Rigging the frigates?

F35 Lightning II jet Image copyright PA
Image caption The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) reports that purchase of new F35 Lightning II jets is to be speeded up

Strike brigades. Lightning and Typhoon squadrons. Poseidon surveillance. Hunter Killer submarines.

There's more.....

This Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) can be made to sound terrifically exciting, in a Commando magazine way.

It points towards mighty aircraft carrier battle groups bristling with fire-power and lethal force projection, capable of delivering ferocious counter-punch around the globe, backed up through cyberspace and outer space.

We're talking rapid deployment (though, er, that'll be ready in about 10 years time).

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If you don't shop, retailers drop

Shopping trolley Image copyright Thinkstock

Sluggish, disappointing and rather pallid: three ways of describing Scotland's latest retail figures. And they were from the retail industry people trying to look on the bright side.

With inflation just into negative territory - that is, consumer prices have dropped over the past year - it's not a disaster for retailers to have flat takings.

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Scotland's jobs stagnation

Jobcentre Plus Image copyright PA

Is it only the trouble in the oil and gas sector that is weighing on the Scottish economy? Or do recent job figures suggest something else is going on?

The data covering July to September repeats recent trends, of very strong job creation across most of the UK, but much weaker in Scotland.

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The New Highlands at 50

Highlands and Islands Development Board office

What has government ever done for us? Or Europe? Or immigrants? All questions that stand a good chance of starting an argument. Except in at least one part of Scotland.

It's 50 years this month since six staff started work for the Highlands and Islands Development Board.

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Slowing Scotland and the productivity puzzle

Scottish money Image copyright PA

The penny-wise Scot may be a stereotype, but the reality behind it may be costing us some economic growth.

It's one of the explanations offered for the failure of lower energy prices to feed through to strengthened demand elsewhere.

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Forties at 40

Queen presses BP button Image copyright AP

In 63 and a bit years, the Queen's had a hand in much of the British economy; opening factories, bridges and the Border railway, launching ships, asking why no-one foresaw the financial crash, and adding her royal warrant to Deeside suppliers of Balmoral's comestibles and household sundries.

But the event that took her to Aberdeen 40 years ago was perhaps the most significant economic event in her reign.

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Steel yourself for an industrial strategy

Tata Steel plant in Motherwell Image copyright PA

There's a retro vibe afoot: the planned mothballing of two steel plants in Lanarkshire brings back the 1980s as if it were... well, 30 years ago.

Thousands upon thousands of local council jobs look like getting the axe due to the spending squeeze, yet 270 jobs rolling steel slabs get a task force, all hands are on deck to find a buyer, while the opposition calls for nationalisation.

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May the task force be with you

Locked factory gate Image copyright PA

When the going gets tough, it's time for a task force. But for what?

Such a force meets for the first time on Thursday. Its task is to save the Scottish steel industry. Or is it?

Read full article May the task force be with you

Is there a doctor in the house?

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The National Health Service has been described as the closest thing Britain has to a state religion.

It's politically untouchable and its budgets ring-fenced (though the fences sometimes need mending) because it has overwhelming public support.

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Who is trade for?

President Xi Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption President Xi's visit to the UK has highlighted the importance of international trade

The Chinese president has hit town with more than £30bn of trade and investment in his brief case. That's while his subsidised steel firms are playing a significant role in pushing British workers out of thousands of jobs.

So this is an interesting time for the governor of the Bank of England to weigh in with his thoughts on the economics of trade and open economies.

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