Theresa May, in an interview with the BBC before the Scottish Conservative conference, accused the SNP of having 'tunnel vision' about independence and refused to say whether she would give the Scottish parliament the legal powers to stage a second referendum. She said the SNP government should be concentrating on 'day to day' issues such as the state of the economy and education, adding that the standard of Scottish education is deteriorating in her opinion. The prime minister warned the SNP that 'politics is not a game' (though to most observers that is exactly what politics is). The head of the Scottish Police Authority, giving evidence to the public audit committee at Holyrood, defended the use of an accountant from the multi-national firm PwC as its interim chief finance officer, at a cost of £950 a day, to help sort out the organisation's chaotic finances. Police seized illegal drugs worth £2m from an industrial estate in Back Sneddon Street, Paisley, a town that is bidding to be UK city of culture 2021.

Irene Clennell, who was deported to Singapore on the order of the Home Office although she had lived in the UK for 27 years, described in an article in the Guardian newspaper her humiliating departure from Edinburgh airport. She wrote that, in full view of the public, immigration officials restrained her by the arms, accompanied her to the lavatory, and noted down every word she said. She had £12 in her pocket when she arrived in Singapore and is now sleeping on the sofa of her sister's house. The secretary of state for Brexit, David Davis, said the government was anxious to reach an early deal on the rights of EU nationals living in Britain, but Downing Street made it clear that it would not guarantee their rights before the start of negotiations, despite the Lords' rebellion. The mayor of Calais, in an attempt to discourage the establishment of a new refugee camp, banned the distribution of food to migrants gathering there, but refugee charities said they would defy the order.

Trump's attorney-general, Jeff Sessions, who is facing accusations that he lied on oath to a Senate hearing about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the presidential campaign, 'recused' himself – a rarely heard word, derived from the Latin, meaning in its current sense that he was disqualifying himself as a judge – from the inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election. On board an aircraft carrier in Virginia, Trump – who was excused (as distinct from recused himself) military service in Vietnam five times – donned a green bomber jacket and exchanged his usual ridiculous 'Make America Great Again' baseball cap for a naval one. The Swedish government reintroduced conscription because of a 'deteriorating security environment' in Europe; teenagers born in 1999 or 2000 are now eligible to be called up. French investigators searched the home of Francois Fillion, the beleaguered presidential candidate, while his rival Emmanuel Macron vowed to introduce new laws to clean up the country’s politics. The two accountants responsible for the mix-up at the Hollywood film awards are receiving death threats, further proof that there is no limit to human absurdity.



Cartoon by Bob Smith

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