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August 13th – August 19th, 2022 Week 33

13/08/22 – 19/08/22                                                               

Health, Land, Women, Energy and a Gaelic meltdown …….                           

Disability Matters

            Corseford College in Renfrewshire will open in September for 15 young people with complex needs, offering bespoke learning for 18–25-year-olds, with sensory suites, a specialist pool, rebound therapy involving trampolines and outdoor learning.  It aims to prepare young people to live more independently, and is funded by £250,000 from Capability Scotland and £316,000 from the Scottish government.

Disabled Adults locked away

            BBC Scotland’s Disclosure investigation found that 15 Scots with learning disabilities and autism have been living in hospital for over 20 years in psychiatric units and wards.  The Scottish government has pledged £20 million to get most people out by March 2024.

            Nine people with autism and learning disabilities are in the high-security State Hospital at Carstairs, one for over 17 years, despite not being guilty of any crime.

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss

            have both doubled down against Scottish independence.  Rishi wants to re-establish a ‘union unit’ while Liz now says she will put Scotland front and centre of the union, and would take on the mantle of Minister for the Union.  Claiming the devolved ‘administrations’ have been let down by their governments, she notices Scotland only when it threatens to leave.  She also wants to ‘persuade’ the SNP to adopt fracking and nuclear energy.

            Perhaps Liz should do as she says.  She would strengthen the case for independence.

The case for indyref 2 will go before the Supreme Court on 11th and 12th  October.  It is to be hoped that they will judge Scotland’s claim according to the sovereignty of the people of Scotland, and will understand that in as far as possible, Scotland has consistently shown a huge majority of its MPs and MSPs to be independence-supporting.

for more on this and other legal issues, go to the ISP website or ISP on Facebook.

Homelessness

            There has been a 17% increase in child homelessness in the last year, needing temporary and often unsuitable accommodation for them and their families.  Shelter reported people being asked to move to the Highlands or the north of England, leaving jobs and family networks.  This at the same time as rough sleeping has been tackled effectively in Scotland.

Women and Trans Issues:

Scotland’s first Period Dignity Officer

            is a man, former personal trainer and tobacco salesman Jason Grant, who will advise teenage girls in schools and colleges, plus ‘anyone of any gender’ (?) despite the fact he will never have female lived experience.  Shouldn’t this post have been reserved for a female under the Equality Act 2010?

            Council leader John Alexander claims Dundee does not have male or female jobs, conveniently ignoring the equal pay claim brought against the council by local female employees.

            It is another blow in the ongoing war on women.  But what is intriguing is why he saw the advert and thought, hey, me taking this job would be a great idea.

Toilet facilities:

            98% of girls object to gender-neutral toilets in Scottish secondary schools, and For Women Scotland (FWS) have legal advice from Aiden O’Neill, QC, that schools are obliged to provide single-sex toilet facilities for pupils.  Councils claim individual cubicles deal with privacy issues but miss the fact that they may trap females more easily.

            If this has happened to your local school, protest and petition. It works.

SNP Code of Conduct

            The SNP is considering banning critics of self-ID taking part in their upcoming referendum campaign, so you are out if you believe men cannot become female, even if you are not an SNP member.  The motion thus ‘promotes tolerance’ by being intolerant of believers in biological and scientific fact.  But that isn’t prejudice.  It is just the truth.

for more on women’s issues, go to ISP Safe in Scotland or ISP on Facebook

Energy Crisis

            Calls are growing for an ‘energy payment boycott’ to force the government’s hand on soaring energy prices, but remember that non-payment will affect your credit rating, possibly bring sheriff’s officers to your door, and will linger far longer than the energy crisis.

            By some calculations, parts of Scotland may get energy bills of over £7,500 a year, with Scottish Power estimating more than half the working population will be plunged into fuel poverty, with a ‘humanitarian disaster’ emerging according to Energy Action Scotland.  Norway is currently paying 80% of the excess cost of energy for its citizens, yet Scotland can do nothing similar while it remains part of the UK.

Scottish hospitality

            is on the brink, with businesses already closing and others threatened by astronomical increased costs, especially energy.  Some outlets’ bills have increased ten-fold, with some business analysts fearing ‘large-scale business failure’.  The industry is short of 30,000 staff, blamed on Brexit, lack of affordable housing, and covid, meaning businesses must cut their opening hours, which can quickly spiral downwards. 

            A survey by the Night Time Industry Association Scotland showed the average covid-related debt for small businesses is £160,000, with only 27% making a profit.

Threat of legal action

            Energy regulator Ofgem is being threatened with legal action over its perceived failure to protect the vulnerable from rocketing bills. The Highlands and Islands Housing Associations Affordable Warmth Group, the Good Law Project and Fuel Poverty Action are behind the move, alleging that Ofgem will have failed its legal duty to make protecting consumers its ‘principal objective’ if the steep predicted rises go ahead.  

            The Gas Act 1986, the Electricity Act 1989 and the Utilities Act 2000 mandate an impact assessment and consultation prior to any such decisions, and Ofgem appears to have failed to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty Requirement for an Equality Impact Assessment on the likely disproportionate impact on particular groups.

Ferry fiasco (cont)

            Islanders have effectively been rationing food and milk due to the unreliability of ferry supplies in the Outer Hebrides.  Ferries on the North Uist, Harris and Skye route were disrupted twice in a week, with police recently called to irate passengers at Mallaig and Ardrossan. 

            It also transpires that some of the Scottish Government’s Covid fund money was spent on Ferguson Marine’s efforts to complete the Glen Sannox and Hull 802.

            The Scottish government is hiring a second ferry to house Ukrainian  refugees on the Clyde, despite safety concerns over the first one, cramped conditions and questionable access to local services.  The Ministry of Defence confirmed they have received no formal request for military help via the Military Aid to Civil Authorities protocol.

            The Scottish government is to pay over £200K plus VAT to HaskoningDHV UK Ltd to improve the competitiveness of Ferguson Marine.  Meanwhile islanders want the Scottish government to buy the MV Pentalina, now formally requested by CMAL. Transport Scotland appears in favour of leasing it, but not buying it due to its age (15 years). Nearly half CalMac’s 35 ferries are now over 25 years old.

            The Scottish government Consultation on Ferries for Scotland is open for views until 26th August 2022.

Health Issues

NHS Dentistry

            is in crisis with nine out of ten dental practices not taking on NHS patients.  The temporary uplift of the multiplier paid for NHS treatment to paid £1.70 for every £1 of treatment carried out, but may have caused a spike in one-off treatments at the expense of longer treatments. 

            The temporary uplift was cut back in July to 1.3 (£1.30 per £1 of treatment), and treatment courses finishing after July are paid at the lower rate applicable at the end of treatment.

            The Scottish Dental Association has proposed practitioners spending 60% of their week on core dentistry, with the rest of the time spent on fee-per-item NHS work, and private sessions for cosmetic work like teeth whitening.  They also suggest a GP-Style model of practices receiving a ‘global sum’ payment for core NHS services, with autonomy on actual spending, but judging by the chaos of GP practices failing to attract GPs and then closing, that is probably not the ideal model to follow.

for more on Health Matters, go to the ISP website or ISP on Facebook

Ecology          

Andy Wightman

            is currently formulating a comprehensive land reform bill.  He is critical of the Scottish government’s encouragement of forestry sale for carbon offsetting. Twenty percent of Scotland is forest, and 25-30% of land is hunting estates, with one-third of Scotland owned by fewer than 360 landholdings (owners) of over 3000 hectares.

            In Scotland land ownership is from the centre of the earth to the heavens, but Wightman wants ownership limited to the height of developments (buildings, trees, and so on) and his bill proposes changing that to make anything above that a ‘commons’, commonly owned, regulatable and subject to charging.  He wants the ownership of the foreshore to go to local councils, with seabed ownership to be transferred from the crown to Scottish ministers.

 for more on ecological issues, go to the ISP website or ISP on Facebook

 Shaetlan,

            a variant of Scots, now has an interactive online dictionary called ‘Da Spaektionary’, thanks to Professor Viveka Velupillai, affiliated with the German University of Giessen.  As the dictionary is open-source, it is hoped other endangered languages could use the template to halt further language decline.  A lot of interest is being shown by Papua New Guinea, which has 851 recognised languages.

Finally,

Gaelic causes a unionist meltdown

            Partick Thistle’s decision to introduce bilingual signs has caused some consternation among unionist supporters, claiming it may upset English supporters or even be illegal!!!

            They moan it is ‘Glasgow… not ‘the Outer Hebridies’, but their real angst may be that they won’t be able to spell the other Gaelic names, as they seem unable to spell ‘Hebrides’.

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