September 18th 2014 | Scotland

Government and politics

Parasitic wasps, further devolution and the Smith Commission

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 26 September 2014

There is a species of parasitic wasp called Glyptapanteles, found in Central and South America, which is able to manipulate caterpillars into doing its bidding. The female wasp lays eggs inside the caterpillar, which continues to function normally for about two weeks, until larvae burst out through its skin. Up to 80 of them.

At this point the caterpillar doesn’t actually die. In fact it then stands guard over the offspring of the wasp that stung it as they spin their pupae and turn into adults.

Thoughts on last night

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 19 September 2014

It is now the morning after and Scotland has voted No to becoming an independent country. Around 55% of the population voted to stay in the UK.

The result was officially announced at the Royal Highland Centre – a building with a curious resemblance to an aircraft hangar – at breakfast time this morning.

The difference is of course that, unlike an airport, when the assembled crowd of media and politicians stepped into the building they had no idea what the destination would be when they came out. No one did.

An apology to Scotland

Written by Neil Evans on 17 September 2014

Scotland I owe you a big apology.

My memories of politics in the 1980s, when I was not old enough to reach the dining table let alone vote, are hazy.

I remember Thatcher v Kinnock, blue v red and the confusion that was the Alliance Party which had two leaders. But the death of Ian Paisley last week also reminded me of the other characters that seeped into my consciousness.

The referendum provides Scotland with a once in a generation opportunity to tackle poverty

Written by Julia Unwin on 16 September 2014

Whatever the outcome of Thursday’s independence referendum vote, Scotland must get to grips with high levels of poverty in the country, says Julia Unwin.

Beasts on trial

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 12 September 2014

In the sixteenth century the residents of Autun in France took the local rat population to court – charging them with “having feloniously eaten up and wantonly destroyed the barley-crop of that province.”  

Such trials were fairly common in parts of Europe up until the 18th century. In fact there are records of rats, locusts, weevils, pigs, slugs, eels, moles and grasshoppers being made to stand trial.

Independence and the future of renewables: The case for a Yes vote

Written by Fergus Ewing MSP on 11 September 2014

By SNP Energy Minister Fergus Ewing

Last year was a record year for Scottish renewables, with the equivalent of 46.5% of Scotland’s gross electricity consumption coming from renewables. So far this year we are doing even better with the first quarter of the year generating over 10% more than the previous record quarter! 

Independence and the future of renewables: The case for a No vote

Written by Tom Greatrex MP on 11 September 2014

By Labour Shadow Energy Minister Tom Greatrex 

When the referendum votes are being cast, Scotland’s renewable industry will have more at stake than most. With more than 10,000 people employed in Scotland, the pooling and sharing framework that has helped enable the expansion in renewable generation is being put at risk by the Nationalist push to leave the UK. 

No's mad scramble

Written by Neil Evans on 10 September 2014

Usually a few days away from the office means arriving back at your desk out of touch with no idea what’s been going on.

Not so with the referendum, even south of the border. With the polls showing only a fag paper between Yes and No, every vote counts and News channels are seeing practically wall-to-wall coverage of the mad scramble by politicians to tip their side over the line.

How the campaigns went in search of the missing million

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 9 September 2014

In years to come, when people are dissecting the referendum result, one of the biggest questions will no doubt revolve around how it hinged on a term that sounded so much like the title of a crap game show.

Like pirates on a treasure hunt both campaigns have spent the last few months delving into Scotland’s poorest areas in search of the Missing Millions.

It is not clear exactly what the term means. How do you lose a million people?

What to expect when one is expecting

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 8 September 2014

Gordon Brown must be raging.

It was his big moment. After years of standing – some would say lurking – in the shadows, resisting calls to enter the referendum debate he was set to make a major intervention.

His problem is that Kate Middleton got there first, announcing this morning that she is pregnant with her second child.

Paranoia soon kicked in on Twitter.

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