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The Pagoda Perspective

22nd May 2017

GENERAL ELECTION

  • The leaders of Scotland’s main political parties clashed over indyref2 and the SNP’s record in office during last night’s televised debate.
  • The BBC’s Philip Sim has published a comprehensive social media round-up of Scotland’s political parties.
  • Four polls for Sunday newspapers show Labour are cutting the gap on the Conservatives. The latest figures put the party between 33% and 35% up significantly on scores as low as 26% recorded early in the campaign.
  • In its manifesto later this week, the SNP will announce backing for 50p UK-wide income tax rate but will rule out introducing the measures in Scotland alone fearing it would place Scotland at a disadvantage with the rest of the UK.
  • Today is the deadline to register to vote in the General Election.

INDEPENDENCE

  • The SNP will attempt to place Brexit at the heart of its election campaign with the launch of its manifesto this week, amid growing fears that the focus on indyref2 will lose the party seats.
  • Scottish Labour is set to confirm it will never support independence when its manifesto is published later today.
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland has refused to rule out moving its headquarters south of the border if another campaign for Scottish independence gets underway.

EDUCATION

  • Labour says, if it wins the election, it would bring forward its pledge to scrap tuition fees to include students starting university in England this autumn.

HEALTH & EQUALITY

  • Figures obtained by the Herald reveal a record number of GP practices in Scotland are now being run directly by health boards amid a spiralling crisis in recruitment and retention of family doctors.
  • The Church of Scotland is preparing to take a significant step towards same-sex marriage. The Kirk’s General Assembly (20-26 May) will be asked to approve more work on how such weddings could take place in church.

TRANSPORT

  • Up to four minutes could be added to around 100 of ScotRail’s busiest daily services from December according to the Scotsman. The longer train journeys, opposed by Scotrail Alliance, aim to make timetables more reliable Network Rail sources say.
  • Plans to speed up journeys by electrifying the main Edinburgh-Glasgow rail line have been delayed.
  • Prestwick Airport will take nearly 20 years to repay taxpayer loans which have kept it from closure.

BUSINESS

  • The Royal Bank of Scotland has today made a last-ditch effort to avert a high-profile court case brought by thousands of investors who claim they were misled into buying the bank’s shares in the run-up to its taxpayer bailout.

TOURISM

  • A sharp rise in the number of tourists from North America helped drive a 6% increase in overseas visitors to Scotland last year.

ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY

  • Scottish Power has won the right to build two offshore wind farms in the US which it says could eventually power 400,000 homes. The two sites combined are more than double the size of the energy giant’s operations in the UK.

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • Twitter’s co-founder has apologised if the social networking site helped get Donald Trump elected as president.
  • The Guardian has revealed the ‘secret’ guidelines Facebook uses to moderate users posts. The files include rulebooks on violence, hate speech, terrorism and even match-fixing and cannibalism.
  • Instagram has been identified as the worst social media site for young people’s mental health by a Royal Society for Public Health report.

COMING UP

  • Scottish Labour launches it manifesto today.
  • The SNP will publish its manifesto on Tuesday 22 May.
  • The Green Parties of England and Wales will launch their manifestos today.