So, we have had yet another week of the Tory Westminster Government treating us like a bit of smelly pooh on the end of their foot. The behaviour of the English MPs towards the Scottish MPs has been diabolical. The Deputy Speaker certainly wore his heart on his sleeve in his treatment of Joanne Cherry last week during the Brexit debate. The Tory MPs were criticising John Berkow for his non impartiality over the Trump statement. Someone should pull Lindsay Hoyle up for his open hostility to elected members of his own house.
So, as I write this on a sunny St Valentine’s day, where do we stand on Brexit? Today Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said:
“While I am disappointed about this lack of progress with the UK Government, we will continue to work with the Welsh and Northern Ireland Governments as it is essential for the devolved administrations to be at the heart of any decision making. We need clarity from the UK Government as we have the right to have our say on how devolved budgets and our economy will be affected by a hard Brexit.
“I asked again today that the UK Government give serious consideration to the proposals the Scottish Government has put forward in response to the outcome of the EU Referendum and responds constructively, in the interests of the people of Scotland.
“We have been clear, keeping Scotland in the European single market is absolutely essential for Scottish jobs, investment and long-term economic wellbeing.”
Stormont Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said:
“I have previously been on record saying that there is a lack of understanding of the calamitous effects that Brexit would have on our local economy and there has been no appreciation of the need for a special status for the North within the EU. Nothing I have heard today changes that.”
Welsh Government Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said:
“Our White Paper, Securing Wales’ Future, which was discussed at the recent JMC (EN) provides a comprehensive, credible plan for the negotiations as the UK prepares to exit from the EU. It focuses on Wales’ priorities but in a way which would work for the whole of the UK.
I am guessing there will be no further progress in the weeks to come.
Looks like the English farmers are now getting concerned about their future after Brexit. Many of our farmers were already concerned but more are joining them as it seems they are lower down the food chain than they would like to be in the negotiations to come out of the European market. They are beginning to really worry that their payments they receive via the European Parliament will not be matched by Westminster.
The fishermen too are starting to realise that another Tory government are all set to sell them down the river in order to get agreements they think are better for other areas. I will long remember the Fishy Leave posters planted heavily around my part of Scotland and the venom that was used in their campaign. A reason why I could never be a politician.
Meanwhile at home in our own Parliament . . . . .
Honestly, who would be a teacher? Teachers seem to be the blame for, or solution to, most of our problems with children. Next to the NHS they are the most put on section of our society. Thankfully many people do take on the task. Many manage to negotiate their way through the profession for all their adult life. Many leave early and many start late. This seems to be acceptable in other walks of life so seems fair with teaching. Not all of us are cut out for the one job for 40 years.
This week the Education Secretary has announced new funding to train teachers. For those not in the know, this is how training needs are decided.
The annual teacher workforce planning exercise leads to setting student teacher intake targets, based on projected pupil rolls. This is done in partnership with stakeholders including the teacher education universities, local authorities, teacher unions and the Scottish Funding Council.
The University of Aberdeen, University of Dundee, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, University of Stirling, University of Strathclyde, University of the West of Scotland and the University of the Highlands and Islands are the eight providers of teacher training places.
Over £3 million is being made available to train an extra 371 teachers next year.
This increase in places at Scotland’s teacher education universities will bring the total intake in 2017/18 to 3,861, a rise for the sixth consecutive year.
It comes less than a week after the launch of the Scottish Government’s new teacher recruitment campaign which focuses on attracting teachers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney made the announcement at the Aberdeen Learning Festival. He said:
“To give all our young people the best opportunity of success, we need to have the right number of skilled teachers in our schools.
“That is why we worked with local authorities to increase teacher numbers this year, with an additional 253 teachers in Scottish classrooms, and are upping student places for the sixth consecutive year.
“We know our student teacher targets are stretching which is why we are supporting universities to meet them through our new teacher recruitment campaign and £1 million from the Scottish Attainment Fund to develop new routes into the profession.
“I recognise that some councils have faced challenges with teacher recruitment. Today’s announcement is a further demonstration of the action this Government is taking to help them attract more people into teaching and widen the pool of available talent.”
Mr Swinney also urged former oil and gas workers to consider a career in teaching. He continued:
“Our focus on STEM subjects means applications from people with skills and experience in the oil and gas industry will be welcomed. We have already supported 12 oil and gas workers retrain for a new career in teaching through our Transition Training Fund (TTF) and we are considering how this support might continue in future.”
Our Culture Secretary meantime is off selling Scotland to Japan. Not literally, that is not in the manifesto. She has had confirmed a celebration of Scotland and it’s culture for this November in Tokyo, to build on the success of last years event.
Scotland Day 2017 will build on the success of last year’s event, introduced by the Japan Scotland Association. The 2017 event is expected to feature visual arts and cultural performances, displays promoting Scottish products and Scotland as a tourism destination and place to study, plus talks on Scotland and Japan’s shared history.
Ms Hyslop said:
“I’m delighted Toshima Ward will build on the success of the first Scotland Day with another celebration this year, and welcome the Mayor’s generous offer of assistance for our artists and performers to bring their work to Tokyo. Our cultural and artistic legacy clearly proceeds us.
“We’re continuing to develop strong cultural links with Japan and this year the Edinburgh Festivals will welcome their Japanese counterparts to develop future collaborations, while our galleries are working together to display the best of our visual arts.
“I visited Toshima earlier this week and it is a buzzing and vibrant location from which to showcase our world-class artists and performers. This is a well-timed boost for us as we promote our expertise on holding world-renowned events and festivals in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.”
Ms Hyslop was joined by Festivals Edinburgh Director, Julia Amour this morning at a media briefing promoting Scotland’s festivals, Scotland as a tourism destination, and Scotland’s Place in Europe.
Nae doot this will upset them doon there in London again this year.