Scots newly qualified dentists ‘earning minimum wage’ – The Herald, 28/03/2021

NEWLY qualified dentists say they are being forced to take up second jobs because the current NHS payment arrangements have left some earning the equivalent of the minimum wage.

They have accused the Scottish Government of treating them like ‘a loophole they can’t be bothered to fix’. One dentist told how he could ‘earn more working in McDonalds’.

The Guardian view on Scottish politics: a battle with no winners – The Guardian, 24/03/21

Scottish politics is a small world. Inevitably so, in a nation of 5.5 million. The Scottish National party is also close-knit, once famous for presenting a unified front to outsiders. That is how it grew to become the dominant force, now in its 14th year in government. It also helps explain why the feud between Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond has been so bitter and all-consuming as a spectacle. In terms of SNP division, it was a volcanic eruption on what had previously been a largely featureless landscape.

The lava has stopped flowing, but the ground is scorched. The origin of the dispute is allegations of sexual harassment and assault made against Mr Salmond, which he denied. A court acquitted him on all charges last year. A parallel controversy ignited around the Scottish civil service’s handling of the allegations; its own botched inquiry (revealed in a different court case to have been “tainted by apparent bias”); and questions of what Ms Sturgeon had known and when, and what action she had or hadn’t taken.

Mr Salmond alleged a malicious plot. The first minister pleaded memory lapses. Whether she had knowingly breached the ministerial code became the crux question. Earlier this week, an independent inquiry decreed that she had not. A separate report by an investigating committee of MSPs was more critical, but the force of its conclusions was blunted by leaks and conspicuous partisanship. A vote of no confidence against Ms Sturgeon at Holyrood flopped.

Alba Party: Pranksters hijacked Scottish internet address within hours – The Herald, 28/03/21

Alba party officials have been left red-faced after the Scottish version of its domain name was hijacked within hours of Alex Salmond firing the starting gun on its Holyrood election bid.

While the official Albaparty.org address has been promoted as the party’s website, the version using a ‘.Scot’ domain has been commandeered on behalf of another party.

Dumfries and Galloway Council accused of “shoddy” attempts to fix potholes – Daily Record, 25/03/21

Dumfries and Galloway Council has been accused of throwing money down the drain on defective road repairs.

Several “shoddy” attempts to fix the crumbling C50S near Glenlochar are “a waste of money”, according to community leaders.

Photographic evidence given to the News depicts three sub-standard fixes on a crater near Balmaghie Kirk.

The first repair, made last March, failed within weeks while the second, in January, disintegrated within hours.

Workmen arrived last week for a third attempt but only partially-filled the pothole

Families who lost loved ones to Covid urge Nicola Sturgeon to trigger Scotland-only inquiry – Sunday Post, 28/03/21

Families who lost loved ones to Covid have again urged Nicola Sturgeon to set a date for a public inquiry into the official handling of the pandemic.

A campaign group was disappointed when, in a meeting with the first minister, she refused to commit to a timetable and suggested a UK-wide public inquiry was still her preferred option.

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice fear seeking a four-nations approach means nothing will happen for months despite a parliamentary vote for an immediate public inquiry in November.

Alan Wightman, of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, whose mother Helen died of coronavirus in a Fife care home, said: “The first minister said she will try again to get a four-nations approach but if she can’t get that she will commit to going for an inquiry in Scotland only. I was floored. I wasn’t expecting that.

“I reminded her of the vote in parliament in November for an immediate inquiry and that Health Secretary Jeane Freeman already tried for a four nations approach and didn’t get it.

“A four-nations approach is doomed from the start. Why would you waste time on that when you know the answer is going to be no?”

Alba technical fault reveals thousands of names who signed up for party events – The Herald, 28/03/21

THOUSANDS of people have had their data leaked by Alex Salmond’s new party just hours after it launched – which could cost them as much as £17 million.

The Herald on Sunday can reveal that the names of more than 4,000 people who have signed up to attend Alba Party events were visible to the public due to a fault in the party’s website.

Among them appear to be members of the SNP’s ruling body.

Ferret investigation: Public bodies shed property to balance books

Scotland’s public institutions have sold off more than half a billion pounds worth of land and property between 2015 and 2019, with public assets being shed to make up for budget shortfalls.

SNP blasts Salmond’s Alba party as “predictable” and “self-interest”

THE SNP has described Salmond’s Alba party as “predictable” and questions whether Salmond should return to public office.

In a statement, the party said the announcement this afternoon that Salmond would be launching a new pro-independece Alba party to run for list seats in the upcoming elections as “perhaps the most predictable development in Scottish politics”.

Scotland has highest Covid infection rate in UK – BBC, 26/03/21

Scotland has the highest coronavirus infection rate in the UK, according to the latest national figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) test positivity figures show that while infections have levelled off in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland’s infection rate has increased over the past two weeks.

It is estimated one in 240 people in Scotland has the Covid infection.

It comes as West Lothian reports a significant spike in cases.

SNP mask is beginning to slip… no one can predict May’s election – Glasgow Times, 25/03/21

OR most of last year the Scottish Parliament elections coming up in May looked like a foregone conclusion.

Poll after poll showed the SNP heading for an outright majority, either on their own or with the support of the Greens. Polling on the constitutional question was similarly buoyant for those of a nationalist bent.

This, of course, was in a political environment where it was almost impossible for any issue other than the Covid pandemic to gain any traction or any serious discussion in the media. Rightly or wrongly, the Scottish Government was perceived to have had a ‘good pandemic’; at least in comparison to Westminster if not our European neighbours.