Salmond slammed for “forgetting what he stands for”

Alex Salmond has been accused of forgetting what the SNP stands for

By Zoe Keown

THE SNP has been slammed for forgetting what it stands for after leader Alex Salmond backed out of plans to put Scottish independence to a vote.

Speaking of the party, Salmond’s former deputy Jim Sillars said: “They are extremely competent in handling their briefs but they’ve forgotten that they are supposed to be leading a national movement for independence.”

With the party already slumping behind Labour in the polls, it is also thought the leader’s neglect to highlight the party’s self-rule aims will put the party’s re-election prospects at risk.

Sillars added: “Being competent ministers doesn’t automatically translate into support from the public unless you campaign for what you say you stand for.”

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Victory for freedom of information

By Cara Sulieman

SCOTTISH ministers have backed down in their bid to stop the country’s information commissioner from accessing their files.

Lawyers for the government were due to appear in court to challenge the powers of Kevin Dunion.

They wanted to stop him from accessing their files, which in an important part of his job.

But they abandoned the case at the last minute and Mr Dunion has dropped his request for the information.

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Brave Scots gather for awards ceremony

Ricci Foreman tried to save tragic Jessica McCagh after her boyfriend set her slight and trapped her in his flat.

By Cara Sulieman and Paul Thornton

A YOUNG man who dragged a teenage girl from a flat after her boyfriend poured petrol on her and set her on fire was among 50 heroes to be recognised by a new award presented for the first time today.

Ricci Foreman, 20, was presented with a Brave@Heart award for his attempt to rescue Jessica McCagh after a horrific fire attack by twisted killer Stewart Blackburn.

The hero was just 19 years old when he tried to save Jessica, 17, at her flat in Arbroath in April last year.

He battled a blazing and smoke filled room to repeatedly pour a fish tank of water over the girl, who had been set on fire with petrol, and helped her out of the home.

Jessica tragically lost her fight for life later the same day.

Blackburn was later given a life sentence with a minimum of 21 years behind bars after being convicted of murder.

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New PM Cameron arrives in Scotland – by the back door

By Michael MacLeod

DAVID Cameron was forced to scrap plans for a grand public arrival at the Scottish Parliament today as protesters forced him to make his way via the back door instead.

His first official visit to Scotland as Prime Minister was meticulously planned in advance of his meeting with First Minister Alex Salmond.

Arrangements had been made for Mr Cameron’s green Jaguar car to deliver him at the Queensberry House entrance off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

But an eleventh-hour change swung into place after noisy crowds of protestors gathered in wait.

None the less, the new PM shrugged off the demo, and laughed:  “I’m making friends everywhere.”
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Election countdown is on as Salmond rallies troops

By Michael MacLeod

ALEX Salmond got up on a soapbox to rally his SNP troops ahead of a frantic last few hours of canvassing today.

He made a tub-thumping speech to activists at the party HQ in Edinburgh while standing on a tiny stage.

The First Minister said Labour were “finished” as a government, urging his party staff to hit as many doors as possible in the final few hours before polls open.

He said: “Only the SNP can protect this country from the London parties, none of whom put Scotland first.

“Labour are finished, while the Tories are arrogantly saying they can rule with no Scots MPs and the Lib Dems are ready to do a deal with David Cameron.”
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Sky’s the limit as Salmond sets his sights on election TV debate

By Cara Sulieman

FIRST Minister Alex Salmond said yesterday (Fri) that he will be taking part in the Scottish election debate broadcast by Sky TV.

But he snubbed the two other Scottish political debates, and will instead be sending the party’s Westminster leader Angus Robertson.

The announcement was made as the SNP leader was visiting Sky’s call centre in Livingston with local candidate Lis Bardell today.

Mr Salmond has chosen the Sky debate on April 25 over those hosted by BBC Scotland and STV as it will be broadcast across the UK, not just in Scotland.

And he said that the other networks were denying Scottish viewers “a fair reflection of the major issued” and cutting the country “out of the picture”.
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Bin men refuse to work in ice and snow

By Cara Sulieman

RUBBISH in Edinburgh is being left to rot in the streets after bin men refused to go and collect it in the treacherous weather.

Two out of three stayed away from work on Thursday, saying “health and safety” was preventing them from braving the slippery streets.

But it has caused anger among other workers at Edinburgh City Council – including parking attendants and park wardens – who downed tools and took to the streets to try and clear the roads.

The head of the council’s services for communities department, Mark Tuley, said that they had given the bin men the option of working or going home without pay.

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Snow-blanketed Britain seen from space

THE extent of Britain’s winter whiteout is revealed in a stunning picture from space, received today by scientists in Dundee.
The nationwide blanket of snow and ice came as temperatures dipped to as low as minus 18.
The image, sent by NASA’s Terra satellite, shows the UK framed by cloud sweeping in from the East.
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond declared it Scotland’s worst winter in 50 years, while forecasters said the country faces another ten days of freezing conditions.
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Salmond on crash course with voters over new Forth Road Bridge

By Michael MacLeod

ONLY a third of Scots support a £2billion project to build a new bridge over the River Forth, according to a new survey.
Bridge memorial - Salmond
And more than half would rather a fraction of the cash was used to repair the existing bridge, which has long-term weakness issues.

The Scottish Greens said their poll proved the new bridge plan was “deeply unpopular.”

But the Scottish Government claimed it would be “positive for the environment.”

Alex Salmond’s Government is set to put plans for the replacement crossing – linking Edinburgh to Fife – before MSPs a week today (Monday).

But a poll commissioned by the Scottish Greens and environmental campaigners found most voters want the cash spent elsewhere.
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Mohamed al-Fayed’s plan to rule a Salmond-free Scotland

By Rory Reynolds

HARRODS boss Mohamed al-Fayed has urged Scots to ditch Alex Salmond and the Royal Family – and make him president of an independent Scotland.

salmond-1The Egyptian-born tycoon – who owns Balnagown Castle in Ross-shire – called on his “fellow Scots” to detach their nation from “the English and their terrible politicians”.

In a bizarre interview over the weekend the 80-year-old said that he would be honoured to be the elder statesman of a Scottish republic.

And he even pledged to banish the Royal Family from Scotland and turn Balmoral Castle into a public museum.

In a wide-ranging interview, he said: “You Scots have been living in a coma for too long, it is time for you to waken up and detach yourself from the English and their terrible politicians.
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