These commentaries by John Macgill represent his opinions only and not those of any Ettrickburn client.

VACANCY Reporter/Researcher: Health and Care Policy in Scotland

Prescribing in Mental Illness – A Practice Pharmacist’s Perspective

What Matters to You? Communication in Pharmacy

Prescribing in Mental Illness – A Patient’s Perspective

Focusing the Vision: Dr Rose Marie Parr on the new strategy for Scottish pharmacy

All the things that could go wrong - looking ahead to the SNP conference

Ask Once, Get Help Fast? Pharmacy and Mental Health

Automation and Delegation in Pharmacy: Understanding the Moving Parts

Pharmacy First in Forth Valley One Year On

Initiatives Highlight Potential of Community Pharmacy

Trying to concentrate on the day job

Health and the Local Elections – a strange silence

The Pharmacist Will See You Now – The Growth of GP Pharmacy

Montgomery’s Review – Dr Brian Montgomery answers questions on access to new medicines in Scotland

An afternoon with SMC

Pharmacists at SMC

SMC – are drug firms voting with their feet?

Radical Surgery on the Horizon for Scotland’s NHS

The Future’s Bright – in General Practice

Community Pharmacy in a Changing Environment

Disclosing payments to doctors – has Sir Malcolm done the pharma industry a favour?

Health and Care in the First Minister’s Programme for Government

CMO: Scotland’s pharmacists “absolutely ideally placed” to practice Realistic Medicine

Profile: Maree Todd – MSP and Pharmacist

Scottish Parliament Health Committee Work Programme

Scotland’s new NHS – a Summer of Speculation

Scotland’s New Health Committee

Two million voices in Scotland – is integration the big opportunity to listen?

Medicines – levelling the playing field

Key appointment raises the bar for health & social care partnerships

What did our new MSPs do before?

SMC says no then NICE says yes – three times

SNP promises single formulary and a review of Scotland’s NHS

More Generous than the CDF – but less transparent

Comparison of Funds: New Medicines v Cancer Drugs

Bonfire of the Boards? SNP signals NHS Review

A tribute to five retiring MSPs

New Medicines Review - Health Committee sends findings to Government

Medicines New & Old in the Scottish Cancer Strategy

Great Ambitions, Slow Progress – New Models of Care in Scotland

Scottish Minsters Demand Up-Front Medicine Price Negotiation

Opportunity and Disappointment: MSPs Investigate New Medicines Access

Scottish NHS Strategy calls for 'Realistic Medicine'

The Scottish Model of Value for Medicines: Taking Everything into Consideration

When SMC Says No: An Access to Medicines Lottery

Reviewing the Review: Access to New Medicines in Scotland

A day of psephology and kidology

Insulting the Lifesavers

Worthy of Mention – Health and Science in the Honours List

News Silence from North of the Border

A Christmas PPRS Present from Pharma

Wednesday, December 23, 2015: News Silence from North of the Border

The fact it's headline news for William Hague to suggest an EU 'Out' vote could lead to the break-up of the UK suggests some people outside Scotland think that Mr Hague was saying something that nobody had said before.

Very little Scottish news now percolates south of the border, and that which is selected for English consumption tends to reported through a fairly London-centric lens. Complex developing debates are reduced to smash and grab snapshots. Nuance and context never have a chance.

My mother in law received a Christmas card from a friend in England that included the question: "Why do the Scots hate us so much?"

Said mother in law was bewildered. She moved to Scotland from Yorkshire more than a decade ago and has never experienced anything that made her feel an outsider, let alone 'hated'. She wrote back saying how happy she is in Scotland and inviting her friend to experience the welcome Scotland has to offer by coming to visit in 2016.

Today in the Daily Telegraphi former foreign secretary and on-time Conservative party leader William Hague warns that the UK would be foolish to vote to leave the EU, reminding readers that the SNP's trigger to reignite the process towards a further referendum on Scottish independence is only one 'material change' away.

Mr Hague says: "Scottish nationalists would jump at the chance to reverse the argument of last year's referendum – now it would be them saying they would stay in Europe without us. They would have the pretext for their second referendum, and the result of it could well be too close to call."

For the Scottish Government an overall UK vote to exit the EU at the same time as Scotland voted to stay would be a very big 'material change'.

Mr Hague's column was the top story on the UK BBC for a time this morning. Clearly because we are just two sleeps away from Christmas Day, and the machine that feeds UK news to UK news outlets has already gone on holiday, there's not a lot of competition for the top news slot. However, many in Scotland will have questioned by the UK BBC chose to recycle a story that is, from a Scottish perspective, weeks old.

The apparent novelty of Mr Hague's comments and the cheery Christmas greeting to my mother in law are linked.

Both are the result of the fracturing of news coverage between Scotland and England.

At one extreme is the Sun's ability to have a position for Scottish readers on nationalism that's never repeated to its consumers in England. Less extreme is the almost universal practice of providing Scottish editions for UK national newspapers.

A year of commuting from Edinburgh to London created frequent moments of confusion. I would arrive in the office clutching the Edinburgh airport-bought Scottish edition of the Times, Telegraph or Sun, pointing out stories to colleagues who, despite having read what they had thought was the same newspaper, had no idea what I was talking about.

Not only do the Scottish editions allow readers in England to have newspapers free from irrelevant tartan trivia. They also allow some of the more colourful reporting, in England, of the evolution of Scottish political preferences to go largely unchallenged by those whom the stories are about.

This narrowcasting alters the perspective of politicians as well as the public.

I, in common with many others, always said that the 2014 Scottish referendum was there for the UK political parties to lose as much as for the 'Yes' campaign to win. Misunderstanding the political driving forces of a nation that you seldom read much about because you are in Westminster or Downing Street may affect your appreciation of what its population wants.

David Cameron didn't want to be the PM who presided over the disintegration of the UK in 2014.

Ironically he is granting himself a second chance to be that PM with the promise of an EU vote that doesn't have to be unanimous across the four UK nations. Regardless of its outcome, Mr Cameron's one-nation approach to the EU referendum will be enough for Scots to feel disenfranchised enough for the SNP to feel it has the popular support it needs to seek a second Scottish independence referendum.


iDaily Telegraph