A fundraiser for veterans, a volunteer at a soup kitchen and a hospice visitor have been named by Holyrood’s Presiding Officer and Deputy Presiding Officers as the local heroes who will join them at the opening of the Fourth Session of the Scottish Parliament.
Nominated by MSPs in recognition of their important personal contribution to the lives of people in Scotland, a total of 98 heroes have been nominated so far and will take part in a ‘Riding’ along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on Friday 1 July.
The heroes will take their place in the Riding alongside more than 1,000 other Scots, schoolchildren, parliamentarians, religious leaders and other guests from public life.
This will follow an address by Her Majesty The Queen to the newly-elected Members of the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood’s main chamber.
Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick MSP said:- “The opening of Session Four of the Scottish Parliament is a chance for us to celebrate the efforts of genuine local heroes from across the country. I know these people have been truly inspirational to the MSPs who have nominated them and it gives me great satisfaction to extend this invitation and welcome to them.”
The heroes nominated by the Presiding Officer and Deputy Presiding Officers are:
• Bob Nicolson who is an active fundraiser in the local community. He has raised funds and run a collection of items for troops in Afghanistan, including ‘Help for Heroes’ and hospitals which care for injured military personnel and veterans. (Nominated by Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick MSP)
• Mary McGhie runs a nightly soup kitchen offering free meals to the homeless in her home town of Coatbridge. (Nominated by Deputy Presiding Officer Elaine Smith MSP)
• James Cameron who volunteers at his local Ayrshire Hospice and is President of the Alloway Rotary Club. (Nominated by Deputy Presiding Officer John Scott MSP)
The Riding will be themed to reflect the sentiments of the Parliament’s Mace: Wisdom, Justice, Compassion and Integrity – representing the aspirations of the Scottish people for the Members of their Parliament.
For a full list of all the local heroes and their MSP, please go to the Parliament’s website.
The Fourth Session of the Scottish Parliament will be marked on Friday 1 July. In the Chamber, Her Majesty The Queen will address newly elected Members of the Parliament and guests.
Following the departure of The Queen, the Riding will take place along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, marking the centuries-old Scots tradition. Local heroes will be in the Riding.
The Riding will then be followed by an open afternoon of free entertainment at Holyrood. Musical performances in the Parliament will be part of an eclectic roster of youth choirs and orchestras from across Scotland along with pipers, drummers and traditional Scottish musicians.
This includes: Crayons, from Fife; French Wives and The Imagineers, from Glasgow; Maydays, from Caithness; and White Heath, from Edinburgh.
Today marks an exciting day for Edinburgh businesses and property experts alike as peer and former Labour minister Rt. Hon. Lord George Foulkes gets ready to launch 23 Melville Street, the West End’s new state-of-the-art serviced office building, at 4.30 this afternoon.
After unveiling the plaque and declaring the centre officially open, Lord Foulkes will be joined by Douglas Ferrans, chairman of HBOS subsidiary Invista, along with Edinburgh-born property development specialist Brian Cormack who has revamped the former New Town Killers film, spending around £500,000 on the project.
Together, they expect to greet more than 50 guests, including journalists, business professionals, MPs and MSPs as well as other representatives at a champagne reception at the New Town’s prestigious new facility which also houses a number of high spec meeting rooms fully equipped with the latest in IT and telecoms.
Those already confirmed include MSP Jim Eadie, presenter Joanna Cochrane of Forth One, former Hearts player Gary Mackay, former Hearts chairman and property expert Leslie Deans, Paul Slater of Slater’s Menswear and Claire Stewart of STV.
Highlights will include live music, including a harpist and contemporary piper; whisky cocktails from Tigerlily’s leading mixologist, Ross Montgomery, courtesy of Montpeliers (Edinburgh) Limited; tastings of the new ‘Melville’s’ fruit beer by Edinburgh-based specialist beer company Innis & Gunn, and catering by Glasshouse Hospitality.
Guests will hear more about 23 Melville Street’s plans for future business development, including how it proposes to champion business alliances and support Scottish enterprise.
Forth One presenter Grant Stott will also be present to receive a cheque from 23 Melville Street on behalf of Cash for Kids.
Today is all about trams. The fate of the transport project is on the agenda at the full council meeting this morning. Whether or not any decision will be taken is up for grabs. There are those who think the decision will simply be shelved for the next meeting. We have heard the figures leaked to the media about the cost of cancellation versus the cost of completion.
The not so obvious anagram of trams is smart, but there are those in Edinburgh who wonder if the tram project is still a smart idea.
STV Local advise us that there is a dedicated website set up by a Leith businessman which describes the official report on the trams a biased travesty.
Caledonian Mercury explains the meaning of the word glitch, which was used by Council Leader, Jenny Dawe, the other day to explain her view of the £200,000 funding gap.
Edinburgh Guide say that tomorrow is the ‘day of decision’ as far as the trams are concerned, but that there are some councillors who do not think they have enough information on which to base a decision.
Rail.co say that there is a demand for the council to commit to running the tram to St Andrew Square.
If you have not yet had the opportunity to read it the tram report has been available for a week now. It is reproduced here for you…
By Lauren Witherspoon
The trophy that the world’s top golfers will compete for on 7 to 10 July, takes the form of a traditional Scottish quaich and was designed and fashioned exclusively by Edinburgh jewellers and silversmiths, Hamilton & Inches.
Managing Director Stephen Paterson, who handed over the trophy to the Chief Executive of The European Tour, George O’Grady, said creating the trophy was a huge honour and Hamilton & Inches felt it was appropriate that the trophy had a unique Scottish background. He explained: “When we contacted The European Tour about having the new trophy, we just felt it had to be made in Scotland.
“We recognise ourselves as being Scotland’s leading jewellers and silversmiths and we have three floors of workshops above our showroom here in George Street, and it was entirely made in Edinburgh.”
The Barclays Scottish Open will move from its traditional home of Loch Lomond to Castle Stuart golf course this year and the First Minister believed it was a chance to showcase Scotland’s finest. He said: The eyes of millions of golf fans across the globe will be on the tournament’s new home at Castle Stuart as some of the game’s top names compete on this spectacular course.
“This beautiful new trophy takes the form of a quaich, a traditional symbol of the warm welcome for which Scotland is renowned. It has been designed and made exclusively here in Scotland, reflecting the very best of our country’s artistic inspiration and craftsmanship. It is a world class trophy for a world class event.”
Photograph by Lauren Witherspoon
From L-R. George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, Ian Stuart, Head of Barclays Corporate UK, First Minister Alex Salmond and Stephen Paterson, Managing Director of Hamilton & Inches.
Edinburgh South MP, Ian Murray, can proudly declare that his constituency office is cruelty-free. Ian has taken the step to ensure that all the cleaning and household products used are cruelty-free, only using those approved under the BUAV’s Humane Standard symbolised by the Leaping Bunny mark.
Ian Murray has joined forces with the BUAV to Clean Up Cruelty; supporting the campaign to end animal testing for household products and their ingredients. This follows Edinburgh City Council voting to move towards only using cleaning products certified cruelty-free by BUAV in January this year.
Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of the BUAV, said: “We are delighted that Ian Murray MP is supporting our campaign. Edinburgh has a strong presence on BUAV’s cruelty-free map. We call on all politicians to follow Ian’s lead and sign up to this important campaign to end the cruelty and suffering inflicted on animals to test cleaning products.”
Ian Murray MP said: “I am proud to support the excellent work being done by the BUAV in campaigning for an end to animal testing of household products. I have made the leap to using certified cruelty-free cleaning products in my constituency office, and I am urging my Parliamentary colleagues to do the same. By signing the Early Day Motion in Parliament along with 119 of my colleagues we are keeping the government to its promise to ban the use of animals to test household products.”
The BUAV has spearheaded the campaign to end the use of animals in household product testing. BUAV’s high profile and successful Clean Up Cruelty campaign has already gained widespread support from politicians, retailers and the public. Since its inception in 2008, the BUAV has taken Clean Up Cruelty around the UK, visiting MPs and politicians to encourage them to make their offices cruelty-free. We won a victory last year when the Coalition Government pledged to ban the use of animals to test household products in its plan for government. The BUAV’s Early Day Motion calling for this ban has also received support from 119 MPs, including Ian Murray.
Despite public opinion, many ingredients in UK household products continue to be tested on animals. Products approved under BUAV’s Humane Standard carry the Leaping Bunny logo, an internationally recognised and patented cruelty-free certification. Certified cruelty-free household products include those made by Marks & Spencer, Co-op, Astonish, Method, Bio-D and Faith in Nature.
For a full list of BUAV approved products please visit www.gocrueltyfree.org
This Sunday The Scottish Storytelling Centre is hosting a competition for young budding magicians when they stage the War of the Wizards. This is part of the International Magic Festival which starts on Friday.
Lord McLuskey has issued his first report on the interaction between the UK Supreme Court and the High Court of Justiciary and the effect on the Scottish criminal justice system. You can read more here.
SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central, Marco Biagi, has warmly welcomed the awarding of over £1,940 of Big Lottery funding to Flora Stevenson Primary School and £1,800 to Broughton High School.
Welcoming the latest investment in Edinburgh projects, Marco Biagi said:- “I am delighted that Flora Stevenson and Broughton High have benefited from this funding. The Big Lottery Fund provides vital support to community and charity work across the city, and allows Edinburgh to play its part in the build up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I’m sure this funding will be a significant boost to the schools who already do an immense amount of good work in the capital.”
The City of Edinburgh Council has a busy week ahead with a full council meeting on Thursday to debate the trams report, but it has also found time to comment on the decision by Hearts to retain a player who has been placed on the Sex Offenders Register. The council has called upon the football club to reconsider that decsision according to STV.
And there is an article on Greener Leith about cyclists and buses, highlighting the work by sound artist, Emma Quayle, who has produced an audio documentary on the subject, which offers some advice for cyclists.
First Minister Alex Salmond has welcomed the publication of the first report of the Review Group examining the relationship between the High Court of Justiciary and the UK Supreme Court in criminal cases.
The group – chaired by Lord McCluskey – has focused on the role of the UK Supreme Court under existing constitutional arrangements and is published in order to inform the Scottish Parliament debate taking place this Thursday. The report agrees with the conclusion of the Advocate General’s own Expert Group Report that the courts have given a wide interpretation to the concept of acts of the Lord Advocate. The report states the consequence of this is that ‘unexpectedly’ many aspects of Scots criminal proceedings have been brought under review in the UK Supreme Court, and that this ‘widening of jurisdiction, as exercised by the Supreme Court, whatever the intention of the UK legislature when the Scotland Act was passed, had surprised everyone and had created real problems’.
The McCluskey report agrees that the existing statutory basis for bringing human rights issues to the Supreme Court is ‘seriously flawed’. It finds that the High Court of Justiciary ‘has been placed under a broader and, in the light of developing practice since 1998, a more intrusive jurisdiction than has been created for the rest of the UK in relation to applying the law governing human rights issues in criminal cases.’ However, the McCluskey Review Group goes further than the Advocate General’s group report in terms of the specific remedies it proposes in its interim conclusions.
The report recommends a new provision, with proposed amendments to the Scotland Bill, which would place the High Court of Justiciary ‘on an equal footing with its counterparts elsewhere in the UK, by enabling the Supreme Court to grant permission to appeal only if the High Court of Justiciary has granted a certificate that the case raises a point of general public importance’.
The McCluskey report also recommends that it should be made clear that ‘the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court should be exercised in such a way that it identifies clearly the law that the criminal courts have to apply, but that the application of the law to the case in which the issue is being litigated should be remitted to the High Court of Justiciary’. This would help preserve the traditional role of the High Court of Justiciary under current constitutional arrangements by ensuring “that the Supreme Court, in dealing with its human rights jurisdiction in criminal cases, would concentrate on identifying and articulating clearly the relevant law contained in The Human Rights Act and would not proceed to decide the case as if it were the High Court of Justiciary.”
It is expected that the Group will publish a final report by the autumn prior to amendments requiring to be made to the Scotland Bill.
Mr Salmond said:-”This first report is extremely welcome, and I am grateful to Lord McCluskey and his group for producing such a considered piece of work so promptly and in good time to inform this week’s Scottish Parliament debate.
The report focuses on the relationship between the UK Supreme Court and the High Court of Justiciary under the current constitutional arrangements. There is now a consensus that the UK Supreme Court plays a much broader role in Scottish criminal law than had been envisaged when the Scotland Act was passed, and that it is more intrusive within Scots Law than is the case for the other jurisdictions within the UK – with serious implications for the certainty and integrity of our distinct legal system.
We now have the interim analysis and conclusions of the McCluskey Group, and I particularly welcome its recommendations for amendments to the Scotland Bill to limit the role of the UK Supreme Court by placing referrals from Scotland’s highest court of criminal appeal – the High Court of Justiciary – on the same footing as is the case for the justice system south of the Border. It also makes positive suggestions for the UK Supreme Court to operate clearly and consistently as a court of interpretation of human rights law, and not ‘as if it were the High Court of Justiciary’.”
In doing so, the report goes further than the Advocate General’s Expert Group, but I believe these interim recommendations should be capable of attracting support and consensus across Parliament, and among the wider legal and other important interests involved.”
The Society has released the following statement on the interim report reviewing the Supreme Court issued by Lord McCluskey this afternoon:
Commenting on the report, Christine O’Neill, Convener of the Society’s Constitutional Law Committee said: “We are interested to read the interim report at this stage. The Society has been active in responding to the various consultations on this issue and we have given written and oral evidence on the proposals contained in the current Scotland Bill.
“We are considering interim report published by the Review Group and will endeavour to meet with Lord McCluskey over the summer months to discuss the review and the initial recommendations in more detail, ahead of the final report being published later in the year.
“The Society’s consistent position has been that the UK Supreme Court should play an important role in constitutional and human rights issues affecting Scotland. We are pleased that the Review Group has also taken that view. Any proposals for reform of the mechanisms used to allow the Supreme Court to play that role need to be considered carefully and the implications properly understood.
“We are pleased that the Review Group has recommended that they consult further with interested parties and we will take up that opportunity over the coming months.”
The rays are beating down on Edinburgh’s Mortonhall Klondyke Garden Centre, following the opening of a Solar Hub within the grounds.
Installed by the UK’s leading residential solar energy specialists, The Big Green Company, the Solar Hub is equipped with and fully powered by the latest solar panel technology.
Staff at The Big Green Company’s Solar Hub offer hands-on information to garden centre visitors about the benefits of installing solar panels on their homes – as well as selling full solar panel installation packages. The Big Green Company is the brainchild of entrepreneur, Wayne Morris, who set the company up back in 2007.
Morris said:- “We are delighted to have one of our Solar Hubs installed in Mortonhall’s Klondyke Garden Centre.
“Solar energy is really taking off and with the introduction of the Government’s feed-in-tariff, customers are able to receive a tax free income from merely generating energy by having solar panels on their roof.”
Gary Hynd, The Big Green Company’s regional director for Scotland, said:-“We are really excited about our opening in Mortonhall and we have had a great response. The hub gives customers the opportunity to see a working example of how the energy is generated and we have on-site technicians with specialist knowledge to answer any questions.”
The Big Green Company’s Solar Hub at Mortonhall Klondyke Garden Centre features continual digital read-outs of the amount of energy being generated from the building’s panels, which then powers the business office within.
The Big Green Company’s Solar Hub in Edinburgh is the third site for the company, with its two other hubs based in Wilmslow (Cheshire) and Carlisle.
by Ryan McNeely
There was an American TV series a couple of years ago called Life. It was about a cop who was wrongly convicted of murder and spent 12 years in prison, then was exonerated and returned to the force. His captain was played by Donal Logue and his nemesis was a Russian gangster played by Garret Dillahunt. There are two reasons I mention this: firstly, it was a really good series that not enough people saw (but is available on DVD), and secondly because those two actors are reunited in Oliver Sherman; a gut-punch of a movie about two soldiers and how each has adjusted to life after returning from war.
Dillahunt plays Sherman Oliver, a drifter who turns up at the small-town home of his former comrade-in-arms Franklin Page (Logue). Page is living the good life with his wife and two kids, and his good job at the mill. Oliver, on the other hand, has not done so well. The first shot of the film is the back of his head as he sits on the bus, with a huge scar clearly visible through his buzz-cut. As soon as Franklin opens his door the contrast between the two is clear. Page has grown out his hair, he has a beard, a bit of a paunch. He’s comfortable. He’s moved on so much, in fact, that he doesn’t even recognise Oliver at first. Feeling sorry for the man, Page invites Oliver in to his home and his life. At first, Oliver seems almost childlike; he’s shy and unfailingly polite, but without any sense of humour. Dillahunt plays him very deliberately restrained, in movement, speech, facial expression, everything. Waiting for this tightly-wound spring to snap is a huge tension-builder. It is to writer/director Ryan Redford’s (working from the short story Veterans, by Rachel Ingalls) credit that he doesn’t go for the easy ending. There’s no Ramboesque rampage through town. That would have cheapened things, I think. We do get a glimpse at what Oliver is capable of, but even that is controlled (and mostly off-screen).
Logue and Molly Parker as his wife, Irene, are both exceptional, but this is Dillahunt’s movie. He’s innocent yet manipulative, compassionate but violent, and all in the blink of an eye. The title of the movie comes from a story Oliver tells Page about his time in the hospital: For almost a year he thought his name was Oliver Sherman. It was only when he got a letter that he realised it was the wrong way round. “Oliver Sherman”, he says, “Almost, but it’s not right”. Not just the name, there’s the character in just five words. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
This is a timeless movie. It is never said explicitly which war Oliver and Page were in. It could be any war of the last 50 years. The point is, though, the location of the fighting is irrelevant. Oliver spends a long time in hospital, yes, but once his wounds have healed, he’s left to himself with nothing but a disability pension. He has no family, no friends. What might have happened if he didn’t have Page? Who would have been to blame?
Oliver Sherman had its UK premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year. I can’t find any word about a full release, either to cinemas or direct-to-DVD, but it is definitely a film worth keeping an eye out for.
Here is a little taste:-
The UK Supreme Court has announced the death of Lord Rodger of Earlsferry yesterday. “It is with great sadness that we convey the news that Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Justice of the Supreme Court, died peacefully in his sleep during the morning of Sunday 26 June, following a short period of illness.”
Lord Phillips, President of the Supreme Court, said:-”I am deeply distressed to learn of the death of Alan Rodger. For ten years he has been a mainstay of the Law Lords and of the Supreme Court. He was an outstanding jurist and a wonderful companion. His premature death is a tragic loss to the Court and to the nation.”
Lord Hope, Deputy President of the Supreme Court, said: “Lord Rodger’s premature death has deprived us all of a greatly valued colleague and a much loved friend. It is a desperately sad end to a brilliant career. His contribution to the development of the law was immense. He had so much more still to give, both as a judge and to academic life both in Scotland and at Oxford.
“Our thoughts are with his family and his many close friends, whose lives were enriched by his generous and engaging personality and who meant so much to him too. His legacy is to be found in his judgments, his lectures and his academic writings, which will live on as his memorial for generations to come.”
A tribute will be paid in Court One in The UK Supreme Court in London tomorrow (10.30am, Tuesday 28 June), and streamed online (accessible from homepage of www.supremecourt.gov.uk).
Lord Rodger became a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in 2001 and was one of two Scottish Justices of The Supreme Court.
Lord Rodger was educated at Kelvinside Academy. He graduated MA, LLB from Glasgow University and then did a DPhil at Oxford. He was a junior research fellow of Balliol and then a fellow of New College (1970-1972). He became a member of the Faculty of Advocates (the Scottish Bar) in 1974, Clerk of Faculty (1976–1979) and a QC in 1985.
He was Home Advocate Depute from 1986 to 1988 before becoming Solicitor General for Scotland (1989-1992) and Lord Advocate (1992-1995). He was made a Life Peer and Privy Councillor in 1992.
Lord Rodger was appointed a Court of Session judge in 1995 and, in succession to Lord Hope of Craighead, he was Lord President of the Court of Session and Lord Justice General of Scotland from 1996 to 2001. He was an Honorary Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn.
Lord Rodger’s publications, mainly on Roman and Scots law, included ‘The Courts, the Church and the Constitution’ (2008). He was a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a corresponding member of the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften.
He became High Steward of the University of Oxford in 2008.