Some Scottish News & Views Issue # 614

Issue # 614                                                     Week ending Saturday 7TH August 2021
Is Nicola Sturgeon Planning to Create More of Us Teuchters to Make it Worthwhile to Fix Our Ferries? by Iain MacIver Courtesy of the Press & Journal

Ever fancied coming to the Hebrides? No, I don’t mean for a holiday. How about coming here to live? You reckon you can’t afford to move? How about if the government gives you £50,000 to cover your expenses?

That is the deal possibly soon on offer if you want to quit the monotony of being able to travel freely without booking your place on a ferry three weeks beforehand and getting on planes that land and take off under the control of someone on the other side of the country.

Not many people would put up with what we have to. If you did though, you could be handed £50,000. Unless you’re here already. In which case, forget it. Native islanders get nothing. It was ever thus.

It’s all about stopping population decline, they say. A consultation on this proposed Islands Bond has been launched. Hope they ask me. A whopping £5 million has been earmarked for it across the lifetime of this parliament. That could be six months the way they’re going.

The attitude seems to be these teuchters up there must take what they are given and be thankful. And the government is thankful that our MP and MSP won’t rock the boat - about planes, ferries, well, anything. They keep island parliamentarians unpromoted so they’ll live in hope of a pat on the head.

Pat was an old Glaswegian friend who recently passed away. He used to work in a textile factory and, years ago, he loved to holiday on the continent - particularly France. Although he and wife Annie loved that country, he always had yarns about the French and how different they were to us. He said once: “They French cannae count. I went in tae this shop and asked for twa croissants. They gie me three.”

Twa, trois. Ah right. Apparently, the French also tell jokes about themselves. Pat once came back with this one. What do you get when a French general throws a bomb into a bathroom? Linoleum Blownapart.

Let’s throw our own bomb and claim the Outer Hebrides is becoming a tax haven. That’d bring people up here. As we’re on about rocking the boat, it may reach the ears of Tom Cruise. The superyacht Triple Seven, which he’s been chartering for the last few months, was in Greenock this week. Working its way north and west? Who knows? If Tom is on board, he could be looking for a Scottish superpad.

He already has a big pad in East Grinstead to go with the ranch in Colorado, the penthouse in Florida and so on. An actor worth about £432 million he may be, but one thing he does not have is real estate in the Outer Hebrides, an archipelago often likened to sparkling jewels strewn down the east Atlantic - but not by the Scottish Government, obviously. Come on up and see us sometime, Tom.

Tom is probably still off Bute, the Triple Seven rocking gently at anchor in Rothesay Bay, as he breakfasts on twa croissants. Sipping his freshly-pressed orange juice, he may leisurely pick up the Press and Journal to see what is happening in the world and reads this. The rest could be history.

Way back in history, my former colleagues and I saw Tom briefly on a London street near Madam Tussauds. To be fair, I wouldn’t have known him then but some of the girls knew him straight away. He was probably having a wee break before starting work on Top Gun and The Color of Money.

The six of us were gawping at Mr Cruise from this café window as we tucked into egg and chips with fried tomatoes. I’m telling you what we had that day because it was the 80s and we didn't have social media then. Sorry, I didn’t take a photo to show you now. No, not a photo of Tom Cruise - of our lunch. Duh.

I told you earlier how my old Glaswegian friend Pat had passed away. He had fantastic eyesight and was a dab hand at sewing at his textiles job. When Pat retired he kept his hand in by darning things. Socks, jumpers and curtains, he could sew them all perfectly.

Not many men could sew as neatly as Pat. He was mischievous though. He once told wife Annie that he was just popping out to get some thread. That was just an excuse. He actually went to the pub for the rest of the day.

Poor Pat. Gone, but not for cotton.

Tokyo Olympics: How Duncan Scott's Tunnel Vision Helped Him Make History
Duncan Scott says he arrived in Tokyo targeting four gold medals. He leaves with one, but also the momentous distinction of having made Olympics history for Great Britain.  At just 24, the Scottish swimmer is the first British athlete to win four medals at a single Games.  His Tokyo haul was completed in the men's 4x100m medley relay on Sunday, adding a third silver after also finishing runner-up in the 200m freestyle and 200m medley. His sole gold came in the 4x100m medley.  Scott has blocked out all distractions - even family members - to focus his tunnel vision on performing at his peak.  "It doesn't quite feel real yet," he told BBC Scotland. "It's been quick between each swim and every time I've just parked it and moved on to the next one.  I've had great support from back home but not replied to anyone, even my parents. I like to stay in the bubble of the competitive environment."  The lion king and the new generation - how GB swimmers roared their way to record success.  'To fall short with gold & three silvers, I'm still delighted'   With two silvers from Rio 2016, Scott's six Olympic medals is a total bettered only by cyclists Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny (both seven) and Bradley Wiggins (eight).  While Scott's medals feat in Tokyo sets him apart, he says he fell short of his own sky-high expectations.  Individual gold eluded him by slender margins. In the race he entered as favourite - the 200m freestyle - team-mate Tom Dean won by just 0.04 seconds.  I thought four golds was a possibility - that's what I wanted to achieve," Scott added. "That's at the very top of what would be great, but to fall short with a gold and three silvers, I'm still delighted.  I've got a lot of team-mates to thank, being part of some awesome relays, getting close to a world record in the 4x200 and it took a world record to beat us in the 4x100 medley."  Scott's place in the record books is now assured. And, from a Scottish perspective, he is a sporting legend alongside Hoy, five-time Olympic rowing medallist Katherine Grainger, and three-time Grand Slam tennis champion Andy Murray.  Not that you'll find the 24-year-old bracketing himself in such exalted company.  "It's nice to hear but personally I wouldn't put my name alongside those figures, because of the longevity in their sports," he added.  With the next Olympics taking place in Paris in 2024, the chance to become Britain's most decorated Olympian is a tantalising prospect for Scott.  Before then, there's a packed schedule looming next summer with three showpiece events - including the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham - in three months starting mid-May.  For now, though, Scott's priority is rest for the mind and body.  "Physically you can recover quite quickly but mental fatigue is different," he said. "It will take a few weeks to just relax because it's been a long 12-18 months.  Worlds, Commonwealth Games and Europeans all in one year, I don't know how that is possible.  I'll sit down with the support staff at University of Stirling and set my targets for the next cycle, to see what I want to try and do."

Alex Salmond Trial Blogger Hands Himself in to Police
A former diplomat sentenced to eight months in jail over blogs he wrote about the trial of Alex Salmond has handed himself in to police.  Craig Murray, 62, went to a police station in Edinburgh on Sunday morning.  A judge had previously refused the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court.  Murray posted a series of articles online about the former first minister's High Court trial in 2020.  Prosecutors raised concerns that complainers could be identified via his writing, breaching a court order. When sentencing Murray in May, judge Lady Dorrian said his actions had struck "at the heart of the fair administration of justice" and created a real risk that complainers would be reluctant to come forward in future cases, particularly high-profile ones.Murray, a former rector at Dundee University, had attended two days of the former first minister's High Court trial last March over sexual assault allegations, and wrote a series of blogs about it.  Mr Salmond was cleared of all 13 charges, including sexual assault and attempted rape, in March last year.  The judge had made an order during the trial to prohibit the identity of the women involved - or any information which could lead to them being identified - from being disclosed.

Covid in Scotland: Thousands of Teenagers to Get Jab Before School Return
Teenagers with certain health conditions will be vaccinated before schools return from the summer break, according to the Scottish government.  Jabs will be offered to around 4,000 young people aged between 12 and 17 before 16 August.  It will include those with Down's Syndrome and learning difficulties, as well as children with low immunity.  The move follows a shift in guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).  Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the government's vaccination programme "has always offered jabs to groups where the benefits far outweigh the risks".  He added: "The research and evidence shows that is the case for young people in these groups and they should now be called forward for a Covid-19 vaccine.  These children and young people will be able to get the vaccine in the most appropriate setting for their situation.  This may be in their own home or a care setting, or at a clinic, depending on their care or health needs."  Parents and carers of children included in the programme will be contacted directly by their health board from next week.

Covid in Scotland: Scotland to Begin Vaccinating 16 and 17-year-olds
Sixteen and 17-year-olds in Scotland will be offered a first dose of the Covid vaccine as soon as possible, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.  Many will be able to register for an appointment online from Friday.  Ministers expect everyone in this age group to have been offered a jab by the end of September.  It follows the recommendation of the UK's vaccine advisory body to extend the vaccine roll-out.  Ms Sturgeon said their advice was "good news" and the step forward she had been hoping for.  And she said she hoped the experts would also recommend the vaccine for more young people in the future.  The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said advice on when to offer a second dose of the vaccine to 16 and 17-year-olds would come later.  Up until now, children over 12 have only been able to get a jab if they have certain health conditions, live with others who are at a high risk or are nearing their 18th birthday.  The only vaccine approved for those under-18 in the UK is Pfizer-BioNTech.  England, Wales and Northern Ireland have also said they will follow the advice of the JCVI and extend the vaccine roll-out to eligible teenagers.  Census data suggests there are about 109,000 16 and 17-year-olds living in Scotland.  From Friday, those who live on the mainland will be able to register their interest in receiving the vaccine at the NHS Inform website.  They will be sent an appointment by text or email.  Those who live in Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles will be contacted by the health board and asked to attend clinics.  Drop-in clinics will also be available for 16 and 17-year-olds but their opening date has not yet been confirmed.  Those who do not register an interest or attend a drop-in clinic will be sent an invitation to attend an appointment through the post.  Scotland's national clinical director Prof Jason Leitch said the development was "excellent news" and urged people to take comfort from the JCVI's "evidence-based" approach.  He told BBC Radio Scotland's Drivetime: "My advice, my strong advice, is to have that conversation at home tonight or the next few days and register on Friday.  It is absolutely the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones."  Prof Leitch said the logistics were still being worked out, as the Pfizer vaccination must be stored in freezers, but he expects the first jabs to be administered in the "next week or two". "I am hoping to be knocked over in the rush by 16 and 17-year-olds," he added.   Meanwhile Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "Vaccination continues to be the best way to protect yourself and those around you and I urge anyone who is eligible to take up the offer of the vaccine.  The national vaccination programme has been a huge success and without doubt, represents our best way out of the pandemic."  Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said: "We will continue to follow the expert JCVI advice and will await the outcome of analysis of data on second doses for this age group and any additional future advice on vaccination for those in the 12-15 age group." Jillian Evans, the head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian, told BBC Radio Scotland's Drivetime programme she expected the vaccine roll-out to be extended to younger teenagers.  "The signs to me are that we will be able to vaccinate children as young as 12 - it will be a case of when, not will we," she said. Some other countries have already been routinely vaccinating children over 12. The US has been doing so from May, as well as some European countries like France and Italy, after the EU gave them the go-ahead. Other countries that are vaccinating children include Brazil, Japan, Israel and Hong Kong.  Last month, the JCVI stopped short of opening up jabs to 16 and 17-year-olds as it wanted time to examine the risks and benefits, as well as reports of rare adverse effects such as inflammation of heart muscles.  The JCVI said earlier: "These are extremely rare and usually occur within a few days of the second dose, typically more in young men.  Data from the USA suggests that, in males aged 12 to 17 years, 9.8 cases of myocarditis were reported per million first doses given. This rises to 67 per million after the second dose. Most people recovered quickly." The JCVI said it expected one dose of the vaccine to give good protection against severe illness and hospitalisation in the 16 and 17 age group.

Sturgeon: Strange the PM Will Not Meet me
Nicola Sturgeon said it was "strange" the PM would not meet her during his two-day visit to Scotland.  The first minister said "I don't feel snubbed" but "most people will think it's a bit odd" that Mr Johnson declined an invitation.  Instead, he has met police officers and visited a renewable energy project.  Mr Johnson has suggested he have a meeting with first ministers at a later date.  Nicola Sturgeon had invited the PM to her official residence to discuss Covid recovery.   She said it was a "missed opportunity" that Mr Johnson did not meet her at Bute House, her official residence in Edinburgh.  In a letter to Ms Sturgeon seen by the BBC, Mr Johnson said he was "keen to arrange an in-person meeting" with her.  He said that, at a previous meeting between them, it was agreed they should set up a "structured forum for ongoing engagement" - and officials had made good progress on this.  "There is much for us to discuss as all parts of the UK work together on our shared priority of recovering from the pandemic," he said.  "The UK Westminster government is working closely with the devolved Scottish government on a variety of different issues."  And he added: "I look forward to meeting with you soon and working together in the interests of people in all parts of our country."  Ms Sturgeon tweeted on Monday that she had invited the PM to Bute House. She said the prime minister's trip would be the first chance for the pair to meet in person for a while.  The first minister said she believed people would find it "a bit odd and a bit strange" that Mr Johnson had chosen not to meet her.   Speaking to broadcasters, she said she did not feel "snubbed", but that it would have been the first opportunity to sit down and have a "face to face chat", describing the move as a "missed opportunity - but that's on him".  Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who is also on a visit to Scotland, said he thought the prime minister should meet Ms Sturgeon.  He said the two should be working together on "the two most important things facing us" - the pandemic and the climate emergency.  He added: "We shouldn't have an argument about when they're going to meet or where - they need to work together on this."  They may not be meeting in person, but that doesn't mean Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon can't engage in some political games.  The first minister threw down a gauntlet very publicly when she posted her invitation to Mr Johnson on Twitter.  It was a win-win proposition for Ms Sturgeon, presenting the prime minister with the choice of looking like a visiting dignitary from a foreign power - or a scaredy cat swerving the jeering crowds which turned out for his last visit to Bute House.  Ultimately Mr Johnson has refused to take the bait, preferring to suggest a summit of leaders from around the UK - presumably where he can take the role of magnanimous host.  For all the talk of grown-up dialogue there is plainly no love lost between the pair, who will no doubt trade rhetoric via the media rather than face-to-face.  And with the constitutional question of Scottish independence still looming between them, the political power-plays are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.  The trip is Mr Johnson's first visit to Scotland since January - and his first since a pro-independence majority was returned at the Holyrood election in May.  There is no prospect of the pair seeing eye-to-eye on another referendum, but Ms Sturgeon had said she wanted to discuss how the governments could work together on "Covid recovery".  Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the SNP leader had put out her invitation to the prime minister via Twitter, adding: "I'm not sure if he got it before everyone else got it on Twitter". Mr Ross said: "His response was quite right. Nicola Sturgeon had agreed with the prime minister that governments across the UK would meet together. That is the right approach to take and that was the agreement made recently.  There's constant dialogue between the Scottish and UK Westminster governments."  On the prime minister's last trip to Scotland in January, Ms Sturgeon questioned whether the trip was essential during lockdown restrictions. Downing Street said it was important for the prime minister to be "visible and accessible" during the pandemic.

Covid in Scotland: Young Doctors Urge Peers to Get Vaccinated
Young doctors who have witnessed severe Covid illness in patients their own age have urged young Scots to get vaccinated.  Six medics in their 20s and 30s have written an open letter appealing to young people to take up their jabs and reject misinformation on social media. Latest stats show 72.8% of 18-29 year-olds had had a first dose, while it was 81% among people in their 30s.  Ninety-one people aged 20-39 were in hospital last Monday with Covid-19.  Dr Adelina McLeod, a trainee physician in Edinburgh, has put her name to the plea.  She told BBC Scotland News: "We are still seeing patients of all ages admitted with coronavirus and it is particularly difficult when you see peers the same age as you becoming significantly unwell with the virus.  To be honest I feel quite anxious for them. Everybody thinks it is not going to happen to them until it does and that is my experience with people I have treated. They underestimated how significant this could be."  The letter begins: "We would all love the Covid-19 pandemic to be over, but unfortunately, it's not."  It continues: "As young medics in our 20s and 30s, we are very concerned to witness this happening to people our age. It all seems so unnecessary."  They said that the best way out of the pandemic and getting back to normal was through vaccination.  And it addressed concerns over potential side-effects.  "There's a lot of misinformation on social media at the moment and that leads to mistrust," they wrote. "But side effects are normally very mild - symptoms like a sore head, a sore arm, or tiredness normally last for just a couple of days.  That's better than the symptoms of Covid-19 itself, or long Covid - which can go on for months and be much worse."  Sarah Cooper, 27, has not taken up her offer of the Covid vaccine.  She says she is not against the vaccine - it's just "not for me".  She told BBC Scotland News her grandmother, who has the respiratory disease COPD was gravely ill with Covid, and she understands how severe it can be, but she does not feel it is necessary for her to get it.  The mother-of-one from Paisley said: "If I was older I might have had a different view. I don't get the flu jab every year. I have been lucky enough not to have Covid but other family members have.  My partner and all my family have had the vaccine. But I have given it a lot of thought and feel the government is putting a lot of pressure on getting it and that tends to put me off more."  She added: "I don't think there is any amount of evidence or trials that could persuade me and everybody's body reacts differently. It's more my fears of something I could get. And they might never reverse any damage it does to my body.  It's my body and my choice. I just want people to know I have experienced coronavirus, I don't believe I am being selfish. I do believe the vaccination will help people but I just believe it is not right for me."  The group of doctors, which included GP and surgical trainees, extended their vaccination plea to 16 and 17-year-olds and pregnant women.  About one in 10 pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 requires intensive care and one in five gives birth prematurely, they said, citing data from the University of Oxford.  The letter adds: "Like many of you, younger medics are tired of the pandemic. But we must keep fighting on. The quicker that everyone is vaccinated, the quicker we can get back to a normal life; to doing the things that we all love."  The plea was endorsed by Scottish Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties (SAMRCF) chairman Dr Miles Mack, who said: "Speaking to medical trainees, it struck me that they are troubled and concerned that very sick people in their age group are being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.  I plead with people to listen to these young medics.  They have been on the front line of the pandemic. They have seen the serious illness that Covid-19 can cause in people of all ages.  Please follow the young medics' advice and get vaccinated as soon as possible."  Other signatories to the letter are: Dr Mohamed Elseedawy, a trainee GP, Dr Jennie Cathcart, a trainee physician in Glasgow, Dr Francis Robertson, a surgical trainee in Edinburgh, Dr Eireann Allen representing the Scottish Academy trainee doctors group and Dr Manveer Rahi, a trainee physician in Edinburgh.

Boris Johnson Faces Backlash Over Thatcher Coal Mines Comment
Boris Johnson has been urged to apologise for "offensive" comments about Margaret Thatcher helping the environment by closing coal mines.  The PM said the closures gave the UK "a big early start" in the fight against climate change.  He was speaking on a visit to an offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth.   Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the remarks were "crass and deeply insensitive" to mining communities.  She tweeted: "Lives and communities in Scotland were utterly devastated by Thatcher's destruction of the coal industry (which had zero to do with any concern she had for the planet)."  Labour said he should apologise for the "shameful" comments.  The party's Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The damage done to Welsh coal mining areas 30 years ago was incalculable and here we are 30 years later the Tories are still celebrating what they did."  On Thursday, during a two-day visit to Scotland, Mr Johnson was quizzed about preparations for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November.  Pushed on whether he would set a deadline for ending the extraction of fossil fuels, he said the UK had already transitioned away from coal in his lifetime, and he suggested Mrs Thatcher had inadvertently got the ball rolling.  He said: "Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, who closed so many coal mines across the country, we had a big early start and we're now moving rapidly away from coal altogether."  He is reported to have laughed and told reporters: "I thought that would get you going."  He said there was a "massive opportunity" to increase the use of more environmentally friendly technologies.  But he also stressed that there needed to be a "smooth and sensible" transition from oil and gas to greener forms of power.  In 1984, there were 170 working collieries in Britain, employing more than 190,000 people - but by 2015, they had all closed.  Mrs Thatcher's announcement that she planned to close 20 of them, led to the year-long miners' dispute.  Millions of people protested against pit closures and throughout the summer of 1984 there were violent clashes between striking miners and police, whose numbers often ran into several hundred at each confrontation.  Violence led to widespread use of the breach of the peace charge.  In October, it was announced that miners convicted during the strike would be pardoned by the Scottish government following an independent review.  Responding to Mr Johnson's comments, SNP Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, tweeted that Mrs Thatcher had "devastated communities across Scotland". He wrote: "Many still bear the scars of brutal Tory cuts."  BBC Political Correspondent, Nick Eardley, tweeted on Thursday that "a few Scottish Tories have their head in their hands tonight after what they thought had been a decent first trip to Scotland since January".  He added they had described the comments as an "unforced error", "not helpful" and "crass".  Labour is opposed to the opening of new coal mines, saying they are not compatible with the UK wanting to be a world leader in reducing carbon emissions. But Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, tweeted that Mr Johnson's comments were "shameful". He wrote: "Brushing off the devastating impact on those communities with a laugh, shows just how out of touch he is with working people".   And in a statement, shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, said the prime minister should apologise.  She said the remarks "reveal the Conservative party's utter disregard for the communities still scarred by Thatcher's closure of the mines and failure to deliver good jobs in their place".  "It is vital that a green transition is a fair transition" she added.

RBS Report: Hiring Activity 'Still Rising Sharply'
Recruitment of both permanent and temporary staff continued to rise sharply in Scotland last month, according to a survey.  The latest RBS Report on Jobs found permanent placements rose at their quickest pace in the last seven months.  And the rate of increase in temp billings remained close to a survey record, despite slowing on the month.  Recruiters attributed the rises to the reopening of the economy amid further relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.  However, they continued to report difficulties in finding candidates, as the supply of staff plummeted while vacancies continued to surge.  For permanent jobs, IT and computing registered the quickest increase in vacancies, followed by engineering and construction.  Blue collar posts saw the strongest rise in the number of temp vacancies, followed by IT and computing.  RBS said the mismatch between demand and supply placed further upwards pressure on rates of pay.  Wages for permanent new joiners in Scotland increased for the eighth month in a row in July, and at the second-fastest rate on record (behind July 2014).  Average hourly pay rates for short-term staff also saw one of the steepest rises in the survey's history.  Temp pay also rose across the UK during July, with the rate of increase far outpacing that seen in Scotland.  Royal Bank of Scotland chief economist Sebastian Burnside said the latest data pointed to another strong month for the Scottish labour market.  He said: "However, recruiters again noted challenges in finding candidates, as the supply of both short-term and permanent staff plummeted again amid reports of surging demand.  This mismatch between supply and demand is likely to pose further challenges in the months ahead.  But overall, the labour market is in a good position, recouping any lost ground at a rapid pace, and hiring activity is showing little-signs of any considerable slowdown."  Last month, a Scottish Chambers of Commerce survey suggested Scottish businesses were seeing "shoots of recovery" for the first time in over a year as Covid-19 restrictions began to lift.  Its latest quarterly economic indicator indicated more positive growth across all sectors, with firms reporting substantial rises in confidence and domestic sales.  However, they also expressed greater concern over inflation.  On Thursday, the Bank of England warned inflation will hit 4% this year, higher than previously forecast and double the 2% rate it aims for.  However, it added that the recent surge in consumer prices would be a temporary phenomenon as the UK emerges from the pandemic.

R Number in Scotland Below 1 for First Time Since May
The rate at which Covid is spreading in Scotland has fallen to its lowest level since May.  The Scottish government estimates the reproduction number, a rating of the disease's ability to spread, as between 0.7 and 0.9 in the week to 2 August.  If the R value is higher than one, then the number of cases keeps increasing.  But if the R number is lower the disease will eventually stop spreading, because not enough new people are being infected to sustain the outbreak.  Hospital admissions have been declining slowly since mid-July and ICU numbers are also beginning to decline.  The latest Covid-19 modelling report estimates the number of new daily infections for Scotland as being between 58 and 114, per 100,000 people, based on the period up to 2 August.  Among the data the report looks at is wastewater monitoring.  It says Covid-19 RNA concentrations have fallen by about 20%, although the current levels of wastewater Covid are still in a similar range to late January/early February.  The report says wastewater Covid-19 levels continue to be higher than would be expected given the current rate of new cases.  The South Lanarkshire local authority overall wastewater Covid-19 level is significantly above the national average, in contrast to the low levels of new cases.Latest daily figures    The latest daily Covid statistics show 1,250 cases confirmed on Friday, continuing the decline from more than 4,000 at the start of July.  There were seven new reported deaths of people who have tested positive.  The stats showed 54 people were in intensive care and 367 were in hospital.  More than four million people have received the first dose of the Covid vaccination, 89.9% of the adult population.   And 3,286,153 have received their second dose, 74% of adults.  From Friday, people who are 16 or 17 in mainland Scotland are being invited to register their interest through the online portal at NHS Inform, and will then be sent an appointment via SMS or email.  It is expected that everyone in this age group will have been offered a vaccination appointment by the end of September.  The latest population figures show there are an estimated 55,890 people aged 16 and 54,249 aged 17 in Scotland.

'Give Us the Money and We'll Go Green'
Lynn Cassidy lives in one of the most deprived parts of Glasgow. She either walks or catches the bus to get to work, and laughs at the thought of buying an electric car.  "You'd have to win the lottery," she says.  "It's nonsense. You need money to buy this sort of stuff."  I met Lynn and her friends at St Paul's Church in Provanmill, and asked them how they would solve the climate crisis.  "Give us the money and we'll do it. We'll put it into our community and we'll better the lives of the people in our community," says Jean Mclean.  The women have lived in the area - ranked in the city's most deprived 5%, according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) - for decades.  In recent years they have noticed strangely hot weather and heavier rainfall, which they say "isn't normal" and makes it harder to walk to work.  That's what climate change means to them.  And they say the solutions to tackling the crisis should be community-focussed, not rooted in buying expensive stuff.  "I would like to increase the buses, but low-emission buses," says Jean, who works in a bakery.  "Grow more trees to try to draw in the pollution to make the air cleaner for people to breathe. That's what I would do with the money."  This type of community-focussed action is being researched by scholars like Fraser Stewart, from Strathclyde University in Glasgow.  He's an unexpected academic. He was asked to leave school early and ended up living through spells of unemployment.  "I'm originally from a variety of different, strong, working class, rough estates," he says.  "Energy bills were always a problem. Inevitably, as soon as you stepped in the shower and put shampoo in your hair, the credit would run out and stop the water."  His roots guide his research. He's investigating renewable energy and the ways it can be brought into areas facing similar socio-economic issues to those he encountered growing up.  "We're at this formative moment in human history," he says. "We're having to redesign housing, transport, energy to combat the climate emergency.  Why not reimagine those things in a way that works directly for people to tackle poverty, to tackle inequality?  "We can bring down energy bills for people and make their houses warm or cheaper to heat."  He says that everyone needs to be involved in tackling the climate crisis, not just the already concerned wealthier classes.  Some of us will feel the climate crisis more sharply - and the politicians know it. A spokesperson from the Scottish government told me that the impacts of climate change will not be felt equally.  In response to the record heatwaves recorded by the UK's Met Office, the British Red Cross issued a warning that people are unprepared, and that heat-related deaths in the UK could triple to about 7,000 annually in the next 30 years.  People who are economically or socially marginalised, including on low incomes, are among those cited as being more vulnerable.  Why? Because you may struggle to afford transport, bills, and may be less likely to access timely healthcare.  And the unlevel playing field doesn't stop there.  Surface-water flooding caused by rainfall can happen everywhere, and it is the largest single source of flood risk in Scotland.  In the greater Glasgow area, where global leaders are soon to meet for historic climate crisis talks, new data from Climate Ready Clyde suggests that about 140,000 people from more deprived communities may face heat hazards and flooding. In other words, more than a quarter of the people living in areas of high deprivation may face these challenges.  "It's us who are going to suffer, it's people in deprived communities," says 23-year-old Jamie-Lee McGurk.  "If you're from a middle-class or an upper-class family, you've got the money to just get out.  We don't, we have to deal with it."   Jamie-Lee is from "a very working-class family" and learned about the climate crisis while studying for a business qualification after leaving school.  For her, educating people by making it relevant to their lives and budget is crucial.  "We can definitely help each other. We have great community spirit but then I feel like there should be more done by the government and more done by the retailers to create the greener, healthier, less expensive options.  It can't just be down to the people themselves. Something that's cleaner and greener and better for the environment - not everyone can afford that, because that's usually more expensive."  Studies suggest that wealthier people are more likely to pollute and waste by the very nature of having more disposable income.  Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute recently analysed the carbon emissions of income groups in the UK. They found that those in the wealthiest 10% have a carbon footprint that is more than double the national average - and four times that of someone in the poorest 50%.  This disconnect is part of the focus of research by Dr Karen Bell from the University of the West of England, who lives on a Bristol council estate.  She has just presented her findings on a fair climate mitigation policy to the UK government. It is based on working-class people's views.  "If they don't bring working class people into the conversation, then really, they're not going to come up with effective policies. People are going to resist them," she says.  Dr Bell also has concerns around who will lose out as we move away from fossil fuels into green energy.  Will some of us struggle to pay bigger household bills? Will some of us face unemployment if there aren't enough green jobs to work in?  These issues aren't new to politicians who have been promoting schemes such as the UK Westminster government's Green Jobs Taskforce and the Scottish government's Just Transition Commission.  The Scottish government also says it is investing £114m this year in energy efficiency measures for fuel-poor households to cut emissions and household bills, and supporting activities to promote conversations about climate change in deprived communities.  Carol Gibson, a nurse, is one of the volunteers who is helping out in a garden which has been established behind St Paul's Church in Provanmill. It's a grassroots solution where people can learn new skills. Vegetables grow and fresh eggs are collected next to council houses.  "Everything's fresh here. You're not getting all that environmental waste, nor all that packaging," says Carol. "I think everybody needs a green space just basically for our existence."  Carol says she was lucky growing up because her parents were both working.  "But there were a lot of hand-me-downs, and nothing was wasted in our house.  "My parents, they were environmentalists and they didn't know it. So we need to go back to the values of making things last."

The End of A Queensland Scottish Bi Monthly News Magazine
Carmel McMurdo Audsley Author and Editor of the Scots News Magazine said “After 10 years of keeping the Scottish community up to date with news and events, it’s time for me to take a break .  I will continue to promote all things Scottish via the Scots News Magazine Facebook page, so make sure you ‘like’ the page.   Thank you for all your support over the years.  It has been a pleasure to receive your emails.  I have gotten to know some of you well through email communication, and met other readers at various Scottish events via my book stall”.  Stay safe and well.  Best wishes, Carmel”

The SAHC still needs a Newsletter Editor. Do you have a love of storytelling or know of someone that does?  If so, we need a newsletter editor.  Please contact me to discuss this very important role for keeping the Scottish Diaspora informed through my email address  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
I wish you all the very best and to remain safe and well in this troublesome times.
Malcolm Buchanan, President

Scotland Down Under with Robin MacKenzie on 2RRR 88.5 FM
Scottish music is a huge part of Scottish culture. It carries with it ancient stories and languages that have influenced many forms of music.  Each week from 6.00 - 7.30pm on a Tuesday Robin presents Scotland Down Under from 2RRR where he showcases all things Scottish.  Featuring music from the traditional to the contemporary, Robin will also keep you in touch with local and international Scottish news. Listen locally on the dial at 88.5FM, broadcast live from 2RRR's studios in Henley, Sydney or if out of range tune in, from anywhere in the world,  via our website, and go to Live Stream where the reception is crystal clear.  You can reach the station at the following contact points;
by Phone in the office at 9816-2988 or the Studio: 9816-2777.
By email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
To Text Robin while he is On-air  0412 777 885.
Mailing Address PO Box 644 GLADESVILLE NSW 1675.  
Street Address Henley Cottage, 4 Victoria Road, HENLEY NSW 2111

Coisir  Ghaidhlig Astrailianach (Australian Gaelic Singers) will be back rehearsing on a face to face basis at Macquarie Presbyterian Church in Eastwood as soon as this*** Covid restrictions allow.   They are looking for interested folk to join them.  If you’d like to join - the choir is open to all, whatever your background.  The only pre- requisites are willingness to learn and lots of enthusiasm! A knowledge of Gaelic and/or music is not essential. If interested please contact the Music Director on (02) 9638-2625 or email him on: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it