Some Scottish News & Views Issue # 519

Issue # 519                                     Week ending Saturday 28th  September 2019

There Are Sound Reasons Never to Miss Any Chance That Comes Up to Shut up by Iain MacIver Courtesy of the Press & Journal

You know when you want to say something but you cannot say it out loud. That can really be difficult. I got that impression listening to Lady Hale reading the decision of the Supreme Court to slap down the Prime Minister. I also thought Joanna Cherry, the Scottish MP, was holding back when she spoke outside court. I thought she may be thinking: “See you, Boris. Told youse, didn’t I? Ye widnae listen though. See you, you’re history.” Instead, she said the court had upheld the democratic process. Same thing?

We drove down to the peninsula of Point here on Lewis on Monday night. There is a beach by the roadside called the Braighe. At certain times, like now, a lot of seaweed comes onto the beach. The tide was out and Mrs X suddenly piped up: “Was that you? Ooh, there is something wrong with you. You need to get to a doctor to sort out your guts.” I was flabbergasted. What was she on about? It took me a while to realise that I was somehow getting the blame for the seaweed rotting around the beach.

For some reason, she thought that the whiff of manky seaweed on the Braighe beach, the Isle of Lewis’s seasonal answer to the famed Stinky Bay on Benbecula, was in some way connected to my, er, digestive tract. I wanted to tell her she was wrong but the strong pong assailed my nostrils and I couldn’t speak. What a beach.

It was like when The Chase with that Bradley Walsh was on TV the other day. Actually, The Chase is on just about every day with that Bradley Walsh. She likes that Bradley Walsh. She says he is smart, funny and good looking. That Bradley Walsh ticks all three boxes, she often says. I thought she might say “just like you” but even a surprise coffee with her favourite Bounty bar has not got me any more than a grudging “well, one out of three isn’t too bad”. Yeah, I am pretty smart, aren’t I? Hold on. Funny? Are you saying I’m thick?

A favourite saying of the late great Muhammad Ali was “Silence is golden”. How profound. How true. How wise. Then Ali would add: “When you can’t think of a good answer.”

I am always ordered to keep quiet when that Bradley Walsh is on. It’s more than my life is worth to interrupt her viewing pleasure. Then that question came up. It was a really difficult one. It asked: “What does the firm of Paxton and Whitfield deliver to the Queen?” Blank looks all round. Mrs X says: “What sort of a question is that, Bradley? It could be anything.” She did not even notice that I was straining to speak because I knew the answer. I was almost bursting. I knew it because I had done that very thing - delivered that item.

Before I started on my first newspaper in London, I had taken a temporary job as a delivery driver with a firm, off Piccadilly. It was Paxton & Whitfield in Jermyn Street. It was a constant battle each morning to get through London City traffic to get their consignments of Wensleydale, Roquefort - made from the creamy milk of happy sheep, they always claimed - to caterers in the executive suites at some of the nation’s top law firms and insurance companies including Lloyds. Banks whose lifts I got to know well, included long-gone names like Lehman Brothers and Barings Bank, which was brought to its knees by trader Nick Leeson.

After I was checked out as not too much of a security risk by the cops, I got tasked to deliver to an address in Kensington. I headed for the high street but that was the cunning plan dreamt up by the protection squad. Mysterious cops just stepped out of nowhere and redirected my van until I ended up in a park. Then I noticed a sign saying that I was at Kensington Palace, where Princes Diana and Prince Charles, lived at the time. Apparently, Welsh Rarebit was on the lunch menu for the Prince of Wales. Neither of them came out personally take charge of their mature cheddar.

Phew, the van smelled a bit like the Braighe after that delivery. Anyway, my point is that I knew the answer to that Bradley Walsh’s question. It was cheese.

When we got back from Point the other night, there was a knock on the door. We sat there in silence. Then knock-knock again but I told herself to ignore it. Who could it be at that time except a drunk? I was determined not to answer in the hope that they would just go away. Then the persistent knocker decided to stare through the window. Heck, it was a policeman. He was getting a bit ratty and shouted: “I can see you in there, sir. Open the door.” I panicked and said: “It’s late. You’re not coming in.” The cop said: “I don’t want to come in. I just want you to step out of the van.”

Supreme Court: Suspending Parliament Was Unlawful, Judges Rule

Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful, the Supreme Court has ruled. Mr Johnson suspended - or prorogued - Parliament for five weeks earlier this month, saying it was to allow a Queen's Speech to outline his new policies.  But the court said it was wrong to stop Parliament carrying out its duties in the run-up to the Brexit deadline on 31 October.  Downing Street said it was "currently processing the verdict".  Delivering its conclusions, the Supreme Court's president, Lady Hale, said: "The effect on the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme."  She added: "The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification."  Lady Hale said the unanimous decision of the 11 justices was that Parliament had not been prorogued - the decision was null and of no effect - and it was for the Speakers of the Commons and Lords to decide what to do next.  Commons Speaker John Bercow welcomed the ruling and said Parliament "must convene without delay", adding that he would now consult party leaders "as a matter of urgency".

The Damage is Done
Wow! This is legal, constitutional and political dynamite.  It is worth just taking a breath and considering that a prime minister of the United Kingdom has been found by the highest court in the land to have acted unlawfully in shutting down the sovereign body in our constitution, Parliament, at a time of national crisis.  The court may have fallen short of saying Boris Johnson had an improper motive of stymieing or frustrating parliamentary scrutiny, but the damage is done, he has been found to have acted unlawfully and stopped Parliament from doing its job without any legal justification.  And the court has quashed both his advice to the Queen and the Order in Council which officially suspended parliament.  That means Parliament was never prorogued and so we assume that MPs are free to re-enter the Commons.  This is the most dramatic example yet of independent judges through the mechanism of judicial review stopping the government in its tracks because what it has done, is unlawful.  Be you ever so mighty, the law is above you - even if you are the prime minister. Unprecedented, extraordinary, ground breaking - it is difficult to overestimate the constitutional and political significance or today's ruling.

Comment - R
So three Scottish Judges in Edinburgh ruled that the PM's suspension of the UK Westminster parliament was unlawful now all 11 Judges of the Supreme Court in London came to the same conclusion. Thank goodness for the courts but what happens now????????.

Taxpayer Owed £50m After Ferguson Shipyard Collapse
The taxpayer is owed more than £50m as a result of the collapse of ship building firm Ferguson Marine. New figures from the administrator of the yard show £49.7m is owed to the Scottish government - nearly £5m more than previously revealed.  The Scottish government said it provided two commercial loans totalling £45m to Ferguson Marine, on which interest applies.  The new figures also reveal that two partially-built CalMac ships at the centre of the firm's collapse have been valued at £48.3m. That is nearly half the value of the £97m deal agreed to build the ships. It is understood that a number of bids have been received for the yard with an update from the administrator Deloitte expected within the next week.  Ferguson went into administration following a dispute with Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd - which buys and leases CalMac ships on behalf of the Scottish government - over the construction of two new ferries.  The shipyard is operating under a management agreement with administrators, which will see the Scottish government buy Ferguson if no private buyer comes forward.  A "statement of affairs" produced by Deloitte shows the estimated total assets available for Ferguson Marine is £97.7m, including a £48.3m estimated value for the partially built two CalMac vessels.  Ferguson Marine went bust owning more than £73m. Further details from the document show that:  £15.8m is owed to finance firm HCCI, The Scottish government is owed £49.7m,  A total of £3m is owed to Clyde Blowers Capital, owned by former Ferguson boss Jim McColl,  There is an outstanding debt of £426,000 owed to HMRC   The 300-strong workforce is owed £164,000 in overtime, holiday pay and pension contributions,  £1m is due to the European Commission. And a further £3.9m is owed to business creditors, including a number of local Inverclyde companies. A number of potential private buyers have expressed an interest in the Ferguson shipyard and Deloitte has now received bids for the yard, but has not said how many.  The monthly wage bill for workers at the yard is being met from Scottish government funds and a new board has been put in place to come up with a plan to finish the delayed CalMac ferries.  Economy Secretary Derek Mackay has said details of a "robust delivery schedule" for the vessels must be announced by the end of October.  "At all points the Scottish government has acted to ensure the completion of the ferry contracts, the protection of jobs and a future for the Ferguson ship yard and that remains our priority," a government spokeswoman said.  "The Scottish government provided two commercial loans totalling £45 million to FMEL on which interest applies."

Pictish Skeleton Found At 1,400-year-old Highland Cemetery

Archaeologists have excavated the partly-preserved remains of a Pictish skeleton at a 1,400-year-old cemetery in the Highlands.  The skeleton was found on the last day of a two-week dig at Tarradale near Muir of Ord on the Black Isle.  Due to the acidity of the soil, no remains of human bodies had been found until the "surprise discovery".  Archaeologists say the cemetery is one of Scotland's largest recorded Pictish burial grounds.  Site supervisor Steve Birch said finding the remains of the skeleton was a "eureka moment" for him. He said: "As it was the very last day I decided to do a little bit more excavating in a grave that I had been working on for a few days."  The archaeologist cleared away sand and gravel to reveal strange shapes in the earth.  He said: "After I found some blackened patches in the ground I decided to trowel back at that level and to my astonishment the ghostly outlines of a skeleton started to appear.  I was able to identify the spinal column with individual vertebrae, and then moving up the body I uncovered the upper arms and shoulders, all of which were just black stains in the ground.  "Moving carefully higher up, I was able to locate the skull, which is better preserved - although it had partly collapsed in on itself."  Mr Birch also found legs and feet, which appear to have been bound together before burial, and eventually almost the whole outline of the skeleton could be seen, surrounded by the "faint shadow" of a coffin". Prof Gordon Noble, of the University of Aberdeen and an advisor on the excavation, said Tarradale was one of the largest recorded Pictish barrow cemeteries.  He said: "The Tarradale Through Time project has done a fantastic job of revealing and excavating part of the cemetery.  "The discovery of human remains within one of the barrows is a particularly exciting result for it may help date one monument of the cemetery and tell us more about the individual buried within the grave.  Very few of these cemeteries have been excavated so projects like this have much to tell us about the ways in which the Picts buried their dead."

New Tests on Medieval Man Buried in His Boots in Highlands

A medieval man whose boots and woollen leggings survived in his coffin for hundreds of years is to be the subject of new analysis.  The Tarbat Medieval Burials Project hopes to shed new light on 15th Century graves at St Colman's Church in Portmahomack.  Those buried at the site in Easter Ross are believed to have been caught up in a violent clan feud.  The new analysis aims to radiocarbon date the man's burial.  Other tests could help archaeologists find out where he came from and give insights into his genetic ancestry.  The man's remains, along with his boots and leggings were, found in an archaeological excavation in 1997. The clothing is in the care of National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh.  Historically, Easter Ross was the scene of a feud between the clans Ross and Mackay.  During the late 15th Century, St Colman's Church was burned down before a battle was fought nearby between the rival clans.  In another of the graves, two men - one of them powerfully built and with a fatal sword wound to his face - were found along with four skulls.  Archaeologists from York-based Fieldwork Archaeological Services (FAS) and the University of Bradford have been examining all the remains as part of the Tarbat Medieval Burials Project.  For the project, Face Lab at Liverpool John Moores University has also produced a facial reconstruction of one of the men buried with the four skulls.  A temporary exhibition about the work so far is running at Tarbat Discovery Centre, and archaeologist Cecily Spall will give a talk on the new analysis at Portmahomack's Carnegie Hall on 4 October as part of the Highland Archaeology Festival.

Greenpeace Oil Rig Protestors Sentenced

Five Greenpeace campaigners who occupied an oil rig for almost four days have been sentenced to carry out unpaid work.  They boarded Transocean's Paul B Loyd Junior while it was in the Cromarty Firth awaiting a tow to a BP oil field.  The three men and two women chained themselves to the rig preventing it from leaving the Highlands firth during June's protest.  They pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct at Tain Sheriff Court.  Appearing back at the court for sentencing on Monday, Andrew McParland, 52, from Epsom in Surrey, Peter Chan, 50, from Reading, and Thomas Johnstone, 35, from Rhos-on-Sea in Conwy, Wales, were ordered to complete 135 hours of unpaid work.  Joanne Paterson, 53, from Munlochy on the Black Isle, was sentenced to 100 hours and Meena Rajput, 39, from London, to 80 hours.  Police, RNLI and coastguard were involved in work to make sure no-one came to harm during the occupation.  The court heard that the protest led to most of the rig's 99 crew being confined to their quarters.  Sentencing the group, Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov said: "I may or may not have sympathy for your beliefs. But that is for another forum. A criminal act was committed here.  What concerns me is that the RNLI and the coastguard were taken away from a possible legitimate emergency elsewhere.  We have all sorts of terrorist acts these days and some people on the rig would not have known this was a benign action."  The rig was eventually towed out to the North Sea.

Climate Change: Scotland's 'Net Zero' Bill Reaches Final Hurdle
Legislation which sets in law a target for Scotland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045 reaches its final stage at Holyrood later.  The Climate Change Bill was amended to include the target after advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change. Some environmentalists and opposition parties say it still does not address the urgency of the "climate emergency".  Ministers said they were "leading by example" to "end Scotland's contribution to global climate change".  The bill sets a legally-binding "net-zero" target of 2045 which means any remaining emissions will have to be entirely offset.  Increased tree planting and carbon capture and storage technology would be needed to achieve that.  The target for Scotland is five years earlier than the date which has been set for the whole UK. But politicians at Holyrood are still arguing over the speed of change with some parties calling for for even tougher interim targets.  The Bill says emissions should be 70% lower than 1990 levels by the end of the next decade.  Labour and the Liberal Democrats will push for that target to be increased to 75% while the Scottish Greens are aiming for 80%.  If the Greens are successful it will mean that existing targets, which this bill updates, would be brought forward by 20 years.  Ben Wilson from Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said: "MSPs must seize this final opportunity to strengthen Scotland's Climate Change Bill and put in place a target to reduce climate emissions by 80% by 2030 and action to deliver those reductions - especially in how we heat our homes, travel around and grow the food we eat. " Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the government welcomed the debate on the issue.  "The UKCCC have set out their initial analysis that said the right target for Scotland for 2030 is a 70% reduction in greenhouse gases, the toughest statutory target of any country in the world, for this date," she added.  "This meets the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement but we always want to be as ambitious as possible. That is why we welcome the debate that is ongoing in Parliament and the country about the right milestone for 2030."  She added: "We are leading by example through bold actions and we will end Scotland's contribution to global climate change by 2045."  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a climate emergency at the SNP's spring conference in Edinburgh in April.  Her government has pledged to publish a new "climate plan" - which sets out how to achieve the updated targets - within six months of the legislation receiving royal assent.  In recent months, protests calling for tougher action have been held across Scotland culminating in a global youth strike on Friday which involved tens of thousands of protestors. This week, at a UN climate summit in New York, the young activist Greta Thunberg accused world leaders of failing to act on climate change.  The annual UN conference on climate change, being held this year in Chile, will come to Glasgow in 2020.

Second Donald Trump Golf Course At Menie Approved by Councillors
Plans for a second golf course at US President Donald Trump's resort in Aberdeenshire have been approved.  The 18-hole MacLeod course would be built to the south and west of the controversial original course, which opened at Menie in 2012.  Councillors on the Formartine area committee approved the plans for the second course by eight votes to four.  Permission for the resort - including houses, holiday homes and a hotel - was granted in 2008.  On Thursday, the full Aberdeenshire Council will now discuss a separate application for a major housing development at the Menie Estate.  The new course is named after Mr Trump's mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, who was born and brought up on the Hebridean island of Lewis but emigrated to New York.  In a report to councillors on the Formartine committee in Ellon on Tuesday morning, planning officials said the second course would bring economic and social benefits to the area.  They recommended granting planning permission, subject to a range of conditions.  There were 18 objections, mostly focusing on environmental impact and public access.  Speaking outside after the meeting, the Trump Organisation's Sarah Malone welcomed the approval.  She said the aim was for the course and the separate application for 550 homes, which is due to be considered later this week, to be built concurrently.  Councillor Isobel Davidson - the committee chairwoman and who moved to reject the application - said after the approval: "I just think that the environmental impact of the application is overwhelming."  More than a decade ago, the original plans for the Menie golf resort were called in by the Scottish government after being rejected by an Aberdeenshire Council committee.  Mr Trump promised to spend £1bn and create 6,000 jobs developing the golf resort in Aberdeenshire.  Branded The Trump Estate, the fresh £150m plans feature a range of two, three, four and five-bedroom cottages, priced from £295,000, to larger properties costing more than £1m.  In November last year it emerged that a council memo described the plans as a "weak substitute" for the original proposals put forward.  The Trump Organisation described the remarks in the memo as "naive at best".

Community Reaction to Stornoway Wind Farm Failure

The four community energy companies seeking to develop renewables on their common grazings on the Isle of Lewis have responded to the announcement that Stornoway Wind Farm was unsuccessful in the 2019 CfD auction.  Rhoda Mackenzie made the statement on behalf of Sandwick North, Sandwick East, Melbost Branahuie and Aignish Community Energy companies, calling for “a new approach” in developing renewables on the Isle of Lewis – one that puts community-energy at its heart.  The four companies, which have been locked in a legal battle with Stornoway Wind Farm developers Lewis Wind Power for the right to develop on the common grazings, said it was time for Plan B.  Rhoda said: “Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Stornoway Trust have always argued that the Lewis Wind Power wind farm was essential to get a new interconnector to the Western Isles.  The logic of that argument is that the interconnector cannot now happen, given LWP’s failure in the subsidy auction.  We believe it is time now for a new approach. There is still plenty of scope to develop renewables on the islands, but we need to do so in a way that puts community-owned energy front and centre.  The right way forward is to increase the capacity of the existing grid via new demand through electrification and hydrogen, install new storage via battery, and start working on an upgrade of the existing Skye connector. It is essential that the new Plan B is built around, by and for community-owned energy, as that is the only way to keep the income and profits in the islands.  The Comhairle must not see the CfD outcome as a defeat but as an opportunity for them to take the lead in developing a new partnership with the community energy companies in the islands to work together and to unite around a new Plan B.”

SNP Wants Confidence Vote to Remove 'Zombie' PM
The SNP has urged opposition parties to back a no confidence motion that could remove "zombie prime minister" Boris Johnson from office.  Mr Johnson is facing calls to resign after the Supreme Court ruled that his suspension of Parliament was unlawful.  But opposition parties are split over what to do if he refuses to quit.  The SNP's Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said a confidence vote could remove the PM and allow a general election to be held.  Mr Blackford said a "caretaker" prime minister would need to be found if the motion of no confidence was successful - and did not rule out the possibility of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn filling the role until a general election was held.  Speaking to the Good Morning Scotland programme, he stressed that it was crucial to ensure that the so-called Benn bill, which aims to prevent the UK leaving the EU on 31 October without a deal, is fully implemented and an extension to the Brexit deadline is sought.  But Mr Blackford said the country now had "a zombie prime minister and a zombie government" and called on opposition parties to come together to end Mr Johnson's tenure in 10 Downing Street.  He added: "We need to make sure we can remove him but a manner which is safe, and we can do that by having a motion of no confidence, and we seize the initiative and move quickly to have an election safe in the knowledge that the extension to the Article 50 process is going to be granted.  This is a government that shut Parliament down unlawfully and they need to be removed. We need to have that motion of no confidence in a timely manner.  I'll be appealing to colleagues and other parties to stand with us to make sure that we show Boris Johnson the door."  Mr Corbyn has previously said Labour would introduce a motion of no confidence "when we can be confident of success".  If the Conservative government was to fall as a result of the vote, Mr Corbyn would have 14 days to persuade enough MPs to allow him to head a temporary government that would extend the Brexit deadline before holding an election.  Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson initially claimed Mr Corbyn was too divisive a figure for a caretaker role - but later signalled she was not ruling out the possibility of backing him. However, she warned on Wednesday against an early vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson, which she said could risk the UK "accidentally crashing out of the EU".  When asked whether he would be prepared to accept Mr Corbyn as the head of a caretaker government, Mr Blackford said that the focus should be on removing the current prime minister from office rather than on an individual who would temporarily replace him.  Mr Blackford was speaking as MPs returned to the Commons the day after Supreme Court judges ruled unanimously that the suspension Mr Johnson imposed earlier this month was unlawful. Mr Johnson spoke to the Queen after the Supreme Court verdict but government sources would not comment on whether he apologised.

Technology Puts Highlands Ahead in Preparation for Brexit, with Help From Inverness Chamber of Commerce

Businesses in the Highlands are pioneering the use of new software which will make trading more effective and efficient after Brexit.  Inverness Chamber of Commerce is the first Scottish chamber to introduce the EdgeCTP system to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) streamline operations and comply with new trade rules and tariffs following Britain’s exit from the EU.  The cloud-based system is the first combined trading platform (CTP) for SMEs and the chamber believes its exclusive use in the Highlands puts the region ahead of other areas in being Brexit ready.  Chamber’s chief executive Stewart Nicol said: “This is a unique and exclusive product which Inverness chamber is bringing to SMEs in the Highlands and Islands as part of its commitment to further strengthen its support for the business community and their ambition for growth in very uncertain times.” EdgeCTP has been developed by Glasgow-based software developer Morgan Goodwin Limited. It brings together all business processes into a single web-based application.  This includes processes of sales workflow, stock and warehouse, purchases, logistics, shipping, customs and payments, as well as banking, foreign exchange and logistics carriers. It has the ability to handle multiple currency sales and purchases and also facilitates the generation and authentication of Certificates of Origin by Inverness chamber. EdgeCTP has in-built access to the trading rules that will emerge after Brexit, allowing users to easily access those that affect their goods. The software will be up to date as soon as new trade rules and tariffs are announced.  Mr Nicol said: “Inverness chamber is always seeking to innovate through new products and services and is constantly seeking to understand and respond to the needs of its trading community.  The certification service within Edge is available now, with Inverness chamber the sole provider in the Highlands and Islands. It is just one of many services we provide and our partnership with EdgeCTP further extends our support strategy.”

Music Has Calming Effect on Hospital Dementia Patients

Playing music to dementia patients in Accident and Emergency has a calming effect on them, a study has found.  MP3 players were used to play music to people with dementia as part of an eight week pilot carried out by NHS Fife.  Researchers found it reduced levels to agitation and led to patients becoming markedly less stressed.  The results of the study have led to calls from specialists for the widespread use of music in A&E wards.  A total of 28 dementia patients displaying signs of stress and agitation were targeted in the trials.  They were given an MP3 player loaded with songs from a variety of genres, as well as headphones or mini speakers.  They were assessed on nine key behaviours including eye contact, vocalisations, touch, movement to music, laughter and smiling.  A report on the trials concluded: "The use of music complements scientific treatment by distracting people's attention away from stressful procedures.  This in turn decreases anxiety and improves outcomes. Using music for people with dementia in the ED [emergency department] is a person-centred approach to delivering holistic, therapeutic, and effective care.  Improving care can be as simple as putting on headphones."  Now the technique has been introduced in post-theatre recovery and medicine of the elderly wards.

Boris Johnson Vows to 'Compensate' Scots with Stronger Economy
Boris Johnson has vowed to bring forward measures to "compensate for the grave inadequacies" of the Scottish government.  In an interview ahead of the Conservative party conference, the prime minister attacked the SNP for their record on health and education. He ruled out allowing a second referendum on Scottish independence.  And after a furious debate in the Commons on Wednesday, he defended his use of strong language.  Mr Johnson said that, following either a deal or a no-deal Brexit, he would bring forward measures to produce "a much stronger Scottish economy".  He said: "They (the SNP) have the highest taxes anywhere in the UK. They are not doing a good job on health, they are not doing a good job on education. I hope the money that we are now investing is properly spent on those services. And I hope that Scottish Conservatives get the credit they deserve for the hundreds of millions of extra funding that we're putting into Scottish agriculture."  Mr Johnson, who has called for opposition parties to immediately back a general election, also refuted SNP claims that they have a mandate to call a second Scottish independence referendum. Nicola Sturgeon has said she wants to hold a poll on the issue in the second half of 2020 - but the UK Westminster government would need to transfer power through a Section 30 order to allow another referendum to take place.  The prime minister said: "We had an independence referendum in 2014 and we made an explicit promise to the people of Scotland that this was going to be a once-in-a-generation event and I think we should stick with that."  Mr Johnson also responded to criticism over his use of strong language in Parliament and defended his description of a law seeking to block a no-deal Brexit as "the surrender bill".  The law, known as the Benn bill, forces the government to ask for an extension to the Brexit deadline. The prime minister insisted he "deplores any threats to anybody, particularly female MPs", after he described one MP's safety concerns as "humbug".  But he again refused to apologise for the words he used. He said: "No. I have to stand my ground there because if you can't say or use a word that is very common in political discourse, like surrender, then you're starting to impoverish the language.  The best way to take the heat out of it all is just to get Brexit done, and my experience is both Leavers and Remainers in this country- most people - just want us to get out on October 31."  He added: "What I said was that the surrender act - the Benn act - is very, very disappointing because what that does is it gives the EU the power to decide in negotiations how long the UK must remain in the EU."  the PM's adviser Dominic Cummings has said the only way the issue of abuse will be solved is if MPs "respect" the result of the EU referendum.  He also denied Downing Street was under pressure, adding "we're enjoying this".  Mr Cummings' remarks came after Boris Johnson defended language he used in Parliament amid criticism from MPs. Mr Cummings also denied that Downing Street was under pressure following the Supreme Court ruling, a series of Parliamentary defeats and the backlash against Mr Johnson's comments.  "This is a walk in the park compared to the referendum. We are enjoying this, we are going to leave and we are going to win," he said.

Comment - R
This is actually really scary. What is scarier than the aggressive, shameless boofheaded psychopath are his party members cheering him on. There is a complete breakdown of any kind of honorable conduct on the Tory benches.

Nicola Sturgeon on Twitter said
I feel disgust watching Johnson. Untrustworthy, craven, not a shred of concern for the consequences of his words or actions. Unfit for office in every sense. The opposition do need to unite on a proper plan to get rid of him. But he mustn’t be allowed to bully his way to no deal.  She added,
The Westminster opposition should unite around a plan to trigger the no confidence process to bring Johnson’s government down, ensure the Benn Act is honoured and enable a General Election as quickly as possible. Doing nothing should not be an option.

Settled Status: 'I'm Angry to Be Treated As A Second-class Citizen'

Tina Crolla Stewart has lived in Scotland for 59 years but like thousands of other EU citizens she will have to apply for "settled status" after Brexit.  The scheme aims to help EU citizens and their families to live and work in the UK after freedom of movement ends.  But 71-year-old Mrs Crolla Stewart is angry at both the process for applying and having to do it in the first place.  "I never became a British citizen because I am proud to be Italian," she says.  I have an Italian passport and there was never any need to apply for British citizenship. I was married to a Scot, I have Scottish children. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be in this position."  Mrs Crolla Stewart says she would never think of going back to Italy to live.  My family is here, my home is here and my friends are here," she says. It makes me very angry that I have been treated like a second-class citizen."  There is little more than a month until 31 October, the date on which the prime minister insists the UK will leave the EU, deal or no deal.  EU Nationals living in Scotland currently have until 31 December 2020 to apply for settled status if the UK leaves without a deal, and 30 June 2021 if it leaves with a deal.  For many the ongoing uncertainty is stressful and some say it has been made worse by the UK Westminster government's online process for obtaining settled status.  Scotland has long had a significant population of Italian-Scots, and Glasgow restaurateur Sandro Sarti says, even though many have been here almost all their lives and are now in their old age, they are having to apply to be allowed to stay.  "Some of these Italians came over when they were 10 or 15 years old and they are now maybe in their 70s," says Mr Sarti.  "They have never needed to think about doing anything like this and now suddenly they are asked to apply to stay."  He says it is insulting to people who are sometimes "more Scots than the Scots".  Mr Sarti says the older Scots-Italians are "not bothering" to apply for settled status. Adriano De Marco, president of the committee looking after Italians in Scotland and Northern Ireland for the Italian Foreign Office, came to Scotland aged 14 in 1964. He says he is exasperated by a process which he describes as a nightmare.  "In my case they asked for five years of bank statements," he says.  "Nowadays all the banking is done online so you don't get a proper statement as such. The stress for older people in particular is serious.  Lots of people say 'this is nonsense, I've been here for 50 years. It's nothing to do with me. I'm not going to do anything about it'."  At Partick Burgh Hall in Glasgow, there is a drop-in meeting which allows people to get advice on how to apply for settled status.  Like the Scots-Italians, the Polish community also has long roots but the vast majority of Polish immigration has been through EU freedom of movement since 2004.  That means it is mostly younger people, such as multimedia designer Sebastian Plocharski, who are having to go through the settled status process.  Despite being young and tech savvy, he found the online process by computer complicated and switched to using the UK Westminster government's app for android phones.  So far only 27% of Poles living in the UK have submitted an application for settled status.  And rather than getting full settled status, 42% of EU nationals who have applied are ending up with pre-settled status, which while not an outright refusal, does gives them a five-year deadline to get their paperwork in order.

Tycoon Jim Mccoll Ready to Resume Ferguson Shipyard Involvement
The former owner of the nationalised Ferguson shipyard has said he is ready to resume involvement in the yard.  Engineering tycoon Jim McColl was forced to hand the business to administrators five weeks ago.  Since then the Scottish government has operated the yard under a management agreement with administrators.  Mr McColl said he was happy to talk to ministers about some sort of "joint arrangement" for the yard, which currently owes taxpayers about £50m.  Ministers are hoping a private buyer will take over the business.  The Inverclyde shipyard ran into trouble after failing to complete a £97m order to build two ferries for Scottish government owned CalMac.  Jim McColl has blamed repeated design changes and other bureaucracy for the spiralling costs of the unfinished order. He said that since the yard had been taken over by the Scottish government, he had been part of a joint venture - along with a major overseas shipbuilder - considering a bid to take the yard out of administration.  However, that plan was abandoned last week due to a lack of time to prepare the bid. It is understood there are two other private bidders still interested.  A statement about the bids has been expected from Deloitte, the administrator, for some days.