Niall Ferguson, a history professor at the prestigious university, says Better Together campaigners should appeal instead to Scots’ cosmopolitan instincts.
Writing in the New York Times, the Glasgow-born academic warns: “Telling a Scot, ‘You can’t do this — if you do, terrible things will happen to you,’ has been a losing negotiating strategy since time immemorial.”
He added: “If you went into a Glasgow pub tonight and said to the average Glaswegian, ‘If you down that beer, you’ll get your head kicked in,’ he would react by draining his glass to the dregs and telling the barman, ‘Same again.’”
Prof Ferguson claims: “The answer may be an appeal to Scotland’s long history of cosmopolitanism.”
He urges voters to remember the words of Scottish philosopher David Hume who wrote in 1764: “I am a Citizen of the World.”
“Petty nationalism is just un-Scottish,” he concludes.
Not all his readers agreed, however.
“Anthony” in London responded: “Scots are indeed cosmopolitan – citizens of the world – and that’s exactly why they want to retain their strong regional identity within the European Union, rather than retreat within the nationalistic idiocy of the United Kingdom.”
And Gene Thompson (Ontario) claimed: “Niall is in denial. The Scottish need to regain their independence, claim the North Sea oil fields as their national heritage, throw out the British and American oil companies and enjoy their birthright.”]]>
The Ladbrokes Referendum Race saw Yes We Can beat Neigh Thanks at Musselburgh racecourse, East Lothian.
Neigh Thanks, seven, had the better form and age experience over five-year-old Yes We Can.
The organisers evened up the five furlong (1,100 yard) race, however, by putting a heavier jockey on the “Unionist” horse.
Yes We Can, real name Black Douglas, came in two and a half lengths ahead of its rival, to lots of cheering from Yes supporters in the crowd.
Winning jockey Rachel Grant said: “It was brilliant. I am obviously very pleased. It’s amazing to be a part of something this historic for Scotland. It was really quite something.”
Trainer Jim Goldie was equally “delighted”, saying: “There was always going to be a winner and a loser, much like there will be at the polling stations on Thursday.
“Today it was a clear win.”
Neigh Thanks – real name Midnight Dynamo – was ridden by Carol Bartley, a three-times champion amateur lady jockey.
Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes said following the race: “Yes We Can stormed to victory and if events on the track are mirrored at the polling booths we should be preparing for an independent Scotland.”
The crowd bid for the silks following the race, raising a total of £800 for charity Cash 4 Kids.
A spokesman for the Yes campaign said: “We’ll take this decisive win by Yes We Can as a good omen for Thursday although we know we have to continue to work flat out to gallop across the finishing line ahead of our opponents. We’re up for it.”]]>
The piece by Elaine Forrest is created from the skull of a Blackface tup from near Oban.
The Leith-based artists then used 20,500 Swarovski crystals, to decorate the skull, including a Saltire and Union Jack.
The £3,500 artwork was created by Edinburgh antique dealers George Pirie for a referendum window at their Howe Street premises.
The skull, and other referendum-themed pieces, will be on display until Friday, September 19 – the day Scotland discovers the shape of its furure.
George Pirie, who insists he is not taking sides, said yesterday: “It only went up a day ago but I’ve already had customers come saying how much they like it”.
He added: “It’s not meant to be political at all. It’s about history and celebrating an event.”
Foul waste dripped down walls and leaked into lockers following the incident at Carnoustie High School, Angus, on Thursday.
Janitors and dinner ladies at the school, which only opened in 2009, donned masks as workers battled to stop the flow and mop up.
But some parents expressed anger that, rather than close the building, students were told to leave the and return after lunch.
Some kept their children away yesterday (fri) amid reports the school still smelled of sewage.
One witness said: “Cleaners are working with masks and mops on one side of some double doors – unmasked support staff on the other side of the door moving pupils along. The stink is outrageous.”
A parent, who asked not to be named, said children were “retching” in the corridors.
“A sewage pipe had burst and it was running down the walls in the kids’ social area, and down behind the lockers where they keep their belongings and lunch.
“They’ve also been told not to use the toilets in the meantime and so they’ve had to go home to do that. It’s a health hazard.”
The affected area was deep cleaned overnight and the school was expected to return to normal yesterday
But parent Suzi Berwick wrote on Facebook: “I stand by my decision to keep my daughter off school today. I want to know what is being done about the way the school handled the situation, and reassurances that if anything like this ever happens again the school will be closed and parents notified.”
Scott Melville asked: “Has the plumbing from the toilets been sorted too?
“Also, it would be very much appreciated if the Headmaster can explain why the situation yesterday was obviously not carried out with an emergency action plan resulting in an extreme amount of confusion, lack of communication and distress from pupils.”
Wendy Soave wrote: “The school should be empty of pupils and teachers and awaiting advices of Environmental Health.”
And Joanna Fitzgerald complained: “My daughter just text me to say that everywhere still stinks and now I feel bad for sending her in.”
A spokesman from Angus Council said: “The school experienced a problem with the overflow of a toilet. The whole area that was affected was isolated immediately. There was a thorough deep clean from a specialist company overnight and the school will open as normal to pupils today.”]]>
This year’s National Qualifications shakeup has seen fewer good marks in physics than in arts and social science subjects.
Research by science teachers suggests a pass rate over 85% for students who did not take any science subjects this year.
But students who did tackle subjects such as physics and biology managed a pass rate of only 55%.
Stuart Farmer, the coordinator for the institute of Physics’ teacher Network said: “Many physics teachers are expressing concern that pupils appear to be scoring lower grades than in other subjects, including maths.
“This has not generally been the case previously.
“It would be unfortunate if the [new exams] reinforces the outdated myth that physics is a hard subject.”
Mr Farmer said said this would be especially unfortunate “at a time when the number of pupils studying physics has been on the increased and the sorts of knowledge and skills it can provide are in high demand”.
Analysis from one of the physics teachers on the forum analysed a typical cohort of students taking five or more National 5 subjects of: English, Maths, PE, Drama, German and Design and manufacture. The results found 86 per cent of candidates would pass.
However if the same cohort of students studied National 5 English, Maths, Physics, Biology, geography and French only 55 per cent would pass.
The concerns have been echoed on a leading online physics teacher form called Sputnik. One member in the form said: “assignment marking is all over the place”, with the SQA “taking a nit-picking, box-ticking approach to marking that means good quality pieces of work are being given absurdly low marks.”
The new National 4 and 5 qualifications replaced Standard Grades in a shake up of the structure of qualifications in Scotland.
The changes mean students taking the National 4 qualification will not sit an end of year exam and will instead be continually assessed throughout the year.
The more academically advanced National 5 qualification does however involve a final exam.
An SQA spokesperson said: “SQA takes it responsibility to uphold the high standards of Scottish qualifications very seriously. We have a very robust set of mechanisms in place to ensure that all our qualifications- including the new Nationals- offer an appropriate level of challenge for candidates.”]]>
A firm of letting agents quizzed their tenants on the vote and discovered that 58% intended to vote Yes.
Citylets polled 500 people who rent properties in Scotland’s four biggest cities – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.
This majority support for independence varied between regions. Glasgow and Aberdeen renters are most likely to place a Yes vote at 65% each.
Edinburgh residents are the least likely to back independence at 55%.
Commenting on the findings Thomas Ashdown, Citylets MD, said: “This basic survey suggests support for independence amongst renters is higher than average.”
He added: “The private rental sector has a young demographic profile which, according to more sophisticated polls, has an above average support for independence;
“The overwhelming majority of renters would ideally like to own their property and the majority of yes voters seem to believe independence will help them get onto the property ladder.”
The survey revealed that more than 80% of renters would like to own their own home. Around 2/3rds of those voting Yes believe their prospects of home ownership would be better and more than 2/3s of those voting No believe prospects would be worse.]]>
Consumers who stick to their local high street rather than heading out of town will be able to accumulate points to spend on goodies.
Three small retailers in Perth are pioneering the fightback – delicatessen Provender Brown, wine retailer Exel Wines and Blend Coffee Lounge.
The pilot scheme will be run by digital marketing firm Miconex, who specialise in helping local councils boost business.
Russell Wallace, General Manager at Exel Wines, said they were excited to trial the Miconex Card.
“I am currently in the process of deciding on specific rewards for customers,” he said.
“I’m thinking up different ways for them to interact and gain.
“The ball will start rolling in a fairly straightforward capacity, for example you spend so much on wine and then receive a money-off voucher.”
He added: “In the wine industry you are always competing with supermarkets. For most people doing the weekly shop its very handy to get the bulk of their wine from the likes of Tesco or Sainsburys.
“We want to take inspiration from these big thriving supermarkets and then customise their services to help our High Street.”
Diane Brown, Owner of Provender Brown, said: “We’ve had great loyalty from many of our customers for nearly 10 years now so it’ll be lovely to be able to offer something back.”
Sallins, manager at Blend, said: “Our motive for taking part in the scheme is not just about business, but about knitting the community together in the modern world.
“It’s as much about what the Perth community can give each other as it is about enriching our customers’ experience.”]]>
Despite the presence of armed officers and airport-style security, at least 14 items have been stolen, including a box of biscuits, trainers and a set of keys.
MSPs and members of staff reported items had been taken from unlocked and unattended drawers, cupboards and offices.
A Freedom of Information request revealed that as well as a box of Fox’s biscuits, a mobile phone and pair of shoes were also pinched.
Seven of the crimes involved the theft of money, which ranged from the taking of £50 in cash to £4 being stolen from an unattended charity box.
The building has a large police presence, backed by civilian security guards. Many areas are locked and security passes have been to be worn by everyone.
Police Scotland insisted they are still trying to track down the thieves but admitted they had not yet identified any suspects.
“We work closely with Scottish Parliament security staff to provide security advice to staff and building users with a view to crime prevention,” said a spokesman.
A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: “All instances of theft are taken seriously and reported to the Parliament’s police unit at Holyrood.”]]>
Rising star Louise Linton, from Dalkeith, Midlothian, has appeared alongside Tom Cruise and Christian Slater.
But her soft spot for abandoned pooches has won her a role with Edinburgh-based charity Any Dog’il Do Rescue.
The Fettes-educated actress got in touch with the charity and offered to help publicise their work.
Charity founder Suzanne Burt said: “I told her some of the heartbreaking daily situations we face with dogs who are unwanted – and dogs who are about to be put to sleep”.
She said the “humble” actress had spent a long time with the charity’s staff discussing their work.
She added: “It’s obvious how passionate she is about animal welfare.”
Louise, 28, has personally rescued several dogs and cites this as the reason for her passionate involvement in the charity.
She said: “I grew up surrounded by animals during my childhood in Edinburgh.
“There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a dog that was near death and completely abandoned, newly in the arms of its new owner and about to start a brand new life.”
Louise shares her home in LA with two dogs she rescued from the streets. She has named them Bisou and De Beers.
She will use her position to help publicise the work of the charity in Scotland.]]>
Professor Sir Philip Cohen is one of the UK’s leading biochemists and has decided to ‘speak out’ about the damage he believes independence will cause to the academic world in Scotland.
He predicts many of his colleagues at Dundee University will jump ship in the event of a Yes vote.
Dundee is an institution long established as one of Britain’s top scientific research centres.
He told his local newspaper: “I don’t feel I can sit back any longer without speaking out.
“This is serious for higher education in Scotland and it is serious for Dundee University.”
Professor Cohen has been credited as a front-runner in Europe for his research in the industry, combining academia and the pharmaceutical industry.
He is responsible for the development of new drug treatments, fighting crippling illnesses such as cancer, Parkinsons and rheumatoid arthritis.
He says the big issues lie with funding and support from the UK.
The University’s College of Life Sciences received over £100m in funds last year, 80% of which came from outside Scotland.
And he believes Dundee University has thrived under the existing system.
He said: “Cutting off the millions of pounds that flow in from Europe would be a big issue for Scotland, and would be a big problem for Dundee University.
“A thousand scientists and support staff work in the college’s laboratories and thousands more in greater Dundee owe their positions to these scientists.”
“A lot of this money comes from the European research councils and I am astonished that this issue has not been discussed more seriously. The UK research councils are based in England and if there is Scottish independence there will presumably be seperate ones for Scotland and the rest of the UK.”
He believes the UK’s Medical Research Council could also be jeopardised and “is an efficient organisation” that he does not want to see go.
And he argues that the “absence of details” offered by the SNP is deeply concerning, and is fearful that an Independent Scotland will cripple fundamental scientific research.
“In an Independent Scotland I think there would be a danger that the government would favour schemes and investments that would produce relatively quick economic returns”, he said.
“How high a priority would be given to fundamental scientific research that might take 25 years to come into fruition?
“The absence of details about how an independent Scotland would fund research is causing uncertainty to the profession and all who work in it”.]]>