Why Britain shares America's torture shame

Commentary by Derek Bateman If America’s torture regime was shameful, as even their allies claim, how much of that shame is ...

Commentary | Wednesday, 10 December 2014 | Comments

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A Big Boy Did It …

Commentary By GA Ponsonby The National is set for an indefinite print run.  The first daily newspaper to back ...

Commentary | Saturday, 29 November 2014 | Comments

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All hail the Stupid Party

By Derek Bateman The chorus of whines is alive in the shires of England, and in Scotland the sound of deflating ...

Commentary | Thursday, 27 November 2014 | Comments

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More in: Commentary

News - Scotland and International

BBC Radio Scotland reshuffle 'response to indyref'

By Thomas Connolly BBC Radio Scotland has revealed a significant programming reshuffle, supposedly in response to the independence referendum, during which its news and current affairs department faced severe criticism. Radio Scotland head Jeff Zycinski has unveiled a three-hour daily morning show, to be presented by broadcasting stalwart Kaye Adams four days a week with the fifth day to be chaired by ... Read More

News in Brief

Glasgow sets standard on climate change

By A Newsnet Reporter Glasgow University has become the first in the UK to promise to pull its i... Read More

Scottish Greens welcome 3000 new members

The Scottish Greens are thanking over 3,000 new members who have joined the party since the close of polls on ... Read More

SNP membership surge means party could overtake UK Lib Dems

The wave of democratic engagement resulting from the referendum is continuing, the SNP has said today, as 16,694 new members ... Read More

SSP referendum meeting halted after pro-Union protestors berate locals

  By a Newsnet reporter  A public event to discuss the referendum, arranged by the Scottish Socialist Party, has had to ... Read More

Greens across Europe show support for Yes vote

Green Yes, the Scottish Green Party's campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum, will today (16 Sep) show the ... Read More

Darlings for Yes

Alistair Darling's plea to Scots to vote No has been given a giant thumbs down - by his own namesakes.  Another ... Read More

More in: In Brief

bi Bob Fairnie

The Scots language will only survive if the Scots nation yaises it for ilka-day spoken communication.  It disnae maitter a docken hou weel it gets written, if it disnae get spoken, it will dee oot.  Ilka time a Scot haes somethin tae say an disnae say it in Scots, thon's anither nail in the deid-kist o the mither tung.  Whit's e'en waur an daes e'en mair skaith tae the weird o the language is whan fowk stauns up tae praise the mither tung an tae cry for its survival but disnae dae it in Scots.  “I’ve had my Scots educated out of me,” is the excuise that's gien.

by Hazel Lewry

In recent months much has been said and written about the Scotland Bill, AKA Calman-lite. It gives little but presumes to take much.  There are two aspects to this subversive legislation that should truly create cause for alarm.  One is the presumption of 'UK Law' and the other is the 'resumption' of planning permission.

Two fists in one glove.  Planning permission opens a plethora of issues that appear not to have been fully considered when the original devolution agreement was settled upon more than a decade ago, however it was settled.  The first and most obvious being refusal of the new Scottish government to accede to requests for new nuclear power stations.

by G.A.Ponsonby

We’ve had the second week of campaigning and the first of the leaders’ debates.  What have been the talking points, the gaffes and the stories this second week?

Iain Gray’s profile increased slightly, almost entirely due to the leaders' debate, however it’s safe to say it was a spotlight that he’d rather not have had.  Alex Salmond took the debate spoils and still looks the winner in the profile race with a poll yesterday showing that 85% of respondents recognised the SNP leader whilst only 27% knew who the Labour front man was.

Annabelle Goldie’s stock has risen after suffering early campaign setbacks, she has appeared sure footed and performed well in the leaders’ debate.  Tavish Scott seems stuck in a rut and the awful handling of the North Sea oil plunder has rendered London-based colleagues like Danny Alexander and Michael Moore toxic.

By Derek Lambie

LABOUR’S Shadow Cabinet has been accused of wasting almost £1.4million of taxpayers’ money on “frivolous” political fishing exercises during their four years in Holyrood opposition.

The team of 23 MSPs, which harbours ambitions of replacing Alex Salmond’s current administration, bogged down civil servants by tabling an incredible 14,017 parliamentary questions since 2007.

by Gerry Hassan, Open Democracy

There is now a discernable political trend of London based centre-left policy wonks and commentators attempting to demystify or understand the dynamics of Scottish politics and falling flat on their faces.

Recent examples have ranged from Matthew Taylor’s offensive ramblings comparing Scotland and Japan after the earthquake and nuclear crisis, to the more thoughtful contributions of Nick Pearce, head of IPPR, and now Sunder Katwala, head of the Fabians.  From a different direction, Neal Lawson, chair of Compass, has endlessly invoked the ideals of ‘new socialism’ and ‘new politics’, while seeming to be fixated in old-style Labourist manner with the Westminster road to reform, to the exclusion of anything else.  It seems as if the very nature of what is ‘Britain’, British politics and life beyond Westminster, is just too difficult and complex for such centre-left narratives to get any more.

Alex Salmond will not introduce Local Income Tax in the lifetime of the next Scottish Parliament. The SNP will work with others to find a fair replacement for the council tax after 2016.

The new system will be taken to voters in the election that year and implemented in the next parliament - by which time the Scotland Bill will have given Holyrood more control over income tax. It is likely that if the SNP win this year's election the pressure will increase in Westminster to devolve tax powers further, including the ability to tax outwith the basic rate.

by Jamie Maxwell

The political fallout from the Chancellor’s budget day grab for an additional £2bn a year share of North Sea oil profits continues to spread.

Most of the hostile reaction so far has been directed at Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander, who has been widely reported as bragging around Westminster that the tax raid was his idea.

by Paul Kavanagh

When we hear Scots being spoken, or see examples of written Scots, we are immediately struck by the variation.  In every district where the language is spoken, there is a local accent and some words which are peculiar to the area.  To pick an obvious example, just about everyone knows that in the East of Scotland Scots speakers use the word bairn for child, whereas West of Scotland speakers invariably use the word wean.  Edinburgh folk use the word ken, but Glaswegians don't.  Yet the variety of Scots is more apparent than real.

But first, I want to explain the difference between accent and dialect.  Many people confuse the two.  Accent refers to pronunciation.  Many Scots speak only Standard English, so do Australians, English people and many others.


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