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The Pagoda Perspective 13.03.17

13th March 2017

BREXIT

  • It is possible that Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 tomorrow, Tuesday, if the Government successfully reverses the two Brexit bill amendments made by the House of Lords.
  • Migration Watch UK has published analysis on the rights of EU nationals in the UK. It reports 85% of EU citizens will have been in the UK for at least five years by the time Brexit occurs. The remaining 15% would not currently qualify for ongoing residency status.

INDEPENDENCE

  • Nicola Sturgeon has today announced that she will ask permission from the Scottish Parliament to hold another Independence Referendum between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.
  • In terms of polls… an IPSOS Mori poll for STV last Thursday revealed 50% of Scots would back independence, while a BMG survey commissioned by the Herald today shows 52% of Scots wish to remain in the UK. Over the weekend, a Sunday Post poll revealed 70% of over-60s would back another No vote.

SCOTTISH LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY CONFERENCE

  • During the conference this weekend, Leader Willie Rennie made the ‘emotional’ case for remaining in the United Kingdom. He stated the constitutional argument is “a battle of ideas and values, not of identities and flags”.
  • Scottish Lib Dem MP and former Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, compared the SNP’s nationalism with that of Nigel Farage and Donald Trump, calling the party’s policies “divisive and exclusive”.
  • Delegates called on the Scottish Government to “de facto decriminalise” all drugs for personal use.

SCOTTISH GREEN PARTY CONFERENCE

  • Ahead of the conference, the Scottish Greens were criticised by Labour’s Claudia Beamish for prioritising Scottish independence over the environment.
  • The party, which is fielding a record 200 candidates at the upcoming council elections, called for a “renewed local democracy in Scotland”.

EDUCATION

  • Professor Peter Scott, the country’s first commissioner on fair access to higher education, has claimed universities are not accepting enough students from colleges because they are prejudiced against vocational education and worry that their league table positions could be damaged.

TRANSPORT

  • Plans to integrate the policing of Scotland’s railways into Police Scotland have been slammed for a “concerning” lack of consensus on how this would be implemented.
  • ScotRail’s reliability figures have improved for the fifth consecutive month, ending the contractual need for a performance improvement plan.
  • According to a report published by the UK independent terrorism reviewer, there is a “real” threat of terrorists crossing from Northern Ireland to Scotland by ferry.

ECONOMY

  • The latest Bank of Scotland PMI has found Scotland’s manufacturing production grew in February at its sharpest rate since July 2015, 37 months ago.
  • Vodafone is to create 2,100 jobs across the UK – with around 300 of those based in the West of Scotland.

HEALTH

  • Health Secretary Shona Robison has announced a cash injection of £71.6m for Scotland’s GPs saying that what they do “is indispensable to the health service”.
  • New figures published by the National Records of Scotland show that Scotland’s birth rate fell last year to its lowest level in a decade.

ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY

  • An Aberdeen-based oil services company, Wood Group, has agreed a £2.2bn deal to take over Amec Foster Wheeler.

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • It has been reported that police are investigating a catalogue of horrific online abuse against Nicola Sturgeon, including death threats, threats of violence and extremely offensive and sexualised insults.  Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale have also been victims.
  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the worldwide web, has identified 3 issues that threaten the openness of the web: the lack of regulation in political advertising online; the loss of control over our personal data; and the spread of misinformation online.
  • Left-wing commentator, Owen Jones, has quit all social media following intense harassment from “keyboard warriors” on all sides of the political spectrum.

COMING UP

  • The Scottish Parliament is set to appoint a new Children and Young People’s Commissioner in Scotland. It is expected the motion to approve Bruce Adamson will be passed on Tuesday, 14 March.