Heated politics of Longannet going cold

Longannet Power Station
The closure of Longannet is almost certain to be brought forward to next March

Longannet power station is a bit of a monster. At 2,400 megawatts capacity, the huge plant on the banks of the Forth can keep the lights on for most of Scotland.

Recently, it's been sweating its 42-year-old sinews to do so, particularly when the wind drops and all those turbines stop supplying the power grid.

The Fife monster's days were numbered, however. While burning all that coal, it was facing a steeply-rising bill for emissions. And once it has burned through its licence conditions, it was due to close in 2020. That was the intention of government policy, and it has had cross-party support.

However, that date is almost certain to be brought forward to March 2016, following Longannet's failure to win the National Grid auction for back-up supply to ensure voltage remains steady.

With closure, 270 jobs will go, plus those in the supply chain, including freight operations form Hunterston. Scotland's struggling coal industry will struggle even more.

Read full article Heated politics of Longannet going cold

Links with London

BA planes at Heathrow
The Airports Commission is examining the short, medium and long-term future of UK airport capacity

Having sold off Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports, the owners of Heathrow have now decided they want to woo Scotland.

The company seems to care much more about links between them than it did in olden times. That was less than three years ago, when they were part of one group, as a legacy of the state-owned British Airports Authority.

Read full article Links with London

Drilling for votes, distilling the recovery

George Osborne visiting an oil rig in the North Sea

The oil industry got what it wanted from George Osborne's pre-election Budget, and a bit more. So will it work?

Well, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) says the tax cut of £1.3bn should lead to a 15% boost to production by the end of this decade. That's after a steep fall in recent years levelled out last year.

Read full article Drilling for votes, distilling the recovery

Incomers, income and outgoings

Chinese food

I've been working quite a lot on the subject of immigration into Scotland. And so have BBC colleagues.

We've had more than 180 minutes of radio on the subject and more than 90 minutes of Welcome to Scotland? television, plus at least 10 online articles.

Read full article Incomers, income and outgoings

Scotland's sticky finances

Scottish piggy bank

Scotland is running at a loss. And you'd be forgiven for also being at a loss about the conflicting use of statistics over just how much it's in the red, or how badly.

You can emphasise that tax paid in Scotland, and from its offshore oil and gas, was £400 per head more than the UK figure, during the last financial year, 2013-14.

Read full article Scotland's sticky finances

Immigration: more or less?

polish food

Should we be surprised that nearly two-thirds of Scottish voters want to see immigration reduced?

That's according to the YouGov poll for BBC Scotland, the first part of which is being published today. The survey found only 5% of the 1,100 Scottish sample want to see immigration increased.

Read full article Immigration: more or less?

Energy burners take the high road

An oil rig and boat at sunset

It's obvious. If the oil price falls, oil users gain, and oil producers lose out.

Scotland has plenty people work in oil production, and its supply chain. It has more people who don't. Or at least, more of the economy buys oil than sells it.

Read full article Energy burners take the high road

Scotland's shifting media landscape

Sunday Herald

Newspapers have been notoriously poor at adapting to a hugely disrupted market.

They can handle competitors. They've adjusted to radio and TV. But few saw what the internet would do to them.

Read full article Scotland's shifting media landscape

Gordon Brown: nationalise the oil fields

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown is starting his final month as an MP with a thundering speech on the economy. It's the only type of speech he's ever done.

He's chosen to do so as Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy also sounds off on economic policy, and just before Nicola Sturgeon re-styles the Scottish government's economic strategy, with a strong flavour of equality running through its "refreshed" priorities.

Read full article Gordon Brown: nationalise the oil fields

RBS: Retreat and misdemeanours

rbs

Seven years of Fred Goodwin's plenty, followed by seven years of famine, or at least seven vast losses.

It has an Old Testament resonance to it, just as the Royal Bank of Scotland has been plagued by problems on a Biblical scale.

Read full article RBS: Retreat and misdemeanours