Among the horror stories from the latest set of audited circulations of newspapers published outside London, the National (the SNP's mouthpiece) lost 30% in the second half of last year and now sells only 8,500 copies a day; this catastrophic drop was exceeded only by an evening newspaper in Wigan. The Scotsman ('Scotland’s national newspaper') was down to a paltry 17,500 a day and its sister paper, Scotland on Sunday, which at its peak sold 90,000 a week, plunged a further 21% to just over 16,000. The figures inevitably raised questions about how much longer a semi-serious Scottish press is financially sustainable. BBC Scotland reported the deputy leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson, expressing his 'huge disappointment the party did not win the Stoke by-election', an example of a home-grown alternative fact. There was further proof that Scotland is unable to cope with the regular occurrence known as the weekend: a 42-year-old man was found dead with 'significant injuries' in a house in Johnstone following a disturbance early on Saturday morning; a man was detained by the police in Dundee after the deaths of a man aged 32 and a woman aged 43; the death of a 39-year-old man in Perth was being treated as ‘suspicious’. Elsewhere in Perth, Jeremy Corbyn told the Scottish Labour party conference that he was determined to 'finish the job' (or finish the party, whichever comes first). The beleaguered Kezia Dugdale said she would fight 'tirelessly' for the union in the widely anticipated second independence referendum next year, four years (or 'a generation') having elapsed since the last one. The mayor of London, Sadiiq Khan, moderated his criticism of the SNP after appearing to suggest that they were in the same divisive league as Trump.

Trump stepped up his war on journalists, barring a number of media organisations from a White House briefing and declining to attend the annual correspondents' dinner. The shameless Farage managed to secure a last-minute invitation to dinner with Trump. Farage's successor as leader of UKIP, Paul Nuttall, said he wasn't going anywhere, and that much was true. A GP in Wales who refused to see an asthmatic five-year-old girl because she and her mother were five minutes late at the surgery received only a warning from the General Medical Council despite the child’s death from an asthmatic attack later the same day. Irene Clennell, who had lived in England for 27 years and whose British husband is chronically unwell, was deported back to Singapore, apparently because her visits home to care for her elderly parents invalidated her right to remain in the UK. Leicester City footballers denied they had conspired with the club's owner to have their heroic manager fired but failed to give a satisfactory explanation for their initial silence. Manchester United won the English league cup. Scotland beat Wales at the rugby. The leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan exhorted his followers to plant trees 'for the beautification of Earth and the benefit of almighty Allah’s creation'. The annual gongs were dished out in Hollywood.
They dished out the main one to the wrong film until the error was discovered. Not that it mattered either way.

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Daily Sketch
Decline and fall of the Scottish press

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