Programmed for survival

  • 25 April 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Rob Woodward Image copyright STV
Image caption Rob Woodward is to stand down as chief executive of STV within 12 months

It's one thing for a chief executive to leave in his own time and on his own terms (and much rarer if the boss is a she).

It's really rare to do so after taking on a company that was not expected to last as long as a decade without succumbing to structural change or hostile takeover.

STV Group chief executive Rob Woodward's approach to the job he is standing down from after 10 years has appeared relaxed while very focused. He stripped away the remaining parts of what had been Scottish Media Group.

The company has stopped harking back to its launch, 60 years ago, when Scottish Television was described by its founding chairman as as "a licence to print money".

It had to become less of a couthy institution.

Read full article Programmed for survival

Selling the family greenery

  • 20 April 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Street lights Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The bank has invested in low-energy street lighting projects and plants that generate energy from waste

A memorial for Lachlan Macquarie remains a little piece of Scotland which is forever Australia. It is on the isle of Mull, near his birthplace on the tiny island of Ulva, on the MacQuarrie clanlands.

The soldier turned colonial governor is known to some as "the father of Australia", making many of the key moves that helped it turn from penal colony to a new country.

Read full article Selling the family greenery

It's not the economy, stupid - is it?

  • 18 April 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Money generic Image copyright PA
Image caption How much will the economy feature in this election?

The Westminster election on 8 June will be about lots of things. They always are. But as a national debate, my hunch is that it is likely to be mainly focused on Brexit and who gets to occupy 10 Downing Street.

The wisdom of James Carvel, the Ragin' Cajun' strategist for Bill Clinton back in 1992, was that the electoral battleground "is the economy, stupid". And so it goes in most campaigns.

Read full article It's not the economy, stupid - is it?

Ibrox: Referee threat to King's crown

  • 14 April 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Rangers chairman Dave King Image copyright SNS Group
Image caption Dave King's hold on Ibrox is in doubt

Back in the top flight of Scottish football, at least some pride restored, the fans at Ibrox might still hope that normal service has now resumed.

They're to be sorely disappointed again, and not only because an imminent criminal court case can be expected to bring back some painful memories.

Read full article Ibrox: Referee threat to King's crown

Sir Arnold and the Punk

  • 11 April 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Sir Arnold Clark and James Watt Image copyright ArnoldClark/Brewdog
Image caption Sir Arnold Clark and James Watt have more in common than appearances might suggest

Two businessmen, generations apart, tell us a story of entrepreneurial Scots.

So what, if anything, do James Watt and Sir Arnold Clark have in common?

Read full article Sir Arnold and the Punk

It's spring, so where are the green shoots?

  • 5 April 2017
  • From the section Scotland
welder Image copyright Thinkstock

There may be one positive that comes out of the negative number issued on Wednesday morning by the Scottish government.

With a decline of 0.2%, October-to-December output from the Scottish economy certainly grabs attention - because if there's another quarter of contraction, it's called recession.

Read full article It's spring, so where are the green shoots?

When pipelines call the tune

  • 3 April 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Grangemouth Image copyright PA
Image caption The pipeline carries oil to facilities adjacent to the Ineos-owned Grangemouth refinery and chemical plant

Deals done in the offshore oil industry are, generally, a good sign.

They signal that there are still buyers who think they can get more value than existing owners out of these maturing assets, and still have enough left over to pay for decommissioning.

Read full article When pipelines call the tune

A U-turn waiting to happen

  • 30 March 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Skye Bridge Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The review of enterprise and skills agencies was a bumpy road for ministers

Policy wonks joke about the classic trap of government ministers: 'Something must be done,' goes the cry. "This is something. Therefore we must do it."

Yet that seems to have been a characteristic of the puzzling approach to the review of enterprise and skills agencies, begun after last year's Holyrood election.

Read full article A U-turn waiting to happen

The economics of Brexit - best and worse case scenarios

  • 29 March 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Article 50 letter being handed over Image copyright AFP/Getty

A six-page letter has altered the course of British history and its place in the world. It may also have begun the unravelling of Britain itself.

The letter is significantly more co-operative in tone than much of the rhetoric that got the country to this point.

Read full article The economics of Brexit - best and worse case scenarios

Taxing sugar: sweet and sour

  • 29 March 2017
  • From the section Scotland
Sugary drinks Image copyright Thinkstock

A year after the Treasury put plans in place to tax sugar-rich soft drinks, including Irn Bru and Coca-Cola, it's having a faster hit than expected - or than manufacturers admit.

Maybe it's just coincidence.

Read full article Taxing sugar: sweet and sour