Professor John Paul Leach to leave university after bullying probe


The senior academic at the centre of allegations of gendered bullying and discrimination at one of Scotland’s oldest universities is to leave his post, it has been announced.

The Herald revealed last month that the University of Glasgow had launched an inquiry following complaints from female staff and students about the behaviour of Professor John Paul Leach, head of undergraduate medicine.

The university has refused to provide any information about the outcome of the inquiry and if any disciplinary action was taken against Professor Leach, who is a consultant neurologist at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

HeraldScotland:

However the complaints are said to have involved “multiple” members of staff and students. 

The situation led to another senior academic quitting his post after 35 years claiming “a culture of misogyny is flourishing’ within the medical school.

Contacted by The Herald, Professor Leach claimed the disciplinary process concluded “there was no case to answer.”

He said: “There is no bullying or misogynistic behaviour of which I’ve been guilty and no sanction so I leave with my record at the university clear.”

University staff were told today that Prof Leach will leave within weeks to take up the post of senior clinical neuroscientist with a multinational pharmaceutical company.

READ MORE: Senior academic quits over ‘flourishing culture of mysoginy’ at Scots university

The letter states that a “competitive external appointment process” will get underway imminently for a replacement head of undergraduate medicine.

Professor Matthew Walters, Head of the School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing writes: “Professor Leach has been running our undergraduate medical school since 2016 and has continued the upward progress of the school through national and international rankings despite global and regional challenges. 

“We’re very sorry to be losing such a talented colleague from the university and wish him well as he moves on to his next challenge. 

READ MORE: Anger over professor’s ‘sexist’ female brain image

“Prof Leach will move on within the next few weeks: a competitive external appointment process for the next head of undergraduate medicine will be initiated imminently and further details on interim leadership arrangements will follow.”

Dr James Going, who was made an Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Glasgow in 2016, said the university’s apparent failure to tackle the problem was akin to “putting a sticking plaster” on a festering abscess.

In a strongly worded resignation letter to university Principal Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, he said he no longer wished to be associated with the university.

Complaints were made by students about a ‘sexist’ slide depicting the female brain that was shown to medical students by the Professor.

In it a small area is labelled  ‘sex initiation’ gland while driving skills and ‘realisation of wants vs needs’ are shown as dots. It was shown alongside another image depicting the brain of fictional TV character Homer Simpson.

The University of Glasgow said it “condemns discrimination of any kind”.

In January Morag Ross QC was appointed by the university to carry out a review of the institutions’s approach to addressing gender-based violence including harassment and harmful practices that are “committed disproportionately by men against women”. 
 





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Jennifer McLeish sanctioned over cosmetic treatment


The daughter of one of Scotland’s richest men has been suspended from the nursing register after a woman suffered a rare and serious complication following a cosmetic procedure.

Jennifer McLeish’s client is thought to have suffered a Vascular Oclusion after having Hyaluronic lip fillers at her Glasgow salon, House of Aesthetics.

The complication means blood is unable to pass through a blood vessel. If it is not detected and treated rapidly the condition can lead to necrosis where tissue dies and in the most serious cases gangrene.

An inquiry by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) was told that the woman consulted another practioner after becoming concerned about bruising following the procedure.

The clinic contacted Ms McLeish to advise her that her client had sufered a possible occlusion but the nurse “failed to respond” and ignored text messages from the woman.

Three charges were found proved by the NMC including a failure to explain the risks associated with the procedure.

She did not ask her client to sign any consent forms prior to the administration of the injection and failed to provide any follow-up care when she was made aware of the complication.

A witness told the inquiry that a vascular occlusion is a rare occurrence, but that he would have expected Miss McLeish to seek support from other colleagues, if she felt unable to treat the complication.

The NMC panel said Miss McLeish’s actions fell “significantly short of the standards expected of a registered nurse”.

She breached the profession’s code of conduct in several areas including failing to act when a patient suffers harm. The incident happened on September 27 2019.

HeraldScotland:

Ms McLeish is the daughter of the founder of railway maintenance firm QTS, Alan McLeish.

McLeish sold QTS – based in Strathaven, Lanarkshire – for £80million in 2018 after starting the business with the help of a £300 loan from his mum Anne.

The NMC said “actual harm” was caused to the beautician’s client and there would be a risk of harm to others if she was permitted to practise unrestricted while she had shown a “lack of insight” into her actions.

However it was noted that this was an isolated incident.

She was suspended from the nursing register for six months, with an interim suspension of 18 months but is entitled to appeal. 

In July, the Scottish Government announced plans to tighten the laws around cosmetic procedures.

Measures to enhance public safety around the procedures will be considered which would restrict who can administer dermal fillers, also known as lip or face fillers, and would mean anyone administering must meet rigorous hygiene and clinical standards.

 

 





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A luxury Mediterranean yachting holiday is not as expensive as you may think…

Sailing with a group of friends is a lot more affordable than most people think and is a wonderful activity holiday – one which David Sturrock Yachting can make come true, with top-specification yachts available now in Greece.

The Hanse 588 is available from Kos for fully crewed charter for six to eight guests or individual cabin charter for six guests (no sailing qualifications required) and lots of additional toys such as a Williams Jet drive tender, waterskiis, foil board, wakeboard and SUP’s all available.

The Moody 54 DS, a new, extremley well-equipped yacht based in Corfu – that is also available for fully crewed charter – as well as The Hanse 505, 458, 455 and 430 yachts are based at Kos Marina for summer charter, taking advantage of the fresh breezes and consistently glorious sailing conditions provided by the Aegean Sea.

The Moddy 54 DS and the Hanse 588 are almost exclusively available for skippered and crewed charters only.

Winter charter is available out of Grenada – the perfect base to explore the Caribbean. The firm, which has been operating in Greece for 15 years, can provide, bareboat or skipper charter with hostess service and their attention to detail, high standards and constant care with yacht maintenance programme mean that you can really relax and enjoy your sailing holiday experience.

HeraldScotland:

Allyacht’s are Greek registered and have the Greek charter licence which sets minimum safety standards of equipment on board. This includes appropriately sized liferafts with hydrostatic release, EPIRB’s, smoke & gas detection, deck fitted jackstays, integrated automatically inflating lifejackets/harnesses which amounts to a significantly higher standard of safety. All yachts are also fitted with solar panels , electric flush toilets and USB charging points in each cabin for your convenience.

All vessels are designed to give a cracking sailing performance with high quality interior accommodation. These characteristics along with a top level of equipment specification make them a delight to charter and live aboard. A great deal of thought and optimisation has gone into making it a memorable experience for everyone onboard. 

HeraldScotland:

David said: “I have been sailing since I was around 10 years old and I was fortunate enough to be taught by my father, Captain Bill Sturrock.

“I qualified as an RYA Dinghy Instructor before then gaining my RYA Yacht Master Offshore certificate and finally my YM Instructor award. I worked for a number of companies as a skipper or Instructor including the Outward Bound Trust and Sunsail. Two of the many highlights I have had in my sailing career would be the Atlantic crossings as skipper of my own Yachts while completing in the 2008 and 2012 ARC events. Then cruising in the Caribbean following arrival at St Lucia was the icing on the cake.

HeraldScotland:

“I have been operating Yachts from Kos since 2006, the area had been recommended to me by another Greek Charter Company as an excellent sailing location. As Kos is based within the Dodecanese chain of islands there are many excellent cruising destinations within easy reach. The wind and weather patterns are excellent with the prevailing NW’ly breeze blowing at F4/5 and virtually no rain from May to October. So it’s possible to find a new beach or small island each time you return to the area.

“The majority of our customers are German as they really appreciate the Hanse model of Yachts we operate which are built in Germany. Our aim from the outset was to offer sailing Yachts with real performance and comfort onboard that would appeal to genuine sailors. This strategy has been effective with great comments and reviews on our website.

HeraldScotland:

“We work with Istion Yachting who are a Greek owned Yacht Charter Company. Istion provide maintenance and yacht management services which are vital to allow charter operations to run smoothly. Istion (means sail in Greek) have an excellent reputation for providing customer service and this along with our own reputation for providing high specification Yachts has been very effective in the competitive yacht charter market.

“Although all our yachts are Hanse we will of course consider other manufacturers for charter management. All yachts have very high safety standards and full details are available on the website.


 

British Airways launches Aberdeen to London City Airport route

BRITISH Airways has launched a new route between Aberdeen and London City Airport for the winter season, offering daily flights.

The BA CityFlyer flights, on an Embraer E190 aircraft, will operate from today and run until January 22.

British Airways said it “continues to add more capacity” at London City Airport “as business travel gathers momentum”.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak a serious player on the economy? Really? Relative to who?

Aviation director Anne Doyere said: “We are delighted BA CityFlyer is launching this route between London City Airport and Aberdeen that will provide even more choice for passengers, particularly in time for Christmas and Hogmanay.

“With six routes across the country, we offer the…most comprehensive service between London and Scotland.”

READ MORE: Energy bills: Conservatives’ scrapping of promise is an act of the utmost stupidity

British Airways said: “LCY’s (London City’s) proximity to London’s financial district, means faster connections to the UK’s capital, supporting businesses and helping drive economic growth. The route also provides more opportunity for people to see the Granite City and other areas around the Scottish North Sea coast, including scenic castles in the region, such as the holiday home of the Royal family, Balmoral Castle.”

Commenting on London City’s passenger figures, in the context of the Aberdeen flights launch, Ms Doyere said: “This news comes after our bumper summer, where we saw nearly five times more passengers this summer than the same period last year. We’ve also seen over 300,000 passengers in October, which is a 103% increase on 2021, with strong load factors. October passenger numbers are also higher than August, demonstrating a clear resilience in the business travel market.”

London City Airport served 23 destinations in October, British Airways noted, with the top five destinations for the month being Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Zurich, Frankfurt and Dublin.

Matt Hancock I’m A Celebrity appearance is hard to swallow



Ever since his resignation in June 2021, the nation has had to somehow make do without its fix of Matt Hancock news

Matt Hancock? Is he the one who…

…hang on, I’m looking through a folder named ‘Tory Scandals, 2019-present’

…resigned after winching his colleague?

That’s the one!

READ MORE: How Elon Musk could make Twitter users pay for free speech

It started out with a kiss, how did it end up like this?

He was breaching social distancing guidelines during a pandemic.

I bet the Health Secretary was raging with him. Who was that, incidentally?

Matt Hancock.

Oh. Why’s he in the news?

When I pitched this it was for launching his book, when I started writing this it was for appearing on I’m A Celebrity, and now it’s for having the whip suspended on account of his I’m A Celebrity appearance. 

Don’t stop him now.

You’ve just reminded me that a video entitled ‘Matt Hancock Singing (Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now) Tory Conference 2018’ exists.

How bad can it be?

I’ve just watched Matt Hancock sing “I’m a sex machine ready to reload” next to a gyrating Thérèse Coffey.

Is Matt Hancock a celebrity?

According to ITV producers he is. The West Suffolk MP will join Boy George and Chris Moyles in the jungle on Sunday. 

How have his fellow Tories reacted?

Chief whip Simon Hart took a dim view, calling it “a matter serious enough to warrant suspension of the whip with immediate effect”. 

Andy Drummond, deputy chairman of the West Suffolk Conservative Association, said he looked forward to seeing the 44-year-old “eating a kangaroo’s penis”. 

The man represented Boris Johnson’s government. He’s swallowed worse. 

Indeed. We’ll find out more about what he had to digest in his forthcoming book.

‘Matt Hancock: How I Presided Over Britain’s Catastrophic Pandemic Response?’

‘Pandemic Diaries: the Inside Story of Britain’s Battle Against Covid’. In fairness, it’s not the most embarrassing Tory book due out this winter. 

What’s that?

That would be Harry Cole and James Heale’s ‘Out of the Blue: the Inside Story of Liz Truss and her Astonishing Rise to Power’. 

I can’t find that anywhere.

It’s now called ‘Out of the Blue: the Inside Story of the Unexpected Rise and Rapid Fall of Liz Truss’. 

READ MORE: How Malcolm Tucker nailed today’s Tories in The Thick of It

Will she have a chance to tell her side of the story?

She is expected to tell the full story of her time as Prime Minister in a no-holds-barred, tell-all pamphlet.

What would her Queen karaoke song be?

Another one bites the dust. 

Sell Hancock’s book to me.

Have YOU drawn the colleague you’re having an affair with for Secret Santa?





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Physiotherapists vote to strike over ‘divisive’ pay offer



PHYSIOTHERAPISTS in Scotland have voted to strike over pay for the first time in the latest threat to NHS staffing this winter.

Members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) voted by 79 per cent in favour of walkouts in a turnout of 63%.

Nine in 10 also voted for action short of a strike in the ballot, which ran from October 4 to 31.

It comes after midwives in Scotland also voted overwhelmingly in favour of strikes, with industrial action expected to hit the health service in the run up to Christmas.

Nurses and doctors are also considering action over pay. 

READ MORE: Strike action looms as health workers hit back at ‘insulting’ 7 per cent pay offer

The CSP said the ballot result means its members can take action in the next six months.

However, it said it will first run an online consultation on the revised pay offer which was announced by the Scottish Government shortly before the ballot closed before taking any decision on industrial action.

Under the flat rate offer, all eligible NHS staff would get uplift in their salaries of £2,205 each – equivalent to an average pay rise of 7%, or 11% for the lowest paid. The previous NHS pay offer was 5%.

The CSP said this was an improved offer for lower paid staff but remained “significantly below inflation for many”, especially for experienced physiotherapy clinicians who are in short supply. The CSP has also criticised the revised pay offer as “divisive”.

Current data shows that nearly one in 10 physiotherapist posts in Scotland were vacant by the end of June this year – and as high at 16% in the Borders region – compared to 6% in June 2019.

In total, the health service has around 350 fewer physiotherapists than it needs to meet demand for services such rehabilitation following strokes and falls.

Alex MacKenzie, chair of council at the CSP and a clinician in the NHS, said: “These results are a clear reflection of the anger and disillusionment felt by our members working in the NHS in Scotland.

“We are working under extreme pressure, caused in no small part by a workforce crisis that threatens to be exacerbated by a pay offer so far below inflation.

“It’s incredible that instead of responding to those pressures with a constructive offer, the Scottish government came out last week with a new offer that not only still falls far short of our claim but also leaves some staff significantly worse off than under the original offer.

“That this was our first ever ballot on pay demonstrates how reluctantly we pursue this path but we feel we have no choice in the face of an offer that will cause such damage to living standards and our ability to recruit and retain staff.

“This was a vote to protect the quality of care the NHS can offer to patients and we strongly urge the Scottish Government to return to the table with a fair offer for all.”

READ MORE: Extra mortuary space set aside as NHS chief prepare for ‘significant excess deaths’ this winter 

On Friday, more than 88% of midwives and maternity support workers in Scotland voted to strike in a ballot on pay organised by the Royal College of Midwives.

The RCM said the Scottish Government’s flat rate pay offer made “no meaningful difference” overall and represented a “a reduction” for many in its workforce, especially given spiralling inflation.

Jaki Lambert, director for Scotland at the RCM, said: “Our members’ feelings on their pay and the derisory offer from the Scottish Government are patently clear.

“It reveals their disgust at a massively below-inflation pay offer that goes nowhere near to catching up with inflation or makes up for years of pay freezes and pay stagnation.

The RCM, which is due to ballot members in England and Wales on strike action from November 11, said the move to industrial action in Scotland will have to be approved by the RCM’s elected board first, but that adequate notice will be given to ensure that “safe care for mothers and babies is always prioritised” during any work stoppages.

READ MORE: Why doctors are angry over their 4.5 per cent ‘pay rise’ 

Meanwhile, Unison has launched a consultative ballot of its NHS worker members asking them to vote on whether to accept the £2,205 pay offer.

The consultation will run until November 14.

The trade union suspended its official postal strike ballot on the previous 5% offer when the revised proposal was received from the Scottish Government.

Chair of Unison Scotland’s health committee Wilma Brown said: “The flat rate pay offer of £2,205 is significantly different from previous offers so UNISON will be consulting NHS staff.

“They are the ones who will ultimately decide whether they are willing to accept it.

“It’s important everyone has their say and members are urged to check their emails to make sure they use their vote.”





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SNP rapped over ‘misleading’ patients on waiting times


THE UK’s statistics watchdog has criticised the Scottish Government over “potentially misleading” figures on waiting times.

A new online dashboard on the NHS Inform website was set up by the Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland, and NHS 24 in August this year with the aim of giving patients an indication of the typical waits in their area for specific procedures, such as hip replacements.

However, concerns have been raised that very lengthy waits are missing because the figures only include the waiting time for patients who were treated in the most recent quarter. By definition, these are people who were prioritised for an operation.

Patients who are considered less urgent and who are still on a waiting list – potentially waiting for months or even years – are therefore absent from the NHS Inform dashboard.

The statistics were previously branded “pure fantasy” by surgeons, who said it was also leading to clashes with some patients angry to be told that they would face much longer waits than expected based on the dashboard.

READ MORE: Scotland’s cancer deaths puzzle as excess mortality soars 

In a letter sent to officials at the Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland, Ed Humpherson, the director general for regulation at the UK Office for Statistics Regulation, said the data could mislead the public.

He wrote: “The NHS Inform dashboard shows the numbers of patients treated in the last quarter and their median wait times by clinical specialty.

“However, patients who have not yet been treated, some of whom may have been waiting a long time, are not included in these statistics.

“The dashboard could potentially mislead some patients about the length of time they may have to wait.

“For example, in some specialties, those with non-urgent clinical needs may experience a much longer wait than is suggested by the figures.

“We have heard that there have been instances of conflict between patients and surgeons in the orthopaedics specialty around the realistic lengths of time patients should expect to wait.

“These statistics are of high public interest in Scotland, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“We welcome the development of a dashboard to make these statistics accessible to patients. However, it is important in developing dashboards that the principles of intelligent transparency are followed.”

Mr Humpherson added that it “can be difficult to find the source of the data and to understand the methodology choices and data limitations”, with “no easily locatable link” on the dashboard where website users can see the relevant statistics by NHS health board on the numbers of people still waiting for orthopaedics procedures for example – including the numbers waiting over one or two years.

He has made a number of recommendations, including calls to “prominently highlight the strengths and limitations of the statistics for the purpose of giving an indication of a patient’s typical waiting time for planned care” and to “consider publishing a range of statistics on the waiting times for each specialty and local area to reflect the range of waiting times experienced by patients”.

He added that, on the latter point, “we understand that plans are currently underway for this”.

READ MORE: The Scottish Government says Scotland’s A&E’s outperform England. Is that really true? 

It comes after questions were also raised over how comparisons are made between Scotland and England’s emergency performance. For example, Scotland’s emergency departments – larger clinician-led A&E departments – tend to outperform equivalent units in England on the four-hour target for patients to be seen, treated, and subsequently discharged, admitted or transferred.

However, if the comparison is made with overall A&E departments – including minor injury units and smaller community hospital casualties – then England’s performance in recent months has been slightly better than Scotland.

Scottish Labour leader, Jackie Baillie, who referred concerns over the NHS Inform dashboard to the UK statistics regulator in October, welcomed its response.

She said: “Try as they might to spin the stats, the truth is plain to see – this SNP government is crashing our NHS.

“From massaging A&E figures to misrepresenting waiting times, there is nothing that this SNP government will not stoop to in order to hide their failures.

“The people of Scotland can see that this is a do-nothing Health Minister who is presiding over chaos in our NHS.

“It’s time for Humza Yousaf to drop the spin and face the music.”

HeraldScotland: Elective activity (grey shaded area) remains well below pre-pandemic averages (Source: Public Health Scotland)Elective activity (grey shaded area) remains well below pre-pandemic averages (Source: Public Health Scotland) (Image: PHS)

It comes as the latest figures for elective activity show that the number of planned procedures carried out on NHS Scotland fell to 20,608 in September – down from 21,218 in August. 

It also compares to an average of around 25,000 for the same month pre-pandemic – meaning that elective activity remains around 18% lower than it was before Covid. 

READ MORE: Key targets omitted from Recovery Plan progress report 

In 2021, the Scottish Government’s five-year NHS Recovery Plan – published before Omicron – envisioned a substantial increase in elective activity during 2022/23 which would have seen the number of planned procedures carried out exceeding pre-pandemic levels by 10% as part of efforts to clear the waiting list backlog. 

The Scottish Government has blamed successive waves of Covid during 2022 for slowing the recovery.  





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Warning of Bonfire Night smoke danger for asthma sufferers



ASTHMA sufferers face a “deadly combination” of triggers from a combination of cold weather, respiratory viruses and smoke from fireworks and bonfires, a charity has warned.

Asthma & Lung UK Scotland is urging people living with lung conditions to take extra precautions during upcoming Bonfire Night celebrations, with two in five people with asthma surveyed in Scotland saying that poor air quality – including smoke – causes flare ups in their condition.

Colder temperatures in winter along with an abundance of colds and other viruses, including a rising prevalence of flu, could also bring on a spike in serious asthma attacks.

Those with other lung conditions should also be cautious, adds the charity.

READ MORE: Women in Scotland nearly twice as likely to die from asthma attacks as men

Nearly 40 per cent of people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) surveyed by the charity said poor air quality made their symptoms worse too and 66.1% said cold air brought them on.

There are around 368,000 people in Scotland living with asthma and 130,000 with COPD – an umbrella term for a group of lung conditions which cause breathing difficulties and symptoms such as chest tightness and wheezing.

Official figures show that there were more than 7,600 emergency hospital admissions due to asthma in the UK, including 628 in Scotland, in November 2018 – the most recent year for which data is available.

The charity advises anyone with asthma going to Bonfire Night parties to take preventer medicines as prescribed, always carry a reliever inhaler, and stand well back from the fire. As cold air can be an asthma trigger, sufferers should also wrap a thin scarf loosely over their nose and mouth.

Eve, 65, lives in East Kilbride. Originally from the Los Angeles area, she’s lived in Scotland for 42 years. She was diagnosed with asthma 30 years ago, but she believes she’s had it since childhood, but it was undiagnosed.

She said: “Fifteen years ago, I suffered a truly awful coughing fit after leaving the house one smoky bonfire night, coughing so much, I couldn’t even call for help. I just couldn’t get it under control, my chest was tight, and I was struggling to breathe.

“Luckily, I had my inhaler with me and didn’t need to have to go to A&E, but it was very frightening.

“Since that time, for a good few days before November 5th, and for a while after too, I am house bound, with the windows sealed and the outside doors shut.

“I don’t take the risk now; I just stay indoors and don’t leave the house at all at the beginning of November and wait for bonfire night to be over.”

READ MORE: Poorest asthma patients make up a third of Scotland’s emergency admissions for the condition

Joseph Carter, dead of Asthma & Lung UK Scotland said: “Smoke from bonfires and fireworks can stay in the air for quite a long time, creating areas of air pollution that can trigger asthma attacks or symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and breathlessness.

“Fireworks and bonfires can be a great source of fun and entertainment but coupled with the cold and damp weather in November, it can be a dangerous combination for those living with asthma or other lung conditions.

“We would caution people who find smoke is a trigger to stay indoors on November 5th if possible. For those planning to go to a bonfire event, we would advise people to stand well back from the fire, have their reliever inhaler with them and let family and friends know what to do if you do have an asthma attack.”





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Port Appin, Argyll: Airds Hotel & Restaurant to undergo major refurbishment

AIRDS Hotel & Restaurant at Port Appin in Argyll is to undergo a £400,000 refurbishment over the next two winters, with a joint asset management venture agreed by its owner seeing the property join the hospitality portfolio of Fusion Group.

The hotel’s owners of 19 years, Shaun and Jenny McKivragan, retired in December 2021, and the 11-bedroom luxury property was acquired by Scottish businessman Benjamin Andrews.

Fusion’s dedicated accommodation services division has taken over the reservations operation and specialist hotel management company EHM has been awarded a three-year contract to operate the hotel.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak a serious player on the economy? Really? Relative to who?

Alex McKie, group managing director of Fusion, said of Airds Hotel & Restaurant: “With an array of awards to its name, it has a proven track record in attracting an upmarket foodie clientele in the beautiful setting of Port Appin, a clientele we will grow and further develop with efficient management, staff development and recruitment, together with our accommodation services division boosting bookings with their expertise in reservations and marketing. We will also be carrying out a £400k refurbishment over the next two winters, during which time the hotel and restaurant will remain open and trading.

READ MORE: Energy bills: Conservatives’ scrapping of promise is an act of the utmost stupidity

“Normally in our sector, a business management and profit-sharing model is only applied to a larger 60-bedroom plus property, but we have developed this for smaller operators, knowing that we have the skill and expertise to make it work. It can be particularly useful for an absent owner who wishes to concentrate on other business areas, but wants his hospitality business to be well run and maximised in potential throughout.”

Starmer is wasting his time: Labour’s ship has sailed


SO Sir Keir Starmer coming north of the Border to “rebuild support” in Scotland with his intention to “oust” the Conservatives (“Starmer to visit in bid to rebuild support in Scotland”, The Herald, October 31). Is he aware that several councils are now run by Labour/Conservative coalitions?

“Keir wants to be Prime Minister of the entire United Kingdom” says to one Labour source. Really? Don’t they know how out of touch that sounds? He has successfully purged his party of dissent, thus gaining media approval from the Murdoch, Rothermere and Barclay Brothers camps, and embraced Brexit to woo Red Wall voters, but there is no indication that he knows or cares anything about what the Scottish electorate’s concerns are.

That ship has sailed – we are not here to help him get a super-majority just so he, an English leader for what is for all intents and purposes an English party, can govern England from the centre right.

Alex Salmond was right years ago when he said “the Scottish people have freed themselves from the yoke of Labour mediocrity forever” and that was when the Labour Party still vaguely resembled a party representing the concerns of ordinary people. What it has become now is utterly unappealing to Scots, who still believe in community and, like FDR, that the true strength of a nation can be measured by how it treats the most vulnerable.
Marjorie Ellis Thompson, Edinburgh

Where is the incentive?

IT’S always nice to smile in the morning, and so I did when Peter A Russell (Letters, October 31) claimed Rishi Sunak as “Scotland’s new Prime Minister”, when only six (yes, six) Scots had an entitlement to a vote in what turned into a Tory coronation. These same six 2019 Scottish Tory MPs are also what Mr Russell claims as part of a “UK” mandate to refuse Scotland the right to determine its own future governance.

You report that Sir Keir Starmer is also to come to Scotland to “rebuild” support for his Labour Party (one lonely MP). I read the article twice and at no point does Labour give any reason to switch from SNP to Labour; there is no “pull” factor, no policy incentive, nothing other than “vote Labour”.

As I have pointed out before, Scotland stopped voting Labour at a time when there was a swing toward Labour in England. If Labour hasn’t changed its “offer” to Scotland, why should Scotland go backwards? Perhaps Mr Russell could give an indication of what a Labour mandate to rule Scotland would look like. A majority of MPs in Scotland? England? What? The old imperial “we are bigger than you, dae whit yer telt”?
GR Weir, Ochiltree

Resisting a bad law

PETER A Russell writes that those “who cite the Holyrood Government’s mandate to seek a referendum must also acknowledge our UK Government’s mandate to decline one”. However, his difficulty is that while he may be correct that “unless the Supreme Court agrees otherwise, no agreement means no referendum”, he ignores two consequential problems.

First, can even Mr Russell continue to claim that in such an event the Union could be said to be “voluntary”? Would it not be more true to say that it is held together by the force of law preventing the expression of an opinion in Scotland on its independence? If so, it is important to realise that “the law” he speaks of is not God-given, some sort of equivalent of the Ten Commandments. Instead, it reflects previous decisions, whether in Parliament and in court, and in particular the structure of power in the UK. But more importantly, it is always provisional and capable of change.

Secondly, using “the law” in the way Mr Russell does implies that it should be respected, if for no other reason than because it is “the law”. However, history is replete with examples where “bad” law was resisted, eventually, in the face of protest, having to be amended or replaced altogether. Examples include demands to extend the franchise by Chartists and Suffragettes, to allow collective industrial action by trade unionists, and (more recently) against the poll tax.

Mr Russell seems content to live with the UK being held together by the force of law, which is his privilege. However, what he really cannot do is to deny those of us who consider a “law” preventing the Scottish people themselves determining their own future, as “bad” law to be resisted, just as the early trade unionists, the Chartists and the Suffragettes did in their struggle.

It is not as though that demand has no mandate, as in 2019 a large majority of MPs elected in Scotland stood on a platform of an independence referendum. Mr Russell’s response is, in effect, “the UK’s mandate is bigger than Scotland’s mandate. So there!”
Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton

Yousaf is now at odds with FM

HUMZA Yousaf is under intense and continuing pressure over dreadful Scottish NHS statistics (“NHS needs ‘five years to fix’ amid beds and staffing crisis”, The Herald October 31). It is good that he is at least not trying to pretend nothing is wrong with our NHS. He admits there are continued reductions in staffing, 6,000 nursing and midwifery posts unfilled and a huge number of beds being blocked.

This is somewhat at odds with what Nicola Sturgeon says at First Minister’s Questions. When quizzed upon all manner of NHS problems she states that there are the highest numbers of staff in the NHS ever and dismisses all other NHS questions with her standard statement that it is worse everywhere else in the UK. This particular aspect was demolished by Helen McArdle’s incisive article just over a week ago about the truth of comparing NHS areas (“The truth about the Scotland-England A&E comparisons”, The Herald, October 22). The bed blocking and lack of social care is because the SNP has so starved local authorities of funds that they cannot help much here.

Ms Sturgeon must take on much of the responsibility for all of this but admits to little and denies any meaningful culpability. So who is right about the state of our NHS: Mr Yousaf or Ms Sturgeon?
Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

• HUMZA Yousaf said it will take five years to fix NHS Scotland. He’s 100 per cent right as long as he’s at the helm. It could be a lot less if we had a health secretary and government in Holyrood who know what they are doing.
Ian Balloch, Grangemouth

Fix mistakes of the past

OUR NHS seems to be in trouble as never before. The main reason expressed seems to involve bed shortages and, of course, Covid is usually mentioned as the main culprit.

I am unsure if most people are affected, as the politicians always are, with memory loss when trying to recall events of only, perhaps 10 years ago. Then it seemed the norm, both in England and Scotland, to address the bed shortage in our hospitals by cutting beds further. This is now the result: serious bed shortages.

Some might correctly argue that there are also staff shortages. This is true and it is difficult to argue, even among the dedicated Brexiters, that Brexit resulted in large numbers of doctors and nurses going back to their homes in Europe. It seems blindingly obvious that the mistakes of the past must be recognised before we can start to fix the problem.
James Evans, Dumbarton

Put NHS first, not Ukraine

AS is generally known, and often the hard way, the NHS is now in a worse state than ever, with hundreds of thousands suffering on waiting lists and even dying prematurely; it badly needs huge investment.

At the same time, taxpayers are having to stump up billions for weapons and other items for Ukraine, to please the deep state’s military-industrial complex (even one billion is no small sum; a billion seconds is about 32 years).

As an example of the Government’s misplaced priorities, the sundry items include 20,000 sets of winter clothing, while there are some 25,000 homeless in Scotland alone, facing the winter. According to one charity, their average age of death is under 50, and they are more than nine times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.

So, where does charity begin? We can expect nothing from Westminster, but why isn’t the SNP-led Government at Holyrood piping up on this, instead of continuing to sing from Joe Biden’s globalist-militarist hymn sheet and flying that blue-yellow flag on its buildings?

Ukraine First? Or maybe, just maybe, NHS First?
George Morton, Rosyth


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