We should not allow our political leaders to seize control of care services


AUDIT Scotland says estimated costs for the National Care Service are “likely to significantly understate” actual costs (“Watchdog warns cost of new national care service ‘significantly understated’”, The Herald, November 1). The bill was panned by the Chair of NHS Borders, Ralph Roberts, and even SNP MSP Kenny Gibson, Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Public Administration Committee.

I watched a short Scottish Government video entitled “Our vision for the National Care Service: a statement of benefits”. It mixes mom and pop messages with scary numbers, such as 800,000 people over 18 in Scotland are unpaid carers, suggesting every fourth person in Scotland has a carer. Scariest of all, however, is the boast that the NCS will be “the most ambitious reform of public services since the creation of the NHS”.

I’m 67, by no means rich but comfortably off. The way things are going, by the time I might need home or residential care I’ll get no help from the Government; indeed my state pension might also be reduced.

According to a recent Ipsos MORI poll 44% of people would pay more taxes in return for better public services. Rishi Sunak, in his leadership campaign and “pitch rolling” for his upcoming Budget, is legitimising this idea, fortified by the Trussonomics debacle.

I’d gladly pay more taxes, and a chunk of what I’d otherwise leave for my children, if I thought I’d get decent care without the risk of losing my house and all my savings.

During my research for this letter I found the mobile number for the Scottish director of a well-known UK care agency. I dialled the number and amazingly got through, explained the above concerns and was heartened that this person agreed, and also agreed this whole situation should be removed from day-to-day politics. Real experts should design the system, detail the costs and how it should be funded and all parties and governments should adhere to its founding principles and processes. This is how the NHS was conceived and successfully delivered until the 1980s.

At the moment this whole initiative looks like another Police Scotland-style power grab by a political class that doesn’t have the brainpower, enthusiasm, leadership or political nous to deliver such a massive reform.

Regrettably I see no Scottish solution to this in my lifetime.
Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven

More bad cyclists than bad drivers

THE letter from Patricia Ford (November 2) whilst offering sympathy to Peter Bray (Letters, November 1) comes across as the usual message that cyclists are nearly perfect, big bad motorists are the issue.

Sauchiehall Street and other pedestrianised streets need some sort of separation to keep pedestrians and cyclists apart and that is probably a waste of time as both parties will probably ignore it

Recently in Glasgow I have noticed the incidences of cyclists ignoring rules of road so commonplace you are surprised when you see one actually stopping at a red light.

Last weekend I followed an older cyclist who should have known better riding from Springburn down to the Trongate through six or more sets of lights on red, and when our routes differed and I joined High Street from Springburn Road, guess who without a care in the world rode down High Street through the lights right across the nose of my car? I wonder who would be presumed guilty had we collided?

I agree there will be drivers out there causing issues for cyclists. But cyclists really need to look in mirror and ask if they are as good as they think they are before they start complaining about drivers. I reckon that in Glasgow anyway infringements by cyclists seem to vastly outnumber those of drivers.

Cyclists have the good fortune to be able to report any incident through a vehicle registration number. I sometimes wonder if the inability to report any cyclist is why so many ignore the rules of the road.
Douglas Jardine, Bishopbriggs

Do clothes really maketh the man?

I READ Mark Smith’s article (“Eddie Izzard and our strange attitudes on men and clothes, The Herald, October 31) and found it interesting that he would think that his comments could be embarrassing. It was good that he could share his preference when young for what was considered feminine attire.

He comments about the kilt being a skirt, but it is a unisex garment, as are trousers. I was not allowed to wear trousers until I was 14, which was hard in a Perthshire winter in knee-high socks when other girls were wearing cosy tartan trews. The fact I wanted to wear trousers didn’t make me trans. I wonder if unisex clothing, which has been the norm for several decades, makes it less likely for people to be scorned for sartorial choices. In the 1960s when both male and female wore the uniform of long hair and denim jeans, gender was difficult to assess .

Maybe instead of mislabelling those youngsters who prefer feminine garments, the word transient might be a truer definition during the passage of hormonal and emotional liability of youth.
Irene Munro, Conon Bridge

The vital role libraries play

REGARDING David Wilson’s article on the role of libraries in the structure of communities in Scotland (“When a community loses its library, it loses its soul”, The Herald, November 3), a man once wrote: “There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the Earth as the free public library. It is a republic of letters, where neither rank, office nor wealth receives the slightest consideration. A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never-failing spring in the desert.”

He was a man who truly put his money where his mouth was. He backed up this principle with a gift that keeps giving. He was Andrew Carnegie.
Ronald H Oliver, Elie, Fife

Stars and a gloomy outlook

HAVING read and re-read today’s Page 8 headline (“Celebrating the stars of politics”, The Herald, November 3), I consoled myself with “If ever I saw an oxymoron, that’s it”.

English Olympic runner Doug Larson wrote that instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
David Miller, Milngavie

• I NOTE the nominations for Scottish Politician of the Year. The list doesn’t seem to include “None of the above”.
Michael Watson, Glasgow


HeraldScotland:

Letters should not exceed 500 words. We reserve the right to edit submissions.






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Long Covid ‘not main cause’ of shrinking Scots labour force


LONG Covid is only partly to blame for a “modest” increase in people dropping out of the labour market, experts have told MSPs.

Spiralling NHS waiting lists and people “drifting” into early retirement after furlough were potentially bigger contributors.

The number of people who are economically inactive in Scotland – meaning they are out of work but not seeking a job – increased by 35,000 to 808,000 in the 12 months to March 2022, compared to 2019 levels.

Professor Steve Fothergill, an economist and expert in incapacity benefits and hidden unemployment from Sheffield Hallam University, said he was “sceptical” that the condition was a major factor.

Giving evidence to Holyrood’s Covid-19 Recovery Committee, he stressed that it was “not a new phenomenon” for large numbers of people in the UK to be out of the labour market due to long-term sickness.

READ MORE: Nearly half of Long Covid patients report ‘no real change’ in symptoms

He said: “What the pandemic has actually done is really only tweak that phenomenon a little bit higher.

“We have had in the UK as a whole something like 2.5 million adults of working age out of the labour market on incapacity-related benefits since the beginning of this century.

“It wasn’t aways at that level – at the end of the 1970s we only had about three quarters of a million out of the labour market on these benefits.

“But there was a major shift in the 1980s and 90s and the numbers have really stayed very high since, fell away a little, and have come back up by a couple of hundred thousand or so during the pandemic…

“Yes, Long Covid may contribute to the modest increases that we’ve seen during and after the pandemic [but] there’s been evidence from the Institute for Fiscal Studies on Long Covid which suggests that those people who are suffering from it are not so much moving into economic inactivity as still in work, but on the sick for the moment.”

HeraldScotland: Professor Steve Fothergill, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam UniversityProfessor Steve Fothergill, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University (Image: Scottish Parliament TV)

David Freeman, head of labour market and households for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said their own investigations into where people with Long Covid were in the labour market found that they accounted for five per cent of people who were economically inactive compared to 3.5% of the unemployed, 3.3% of those in work, 2.9% of retired people and 1.7% of students.

He added: “That does seem to back up that while long Covid might be contributing to increasing inactivity there are people with long Covid who are doing other things in the labour market – still working, maybe on sick leave, or actually out there looking for work that will fit around their symptoms.”

READ MORE: Winter flu toll on NHS ‘hard to predict’ after Australia experience 

An estimated 175,000 people in Scotland are believed to be experiencing Long Covid, where it is defined as symptoms ongoing more than four weeks after onset. This can range from debilitating fatigue and breathlessness to joint pain.

Sufferers are more likely to have a pre-existing condition, be female, poor, or middle-aged.

Louise Murphy, an economist with think tank the Resolution Foundation, said Long Covid was “part of the story but definitely not all of it”.

She said: “We’re also seeing increases in people noting cardiovascular problems, and mental health problems, which is a continuation of longer term trends.

“There’s also some indication now that NHS waiting lists and long waits for treatment are having an impact.

“There’s been recent work by the ONS showing that people who are over 50 who have left the workforce, when asked, just under a fifth – 18% – said they are on an NHS waiting list, which is higher than those who remain in work.”

Ms Murphy added that the number of men aged 18 to 24 who are economically inactive due to mental health problems such as depression or anxiety has doubled since 2006, pre-dating the pandemic, although there had also been a “gradual increase” since 2020.

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

Panellists cautioned that it was likely that no more than 30% of those currently on sickness and disability benefits for all conditions would be able to rejoin the labour force.

They also stressed that some over-50s had “drifted” from furlough into retirement and did not want or need to go back to work.

“The reality is, especially for older people, if you’re in your mid-60s, you were furloughed, you’ve now retired early, the majority of these people own their homes outright or they’re in a fairly okay financial situation,” said Ms Murphy.

“I think there’s little to nothing the Government could do to encourage these people back to work.”

HeraldScotland: Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment StudiesTony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies (Image: Scottish Parliament TV)

Tony Wilson, director of the Institute for Employment Studies, added: “A lot of people have simply drifted into economic inactivity following furlough, and then it’s very hard to get people back…We are seeing really clearly in the data people moving from furlough and becoming longer and longer economically inactive, in particular with the growth of people saying they’ve retired which has primarily been a post-furlough phenomenon rather than a post-pandemic one.”

He stressed that the UK is one of the few developed economies – with the exception of the US, Latvia, Switzerland and Iceland – where employment is lower now than it was before the pandemic and that people with chronic conditions may feel nervous about coming back “when there is still a pandemic and very little protective measures taken in workplaces where people might be vulnerable to the virus”.

READ MORE: Something strange happened to cancer during the pandemic – but it’s probably not what you expect 

However, MSPs also heard that the drop off in employment was mainly driven by a decline in self-employed working, rather than employees in the workforce.

Mr Freeman added that ONS analysis found that while the total number of hours being worked in the UK economy is down slightly due to a dip in employment, there is “no evidence” that the average number of hours worked has fallen – contrary to claims that people are seeking more of a work-life balance.

Part-time working “has actually not increased”, he added.

MSPs were told that this was partly explained “mainly explained by far fewer women working part-time as employees than they were before the pandemic”, including a fall in the number of single parents in work for the first time in 30 years, but also possibly due to an increase in flexible working – such as working-from-home – since the pandemic.





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Here’s why you should think about moving to Alicante

Alicante province in Spain has seen an increasing number of retired Brits moving there, since it is an ideal haven for relocation.

Warm weather, a relaxed lifestyle, delectable cuisine, and a friendly culture are just a few of the benefits that a move to Alicante can provide. Due to its excellent public healthcare, about 6 million immigrants decide to move to Spain and live in Alicante.

There are a few places in particular that British retirees love in Alicante, which has long been a popular destination for ex-pats. The high number of retirees already living in Spain is proof that many people enjoy moving to Alicante.

According to the law firm MySpainVisa, the Spanish consulates in the UK are overloaded with work because there are many retirees who need their non-lucrative visa to live in Spain.

Here are a few more considerations for why moving to Alicante is so appealing.

Climate

With 300 days of sunlight annually, Alicante will entice you if you want a year-round summer environment. It is understandable why so many people opt to leave the colder temperatures of the UK in favor of a climate that promotes well-being, with health benefits associated with living in a warmer climate.

Retiring in Alicante is the best option if you don’t intend to slow down during your retirement, because the pleasant weather creates additional options for outdoor activities. The good climate goes hand in hand with beautiful scenery and the surrounding towns such as Santa Bárbara have very spectacular and relaxing views of Alicante city.

Cost of Living

In general, property prices in Costa Blanca real estate are less expensive to purchase than in the UK, and Alicante is a fairly priced city to live in. Compared to cities in the UK, the cost of living in Spain is lower. Buying property in Spain is cheaper for expats in Alicante. The greater financial security that comes with lower living expenses is a welcome relief for the expat community.

Air travel is one consideration for anyone moving to Alicante. It is important to be able to fly back to your native country. Alicante airport is an international airport and has numerous daily flights to locations all over the world. Alicante city also has metro systems for public transport. As a result, expats have access to a world-class transportation system.

Health Care in Spain for Retirees

The high caliber of health services in Spain ensures that moving to Alicante will not compromise your access. Private and public healthcare are both parts of the healthcare system. Hospitals and clinics that provide both public and private healthcare are available and numerous. Additionally, Spain comes in at number 19 on the Euro Consumer Health Index.

Requirements to Retire in Alicante

Spain joined the European Union in 1985, and it has been a member of the Schengen region since 1995. This implies that retiring in the nation is fairly simple for EU members. You can live and retire there without a visa if you are an EU citizen.

Non-EU citizens can apply for different types of Spanish visas:

  • Retirement visa, for people who only want to spend their retirement in Spain.
  • Golden visa, for people who have invested €500,000 in a property.
  • Student visa, people who want to do a course in Spain.
  • Spanish Non-lucrative visa, people who want to live in Spain without working, this option is ideal for British retirees who want to retire in Spain.

Depending on the type of visa you apply for, Spain has different visa requirements. First of all, you must prove that you can survive in Spanish cities without a job. Generally, you must prove a minimum monthly income of 2,130 euros.

Moving to Alicante will not slow down your kid’s education with British schools also available in the region. The world-class service you will receive will ensure you never miss home. Enjoy a wonderful time in retirement in Iberia without worrying about the world.

This article was brought to you by MySpanishVisa.com and is not necessarily representative of the views of The Glasgow Times

Four in 10 Long Covid Scots see ‘no real change’ in symptom



NEARLY half of people in Scotland with Long Covid say there has been no real change in their symptoms over time, according to a new report.

A survey by Long Covid Scotland, which campaigns for treatment and rehabilitation, found that only 31 per cent of its 222 respondents reported feeling gradually better over time with 43% saying there was no real change.

One one person out of the 222 respondents said they had made a full recovery.

One in five said they had paid privately for tests and investigations due to frustration at lack of access and long waiting times on the NHS.

READ MORE: Long Covid only a ‘modest’ contributor to increase in number of Scots out of the labour force, says expert

The report said people with Long Covid have been “demoralised by poor public health messaging” and a misconception among some of the general public that Covid-19 “is mainly a short-term respiratory, flu-like illness”.

It adds: “We know from the many personal accounts that long Covid has destroyed the lives of people who previously had healthy and active lives before contracting Covid-19.

“In the survey, almost two-thirds of people reported that they had no underlying health condition or disability before contracting Covid-19.”

There is no diagnostic test for Long Covid.

It is generally defined as symptoms persisting beyond four weeks, but many patients continue to suffer a wide range of problems from extreme fatigue to chronic pain for months or even years.

Nearly everyone surveyed (96%) said that Long Covid had adversely affected their mental health and wellbeing, and 61% said they were facing additional financial pressures as a result of loss of income, reduced hours and long-term sick leave.

READ MORE: Two years on – what have we learned about Long Covid?

Nearly nine in 10 (87%) said their condition impacted their family and personal relationships because they felt “like a burden”, were unable to contribute to household tasks, or walk their children to school.

The report added: “Many people highlighted the impact of long Covid on their quality of life.

“A common theme was the trade-offs needed, for example, only being well enough to work and not doing any leisure activities afterwards.

“Many people reported needing at least 12 hours of rest a day because of tiredness and fatigue.”

CASE STUDY: ‘Some days I can’t even lift a cup to my mouth’

Long Covid Scotland chair Jane Ormerod said: “Holistic care is required to address the complexity of Long Covid. People with Long Covid need patient-informed services across Scotland, including Long Covid specific clinics and services with clear pathways for treatment and support, including paediatric services.

“Long Covid Scotland hope that the publication of this survey report will further highlight the needs of those with Long Covid and reinforce the need for the Scottish Government and NHS health boards to work together to address a public health issue that will not go away.”





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Kibble rewards staff with 12 per cent pay rise


Care staff have been given a 12 per cent pay rise at a 175-year-old Scots charity that already offers free gym memberships, parking and food on shift.

Jim Gillespie, chief executive of Kibble,which provides residential care for “at risk” children, said he hoped other organisations would follow its lead to help retain and attract staff in the traditionally low-paid sector.

The Paisley-based charity took on 60 extra staff, at a cost of around £1 million, to allow it to reduce the hours that staff work for the same pay – the equivalent of a 12% rise.

Mr Gillespie says increased “downtime” means carers are more focused and this benefits the relationships they forge with vulnerable young people.

It comes amid increased scrutiny on the working conditions of social care staff as the Scottish Government considers how the new National Care Service will look.

Staff at Kibble are given more time off between shifts and work fewer consecutive days on any given week.

READ MORE: What Scotland can learn from Switzerland’s high taxation social care model 

The charity.which was recently named Scottish employer of the year, also provides free meals on shift and has an in-house physiotherapist.

“We are a great believer that staff are your biggest assets,” said Mr Gillespie, “and that relationships with young people are fundamental to making an impact on them. The directors have been looking seriously at this for the past 12 to 18 months.

HeraldScotland:

“It was a case of how do we look after our staff to look after our young people as well as we can.

“If you are care worker or a teacher at Kibble you don’t have the ability to work at home, it’s not a 9-5 job. 

“We did a bit of research and giving people more money is a key aspect but time away from work was another aspect that came up.”

READ MORE: SNP MSP has ‘no confidence whatsoever’ for National Care Service cost plan

Derek Feeley’s Independent Review of Social Care in Scotland found the social care workforce is undervalued, badly paid for vital, skilled work, and held in low esteem in comparison particularly to the health workforce.

“Kibble is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day and has been for 175 years – we’ve never closed for a day,” said Mr Gillespie.

“We try not to have [staff working] three or four shifts consecutively. To do that we had to increase our staff.”

“We try not to have {staff working] three or four shifts consecutively. To do that we had to increase our staff.”

Twice a year Kibble runs a training programme which aims to bring people  into the care sector from otherjobs who may have the right attributes but don’t have the necessary qualifications.

He said: “Over the ten months that they are employed, they get a minimum standard of an SVQ 3 which gives them the minimum registration [to work in social care].

“At the end of that they are guaranteed an interview. and if they successful, they get a job.”

READ MORE: Thousands fear for their jobs in social care revolution 

Mr Gillespie said he was “keeping a watchful eye” on Scotland’s plan for a new National Care Service. The Scottish Government has appointed an independent expert to assess if children’s services should be included.

“It’s a huge proposition,” he said: “Ultimately we need to ensure we are recruiting the best people for the service now.

“We exist not to exist. I don’t think our mission of not existing is going to take place.

“Demand for services like ours is on the increase.

““That circles back to the importance of rewarding and acknowledging the work that our staff do.”

Kibble’s origins date from 1840 and the death of Miss Elizabeth Kibble, heiress to a large textile fortune.

She left a portion of her wealth to “found and endow in Paisley, an institution for the purpose of reclaiming youthful offenders against the laws”.

The charity’s earliest records show that young boys were trained and found positions in trades such as tailoring, shoe making, agricultural and dairy work.

Changes in the education system have seen Kibble function as a Reformatory School, an Approved School and a List D school until its current model of an Education and Care Centre was created in 1996 after a re-organisation of local authority boundaries and funding.

While the focus on skills and training remains strong, there is a strong emphasis on care and the protection of vulnerable young people.





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Kibble rewards staff with 12 per cent pay rise


Care staff have been given a 12 per cent pay rise at a 175-year-old Scots charity that already offers free gym memberships, parking and food on shift.

Jim Gillespie, chief executive of Kibble,which provides residential care for “at risk” children, said he hoped other organisations would follow its lead to help retain and attract staff in the traditionally low-paid sector.

The Paisley-based charity took on 60 extra staff, at a cost of around £1 million, to allow it to reduce the hours that staff work for the same pay – the equivalent of a 12% rise.

Mr Gillespie says increased “downtime” means carers are more focused and this benefits the relationships they forge with vulnerable young people.

It comes amid increased scrutiny on the working conditions of social care staff as the Scottish Government considers how the new National Care Service will look.

Staff at Kibble are given more time off between shifts and work fewer consecutive days on any given week.

READ MORE: What Scotland can learn from Switzerland’s high taxation social care model 

The charity.which was recently named Scottish employer of the year, also provides free meals on shift and has an in-house physiotherapist.

“We are a great believer that staff are your biggest assets,” said Mr Gillespie, “and that relationships with young people are fundamental to making an impact on them. The directors have been looking seriously at this for the past 12 to 18 months.

HeraldScotland:

“It was a case of how do we look after our staff to look after our young people as well as we can.

“If you are care worker or a teacher at Kibble you don’t have the ability to work at home, it’s not a 9-5 job. 

“We did a bit of research and giving people more money is a key aspect but time away from work was another aspect that came up.”

READ MORE: SNP MSP has ‘no confidence whatsoever’ for National Care Service cost plan

Derek Feeley’s Independent Review of Social Care in Scotland found the social care workforce is undervalued, badly paid for vital, skilled work, and held in low esteem in comparison particularly to the health workforce.

“Kibble is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day and has been for 175 years – we’ve never closed for a day,” said Mr Gillespie.

“We try not to have [staff working] three or four shifts consecutively. To do that we had to increase our staff.”

“We try not to have {staff working] three or four shifts consecutively. To do that we had to increase our staff.”

Twice a year Kibble runs a training programme which aims to bring people  into the care sector from otherjobs who may have the right attributes but don’t have the necessary qualifications.

He said: “Over the ten months that they are employed, they get a minimum standard of an SVQ 3 which gives them the minimum registration [to work in social care].

“At the end of that they are guaranteed an interview. and if they successful, they get a job.”

READ MORE: Thousands fear for their jobs in social care revolution 

Mr Gillespie said he was “keeping a watchful eye” on Scotland’s plan for a new National Care Service. The Scottish Government has appointed an independent expert to assess if children’s services should be included.

“It’s a huge proposition,” he said: “Ultimately we need to ensure we are recruiting the best people for the service now.

“We exist not to exist. I don’t think our mission of not existing is going to take place.

“Demand for services like ours is on the increase.

““That circles back to the importance of rewarding and acknowledging the work that our staff do.”

Kibble’s origins date from 1840 and the death of Miss Elizabeth Kibble, heiress to a large textile fortune.

She left a portion of her wealth to “found and endow in Paisley, an institution for the purpose of reclaiming youthful offenders against the laws”.

The charity’s earliest records show that young boys were trained and found positions in trades such as tailoring, shoe making, agricultural and dairy work.

Changes in the education system have seen Kibble function as a Reformatory School, an Approved School and a List D school until its current model of an Education and Care Centre was created in 1996 after a re-organisation of local authority boundaries and funding.

While the focus on skills and training remains strong, there is a strong emphasis on care and the protection of vulnerable young people.





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Loganair to sell Saab 340B planes serving the Highlands and Islands

Loganair has unveiled multi-million-pound deals as it moves to complete the “renewal and future-proofing” of its fleet by 2023, with wholesale change of aircraft operating on its Highlands and Islands routes.

The airline, which operates 42 aircraft on 70 routes, declared it would “say goodbye” to its remaining eight Saab 340B passenger aircraft, through a $12 million sale agreement, as it “welcomes a further eight ATR next-generation turboprops” into service next year. ATR is a Franco-Italian manufacturer.

Loganair, which has been put up for sale by owners Stephen and Peter Bond, said the additional ATR turboprops would deliver a reduction of up to 27% in carbon emissions per seat, compared with the Saab 340 aircraft which operate on its Highlands and Islands routes.

It added: “This supports the airline’s commitment to reducing emissions and becoming fully carbon-neutral by 2040.”

READ MORE: Immigration: Sensible proposal by Holyrood, bizarre rejection from Westminster

Loganair noted the completed ATR fleet would have an average age of only eight years and “bring enhanced capacity across the network with more passenger seats on each flight” as well as more cargo and mail hold space for its charter services.

It added: “The new ATR aircraft are also equipped to use satellite-based approach systems, enabling operations to continue safely in conditions of reduced visibility such as fog or low cloud – a common issue faced across Highlands and Islands destinations.”

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Hopes of end to Brexit under Braverman and Sunak stupidity look misplaced

Loganair noted it already has 15 of the ATR next-generation turboprops in service, including four, 72-seat ATR 72-600 passenger aircraft and four ATR 72-500 Freighter aircraft which have taken over mail delivery flights to and from the Highlands and Islands in recent months.

The airline said: “The Saab type will progressively leave the airline’s fleet between now and July 2023, under the $12 million sale agreement, and will continue their flying careers with new operators in North America.”

The eight additional ATR aircraft are scheduled to arrive by next summer.

Loganair said this would make it one of the largest operators of ATR aircraft in Europe. It added that, with the “first of a series of new agreements already signed”, leasing company Abelo was joining Nordic Aviation Capital and Falko as a provider of aircraft to Loganair.

Jonathan Hinkles, chief executive of Loganair, said: “The Saab 340s have served us, and our customers, superbly well over the last two decades but it’s time for us to transition to a new generation of aircraft.

“In selecting our future fleet, it’s important to have an aircraft which builds upon our environmental credentials while withstanding island weather conditions and providing accessibility for all customers…Our multi-million-pound investment in ATR aircraft will safeguard connectivity for future generations within the Highlands and Islands air network, on which so many communities depend.”

The surprising power of swearing



IF you arrive at this page having updated yourself on the latest news at home and abroad, you may feel like throwing the odd four-letter word around as you curse what seems to be the utter logic-lacking madness at every turn. Well, go ahead. Swearing is officially good for you – and can ease your pain.

How so?

Although many would still consider it a sign of vulgarity, it transpires that letting rip verbally can make one feel more powerful, persuasive and socially connected. Researchers found that, in fact, “Swearing produces effects that are not observed with other forms of language use…thus, swearing is powerful. It generates a range of distinctive outcomes: physiological, cognitive, emotional, pain-relieving, interactional and rhetorical”.

How did they reach this conclusion?

Analysing more than 100 papers on swearing, the teams from Keele, Westminster, Ulster and Sweden’s Södertörn universities found that the “power of swearing is not intrinsic to the words themselves”, but more to what they mean and what they induce.

Such as?

Cursing can lead to “social bonding and solidarity” because the act of swearing is perceived as a sign of intimacy among friends – while, people are more likely to be “polite” with those they are not as close to. The paper adds that “because it is not possible for most people to swear indiscriminately across all contexts, swearing often marks an informal, relaxed context wherein social bonds are strengthened and social distance is reduced”.

It can ease pain?

According to the new research, published in the journal Lingua, swearing can indeed help people cope with pain. Highlighting a study where participants were asked to keep their hands in ice water for as long as possible, for those who were allowed to swear, doing so “was shown to significantly increase pain tolerance…producing a demonstrable hypoalgesic effect…the participants’ pain threshold increased”.

But it can do more than that…?

The research found swearing not only “increases power and strength in physical activity tasks”, but offers a “uniquely powerful means of emotional expression” and “powerful means of gaining attention from listeners”, “creates emotional and physiological arousal” and “judiciously used” can “increase credibility and/or persuasiveness of both messages and speakers themselves”.

Some of us already know this?

Actress Miriam Margolyes turned the air blue on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last month while talking of her brush with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who had been on before her, saying: “What I really wanted to say was ‘f*** you, you b*****d’. But you can’t say that”. Over on Channel 4, news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy was taken off air for a week after he was caught making an offensive comment off-camera about Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker, saying, “What a c***.”

Going back in time?

American writer Mark Twain memorably said: “Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”





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