Displaying items by tag: Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon plans to take legal action after Rishi Sunak blocked her controversial gender reforms allowing 16 year olds to change their legal gender without the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has written to the First Minister declaring he will veto the Bill, warning of ‘significant complications’ if Scotland and England have different legal frameworks for gender recognition, potentially allowing someone to be male in one country and female in the other. He intends making an order under section 35 of the Scotland Act to prevent the Bill from proceeding to Royal Assent. Ms Sturgeon accused Westminster of a ‘full-frontal attack’ on the Scottish Parliament and its ability to make its own decisions on devolved matters. The Christian Institute and Scottish Catholic bishops have both called for the Scottish Government's Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill to be scrapped.
Scotland's first national school strike since the 1980s has taken place, with a one-day walkout over pay by teaching staff at primary and secondary schools, and also at many council nurseries. A revised pay offer was rejected. Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said that the employers’ offer was fair, with rises up to 6.85% for the lowest-paid. Finding the money to give unions a 10% pay rise would mean some very hard choices for councils and the Scottish government. Teachers said they are asking for 10% to keep salaries in line with inflation - currently 11%. They are feeling the squeeze from this cost-of-living crisis. They think that they are working way beyond their 35-hour week, and the long holiday comes nowhere near making up for the amount of working hours put into the job. Many work during the holidays preparing for the next term. They find their job stressful, and feel the pay isn't fit for purpose.
Nicola Sturgeon has been accused by Nadhim Zahawi of using ‘really dangerous’ language after she decried the Tories at last week’s Scottish National Party conference. Addressing whether she would prefer a Labour or Tory government, Ms Sturgeon said, ‘I detest the Tories and everything they stand for, so it's not difficult to answer that question’. On Labour politicians, she commented, ‘Being better than the Tories is not a high bar to cross right now. I think we need to see more of a radical alternative from Labour rather than just a pale imitation’. Ian Murray, Labour's shadow Scottish secretary, said the next electoral contest in Scotland will be a UK general election between this rotten Tory government and a new energised Labour Party fit to govern the country. Pray for our politicians to demonstrate the Kingdom values of honour, righteousness and integrity, and that they all will be united with God-given insights.
The Scottish government's chief legal officer has come under fire after saying that prayer vigils outside abortion clinics could be 'far more damaging' than verbal protest. Addressing the UK's supreme court about abortion clinics in Northern Ireland, Dorothy Bain KC said she believed ‘standing in judgment’ was just as psychologically damaging for women. She wants prayer vigils to be excluded from ‘buffer zones' - areas where protesting or handing out leaflets are banned - outside abortion clinics. The Catholic Church has labelled Mrs Bain's remarks as ‘absurd and alarming’, and have condemned her comments. Everyone has the right to express and offer our opinion on religious belief, and more importantly, religious practice. The Church said, ‘To be told they can't stand silently in prayer, in this case, outside an abortion clinic or a hospital that carries out abortions is really, frankly, chilling and extremely worrying.’
Scotland has been marked by the devastating impact of drug and alcohol addiction in many ways. Today, the nation is at the forefront of addiction related issues and deaths in Europe, with health, economic, and educational repercussions, and social challenges for families and communities in urban and rural environments. The widening mental health crisis, socio-economic challenges, and limited clinical support exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic have led to the highest increase in addiction issues in over ten years. But we are a nation with hope. For decades, Christian organisations have invested tremendously in the building of in-person and online spaces for drug addiction recovery. Within the last decade, over 2,300 individuals have been directly treated and successfully recovered from their addictions through faith-based recovery programmes, with thousands more impacted in some way. The Scottish government has appointed a minister for drugs policy and increased funding to reduce addiction.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon has faced scathing criticism over her handling of the chaos caused by binmen striking in over 60% of Scotland’s councils until the end of August. Walkouts in a further twenty councils start on 6 September. While piles of rat-infested rubbish line Scotland’s streets, Ms Sturgeon is having rubbish collected from her official residence by taxpayer-funded contractors. Teachers are also to ballot for industrial action, which would see primary schools and nurseries shut. Cleaners, janitors, catering staff and pupil support staff will walk out from 6 to 8 September, forcing the closure of a thousand schools and nurseries. Over 80% of Unite members from Scotland’s exam board have also voted to walk out following the pay dispute. Mail and train workers will also strike in September.
The BBC have discovered that Scots with learning disabilities and autism have been locked in secure hospitals and psychiatric wards for decades, unable to get out despite ministers saying 22 years ago they should be living independently in the community. One person with a learning disability had been behind locked doors for 25 years. Another was cleared for release eight years ago but is still in hospital. Families said their relatives had been left to rot. The Scottish government said the findings were unacceptable and that local services must do more to get people into their own homes. Freedom of Information requests revealed that 15 Scots with learning disabilities and autism had been living for twenty years or more in hospital, 40 for over ten years and 129 for over a year. Nine autistic people with learning disabilities who had never committed a crime were in a high-security psychiatric hospital which houses Scotland's most serious criminals.
SNP ministers are facing a new legal battle over the definition of women, after they were accused of flouting a court ruling stating that biological men cannot be counted as female. The campaign group For Women Scotland claimed Nicola Sturgeon’s administration was trying to ‘redefine women yet again’ by issuing transgender rules it says are ‘wholly incompatible’ with a landmark court victory, which it won only five months ago. The feminist organisation was backed by Scotland's top civil court in its claim that SNP legislation designed to increase the number of women on public boards was unlawful as it stated that anyone ‘living as a woman’, regardless of their biological sex, would count as female. However, the Scottish Government has issued new statutory guidelines which state transgender women should still be counted as female in the workplace quotas, so long as they hold a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). Trina Budge, a director at For Women Scotland, said, ‘The Government seems incapable of either abiding by a court order, or understanding that the definition of woman does not include any males.’
Mariangela Alejandro, a history and politics student, was taught by professor Tim Hayward at Edinburgh University. But a few weeks into the course she complained, ‘He goes from talking about global financial markets and poverty into this realm of conspiracy theories about the Syrian president and Russia.’ Days after a maternity hospital in Mariupol was bombed, Prof Hayward retweeted a Russian ambassador to the UN describing the attack as #fakenews. The tweet said the hospital had been controlled by the Ukrainian military, and no patients were there. In a lecture he outlined an argument that the renowned aid organisation the White Helmets may have helped fake a chemical attack in Syria. Russia has said the attack was staged. In March he and other academics were accused by MPs in the House of Commons of spreading misinformation about the Ukraine war. Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said the Government would crack down hard on misinformation.
Fred Parry attributes twenty years of sobriety to a rehab clinic, saying recovering from alcoholism was the best thing that ever happened to him. He is now a cellist, a music teacher, a husband and father. When his son Adam began battling addiction, Fred sent him to the same clinic to recover. He did for a short time, but Fred could not afford further rehab. Adam didn’t present like an alcoholic; he was well-spoken, intelligent, often reading three books at a time. But he was tortured and couldn't find a way out. Addiction took over when he started studying chemistry at University. He dropped out and was hospitalised six times for alcohol-related seizures. Fred was told by a doctor, ‘There's nothing you can do for an alcoholic, just lock them up and throw the key away’ Adam died after another seizure. He was 32. Mr Parry wants the Scottish government to improve access to addiction treatment services, including residential rehab.