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englishmix 
Posted: 20-Apr-2010, 11:54 AM
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Church to address gay minister debate
The Herald, Scotland
20 Apr 2010


Ministers and elders are to debate gay ordination at a special meeting tonight as the Church of Scotland moves to halt a split among its members. The Presbytery of Greenock and Paisley is to hold the historic discussion ahead of the Kirk’s General Assembly next month, which is almost certain to address the issue.

It comes after The Herald yesterday revealed to the wider public the crucial consultation document that is being used by the Kirk to find out more about members’ views. The paper details a strong division between traditional and revisionist thinking.

The issue of gay ordination threatens the greatest schism in the Church since 1843, when one-third of its body left to form the Free Kirk. A spokesman for the Presbytery said: “This historic meeting takes place as a result of the high-profile case which came to the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly last year.”

He referred to the case of the Reverend Scott Rennie, who is living in an openly gay relationship but whose call to a church in Aberdeen was challenged on the grounds that a homosexual lifestyle was not acceptable in the ministry.

Ministers and elders will discuss their views and complete a ballot paper.

The meeting is being held at 7pm at The Cornerstone, Bishopton, and is open to the public.

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Now isn't this just positively gay! Voting on the LORD's Word... "Did God really say..." Genesis 2
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englishmix 
Posted: 21-Apr-2010, 03:52 PM
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'Mayhem’ of wind farm trucks on South Ayrshire roads

Apr 16 2010 by Edwin Lawrence,
Ayrshire Post (main ed)


‘Mayhem’ of wind farm trucks on South Ayrshire roads

COUNTRY folk fear years of road hell in the name of ‘going green’. For a wind farm project is daily putting dozens more heavy trucks on their roads. And that’s before the wind turbines are even ready to go up. For trees are being cut down in a forest near Barrhill to make space for the turbines.

And there is a daily convoy of timber trucks – most headed north through the village of Pinwherry. “There can be 50 or 60 lorries a day,” said Peter Walker, chairman of Pinwherry and Pinmore Community Council. "They have smashed up the grass verges, and hit the bridges on the A714. Most of the drivers are not considerate, and it can be a terrifying experience if you meet one on the road.”

Quinten Fyfe, who lives near the Pinmore viaduct, said: “The road is very dangerous. It can be a scary experience just coming out of your drive.” Mr Fyfe added: “There’s a lot of homes and farms along the roadside between Girvan and Barrhill. So there’s a lot of access roads, some near blind corners. It can also be dangerous for anyone having to cross the road on foot, to catch a bus or visit a friend. I do a lot of cycling, and some of the lorry drivers don’t give you any consideration.”

A public meeting was due in Pinwherry Community Centre on Wednesday this week. And country people were waiting to hear what ‘green’ company Scottish Power Renewables is going to do to help them. Sadly a planned timber railhead at Barrhill was never built. So there is no chance of the timber cargoes going on to the railway.

Peter Walker said: “We are all used to lorries on our country roads, to a certain extent, as Barr Ltd has a large fleet. But, as a local company, Barr has worked with the community. And all its lorries are marked with a large letter and number – A3, B4, or something like that.”

Mr Walker pointed out: “Barr drivers are much more respectful. And one of the reasons has to be that their trucks are easily identified by the public and other drivers. We’ve suggested this to Farrans Construction, the main contractors at Arecleoch. But they say they can’t operate such a system.”

Farrans say it would be impossible, due to using a wide range of sub-contractors. But Mr Walker blasted: “We could be putting up with this roads mayhem for years to come. There is another wind farm planned for Mark Hill, near Pinwherry; and maybe yet another one, south of Barrhill.”

A spokesperson for ScottishPower Renewables said: “All transport movements associated with the building of Arecleoch and Mark Hill wind farms were agreed with South Ayrshire Council before construction commenced, as part of the planning process. We are just one of a number of organisations utilising these routes and we are working with our contractors to ensure the minimum levels of disruption to other road users and will continue to monitor this very closely.”
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englishmix 
Posted: 25-Apr-2010, 12:26 PM
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Royal Bank of Scotland announces £3.6bn of losses

25FEB2010, BBC News


Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced losses for 2009 of £3.6bn ($5.5bn), after struggling with billions of pounds of bad loans. Despite the losses, the bank is set to announce it will pay bonuses totalling £1.3bn to its staff. But the bank's head, Stephen Hester, said it had lost money by not paying big bonuses to retain productive staff. The UK taxpayer owns 84% of RBS after the government bailed out the bank at the end of 2008.

Chief executive Mr Hester told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We've had a small experiment in this respect... some of our best-performing people have been leaving in their thousands. The people who left us last year, I believe, would have increased our profits by up to £1bn beyond the ones that we've got." However there has been some criticism of the bonuses paid.

Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman Vince Cable said that making hefty payouts to individual bankers was "like a football team paying their striker for scoring when they've just been relegated". Meanwhile, shadow chancellor George Osborne said "unacceptable" pay levels throughout the sector must be tackled.
"The banking community needs to understand that the taxpayers were there for them a couple of years ago, because we had to keep the banking system going, but really it is unacceptable these very high levels of pay they get."

However RBS bonuses were approved by the Treasury, and Mr Osborne conceded he would not have blocked the payouts had he been in power. Mr Hester has decided not to take his own bonus, which would have been £1.6m.

The company's £3.6bn loss was lower than the £5bn many experts were expecting and is well below the £24bn it lost in 2008. However, the level of bad debts rose sharply to just short of £13.9bn, up from £7.4bn in 2008, although the bank says it thinks these have now peaked. Mr Hester said he expected the bank to return to profit next year.

The banks have been through a torrid time since the credit crunch struck in 2007, an event sparked by the banks' own unwillingness to lend to each other after the major lending spree they had been on started to turn bad. Added to that was RBS's unique heavy burden - its takeover of the Dutch bank ABN Amro in October 2007, just as the banking boom was about to turn to bust.

A consortium led by RBS paid 71bn euros (£49bn at the time) for ABN Amro in October 2007, but RBS then wrote down the value of the business by £17bn a year later. The Bank of England governor, Mervyn King, said bank investors had been living in a "fool's paradise", with people's money being used for risky activities while they themselves thought they were taking no risks.
He told the cross-party Future of Banking Commission that the case for simple, utility banks was "irrefutable".

RBS is the second major UK bank to report 2009 results, after Barclays announced profits of £11.6bn last week. Lloyds Bank, which is also partly state-owned, will report its results on Friday.

Aside from bonuses, one other controversial topic for the banks has been their role in lending to business and home buyers. RBS's management is taking steps to repair the balance sheet. RBS said that it was satisfied it was fulfilling both the letter and the spirit of its lending commitments, which were to make an additional £9bn available to the mortgage market and £16bn to businesses.

It said it had beaten its mortgage target, but had fallen short of its business lending target as many companies had been concentrating on reducing their debts and the recession meant that demand for loans had been weak.

RBS has shrunk massively in size over the year. In 2008 its assets stood at £2.1tn. It has been running down a vast portion of its business - mainly bad loans - and its assets are now worth £1.5tn. A bank spokeswoman said that was the equivalent of shedding an organisation the same size as the profitable US financial institution, Goldman Sachs.
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englishmix 
Posted: 30-Apr-2010, 07:32 PM
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Turnberry Hotel’s Grand Tea Lounge awarded the equivalent of a Michelin Star
Apr 30 2010 by Yonnie McInnes, Ayrshire Post


TURNBERRY’S Grand Tea Lounge has been awarded the equivalent of a Michelin star in the tea world. The team has received an ‘Award of Excellence’ in the Tea Guild’s new and highly coveted Top City and Country Hotel 2010 Awards.

This comes only months after the reintroduction of elegant afternoon teas into the new Grand Tea Lounge at Turnberry. When Turnberry first opened in 1906, the heart of Ayrshire’s world famous hotel was the elegant tea lounge.

Now brought back to its initial glory, with views out to sea, it had already achieved Grade A membership of the Tea Guild of London. The judges awarded points for the variety, excellence and knowledge of the teas offered, together with the quality of food, service, décor, ambience, and presentation.

In addition to The Top City and Country Hotel Award a special Award of Excellence is given to those hotels across the country who were judged to be outstandingly good. Judges were so impressed with the quality of the afternoon tea served at the Grand Tea Lounge that they awarded them very high marks in every category.

Stewart Selbie, general manager, Turnberry Resort, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded this prestigious accolade from The Tea Guild, which is considered to be the equivalent of a 'Michelin Star' of the tea world. It’s also a real honour to have received The Tea Guild’s first Top City and Country Hotel Tea Award awarded to a hotel outside London. At Turnberry, our guests can enjoy a truly memorable afternoon tea in an atmosphere of relaxed refinement. We take great pride in the attention to detail with which our afternoon tea is prepared and served - our tea sommeliers take guests through a choice of thirty or so teas, all brewed to order using a traditional samovar.”

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englishmix 
Posted: 30-Apr-2010, 07:35 PM
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Beauty and the Bard promenade theatre debut at Burns National Heritage Park

Apr 30 2010 by Yonnie McInnes, Ayrshire Post



Beauty and the Bard promenade theatre debut at Burns National Heritage Park

A NEW promenade theatre show Beauty and the Bard will be presented at Burns Cottage this Saturday, May 1. And it’s been written by Hayleigh Barclay, 22, from Prestwick, as part of Show Scotland and directed by Chris McMillan of popular TV programme Relocation, Relocation.

The show explores Burns’ relationship with six of the leading women in his life. Hayleigh graduated from the University of the West of Scotland last year with a BA in broadcast production specialising in script writing and directing, and got involved with Show Scotland through the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum’s learning manager Dr Alison Burke who was looking for writers to get involved in the project.

Hayleigh said: “I love the element of romance and gothic drama in his work but also the level of comedy he added to more serious subjects such as his references to politics. I can relate to Robert Burns because he chose writing as a way to express himself and a way to escape his reality whilst at the same time reflecting true human nature - which I think all writers strive to achieve.”

Beauty and the Bard, begins at 7pm at Burns Cottage with Burns’ wife’s character, Jean Armour, greeting guests for the unique promenade theatre piece which will move through the Burns National Heritage Park before culminating in a gripping final scene at the Burns Monument.

It tells the stories of the relationships which Burns had with six very different women including his lover Highland Mary, Jane Armour, and even Cutty Sark. Each woman is given the chance to tell their version of their relationship with Burns before the bard puts across his side of the story, giving the audience the chance to make up their own mind on who was right, who was wrong and ultimately asking if art justifies all.

The show will be performed by Trust volunteers including trained actress and tutor for the Arches Theatre, Judith Milligan who is flying in from Paris especially for the performance.

Tickets, £2, for Beauty and the Bard must be booked in advance by calling the Burns National Heritage Park on 01292 443700.

Donations to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, which will open in autumn 2010, can be made at: www.nts.org.uk/Burns/CelebrateBurns
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englishmix 
Posted: 30-Apr-2010, 07:41 PM
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The Flying Doctors
BBC Highlands & Islands News
14:01 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 15:01 UK


A helicopter emergency response service is to be rolled out to the whole of Scotland following a successful pilot scheme. Twenty-four lives have been saved as a direct result of the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service (EMRS). Consultants in emergency medicine and intensive care are flown to remote locations, where they provide rural patients with the level of care they would receive in an urban hospital.

These doctors are on call to respond to life threatening cases where they can fly in and stabilise critically ill patients. The scheme started with a group of doctors who were determined to bring critical emergency care to Argyll.

In June 2008 the Scottish Government funded an 18 month pilot programme covering the west coast. Between 2008 and November 2009 over 300 patients were helped and at least 24 lives saved. Following this success, it was announced in March 2010 that the service is to be rolled out across Scotland with the team doubling in size.

Ellen Brown, who lives on the island of Islay, was treated by the service after an insect bite inside her ear developed into septicaemia: "These doctors saved my life. They told me later had it been a paramedic that had come he couldn't have done what they were able to do to me. So, they definitely saved my life, if it hadn't been for the helicopter that night I wouldn't be here to tell the story today."

BBC Scotland's Dougie Vipond investigates the success of the scheme on Landward on 30 April on BBC Two Scotland at 1900.
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englishmix 
Posted: 30-Apr-2010, 07:44 PM
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Digital TV switchover
BBC Highlands & Islands
15:18 GMT, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 16:18 UK


Digital UK is the independent body in charge of the switchover
The switchover to digital TV is a UK-wide scheme to replace all analogue TV signals with digital by 2012. You may need to check whether your TV can accept a digital signal. Use the postcode checker on the Digital UK website or call 08456 505050 for details of the switchover date in your area and your options for receiving digital TV.

Check the information for your local transmitter to find out how you will be affected. The Switchover Help Scheme helps those who are eligible with switching their TV to digital. You could be eligible if you are in the following categories: aged 75 or over; or get or could get Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance or mobility supplement; or have lived in a care home for six months or more; or are registered blind or partially sighted.

From 5 May 2010 transmitters in the region are due to switch to digital on these dates:

5 May - Bressay - Shetland Islands
12 May - Keelylang Hill - Orkney Islands
2 June - Rumster Forest - Caithness
7 July - Eitshal - Lewis, Wester Ross, North West Sutherland and parts of Harris and Skye
14 July - Skriaig - Skye, Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and parts of Barra
4 August - Angus - Angus, Dundee, Perth and parts of Fife
1 September - Durris - Aberdeenshire
8 September - Knockmore - Morayshire, Strathspey and parts of Easter Ross
6 October - Rosemarkie - Inverness and the Great Glen
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englishmix 
Posted: 02-May-2010, 02:26 PM
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Partick Thistle 1-0 Queen of the South
By Sandra Brown
BBC Scotland at Firhill



A late strike by sub Kris Doolan earned Partick Thistle a narrow win over Queen of the South at Firhill. The best chance in the first half came in 36 minutes when Queens' Jordan McMillan cleared a Bryan Hodge effort. After the break Derek Holmes hit the post, before Willie McLaren, David Weatherston and Sean O'Connor all had chances for the visitors.

But with the last kick, Doolan curled a left-foot, 25-yard winner into the top corner past David Hutton. On a poor surface chances were thin on the ground. Simon Donnelly cut along the box before hitting a left-foot shot wide and then Martin Grehan dragged another wide. With nine minutes of the first half left, Martyn Corrigan played Chris Erskine away down the wing, who did well to get the better of Craig Reid, dragging the ball along the by-line before cutting it back for Hodge whose left foot shot was cleared by McMillan.

Early in the second half Queens manager Kenny Brannigan introduced Weatherston and he almost made an instant impact. McLaren laid the ball across for the substitute, who was in the clear and looked odds-on to score but took a touch too many, knocking it too far in front of him and straight into the arms of Jonny Tuffey.

Two minutes later Weatherston cut the ball back across goal for Holmes and with the outside of his left foot he crashed the ball off the outside of the post. McLaren dragged wide and O'Connor's snap shot was well saved by Tuffey. At the other end, man-of-the-match Erskine took the ball round Hutton but the defenders did their job well and got back to cover.

The winner came with the last kick of the ball two minutes into injury time when Doolan was allowed to cut back inside before curling an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Partick Thistle: Tuffey, Corrigan, Robertson, Maxwell, Conroy, MacBeth, Rowson, Bryan Hodge (Burns 71), Erskine (McGeough 83), Grehan, Donnelly (Doolan 62). Subs Not Used: Halliwell, Boyle.

Goals: Doolan 90.

Queen of the South: Hutton, Reid, Lilley, McKenna, McMillan (McAusland 56), Hamill, O'Connor, Quinn (Weatherston 52), McLaren, Harris, Holmes. Subs Not Used: Fox, McParland, Kean.

Attendance: 2,912

Referee: T Robertson
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englishmix 
Posted: 02-May-2010, 02:29 PM
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Gaelic language resources for you

BBC South Scotland
Friday, 11 December 2009


The Gaelic language is most commonly spoken in the Highlands and Islands
Whether you're a native speaker, still learning or it's on your wish list of things to do, BBC Alba has something for you. The Gaelic version of this feature is further down the page and contains links which you may find useful.

Beginners

Learning the Gaelic language is only a step away with the help of the Beag air Bheag website. It has simple words and phrases in written form which are also available in audio so you can hear how words should be pronounced. A test-yourself section at the end of each lesson and a phrase book are handy tools to help. Colin and Cumberland are on hand to help you through the irreverent learning games for beginners.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/alba/foghlam/beag_air_bheag/

More advanced

If you're a little familiar with the language, the weekly 'Letter to Gaelic Learners' is available in text and download as a podcast. The 'Little Letter', is a simplified version of the 'Letter to Gaelic Learners'.

Gaelic speakers

There's a wealth of resources available on the BBC Alba website. Listen to Radio nan Gaidheal, watch Gaelic videos and browse through websites including Naidheachdan, Làrach nam Bàrd, Cuairtean, Strì gu Sìth, Na Daoine Beaga, Rapal and many others.

BBC Alba

Mas e fileantach no neach-ionnsachaidh na Gàidhlig a th'annad, tha measgachadh gad fheitheamh air làrach-lìn BBC Alba.

Luchd-Ionnsachaidh

Le làrach-lìn Beag air Bheag, faodar Gàidhlig ionnsachadh ann an dòigh traidiseanta. Tha an làrach a' tairgsinn cànan bunaiteach agus abairtean làitheil le faidhlichean fuaim an cois na teacsa. Cuideachd, gheibhear deuchainn aig deireadh gach ìre agus leabhar abairtean airson do chuideachadh.

Tha 'Colin and Cumberland' a' tabhann gheamannan 's stuthan spòrsail mar dhòigh air Gàidhlig làitheil ionnsachadh.

Nas Leasaichte

Ma tha beagan eòlais agad air a' chànan, tha 'Litir do Luchd-ionnsachaidh' ri fhaotainn mar teacsa agus podcast gach seachdain. Tha an cainnt san 'Litir Bheag' nas sìmplidh na 'Litir do luchd-ionnsachaidh' agus mar sin nas freagarraiche do dhaoine aig tràth-ìrean.

Fileantaich

Tha ultach de ghoireasan rin lorg air làrach-lìn BBC Alba. Èist ri Radio nan Gaidheal, seall ri bhidiothan Gàidhlig agus lorg fios mu phrògraman rèidio agus tbh BBC Alba. Gheibhear measgachadh de làraich eile cuideachd m.e Naidheachdan, Làrach nam Bàrd, Cuairtean, Strì gu Sìth, Na Daoine Beaga, Rapal is tòrr eile.
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englishmix 
Posted: 04-May-2010, 08:43 PM
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Rutherglen church to be transformed into Hindu Temple
Apr 7 2010 by Will Henshaw,
Rutherglen Reformer


THE former Wardlawhill Church building is being transformed into a new Hindu Temple. The centre will be called the Sri Sundara Ganapathi Temple and will be housed in the former church on Hamilton Road in Rutherglen after the premises was mortgaged by the South Indian Cultural centre Of Scotland. Renovation work is currently being carried out in the aim of getting the centre ready for the end of April.

Roughly £10,000 has been spent transforming the venue which the group acquired six months ago through the Church of Scotland. The centre will be able to host language classes, dance classes, matrimonial services, marriage counselling, translation services and spiritual classes as well as a Yoga camp and many more facilities yet to be announced.

The temple will be open to all Hindus throughout Scotland; there are approximately 400 families on the organisation’s register. There will be a special inaugural celebration on April 25 to mark the centre’s official opening. Committee members Mr Jagannathan and Dr S Raman said: “Over the past five years we have gathered together every Sunday in Partick Burgh Hall to practice our rituals and traditions. The sense of community plays a large part in all our lives and The South Indian Cultural Centre of Scotland acts as a platform for community gatherings and allows us to be as one.

“Our vision was to have a dedicated and permanent place in Glasgow to serve all our cultural and social needs. Our future generation needs to know about our rich culture and heritage, our elderly people need a place to socialise and relax, and our younger generation need to learn more about our languages and arts, so that they can have a sense of their own identity in the Western world. All these desires will be met by having a place where we can come together and work together as a community.

“With this in mind and with the help of dedicated community members, we managed to get a place in Rutherglen which belonged to Church of Scotland. In future this will be an ideal platform to serve our community people who have various needs.


In particular, we would like to thank Mr Ian Duncan, a member of the Church of Scotland who was pivotal in helping us to secure this property. After four years of total dedication and hard work by the community we have made huge steps and achieved this milestone.”

Councillor Gordon Clark will attend the opening of the temple and welcomed the group to the community, saying: “I think it’ll be a good centre. It’s open to all minority groups, not just Hindu, and it gives a good balance in the community. I think our area has a centre for just about every minority group now. I know quite a few of the members, they’ve ran their stalls for the past few Landemer days. I’m looking forward to it.”
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Posted: 06-May-2010, 12:09 PM
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Voters going to polls in election

BBC Scotland


Voting in the election takes place from 0700 BST to 2200 BST

Election results on BBC Scotland. Voters across the country are going to the polls in the 2010 General Election. Polling stations open from 0700 BST to 2200 BST, with 59 seats being contested in Scotland and 649 across the UK.

Most counting in Scottish seats is taking place through the night, with Argyll and Bute due to declare on Friday morning. There will be full results coverage starting at 2200 BST on BBC One Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland and the BBC Scotland news website.

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Posted: 06-May-2010, 05:36 PM
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Nothing like putting a negative spin in the title on a positive gain for the conservatives...

Polls: Conservatives fall short of majority in UK

Associated Press Writers Paisley Dodds And Danica Kirka,
LONDON


The Conservatives captured the largest number of seats Thursday in Britain's national election but will fall short of a majority — triggering uncertainty over who will form the next government, according to television projections based on exit polls. An analysis by Britain's main television networks suggested David Cameron's Conservative party will win 307 House of Commons seats, short of the 326 seats needed for a majority.

Polls gave Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party 255 seats, and Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats 59 seats — far less than had been expected. Small parties got 29 other seats.

The result would bear out predictions that this election would not give any party a majority, resulting in a destabilizing period of political wrangling and uncertainty. Brown could resign if he feels the results have signaled he has lost his mandate to rule, or he could try to stay on as leader and seek a deal in which smaller parties would support him.

The parties immediately began jockeying for position. Theresa May, a senior Conservative Party lawmaker, said the exit poll result showed Labour's heaviest losses since 1931, and that the incumbent party had lost "the legitimacy to govern."

The projection suggests that the Conservatives will gain 97 seats, Labour lose 94 and the Liberal Democrats lose three. "I think we're going to see a very interesting night," Conservative Party chairman Eric Pickles said.

The Tories are hoping to regain power for the first time since 1997, when they were ousted by Labour under Tony Blair. After three leaders and three successive election defeats, the party selected Cameron, a fresh-faced, bicycle-riding graduate of Eton and Oxford who promised to modernize the party's fusty, right-wing image.

Whoever wins faces the daunting challenge of introducing big budget cuts to slash Britain's huge deficit.
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Posted: 11-May-2010, 09:04 PM
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Mr Clegg is playing a dangerous game
The Press and Journal
Published: 11/05/2010


ANYONE who thinks politics is boring had better think again. To see Gordon Brown offering his head on a plate to Nick Clegg as the price of Labour clinging to power would have been an unbelievable scenario a week ago, but that is how it appears to be turning out as he revealed that the Liberal Democrat leader had requested formal talks with Labour.

It was reported widely over the weekend that Mr Brown reacted angrily when Mr Clegg suggested the premier would have to stand down before their two parties could work together in government. Mr Clegg has turned brinksmanship into an art form and Mr Brown has fallen over the edge.

People have been calling for fundamental change ever since MPs were caught out over their expenses. The three main leaders were repeating it like a mantra right up to the election. Well, they have certainly got it now. Politics and our relationship with MPs might never be the same again.

The bitter irony for Mr Brown was that he stood aside to let Tony Blair’s charm offensive establish New Labour before he took over the reins, but he never won the hearts of the public, or even many of his own backbenchers, and now he is being pushed aside.

As for Mr Clegg, he is walking a tightrope: if he delivers the holy grail of voting reform in a stable political partnership, which brings real change for the better, he will be a hero. If he fails, ends up with nothing and is held responsible for forcing another election, he will be the villain – and the Liberal Democrats could well be slaughtered at the polls. He is playing Tories and Labour off against each other, but it is a dangerous game.
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Posted: 11-May-2010, 09:17 PM
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Gealic speech 'history at EU talks'

The Herald - Scotland
Last updated 12 May 2010 - 12:50 am


Scottish education secretary Michael Russell made a little bit of history when he became the first person to speak in Scots Gaelic at an EU meeting.

Seven months after a deal was signed on the use of the language in formal EU gatherings, Mr Russell made a speech at a meeting of ministers from all member states discussing education, youth and culture. Interpretation was provided for his colleagues as he spoke about youth policies in Gaelic before reverting to English.

Mr Russell said it was a great honour to be the first minister ever to deliver a speech in Gaelic: "The Scottish Government is committed to a sustainable future for the Gaelic language. I can think of no better way to promote the language within Europe than at a Council meeting which, by definition, encourages and promotes multilingualism. Gaelic is more than a language. It is an important part of Scotland's social, cultural and economic life. The economic benefits and potential of Gaelic are significant."

The EU has 23 "working" languages, into which all EU documents and debates are translated and interpreted. And although there are no plans for Scots Gaelic to become the 24th, it was granted new status in Europe by a "Memorandum of Understanding" signed last October by the UK's EU ambassador Sir Kim Darroch and by Donald Henderson, Scotland's EU Director in Brussels. The Memorandum established the technical arrangements to allow Scottish Gaelic to be used within EU institutions.

It meant not only that Scottish Ministers could speak in Gaelic in formal meetings with other EU ministers, but also that Gaelic-speaking citizens could write directly to EU bodies in their mother tongue if they wish and receive a reply in the language.

However, interpretation will only be provided from Scots Gaelic into English, and not from English into Scots Gaelic - and the cost of providing interpretation and translation must be borne by the devolved Scottish administration.
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David Cameron is the new Prime Minister
The Herald - Scotland
11 May 2010


David Cameron has entered 10 Downing Street after formally accepted an invitation from the Queen to form a new UK government and become Prime Minister. The news was finally confirmed after the dramatic announcement by Gordon Brown that he was standing down, bringing down the curtain on 13 years of Labour rule.

The Prime Minister said:

"One of the tasks that we clearly have is to rebuild trust in our political system. Yes, that's about cleaning up expenses, yes, that's about reforming parliament, and yes, it's about making sure people are in control and that the politicians are always their servants and never their masters. But I believe it's also something else - it's about being honest about what government can achieve.

"Real change is not what government can do on its own, real change is when everyone pulls together, comes together, works together, when we all exercise our responsibilities to ourselves, our families, to our communities and to others.

"And I want to build a more responsible society here in Britain, one where we don't just ask what are my entitlements but what are my responsibilities, one where we don't ask what am I just owed but more what can I give, and a guide for that society that those that can should and those who can't we will always help."


George Osborne is to be Chancellor and William Hague the Foreign Secretary.

After five days of uncertainty, Mr Brown finally accepted that he was unable to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown had earlier said goodbye to the Queen tonight as his political career came to an end...

Mr Cameron arrived at the Palace around an hour after Mr Brown conceded defeat and drove to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation as Prime Minister to the Queen. Moments after Mr Brown acknowledged the game was up, Liberal Democrat and Conservative negotiators emerged from the Cabinet Office after five-and-a-half hours of talks in which they appear to have reached agreement on a coalition government...

Mr Brown announced that he would stand down as Labour leader with immediate effect. He later flew back to his family home in Fife. Harriet Harman will be acting Labour leader until a successor is chosen.
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