Some Scottish News & Views Issue # 504

Issue # 504                                                      Week ending Saturday 18th May 2019

It is Important That Everyone Knows Who is in Charge in Every Household
by Iain MacIver Courtesy of the Press & Journal

The other day I commanded Mrs X to make me one of my favourite meals - meatballs Italian-style. Big chunky balls of meat with a gooey sauce and pasta. Drooling, I was. Because it is done the Mediterranean way, you have to sprinkle on loads of pepper. We have this big pepper mill which has batteries in it. You press the button and the ground pepper comes out automatically. That’s the theory. When she was adding pepper to the meatballs on Friday, the buzzing pepper mill suddenly stopped working. That’s usually happens because the batteries aren’t in right.

She unscrewed the housing and a badly-situated Duracell AA battery tumbled out. However, she hadn’t noticed it plop silently into the linguine. As she wondered why the condiment dispenser was working at first with a battery missing, I distracted her by asking for parmesan and I tucked the fallen battery into a knot of her linguine pasta. She blithely tucked in and when she finally tried to stab it, she exclaimed she had a funny long meatball as hard as a rock. Ssshhh, some restaurants would charge you extra for these Sicilian copper top bullet meatballs, I said. Now she’s doing a Meghan Markle and not talking to me.

Oh, how remiss of me. Mrs X and I would like to extend our heartiest congratulations to the Earl of Dumbarton and the Duchess of Sussex on the birth of their baby boy, Archibald. Right, that’s enough of that. There are enough people making goo-goo noises about a baby they will never meet, whose parents they have never met and whose entire way of life they will never experience. Maybe I did get out the bed on the wrong side this morning, but come on. The name Archie is not that unusual. I know loads of Archies. Some of them are a bit weird though, now that you mention it.

The Dumbartons’ new son is Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Archie is not even the most royal name. Someone said in the paper the other day that Pikachu was a more regal monicker for the young Windsor. This is all about Meghan and Prince Henry is well aware it’s her way or Route 66. She has stood up to mightier family members than he back home in the US of A. One family member has reportedly described her as controlling. Who on earth would say such a thing? Her own daddy, Thomas, that’s who? They are not speaking, of course. Well, do you blame her after him saying that?

Maybe being controlling is not a bad thing. Some people need to be controlled. In this house, I am the boss and who knows what would happen if I did not keep Mrs X right? People will tell you she is a great cook and baker - a veritable domestic goddess. And she is. What people may not realise is that is only because I taught her well. Teaching her to bake was difficult early on. It was a strain to get her to bake her first cake. The first step was to tell her to separate two eggs. After she put the flour in, I asked where the eggs were. She had put one in the bathroom and one in the living room.

Starting off married life has its challenges. A couple down the road got married recently and they are trying to learn the rules. He came home the other lunchtime after getting his favourite top dirty. He thought he would give it a quick wash. His wife was at work and could not come back to help him. He phoned her and asked: “What setting do I use on the washing machine?” She replied: “That depends. What does it say on your top?” He said: “Wait till I check. Oh yeah, it says Glasgow Rangers, We Are The People.”

Family life is also about bitter disappointment. It means buying toys and gadgets ands when you get home, opening the box and there are no batteries with it. Aaargh. Who remembers to ask about things like that in the shop? Then you see it on the box in tiny writing - Batteries Not Included. You just assume that when you buy something it will be ready to use. It is not just the pepper mill that has batteries here. Yeah, we always have batteries in this house. Mrs X’s cameras use loads and loads of them.

The remote control takes quite a few and, yes, I should have said remote controls, because there are buttons for the BT box, the set itself, the hi-fi and I even have a zapper which I point at Mrs X in a bid to try and turn the volume down. That one doesn’t work though, for some reason. We have so many batteries in this house I am actually surprised we can afford to buy anything else. The Daughter has still not forgiven me for the year I wrapped up a present for her of four batteries for Christmas with a note saying Toys Not Included.

First Osprey of the Season At Perthshire Reserve

An Osprey chick has hatched at the Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve, the first of the season.  Staff and volunteers at the Scottish Wildlife Trust site watched the young bird fully emerge from its egg at 19:20 on Saturday.  There are two other eggs in the nest near Dunkeld in Perthshire.  Sara Rasmussen, a ranger with the Scottish Wildlife Trust, said: "We're delighted to have our first chick of the season. Thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery we've been keeping an eye on the nest around the clock for several weeks to keep it safe from disturbance. Seeing the eggs begin to hatch is hugely rewarding for our team.  The first few weeks of a chick's life are exciting to watch because they develop and grow so quickly. This fast development is vital to allow them to make a long journey south at the end of summer."

£10k Grant for Strathallan Pupil Who Invented Anti-moisture Device for Bagpipes
A Perthshire schoolboy has bagged a grant to start his own business selling a musical invention.  Robbie MacIsaac, who is head boy at Strathallan School, Forgandenny, won a national competition with his innovative flux blowpipe, which stops moisture getting into bagpipes.  Since winning the competition last year Robbie has been awarded more than £10,000 by the firm behind the competition, Scottish Edge.  Robbie, who lives in Falkirk, was the only Scottish pupil to make it to the final of the technology, design and innovation challenge, taking first prize at the competition run by the Manufacturing Technologies Association last summer.  His invention cools and condenses the moisture in a piper’s breath through difference in pressure, and draws it out the main air way where it’s then absorbed. Microwaving restores the flux blowpipe’s original capacity and it can be reused. Strathallan, a private school for boarding and day pupils, was given £2,000 to spend on technology supplies, thanks to Robbie’s victory.  The 17-year-old hopes his invention will stop moisture damaging instruments, as it causes the wood to crack and affects the sound quality.  After working on the idea for around four years, Robbie’s initial blowpipe was made with a 3D printer, with the help of Angus 3D Solutions. All the prototypes for the competition were made by the firm after he made the contact through a design and technology lesson, when the company came in to give a talk to pupils.  It may also help to end bagpipe lung, a rare but fatal disease caused by a build-up of mould inside wind instruments.  Bagpipe lung is thought to be caused by a build-up of mould and fungi inside wind instruments, which can inflame lungs.  Left unchecked, it can cause progressive and irreversible scarring and Robbie hopes to research the illness now that his pipe has been patented.  Robbie is planning on attending university while running his business on the side, using the grant to get his product out to a global market.  If this is successful he hopes to apply his method to other instruments to build up is portfolio.

The Dig Uncovering Glencoe's Dark Secrets

Archaeology and history enthusiasts are being encouraged to dig deep into the massacre of Glencoe.  The slaughter happened in February 1692, when troops billeted with Clan MacDonald of Glencoe turned on their hosts.  It was punishment for their clan chief having been late in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs William and Mary.  Dozens of MacDonalds died. Exactly how many is still disputed.  So is almost everything else surrounding it: the motivation, the machinations behind it, its lasting consequences. Generations of Scottish children - MacDonald children especially - have been told the tale with its many variations. Of how troops swept up the glen from the west, killing and burning.  But, perhaps surprisingly, down the intervening centuries there has been no large-scale attempt by archaeologists to uncover the physical evidence.  Now, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) is taking the initiative.  The NTS head of archaeology Derek Alexander, his colleagues and volunteers, have begun excavating the remains of the abandoned clachan (settlement) of Achtriachtan.  In 1692 it was home to perhaps 40 to 50 men, women and children, their cattle and crops.  Now it is a few bumps of turf on the hillside.  Every year millions of cars speed past on the A82 below, most of their occupants unaware of their significance.   Achtriachtan was the clachan highest up the glen to the east.  The troops sent to block their escape were late coming over the Devil's Staircase.  A warning was sent from the clachans lower down. This allowed many people to get away, but not all of them. A contemporary account states one old man in his 80s was shot while trying to flee. He died down by the River Coe.  He may have been a bard. Achtriachtan had a reputation for producing verse makers and storytellers.  Now archaeology could be about to cut through myth and legend.  "It's the first time we've done any excavation work here," Derek says. "We did a little work last year but this is a major open area excavation to recover the full plan of one of the houses that was here."  A survey has revealed that Achtriachtan was a small but not insignificant clachan.  We've found three houses and maybe a couple of barns," he says. Each of them has a little enclosure, a kailyard or something at the back.  We've also found a grain-drying kiln so it's quite a little settlement."  Now the first structure is giving up its secrets.  Home or barn? Probably a bit of both.  Cattle appear to have been kept at the western end with people living on the eastward side of a central hearth.  This was design, not chance. The western gable end would have put its shoulder into the wind coming up the glen. The heat from the fire and the cattle would have been driven towards the home's human inhabitants.  The archaeologists have been helped by volunteers on a working holiday, part of the NTS Thistle Camp scheme.  Small white tags dot the trenches, showing where finds have already been made: shards of pottery, beads of glass a vibrant shade of blue.  What excites the diggers is the possibility of finding an artefact such as a coin that could be positively dated from the time of the massacre.  The fact that some of the finds appear to date from the 18th Century highlights something which has been lost from the popular story of the massacre: some MacDonalds came back.  Achtriachtan is shown as standing once again on maps from the 1750s, some 60 years after the massacre.  It remained a poor, hard life: a few cattle, crops of oats, barley and kale.  Then it was extinguished again during the Highland Clearances, as humans were expelled to make way for sheep.  Even if no physical evidence of the massacre is found, Derek says the research will still be worthwhile.  "A lot of it is just about giving people a picture of what the settlements were like at the time," he says. "There's not a lot of tangible remains that people can interact with."  As the layout of the building is uncovered, a full plan will be drawn up.  He hopes that could lead to a full-scale replica being built at the NTS Glencoe visitor centre towards the foot of the glen. "I think that would be a really good result," he says. So Achtriachtan, lost for centuries, may rise again.

Edinburgh Trams: Proposals for New City Centre Loop Unveiled

Plans to extend Edinburgh's tram network to include a hospital and university are being proposed as part of an overhaul of the way people will move around the city.  The 10-year city centre transformation project would see the tram extend over North Bridge to the BioQuarter and the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.  A tram loop could also be built between Haymarket and University of Edinburgh.  The council hopes to reduce city centre traffic by up to 30%.  The council said it wanted to treat cars as "guests" in a "pedestrian priority zone". The plans also include setting up a free city centre hopper bus. Prominent parts of the Old Town would be completely closed to traffic, including Victoria Street, Cockburn Street and a longer stretch of the Royal Mile.  Waverley Bridge could become a vehicle-free plaza and a "centrepiece" bridge could be built for pedestrians and cyclists, connecting the Old Town and the New Town.  Car parking would be gradually reduced across the city centre, with George Street, Victoria Street and Cockburn Street losing parking space altogether.  There are also plans for remaining parking areas to be subject to a trial of a "parking free day" - where existing spaces are used for alternative uses one day per week.  The proposals will go out for a public consultation for approval, subject to the thumbs up by the council's transport and environment committee next week. Lesley Macinnes, City of Edinburgh Council's transport and environment convener, said: "This is a serious approach to how we equip the city for the future and how we meet the emerging challenges from the climate change emergency, population growth, changing expectations of our city centre and air quality. This is a clear statement of intent about what we want to achieve in the city centre. This is our strategy for a city centre that is truly fit for purpose."  As part of the blueprint, there are plans to construct four lifts, situated across the city centre, to help people access Edinburgh's two levels with more ease.  The lifts will be provided from Market Street to the top of The Mound, Waverley Station to North Bridge, Cowgate to George IV Bridge and Grassmarket to Edinburgh Castle and will be used by cyclists and those with wheelchairs.  Mrs Macinnes said: "You will come out the back of Waverley Station and take that lift up to North Bridge. Instantly, you have got public transport with buses instantly connected with the train. It's about collapsing the city centre to be able to access both levels." Improvements will be made to make key routes more attractive to pedestrians and cyclists but key bus routes will remain across North Bridge and South Bridge and up and down The Mound.  Mrs Macinnes said: "This is an exciting and ambitious strategy, one which will deliver transformative benefits across the city and for a whole range of people travelling to and within Edinburgh.  We want everyone to share in Edinburgh's success and re-imagining our city centre and its purpose will help make this happen. Here we have a blueprint to move the city forward. The proposals are designed to prompt debate - they aren't finalised designs or ideas.  "They are examples of what we could do to deliver the city centre that residents are telling us they want."

Aberdeen Hospital Road Set to Reopen As Groundworks for New Hospital Near Completion

Groundworks on Aberdeen’s new multi-million pound hospital and cancer treatment centre are to be finished next month – according to new information issued by health chiefs.  The preparatory works for the £163.7 million Baird Family Hospital and ANCHOR Centre began in November and were required to be carried out before building the state-of-the-art multi-million-pound facilities.  Groundworks on the site, which have included road realignment, are due to be completed next month.  According to NHS Grampian, the procurement period – the process of purchasing goods and services – is ongoing, after falling behind schedule.   A new schedule of works is expected to be confirmed in the next month. Project director Jackie Bremner said: “Work on the detailed design of the new Baird Family Hospital and ANCHOR Centre is nearing completion.  The project programme has, however, slipped due to the need for a lengthier procurement period than planned. We hope to be in a position to confirm the revised timetable in June following the completion of this exercise.” Due to the ongoing demolition and road realignment works, there has been disruption on site and a temporary closure of Foresterhill Road to all traffic. This will now reopen to the public next month.

Community Nurses to Climb Bennachie Every Day for A Month to Raise Cash for MS Charity
A group of north-east community nurses is taking on a monster charity challenge.  The fundraisers are climbing a north-east hill every day this month to raise cash for a charity supporting people with multiple sclerosis – accompanied by a dinosaur. Matthew Sunter, Lorraine Grant and Jenny Rae will scale Bennachie 31 times, taking six-foot inflatable dinosaur Dino with them.  The trio, who work as community nurses at the Inverurie Health and Care Hub, are looking to raise £1,500 for the MS Society.  Lorraine and Jenny have completed similar challenges in the past, including climbing Bennachie every day in September, with Matthew eager to join them on their latest fundraiser.  Daily throughout May, the group will scale the 1,699ft Mither Tap.  Once finished they will have climbed a staggering 52,669ft – almost the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 29,029ft, twice.  Matthew, 33, said: “Jenny and Lorraine have done some challenges in the past.  They’ve gone up Bennachie before, back in September, and I had joined them for a good few of the days then.  I couldn’t do it every day because I had other commitments but decided this time I wanted to join them every single day.”  The MS Society is a cause close to their hearts, with Matthew adding: “We are all quite happy about it as a lot of our patients have MS and it is a charity that is close to all of us.  My dad was diagnosed with MS a couple of years ago and I know it is a good cause.”  People who wish to join the group on any of their climbs have been urged to get in touch on social media.  Matthew added: “So far it has been good. The weather hasn’t been too bad.  I think when we get around the middle of the month we might hit a wall. We are also inviting people to join us when they can as a way of trying to keep our morale going too. We still have quite a bit to go yet.”  Explaining how they ended up deciding to cart an inflatable dinosaur with them, Matthew said: “Dino came about because we wanted to help raise the profile of what we were doing.  It gives us a bit of attention and people ask questions about him.  He is a conversation starter and he actually provides a bit more of a challenge.  He is a six-foot inflatable dinosaur so if it is a bit windy it can be quite a task to get him to the top.”  Matthew added the group members were getting a lovely reaction from people who have spotted them on the iconic north-east hill.

Litir Bhon A’ Cheathramh
le Alasdair MacMhaoirn
Bha e inntinneach agus duillich a bhith a’ leughadh sa Bhratach sa Ghiblean gun deach planai chean airson aonad Gàidhlig ann am Farr a chur dhan dàrna taobh. Gun daoine a bhith fuireachail tha agus bha comhairlean air feadh Alba buailteach a bhith carach mun Ghàidhlig. Tha eisimpleir ùr againn an-dràsta le Sgoil Gilcomstoun, Comhairle Bhaile Obar Dheathain.
It was both sad and interesting to read in April’s Bratach that plans for a Gaelic unit in Farr have been sidelined. Without constant scrutiny councils throughout Scotland are liable to take every opportunity to forget about Gaelic. At present there is a new example in Gilcomstoun School, run by Aberdeen City Council.

Tha aonad Gàidhlig ann an Sgoil Gilcomstoun le mu 65 sgoilearan. Thòisich an sgoil ann an 1991. Am bliadhna chodhùin a’ comhairle airgead còmhdhail (airgead tacsi airson clann a thoirt asteach dhan sgoil) a ghearradh air falbh 100%. Bidh seo a’ toirt buaidh air 15 sgoilearan an-dràsta agus air na sgoilearan a tha gu bhith a’ tighinn a-steach anns na bliadhnaichean ri thighinn. Tha an t-airgead suas ri £56,000 agus tha a’ chomhairle airson a chur gu feum ann an roinn eile.
The Gaelic Unit at Gilcomstoun has about sixty-five students. It began in 1991. This year the council decided to cut transport money used to take children in to the unit by 100%. This cut will affect fifteen students this year and of course students in the coming year. The total sum is around £56,000, and the council wants to use the funds elsewhere.

Cha deach innse dha na pàrantan gun robh co-dhùnadh mar seo ann. Chuala iad fathannan agus fhuair iad geàrrchunntas de choinneamh a dh’innis dhaibh le cinnt. Chaidh na pàrantan dha Bòrd na Gàidhlig agus dha Comann nam Pàrant ach cha d’ fhuair iad ach moladh gum bu chòir dhaibh bruidhinn ris na comhairlichean aca.
The parents were not officially informed of the decision. They heard rumours and they found out for sure after obtaining a record of the meeting in which the cut was made. The parents contacted the Gaelic board and Comann nam Pàrant who told them to speak to their councillors.

Bhruidhinn pàrant ri cuideigin nach eil ceangailte ri B na G, no ri C nam P agus mhol esan dhaibh iomairt na bu làidire ri chèile. Thuirt e riù gum bu chòir dhaibh sgrìobhadh dha na comhairlichean uile ann am Baile Obar Dheathain, sgrìobhadh dha na buill-phàrlamaid uile ann an Dùn Èideann, sanasan naidheachd a chur dha na pàipearan agus air na meadhanan sòisealta agus a bhith a’ bruidhinn ri cuideigin ann an Roinn na Gàidhlig, Riaghaltas na h-Alba.
Some of the parents also got other advice and were encouraged to be proactive. They were told that they should write to all the councillors in the council, to all MSPs in Holyrood, send press-releases to the papers and publish on social media, and also to speak to the education department at the Scottish government in Edinburgh.

Aig an aon àm ge-tà, dh’innis an dà chuid Bòrd na Gàidhlig agus Comann nam Pàrant dhaibh gun a bhith a’ dol dha na pàipearan naidheachd no na meadhanan sòisealta, agus gun a bhith a sgrìobhadh dha na buill-phàrlamaid. Chuir seo an t-eagal air cuid de na pàrantan, ach thòisich cuid eile a’ sgrìobhadh dha na buill-phàrlamaid aca agus chaidh bruidhinn ri Roinn an Fhoghlam, Dùn Èideann.
At the same time, both the Gaelic board and Comann nam Pàrant advised them not to make a fuss in public, which frightened a few of the parents. However, others began to write to the MSPs, and the Scottish government.

A-mach à seo thàinig na leanas: sgrìobh Bòrd na Gàidhlig dhan Chomhairle, a’ mìneachadh dhaibh an dleasdanas a th’ aca fo Phlana Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig; a rèir col’ais, tha an t-airgead a tha a’ chomhairle fhaighinn a’ tighinn bho Riaghaltas na h-Alba a dh’aona ghnothach airson còmhdhail. Cha bhiodh e laghail a thoirt air falbh airson rudeigin eile; tha cuid de na buillphàrlamaid air sgrìobhadh dhan chomhairle.
Out of all of this a few things happened. The Gaelic board wrote to the council reminding them of their duty under the National Gaelic Plan, and someone else found out that the Scottish Government funds the transport of the scholars specifically so it would be unlawful to use the money elsewhere. After being contacted, a number of MSPs have written to the council.

’S ann mar sin a tha gnothaichean andràsta. Cha ann a-mhàin gu bheil seo cudromach dha na pàrantan ann an Obar Dheathan. Ma gheibh a’ chomhairle às leis, dh’fhaodadh comhairlean air feadh Alba an aon rud a dhèanamh.
That’s how matters lie at present. This issue is of national importance. If Aberdeen City Council manages this sleight of hand, then no doubt other councils throughout Scotland will consider a similar move.

Hot Chocolate Heaven in North-west

A Belgian couple have opened a small chocolate cafe in a remote Sutherland hamlet.Philip (56) Dendale and Sophie Van Oyenbrugge (58) fell in love with Scotland during frequent holidays and bought an old croft house at Clashmore, three miles from Stoer lighthouse, in 2010.  Sophie said : “Belgium is a very nice country and we were sad to leave, but it is small. Each time we returned from Scotland, we felt like prisoners in our own garden. Here we have freedom of space and can see for miles.”  The couple, who previously worked in real estate and magazine advertising sales, moved to live in Assynt permanently in 2016 and converted an old barn next to their home into two de-luxe B&B rooms.  The project came just at the right time with tourism route NC500 bringing an increasing number of visitors to the area.  Sophie also began selling her home-made Belgian chocolate truffles and mousse at craft markets in Lochinver, and received good feedback from customers.  The couple then decided to take it one step further and, after adding an extension to their home, created a chocolate cafe in their former living space.  Choc-o-Latte opened last month offering hot chocolate and other delicious chocolate products which Sophie makes from Belgian chocolate bought in Scotland.  She said: “The cafe is really tiny with only three tables inside, but it is cosy. It is also very vintage as our beautiful china cups and plates came from an elderly local woman whose grandmother gave them to her as a wedding present.” At the moment Philip and Sophie run the cafe by themselves but hope a job will be created if business is brisk enough.  “We are doing exactly what we want to do,” said Sophie. “We hope to provide a little gem that visitors will look back on and remember.”

Glasgow Aims to Be the UK's First 'Net-zero' City

Glasgow has unveiled plans to become the first UK city to reduce its greenhouse emissions to net-zero.  The city wants to reach the target before 2045, beating the Scotland-wide ambition announced by the Scottish government earlier this month.  The plans include mass charging points for electric vehicles.  Net-zero is the point where the same volume of greenhouse gases is being emitted as is being absorbed through offsetting techniques like forestry.  Glasgow City Council and Scottish Power say they will work on a range of programmes to help the city reach the target.  They hope the announcement will fire the starting gun on a "race to zero" with other cities like Edinburgh.  The move came after Nicola Sturgeon declared a "climate emergency" at the SNP party conference last month.  A week later the Scottish government said it would legislate to reduce greenhouse emissions to net-zero by 2045.  Advice from the Committee on Climate Change urged Scotland to set the target five years ahead of the UK as a whole because of its potential for planting trees. Scottish Power said renewable energy capacity had to quadruple and electricity generation needed to double before Scotland could meet the target.  The terms carbon neutral and net-zero are often used interchangeably but there are differences.  Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most abundant greenhouse gas but there are others which the Scottish government counts and they are not all carbon-based.  Therefore, some climate change campaigners prefer the term net-zero as it includes not just CO2 and methane but also nitrous oxide, which is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities as well as from fossil fuels.  Simply being carbon neutral would not stop global warming because these other gases are also harmful to the atmosphere. Perhaps an even better term would be "climate neutral".  Glasgow was the location of Scotland's first low emission zone (LEZ), which intends to phase out the dirtiest buses from the city centre over five years.  The UK's largest onshore wind farm, Whitelee, which is owned by Scottish Power, is on the outskirts of the city.  The focus is now expected to turn other parts of the city's economy that can be decarbonised, such as transport and heating. Among the issues they are expected to tackle is that of electric vehicle charging.  More than 70% of the city's residents living in flats are unable to charge electric cars as they have no off-street parking.  Scottish Power says it is planning a charging system where people can rapidly charge their vehicles away from home - at work or at public charging locations. Sites for these locations are being assessed and the scheme could become a template for other UK cities facing similar problems.  Scottish Power chief executive Keith Anderson says Scotland was right to put itself at the front of the race to become net-zero.  "It is our hope that this declaration kick starts a race to zero with other ambitious cities, like Edinburgh, because then we will all be winners," he will tell the All Energy Conference in Glasgow later.  "The prize is the future of our country and our planet."  But he will say that the target will not be met if "we keep inventing ways to block new renewable capacity".  "Onshore wind in particular has suffered as a consequence and the time has come for a fundamental rethink. We've been able to compensate to some extent by racing ahead with large offshore wind projects, but quadrupling capacity can't rely on putting all our eggs in one renewable basket. We've said very clearly we will aim to invest £6 billion in renewable capacity by 2022. The easier it is to do this, the quicker we all get to net-zero."  All of the electricity Scottish Power generates for its customers comes from nearly 40 onshore and offshore wind farms across the UK.  Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: "We simply have to act now and the Glasgow city government will develop those partnerships necessary to get to where we simply have to be. We need to be a net-zero city. And we need to be the UK's first net-zero city."  The announcement was welcomed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.  "Today's announcement between Scottish Power and Glasgow City Council - to make Glasgow the UK's first net zero city - is a very welcome step.  Reaching our goals will need exactly this kind of partnership approach - with Government, business, local authorities and citizens all playing their part."

Scottish Labour Leaflets Sent in Welsh Instead of Gaelic

Scottish Labour has sent hundreds of voters in the north of Scotland leaflets which include Welsh text instead of Gaelic. The bilingual leaflets were sent out by the party across Ross-shire as part of their campaign ahead of the European elections on 23 May.  A spokesman for the party said it appeared that boxes had been incorrectly labelled at the printers.  Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands John Finnie tweeted a picture of the leaflet, which had English down one side and Welsh down the other.  Alongside the picture of the leaflet, he wrote that he was a "big fan" of the Welsh language - adding "canan uabhasach math" which is Gaelic for "a very good language".  Labour later shared a statement from a Cardiff-based printer apologising for an error that meant boxes of leaflets were incorrectly labelled and sent to the wrong locations.  Earlier this year, the party was criticised for using shots of the Welsh mountain Tryfan in Snowdonia in a campaign video about their vision for Scotland. Last week, the SNP referred itself to the Information Commissioner's Office after letters were addressed to the wrong people.  Hundreds of voters in the upcoming election had letters delivered to their homes that were addressed to people who had never lived there.  A SNP spokesperson said it was due to a clerical error but there were no ongoing issues with data security or identity theft.

Charity Issues Warning Over Diabetes Mental Health Link

Campaigners are calling for more funds to ensure people with diabetes can access psychological support.  More than 298,000 Scots have been diagnosed with the condition but many have been unable to access specialist mental health care.  Diabetes Scotland has now issued a series of demands to both the government and NHS boards.  The Scottish government said it recognised the challenges faced by people living with the condition.  The charity said people with the condition were twice as likely to experience depression yet, across the UK, 40% of GPs say they are not likely to ask about emotional wellbeing and mental health in routine diabetes appointments.  And less than a third (30%) of family doctors believe there is enough emotional and psychological support for people with the condition, according to a survey.  Scotland's Diabetes Improvement Plan, published in 2014, found people with the condition experienced better care when mental health professionals were involved.  Diabetes Scotland said: "This has not happened uniformly across Scotland and is the exception rather than the rule.  Things have to change. We want diabetes care that sees and supports the whole person.  The emotional and psychological impacts of diabetes should be recognised in all diabetes care. Everyone affected by diabetes must have access to the support they need, when they need it." As well as an increase in funding, Diabetes Scotland wants stronger guidance highlighting the importance of providing emotional and psychological support as a routine part of diabetes care.  A Scottish government spokesman said: "We recognise the challenges faced by people living with all forms of diabetes and the critical interdependence between physical and mental health is well-recognised.  Through our Mental Health Strategy, which sets out our ambition for the next 10 years, we seek to improve access to psychological therapies and to prevent and treat mental health problems with the same commitment and drive as we do for physical health problems."

Two New Ferries to Serve Scottish Islands Delayed Until 2020

Two new ferries providing vital services to Scotland’s island communities will be delayed until at least next year, the transport secretary has conceded. Michael Matheson said the vessels could be sailing next year – although he warned MSPs there are “still some questions” about whether this would happen.  He also told Holyrood’s rural economy and connectivity committee that he personally had not visited the Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow where the two vessels were being built.  The MV Glenn Sannox ferry, which CalMac plans to use to provide services to Arran, was due to come into sevice this summer. Mr Matheson said that it may not now be ready until 2020.  He told the committee: “Where we are with these two vessels is simply not where any of us would want to be. We want to see these vessels being utilised and on routes.  At the present moment, the indications are they expect both vessels to be completed next year, one in the earlier part of the year prior to the summer and one later in the year.  However, there are still some questions about their ability to keep to those timescales.”  Ferguson Marine won the £97 million fixed-price contract to build the MV Glenn Sannox and a second Hull 802 boat for CalMac, which is due to be deployed in the Outer Hebrides.  With the vessels delayed, Mr Matheson said the Scottish Government’s director of economic development Mary McAllan had contacted the shipyard earlier this month. “She has since had to go back to them for further details around their time plan for the continued work on both the vessels and also the costs associated with them,” he told the committee.He pressed Mr Matheson on the issue, asking him: “Can you give people living on our island communities any indication as to when they might expect these new ferries in operation?”  The transport secretary described the delays as being “disappointing”.  He said: “Last August we had a £3.5m resilience fund provided to CalMac to assist them in maintaining their existing vessels, to try and help improve reliability and we will provide a further £4m in this financial year in order to allow that to continue to be supported, to help mitigate some of the risks associated with vessels going off service.”