POLICE WITH DRINK PROBLEMS AND MENTAL ILLNESS

Independent researchers found nearly three-quarters of cops went to work while “physically unwell” in the past six months – and over a third while “mentally unwell”. And the study – due to be published in full in the coming weeks – suggested one in ten of Scotland’s 17,000 officers drink alcohol or take prescription drugs “as a coping mechanism”. … More POLICE WITH DRINK PROBLEMS AND MENTAL ILLNESS

FIRST MINISTER LIED ABOUT CRIME FIGURES

After host Nicky Campbell read out a series of statistics about Scotland’s murder rate, prompting the First Minister to mount a defence of the Scottish Government, stating that violent crime was now at a “40-year plus” low. Recorded crime statistics are published each year by the Scottish Government. This refers to crimes which are reported and recorded by police and does not equate to convictions, nor does it include all crimes committed as not all crime is reported. The statistics separate out different types of crime with non-sexual crimes of violence and sexual crimes in two distinct categories. … More FIRST MINISTER LIED ABOUT CRIME FIGURES

BURSARIES FOR CULTURE ORIENTED SCOTS

Joan Parr, director of Arts & Engagement, Creative Scotland, said: “Fair access to careers in the arts is one of the most pressing issues facing the creative sector. Providing transformative opportunities, these bursaries go some way to making entry into the arts a level playing field and ensures those with talent, but not financial backing, are given the opportunity to succeed.” … More BURSARIES FOR CULTURE ORIENTED SCOTS

COME OUT AND FIGHT, BORIS

Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said: “Boris Johnson must stop ducking scrutiny. His cowardly behaviour shows why he simply isn’t fit to be prime minister. How can we expect Johnson to stand up to Trump or Putin if he won’t even agree to a half-hour interview with Andrew Neil? It’s bad enough that the voice of Remain has been excluded from today’s debate. But it’s even worse that right now Boris Johnson won’t be held properly to account for his lies and extreme Brexit plans.” … More COME OUT AND FIGHT, BORIS

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM THE MODERATOR

The message of the angels was that this was good news for all the people, the broken-hearted as well as the blessed, the lonely as well as the loved, the poor as much as the prosperous.
For Christmas helps us re-calibrate our view of God. He is not distant from us, nor demanding of us. Rather he is “God with us” alongside us, sharing our joys and our sorrows.
Even if we do not have the means to have a traditional Christmas we can have a Christ centred Christmas and that can mean so much more. If you are able why not visit a local Church and perhaps the traditional carols will burrow their way into your heart and get you singing for joy. … More CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM THE MODERATOR

NICOLA STURGEON’S SPIN AND HOSPITAL PASSES

Responding to the news that Susan Deacon has quit,  Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP told the Justice Secretary that “the governance and accountability arrangements for policing in Scotland are fundamentally flawed in culture, structure and practice.” He added: “Susan Deacon did the best she could with a broken system. Liberal Democrats have been telling the SNP Government since day one that it hardwired flaws into the national force. It botched the centralisation [of the police under a single Chief Constable], causing chaos. … More NICOLA STURGEON’S SPIN AND HOSPITAL PASSES

CANDLELIGHT MARCH MARKS SOARING DRUGS DEATHS

Statistics show that there were 1,187 drugs related deaths in Scotland in 2018, up 27% on the previous year. The death rate is higher than any other EU country. The handmade crosses, which are around  seven inches tall, were made by former addicts in recovery and will be planted ahead of a candlelight march through the streets of Springburn to remember all those who tragically lost their lives. Around 300 people, including elected politicians and those campaigning for seats in the House of Commons, are expected to take part along with public sector workers and representatives from Police Scotland. The church bells will toll as they process in sombre reflection as calls for a different approach to tackle the scourge grow. … More CANDLELIGHT MARCH MARKS SOARING DRUGS DEATHS

SKERRYVORE TO CELEBRATE AT INVERARAY CASTLE

Inveraray Castle is the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell and an iconic and must-see visitor attraction on the West Coast of Scotland. Set in beautiful grounds and gardens, with some of the most stunning scenery in the whole of Argyll on its doorstep, event go-ers will have the opportunity to not only access exclusive castle parking but also camp on the grounds and the surrounding area. Tents and campervan spaces will be available to buy when tickets go on sale. … More SKERRYVORE TO CELEBRATE AT INVERARAY CASTLE

SNP ‘TONE DEAF’ TO PROBLEMS IN OUR SCHOOLS

Revealed: the narrowing options at secondary schools in poorer areas James McEnaney, investigative journalist Children in poorer parts of Scotland – West Dunbartonshire is one of the most deprived areas in the country – have nearly 10 per cent fewer choices of subjects in secondary schools than those in better-off areas, new research has found. … More SNP ‘TONE DEAF’ TO PROBLEMS IN OUR SCHOOLS

EVENING TIMES BELONGS TO GLASGOW

THE Glasgow newspaper, the Evening Times, has been rebranded as the ‘Glasgow Times’. So begins a statement, from publishers, Newsquest Herald & Times Group: “Already, over the past few weeks, we have introduced a few changes – we have a new editor, a new design, and lots of brilliant new regular columnists, features, sport, investigations and campaigns – and there is MUCH more of that to come.” … More EVENING TIMES BELONGS TO GLASGOW

INDEPENDENCE WOULD LEAD TO SPENDING CUTS, SAY LIB DEMS

“The IFS is unconvinced by the SNP’s spending plans. Independence would not be positive for Scotland. It would mean at least a decade of new deep cuts at a time when we need to invest in education and boost mental health services to turn them around.  We’ve got to learn the lessons of Brexit, not pile more chaos on top.  Just like their Growth Commission, the SNP’s own maths is painting a picture of a poorer Scotland with less money for our public services. … More INDEPENDENCE WOULD LEAD TO SPENDING CUTS, SAY LIB DEMS

BOOK REVIEW by AMANDA BELL

By her own admission, Jenny Odell’s book isn’t saying anything new, but the terms of reference are bang up to date for a new generation inured to personal branding, social monoculture, and the reification of the self: “It is within a blasted landscape of neoliberal determinism that this book seeks hidden springs of ambiguity and inefficiency.” What she goes on to prescribe as the solution to the multiple distractions competing for our mental energy approximates the concept, familiar in many Eastern religious practices, of being “in the zone”, or its more recent iteration of “flow”. … More BOOK REVIEW by AMANDA BELL

NOT EVERYONE AT THE DOOR WILL BE SANTA CLAUS

It’s not just Christmas bells you have to listen out for at this time of year – it’s alarm bells. For the smiling man – or woman – at your front door may not be Santa Claus. The Scottish Government has been asked by Dr Alastair Allan, a rural MSP, what measures it can take to better enhance the consumer protection for vulnerable people facing aggressive sales at the doorstep. … More NOT EVERYONE AT THE DOOR WILL BE SANTA CLAUS

IF IT LOOKS LIKE A NEWSPAPER THEN IT MAY BE A FAKE

Should political parties be permitted to produce election material that resembles a local newspaper? That question has been thrown to the fore in this current general election after it has emerged that all three of the main parties attempting to win the December 12 poll have been producing partisan free-sheets that appear to ape or at least resemble existing local publications. Has the time now come, the newspaper industry is asking, for such practices to be banned completely, especially when an election is underway? … More IF IT LOOKS LIKE A NEWSPAPER THEN IT MAY BE A FAKE

SCANDAL OF YOUNG SCOTS CARE LEAVERS REVEALED

Ten days after her 16th birthday Amy-Beth Miah decided she’d had enough of a care system that seemed designed to do anything but care. She signed the lease on a flat, filled her then-boyfriend’s car with all her belongings and left it for good.She first went into foster care when she was seven years old. When a subsequent foster arrangement broke down, she says it felt like she was passed round every children’s unit in her local authority area. … More SCANDAL OF YOUNG SCOTS CARE LEAVERS REVEALED

POPPY WREATHS PAYMENT ROW RESOLVED

Cllr McColl said: “West Dunbartonshire Council believes the purchasing of wreaths for Remembrance Sunday falls within these two objectives and asks officers to update local rules to permit Community Councils to use administrative grant funds for this purpose. The Council agreed this change was retrospective, allowing individuals who have purchased wreaths on behalf of Community Councils for this November’s commemorations, to be reimbursed by their Community Council in the normal way. Furthermore, the Council agreed that a report will be brought to the next Corporate Services Committee with recommendations to amend any other local rules that do not reflect the guidance in the model constitution. … More POPPY WREATHS PAYMENT ROW RESOLVED

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS CAMPAIGN

While the aspirations of the Labour Party’s proposed crackdown on fake news appear well motivated, the inevitable result of any enquiry and measures set in place to contain fake news raise questions over who will decide what is true and what is false? This is the same for the recent Cairncross Report under the Conservative government that has proposed an academy to promote news of ‘public interest’. Indeed, we must question, who will decide what that is? … More FREEDOM OF THE PRESS CAMPAIGN

COUNCIL WANTS TO USE ROBOTS TO CUT THE GRASS

Before we wrap this up, I must tell you a tale, which falls into the “You’ll never believe this” category. Cllr Jonathan McColl, Balloch’s answer to Kim Jung-ho, and Cllr Sally Page, the Tory millionairess, who represents the good people of Haldane, want to experiment with a new system to cut the grass in our parks, cemeteries and public spaces. They want to use ROBOTS! Can I suggest that if we bring in robots to cut the grass then we should get the councillors to run the council.  … More COUNCIL WANTS TO USE ROBOTS TO CUT THE GRASS

NAVY TAKES THE BISCUIT WHILE ARMY GETS THE BEANS

If it’s really true that the Navy gets the gravy and the Army gets the beans, then Faslane-based submariners get something far tastier than either – caramel wafers, tea cakes and delicious snowballs.
Sir Boyd Tunnock, the multi-millionaire boss of the biscuit makers is a big friend of the Royal Navy – and all the Armed Forces. Sir Boyd has had a great deal to celebrate recently, including a knighthood from the Queen and the Armed Forces Covenant, which he was presented with at HM Naval Base Clyde. … More NAVY TAKES THE BISCUIT WHILE ARMY GETS THE BEANS

CREATIVE SCOTLAND LENDS A HAND TO MAGGIE

Songs on the new album will include love songs – Caolas Eadar Mi is Iain, Iain Ghlinn Cuaich, Craobh nan Ùbhal and Ho mo nighean donn nan Gobhar; a traditional version of the Eriskay Love Lilt known as Gràdh Geal mo Chridh; a lament – Bheir mo Shoraidh thar Ghunaidh; some mouth music and waulking songs (or work songs); and the Robert Burns’ songs, The Highland Widow’s Lament and The Bonnie Lass of Albany. … More CREATIVE SCOTLAND LENDS A HAND TO MAGGIE

FARMING IS NO LONGER A ‘MEN ONLY’ BUSINESS

“It is neither acceptable nor business-savvy for agencies, organisations and businesses that operate in Scottish agriculture today to be effectively male only. If we can help them to be better and more equitable, we should do so. Those agencies, organisations and businesses also need to hear clearly that men-only boards and governance structures must be consigned to the past. Scottish agriculture simply cannot afford to leave women behind, but changing a centuries-old culture will involve significant work. Crucially, it will require that everyone who has a stake and an interest in the future of agriculture in Scotland work together. … More FARMING IS NO LONGER A ‘MEN ONLY’ BUSINESS

MoD KEEPS NEW NUKES REPORT SECRET

Staff shortages have prevented an official watchdog from completing all “essential tasks” to ensure the safety of the UK nuclear weapons programme, according to a previously confidential Ministry of Defence (MoD) report. A short extract from a report by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR) – kept secret by the MoD since 2017 – reveals that the nuclear programme was struggling with shortages of “suitably qualified and experienced personnel”. Four pages of the DNSR annual report for 2015-16 were released by the MoD in the run-up to a freedom of information tribunal in London on 2 December. The tribunal is considering an appeal against the MoD’s refusal to publish the whole report. … More MoD KEEPS NEW NUKES REPORT SECRET

BOOK REVIEW: CIPHERS OF TRANSCENDENCE

Transcendence is a millefeuille term conveying layered and diverse nuances, from the first openness of human awareness towards the outside world, to the ultimate affirmation of and commitment to a loving and infinite Transcendent. Patrick Masterson has devoted his philosophical career to reflection upon the unfathomable nature of the latter, seeking to decipher instances and images of transcendence within the realm of limited human experience. … More BOOK REVIEW: CIPHERS OF TRANSCENDENCE

LIB DEMS CANDIDATE FOR ELECTION

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have unveiled their candidate to fight the West Dunbartonshire seat in the General Election on December 12. Jenni Lang is taking on the sitting incumbent, Martin Docherty Hughes of the SNP; Jean Anne Mitchell, of the Labour Party; Conservative Party nomination Alix Mathieson, Peter Connolly of the Green Party, and Independent, anti-corruption candidate Andrew Muir. Jenni Lang has worked in communications for over 20 years, with extensive experience in PR, community relations and public affairs. … More LIB DEMS CANDIDATE FOR ELECTION

ROTTEN CULTURE AT DIRTY WATER DEATHS HOSPITAL

MSP Anas Sarwar, who has called for the current health board leadership to be removed, said the chief executive was “ultimately responsible for the rotten culture of fear and intimidation at this hospital”. He said: “It should never have taken brave whistle-blowers to come forward for this scandal to emerge. Without them, parents would still be in the dark. “While senior managers remain in place there is a risk the investigation will be compromised, which is why they should be moved aside – as would surely have happened in a criminal investigation if this was in the private sector. “With another tragic death at the hospital reported in recent days, parents, patients and the public deserve urgent answers about what has gone so catastrophically wrong at the QEUH.” … More ROTTEN CULTURE AT DIRTY WATER DEATHS HOSPITAL

TIME FOR SILENCE FROM THE BOOM TOWN REVELLERS?

It was almost a month since Guy Fawkes night, but loud bangs were booming out over Barloan on Monday night. At first we thought it was gunfire; that someone or something was being shot at. However, then we saw brightly-coloured stars lighting up the sky, which was some comfort to us. We knew that the usual suspects were at it again.  People with money to burn who don’t give a care for their elderly neighbours or pets. … More TIME FOR SILENCE FROM THE BOOM TOWN REVELLERS?

EDITORIAL: THE DEMOCRAT

Take First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, for example. In a television debate with six other politicians last night on ITV, she claimed that her party, the SNP, had been responsible for introducing free personal care for the elderly. They weren’t. It was the Labour Party and former First Minister Henry McLeish who did that. And we should know. Our editor was there with him as a special adviser on the east wing of St Andrew’s House when he did it. … More EDITORIAL: THE DEMOCRAT

BOOKS: Cork Harbour by CAL McCARTHY

Cork Harbour’s association with infamous ships like Titanic and Lusitania ensure its place in world maritime history. While such tragedies are heavily documented, the story of the modern evolution of the second-largest natural harbour in the world and its trade has received less attention. The Royal Navy’s long and extensive association with Cork makes it unique among Irish harbours, an association born of the necessity to protect trade in a growing world of ever-expanding ships and increasingly global enterprise. … More BOOKS: Cork Harbour by CAL McCARTHY

DIRTY WATER HOSPITAL DEATHS SCANDAL

“I want to assure the families involved at that time that there was no attempt to ignore these reports once they were brought to my attention. I would, therefore, hope the families who have called for changes at the top of the organisation can accept that the current leadership team have made significant efforts to address the situation. Every member of the team has been entirely committed throughout this difficult period to ensuring the safety and quality of care of the children. … More DIRTY WATER HOSPITAL DEATHS SCANDAL

SNP RECORD OF VOTING WITH SCOTTISH TORIES

In hock to corporate lobbyists and with a record of voting with the Scottish Tories on everything from progressive taxation, outsourcing and against public ownership of rail, the SNP nonetheless appears to have convinced many London-based progressives that the politics of national identity have somehow alchemised north of the border into a vision they can connect with. … More SNP RECORD OF VOTING WITH SCOTTISH TORIES

WHO KILLED UNION BOSS JIMMY HOFFA?

The movie tells the story of organized crime in post-war America through the reflective eyes of World War II veteran Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran, a hustler, and hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century.Spanning anning decades, the film chronicles one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in American history – the disappearance of legendary union boss Jimmy Hoffa. … More WHO KILLED UNION BOSS JIMMY HOFFA?

FROM SPAIN TO INDIA IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER

Even the people who own restaurants have to eat out from time to time. And it was not by accident that Cara and Milan Nicolic, of La Barca and many other restaurants in Helensburgh, chose to go to Annaya’s when they felt like an Indian. Tremendous choice there, and lots of it.  Cara, who has a way with words (well, she is a journalist) said: “Enough Nan to sink a ship – plain nan, garlic nan, cheese nan, onion and cheese nan… the table was creaking!” Nice wee bottle of wine there too. Bill Heaney … More FROM SPAIN TO INDIA IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER