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Wick

labour3Labour has today condemned an SNP candidate who falsely claimed the backing of one of Strathclyde’s most senior serving police officers in one of his election leaflets.

It is against the law for a serving police officer to appear in election leaflets, but Kenny Gibson is photographed grinning in a custody suite with Ayrshire Divisional Commander John Thomson, under the headline “we’re always on your side”. The matter has been referred to Strathclyde Police who have confirmed that Commander Thomson was not asked for his permission, and would not have given it.

Scottish Labour has called on the SNP to reprimand Kenny Gibson and urged the party to immediately withdraw the illegal leaflets. See attached a scan of the leaflet in question.

Graeme Pearson, a retired senior police officer who is now a Labour candidate for the south of Scotland list, said:

“The constitutional position is well-established – serving officers must stand back from politics. That is a line that has been well trod for 200 years.

“I took no active part in politics until I left the service, because police must be impartial.

“It is unthinkable that the SNP don’t know the rules. Either their party’s organisation is so disorganised they have blundered, or they are deliberately trying to trick people.”

Labour candidate for Cunninghame North, Allan Wilson, said:

“The SNP have been caught red-handed engaging in a dirty tricks campaign. The SNP must immediately disown Kenny Gibson’s illegal campaigning and reprimand him for trying to claim the support of a police officer .

“SNP party bosses must explain exactly what action they will be taking against Mr Gibson to make it clear it does not condone this type of illegal campaigning.

“This is an outrageous attempt to drag the police into an election and shows how desperate the SNP have got in this area.”

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Scottish Labour has today welcomed the strong Labour performance in the Wick by-election, with Labour going from fifth in 2007, to second after the Lib Dem vote plummeted by 42 per cent.

The last by-election, which saw Labour increase its share of the vote by 17 per cent, saw support for the Lib Dems crumble by 9 per cent.

Scottish Labour campaign coordinator, John Park, said:

“This by-election result is a humiliating defeat for the Lib Dems who have seen their share of the vote plummet. This is a strong performance from Labour’s candidate Neil Macdonald who has taken Labour from fifth in 2007 to second.

“It is clear Labour has a fighting chance of making real gains in the Highlands and Islands.”

snp1The SNP yesterday launched the second part of the £250 million Scottish Futures Fund with a £50 million investment in improving scotland’s digital connections. The fund will support five futures projects providing a step change in investment in key areas paid for by savings secured by the SNP Government from the Forth Replacement Crossing project.

The Next Generation Digital Fund will see real investment over the next four years in delivering Next Generation high-speed broadband and ensuring no one is excluded from Scotland’s digital future.

The Next Generation Digital Fund follows confirmation yesterday of a £50 million Sure Start fund to support Scotland’s youngest children.

On a visit to Border’s Biscuits – an internationally successful business trading on the internet – Mr Salmond said:

“Scotland must be positioned to take advantage of all the opportunities offered by the digital age.

“The Scottish Futures Fund is our bridge to the future. As we build a physical connection from Edinburgh to Fife with a new Forth Crossing so we build the infrastructure of the future with real investment in high speed broadband and mobile technology.

“Access to high-speed next generation broadband is essential not just for our new industries but for our traditional businesses and our rural communities.

“And we cannot allow anyone to be left behind. 99% of Scotland has access to the internet but in some areas there is a digital divide between rich and poor and old and young. We must put that right.”

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Mr Salmond also commented after it was confirmed that officers from Dumfries & Galloway police, supported by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, interviewed former Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa in relation to the ongoing investigation into the Lockerbie atrocity. The First Minister said:

“I am pleased that Dumfries & Galloway police have had access to Moussa Koussa as requested, and no doubt officers will question him again if required as part of their ongoing investigation.

“It is very important for the integrity of the process that the police and Crown authorities are given the freedom to pursue their investigation without unwarranted speculation on the substance of their inquiries.”

And it was good news for the SNP in Wick, where they gained a council seat in a sensational breakthrough, achieving swings from all London-led parties in the Wick ward by-election for Highland Council. The by-election was held on Thursday and the result announced yesterday morning, and shows the winning candidate – Gail Ross – achieving almost 50 per cent of the vote on first preferences.

The ward lies in the Scottish Parliament constituency of Caithness, Sutherland and Ross where the SNP’s Rob Gibson is in contention with the Lib Dems who notionally hold the seat.

The SNP vote rose from 17 per cent in May 2007 to 47 per cent yesterday, whilst the Lib Dems lost over a third of their vote, falling from 16 per cent to 10 per cent. The swings from each of the London parties to the SNP was 12.2 per cent from Labour; 17.8 per cent from the Lib Dems; and 15.0 per cent from the Tories.

First Minister Alex Salmond, who campaigned in Wick for Gail Ross on Monday, said:

“This is a major SNP breakthrough in a Lib Dem constituency – and a disaster for the Lib Dems. It follows the personal endorsement of John Farquhar Munro, the big momentum of the SNP’s campaign locally and nationally, and the struggling campaigns of our opponents.

“To achieve such big swings against all the London-led parties is hugely encouraging – particularly in what has been a Lib Dem heartland. We are taking nothing for granted but this result will be a real morale boost not only in the north of Scotland but across the whole country.

“The final result reflects the national political contest – the coming Scottish Parliament election is a two-horse race between re-electing an SNP Government with a positive vision and Alex Salmond as First Minister, or a totally negative Labour party.”

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<em>Picture: Reinhard Dietrich</em>

Picture: Reinhard Dietrich

Am bi iad iad riaraichte a nis? An dùil?

Tha an naidheachd air tighinn a-mach gun do chuir am Mòd ann an Gallaibh £3m ri eaconomaidh na sgìre. Sin airgead nach biodh air tighinn dhan sgìre mura b’ e gun deach am Mòd ann. Rinn taighean-òsta is taighean-seinnse airgead glè mhath a-mach as an tachartas.

An dùil an sguir an gearan a-nis? Tha fios agam gur iad buidheann de chomhairlichean a bha a’ cur an aghaidh na Gàidhlig agus a tha a’ gearain uair sam bith a nithear càil a thaobh cànan nan Gàidheal. Saoilidh mise gu bheil iad den bheachd gu bheil an t-airgead a tha a’ dol dhan Ghàidhlig sònraichte. Leis an dol-a-mach aca gun canadh iad gun tigeadh leighis air aillse, mac-an-duine a’ coiseachd air Mars, fòghlaim cho math is gur e ollamh a bhiodh anns a h-uile leanabh-sgoile ann an Alba, agus gun tigeadh dòigh gus an tuiteadh pìos aran is silidh leis an t-silidh gu h-àrd gach turas a thuiteadh e – dìreach mura biodh £1.5m air a chosg air dreuchdan luchd-teagaisg Gàidhlig. Chuireadh an t-airgead sin a h-uile càil anns an t-saoghal ceart.

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Chan eil guth gur h-iomadh sgillig is muillean nòta a tha a’ dol a-mach air gnothaichean eile agus na dhèanadh sin de dh’ fheum nan dèidheadh a chosg air gnothaichean a b’ fheumaile.

Ach ge-tà, chan fhaigh daoine – ann an Gallaibh no ann an àite eile – as leis a’ bheachd gum faigh iad buannachdan nan tachartas Gàidhlig gun sochairean a thoirt dha na Gàidheil is dhan chànan aca. Tha sin a’ ciallachadh fòghlam dhan fheadhainn a tha ga iarraidh. Agus tha sin a’ ciallachadh suidheachadh far nach eil luchd-taic na Gàidhlig gan sàmhlachadh ri Nàsaich uair sam bith a tha iad ag iarraidh cothrom na fèinne.

A’ bruidhinn air an sin. An do shaoil daoine eile gun robh e neònach gu bheil Gàidheil gan sàmhlachadh ri Nàsaich le feadhainn a tha an aghaidh còirichean dha meanbh-sluaigh agus iad air am beò-ghlacadh le iomhaigh de dhualchas Lochlannach a dh’ fhalbh bho chionn fhada?

Tha an naidheachd seo a’ togail rud eile. Feumaidh e a bhith follaiseach gum faigh daoine beò-shlàint is airgead tron Ghàidhlig. Bha gu leòr a cho-dhùin an clann a thogail le Cuimris leis gum faca iad cothroman cosnaidh ann an Cuimris dhan chloinn aca. Leudaich foillseachadh leabhraichean ann an Gàidhlig anns an 19mh linn leis gum faca daoine cothrom airgead a dhèanamh.

● Nochd e an t-seachdain seo gu bheil puist-d fuadan ris an canar spams air tòiseachadh nochdadh ann an Cuimris. Chan eil mise eòlach gu leòr air a’ chànain sin is gum biodh fios agam de cho math is a tha an Cuimris aca, ach bha iad coltach ris an fheadhainn eile a tha a’ tighinn thugainn. Tha iad ag ràdh gu bheil fortan saoghalta a’ feitheamh ort ann an Afraca. Cha ruig thu leas ach dìreach am fiosrachadh banca a chuir thuca. ‘S ann a bu chòir dha na Cuimrich a bhith toilichte gu bheil an leithid de seo a’ tachairt. Co-dhiù tha e a’ sealltainn gu bheil an cuid cànan cho làidir is gun fhiach e dha luchd-foill a chleachdadh. Bhiodh e math nam biodh cainnt Chaluim Chille anns an aon suidheachadh.

English summary:

Murdo MacLeod says the news that the Caithness Mod generated an estimated £3m for the local economy ought to give critics of the language in the far north pause for thought.

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