UK authorities to focus on cash in Scotland to counter independence drive

A Scottish flag flies next to the British Union Jack flag in front of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, April 24, 2019. REUTERS / Russell Cheyne

The Scottish businesswoman Marie Macklin voted for independence seven years ago. Now she doesn’t see it as a priority.

As the Scottish National Party (SNP) pushes for a second referendum after another election victory this month, Macklin believes economic recovery is the real priority, especially for the fate of their struggling Scottish hometown, Kilmarnock.

In this regard, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration makes a difference.

“I’ve seen a strategic change,” said Macklin, who quickly secured UK government funding to train 200 apprentices for their HALO urban renewal project in Kilmarnock, a deprived SNP stronghold in Scotland.

She has fought for 12 years to raise government funding for her £ 89 million ($ 89 million) HALO Kilmarnock project, a redevelopment of the home of Scottish whiskey giant Johnnie Walker, which owns the 23-acre site in Cyber ​​and digital learning transforms facility at its hub for business and innovation.

She welcomes the funding of her plans to create a “digital army of young people” who once received social benefits as part of a change of direction to support communities.

When asked if the funding was a ploy to buy votes, she is apolitical and says she is focused on helping her community.

“When you say, do you do this to get votes? Don’t all politicians do that?”

Although the SNP triumphed in the Scottish general election, Conservatives gained ground among voters in the region.

It’s a low base, but according to two sources close to making decisions on the government’s Scotland strategy, the government is hoping to build on it, including through targeted project funding.

Controversial bill

Scotland, a nation of nearly 5.5 million people, has long been a problem for the Conservative government, especially Johnson, whose push for Brexit has only fueled hostility towards his government in Westminster, which is hundreds of miles away.

He has virtually no personal relationship with the SNP’s Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, conservative sources say, and she was aware that winning this month’s election only fueled the quest for independence.

Johnson himself is unpopular with many Scots who consider him the epitome of the English upper class elite, and he was largely kept at a distance in the campaign for the Scottish Parliament, in which parties for independence took a majority of the seats.

But he defends himself. In the run-up to the elections, his government advocated investing in Scotland and made a series of announcements in March highlighting the more than £ 800 million newly designated funding.

Aside from government programs to protect jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the apprenticeship system, ministers hope to move forward with a law that emerged from another “independence” line: Britain’s division from the European Union.

The Single Market Act, which came into force in December 2020, once gave Great Britain the opportunity to suspend its divorce treaty previously agreed with the EU, which infuriated Brussels and was condemned by critics as a betrayal of international law.

After the separation is complete, provisions of the law that were overlooked in the Brexit series will be used to try to hold the UK together so that London can essentially bypass the Scottish government by allowing the government to put projects into the Infrastructure, education, finance directly. Culture and sport.

The government refers to its £ 4.8 billion leveling-up fund over four years, with at least £ 800 million earmarked for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, or its £ 220 million Community Renewal Fund for the UK, the topping up existing EU funding to pave the way for a new UK fund for shared prosperity.

This will replace the funds provided by the EU, the government says, adding that decisions about where to invest money are made at “the UK level, not Brussels”.

This has led to cries of opposition at the SNP, who see it as little more than a takeover of power. This would undermine two decades of decentralization, which gives the Scottish Government and Parliament more decision-making power in certain areas and a cut from what it has received from the EU, it said.

But it also represents a challenge for the SNP, which is pushing for a new independence referendum as soon as possible after the coronavirus pandemic. The SNP doesn’t want to be seen refusing money for parts of Scotland just because the funding comes from Westminster.

“They believe that plastering union flags will make a difference. They will obviously be able to do a lot of publicity.” Oh, aren’t we generous, we gave this to you? “Said Philippa Whitford, the SNP legislature in the Westminster Parliament for nearby Central Ayrshire.

“So it’s all about captivating people, but in the long run, people value decentralization.”

The government denies that the act is a takeover. Alister Jack, the UK Scottish Secretary, said this month: “We needed this legislation to protect Scottish businesses and Scottish jobs.”


The dispute, however, underscores the difficulty the UK government will face in building its Scotland strategy – applying too much pressure and reinforcing the desire of some Scots to push for independence. Polls show that Scots split more or less equally for or against independence.

So far, the government has been largely silent about what other tools it is likely to use. Johnson chose a team of advisors just last month when Johnson was leading the union protection team in Sue Gray, a former Downing Street ethics commander.

You and Senior Minister Michael Gove are seen as instrumental in drawing up the next steps in the strategy beyond the broader drive to tackle inequality across the UK.

“I would argue that there has to be a great social, cultural piece that shows the positive side of British identity,” said Luke Graham, a former advisor to Scotland on Downing Street.

For Macklin, it pays to get the government’s ear if it means the UK government is pouring funds directly into the private sector, helping the communities.

She would also see the creation of a joint UK strategy involving business leaders to aid recovery from COVID and meet government environmental goals.

“I don’t care who gets the recognition for this … regeneration project, which was realized after 12 years. It was a lot of sweat and tears. But in the end the community won.”

($ 1 = 0.7053 pounds)

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Wales topped Six Nations champions as Scotland stun France

Scottish full-back Stuart Hogg plays the ball during the Six Nations rugby union tournament match between France and Scotland on March 26, 2021 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis near Paris. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP) (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP via Getty Images)


Wales were crowned six-nation champions after Scotland won an impressive 27-23 win over France.

France had to make four tries and win by at least 21 points to win their first championship in eleven years, but they never got closer. Scotland continued to threaten excitement by nine minutes ahead of Finn Russell’s sacking.

After the clock was red and France were three points ahead, Brice Dulin decided to keep the ball in play but then conceded a penalty and the Scottish pressure finally showed when Duhan van der Merwe scored in the 84th minute for came into play second time.

It is Scotland’s first win in Paris since 1999.

Dulin, Damian Penaud and Swan Rebbadj crossed the hosts but they never looked like building the steam it took to deal a double blow to Wales after dramatically denying Wayne Pivac’s side the Grand Slam six days earlier had.

It was another rare away win for the Scots after triumphs in Wales and England in the past six months.

Scotland put pressure on quickly and France showed the kind of ambition it needed when making a quick throw and trying to play their way out of trouble after Russell made contact with the ball two meters from his attempt line.

The home side soon put some pressure on, but all they had to show was Romain Ntamack’s ninth-minute penalty.

Scotland soon rose to prominence, making two choices to score two penalties within the French 22. Hooker George Turner was held just in front of the line every time he attacked from the back of the lineout mouth, but Van der did
Merwe forced himself for the second time in the 15th minute.

There was a suspicion of a double move, but umpire Wayne Barnes tried without choosing to look again.

Russell added the two points and created another brilliant long kick that held out a meter from the trial line. The Scots prevailed against their opponents and Jamie Ritchie forced Dulin’s penalty, which Russell overturned to improve Scotland by seven points.

France’s players leave the pitch after winning the Six Nations rugby union match between France and Scotland on March 26, 2021 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis near Paris. (Photo by MARTIN BUREAU / AFP) (Photo by MARTIN BUREAU / AFP via Getty Images)

MARTIN BUREAU | AFP | Getty Images

Another big kick from Stuart Hogg put France on their hindfoot but the hosts reduced the deficit when Ntamack scored a long-range penalty after a scrum violation.

The home team took the lead after half an hour and Scotland awarded a number of penalties in front of the post.

The pressure showed when Van der Merwe sold too early after a long throw from Antoine Dupont. Penaud went inside so Dulin could cross in the 36th minute and Ntamack turned brilliantly.

Hogg paid the price for conceding Scotland’s first-half penalty in the last minute, but Nick Haining stole the five-meter lineout to keep France’s lead at three at half-time.

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Scotland limited France’s goal to five points during Hogg’s Spell in Sin when Penaud picked up Virimi Vakatawa’s throw, threw the ball over Ali Price and landed in the corner.

Scotland regained control after the numbers were even. Russell kicked a penalty at close range and Sam Johnson was stopped five yards from the line after bursting forward after another successful lineout.

It was France’s turn to send out a series of penalties and David Cherry picked up a loose ball after a lineout before shooting through a gap and beyond. Russell converted to bring Scotland back to the top.

Rebbadj left over five minutes later but Ntamack missed the move and Scotland missed a good chance to qualify for a contact but Kirsch’s lineout was stolen.

Gregor Townsend’s side were still under pressure when Russell was sent off in the 71st minute after catching Dulin with an elbow near the throat trying to block the full-back.

All hopes for another stunning finish from France were dashed within two minutes when Baptiste Serin received a yellow card and Scotland decided again to push for the try instead of going over the post.

The pressure was relentless and Scotland was finally over when it found winger Van der Merwe on the left. Adam Hastings added the points to round out a dramatic championship.

A tidal turbine in-built Scotland is now producing energy in Japan

The AR500 turbine is waiting to be installed in waters off the Japanese islands.

A tidal turbine built and tested in Scotland was installed in waters off a chain of Japanese islands. This is the latest example of the East Asian country studying the potential of marine forms of energy production.

In a statement on Monday, London listed company Simec Atlantis Energy The pilot turbine generated 10 megawatt hours in the first 10 days of operation.

The AR500 turbine was assembled at a factory in Scotland before being shipped to Japan, where it was installed in waters off Naru Island, which is part of the larger Goto Island chain.

According to SAE, the overall project includes the leasing of tidal generation systems and the provision of offshore construction services for the Japanese company Kyuden Mirai Energy.

Graham Reid, CEO of SAE, described the installation as “a major milestone in the use of clean, renewable energy from tidal currents and we hope it will be the first of many tidal turbines installed in Japan”.

Monday’s news is the latest example of companies in Japan, an island nation with thousands of kilometers of coastline, turning to projects dealing with tidal and wave energy.

In January it was announced that the shipping giant Mitsui OSK Lines would work with a company called Bombora Wave Power Scope for potential project locations in Japan and the surrounding regions.

The collaboration between Tokyo-based MOL and Bombora focuses on finding possible locations for the latter’s mWave system as well as hybrid projects combining mWave and wind energy.

In simple terms, the technology developed by Bombora, which has offices in the UK and Australia, is based on the idea of ​​using rubber membrane cells that are filled with air and attached to a structure submerged in water.

According to a video by the company describing how its system works, the “flexible rubber membrane design pumps air through a turbine to generate electricity” when waves run across the system.

The International Energy Agency describes marine technologies as “great potential,” but adds that additional policy support is needed for research, design and development to “enable the cost reductions that come with bringing larger commercial plants up and running”.

For its part, Japan wants renewables to account for 22% to 24% of its energy mix by 2030.

In October last year, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the country would target zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. By 2030, Japan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% compared to 2013.

However, work remains to be done to ensure that the country achieves its goals. In 2019, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy said the country was “largely dependent on fossil fuels” such as coal, oil and liquefied natural gas.