Print Media Alcohol minimum pricing ‘fails to cut underage drinking in Scotland’Alcohol minimum pricing has failed to cut underage drinking in Scotland, according to the first official study of the landmark policy’s impact on teenagers. The NHS Scotland study found that under-18 drinkers reported no change in their consumption or ability to obtain drink since its introduction in May 2018. Scottish teachers attacked by kids almost 30,000 times in past three yearsTEACHERS were attacked by kids almost 30,000 times in the past three years, shock figures show. Critics called on the SNP Government to act as it emerged the number of school assaults has rocketed 37 per cent from 8,500 in 2016/17 to 11,627 last year. The figure for 2017/18 was 9,312. Gordon Brown slams SNP record on child povertyThe Scottish Government has come under fire over “broken promises” on child poverty which will see an additional 100,000 Scottish youngsters’ hit by sliding living standards. Former Prime Minister will today urge Holyrood and Westminster to form a joint council in a bid to halt the growing “epidemic” of child poverty north of the border. Scotland has one of the biggest falls in ‘wellbeing index’ among developed countriesThe country fell five places into the bottom half of nations cross a range of measures including income, education, longevity and inclusivity. Only Wales saw a similarly steep fall in the figures published today. Student loan debt triples under SNP despite 2007 manifesto pledge to abolish itTHE annual uptake of student loans has almost tripled since the SNP came to power on a promise to abolish student debt, according to official figures. The Auditor General for Scotland said £533m of loans were authorised in 2018/19, an increase of 185 per cent on the £187m of debt created in 2008/09. Senior independence activists call for new ‘Yes’ movementSenior independence activists are calling for a new Yes Scotland organisation to be built as part of the campaign for a second referendum. SNP MP Kenny MacAskill, former Yes Scotland chairman Dennis Canavan and former senior SNP adviser Kevin Pringle have supported the creation of a refreshed campaign group. Glasgow City Council urged to back calls for independence referendum power transferCOUNCIL leader Susan Aitken will ask elected members to call on Boris Johnson to give Scotland the right to choose its own future. The Glasgow SNP leader is set to put forward a motion requesting a letter is sent to the Prime Minister to demand “the transfer of power that would put beyond doubt the Scottish Parliament’s right to legislate for a referendum on independence” when the council meets on Thursday. SNP MSP Alex Neil: Boycott of ‘wildcat’ independence referendum won’t matterNationalist MSP Alex Neil also suggested a campaign of civil disobedience was needed to force the UK Government into granting a Section 30 order, giving Holyrood the power to hold indyref2. Boris Johnson last week confirmed he would not considering granting permission for a second referendum, and his Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has claimed even a pro-independence referendum at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election wouldn’t change the position. Nicola Sturgeon fails to put price on pro-independence alternative to GERS figuresNICOLA Sturgeon has defended plans to publish a pro-independence alternative to official figures on Scotland’s deficit – but failed to say how much it would cost. The Scottish Tories accused her of using taxpayers’ money to peddle “propaganda”. Finance Secretary Derek Mackay this week announced he would issue his own “economic case for independence” alongside the annual statistics on the country’s finances. SNP accused of ‘control freakery’ by own MP as power struggle erupts over top committee rolesThe SNP is locked in a power struggle over influential positions chairing two parliamentary committees amid calls for Ian Blackford to “sack” one of his own MPs. The Nationalist group leader now faces a ‘free for all’ between his parliamentarians in elections to the influential posts, which come with a £15,000 top-up to parliamentarians’ salaries. Taxpayer-funded Gaelic quango a £5m ‘disaster’The £5 million-a-year quango supposed to promote Gaelic language and culture has been branded a “total disaster” after a devastating audit. SNP MSP Alex Neil said the senior managers and board of Inverness-based Bord na Gaidhlig may have to be cleared out after “failing in some of the basics of any modern organisation”. Mackay plans pro-independence alternative to official GERS report on financesTom Gordon DEREK Mackay is to publish his own “economic case for independence” as a concession to SNP members who dislike the official statistics on the size of Scotland’s deficit. The Finance Secretary said the new analysis would come out at the same time as the annual Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) numbers. SNP MSP urged to quit after refusing to speak for Unionist constituentsAN SNP MSP has been branded a “disgrace” after saying he would not speak up for any constituent who wanted to keep Scotland in the Union. John Mason also said he would refuse to speak up for the people in his Glasgow Shettleston seat who backed lower taxes or Orange marches. SNP MSP Alex Neil urges Holyrood to hold IndyRef2 without UK Government approvalA veteran SNP MSP has called on Holyrood to hold a second Scottish independence vote even if its fails to win approval of Westminster. Former health secretary Alex Neil insisted MSPs could press on with a consultative ballot on the issue if the Lord Advocate gave consent to such a move. Swinney defeat on review of educationMSPs have demanded a sweeping review of Scotland’s education system in a defeat for the SNP Government. Holyrood voted 63 to 60 for a Tory plan for a “full review of broad general education”, which spans childcare to the end of S3, and how it relates to the senior phase at secondary. Glasgow councillor hits back at anti-Tory abuse following independence marchA Glasgow councillor has hit out at the anti-Tory “hatred” he received following this weekend’s independence march. Thomas Kerr, who was elected for the Shettleston ward in 2017, questioned what he called another “fingers in ears” moment for the SNP leadership after receiving a barrage of abuse online. Experts say Nicola Sturgeon’s mandate for Indyref2 is ‘legally irrelevant’THERE are “no legal shortcuts” to a second independence referendum and Nicola Sturgeon’s mandate for one is “legally irrelevant”, two leading academics have said. Writing for the UK Constitutional Law Association, the pair said trying to hold a referendum without the UK Government’s cooperation would be a “non-starter”. SNP minister criticised after ‘imperial masters’ jibe at UK GovernmentDEREK Mackay has likened UK Government ministers to Scotland’s “imperial masters”. The SNP Finance Secretary joked that in his experience they weren’t up to the job. Mr Mackay also revealed he walked out of his first meeting with the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury, who then asked him to go easy on him because he was new to the post. Scotrail chaos leaves thousands of pro-Indy supporters struggling to get homeWEATHER misery has caused Scotrail chaos leaving pro-Independence marchers struggling to get home. Flooding of train lines has seen services delayed or cancelled causing major disruption. The travel company are desperately scrambling to put on replacement busses to make sure commuters get home. This included rising water between Cleland and Hartwood. Scottish Labour turn down leader’s federal UK strategyScottish Labour’s executive has rejected its leader’s proposals for a special conference on federalism, which could have seen it support a multi-option referendum on independence. The Guardian revealed on Thursday that Scottish party leader Richard Leonard wanted to produce a detailed proposal for a federal UK as Labour’s alternative to full Scottish independence, and put that to a party conference in May. Nicola Sturgeon goes to Norway… and talks Scotland down! – Brian WilsonScotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon may be pining for Norway’s fjords, but Brian Wilson prefers Scotland. ‘Public have a right to know’ why exam pass rate in Scotland is falling, say ToriesThe Conservatives have called on education secretary John Swinney to publish more information relating to the falling Higher pass rate in Scottish schools, amid concerns over the impact of the Curriculum for Excellence on performance. Why SNP is wrong to attack UK Government over Budget date – John McLellanScottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay will look to pick a fight with Westminster, suggests John McLellan. Picture: John Devlin The SNP has been quick to complain that the UK Government decision to deliver its budget on 11 March “disrespects devolution” because it comes after the Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay hoped to set his spending plans. Scottish independence march sends ‘clear message to Boris Johnson’ over indyref2The organisers of a mass pro-independence march through Glasgow on Saturday claimed it “sent a clear message” to Boris Johnson that Scotland would not be denied a second referendum on the matter. Holyrood overrules Fife Council and gives go-ahead for new 200 homes in the countryside – The CourierA planning application for a new housing estate which was previously rejected by Fife Council has been granted by the Scottish Government on appeal. The Stuart Milne Group’s plan for a new 200-home development to the west of Cairneyhill Road, between Crossford and Cairneyhill, was turned down by Fife Council in September 2018 on the grounds that the application site lay outwith any defined settlement boundary, was not allocated for housing and was in the countryside. Election hustings in Scottish prisons considered by jail chiefsAccording to a report in the Scottish Daily Mail, government ministers have had discussions with the Scottish Prison Service about holding political hustings to ensure inmates are engaged fully in the political process. The government is currently proposing to give prisoners serving sentences of 12 months or less, the ability to vote in local and Scottish Parliament elections, which could affect around 1000 inmates. SNP ministers admit flagship £600m broadband plan at least two years lateTHE Scottish Government has admitted the failure of its flagship £600m plan to bring superfast broadband to every home and office in the country by the end of next year. Connectivity minister Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs only around half of the premises in the R100 programme in south and central Scotland would be connected by 2021. Election hustings in Scottish prisons considered by jail chiefsAccording to a report in the Scottish Daily Mail, government ministers have had discussions with the Scottish Prison Service about holding political hustings to ensure inmates are engaged fully in the political process. The government is currently proposing to give prisoners serving sentences of 12 months or less, the ability to vote in local and Scottish Parliament elections, which could affect around 1000 inmates. Architect of devolution blasts parliament for ‘failures’ on health and educationOne of the leading backers of a Scottish Parliament has claimed that successive governments have failed to reform schools and hospitals. Nigel Smith, a businessman who chaired the cross-party campaign in favour of devolution in 1997, also blamed MSPs for failing to hold Ministers to account. Nicola Sturgeon left red faced as SNP snatch extra £750m in tax from hard-working ScotsThe Scottish Government collected the extra funds from the earnings of more than one million workers north of the border last year. Anyone earning more than £26,000 a year was forced to pay more income tax than they would have if they were living in other parts of the UK. Brian Cox’s pensioner comment hardly makes a positive case for IndyRef2WE hear a lot from Yes supporters about the positive case for independence, and indeed “gentle persuasion” of No voters from 2014. But it’s hardly happy-clappy or softly-softly to cross your fingers and hope old people dying off will seal victory in any IndyRef2. Greens issue warning to SNP over support for next Scottish budgetTHE Scottish Greens have warned the SNP that they will not back the next Scottish budget unless “decisive action” is taken on climate change. Patrick Harvey, co-leader of the Greens, insisted SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay must produce a “climate emergency budget” in the coming weeks. UK ministers could be given powers in devolved areas, report suggests – The CourierUK ministers could make provision in areas of devolved policy as a result of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, according to a new report. Analysis by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) states new powers in devolved policy areas will be handed to Scottish ministers under the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill to ensure it is properly implemented. Shock as it’s revealed NHS staff in Scotland have taken 5,000 years’ sick leaveNHS staff in Scotland have taken more than 5,000 years’ worth of sick leave since 2016, according to damning new figures. Data obtained by the Liberal Democrats under freedom of information laws show the country’s beleaguered health boards lost just over 45 million hours to staff illness over the period. The cruellest queue: Patients reveal health deterioration while waiting for treatment as figures show 6000 beds lost in last 10 years – Sunday PostThe number of hospital beds in Scotland has dropped by more than 6,000 in 10 years while thousands of patients face long delays for treatment. Analysis of NHS Scotland figures reveals the number of beds lost since 2009 is the equivalent of closing three hospitals the size of the new £900 million Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. Scotland’s literary culture ‘cosy’ with Holyrood governmentScotland’s literary culture has become “cosy” with the aims of the Holyrood government, the author of a new book exploring the links between the creation of the Scottish Parliament and the nation’s writers has said. Why it’s time for Scotland to ditch the GERS figuresIF I presume my Twitter timeline to be a reflection of what is happening in some areas of debate, then dispute on the usefulness of the Scottish Government ‘s GERS statement is raging again. GERS stands for Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland. Scotland’s islands are being penalised for depopulation – Brian WilsonCommunities on the edge will keep declining unless the Government’s ‘Plan for Scotland’s Islands’ changes, writes Brian Wilson In some respects, islands are no different – without a house and a job, you can’t live on them either at all or in any great comfort. Insight: Scotland’s ageing housing stock is being left to rotSome experts believe it will take another disaster to force private owners to keep Scotland’s dilapidated housing stock in better repair, finds Dani Garavelli When David Cole bought his flat in the Easter Road area of Edinburgh he was looking forward to the joys of home ownership. From a possible indyref2 to the trial of Alex Salmond, what lies ahead in 2020Indyref2 plans Legal commentators have suggested the Supreme Court, where the issue will presumably end up, is not likely to rule in her favour, but this will hardly be the end of the matter. While Ms Sturgeon is gearing up for a legal showdown, Boris Johnson will be trying to “love bomb” Scotland with a series of pro-Union measures, the exact details of which are unclear. Scots universities top the UK student dropout rate rise rankingsTWO Scottish universities have registered the greatest student dropout rate rises in the UK, according to new research. Some two out of three UK universities and colleges have seen an increase in non-completion rates for students over five years. Less than two per cent of thugs who attack Scots NHS staff convictedA TINY fraction of thugs who assault NHS workers end up being convicted under emergency worker protection laws, official figures revealed. Just 1.5 per cent of cases ended with the yobs being nailed in 2017-18. The rate has fallen steadily from 3.3 per cent in 2012-13. Government apprenticeship scheme criticised for only attracting 152 north-east pupils in four years – Evening ExpressA job start policy has been slated for welcoming just 152 pupils across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire over four years. The Foundation Apprenticeship was unveiled by the Scottish Government in 2016 as a way for S5 and S6 pupils to train with firms while still at school. Seven in 10 Scottish councillors ‘oppose smacking ban’ amid concern over social work case surgeSeven in 10 Scottish councillors oppose the impending ban on smacking children amid concern local authorities lack the resources to help police it, according to a new survey. Campaign group Be Reasonable published a poll that found support among SNP, Labour and Tory councillors for allowing parents to use “reasonable chastisement” of their children. SNP MP admits chance of Indyref2 this year is probably ‘nil’THE chance of Nicola Sturgeon getting a second independence referendum this year is likely to be “nil”, one of her MPs has said. Kenny MacAskill has urged the SNP to work rapidly with other parties to “build on the anger” felt in Scotland towards Boris Johnson’s new Tory government. Guy Stenhouse: The fever has broken and people can finally move onWhen I speak to business people in England now I sense their relief. Relief that the economic policies proposed by the Labour Party are no longer a threat and relief there is now a Government with a strong majority and clear purpose. Scotland’s bus infrastructure has been neglected for road and railNATS ministers have been slapping themselves on the back for their climate change policies for much of this year. We never cease to hear of their world-beating targets and how Scotland is going to be a net-zero carbon emitter faster than anywhere else. But actions speak louder than words. JENNY HJUL: Nicola Sturgeon’s Indyref2 consensus is fake news – The CourierThis week will hopefully bring welcome respite from the political cacophony of the past few months. But any expectation that the election result will curtail campaigning is misplaced; in Scotland, the real battle lines have just been drawn. Boris Johnson: SNP’s focus on Scottish independence has poisoned public life’The first blows in a new constitutional battle between the Scottish and UK governments were traded yesterday as Nicola Sturgeon laid out her “clear democratic case” for a second independence referendum, while Boris Johnson said she should concentrate on “domestic priorities”. NHS staff suffer almost 94,000 assaults on duty in the last five yearsHEALTH staff suffered almost 94,000 assaults on duty in the last five years, shock stats show. A total of 65,996 physical and 27,946 verbal attacks were aimed at NHS medics and support workers. The figures – obtained by Scottish Labour under freedom of information laws – were branded “deeply concerning” by the party’s health spokeswoman Monica Lennon. Disastrous ferry contract costs Scots taxpayers extra £100mTAXPAYERS are facing an extra £100m bill for two CalMac ferries after a catalogue of errors and mismanagement, Derek Mackay has admitted. The Finance Secretary told MSPs that the final cost of sourcing the vessels from the last civilian shipyard on the Clyde would be double the original £97m. General Election 2019: It was turnout that won it for the SNP“If it starts with a four, I’ll be happy with that,” said one of Nicola Sturgeon’s aides at the launch of the SNP manifesto last month. At that point, with the polls positive but the Scottish Tories looking tougher to remove than expected, the party was simply anxious to break the psychological threshold of 40 MPs. SNP sends ‘patronising’ email to broadcasters giving advice on how to quiz Tories over Scottish independenceThe SNP has written to senior broadcasters offering advice on how to quiz Tories and hold them to account on Scottish independence. An email sent to senior journalists gives tips on how to make sure Conservatives are “tied in knots” during interviews on television and radio, according to The Times. Nicola Sturgeon demands permanent referendum power for HolyroodNICOLA Sturgeon has called for Holyrood to be given permanent powers to hold an indefinite number of independence referendums. The First Minister today published draft legislation which would overhaul the 1998 Scotland Act to make votes on leaving the Union a devolved rather than a reserved issue. https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/18103707.mark-smith-inside-minds-unionists-voted-snp—means-2021/?fbclid=IwAR0VrMUuYYkp6O0mhcKNkuOWZs98m_4QUJEbn2t-3eNqH5y4b28V5yOnEKQ The Tories will not give us a Section 30 order, so we must be prepared to actDON’T mourn, organise! These, of course, are the elegiac dying words of Joe Hill, the Swedish-American labour activist and rebel songwriter, just before his infamous execution in 1915. Today, in Boris Land, Hill’s call to action takes on a fresh political resonance. Michael Gove seeks to quash calls for Scottish independence vote amid Nicola Sturgeon warningsThe UK Government has ruled out a second Scottish independence referendum, as Nicola Sturgeon warned Scotland “cannot be imprisoned in the Union against its will”. Michael Gove said the Tories would “absolutely” not hold another public vote on the matter during the course of the Parliament, regardless of how Scotland votes in the 2021 Holyrood election. Less known about performance of Scotland’s schools ‘than at any time since 1950s’A LACK of reliable data means less is known about the performance of Scotland’s schools than at any time since the 1950s, a leading think-tank has said. Reform Scotland said informed discussion is no longer possible because the Scottish Government has scrapped domestic surveys of pupil performance and withdrawn from international surveys. SNP’s independence plans would leave £100 billion bill, says Richard LeonardSNP plans for independence would leave the country with a £100 billion bill to prop up the country’s fledgling currency and usher in another decade of hardline austerity, Labour leader Richard Leonard has said. He warned of a “once in a generation” choice in Thursday’s election as he issued a last ditch plea to people “driven” to consider independence as an alternative to austerity. SNP’s domination of Scotland is under threatOutmanoeuvred, outspent and out-patriot-ed, the dispirited pro-Union parties in the Scottish parliament have, over the years of Scottish National Party domination since 2007, defaulted to one main accusation. That is, that the SNP cannot govern properly because it is not a government, but a campaign. This had limited traction. Nicola Sturgeon: We shouldn’t have had to battle with European lawNicola Sturgeon has set out her vision for an independent Scotland’s role in the European Union with a warning that she opposes the more radical aspects of greater political union brewing within the Brussels bloc. And the First Minister has insisted Brexit poses a “real threat to Scotland’s prosperity” as the election campaign reaches its final days. General election: Is SNP making life worse in Scotland so it can blame Westminster? – Christine JardineThe Scottish Government is failing in so many areas – from health to education – that Christine Jardine believes they are not working to fix problems and are holding back improvvements to bolster a sense of grievance that could lead to independence. ‘Incoherent’ campaign harming Indy cause and helping Tories, says senior SNP memberTHE SNP’s tactic of putting a second referendum at the heart of its campaign has been called into question by a senior party figure as support for independence fell to its lowest poll rating in five years. SNP blasted for frittering away public cash after trebling advertising spendingThe SNP Government has been accused of frittering public money away after more than trebling their spending on advertising over the last two years. Figures obtained by the Daily Record show the Scottish Government spent more than £6.5million between January 1, 2017 and October 31, 2019. Indyref2 would be more ‘brutal and corrosive’ than 2014 warns Jackson CarlawA second referendum on Scottish independence will be more “painful, brutal and corrosive” than the last vote in 2014, according to Tory leader Jackson Carlaw. He warned Scots against “sleepwalking” into a repeat of the previous vote over the prospect of an SNP-Labour deal if next week’s election brings about a hung Parliament. Scotland’s schools ‘worst in UK’ for pupil behaviour, truancy and teacher absenceSCOTLAND fared worst of the four home nations for headteachers’ gripes on staffing levels, pupil behaviour, and teacher absenteeism. School bosses were quizzed as part of the PISA study on what hampers learning in schools. And a bigger proportion of school bosses in Scotland were unhappy about both pupil and teacher behaviour, compared to counterparts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. MSPs branded ‘hypocritical’ over future referendum votesScottish ministers have been branded “hypocritical” after they rejected a bid to ensure any future referendums on the constitution would need to have a second confirmatory vote. Labour’s Jackie Baillie had called for this to be a key part of legislation going through Holyrood, which sets out how such ballots would take place. New SNP resignation over alleged anti-SemitismA MEMBER of the SNP who helped oversee party discipline has quit the party after it emerged she had compared Israel to the Nazis. Denise Findlay, who was elected to the SNP’s conduct committee in October, resigned after material she had posted on social media was passed to Channel 4 News. Poll: Most Scots think SNP handling NHS badlyPublic confidence in the Scottish Government’s handling of education, health and justice has fallen, according to a new poll. The YouGov poll for recorded negative ratings for all three areas, as well as for the economy. More than half of the 1,002 adults in Scotland surveyed between November 29 and December 3 believe the health service is being handled badly by ministers. STV debate analysis: Less than comfortable experience for Sturgeon as she battles Scottish rivals | Press and JournalWhen it comes to televised political debates Nicola Sturgeon must be one of the most experienced politicians in the UK. Over the years, she has performed well against the likes of David Cameron and Ed MIilband. And this weekend, for example, she was on both the BBC and ITV fighting the SNP’s corner. Parents left fuming after top students ‘rejected by Scots unis for being Scottish’IT’S reported that families of straight-A students across the country have been left angry after claims high achievers are being favoured for fee-paying students from England and abroad. And they’ve called on answers as to why their kids are being ‘discriminated against’. Middle-class pupils paying the price for SNP school reforms, expert warnsMIDDLE-CLASS pupils are paying the price for sweeping school reforms, a leading educationalist has warned, as Scotland’s performance in maths and science hit a record low in international rankings. Lindsay Paterson, professor of education policy at Edinburgh University, said the gap in reading level between rich and poor children has narrowed over the last decade partly because the performance of the better-off is falling. Nicola Sturgeon ruthlessly savaged for pretending ‘Scottish Brexiteers don’t exist’An enraged Scottish voter took aim at the Scottish Party for pretending that Scottish Brexiteer’s don’t exist in the upcoming election. The voter spoke during a panel discussion on Brexit in North Berwick. With the upcoming election less than two weeks away, the SNP party has consistently insisted that Scotland did not vote for Brexit. Nicola Sturgeon visit to Perth charity shelved after chair backs ToriesProposals for the first minister to visit a Perth charity have been shelved this week after it emerged its chairman was supporting the Conservative party in the upcoming general election. It is understood the local SNP branch had been in the process of arranging for the first minister to visit PKAVS, based on the city’s North Methven Street, as part of the election campaign. SNP plans mean ‘more austerity than under the Tories’, says IFSImplementing the SNP’s general election manifesto in an independent Scotland would lead to deeper austerity than under Conservative plans for UK spending, a leading economic think tank has said. The first analysis by the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that without new taxes to balance the SNP’s proposed giveaways, taxes would have to rise or further cuts would be needed elsewhere. Nato Secretary General responds to Sturgeon’s desire to scrap nuclear weaponsThe UK’s nuclear weapons are important to Nato, its Secretary General has said, in response to the Scottish Government’s desire to scrap the “deterrent”. With the SNP opposing nuclear weapons and calling for the removal of the Trident missile system from Scotland, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg argued that the world would not be safer if Nato members got rid of their nuclear arsenals. Mhairi Black’s deal with party crony all looks little bit too cosyMHAIRI Black has been the first to call out the conduct of the Westminster old guard since she became an MP in 2015. Now the SNP politician faces legitimate questions herself about her expenses and possible cronyism. Ms Black claimed £300 from taxpayers to relocate her constituency office. So far, so unremarkable. Mark Smith: Let’s do this – the trend that could bring down Dominic Raab and Ian BlackfordIT’S election night. It’s 1.45am and Dominic Raab, the Tory candidate for Esher and Walton, has just lost his seat. Two hours later, the SNP’s Ian Blackford is defeated in Ross, Skye and Lochaber. How do I feel about it? Pretty damned good actually. Act now to stop UK split next year, Willie Rennie urges voters – Evening ExpressVoters must “act now” to stop the SNP from seeking a Scottish independence referendum next year, Willie Rennie has said. Speaking in St Andrews, Fife, on Saturday, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader urged voters to back his party to end the division of Brexit, saying the SNP has not learned the lessons from the UK’s vote to leave the EU. SNP’s Scotland is no progressive paradise | LettersSuzanne Moore should take her own advice and try moving to Scotland (Johnson v Corbyn? I’d rather vote Sturgeon, G2, 26 November). She will find an SNP government that has almost tripled Westminster austerity cuts to local government funding, leading to a collapse in services. Forget England, this election could hang on voter calculations in Scotland, Wales and IrelandThe main focus in this election has been the Brexit battlegrounds of England where most expect the Commons majority that Boris Johnson needs to be won or lost. But this election is for a UK parliament, not an English one, and its outcome also depends on choices in the other three home nations, where arguments over Brexit are cross-cut by older cultural and constitutional fault lines. Tactical voting bid to thwart SNP launched as just four in 10 back independence voteOnly 24 hours after the First Minister accelerated her crusade to break up Britain, a poll revealed she is ignoring the views of most voters. The survey predicted major Nationalist gains in the General Election despite 50 percent of the population being opposed to another separation referendum within 12 months. Scotland left with ‘scraps off table’ in £2bn wind farm boomScotland has missed out on hundreds of millions of pounds of work in the creation of one of the country’s biggest offshore wind farms to overseas firms, the Herald can reveal. Menzies Campbell accuses SNP of ‘appalling treatment’ of the late Charles Kennedy | Press and JournalMenzies Campbell said the late Charles Kennedy had faced “appalling treatment” at the hands of the SNP during a campaign visit to the Black Isle. The former Liberal Democrat UK leader said Mr Kennedy was the victim of a “despicable campaign” when he lost the Ross, Skye and Lochaber seat to the SNP’s Ian Blackford in 2015. Will Nicola still be fighting to get on TV after her bruising joust with Andrew Neil?As far as is known, it hasn’t been revealed publicly how much it cost the Lib Dems and the SNP in legal fees when their High Court bid to muscle into ITV’s televised debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn failed last week. Tories declare £5.3m in private donations while SNP register just £130,000The Conservatives raised at least £5.3m in private donations during the most recent three-month quarter of the year, official figures revealed today. Labour declared £2,829,146 in private donations in the same period, while the Lib Dems registered £2,916,505. The SNP declared £130,738 – the majority of which came from one single donation. SNP’s Blackford talking ‘NONSENSE!’ Expert tears apart Scotland subsidising UK claimKevin Hague produced evidence which he said showed in fact, for the vast majority of that period, Scotland had actually been a net beneficiary. Speaking to Sky News yesterday, Mr Blackford, who was the party’s Westminster leader in the last Parliament, and who is seeking re-election as MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber on December 12, said: “The reason we want Scotland to be independent is because we want a wealthier Scotland. Lend me your votes! – parties call for tactical voting on Brexit and independence in general election 2019With the jolly festive election campaign now in full swing, all the parties are happily getting a ‘great response on the doors’ as they turn up like early carol singers, finding everyone they talk to is totally behind them and their policies and will definitely be voting for them on 12 December. YouGov Poll: The Scottish seats predicted to change hands at the general electionA YouGov poll released yesterday suggested yesterday that Boris Johnson would secure a majority in the Commons. The poll suggested the SNP is on course to secure a further eight seats taking their total to 43, although crucially for the Tories’ chance of securing their Westminster majority, only two of the SNP gains come from Boris Johnson’s party. Election candidate ridiculed for appearing to forget which constituency he was campaigning forAn SNP candidate has been ridiculed for getting the name of the constituency where he is standing wrong at a hustings. John Nicolson, the candidate for Ochil and South Perthshire, told the audience in Alloa: “As you know, only the Scottish National Party can beat the Tories here in East Dunbartonshire.” Nicola Sturgeon backs down in row over Indyref2 questionNICOLA Sturgeon has signalled a limited climbdown over the question for a second independence referendum after being told to change her plans by MSPs. The First Minister had wanted to re-used the same Yes/No question put to voters in 2014, ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ It’s time the SNP’s terrible record in government was exposedThe only suspense in Scotland’s elections lies in who comes second. So complete is the Scottish National Party’s dominance that the Scottish Conservatives’ manifesto is called ‘A Programme for Opposition’, summing up a campaign in which the Tories and Labour scrap for second while the SNP waltz to victory. Scottish Greens call for second independence referendum next yearTHE Scottish Greens have joined the SNP in calling for a second independence referendum before the end of next year if Brexit goes ahead as planned. The party’s co-leader Patrick Harvie said it was “entirely reasonable” for Scotland to hold another vote before the end of the Brexit transition period. SNP councillor suspended after sharing “anti-semitic” blog about trade unionistAN SNP councillor has been suspended for three months after sharing allegedly “anti-semitic” material online. Frank Anderson, a Nationalist councillor in West Lothian, was sanctioned after a hearing by an ethics watchdog. The SNP is now facing calls for him to be expelled from the party. Voters would prefer a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition over Labour-SNPVoters would prefer to see a Labour coalition with the Liberal Democrats over one with the SNP or with those three parties combined, new polling has indicated. The latest polling by GQR, in collaboration with the New Statesman, tested overall voting intention as well as attitudes towards the party leaders, possible coalitions, and individual party messages. The £3 billion bill for Scotland’s pothole neglectTHE cost of fixing Scotland ‘s pothole-blighted roads has reached £3billion, MSPs have been told. Urgent action has been urged as it emerged more than a third of local streets and 13 per cent of major roads need repairs. SNP told to ditch ‘£17million indyref2 plan’ and invest cash in schools | Press and JournalNicola Sturgeon has been told to ditch her multi-million pound second independence referendum plan and instead invest the cash in schools. It is believed indyref2 would cost in the region of £17million, roughly the sum of the 2014 poll. The Scottish Tories have said that cash could be better spent hiring more than 700 new teachers. https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/18046895.first-minister-accused-stunning-lack-self-awareness/?fbclid=IwAR3BgE_N_H78qVxxsJceUOUZmqAVmK-6m2ynkuBu9Ni01-PtQk7wOTotM2E SNP MP torn apart over NHS stance in fiery general election BBC clashKirsty Blackman was called up over her views on the NHS during a fiery chat on Politics Live. Jo Coburn grilled the SNP MP on failures within the NHS. Ms Blackman pointed to the impressive record on waiting times in A&E but could not provide a convincing explanation for the other failings. Nicola Sturgeon brands Boris Johnson a ‘scaredy-cat’ over refusal to face her in debateNicola Sturgeon has branded Boris Johnson a “scaredy-cat” over his refusal to debate her, saying she would face him “any time, any place”. The First Minister’s challenge follows the SNP’s exclusion from Tuesday’s televised head-to-head debate between Jeremy Corbyn and Mr Johnson – a format Ms Sturgeon declared was “deeply undemocratic”. Scots travel chiefs took 900 domestic flights in 5 yrs despite SNP green pushTRAVEL chiefs came in for flak after it emerged officials took 900 domestic flights in five years – despite the SNP’s green crusade. Figures show staff at government agency Transport Scotland have flown around the UK 872 times since 2014. Sturgeon downgrades Brexit from ‘material change’ to ‘illustration’ to justify Indyref2NICOLA Sturgeon has said she still wants a second independence referendum even if she stops Brexit, saying the issue is now merely an “illustration” of Westminster misrule. The SNP’s Holyrood manifesto of 2016 said it would take a “significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014” to justify Indyref2 in the current parliament, “such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will”. It would take ‘little’ for Scotland to be transformed in electionAt first glance Scotland would appear to be a sideshow in the battle to determine whether Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn spend Christmas Day as the tenant of 10 Downing St. Most of the country’s Westminster seats are held by the SNP, who have no prospect of forming the next UK government. Nicola or you Ian?! Ian Blackford fails to answer key question on Sturgeon spotlight rowThe MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber was speaking to Sky News about the unfairness of the SNP not being included in some debates. Mr Blackford described the SNP as Britain’s “third biggest party” and said it must be included. How dare nationalists suggest I am ‘less Scottish’ because I’m a unionist – Christine JardineI am Scottish, British and European, writes Christine Jardine after a stranger stops her in the street to ask how she can be a Scot but not want independence, then walks off without waiting for an answer. It didn’t take long. About a week in fact.