Glasgow wins two first places in global tourism awards and comes 4th out of 50!

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(c) timeout.com

The Global Destination Sustainability Index awards for 2017 placed Glasgow up three places in the index and with a 16% increase in its overall score since last year.  These awards are based on the attractiveness of the city in terms of its sustainable business tourism. The GDS-index methodology: measures and compares the social and environmental sustainability strategies, policies and performance of the participating destinations.’

Placing on the index depends on performance measured by these four criteria:

  1. A key element of the GDS-Index is to determine a destination’s environmental performance. We do this by examining aspects like a destinations air quality, their use of renewable energy sources and the performance of their public transport and waste disposal infrastructure.
  2. In a holistic approach to sustainability, the GDS-Index factors in the social performance of a destination, including elements such as the city’s United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) score and ranking in global corruption indices.
  3. For an events industry specific analysis, the GDS-Index evaluates the sustainable practices of industry suppliers such as hotels, caterers and venues.
  4. The role Convention Bureaux play in the sustainability performance of their destination is central to GDS-Index benchmarking. Convention Bureau performance is based on their sustainability strategy and reporting, the client support offered and their role in promoting sustainability in the industry.

In addition to its overall improvement, Glasgow won two first place awards:

  1. Category leader: Most improved award
  2. Category leader: Convention bureau performance

Evidence of the city’s development can also be seen in the fact that, in 2016/17, in a best-ever performance, Glasgow won more than 500 new international and UK conferences worth a total of £142m.

http://gds-index.com/about/

Dear green place? Well not too dear, we hope.

Footnote: I’ve been round and round the website but I can’t find an league table of global cities to find Glasgow’s actual position on it.

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Scottish electricity generation from renewables costs to fall to a quarter of nuclear costs by 2040

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In September 2017, the FT reported that Hinkley Point C was initially guaranteed £92.50 MWh but that this was inflation-linked and is already closer to £100/MWh. The guarantee also stands for 35 years so who knows what the ongoing costs to the UK consumer will be and, of course, de-commissioning costs won’t even be considered. However, In the latest auction with the UK government, offshore wind energy developers offered prices as low as £57.50 per megawatt hour (MWh).

https://www.ft.com/content/7401f5e0-96c0-11e7-a652-cde3f882dd7b

So, a nuclear is a very bad deal indeed for the UK consumer but not for us given that we must surely break away long before 35 years have passed. Now a new study published today in partnership between battery developer Eaton, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) suggests further reductions to around half of current costs and consequently around a quarter of the cost of nuclear-generated electricity. Depending on inflation, the gap could be even wider. I thus make the cancellation of Hinckley Point C a no-brainer but no doubt it will go ahead for political reasons.

An earlier study by BNEF predicted that 75% of around $10 trillion global investment in energy technologies by 2040 will go to renewable forms. Given Scotland’s early lead in wind and tidal energy generation and our growing expertise in the field, we can look forward with confidence. See:

Scotland’s expertise in renewable power generation now worth billions

Scotland’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) to be test centre for 3 out of 6 new EU-funded offshore renewable energy projects as our expertise begins to earn billions

https://www.r-e-a.net/news/high-renewable-future-in-the-uk-and-germany-to-create-new-power-systems-flexibility-challenge

Scotland most productive part of UK outside of London and South

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According to accountants KPMG and reported in Insider, Scotland has made significant productivity gains in the past 18 months and now ranks above all parts of the UK other than London and the South which continue to suck the life out of the other regions in terms of material, human, social, intellectual and of course financial capital. Even the BBC agrees with this view of London:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10508673

Out of the 12 regions in the UK, Scotland came 4th top. Scotland did especially well on innovation and its pool of available talent. Perhaps being further away and with a higher quality of life, Scotland is able to hang on to more of its talent that the English regions and Wales. In terms of the talent coming from its universities, Scotland came second only to London.

http://www.insider.co.uk/news/scotland-ranks-fourth-inaugural-uk-11535768

It’s worth remembering that the high productivity of London and the South does not compensate for their massive trade deficit and that only Scotland has a surplus in this regard. See:

Scotland’s 2017 trade surplus grows as England’s deficit soars saddling the UK with ever more debt

The role of the Scottish Government needs mentioning here too given their initiatives to boost business activity. See, recently:

Business booms in Scotland under SNP-rule

77% of Scotland’s small and medium-sized businesses report success as Scottish Government reports record numbers exempt from rates and in the wake of figures revealing much greater signs of distress among rUK businesses.

I know governments do not create wealth, but they do help produce the conditions in which it can be created. Had Scotland’s performance been worse, we can be sure the SNP would be to blame in some way.

Is your street name weakening your Scottish identity and/or your religiosity?

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Caledonia Road, Ayr (c) rightmove.co.uk

One of the local Ayr hotels has changed its name from the ‘Carrick Lodge’ [only a mile or two out of Carrick and really in Kyle] to the ‘Fox and Willow’. I’m sure many readers will have noticed similar Anglicisations [or are they bourgeoisifications?] in their local areas. I seem to remember reading that the burghers of Falkirk added the ‘l’ sometime way back to make it sound more English and ‘proper’. It makes no sense as the original Faw Kirk means ‘speckled Kirk’.

Anyhow:

‘Dr Oto-Peralías, of the School of Management at the University of St Andrews, compared the street names of Scottish Westminster parliamentary constituencies with a recent population census asking people to identify their national identity. In areas with a lower number of such union-themed street names, people were more likely to describe themselves as having a ‘Scottish identity only’. People living in Scottish areas with street names commemorating Britain, such as ‘Queen’, ‘Royal’, ‘Regent’ or ‘London’ are less likely to define themselves as Scottish only, new research from the University of St Andrews has revealed.’

The study published in the Journal of Economic Geography also found that people living in areas with a high proportion of streets referring to ‘church’ or ‘chapel’ were more likely to identify as Christian. See this:

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a-left) Street-name indicator measuring the historical importance of Christianism (percentage of streets containing the word ‘church’ or ‘chapel’)

b-right) Percentage of the population identifying themselves as Christian (from census data)

https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/news/archive/2017/title,1745319,en.php

The correlation with religiosity seems a bit weak in parts of these maps especially West central Scotland. Three strongly Christian areas are there yet they’re clearly deprived of street names to keep up their spirits (;-). Also street names in North-east Scotland failing to stem the tide of atheism.

There’s a street in Muirkirk called ‘Pagan Walk’. The RC Primary School used to be there but has since closed. Who knows how many ‘Union Streets’ there are. Maybe I should move from my current address at……guess?

Tories to make U-turn on VAT exemption for Police and Fire Scotland and try to save Scots Tories at the same time

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(c) GETTY

During Question Time the PM hinted at this reversal but used the opportunity to make a sad attempt to improve the currently disastrous image of her Scottish MPs and said the change would be because of their representations to the Treasury. I reported on this in October:

After endless exposures of bigotry, neo-facism, racism, misogyny and homophobia among the ranks of their activists, councillors, MSPs and MPs, are the Scottish Tories trying to do something useful. Here’s some of their ‘previous’:

Phew, Scottish Tories are still bigots, racists [and penis fantasizers]. I was worried they might be changing.

Open Democracy Expose bad smell in funding of Scottish Tories

I told you. Tories cannot contain their inherent nastiness.

‘Fuck off back to Scotland!’ I told you, we can rely on the sort of people the Tories are to help us win Indyref2

However, Scotland’s 13 Tory MPs have all written to the Chancellor to ask him to give the Scottish police and fire services VAT-exemption as is the case for their English equivalents. The anomaly is because the Scottish services are ‘national’ while the English services are ‘local’ thus exempt from VAT by HMRC under current legislation. Since 2013, Police Scotland has paid a total of £76.5 million in Vat and currently has a £25 million overspend despite an extra £55 million this year from the Scottish Government. It’s clear what is causing the overspend. As the Scottish Tories’ popularity seems to be falling again in the polls, I suspect the Chancellor might be more sympathetic to them than he has been to the same plea from the Scottish government over the last few years. So, admittedly useful but probably mainly self-interested like the DUP deal Theresa did to survive.

However, it’ll clearly take more than this news, no matter how much GMS and RepScot carpet bomb us with the story, to help them now. Peak Oil may not be as soon as we thought but Peak Scottish Tories has passed. See this for evidence:

SNP pulling ahead again and Tories falling back to third place in Westminster voting intentions

The Scottish Tories so bad Ruth wants to kick some of them out and replace them with what, we wonder?

 

 

Scotland’s airports hit record highs to boost our economy

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(c) Picture: Ian Georgeson

Glasgow had record numbers up 5% to 928 000. Edinburgh also had a record number up 1.5% to 465 813 in domestic and up 12.4% to 1 226 109 in international.

Edinburgh’s numbers were boosted by 6 new Ryanair routes while Glasgow was boosted by Celtic’s games with Bayern Munich.

This is part of an ongoing trend suggesting strong general economic health made apparent in air travel increases. See:

Scotland’s economic growth evident in increased passenger numbers at Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports

Scotland’s airports hit record highs to boost our economy