Category: Dumfriesshire

Reference Library – Scotland – Dumfriesshire Broadband

Letter from Scotland 0

Letter from Scotland

A hundred days to Waterloo All this talk of 100 days has alarmed me. It s referring, of course, to the run-up to the Scottish elections on 5 May but somehow it sounds more cataclysmic .like a great flood or the end of an era or a regime ! I first heard the phrase at school when studying Napoleon s 100 days, between his escape from Elba and his defeat at Waterloo.

But I heard it more recently when I attended a performance of Waterloo battle songs staged in Kirkton Village Hall in Dumfriesshire. And then again last weekend, when I played in my local orchestra s workshop on Beethoven s 3 rd symphony, the Eroica. Beethoven at first dedicated it to Napoleon as the citizen-hero fighting for liberty, equality and fraternity.

But the dedication was withdrawn when Beethoven learned that Napoleon had crowned himself Emperor and become a tyrant. A lot can happen in 100 days. But as things stand now, the SNP will be the conquers and the opposition parties are riding towards their Waterloos.

The opinion polls put the SNP support at over 50 per cent, while Labour are struggling to get above 20 per cent. The Conservatives come a surprising third at about 17 per cent support and the Greens and the Liberal Democrats are trailing at less than 10 per cent. It seems the SNP have hung on to the support they gathered during the independence referendum in 2014, 45 per cent of the vote, and they are still adding to it.

Over the past few weeks there s been an unseemly scramble among opposition politicians for list seats , the second-vote regional seats where voting is by proportional representation. Already the battle lines are becoming clear. The first is a debate over hope versus despair.

The SNP continue to offer hope .hope that the Westminster austerity programme can be overturned, that the price of oil will rise again, that public services can be preserved by reforms . The other parties despair at this Panglossian approach to politics. The second battle line is over spending versus taxation.

This week the Liberal Democrats became the first to put their heads above the parapet on taxation. They are calling for an extra 1p on income tax to pay for 475m of new spending on education. The Conservative have almost gone the other way, hinting at a 10 per cent cut in the income tax rate for middle income earners if possible and a cut in local business rates.

This is all to be paid for by that happy policy of growing the economy . The SNP have chickened out of tampering with either income tax or council tax. Hardly a day goes by, of course, without one party or another promising to spend more on public services without saying where the money is coming from.

A suspicious accountant would tell you they are often spending it twice over. But what is refreshing about the election this time is that the Holyrood Parliament now has the realistic power to raise or lower taxes. In theory it s always had the power to alter income tax but it has never had to guts to use it.

Now the Calman reforms are putting the politicians on the spot and there are more devolved powers to come next year. On Thursday the Prime Minister noticed we were into the last 100 days and broke off from his European travels to go to Aberdeen to help launch the City Deal 1 .

250m of public money will be pumped into the city and shire to compensate for the downturn in the oil industry. It will pay for diversification projects in alternative energy, food production, bio-science and tourism.

The Scottish Government is adding another 250m to fund better road, rail and broadband connections for the North East. To add to the sense of catastrophe which, as I say, comes with talk of 100 days, another mighty storm is about to hit Scotland. As I write storm Gertrude is blowing in, just days after another deluge struck us the leftovers from a storm which buried parts of the east coast of the USA in record snowfalls.

Here, it brought renewed flooding to Hawick and Jedburgh in the Borders. Lorries 2 were blown over on the A1, rail and ferry services along the west coast were cancelled, and in Edinburgh a chimney pot 3 fell onto a bus, injuring one of the passengers, just up the road from where I live. Gertrude has already caused the cancellation of rail and ferry services in the North West and schools are closed in the Islands.

We are battening down for 70mph winds and yet more rain.

This is indeed an exciting 100 days.

References ^ City Deal (www.gov.uk) ^ Lorries (www.theedinburghreporter.co.uk) ^ chimney pot (www.theedinburghreporter.co.uk)

Loch Lomond Arms Hotel 0

Loch Lomond Arms Hotel

In advance of a demonstration at Holyrood on Wednesday 27th January in support of Marine Protected Areas MPAs, the Isle of … Alan Reid, Liberal Democrat candidate for Argyll & Bute, in the May Scottish Election, has today, 25th January, criticised the SNP … The Independent Commission for Competitive and Fair Taxation in Scotland reported its findings earlier today, 25th January 2016.

A … Updated below: 14.00 The work programme already announced to add further landslip mitigation at the vulnerable Rest & Be … Careless Driving About 11.15am on Tuesday 19th January, on the A83 near Dunderave Castle, a car overtaking another vehicle, allegedly … As he seems to spin off out of orbit, national Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn who had promised the fresh and not the downright …

A pioneering three-year project to learn some of the secrets of Scotland s basking sharks by using satellite tag technology has … Back in June 2009 a swine flu pandemic hit Scotland with major centres of the outbreak in Argyll principally in Dunoon … Today, 22nd January, Dave Thompson, SNP MSP for Skye, Wester Ross and Lochaber, received a communication from Rio Tinto which has …

The management team for LORN the Local Origins Rural Network are thinking about running the LORN Community Producers … One of Scotland s major internationally renowed visitor attractions, the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, has been awarded the … Long time major nationalist figure, Jim Sillars a genuine independent who speaks his mind, right or wrong, on message or not …

Texas-based RigLogix has been tracking the use of North Sea rigs since 2000 and has just reported that by 19th January 2016, only 63% … The Reform Group of three Argyll & Bute Councillors Michael Breslin, Vivien Dance and Bruce Marshall has worked up … Update below 22nd January session to be streamed live Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary, John Swinney, is to … BBC ALBA s popular vets series, Gach Creutair Be , returns on 26th January at 8.30pm with ten more episodes, following … 22nd January update below political responses A family of whisky entrepreneurs Andrew and Scott Laing with their … Updated text Brent crude ended 2015 with a last quarter average 42% down on the last quarter of the previous year.

This comes as no … The House of Lords Constitution Committee is holding six evidence sessions over two days this week on 20th and 21st … Nominations from candidates for Ward 5 Oban North and Lorn by-election to Argyll and Bute Council closed on Monday 18th …

Oban lifeboat is now off its marks for 2016. At 19.43 tonight, 19th January, the Oban RNLI lifeboat, Mora Edith MacDonald, was … The Scottish Parliament is just now debating a call from the haulage industry for additional support to enable the recruitment of more …

Two recent developments have focused the 2016 Scottish Election on a choice of only two serious voting options: SNP or Scottish … Updated 16.40 below, with an account of the session. David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland , is to appear this af6tenoon, … The Argyll and Bute Delivering Choice Programme is an integrated partnership which has brought together NHS, Local Authority and third … Driving without Insurance About 6.00pm on Sunday 3rd January, on Front Street, Inveraray, a car was stopped by Police for a routine …

Dave Thompson, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, has written to the John Muir Trust seeking reassurance from them that they … FilmG, MG ALBA s Gaelic Short Film Competition, has announced the shortlists for its 2016 competition with budding filmmakers, … On 27th February at 5.30pm a motley crew each wearing a bra over their walking gear, will set off from the Argyll Caravan Park to walk …

The Scottish Government s Scottish Attainment Challenge money designed to close the enduring gap between rich and poor … Updated below 20th January 2016: political responsesSalmon & Trout Conservation Scotland S&TCS has today, 18th January … The oil market response to the return of Iran to international trading following the lifting of the economic sanctions imposed against … President Obama is ending his two terms as President of America by reversing one of the most dangerous international developments of …

The story of the Calanais Stones on the Isle of Lewis and the ingenuity of those who erected them, began more than four thousand years … Finance Secretary, John Swinney s draft budget for 2016-17 shows that the Scottish Government plan to cut 13% or 15 … The development of the Rockfieod Centre in the former school of the same name in the centre of Oban is moving forwards.

Oban … On one day, Petrofac announces the loss of 160 jobs from its Northern Sea operation. The next day BP announces 600 jobs to go.

The day … Taynuilt man Donald Shaw enters his 10th year as Artistic Director of Celtic Connections this week as the biggest winter music … Local MSP, Jackie Baillie, has called on the SNP Scottish Government to take action to prevent what she has described as the …

Reader Martin Briscoe set out with his camera equipment to catch the Royal Navy s Search and Rescue SAR Sea Kings over Fort …

Full circle: the Calanais experience with BBC ALBA 0

Full circle: the Calanais experience with BBC ALBA

A family of whisky entrepreneurs Andrew and Scott Laing with their father, Stewart have today, 20th January 2016, … Updated text Brent crude ended 2015 with a last quarter average 42% down on the last quarter of the previous year. This comes as no … The House of Lords Constitution Committee is holding six evidence sessions over two days this week on 20th and 21st …

Nominations from candidates for Ward 5 Oban North and Lorn by-election to Argyll and Bute Council closed on Monday 18th … Oban lifeboat is now off its marks for 2016. At 19.43 tonight, 19th January, the Oban RNLI lifeboat, Mora Edith MacDonald, was …

The Scottish Parliament is just now debating a call from the haulage industry for additional support to enable the recruitment of more … Two recent developments have focused the 2016 Scottish Election on a choice of only two serious voting options: SNP or Scottish … Updated 16.40 below, with an account of the session. David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland , is to appear this af6tenoon, … The Argyll and Bute Delivering Choice Programme is an integrated partnership which has brought together NHS, Local Authority and third …

Driving without Insurance About 6.00pm on Sunday 3rd January, on Front Street, Inveraray, a car was stopped by Police for a routine … Dave Thompson, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, has written to the John Muir Trust seeking reassurance from them that they … FilmG, MG ALBA s Gaelic Short Film Competition, has announced the shortlists for its 2016 competition with budding filmmakers, …

On 27th February at 5.30pm a motley crew each wearing a bra over their walking gear, will set off from the Argyll Caravan Park to walk … The Scottish Government s Scottish Attainment Challenge money designed to close the enduring gap between rich and poor … Updated below 20th January 2016: political responsesSalmon & Trout Conservation Scotland S&TCS has today, 18th January … The oil market response to the return of Iran to international trading following the lifting of the economic sanctions imposed against …

President Obama is ending his two terms as President of America by reversing one of the most dangerous international developments of … The story of the Calanais Stones on the Isle of Lewis and the ingenuity of those who erected them, began more than four thousand years … Finance Secretary, John Swinney s draft budget for 2016-17 shows that the Scottish Government plan to cut 13% or 15 …

The development of the Rockfieod Centre in the former school of the same name in the centre of Oban is moving forwards. Oban … On one day, Petrofac announces the loss of 160 jobs from its Northern Sea operation.

The next day BP announces 600 jobs to go. The day … Taynuilt man Donald Shaw enters his 10th year as Artistic Director of Celtic Connections this week as the biggest winter music …

Local MSP, Jackie Baillie, has called on the SNP Scottish Government to take action to prevent what she has described as the … Reader Martin Briscoe set out with his camera equipment to catch the Royal Navy s Search and Rescue SAR Sea Kings over Fort … The Press and Journal P&J paper used Freedom of Information FoI to reveal today, 14th January 2016, the extent to which there …

Bright, clear, that slight dusting of snow that defines the contours this is Dunleacainn crag dominating the southern entrance … New update below The Royal Navy s last Scottish based search and rescue SAR helicopter crew will say goodbye after 40 years … Three Argyll community groups have been awarded funding by the Big Lottery Fund for fascinating projects, one aimed for the young and … Rewilding the Highlands from restored forests to the return of predators such as the lynx will be in the spotlight in Exeter …

The House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee which has been reviewing the creative industries in Scotland is to launch its … Tonight, 13th January 2016, the price of a barrel of Brent crude fell below $30, the lowest for 12 years. This comes at the end of a …

Air an Rathad, BBC ALBA s drive hard show, Air an Rathad starts a new series on Thursday 14th January at 10pm. With a … As it works to recover from the devastation of the flooding from the series of December 2015 storms, the legendary Scottish Borders …

David Mundell MP, the Conservative Secretary of State for Scotland and MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, has come out as … As MPs debate today a private member s bill on a national anthem for England with Jerusalem said to be in the lead -why … In another immediately attractive initiative, Forestry Commission Scotland is running a free 10.15 update below with direct link to Scottish Affairs Committee All the action seems to be at Westminster on 13th January …

In these days of endemic governmental ad hockery, with the major new fiscal powers being devolved to Scotland in the Scotland Bill, …

Figures released by the Scottish Government today, 12th January 2016 Homelessness in Scotland 1 July to 30 September 2015 …

The SNP Scottish Government really does seem to believe that its few genuine scrutineers are as blindly trusting and as ill-informed …