Dennis Canavan has warned his Yes Scotland colleagues to 'sharpen up'
News in Scotland - Monday
'Sharpen up', Canavan warns Yes Scotland
Former Labour MP and chairman of the pro-independence 'yes' campaign has warned his colleagues that they must address the everyday "needs of people" if they want to win next year's independence referendum. Mr Canavan argues that the focus of the 'yes' campaign must be on criticising Westminster austerity policies and compare that with the fair society that could be achieved under independence. The comments follow on from a poll which showed that 62 percent of voters did not find the case for independence convincing. The poll did not ask if they found the case for remaining within the Union convincing.
Scottish independence: Co-op Party chief resigns over 'yes' support
Mary Lockhart, who may stand to be a Labour MEP, has resigned her position as chair of the Co-op Party over her backing for an independent Scotland. Ms Lockhart tendered her resignation after writing a piece in support of a 'yes' vote in next year's independence referendum. The piece, published in Scotland on Sunday, ran with the title "Socialism will work better in independent Scotland" and argued that independence offered the greatest hope for socialists to influence the future of Scotland and in keeping with the Scottish identity. Ms Lockhart also argued that it was "insulting" and "offensive" that Labour were collaborating with the Tories in the Better Together campaign. Her resignation was attributed to a conflict between holding the post and her desire to make her views public. Some commentators have pointed to Ms Lockhart having the courage of her convictions as a rare feature of Scottish politics.
More Scottish news:
- Is the SNP planning state-funded news?
- Better Together credibility battered after warnings of fresh UK downgrades
- Scottish independence: UK downgrade means promised 'recovery' is like Waiting for Godot
- Scots go hungry to maintain London’s global status
Funeral of Brian Adam MSP on Friday
Brian Adam MSP will be laid to rest on Friday after losing his battle with cancer. His death will trigger a by-election and entails the loss of the SNP's majority in Holyrood. Mr Adam's funeral will be on Friday at 12.30 in Aberdeen where he was a constituency MSP. First Minister Alex Salmond hailed Mr Adam as an "exceptional" MSP.
UK crisis: Osborne’s plans to boost the economy criticised by MPs
The credibility of George Osborne’s £310bn plan to boost economic growth by building roads, railways, airports and power stations has been heavily criticised today by MPs. The Commons Public Accounts Committee accused ministers of being unrealistic over how much private capital could be raised – and warned that UK taxpayers and consumers could end up bearing much of the cost through even higher rail fares and utility bills. MPs said: “We are not convinced a plan requiring £310bn of investment in infrastructure is credible given the current economic climate, the cutbacks in public finances and the difficulty in raising private finance for projects on acceptable terms”. With government borrowing continuing to rise – and negligible signs of UK economic growth, the report added that investors would be reluctant to come forward with money “until government policy is clear and consistent”.
Pharmaceutical companies ‘condemning patients to death’
A group of cancer experts has warned that inflated prices charged by pharmaceutical companies for cancer drugs are effectively condemning patients to death. The group of more than 100 leading cancer physicians from around the world, accuse the drug industry of “profiteering”. In addition, the rising cost of existing drugs in an increasingly cash strapped NHS means treatment is effectively being denied to patients who need them most. Of the 12 drugs approved by the FDA in the US in 2012, 11 were priced above £65,000 per patient per year, with the price of existing drugs that have been proven effective often increasing threefold. With original prices by far covering research and development costs – academics are calling for such gross overpricing to be justified.
UK crisis: IDS accused of misleading the UK over benefits
Iain Duncan Smith's rhetoric of "it must pay more to be in work than live on benefits" is being accused by a group of researchers of misleading the UK public, as figures used to uphold the argument apparently lack any evidence. The DWP "tax benefit model" - a model abandoned by the coalition government- shows how much better off people out of work, in a range of circumstances, would be by moving into employment – and it is instead these such calculations that continue to be used by DWP staff. As unemployment climbs above 2.5mn, and 6.8mn counting as underemployed - there are fewer than 0.5mn job vacancies. Commentators are instead stating that the real issue for the UK government is not about slashing a necessary welfare system, under the flawed argument of 'making work pay', but instead, about making work exist.
Rome gunman had ‘lost his job...lost everything’
A gunman who shot and injured two policemen outside the Italian PM's office in Rome was acting out of anger at politicians, prosecutors have said - as a new government was sworn in across the city at the Quirinale Palace. Rome prosecutor, Pierfilippo Laviani, said the gunman, Luigi Preiti, had hoped to target politicians but as he was unable to, he shot the police officers instead. Although suggestions have been made that Mr Preiti suffered from mental health problems– Laviani stated that Mr Preiti had instead "lost his job, lost everything”. “He doesn't seem to be a deranged individual - he has confessed everything”. The country remains plagued by economic woes and unemployment after becoming one of the first eurozone victims of the global financial crisis of 2008.
Syria: Western-backed insurgents explode bomb next to Damascus school
A bombing in government-controlled central Damascus exploded today near a school killing 19 people. An explosive device was placed under a black BMW vehicle that was parked along the route of Prime Minister Doctor Wael al-Halqi's convoy in what is being described as an assassination attempt. The explosion took place next to a nursery and a school injuring two children, it has been reported. The insurgents have support from the West in the geopolitically sensitive region and include al-Qaeda among their ranks.
Diplomats warn militants are being squeezed out of Mali by western intervention
Diplomats warn of growing Islamist violence against western targets in Libya, following last week's attack on the French embassy in Tripoli. The bomb blast that damaged much of the embassy is seen by many as retaliation by Libyans for Paris' decision to extend its military mission against jihadists in Mali. France sent troops to Mali in January after fear of an escalating uprising in the north by the ethnic Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA). In December Washington provided drones and an Orion electronic warfare aircraft to support government units arresting jihadist suspects in Benghazi. Controversially it is now delivering border surveillance equipment to Libya and setting up a base for drones in Niger, from where it can monitor both Mali and Libya. Mali’s third largest export is gold which is seen to be in short physical supply and a major concern for world powers as paper currencies become debased.
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