Professional-union tactical voting frustrates Scotland’s nationalists – POLITICO

EDINBURGH — In Scotland’s parliamentary election, tactical voting by pro-union supporters is proving a powerful force that could well deprive Nicola Sturgeon’s pro-independence Scottish National Party of an overall majority.

With counting ongoing following Thursday’s election, Sturgeon is seeking a mandate to hold a second independence referendum. An overall majority of seats for her party in the Scottish Parliament would pile pressure on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to grant one, though nationalists argue a simple majority of pro-independence MSPs from multiple parties should be enough.

Cracks found on ScotRail trains after urgent safety checks – The Scotsman

ScotRail said a “small number” of its class 385 electric trains – which run on routes such as the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line – were affected.

It said a “handful of services” would run with half the normal carriages on Monday as a result.

Some of the fleet of 70 Hitachi-built trains, which are less than three years old, are undergoing further checks.

The cracks have been found in the chassis under the carriages, which, in a worst-case scenario is thought could cause a derailment.

Indyref2: Poll finds just 12 per cent of Scots want focus on new vote – The Scotsman

A poll conducted on the eve of the Holyrood election has found that 50 per cent of voters want the next Scottish Government to focus on the NHS and social care, with the economy and jobs being the next priority – and a second independence referendum coming eighth on the list.

The poll by Survation, for the Scotland in Union campaign organisation, found that just one in eight people believe independence is one of the most important issues for the new SNP government.

It also found that only 37 per cent of Scots believe there should be a referendum before the end of 2023, which has been suggested by Nicola Sturgeon as the right time for a second vote on the constitution.

The survey, of over 1000 adults, also asked how people would vote in a referendum – using the option of leaving or remaining in the UK rather than the usual question of whether Scotland should be independent or not with a yes or no choice – and found 58 per cent would choose to “remain part of the United Kingdom”.

Asked to select up to three of the most important issues the new Scottish Government should prioritise, 50 per cent chose the NHS and social care, 46 per cent economy and jobs, 45 per cent Covid-19 recovery, 30 per cent education – and only 12 per cent opted for independence.

On the possibility of another referendum, 51 per cent agreed it would make “Scottish society more divided” – and only 34 per cent disagreed.

Scotland in Union said it would promote the findings on billboards and on social media “as a reminder to the SNP that it must listen to the people of Scotland and focus on people’s priorities – and not treat every vote it received as support for a referendum.”

Pamela Nash, chief executive of the organisation, said: “The new SNP government must listen to the people of Scotland, who are clear that independence is not a priority. The very last thing we need right now is more division in our society.

Redact, redact, redact: Ministers refuse to reveal junior doctors’ shifts report – The Sunday Post

The father of a junior doctor who died following exhausting shifts has accused ministers of obsessive secrecy after he appealed against the decision to make 37 redactions to a 21-page report – and was sent a revised version with 29 redactions.

Brian Connelly’s daughter Lauren died after a car crash while driving home from Inverclyde Royal Infirmary where she had been working long shifts. Since her death in 2011 her father has campaigned tirelessly to protect other overworked junior doctors from dangerous fatigue.

In 2018 the Scottish Government commissioned an Expert Working Group to examine how it could implement a 48-hour working week for hospital doctors.

Connelly says the report was completed in January last year and, since then, he has written to Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman four times asking to see a copy.

When that failed, he submitted a Freedom of Information request for a copy. But, when he was finally received the report, its executive summary and conclusions had been redacted. In total the 21-page report contained 37 redactions.

Connelly appealed and has been sent a new report – this time with 29 redactions – again deleting its executive summary and recommendations.

The report contains passages describing how working hours and rotas impact doctors’ fatigue and safety, and how they also affect patient safety and medical outcomes.

The Scottish Government ­originally justified the redactions, saying it was not in the public interest to publish the information.

After Connelly appealed, Scottish Government business manager Susan Curran agreed this ruling did not apply to all the redacted material. However, she also decided a second reason for denying a full FoI release – that doing so might deter medical and other professionals from giving evidence to future studies – did apply.

Connelly, of East Kilbride, said Lauren started her job at Inverclyde Royal in the summer of 2011 with a roster of 90 hours over just 10 days.

He is calling for junior doctors to work a maximum 48 hours in any given week – and health boards should not be able to circumvent this by averaging out the number of hours a doctor works per week over a six-month period. Junior doctors in some Scottish hospitals revealed they worked more than 87 hours in a week.

He said: “We are being forbidden to see in full a report that examines junior doctors’ dangerously long hours and provides a potential remedy and time scales for its implementation. I have been sent another copy of the report but all the useful information still does not appear. The Scottish government seems determined to not publish the report. I have appealed to the Information Commissioner by letter and await his decision.”

Medical campaigners Doctors for the NHS also criticised the ongoing secrecy over the report, saying: “Why is the truth about doctors’ hours not being disclosed? No workforce can be expected to tolerate these conditions indefinitely and not be expected to make mistakes or suffer directly. Open and honest explanations should be the minimum expectation. This pervasive culture of hide or stay silent has to stop.”

The Scottish Government said: “We handle FOI requests in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2002. We only apply redactions to information where these are appropriate and are in line with the law.”