Climate emergency: Who you gonna call?

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What is an emergency? When you're in government, I mean. Is it a time when extra resources are mobilised, from contingency funds? The national guard mobilised and police leave is cancelled? When laws are suspended? Martial law and a curfew imposed?

We need to find out, because an emergency has been declared - a "Climate Emergency".

This is not to ridicule the importance of the issue, nor the pressure from street protesters to cut net climate changing emissions to zero within only six years, nor the declarations of emergency by national leaders and parliaments. It is a serious question of how much this one issue trumps every other priority, or even legal safeguard.

While emergencies caused by exceptional weather events are stood down after a while, this doesn't look like the kind of crisis that can readily be declared as solved and over. Not for a half century or so, at best. We'd better get used to it.

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Image caption Climate change campaigners have staged protests in Edinburgh

We're beginning to see the consequences, this week on a relatively small issue. The SNP manifesto promise of cutting air departure tax (or air passenger duty, as it is at Westminster) in half, and then removing it "when resources allow" is being ditched.

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Cask Conditioned

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Raising productivity is one of the top priorities for the Scottish and British economies.

So surely we should be celebrating one of the most productive industries of all?

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Scottish Futures Trust: where to next?

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If "kicking the can down the road" is the metaphor of the political year, maybe next year will see more attention paid to recycling cans and improving roads, because infrastructure is getting a bit more attention.

Margaret Thatcher ridiculed economists for using the term infrastructure, pointing out her prime ministerial limo made do with roads.

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Brexit and the economy: the cost of kicking cans

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Whatever else happened with Brexit, a weakened pound and the widespread message that Scotland remains open to Europe - whatever England's up to - should have kept tourism from the continent at a healthy high level.

But it's not looking that way.

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What if Brexit were revoked?

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Nearly six more months to reach the end of the beginning of Brexit. That's six months of can-kicking-down-road opportunities.

It gives us the summer months to puzzle over the constitutional contradiction of a prime minister who agrees to be forced from office if she successfully gets her deal through, but won't leave if she fails.

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Brexit's effect on the case for independence

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Honesty, truth-telling, detail and difficult issues being addressed: Andrew Wilson, guru of the SNP's rebooted economic case for independence, intends to contrast the road to Scottish independence with the Brexit saga.

That sorry tale of constitutional malfunction, and a slogan on a bus, is far from finished. We're stuck somewhere around the end of the beginning.

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Energy makes its move

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Oil majors have long been trying to mix some greenery with the black stuff, but it's clear now that the pace of that transition is picking up.

There was an audible jolt in the industry when Norway's vast pension fund - built up from tax revenue and profits from offshore drilling - announced it is pulling out of investment in oil company equities.

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Image caption Norway's huge pension fund is pulling out of oil company equities

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In-migration and Output

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What if... ? It's one of those questions which both fascinate and irritate historians.

But economists at PwC aren't so easily annoyed. They've asked the question: what if Scotland had the same level of immigration and population growth over the past 50 years that the rest of the UK has seen?

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Brexit: trading insults

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We may be close to the end of the beginning of Brexit. Or maybe the torture will continue, before the second act of the drama can begin.

It remains difficult to predict, except to say: next comes the tricky bit. Sounds familiar?

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Roll-on Roll-off Over-spend Fall-out

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There's something far from seaworthy about the next ship deliveries for Cal-Mac.

They'll float, as far as I know. One of them, the Glen Sannox, is already doing so, at the quayside in Port Glasgow, while it is fitted out.

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