Some Scottish News & Views Issue # 476

Issue # 476                                     Week ending Saturday 3rd November 2018

Would You Fly in An Aircraft Where the Only Fuel on Board is in the Co-pilot’s Lighter?
By Iain MacIver Courtesy of the Press & Journal

So Loganair, the pioneering puddle-jumping outfit that calls itself Scotland’s National Airline, is trying to pull off a world first by having the first electric planes. I know what you’re thinking. Yes, an extra-long extension cable will be required. Not while its flying - that’s just silly. I can just imagine what will happen at Stornoway. The pilots will just park up the plane at the terminal building, reel out the long extension cable and head inside to look for a spare socket to charge up the old bird. It will probably mean that Jeanette, Davie and Ivor and the rest of the Loganair staff will have to unplug the kettle for a bit. Operational requirements will take priority over sipping Nescafe and Tetley. Sorry, guys.

You’ve got to love technology. Sometimes you have to just take a step back and think to the way things were just 25 years ago. No smartphones, no social media, very basic internet with modems that went brrrrr-beeee-wheee and we were still using VHS video cartridges. Then came the revolution in audio-video technology and the follow-up to the CD that arrived in the 1980s was the Digital Video Disc in 1995. What a difference. High quality playback and you did not have to risk life and limb by sticking a knitting needle in them to free a chewed tape. What a brilliant advance in science. Heard the latest? The DVD is dead.

Yes, DVDs are being phased out after just 23 years. The biggest seller, John Lewis, will not be getting any more stock after they have cleared the shelves. When they’ve gone, they’ve gone. The other shops will obviously follow soon after because sales are tumbling. People are downloading their movies now. Have you just bought a DVD player? Bad luck. Yes, you can try to start a campaign but it won’t work. There has been a revival of vinyl because the sound quality is actually superb - as long as it is not scratched - and because you get a big interesting picture to hold and show off to your mates.

Whoever held up two Churchillian fingers and said of a small, almost-unreadable DVD case that it was “really cool and groovy, man”? Nah, didn’t think so. It is not about nostalgia, you see. There is no sign of a revival in the fortunes of the horrible, fiddly, aggravating unfit-for-purpose monstrosity we knew as the compact cassette, for example. Until some sentimental boffin in an ivory tower somewhere can think of ways to also stop it being chewed up, it is doomed to be forgotten in the mists of time - and a good thing too.

Back in the days when Loganair was young and we recorded Radio Luxembourg by starting and stopping it before the DJ spoke, the quality was not the best. Oh, stop that mawkish, dewy-eyed fondness. Be honest. There was a constant noise going swisssssssss. Ah, the Swiss. Now there is an inventive nation which also has a reputation for quality and service. And they really like everyone to know that. They stick the names of their country or some form of it on just about everything.

You’ll find the word Swiss emblazoned in giant letters on the national airline, Swissair. Most of Europe makes cheese but the Swiss claim to make the best and better chocolates than the Belgians. And which Army makes these all-purpose pocket knives? Watches, there’s another thing the Swiss boast about. They even combined the words Swiss and watch to give us the Swatch. Good job it wasn’t made in Croatia. Can you imagine it? What’s the time? Hold on till I look at my Crotch.

Technology makes people tell fibs. A High Street shop chain recently monitored how many people actually studied the terms and conditions for ordering from their website. They found that only three per cent actually scrolled through them at normal reading speed suggesting that everyone else did not peruse them properly, or at all. Yet 100 per cent of the people who browsed the site had ticked the box for: “I have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions.” Me? Nope, never done that. Well, maybe once. Actually, all the time.

Plug-in planes will be fun but the most useful technology is texting. Very simple and very cheap communication - if you have a very complicated and very expensive phone. How did we ever manage without the dashed thing? Texting is amazing. It does our thinking for us. In a millisecond, predictive texting works out what we want to write and writes it before we have had a chance to. It is magnificent. However, I am not sure about its close cousin - autocorrect. I remember hearing that a young police cadet texted her friend to say: “My unicorn is ready. I will be out on patrol by Friday.” I would quite like to be pulled over in Cromwell Street by a cop on a unicorn - whether she was in a uniform or not. Beware, autocorrect has become our worst enema.

Derek Mackay Calls for More UK Cash Ahead of Budget

Scotland's finance secretary has warned that any increases in Scottish funding in Monday's Budget cannot be offset by cuts elsewhere.  Derek Mackay called on Philip Hammond to "show me the money" after Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this month said that austerity was over.   Mr Mackay said that pledge should lead to action.  However, Mr Hammond said detailed information would have to wait for next year's spending review. Mr Mackay said: "The prime minister said austerity is going to end and I'm saying to the UK Westminster government: show me the money.  That means a substantial, meaningful uplift in addition to the health commitments, which I welcome, and it must not be offset by cuts elsewhere." Speaking about the "end to austerity" statement, Mr Hammond said: "Once we get a good deal from the European Union and the smooth exit from the EU, we will be able to show the British people that the fruits of their hard work are now at last in sight."  Business rates in Scotland are devolved but the Budget may include money for the Scottish government.  Mr Mackay said the rates relief could be passed on to support Scottish businesses.  "I'll look at the detail and set it in the context of the entire Budget to ensure that Scotland remains competitive and a place that people want to live, work and invest - but I will look at what other support we can do from the Scottish government.  I am sympathetic around business rates because I want Scotland to be competitive and I want us to have a competitive advantage.  That's why we have the small business bonus, for example, where we've lifted 100,000 properties out of business rates altogether, and on rates reform we're recognising Scotland as being ahead of the curve on more frequent re-evaluations."  He added: "We've already put in place a number of measures to support businesses on domestic rates, and I will look at further measures following the UK Westminster government's Budget."

Finlay Johnston Wins Glenfiddich Piping Championships

A piper from Tiree has won the world-famous Glenfiddich Piping Championship.  Finlay Johnston took the 2018 prize after competing against some of the piping world's best solo performers.  The championship, which is staged at Blair Castle in Perthshire, is in its 45th year after being established in 1974.  This year's finalists had been selected after winning prestigious accolades at other piping events over the past 12 months.  Mr Johnston said: "I'm overwhelmed. It's a competition I've watched my entire piping career - one I've looked up to. To now have won, it is unbelievable."

Nicola Sturgeon Warns of ‘Horrific Consequences’ of Anti-semitism After US Shooting

The First Minister, who is due to visit Auschwitz with a group of schoolchildren this week, said it was “more important than ever” that the current generation learn about the Holocaust. She spoke out on Twitter after Robert Bowers killed eight men and three women inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday before being shot by police.  He told officers that Jews were committing genocide and that he wanted them all to die, according to a charging document.  Ms Sturgeon tweeted: “Later this week, I’ll accompany @HolocaustUK and a group of Scottish school pupils on a visit to Auschwitz. As antisemitism rears its head again - often, as in USA yesterday, with horrific consequences - it is more important than ever that the next generation learns and remembers.”  Meanwhile, Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf spoke about the “huge contribution” that the Jewish community makes to the country.  Mr Yousaf spoke to Jewish people from Scotland at The Gathering event in Edinburgh on Sunday, telling them the thoughts and prayers of the people of Scotland were with all those affected by the “despicable” and “appalling” events in Pittsburgh.  He said: “This event presents an ideal opportunity to reflect on the diversity of Scotland and the important role our faith communities play in supporting public cohesion. On behalf of the Scottish Government, I pay tribute to the huge contribution which Jewish communities make to our society.”  Mr Yousaf continued: “Of course this Gathering takes place against the backdrop of widespread shock and sadness at the appalling attack on the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The thoughts and prayers of people across Scotland are with everyone affected by this despicable act and we stand in solidarity with the Jewish community across the world.  In Scotland we will continue to work together to tackle prejudice and build the society we want to be - a safer, stronger and fairer nation where equality and human rights are fully respected and each person, every family and all communities can flourish.”

Scottish Eatery Named As One of Wall Street Journal’s 5 Restaurants in the World ‘Worth Travelling For’

The Three Chimneys, on the isle of Skye, was one of the restaurants chosen in the Wall Street Journal list.  The list also featured restaurants in Maine, Australia, the Faeroe Islands and Sweden.  WSJ writer, Margot Dougherty, said of the Skye restaurant: “When nothing but Isle of Muck red-legged partridge will do, Three Chimneys is your go-to.  Other examples of chef Scott Davies’ take on farm-to-table cuisine: local Rose beef with Isle of Barra snail ravioli and honey-yogurt parfait with a dusting of Douglas fir and almonds.”  The Three Chimneys team said they were “honoured” for the mention, tweeting: “This is a fantastic accolade for Team Three Chimneys & Skye.”

Pressure on Westminster Over Tay Cities Region Deal
Pressure is building on the UK Westminster government to increase its funding for a major economic deal in Scotland in next week’s Budget, after Scottish ministers announced they would provide £200 million.  Infrastructure secretary Michael Matheson has challenged Chancellor Philip Hammond to match the sum for the Tay Cities Region Deal when he reveals his annual spending plans, after reports that the UK government is set to invest only around £150m in the deal.  A sum of less than £200m is likely to be controversial, as deals for areas including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen have seen the two governments match each other’s funding.  It is hoped that the deal, which will cover Dundee, Perth, Angus and north Fife, will create up to 15,000 jobs by funding economy-boosting projects in the region.  Local councils have indicated they would be happy with £400m in total from the two governments, despite originally asking for £763m when the bid was tabled last year.  Among the projects set to benefit are Dundee Airport, Perth City Hall, the planned Cross Tay Link Road, improvements to the A90 and a 20-hectare business park in Tayside. Mr Matheson said: “A Tay Cities Region Deal of this scale has the power to build on the area’s significant strengths and expertise .  I expect City Region Deals to be funded on a 50:50 basis and I call on the UK government to match our commitment and make this a £400m deal.”   A UK Westminster government spokeswoman said the eventual sum the Treasury put forward would be based “on our assessment of the projects that have come forward, not on arbitrary challenges”.  She added: “We are not playing politics with the Tay Cities deal. We expect the Scottish Government to meet their responsibilities and support projects in areas that are devolved to Holyrood. We expect to announce further progress very soon and will move quickly towards signing Heads of Terms following discussions with the partners.  It is essential for the future of the City Deals programme – which has already seen the UK government commit more than £1 billion to Scotland’s -cities – that partners work collaboratively.”

Comment -R
the City Deals programme – which has already seen the UK Westminster government commit more than £1 billion to Scotland’s cities.  That's "£1 billion" over a number of years, I think about 10 years, when what is really needed is £10 billion EVERY YEAR - or about 100 times more new deal funding.  Michael Matheson's call is a baby step in the right direction when giant steps are needed.  It is OK in principle to call on the UK Westminster government to use its borrowing powers to offer more generous funding deals for Scottish cities and regions.  However, the city deals which have been offered are merely crumbs from the master's table - throwing the Scots a bone to shut them up.  When the Scottish government - Oliver Twist style - asks the UK's Mr Bumble - "Please sir, can we have some more?" then it is no surprise if the UK Westminster government gives the Scottish government the run-around.  Are the Scots just beggars then? Or should the Scots have the powers of economic self-government?  The scale of new deal funding which is appropriate is about another £10,000 million per year for the whole of Scotland.  That new deal is best implemented by the Scottish government demanding a new deal Fiscal Framework Agreement which would allow the Scottish government to borrow interest-free from the Bank of England.

Bonfire Night: Edinburgh Police to Visit Homes of Potential Troublemakers

Fireworks yobs planning trouble this Bonfire Night can expect a knock at the door from police this week, Edinburgh’s top cop has warned.  Chief Superintendent Gareth Blair said tip-offs and trawls of social media have garnered intelligence in an unprecedented operation to prevent a repeat of last year’s mayhem.  But although he vowed to get tough with any minority hellbent on trouble, Mr Blair said officers will seek to “engage not antagonise”. He added: “This is not a confrontational policing operation - the majority of the resources that are involved are community officers based in Edinburgh.  We want everybody to enjoy Halloween and Bonfire Night safely and we want to engage with individuals involved in that and be really friendly.”  But he has sterner words for anyone planning a repeat of last year’s chaos which saw cars torched, a policewoman seriously burnt and firefighters attacked.  Mr Blair said: “However, and this is not a challenge, we know what happened last year and I need to ensure my officers are safe, emergency services are safe and the young men and women who are attending these events are safe.  Yes we will have a good idea who people are who could potentially be causing us a bit of bother.”  More officers will be deployed on beats across the Capital from yesterday while Mr Blair will be able to draw on specialist support November 2 to 6.  A year in the planning, the operation has included school outreach work to warn kids of the danger of fireworks and unauthorised and unsupervised bonfires. “We’re asking parents do you know where your kids are - do you know they’re safe - trying to get them to ask those questions,” added Mr Blair.  Officers in protective gear including helmets and fire retardant uniforms will be on standby in case trouble flares.  Mr Blair also has off-road bikes at his disposal while a handful of officers will be deployed with DNA spray - initially used in a bid to catch motorcycle thieves.  Only visible under UV lights, the harmless spray stays on skin and clothing, allowing officers to tag any yobs before identifying them later.  “There will be zero tolerance to criminality, if we don’t deal with it on the night we will deal with it robustly afterwards,” said Mr Blair.  “The public have a pride in Edinburgh and they won’t accept anti-social behaviour. We know they have a real pride and they won’t tolerate it.”  Collectively we’ll be ready for anything that happens. Last year was unacceptable - I cannot allow that to happen again.  We have to do everything we can to prevent what happened last year and if it starts we need to be in a position to robustly deal with it.”  But he added: “I don’t want to antagonise anyone, I don’t want to have any confrontation. I want to have that engagement process that we’re used to having in Edinburgh.”  Chief Inspector David Robertson is overseeing plans and said: “My job is making sure they’ve got what they need, enough vehicles and officers - everything seems in hand.”

Row Over Impact of UK Budget on Scotland

A row has broken out over the impact of the UK Westminster government's Budget on Scotland. Chancellor Philip Hammond's latest set of tax and spending plans included a freeze on whisky duty and oil industry taxes, and an extra £950m for the Scottish government over three years.  However his Scottish counterpart Derek Mackay said the UK government had made a choice not to end austerity, and had "short-changed Scotland".  The Scottish government's draft budget plans will be set out in December.  Mr Hammond used his Budget - the last before the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 - to claim that "the era of austerity is finally coming to an end".  The Scottish government will get an extra £959.7m to spend over the next three years as a result of decisions made by Mr Hammond which cut across devolved areas - known as "Barnett consequentials".  Ministers at Holyrood get to choose how this cash is spent, although Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has already indicated that Barnett consequentials stemming from extra NHS funding in the rest of the UK will also be spent on health north of the border.  Other measures announced which will have a significant impact in Scotland include:     £150m for the Tay City Deal and negotiations for a Moray growth deal,    whisky duty frozen,   headline tax rates on the oil and gas industry maintained and     £10m -UK-wide for fisheries technology.  Mr Hammond claimed the freeze on whisky duty was due to "concerted lobbying" by the Scottish Conservatives, saying that "we can all afford to raise a wee dram to Ruth Davidson on the arrival of baby Finn".  And Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the budget was an "extensive investment in Scotland's economy", which "demonstrates clearly how the UK government is delivering for people in Scotland".  He said the bulk of the extra money for Scotland as a result of Barnett consequentials, would come next year, and suggested that Scottish ministers invest most of it in the NHS.  In reaction, the Scottish finance secretary said that "austerity has not ended, and that is a choice by the UK Westminster government".  Mr Mackay said: "They could have done much more to stimulate the economy and invest in our public services, and they have chosen not to.  I asked the Tories to 'show me the money' when they declared austerity was over - looking at their budget they have instead short-changed Scotland, and particularly the NHS.  The Scottish government has already set out our plans to support the NHS in the years to come and the funding we have received as a result of health spending in England will go to our NHS in Scotland - but so far the UK government has fallen at least £50m short of what was promised only four months ago. The reality of today's budget is that Scotland continues to be hit by UK austerity and the decision to leave the EU."  Scottish Labour said people would "see through" the government's claims about austerity coming to an end. Leader Richard Leonard said: "Theresa May promised the people that austerity would end, but this budget has delivered nothing of the sort. While big business in the UK pay the lowest rates of corporation tax in the G7, low paid workers are struggling by on poverty pay, with a social security system that imposes a two child cap on tax credits."  Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie said Mr Hammond had failed to heed warnings about "the urgency of tackling climate change".  He said: "We heard a chancellor obsessed with keeping taxes low on the oil and gas industry, aviation and on petrol sales. No one believes that token gestures such as limiting disposable coffee cup use will see us through this climate crisis."  Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said the Chancellor had "neither ended austerity nor addressed the fundamental problems in the economy".  He said: "We needed a Budget that gave people fairer taxes and better public services, and a final say on the Brexit deal. Today, we got none of that."

History of Pictish Stones ‘Rewritten’ by Breakthrough Research

The history of Pictish symbol stones in Scotland is being “rewritten” with new research finding the mysterious monuments were being created hundreds of years earlier than previously thought.  A breakthrough in the understanding of the ancient stones has been made following excavations at Dunnicaer sea stack, the site of a Pictish fort just south of Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire.  It is now believed that the site is home to the oldest Pictish stones in Scotland with a new dating system placing the remnants to as early as 3rd Century AD.  Previously, scholars dated the country’s earliest Pictish stones to anywhere between the 5th and 7th centuries.  Dr Gordon Noble, head of archaeology at the University of Aberdeen, led the research with dating experts at National Museums of Scotland.  He said the new dating approach, which deploys highly accurate date testing on items found surrounding the stones, had significantly “pushed back” the chronology of the mysterious monuments. He said: “Establishing an outline chronology through a combination of direct dating, modelling and examining associated dates from archaeological excavation is helping us rewrite the history of these symbolic traditions of Northern Europe and to understand more clearly the context of their development and use.  In the last few decades there has been a growing consensus that the symbols on these stones are an early form of language and our recent excavations, and the dating of objects found close to the location of the stones, provides for the first time a much more secure chronology.  While others had suggested early origins for this system no direct scientific dating was available to support this.  Our dating reveals that the symbol system is likely to date from the third-fourth century AD and from an earlier period than many scholars had assumed.” It is now believed the symbols carved into the stones were a form of naming system that communicated the identities of Picts.  This was being done at the time other writing systems were being developed across Europe, such as like the Ogham script of early Ireland and the runic system developed in Scandinavia.  The dating evidence drew on excavation work at a promontory fort at Dunnicaer, where unelaborated carvings, generally of a smaller size and less standardised when compared with the later standing stone monuments, had been recovered in the 19th century.  Work at the dramatic site close to Dunnottar Castle revealed that stones probably came from the rampart of the fort.  Dating of the site conclusively showed that the settlement was at its height in the third to fourth centuries AD.  Meanwhile, direct dating was also carried out on bone objects and settlement layers from sites in the Northern Isles.  This showed the use of the symbol system in the fifth century AD in the far north, in areas that were at the periphery of Pictland. Bayesian modelling, a technique for refining and narrowing down the probabilities of radiocarbon dating, was also used to provide greater clarity on the dates of Pictish settlement at Rhynie in Aberdeenshire, famous for the Rhynie Man stone.  This showed that a fort with Pictish symbol stones standing within a series of ramparts and palisades dated from the late fourth to early sixth century AD.  Dr Martin Golderg of National Museums Scotland added: “The general assumption has been that the Picts were late to the game in terms of monumental communication, but this new chronology shows that they were actually innovators in the same way as their contemporaries, perhaps more so in that they did not adapt an alphabetic script, but developed their own symbol-script.”  Dr Derek Hamilton, of Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, undertook the Bayesian modelling.Dr Hamilton said: “Bayesian modelling has revolutionised the world of radiocarbon dating, helping us to develop more refined chronological frameworks than was previously possible. The statistical modelling of the dates from Pictland is beginning to set our understanding of this tradition on a more solid footing than ever before.”  The research is now published in archaeology journal Antiquity.

MSPs Call for Solution to Devolution Row 'Impasse'

Holyrood's constitution committee has called on Scottish and UK ministers to resolve the "impasse" over devolution and consent "as a matter of urgency".  A new report from the group said MSPs should not give their consent to the UK Trade Bill while the dispute continues.  The Scottish government is furious that the EU Withdrawal Act passed despite MSPs refusing to give it their backing.  And they have resolved not to put any more Brexit bills forward for votes at Holyrood until the row is resolved. Constitution committee convener Bruce Crawford said the schism "needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency", and before the Trade Bill completes its passage through Westminster.  The UK Westminster government contends that the Trade Bill is "fully compliant" with the devolution settlement. Ministers in London and Edinburgh have long been at odds over Brexit, and the dispute reached a head when Westminster passed the flagship EU Withdrawal Act despite a vote of 93 to 30 against it at Holyrood. The Scottish government said this proved that the Sewel Convention - that Westminster would not normally legislate across devolved areas without consent - was "broken", with Brexit Secretary Mike Russell saying "we can't carry on with devolution as it is now".  The UK Westminster government contends that the situation around Brexit is "not normal", and have been backed in this position by Lord Sewel himself, who said the "size and scale" of the issue meant MPs must be able to act "on initiative". The two sides are also awaiting a legal judgement on whether Holyrood's alternative to the Withdrawal Bill should be allowed to stand, after UK law officers challenged it in the Supreme Court.  The committee wrote in a new report on the Trade Bill that MSPs should not give their consent to its passage unless clauses in it which they say constrain the powers of Scottish ministers are removed.  This echoes the concerns voiced about the EU Withdrawal Act, which centred on who would have the final say over the operation of common frameworks of powers which are currently exercised from Brussels.  Mr Crawford said he would write to Mr Russell and Scottish Secretary David Mundell "requesting that they seek a solution to the impasse over the Sewel convention as a matter of urgency". And he backed a call from Westminster's public administration and constitutional affairs committee for the UK government to "rethink devolution" and "set out a clear statement of circumstances under which legislative consent is not required by the Sewel convention". Mr Crawford said: "This committee believes that the impasse between the Scottish government and the UK Westminster government in relation to the Sewel convention needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency and ideally in advance of the final amending stage of the Trade Bill in the House of Lords."

Poppyscotland's Inverness Centre Gives Veterans Crucial Help

Thousands of ex-servicemen and women have benefitted from the work of a leading charity in Inverness, according to its first impact report.  The five-year report revealed that Poppyscotland’s welfare centre in Strothers Lane has helped more than 3000 people since opening its doors in 2013. Of those enquiries, more than 1000 benefited directly from Poppyscotland’s welfare services, with 390 receiving specialist support.  The most common areas Poppyscotland provided assistance in were financial assistance and support with employment, mental health, housing and benefits.  The report also highlighted collaborations between Poppyscotland and other organisations, including Highland Council, NHS Highland and Jobcentre Plus.  Centre manager Nina Semple said: "We pride ourselves on taking an evidence-led approach and evaluating outcomes. This report underlines the impact we see our services having every day.  While these headline statistics represents a ringing endorsement of our approach, what is most important to us is the life-changing difference our work has on the lives of the individuals we help."

Crash Victim Leaves Lasting Legacy for Those in Need

A couple who lost their son in a road accident have donated defibrillators to police in the Highlands in his memory.  Sandra and Gordon McKandie’s son Keiran was 16 when he collided with a car while cycling near Craigend in Moray in 2016. Since his tragic death his parents have been fundraising in his honour and donated defibrillators to officers in the north east last year.  The devices have been deployed 39 times, and saved the life of a 52-year-old man in Peterhead.  Now they have rolled the scheme out to the Highlands, handing over the latest batch of six defibrillators. They will be installed in road policing vehicles based in Dingwall and Fort William.  "Hopefully this will create integration of emergency response," Mrs McKandie said.  "Now that the police have got this equipment they will be able to take action when people are in a life-threatening situation.  It will give people a better chance of survival. If it saves someone’s life it’s absolutely worth it, and to allow Keiran to contribute is our biggest aim for this charity.  People talk about us being brave but that’s not the case. It’s very, very hard every day but it’s about allowing Keiran to continue to have an impact.He would have achieved so much in his life and this is a small part of allowing him to do that. It’s amazing what Keiran has done but it doesn’t compensate for him not being here." Mrs McKandie says politicians and emergency services have to start acting to make sure lives are saved.  “Police Scotland were trying for a long time to get defibrillators in cars before Keiran’s accident but due to the political rhetoric, it didn’t happen," she said. "It’s down to Keiran that it’s happening now.  The time for talking is over. We want to get things moving and we hope it won’t take 15 months for it to be rolled out in the next division we target. We need to increase the community resilience in rural areas and make sure that the response is there if people need it."  Road policing Chief Inspector Stewart Mackie said: "We are very grateful to the McKandie family for their generous gift. The defibrillators will now be placed in all the road policing vehicles in the Highlands and Islands Division.  Hopefully we won’t have to use these too often but it gives us an extra tool so that if we are called to an incident, we have an opportunity to save lives.  One life has already been saved by these defibrillators. You always live in hope that you don’t have to use them  but it is a sad reality that these things happen. If we do save another life it is absolutely worth it."

Former Student's Parents Give $10m to St Andrews University

The University of St Andrews has received a $10m (£7.7m) gift from the parents of a former student.  The donation from Frank and Beverley MacInnis, who live in the US, is believed to be one of the biggest ever to a Scottish university.  Their son Robert graduated from the university with a PhD in 2010.  The sum is set to support the university's new Strategic Plan, aiming to strengthen its position in the UK's top five universities.  Robert's 2010 PhD followed his BSc in computer Science in 2005 also from St Andrews. In 2017 he got married in St Salvator's Chapel, St Andrews.  His father, Frank MacInnes said: "Beverley, a former teacher, and I recognise the transformative powers of education, and the important difference philanthropy can make.  When we spoke to Principal Mapstone about her vision for St Andrews, we had an immediate sense of engagement with her plans for the university. We are delighted to make our family's support known at this time, and it brings us pleasure to help enable world leading research at St Andrews, both in marine science and in the latest neurological research in physics."  The university said it was a generous donation and it would be used specifically to support St Andrews' new Scottish Oceans Institute and a PhD scholarship in Physics and Astronomy.  This will represent a £16m investment for St Andrews which they said would place Scotland at the forefront of international marine research.  

Names of War Dead to Illuminate Scottish Parliament

The names of all those who died serving on behalf of Scotland in the First World War will be projected onto the Scottish Parliament building to mark 100 years since the armistice.  The tribute to each of the 134,712 men and women listed in the Scottish National War Memorial Roll of Honour on November 11 will take seven hours.  They include servicemen, nurses, munitions factory workers, Merchant Navy personnel, and overseas servicemen who fought on behalf of Scotland.  The projection, Their Name Liveth, was designed by artist Ross Ashton and is the result of a partnership between the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish National War Memorial and The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  The illumination will begin at 5pm and conclude at midnight.  Set to music, the illumination covering the whole facade of the Parliament will include images and designs that tell the story of the 1914-1918 conflict.  Members of public are invited to the evening event which will include performances by pipers from across Scotland and will conclude at midnight with the Last Post.  Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh MSP said: “I hope as many people as possible will join us on Armistice Day to view what will be a truly unique illumination.  The fact it will take seven hours to project the names of all those who died reflects the sheer scale of the loss and the devastation the war had on communities right across Scotland.”  David Allfrey, chief executive of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, said: “This event is hugely important and will help us to reflect upon all we’ve learned over the past century, and in particular these previous four years.  We would encourage as many people as possible to join us at The Parliament and pay their own personal tribute.”  Lt Col Colin McGrory, the Secretary to the Trustees of the Scottish National War Memorial, said: “Behind every name projected onto the Parliament on 11 November is a story of a son, a daughter, a father, a husband.  One hundred years on, it is our duty and honour to remember them and what they gave their lives for.”

Kayakers Rescued After Boat Capsizes in River Spey

Two kayakers have been rescued after their boat capsized in the River Spey, near Aviemore A coastguard helicopter was scrambled to the scene after a couple got into difficulty at about 14:30.  Rescuers managed to find the woman on the river bank suffering from cold but a further sweep of the area had to be made to locate her partner.  He was found near Inshriach, after being in the water for an hour, and was winched to safety.

The Portgordon Villager Known to Millions in US

The voice of Philip Banks is known to millions of people across the United States – even though he lives in a “tumbledown cottage by the sea” at Portgordon near Buckie. His gravelly, crisp tones are currently helping to promote programmes on America’s CNBC business news channel and he has also worked for CNN, Sky, the BBC and on the trailer for the Star Wars film Rogue One.  Globalisation has had its critics, but this surely is an extraordinary example of its potential benefits. Once, such a job would have required Banks to live in a big city and probably one in the US.  But now, the internet has made the world so small that he is able to live thousands of miles away in a beautiful part of the Scottish countryside.  Depopulation has long been a problem for rural parts of Scotland as young people move away to find work. Banks is living proof that voice actors don’t necessarily need to do that and there are many other jobs that can be done just as remotely.  If the rest of us catch on to the idea, the age-old flow of people to the city might slow down or even reverse.