The news news: breaking, making or faking it?

  • 25 February 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Stack of newspapers Image copyright Thinkstock

"Navel-gazing - readers don't care": with that, coverage of and by the news media tends to be dismissed from editorial conference meetings.

Newspapers used to take a chunk of page two for the editor to trumpet the (sometimes selective use of) circulation figures, and "how much better we've been selling than our down-market, parochial rival rag" - or similar.

You don't see that so much now, because none of the sales figures are to be trumpeted.

Newspapers remain an important pillar of Scottish life, politics, culture and identity. The four city-based titles are all more than 200 years old - The Scotsman and Courier reaching that milestone in the past year.

They don't do much to report on themselves. Yet there's rarely been so much interest and discussion of news and how it is reported.

Read full article The news news: breaking, making or faking it?

Royal Familiar

  • 24 February 2017
  • From the section Scotland
RBS logo Image copyright RBS

Let's start with the good news about RBS. Don't worry. This won't take long.

Er, it's not doing too badly at its drive to get more women into senior executive roles.

Read full article Royal Familiar

Economy report: Could do better

  • 21 February 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Jobcentre Image copyright PA

At times of uncertainty about the economic direction of travel, it can help to take one's bearings.

That's not always easy for those watching the Scottish economy. The data available is either not that plentiful or not wholly reliable.

Read full article Economy report: Could do better

Cage fighting

  • 14 February 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Farmed salmon Image copyright AFP

It's half a century since salmon farming began, with the pioneers in Scotland and Norway.

The first harvest, from Marine Harvest - then a branch of Unilever - was 15 tonnes hauled from Lochailort in Lochaber.

Read full article Cage fighting

Fuel prices: Turning up the heat

  • 10 February 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Smart meter
Image caption Energy companies are offering customers smart meters

Have you got your smart meter yet? I haven't. But we should all be getting the offer from energy utilities by 2020.

The idea is that it should save money, by informing us how we use energy, what costs lots, the benefiting of switching off, and other ways to stop the electronic digits flipping upwards.

Read full article Fuel prices: Turning up the heat

Ageing North Sea oil: Investing in long-term care costs

  • 8 February 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Oil platform Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Breaking up an oil platform is an extremely complex job

There's life in the North Sea yet, though it may not be as we know it.

New finds of oil and gas are rare, at least in the UK sector. Statoil has just found another reservoir in Norwegian waters, of between 20m and 50m barrels, where it has had some notable successes close to the British boundary.

Read full article Ageing North Sea oil: Investing in long-term care costs

Holyrood tax: hold the threshold

  • 2 February 2017
  • From the section Scotland
coins Image copyright PA

It has long been asserted that Scots believe more strongly than their neighbours in a social contract in which the well-off contribute more towards the common good.

So, to sustain or improve the level of public services, Scots would dig deeper into their income to pay higher taxes - if only they had the tax powers to do so.

Read full article Holyrood tax: hold the threshold

RBS: the long unwinding legacy

  • 26 January 2017
  • From the section Scotland
RBS logo Image copyright RBS

It's another of those numbers so big that it lacks much meaning. But £3.1bn being put aside by Royal Bank of Scotland is real money.

So is the £6.7bn total that is now set aside to pay the costs resulting from litigation and investigations into "residential mortgage-backed securities". And there's still a chance of much more required.

Read full article RBS: the long unwinding legacy

Trader Trump ups his steak

  • 25 January 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Donald Trump Image copyright AP

The tussling over Brexit is back, with Scottish export figures that show two things, depending on one's perspective.

Conservatives emphasise the importance of sales from Scotland to the rest of the UK - four times greater than the value of sales to the rest of the EU in 2015.

Read full article Trader Trump ups his steak

Picking winners or backing losers?

  • 23 January 2017
  • From the section Scotland
welder Image copyright Thinkstock

Industrial policy. You can see it as a re-heating of previous policies, and re-branding of existing priorities.

Or you can be more generous to Theresa May and her government, as she and it set out a 12-week consultation, seeing this as a process of asking the most fundamental questions about what kind of country the United Kingdom intends to be.

Read full article Picking winners or backing losers?