Turning up the heat

Energy supply is a matter of national security - and both Yes and Better Together know it

by Apr 16, 2014 No Comments
The SNP’s determination to keep the independence debate moving on its own terms has been emphasised by a pointed statement on energy security. A report by the Scottish Government said that the UK faced the ‘highest risk of electricity black out in a generation’, before helpfully reminding readers that Britain’s energy supply could not be maintained without Scotland, as a net exporter of electricity, supplying the UK. The report says: “Scotland offers safe and secure supplies of electricity and gas and can assist the rest of the UK in meeting its renewable energy targets.” It then continues: “However, as a substantial supplier to the rest of the UK, an independent Scotland will require a far greater degree of oversight of the market arrangements for energy and firmer...
Talking Point: Prevention is the best cure

Holyrood takes in a Mentors in Violence Prevention talk

by Apr 16, 2014 No Comments
Close your eyes. Imagine someone you care about being verbally or physically abused in the street. A stranger walks on by. They do nothing. Instead, they leave the person you care about helpless and alone. Open your eyes. What are your feelings towards the perpetrator? Equally important, what are your feelings towards the person who walked on by? It is a straightforward, albeit powerful, exercise that four secondary school pupils conducted with justice professionals as part of the latest Building Safer Communities event. The four, teenage pupils from Portobello High in Edinburgh and Calderhead High in Shotts, show maturity well beyond their years, having been involved in implementing the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) programme in their schools since 2011 and 2012 respectively. The...
Talking point: Opinion matters

providing real-time responses

by Apr 16, 2014 No Comments
Tom I was interested to attend a meeting by Patient Opinion, the website which passes on patients’ experiences to the right people ‘to make a difference’. Both good and bad experiences can be logged publicly on the site. Health Secretary Alex Neil is very enthusiastic about the idea, telling the packed reception he wanted to see the website rolled out to every region, hospital and GP surgery in Scotland because it can enable “real-time responses”. The chief executive of the scheme, James Munro, said he was “overwhelmed by the support and ambition” of the Cabinet Secretary. The rest of the UK can learn from Scotland, he said, because for the idea to work, it must have collaboration and not consumerism as its focus. Patient Opinion proves the internet is not just “a bigger and...
Talking point: Made up

A point to selfies?

by Apr 02, 2014 No Comments
Tom Facebook has been awash with selfies with no make up. Whatever the origin, the practice evolved into an act of ‘raising awareness’ of cancer. A source at Cancer Research UK told me they deliberately tapped into the craze, encouraging Facebook users to include details of how to donate to the charity alongside the photographs. It worked. Cancer Research UK raised over £8m in donations in just six days. This can fund 10 new clinical trials which will look at new treatments for sarcoma, acute myeloid leukaemia, abdominal neuroblastoma, liver, head and neck, breast, prostate, bladder and oesophageal cancers. Dr Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, said he was overwhelmed. “It’s phenomenal to think that the generosity of the public is enabling us to fund critical...
The meat industry and me

The IPCC report on climate change provides another argument in favour of vegetarianism

by Apr 01, 2014 No Comments
This month, for the first time in seven years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a report on the impact of emissions on the earth’s climate. The report contains information on how climate change will affect economies, security and supply chains – it does not make for cheery reading. Amongst other facts, the report estimated that global crop yields will decline by up to two per cent every ten years for the rest of the century. There is no doubt that as the effects of climate change become more pronounced, humanity will find it increasingly difficult to source enough food and clean drinking water to sustain a growing global population. I recently read Under the Skin, a book by Michael Faber (recently released as a film starring Scarlett Johansson), which...
1 2 3 4 5 68