content of many of his social media posts.

“He was passionate, articulate and charismatic, as well as being one of the funniest and kindest people we knew.

“Friends and family would all agree he had a brilliant sense of humour.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841200.1544219645!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841200.1544219645!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Grant Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Grant Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841200.1544219645!/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/george-hw-bush-what-margaret-thatcher-thought-of-him-brian-wilson-1-4841098","id":"1.4841098","articleHeadline": "George HW Bush: What Margaret Thatcher thought of him – Brian Wilson","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544248800000 ,"articleLead": "

Within my short collection of “I was there at moments which changed history”, I would count a debate between Ronald Reagan and George Bush in Nashua, New Hampshire, in January 1984, writes Brian Wilson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841097.1544204695!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Margaret Thatcher meets then US Vice-President George HW Bush in 1985. (Picture: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)"} ,"articleBody": "

Bush was seen as a shoo-in for the Republican nomination. Reagan sponsored the debate and, unknown to Bush, invited other hopefuls to appear. Bush protested, Reagan said piously there was no way he would allow his fellow-Republicans to be excluded.

It was a classic stunt. When the moderator, the editor of the Nashua Telegraph, asked Reagan to conclude his homily and hand back the microphone, Reagan delivered the classic one-liner: “Mr Moderator, I paid for this microphone.” If there is one thing Americans understand, it is entitlement bestowed by money.

How they cheered! That moment changed the campaign and history. Polling swung vehemently towards Reagan and never moved back. I can still picture Bush emerging from the hall, like a boxer hit by a sucker punch, complaining of Reagan’s ungentlemanly conduct.

Ten months later, I happened to be in the right hotel lobby when Bush was summoned from his slumbers to be told that Reagan had, quite unexpectedly, made him his running-mate. Eight years after that, the old CIA man duly ascended to the throne.

READ MORE: George HW Bush remembered as ‘the shield’ as presidents honour US leader

My next encounter with George Bush was in 2001 when I represented HM Government at the tenth anniversary of Kuwait’s liberation. My fellow passenger was Lady Thatcher, by then in repetitive mode. “We’ve got to stand by them,” she advised me, of the Kuwaitis. I was happy to concur.

“We should have finished the job,” she declared (for the first of many times). Again, I agreed (and had said so at the time). If Saddam Hussein had been removed in response to blatant aggression, much subsequent trouble might have been avoided.

“But I was gone by then,” Lady Thatcher continued with splendidly undiluted rancour, setting the scene for some entertaining encounters once her successor John Major flew in with Bush – the two architects of not proceeding to Baghdad. Later in the flight, we continued our conversation with the same one-liners in evidence but there was one additional thrust of the dagger. “Dear George Bush,” intoned Lady Thatcher. “But such a weak man.”

It is a sentiment far removed from this week’s obsequies in Washington and when you look at what’s there now, weakness was not the worst insult to throw at a President.

READ MORE: Sir John Major leads tributes to George HW Bush

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Brian Wilson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841097.1544204695!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841097.1544204695!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Margaret Thatcher meets then US Vice-President George HW Bush in 1985. (Picture: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Margaret Thatcher meets then US Vice-President George HW Bush in 1985. (Picture: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841097.1544204695!/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/i-ve-just-discovered-an-airport-that-proves-they-can-be-nice-places-stephen-jardine-1-4841152","id":"1.4841152","articleHeadline": "I’ve just discovered an airport that proves they can be nice places – Stephen Jardine","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544248800000 ,"articleLead": "

Stephen Jardine discovers an airport with no queues, nice cafes, a library, and air not filled with sick-making perfume. And, no, it’s not in the UK.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841151.1544211226!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, has found a way to make airports pleasant places to be"} ,"articleBody": "

The taxi pulled up right outside the airport terminal building.

“Just go in that door and straight ahead,” said the driver. Inside was pretty deserted and there was only one person in the check-in queue in front of me.

At security, they didn’t make me take off my heavy winter boots and the person manning the scanner smiled and wished me a good day.

Next stop was the duty free shop with plenty of tills and no queues. After that, it was a few cute souvenir shops and some fashionable cafes plus two unusual things.

On one side of the departure area, there was a large free, children’s play area. On the other side, there was a cosy library with armchairs and free books to read or borrow.

The only demand was that you dropped the book back another time or replaced it with something else for travellers to read. After a few minutes there and a visit to the spotless toilets, it was time for a very calm boarding. As flying experiences go, it was one of the best I can remember.

However as you’ve probably guessed, it didn’t happen here.

READ MORE: Scotland’s huge debt to ‘haggis’ loving Italian town – Stephen Jardine

The airport in question was Tallinn in Estonia and last week it gave me a surprising insight into what flying can still be. In this country, we’ve become so used to it being a traumatic nightmare that we can easily forget, it really doesn’t need to be.

For a start there is security. The systems necessary to foil terrorism require to be implemented but that can be done in different ways.

At the airport in Estonia the staff were apologetic and determined to make security as brief and pleasant as possible. Here you get the feeling some of those involved actually enjoy imposing inconvenience.

The online customer care reviews say it all. I can’t think of one other industry where the sheer level of customer disastisfaction would be allowed never mind tolerated.

Having survived security, your ordeal isn’t over yet. To minimise any chance you could miss it, you are now often forced to walk through duty free where the heady mix of booze sampling and expensive perfume is enough to make everybody air sick.

READ MORE: Is the Michelin guide biased against Scottish food? – Stephen Jardine

Then there is a long, long walk to the departure gate past endless shops competing to get you to part you from your holiday cash before you even begin your holiday. And what about the kids?

Well who cares because they don’t have much to spend and you don’t honestly think any space would be given to them for free when it could be a branch of a Russian caviar and champagne bar?

More than anything else, it was the free library area at Tallin Airport that stopped me in my tracks. Located in a prime site, it was funded by a local bookshop to simply help people spend their time without having to spend any cash. Can you imagine that here?

The next few weeks represents commercialism gone mad but our airports are like that every week of the year.

Tallinn has roughly the same population as Edinburgh so the demands of travellers can’t be that different but the flying experiences certainly are.

Remember when flying used to be fun? In some places it still is.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841151.1544211226!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841151.1544211226!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, has found a way to make airports pleasant places to be","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, has found a way to make airports pleasant places to be","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841151.1544211226!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brexit-there-may-be-strange-alliance-of-brexiteers-and-remainers-leader-comment-1-4841155","id":"1.4841155","articleHeadline": "Brexit: There may be strange alliance of Brexiteers and Remainers – leader comment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544248800000 ,"articleLead": "

Amid fevered speculation, the only thing that’s certain about Brexit is that no one knows what’s about to happen.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4838316.1544211247!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson has described Theresa May's Brexit plan as akin to terms imposed on a nation after a military defeat. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

It would be extraordinary theatre if it wasn’t so terrifying, if the economic prospects of this country, people’s jobs and mortgages, were not so much in peril.

Next week, MPs are set to make a historic decision in the vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

If she manages to pull off an unexpected victory, the UK economy will leave the European Union in March and, according to the UK Government’s own analysis, our economy will suffer.

If a strange alliance of hard Brexiteers, Remainers, Labour MPs hoping to force a general election, and assorted others votes down May’s plan, then the UK will be heading towards a no-deal Brexit that could cause a recession worse than the 2008 crash – unless a new deal is cobbled together in the few remaining weeks or MPs decide to put our departure from the EU at least on hold.

The stakes are enormous, the sense of uncertainty palpable, and the pressure on MPs – on all side of the debate – immense.

READ MORE: RBS braces for Brexit with plan to shift £13bn out of UK

Boris Johnson yesterday described May’s plan as akin to “the kind of diktat that might be imposed on a nation that has suffered a military defeat”; this came after former Bank of England governor Mervyn King, a Brexit supporter, said it would be “madness” to agree to abide by EU laws indefinitely, adding a second referendum was “vital to escape from this continuing nightmare”.

Things have simply not turned out as well as Brexit’s most ardent supporters had hoped and it is hard to see how their original dreams can still be fulfilled. Some seem to be willing to risk a no-deal Brexit but, given the dire warnings from respected economists and the business sector, this would be reckless in the extreme.

There does not appear to be a majority in the Commons for a no-deal Brexit – there does not appear to be a majority for anything at the moment. But, eventually, a majority for something will have to emerge.

Might that strange alliance of disillusioned Brexiteers and Remainers combine again to at least put Brexit on hold, to stave off both May’s “madness” and a no-deal? Perhaps they will both agree on the need for a second referendum, the outcome of which is far from a foregone conclusion.

The only thing that’s certain seems to be that no-one knows what is about to happen. But, whatever it is, the consequences for the nation will be profound.

READ MORE: Brexit: Why MPs of all parties must back Theresa May – Brian Wilson

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4838316.1544211247!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4838316.1544211247!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Boris Johnson has described Theresa May's Brexit plan as akin to terms imposed on a nation after a military defeat. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson has described Theresa May's Brexit plan as akin to terms imposed on a nation after a military defeat. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4838316.1544211247!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/brexit-why-mps-of-all-parties-must-back-theresa-may-brian-wilson-1-4840983","id":"1.4840983","articleHeadline": "Brexit: Why MPs of all parties must back Theresa May – Brian Wilson","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544198340000 ,"articleLead": "

The only certain way of avoiding the madness of a ‘no deal’ Brexit is for MPs to back Theresa May, writes Brian Wilson

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4838399.1544198267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May's Brexit deal is expected to lose a key vote in the House of Commons. Picture: AFP/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Events always look bigger from inside the bubble. This week has been full of them but the essentials have not changed and the calendar keeps rolling.

Publication of full legal advice may sound like a great procedural triumph but it did not add much to the sum of human knowledge. The view of a legal official in Geneva that the UK could unilaterally reverse Brexit is academically interesting but not much more.

Dominic Grieve’s amendment giving more power to MPs over the terms of Brexit sets the scene for further Parliamentary excitements. The difficult bit is that no matter who sets the terms of Brexit, there has to be a counter-party willing to accept them.

Cumulatively, these transient dramas and the prospect of defeat in the House of Commons heighten speculation that Theresa May may fall upon her sword. But what will that change other than the cast list?

It seems unlikely the European Union will suddenly weaken at the knees and offer up anything that has hitherto been refused – least of all the fabled backstop which has become the supposed font of all hypothetical evil.

There is at least a possibility that a Tory leadership contest would produce a replacement more cavalier about “no deal” than Mrs May. Who would gain from that? Would the Brexit clock stop while the Tories fight their private war? I doubt it.

READ MORE: Brexit: Johnson says May’s deal ‘like being defeated in war’

Amidst such confusion, there is always the argument that “something might turn up” even if there is no consensus over what that something should be. The more bitter the divisions, the more dangerous seems the glib idea of holding another referendum to reverse the result.

Polite liberal opinion deplores the rise of populism in Europe yet sees no democratic problem in negating a referendum result rather than settling for a compromise that ticks the Brexit box while keeping most things the same. The arrogance of elites can be dangerous as President Macron might confirm.

The latest Scottish wheeze is to pretend that the Northern Ireland backstop has grave implications for Scotland in the event of it ever having to be implemented. On such tenuous grounds, it is now part of our national discourse to shout “liar” at those with whom we disagree. Classy.

READ MORE: RBS braces for Brexit with plan to shift £13bn out of UK

There are absolutely no grounds for comparison between Northern Ireland’s situation and our own. Nor is there disadvantage to Scotland in acknowledging the EU’s duty to protect the interests of Ireland in these unique circumstances, without trying to parasite upon them.

Rationality plays little part in the current frenzy but the more I look at the alternatives, the more I tend to conclude that – given where matters now stand – the best way forward and the only certain way of avoiding the madness of “no deal” is for MPs to vote for what is on offer.

At least this week there was a reminder of what a true Parliamentarian sounds like. Michael Heseltine rolled back the decades with a bravura speech in the Lords, making the critical point that those with the least economic muscle will pay the highest economic price for all of this.

The truth is that those who are driven by a single constitutional objective care nothing for the implications that might flow from it. For the rest of us, it is then a case of damage limitation and that is where we now are with Brexit.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Brian Wilson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4838399.1544198267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4838399.1544198267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May's Brexit deal is expected to lose a key vote in the House of Commons. Picture: AFP/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May's Brexit deal is expected to lose a key vote in the House of Commons. Picture: AFP/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4838399.1544198267!/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/line-of-duty-star-compston-did-not-expect-middle-england-response-1-4841194","id":"1.4841194","articleHeadline": "Line of Duty star Compston did not expect ‘Middle England’ response","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544218154000 ,"articleLead": "

Line Of Duty actor Martin Compston said he never imagined he would be cast as a lead in a primetime BBC show.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841193.1544218150!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Compston, who has said he never imagined he would be cast as a lead in a primetime BBC show. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo"} ,"articleBody": "

The actor, who plays Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott, said he did not think he was someone “Middle England would respond to” as he was quizzed about his career alongside the show’s creator, Jed Mercurio, in Glasgow.

The pair, currently filming the fifth series of the police drama in Belfast, spoke to students studying TV fiction writing at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Compston said he was grateful to Mercurio for his role in the hit show, and to film director Ken Loach, who put him on screen for the first time in 2002’s Sweet Sixteen.

The Scottish actor said: “I owe my whole career to Ken Loach, who took a chance on me, and Jed, who put me in front of a wide audience.

READ MORE: Fiona Bruce unveiled as new BBC Question Time presenter

“I never thought I’d be cast as a lead in a primetime BBC show, I just never thought I’d be someone Middle England would respond to. For every great job I’ve had, I’ve had at least 20 or 30 rejections, so you’ve got to be thick-skinned and you’ve got to enjoy it.”

READ MORE: Empty Leith Docks warehouse to become ‘world class’ film and TV studio

Speaking about filming Line Of Duty’s interrogation scenes, he said: “They are like mini one-act plays, you earn your money that day. When the scripts come out the fear is there, and I’m hoping I’m not in one, but when you’re not in it, you wish you were. The last one we were doing was 28-29 pages - you’re talking 30-minute takes.”

Mercurio recalled his shock on hearing Compston dropping the English accent he uses in the show for the first time, off the set.

“Only two things make him break the accent - drink and Celtic when he’s shouting at the TV. The first time I heard Martin speak in his natural accent was when he was drunk. We had probably known each for three or four months at that point.”

Mercurio also created Bodyguard, the biggest BBC drama for a decade when it aired earlier this year, starring Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes.

He told students: “Bodyguard came from the fact Line Of Duty was on BBC Two.”

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