Man arrested after brick thrown through window of Scottish Lib Dem HQ – Daily Record

A brick has been thrown through the window of the headquarters of the Scottish Lib Dems, the party’s election chairman has said.

MP Alistair Carmichael, who is heading the campaign ahead of the May 6 election, said staff we left shaken by the incident but no one was hurt.

According to Mr Carmichael, Police Scotland have apprehended a suspect.

He said: “This morning a brick was thrown through the window of our HQ in Edinburgh.

“Fortunately no one was hurt but it could have been very different and our staff are understandably shaken by this.

“I’m dismayed that this kind of behaviour seems to have taken root in Scotland. Political campaigning should be about the clash of ideas, not about acts of violence.

“Officers attended and a 27-year-old man was arrested and charged. A report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.”

“I would like to thank Police Scotland for their work in detaining a suspect. I also want to thank all our party staff who have been affected by this incident but who continue to give their all in delivering our campaign in this election.”

24,000 jobs estimated at risk as Scotland’s covid-hit nightclubs run out of cash – Glasgow Live

Up to 24,000 bar and club workers face losing their jobs in an “impending unemployment tsunami” with the industry on “the brink of collapse” as lockdown eases.

The Night Time Industries Association said thousands could be out of work within weeks as struggling night-time economy businesses have now run out of cash to pay furlough contributions and fixed costs.

One-off grants for nightclubs of up to £50,000 were made available from the Scottish Government last October through the COVID-19 Contingency Fund.

Last month, the First Minister also announced up to £19,500 for hospitality and leisure businesses will be paid in April to help businesses re-open progressively.

These one-off restart grants will replace Strategic Framework Business Fund payments of up to £3,000 every four weeks, providing money up front to help with the costs of re-opening.

The Scottish Government released the latest Strategic Framework update on Friday which confirmed businesses will be subject to restrictions for a further period.

The lobby group argue there is no commitment for return to “commercially viable trading” in the sector, which would require the end of social distancing rules and 10pm curfew.

A survey this month of NTIA members suggests an average Covid related debt reaching up to £150,000 or more per premises.

Bus tycoon accuses SNP of using taxpayers’ cash like ‘confetti’ in Ferguson Marine ferries scandal – The Scotsman

The owner of one of Scotland’s most successful bus companies has said the controversy over the building of two new ferries at the Ferguson Marine shipyard was a “national embarrassment”.

Sandy Easdale, who owns the Greenock-based McGill’s Buses, spoke out in the wake of fresh revelations the Scottish Government paid consultant Tim Hair a total of £791,285 last year to run the stricken yard in Port Glasgow.

Mr Easdale, who along with his brother James, had expressed an interest in buying the shipyard when it went into administration in 2014, before it was sold to Jim McColl and subsequently won a £97 million contract for two new CalMac vessels.

Maryhill Library: No plans to reopen historic venue sparks fury – Glasgow Times

FURY has been sparked by the decision to close a library that has served its community for more than 100 years.

There are no plans to reopen Maryhill Library, Glasgow Life confirmed today, after it was left off a list of venues to make a comeback after lockdown restrictions are eased.

The arm’s-length body, which runs culture and leisure facilities for the council, is looking for anyone with an interest in using the building to come forward and take it over under new plans to allow external parties control over former public facilities.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Life said the organisation was “exploring how the community library provision can be supported in another venue as part of the city’s approach to community hubs”.

Bob Doris, the SNP candidate for Maryhill and Springburn, urged a rethink of the plans. He said: “I urge Glasgow Life to move quickly to bring forward re-opening plans for Maryhill Library at its current location. The local community want access to its library as soon as possible.

“The people of Maryhill should not have to wait whilst Glasgow Life consider any potential community hub plans.”

The decision was blasted as “shocking and devastating” for the community by Keiran O’Neill, the Labour candidate for the area, who has started a petition to save the facility.

Scotland’s Lost Generation – Labour Hame

Ever the underdog, Scotland may have been surprised to learn that it recently topped a league table: after 14 years of SNP rule we have the highest drug death rate in Europe.

And it gets worse – ours is the highest by far.  With 295 deaths per million in Scotland, we have over 3 times the number of drug deaths than the next country on the list – Sweden, with just 81.  The UK has 76.

But this article is not only about drug deaths.  It is about the failure in social policy this tragic reality represents, and the opportunity to improve Scotland which the SNP traded off for the only cause they have advocated in 100 years: separation.

As I enter my mid-thirties, I have lived my entire adult life under SNP rule.  At the age of 18, it made sense to me that a complacent and managerial Scottish Labour Party of 2007 lost to an invigorating and positive movement of fresh faces and fresh ideas.  The front page of the SNP’s 2007 manifesto promised us, “A nation that is healthier, with vital health services kept local; communities that are safer with a more visible police presence…and families that are wealthier.”

One would struggle – even in all the pages of history – to find a political party which after so long in power fell quite so short of its own bar.

And what was the headline policy that ushered in this new era of change? – Their promise to cut class sizes to just 18 pupils.  And yet here we are in 2021, with 1,700 fewer (full time equivalent) teachers than we started with, steadily declining academic standards in international league tables, and average class sizes of over 23.

The signs were clear to many Scots early on.  As a student activist a decade ago, I was forced to campaign against the SNP’s devastating cuts to college education across our nation – which disproportionately impacted upon the lives of our poorest young men and women.  And then I led students across Scotland to campaign nationally, resisting the SNP’s reintroduction of tuition fees.  Scottish degrees remain amongst the most expensive in Europe for ‘rest of UK’ students.

And what was the SNP’s ‘big idea’ for getting to grips with Scotland’s appalling levels of crime? The dysfunctional Police Scotland.  The amalgamation of Scotland’s historic forces placed all policing power into the pocket of the SNP.  And so what was the insurance policy to guarantee against the politicisation of our police? The Scottish Police Authority: an organisation so toothless and ineffective it was described as “fundamentally flawed” by its own former Chair; ignored by the Chief Constable who had to out-source its work; and labelled ineffective to the Justice Committee by HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland.

Police Scotland’s first Chief was sacked, and its second forced to resign amid serious allegations.  But its challenges went well beyond its management at the top.  The SNP’s commitment to ‘1000 extra police officers’ was counteracted by compulsory redundancies of civilian staff, which pushed our most experienced officers into office functions.  Response teams were merged and then cut.  As a response officer in Edinburgh, I was regularly one of only 4 officers covering the whole of East Edinburgh on shift.  Calls unanswered; appalling levels of enquiry into crime; brave officers and vulnerable communities let down.

Where was the radical shake-up of education and meaningful investments in social services?  Where was the rewriting of criminal justice to deal with addiction, antisocial behaviour and repeat offenders?  Where was the war on poverty?  Perhaps the greatest irony of our government has been that in its pursuit of independence, our communities have been left so much less empowered.  The fact that child poverty in Scotland has risen to an astonishing 1 in 4 (and forecast to grow even further) illustrates the magnitude of their failure.

Each life is precious, and weaves uniquely into the remarkable fabric we call our society.  Like many of Scotland’s social challenges, the reasons behind drug deaths are complex.  But they are rooted in a story of failing education standards, a broken criminal justice system, underperforming healthcare, and neglected social services.  And when was the last time any of us had a meaningful policy debate about these core functions of government?

When we consider the direct results of these policy failures, we bring into sharp focus that the ‘enemy’ of our nation is not Westminster, the BBC, or the ‘establishment parties’.  It is nationalism – the same divisive fallacy that promises us everything and yet offers us nothing.

Scotland’s drug death figures may have been a wakeup call to the SNP that they needed a new Minister for Public Health.  But to our nation, they ought to serve as a wakeup call that we need a new type of politics: one which seeks progress and unity; rather than protest and division.

We cannot quantify the opportunities we have lost to nationalism.  We will never know what could have been made of the lives and communities that have slipped through the fingers of our nationalist government over the last 14 years.

We have lost one generation.  Let us ensure that we do not lose the next.

Scotland under the SNP is now officially the ‘Sick man of Europe’ – Think Scotland

WHEN NICOLA STURGEON delivered her 2016 ‘Priorities for Government’ speech, the tone was optimistic. She spoke professionally about the sort of Scotland she was pledging to usher in. Speaking of the importance of greater equality of opportunity she said, “it will boost our economy, and enhance the equality of life of all of us. It will help to create not just a fairer nation, but one that is wealthier, healthier and happier.”

But her rhetoric on health has not matched reality. If we take a detailed walk through the data, it is impossible to conclude the First Minister has created a ‘wealthier’, ‘healthier’, or ‘happier’ never mind ‘fairer’ nation.

Even a cursory glance indicates the appalling state of health in Scotland. A Glaswegian man has a healthy life expectancy of just 54.6 years. (Healthy life expectancy (HLE) is an estimate of the number of years lived in ‘very good’ or ‘good’ general health, whereas life expectancy is the number of years an individual is expected to live). There is a huge gap in healthy life expectancy at birth between the most and least deprived areas of a staggering 25.1 years for males and 21.5 years for females.

Healthy life expectancy in Scotland is the lowest in Europe.  National Records of Scotland states that “it is estimated that a baby boy expects to live 61.7 years in good health and a baby girl 61.9 years in good health”. By contrast, according to WHO data, the average healthy life expectancy in Europe is 68.3 years with all other European countries having higher HLE than Scotland.  At 69.1 years even Albania has considerably higher healthy life expectancy.  Scotland fully qualifies for the sad title of ‘Sick Man of Europe.’

And be under no illusions, the SNP carries the can for this situation.

Life expectancy itself in Scotland had been increasing since the early 1980s until 2012-2014. Since the 2012-14 period, Scottish council areas have experienced slowing or stalling improvements in life expectancy. Data also indicates that many areas are now witnessing decreasing life expectancy.

Julie Ramsay, Head of Vital Event Statistics at National Records Scotland (NRS) said in January this year, “The decrease in healthy life expectancy coincides with a stalling of growth in life expectancy in recent years, and has resulted in a lower proportion of life being spent in good health”

Need I remind anyone that the SNP has held power since 2007, and health is a devolved competency? The first SNP Health Minister was none other than Nicola Sturgeon.

We do not need to look far to begin to understand how this situation has occurred under the nationalist administration. If we examine ScotGov’s own data on childhood diet and health, getting boys to eat healthier is even harder than before.

Fewer boys eat the recommended five a day now as compared to the second year of SNP rule. If you look at figure 1, you see the mean portions of fruit & vegetables per day eaten by boys was 2.7 in 2008; and in 2019 a lower 2.6. Not merely no progress, in fact outcomes have deteriorated.

Overall obesity levels in Scotland also reveals a picture of deteriorating individual health throughout the life of this nationalist administration.  Figure 2 shows that two in three adults were obese or overweight including obesity in 2019. This is the highest prevalence in the Scottish Health Survey time series since 2003. Also shown is the rise in obesity, up from 27% in 2008 to 29% in 2019. That entire time-period is within the life of the current nationalist administration.