Alex Salmond: Former First Minister appears in court charged with several counts of sexual assault against 10 women

 

The former First Minister, Alex Salmond, pictured arriving at court last year. (Credit: EN4 News)

Former First Minister Alex Salmond has appeared in court charged with counts of sexual assault against 10 women.

The former SNP leader denies the 14 charges, which include one count of attempted rape, one count of intent to rape, 10 counts of sexual assault and two of indecent assault.

The offences are alleged to have taken place while Salmond served as First Minster.

Speaking outside the high court in Edinburgh, Salmond, 64, said he was innocent and said he will defend himself ‘vigorously’.

He continued: “But the only proper place to answer criminal charges is in this court.”

The attempted rape allegation relates to an instance inside Bute House in June 2014 where it is claimed the politician is alleged to have pushed a woman against a wall, to have removed her clothes and his own, before pushing her onto a bed and lying naked on top of her.

Another is said to have taken place on a visit to Stirling Castle.

The allegations are said to have taken place over a period of 6 years form 2008 until 2014.

Salmond, served as first minister of Scotland from 2007 until 2014, when he resigned following the Independence referendum. He was then elected as member of parliament for Gordon, in Aberdeen-shire until 2017.

He resigned from the Scottish National party in August 2018 follow allegations of sexual misconduct.

His QC, Gordon Jackson, said Mr Salmond was pleading not guilty, and judge Lady Dorrian set the trial date for 9 March next year.

Scottish Government launches closed road motorsport consultation

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Motorsport events could be held on closed public roads in Scotland (Photo Credit: Luke Barry)

Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government have launched a public consultation on proposals to enable motorsport to be held on closed public roads.

Legislation currently exists in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that allows car clubs and organising teams to run a motorsport event on public roads at the discretion of the sport’s governing body, Motorsport UK.

The same legislation has been stalled in Scotland due to a joint Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) looking into the deaths of spectators on the 2013 Snowman and 2014 Jim Clark rallies.

The legislation allows event organisers to close off sections of road for a period of five hours and also suspend the speed limit on them, meaning they can be driven at competition speed.

A public consultation has now been launched to gauge whether it’s feasible for events of this nature to be held on closed Scottish public roads. The consultation is open until January 28, and can be completed here.

Closed road events have been held in Scotland before, with the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders running annually since 1997. Following a fatal accident in 2014 however, the event has ceased to run as investigations were launched into the incident. The rally previously held its own unique Act of Parliament but event insurers have been unwilling to support a return under the old legislation.

Tom Purves, the Chairman of Scottish Motor Sports (SMS) is looking forward to events like this returning to Scotland.

“This is an important step on the road back to closed road motorsport in Scotland,”

“It is now vital that the Scottish motorsport community gets behind this consultation and delivers a clear message of support for these proposals, which would allow us not only to revive world-renowned events but also to take different forms of motorsport to new parts of our country.”

How did I fail at becoming Scottish?

I moved to this beautiful, but cold-as-hell country, four years ago. I came ready to conquer and soak up all the culture and the weird words you guys say. I had read a lot about Scottish stereotypes, and since those articles are always true, I thought I had you guys figured out.

Four years, and a lot of saying, “yous, ay, yer, wee”, later – and I’m still being asked if I want a tax return receipt every time I buy something.

Even if I’m buying milk, 30 rolls of toilet paper and the cheapest wine they have at Tesco – they still mistake me for a foreigner. Well, they are not mistaken, but I like to be right. Just ask my boyfriend. Besides, what maniac tourist is going around buying 30 rolls of toilet paper?

The question is, what is giving me away, and how did I fail so miserable at integrating? I drink and swear excessively, I’ve become overly apologetic and nice to strangers, and I quote Braveheart at least once a day. Yet, you guys somehow won’t accept me.

Let’s break it down. I’m Norwegian but don’t necessarily look it. I’m short, have curly and brownish hair and I’m wearing tartan for crying out loud. I even gained like 8 kilos a stone during fresher’s week.

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Author of the article, Constance Maria Enger

I also try to sound like yous, but judging by the laughter I receive: I’m not always doing that well. Living with 6 Scottish girls from around the country was a recipe for a confusing dialect, and not to mention a disaster.

It wasn’t until I travelled to the land of hillbillies and Clinton-supporters that I was finally mistaken for a Scottish person. I’ve never been happier. “Yooo, dude, are you like, Scottish or something? You sound weird”, in which I lied: “Yes, yes I am.”

Maybe the thing that is giving me away is that I’m so obviously trying to be Scottish: Just like I try to speak French in France. When I say try, I mean fail, and when I thought I said burger – I said salad.

The fact is, tourists always make a fool of themselves while trying to pretend they are not in fact tourist.

In the end, it would take me years and years to perfection your quirks and even then I would probably be caught by some know-it-all.

It’s strange feeling at home in a country that constantly reminds you that you’re a stranger. I don’t really fit in, but you guys don’t really care about that. It’s all in my head.

I shouldn’t be offended when someone offers me help with directions – I should be grateful. because I’m usually lost anyway. The point is, I’m still treated like the princess I am, and I feel welcome everywhere. That should be what’s most important.

Maybe, just maybe, I need to take a chill pill and just be myself. Perhaps if I act like I do at home – Scotland will finally be just that.

Dugdale: Scottish Labour’s disappointment after joining ITV’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me out of Here?

The decision to suspend Kezia Dugdale from Scottish Labour could be decided today when the party group hold their weekly meeting at Holyrood.

Last week it was announced that MSP Kezia Dugdale would be a contestant on the latest series of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me out of Here with her first appearance expected to be broadcast later this week.

Dugdale in hot water over latest venture. Photograph: Herald Scotland.

The Labour MSP has confirmed that the salary she receives for being MSP will be given to charity while she is away filming in Australia but it is unconfirmed if she will also be donating the tens of thousands she is expected to receive from starring on the show.

Dugdale’s foray into the world of reality television just months after she stepped down as leader of Scottish Labour has split the party. It was revealed by the new Scottish party leader, Richard Leonard, that Dugdale failed to gain permission from party chiefs to join the show and that he was personally disappointed.

Former Labour leader, MSP Neil Findlay, also voiced his displeasure described her decision as “utterly ludicrous”.

Dugdale’s partner and Scottish National Party MSP, Jenny Gilruth accused the Labour party of bullying tweeting her opinions.

 

Tory MP, Nadine Dorris, who was previously suspended from her party after joining the same show in 2012 also took to twitter to show her support.

 

What is more important is how this will affect the residents of Lothian who are represented by Dugdale. Three weeks is a long time to leave your constituents and considering the reputation of the show voters may begin to look elsewhere for representation.


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Sip Away at the Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend

Cocktail lovers are in for a treat at the first ever Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend this 6th–8th October.

Following the Edinburgh Cocktail Festival back in August, it’s time for the inaugural Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend. Mixology and cocktail enthusiasts in the capital can join in for the price of a £6 wristband.

Attendees will have the chance to taste exclusive signature cocktails from all participating bars for only £4 each, as well as free masterclasses and tastings throughout the weekend.

www.neilhannaphotography.co.uk 07702 246823

Bartenders Georgi Lovie, Jamie Gibson and Rob Quinn showcasing their talents/Image credit: Neil Hanna Photography

More than 40 top cocktail bars and restaurants such as Opal Lounge, Tigerlily and The Black Fox have expressed their excitement in showcasing Scottish cocktail scene – and of course, showing off their skills.

Marco Airoldi, general manager of The Boozy Cow, said: “We love our cocktails so we thought why not get involved with ECW and try to create some brand exposure and showcase our awesome cocktail offering. It’s a really exciting weekend ahead and we’re really happy to be a part of it. Hopefully it’ll bring a lot of new faces to Boozy Cow!”

Image credit: The Boozy Cow Facebook

The event’s organiser, Gary Anderson, was thrilled by the great response: “It is an absolute pleasure to work with so many local businesses and celebrate the awesome cocktail scene we have here in Edinburgh. It really is a Cocktail Capital!”

Each bar will only be providing one exclusive cocktail and the reason for that was because Anderson wanted people to socialise and get to know the city better through the event: “It’s all about tasting your way around the city, discovering new bars and flavours, and feeling like you’re part of something exciting.”

Wristbands can be purchased from www.edinburghcocktailweekend.com.

Free Lunch Cancelled for Councillors

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They say there is no such thing as a free lunch. Well, not anymore. Local councillors have been informed that they will no longer be getting free lunch at noon, as they are finishing their work too early.

The decision has led to complaints that councillors are not doing enough work, as the coalition winds down in the run up to the local elections in May.

Conservative councillor Dominic Heslop explained: “Some of the longer-serving councillors will tell you the lunch was necessary when the meetings when on until 7pm or 8pm. But when they can be over by 11.30am can it really be justified?”

Instead councillors will be offered a buffet on full council days, otherwise they will have to pay for their own lunch.

Scottish Electoral Board inquiry begins

A Holyrood inquiry has been launched following concerns regarding bonuses for Chief Executives during election periods.

For a number of years Election Chiefs have received extra payment for running elections, a task which many believe should be included in their annual salary. Public concern has caused local government to assess if a reform is needed.

The Scottish Parliament’s local government committee convener, Bob Doris stated:

“The committee’s heard that in the last couple of years alone, £1m of additional payments has been made.

“So we’ll need to get additional information why those payments have been made, whether they’re justified, what work’s entailed to justify those payments and to dig beneath it and find out if they’re appropriate for future elections or not.”

Concern has been growing since May after it was released that chief executives could earn a bonus of up to half a million pounds, with £165,000 for the Edinburgh top official role and £160,000 for Glasgow.The UK Cabinet reassured the public that fees were kept under review and “statutorily independent from their normal employment”.

The Chief Executive for Glasgow, received a bonus of £33,238 for the Scottish 2016 election and £21,111 for the EU Referendum.

Chairwoman of the Electoral Management Board for Scotland, Mary Pitcaithly, stated:

“It would be wholly inconsistent with practice elsewhere if duties of the scale and the degree of responsibility and the civic importance of the returning officer role were to be not remunerated at all.”

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A spokesperson for the Electoral Reform Society will give evidence to the committee.

The society’s Scottish director Willie Sullivan said:

“I think there’s a root and branch look needed at why this system is throwing up these morbid symptoms of inequality in rewarding some people huge amounts more than what ordinary people get paid.”

The committee will consider all evidence before deciding if a reform is the next step forward for the Scottish government.

 

Scots paint the sporting world tartan

Football might not be our forte but while our tartan athletes battle for a place in the World Cup 2018, Scotland proves we can dominate other sports.

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Grant Ferguson, 21, has peddled a long way from Peebles.  The Scot is a shoe in for the Olympics and has enough meddles to back that up.

Ruaridh Cunningham, 27, from Galashiels won the Junior World Title Champ in 2007 and hasn’t stopped winning since.

In 2015 the Scot won first prize in Scottish DH Champs Ae Forest and also took home the gold in the UK Redbull Hardline.

Fort William will host the third round of the 4x ProTour for the World Cup will be hosted this June.

14570527_1794890730758738_7758995297401033822_oSURFING

Frigid seas, enormous swells and a chance of frost bite have only made Scottish surfers even harder.

Fraserburgh Scot, Chris Noble, 41, has become a legend in Scottish Surf. The tartan surfer was Scotland’s Surf Champion in 2014 and 2015. His plight of being the first surfer to hold the title for three years was stubbed out by 2016 champion, Mark Cameron.

Mark Cameron, 37, won gold at the year’s Scottish national Championship. This isn’t the first win for this gnarly Scot, he surfed towards 1st place in 2012 as well.

Mark ‘Boydie’ Boyd from Thurso, won silver in the 2015 Scottish Surf Championship and has been making waves overseas.

SKIING short-term-rentals-barkly-east-the-hayloft_10

Skiing is usually dominated by the French but Scots are sliding in to the competitive scene.

Emma Carrick-Anderson, 40, from Stirling is a huge name in Ski and has been dubbed Britain’s top Slalom Skier.

Britain’s top female skier for 15 years running, this Scot has more meddles than most. She represented Britain in the Olympics four times and has finished in the top 20 at the World Cup numerous times.

Another Scot that will go down in Ski history is Alain Baxter, 42, unfortunately maybe not for the right reasons.

The Scot won bronze in the 2002 Winter Olympics. When the victorious Olympian returned home to Scotland to celebrate, he was found guilty of drug use and stripped of his medal.

So while we might not be anywhere near the German standard for football, Scotland is dominating everywhere else.

 

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