UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from FaithWorld:

UK’s Archbishop Vincent Nichols welcomes “historic” papal visit

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nichols 1Pope Benedict will make his first visit to Britain as head of the Roman Catholic Church on September 16-19. This will also be the first official papal visit to the country. Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, talks with Reuters about the trip in the context of the Church's child-abuse scandal, tensions with the Anglican Church and planned protests. (Photo: Archbishop Vincent Nichols (L) and the prime minister's special representative for the papal visit, Chris Patten, July 5, 2010 in London/Peter Macdiarmid)

Here's our news story on the interview -- Archbishop of Westminster says pope not fishing for Anglicans -- and below are excerpts from the transcript.

Q: The pope is due to arrive in Scotland shortly. What keeps you awake at night about the visit?

A: Actually I feel at the moment quite relaxed and looking forward to this visit very much, and I think this is true of a lot of people. I think we are well prepared, I think most issues have been settled and agreed, and I get increasingly a sense within our society that this is a significant moment. A visit that is profoundly historical in its nature, and I believe that when the pope comes he will be warmly received and attentively listened to. We do have great character of hospitality towards guests and he is a guest of her Majesty the Queen and I think society will respond accordingly.

from The Great Debate UK:

The Disunited Kingdom

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- Paul Henderson Scott has written numerous books on Scottish history, literature and affairs, including ‘A 20th Century Life’ and its sequel, ‘The New Scotland’. He has been Rector of Dundee University, President of the Saltire Society and of Scottish PEN and a Vice-President of the Scottish National Party. The opinions expressed are his own -

BRITAIN SCOTLANDThe recent election has revealed more clearly than before the profound divide between Scottish and English opinion. The Conservatives have 297 seats in England but only one in Scotland (plus eight in Wales). As Joyce McMillan said in The Scotsman, “Our pattern of voting increasingly marks us out as a nation apart”.

from Left field:

What are the odds on getting the Six Nations winner right?

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Picking the winner of the Six Nations championship is always a tricky task as the vagaries of form and the fixture list ensure that no two seasons are the same.

France, who finished third last season, are rated 6/4 favourites by Ladbrokes while grand slam champions Ireland are only second-best at 9/4.

Making heavy weather over Scotland

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FRANCE-STORM/Anyone listening to the BBC radio weather forecast this morning on the first day of Autumn will have come away with a detailed knowledge of how things look likely to pan out in Scotland – heavy winds apparently and not at all a day for going out walking on the hills.

They will also have probably had more than they need about Northern Ireland, with its endless bands of rain.

Liberal Democrats and the balance of power

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David LawsA senior Liberal Democrat has lifted a lid on the murky world of coalition politics – a touchy subject for the party which last tasted national power in Britain in the brief Lib-Lab pact of the late 1970s.

Leader Nick Clegg says he is not wasting a “millisecond” speculating on the outcome of the coming general election, expected next May.

So farewell then, Scotland?

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BRITAIN-SCOTLAND/SALMONDFirst Minister Alex Salmond has outlined plans to hold a referendum on independence for Scotland next year.

He told Members of the Scottish Parliament that independence was key to unlocking Scotland’s potential and to give it the best opportunity for future economic prosperity and to deal with global challenges.

Was it right to release the Lockerbie bomber ?

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Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan agent convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, has been released from prison in Scotland and sent home on compassionate grounds.

The 57-year-old, who has terminal prostate cancer was sentenced to life under Scottish law for blowing up a Pan Am airliner over the town of Lockerbie in Scotland as it flew to New York in December 1988. All 259 passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground were killed.

Should the Lockerbie bomber be released?

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Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan agent convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, seems likely to be released from prison and sent home on compassionate grounds.

The 57-year-old, who has terminal prostate cancer, is to be released imminently according to Frank Rubino, an American lawyer who worked on his defence team during his trial.

from Global Investing:

Is it time for a Scottish wealth fund?

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Oxford SWF Project, a university think tank on sovereign wealth funds, is looking at reports that the latest entry in the field could be Scotland. The project has a new post about the Scottish government floating the idea of an oil stabilisation fund to use oil and gas revenues.  It cites Scottish cabinet secretary for finance John Swinney looking abroad gleefully:

“We want to harness the benefit of oil revenues now for future years. An oil fund can provide greater stability, protect our economy and support the transition to a low carbon economy. Norway’s oil fund is worth over £200 billion – despite the first instalment being made as recently as the mid 1990s – and Alaska’s oil fund even gives money back to its citizens every year.”

Should Scotland become independent?

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As Scotland prepares to celebrate 10 years of devolution on July 1, the question of whether the nation should gain full independence from the Union refuses to go away.

An opinion poll has found that 58 percent of Scots support the Scottish government’s wish to hold a referendum on independence in 2010.

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