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ScotBuzz editor Bill Jamieson says few prospects have more roused support for independence than an end to the “Westminster politics of austerity”. Higher public spending, ranging from health service provision to free childcare support for working mothers, looks assured. There's a consensus view that an independent Scotland will move to the left, fuelled by online radicals and calls for social justice. Hard facts, says Bill, suggest otherwise, as reality, and the need to borrow money, kicks in...
This week it's almost all Indyref, since all Scotland seems consumed by it, despite the nightly carnage on our television screens. Honey takes a look at the polls, the journos testing the temperature hour by hour, what women think, who's Yes and who's No - and who's lying low. There's contingency planning galore, canny folk in the north, and notices of removal. And an old favourite faces a shocking accusation. Pass the smelling salts, mother...
Amid worries about the falling rate of average earnings, the latest Bank of Scotland report on jobs out this week shows starting salaries continued to climb last month while demand for staff intensified. The bank's chief economist, Donald MacRae (pictured), is optimistic there'll be continuing recovery and growth in overall earnings as the number of people in permanent posts, especially in IT and health and care, increases ...
Last week brought news that the Westminster government is giving home entrepreneurs an “unexpected boost”. It was billed as part of a drive to encourage more kitchen table start-ups. And about time, we thought, given the slowdown in new businesses. But before we put the flags out, we should maybe take a closer look at how this this 'boost' affects those of you out there working with just a laptop on the kitchen table...
This week Ken Houston shares some of the more bizarre instances of political correctness he's come across this summer. From the sun cream handed to two lags who decided to take the air on the prison roof (why not just turn the hose on them, he wonders) through the Belfast gay cake saga and on to Scotland's ban on a discount for his half case of cooling vino, Ken has a definite case of what-is-the-world-coming-to...
GEORGE KEREVAN assesses whether ‘indyref’, as it is referred to by the hacks, has been good for press circulation. With the pollsters predicting a record voter turnout on September 18,says George, you might think newspapers would be flying off the shelves. But you would be very wrong. In the 12 months to July, audited sales of newspaper titles in Scotland fell like a stone. George explains why, and wonders what might have been...
John McGurk says it's less than two years since various celebrities lined up at the Leveson Inquiry to reveal how they were pilloried by phone hacking tabloids. Hugh Grant, Charlotte Church and Steve Coogan all supported state regulation of the press. Let's hope, says John, that none of these celebrities is involved in allegations which the police get to hear about - for what was dished out to them by the nasty newspapers was nothing compared to what detectives did to Sir Cliff Richard last week ...
‘Pure dead brilliant’ would seem an apt summation of Scotland’s retail performance in July. Helped by the large numbers who came to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games, footfall on Scotland’s high streets and shopping destinations rose by 4.4 per cent last month – the highest regional figure for the UK while the UK overall registered a decline. Yet one in eleven shops is still empty, so government and local authorities have lots to do to encourage retailers to take them up ...
It is possible, says Archie Stirling, to read the Scottish Affairs Committee Briefing Paper 432:50 on land reform, and think at first glance that its authors may have a point. But look closer. The report’s basic precept is private ownership bad, public ownership, good. It confuses, Archie maintains, the justifiable desire for public access and enjoyment to the land with the fact of ownership and a right to manage your property as you see fit. The committee may not like it, but to Archie these aims are incompatible...
Sharing services use technology to offer consumers access to a service rather than ownership of a product. Why buy DVDs and CDs when you can stream films, TV and music by subscribing to a music/video streaming site? And why own a car in clogged up city centres like Glasgow and Edinburgh, when companies will match travellers with car owners heading for the same destination? Just five offerings from the UK’s so-called ‘sharing economy’ could be worth £9 billion a year by 2015...
Scot-Buzz editor Bill Jamieson recoils at yet another report with another predictable conclusion. Set up another business quango? What's the point, asks Bill. Do we really need another one? The authors went all the way to Massachusetts to get answers to improving Scotland's innovation and entrepreneurship. Sadly, says Bill, the result is one of the most cliché-infested regurgitations of long familiar problems with a prose style best described as Dead on Arrival...