Sturgeon opens for business

Nicola Sturgeon unveiling Programme for Government Image copyright Getty Images

"We will make Scotland the best place in the UK to do business," says the first minister, "not through a race to the bottom, but by focusing on innovation, skills and productivity."

A laudable aim, no doubt, unless you're one of the other parts of the UK intending to achieve precisely the same thing, and by using the same focus.

So in the Programme for Government (and a precursor to the SNP manifesto for Holyrood in May 2016), how does Nicola Sturgeon intend to go about this?

Well, for a start, note that reference to the UK. This is a programme intended to make devolution work for Scotland.

Second: "a race to the bottom" - a term bandied around in the independence referendum campaign, as an attack on SNP plans to undercut corporation tax rates in the rest of the UK.

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Stigma of the Dump

electric car Image copyright PA

Some questions for you. What are your clothes worth, and what percentage of them do you actually use? In the past year, say?

This may be made trickier if, like me, you have had little cause to look out anything for summer weather.

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What future for BBC Scotland?

BBC Scotland headquarters Image copyright Getty Images

Scotland's media landscape is being bulldozed - transformed by digital technology, burgeoning choice, and quite a bit of politics - particularly as the future of the BBC is now in play.

The politics is also apparent in the newspaper sales figures for the first half of the year. Out this week, they show the average decline at more than 10% since the first half of last year, continuing the industry's painful downward trajectory.

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Crude awakening

gas flare Image copyright Thinkstock

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil fell nearly 4% on Wednesday, to $47. It's taking a mighty toll on companies in the sector.

Yet even if the price were to double, we learned today that it would continue to fall a long way short of filling the yawning deficit in Scotland's public finances.

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Michelle Mone: tsar quality?

She's from Glasgow poverty, and pulled herself up by her bra-straps. She's glamorous. She exudes success.

And she's the person the Department for Work and Pensions has invited to carry out a review of the support for people from less advantaged areas to start up their own businesses.

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The jobs recovery takes shape

New job figures from the Office for National Statistics show a mixed picture, of UK unemployment rising in April to June, Scottish unemployment falling more than anywhere else, yet Scottish employment also falling.

The past year has seen strong jobs growth across Britain, but the picture looks like a slow-down in job market recovery if you compare the latest figures with the first quarter of last year.

Image copyright ONS

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The social media animal

selfie in garden Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption One in 10 British adults said they took at least one selfie a week

Expect change. So don't be surprised to learn this week that the two bits of the UK car market to have grown fastest in the past 10 years have been super-minis, up 22% and sports utility, up 88%.

McDonald's is introducing table service. Brent crude is trading below $50 a barrel again. One in 10 people who were retired before the financial crash had returned to work after it.

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RBS: Firesale of the century?

People walking past RBS branch Image copyright PA

If you think Royal Bank of Scotland hasn't come far in the seven years since its crash, you'd have a point.

It's still not clear that it's ready for a sell-off of the UK government stake, but that's what it's getting anyway.

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Scotch loses its flavour

Douglas Fraser takes a close look at the economics of whisky
Image caption Douglas Fraser takes a close look at the economics of whisky

We have known for a while that Scotch whisky's stunning growth through the downturn years had slowed up. With Diageo's full-year results, we know better why that is.

Emerging markets have stalled, tastes are changing, the industry giant has stalled, and it's responding by turning its marketing attention to rival spirits.

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Who owns a company, part 2?

Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane Image copyright AP
Image caption Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane's speech is an "insightful read"

We've seen many established pillars of society shaken and rattled in recent years. Now, it seems to be the turn of the public limited company.

My most recent posting was about the questioning of the dominance of shareholders, and the short-term demands for results, data, dividends and share buy-backs that they impose on company bosses.

Read full article Who owns a company, part 2?