“Online warriors” are a problem in politics and they should stop, Alex Salmond has said.
The Alba party leader said adherents of all parties had issues with “keyboard warriors”.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, he was asked about a report which accused Iran of pushing disinformation on social media in order to influence the Scottish Parliament election.
A report by the right-leaning foreign affairs think-tank the Henry Jackson Society found that “Iran’s activities in cyber space are designed to attack the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom”.
Salmond said he had not seen convincing evidence of a “deep-seated” Iranian plot to promote pro-independence parties.
He said: “I think we’ve got a real issue with online warriors, let’s call them that, both in society and in politics.
“I think people should stop doing it.
“Obviously the companies concerned who hold the online platforms, they have to reconcile freedom of speech with civic responsibility, but it’s not an attractive feature of politics.”
He said “keyboard warriors” were an issue for all parties, adding: “No doubt adherents of all political parties can be guilty of this but it doesn’t reflect the best of politics.”
He said foreign attempts to interfere in politics, like those alleged in the report, have “little or no effect on the substance of politics, indeed could well be counterproductive”.
The rise in coronavirus cases in Glasgow is a “red flag that needs to be dealt with”, a senior health expert has warned.
It comes after a third of the 345 new cases of Covid-19 recorded in Scotland on Wednesday were found to be in the city.
Pollokshields, in the southside of Glasgow, has the highest transmission rate in Scotland – 575 per 100,000, which is just slightly higher than in Easterhouse, in the east end of the city.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that the situation in Glasgow is being monitored “very closely”, amidst concern over the so-called Indian variant.
Lockdown restrictions are set to be eased for most of Scotland from Monday, with Glasgow due to be moved into level two.
Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, said that a “robust response” is needed to the rise in cases.
Asked if she would advise the Scottish Government against moving Glasgow to level two, she said: “I’m not privy to all the information that they are, it’s for them to make that decision.
“But we do need a robust response and I suppose we’ll hear from them in the next few days what that decision is.”
Professor Bauld continued: “We need to benefit from the progress that we’ve made and not put it at risk.
“And in the past, and this is just a historical point, we perhaps have not acted early enough to get on top of outbreaks.
“So, as I say nationally, I remain optimistic, but I think this is just a red flag that needs to be dealt with.”
Professor Bauld said that a local approach to identify cases should be the first step in tackling cases in the city.
“I would say it’s for policy colleagues to decide what happens,” she explained.
“There’s over 600,000 people living in Glasgow City local authority, it seems perhaps premature to say – once again remember Glasgow has been hard hit with restrictions in the past – okay the whole city can’t move.
“I think a localised approach really, as I say, concentrated identification and support of cases is the first step.
“But obviously others will be making those decisions.”
Professor Bauld indicated that her message to people would be to use caution as more is opened up from next week.
She said: “We’re moving completely in the right direction, we want to keep moving in that direction.
“We don’t want to take a step back and that means that we all need to try and follow the guidance and when more things open next week, do that really, really cautiously and just make sure that we don’t have more community transmission.”
Protesters block van in bid to stop immigration removals
Around 200 protesters are at the scene in Pollokshields, with chants of 'these are our neighbours, let them go'.
Protesters have gathered in Glasgow to demonstrate their opposition to a raid by the Home Office.
Immigration officials for the UK Border Agency had moved on a property on Kenmure Street in Pollokshields on Thursday morning before protesters blockaded an enforcement van.
Police were called in to provide support and surrounded the van, while the gathered crowd could be heard chanting: “These are our neighbours, let them go.”
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Around 9.55 am this morning, Thursday, 13 May, 2021, police were called to support colleagues at the UK Border Agency at an address in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, Glasgow.
“A number of protesters are now at the location. Officers are at the scene and enquiries are continuing.”
SNP MP Alison Thewliss, who represents Glasgow Central, tweeted that she would be taking the matter up with UK Government ministers.
She wrote: “This is absolutely awful, but heartened to see local residents in Pollokshields standing up for their neighbours and refusing to accept the brutality of the @ukhomeoffice.
“I am taking this matter up with Ministers. Not in our name.”
Mohammad Asif, director of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation, was one of what he said were hundreds of neighbours protesting against the action.
The 54-year-old said: “We’re here against the hostile environment created by the Tories and the British state.
“The same people who run from the British and American bombs put at the back of the van right now. And they are about to be deported.
“And it’s on Eid you know… the guys are not even allowed to pray. How do you do that in a democratic society? It’s a sad day.”
Mr Asif, who left Afghanistan as a refugee himself in 2000, said the atmosphere amongst the protesters was peaceful.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scotland’s other party leaders have been sworn in as MSPs.
Returning and new members of the Scottish Parliament were sworn in on Thursday morning following last week’s Holyrood election.
Outgoing Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh, who decided not to stand in the election, ran proceedings, which require MSPs to pledge their allegiance to the Queen before they are allowed to undertake any parliamentary duties or receive their MSP salary.
If the oath or affirmation is not taken within two months, they will lose their seat.
The First Minister made an affirmation, followed by Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar taking the oath.
Beforehand, Sturgeon said the SNP “pledges loyalty to the people of Scotland in line with the Scottish constitutional tradition of the sovereignty of the people”.
Ahead of his affirmation, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said he wanted to reassert that his party’s “allegiance lies with the people of Scotland who elected this Parliament and who are sovereign, and we look forward to the day when they can choose their own elected head of state”.
His fellow Greens co-leader Lorna Slater also chose to affirm.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie was the last party leader to be sworn in and he took the oath.
The rest of the MSPs are being sworn in in alphabetical order.
Ariane Burgess, who gave her affirmation in Gaelic, said beforehand she believes “the people of Scotland are sovereign”.
A number of MSPs will take their oath in a language other than English, including Scots, Gaelic, Urdu, Orcadian, Doric and even, in the case of Zimbabwe-born North East Green MSP Maggie Chapman, Zimbabwean Shona.
The oath will be followed by the election of the new Presiding Officer, who will take charge of proceedings in Parliament for the next five years.
No MSP has yet signalled their intent publicly to stand for the position, which requires elected members to renounce their party affiliation and act cross-party for the duration.
Parliamentary arithmetic could prevent some MSPs from putting themselves forward for the position, given the SNP is just one seat short of a majority.
If the SNP puts someone forward, it would drop further away from the 65 MSPs needed to pass legislation on its own – whereas the chamber would be tied if an opposition MSP takes the role.
Friday will see the election of deputy presiding officers, who do not have to relinquish their party affiliation.
Footballers won’t talk about their mental health problems in case it damages their careers, a striker who suffered abuse following suicide attempts has warned.
David Cox says many professional players are suffering in silence because they fear being released by their clubs or left unable to secure new contracts.
Cox recently announced his retirement after accusing a fellow player of mocking his mental health issues during a game.
He left the match in question at half-time, with an investigation ongoing into the alleged comments, which are strongly denied by the other player.
Speaking to Scotland Tonight before quitting the game, the 32-year-old said: “If someone feels like they want to come out and speak, it’s going to be in the back of their mind that it will affect their life in football.
“Unfortunately, there are always going to be managers, clubs or staff who look as that as a problem.”
Cox first spoke about his mental health issues in a newspaper interview seven years ago.
He revealed he had made attempts to end his life and, since then, has received horrific abuse on and off the pitch.
“I heard a few things from the stand after I told my story,” he said. “I remember one of the shouts was to ‘do it properly this time’.
“I’m no angel on the park and I’ll say things, but when it comes to personal stuff there needs to be a line.”
The well-travelled striker has played for a number of Scottish clubs and believes some have refused to renew his contracts because of his health issues.
“Some clubs have been absolutely amazing with me, really good,” he said. “But I’ve also been at clubs where I’ve been pushed out because of my mental health.”
Scotland Tonight – on STV at 7.30pm on Thursday – will take a closer look at the darker side of the beautiful game, asking what’s being done to help players who are struggling to cope.
Rangers have asked their supporters to make sure that they follow Covid guidelines and restrictions when they celebrate the club’s league title win this weekend.
Steven Gerrard’s side will lift the Premiership trophy on Saturday after the conclusion of their match against Aberdeen at Ibrox, and the team could complete an unbeaten league season.
Police Scotland has already warned against large gatherings after a fan group organised a title day march from Ibrox to George Square, while justice secretary Humza Yousaf urged Rangers fans to celebrate at home this weekend.
In a statement on the club’s website, Rangers warned that the dangers of Covid-19 were still present despite some restrictions being lifted across the country, and asked the team’s fans to behave accordingly.
It read: “It’s a day to enjoy and to celebrate the achievements of our club, and the title win by Steven Gerrard and his team. However, we are cognisant that the battle against Covid-19 is far from over and that the virus is still live. It hasn’t gone away.
“Please celebrate this historic day for our club in a safe and sensible manner, respecting public safety- adhering to the current government guidelines and restrictions which are still in place.
“In particular, please be mindful of the government guidelines regarding gathering in large numbers. If possible, please celebrate within your own community.”
The request comes a day after Police Scotland launched an investigation into the lighting of fireworks outside Livingston’s Tony Macaroni Arena while Rangers played there on Wednesday night.
A group of 200 fans gathered to watch Steven Gerrard’s team from a hill just outside the ground in West Lothian.
Sergeant Jim Gowling said: “An investigation is under way after several pyrotechnics were let off during the Livingston v Rangers game.
“The inquiry will involve officers reviewing extensive CCTV footage to identify those involved in this reckless and dangerous behaviour.”
Appeal after man found seriously injured near busy road
The 56-year-old was discovered at around 5.45am on Thursday in Grangemouth
A man is in a critical condition in hospital after being found seriously injured in Grangemouth.
The 56-year-old was found on Abbots Road at the junction with Newlands Road and Newhouse Road in the town at around 5.45am on Thursday.
He was taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital where he is in a critical condition.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 5.45am on Thursday May 13, we received a report that a 56-year-old man had been found with injuries on Abbots Road at the junction with Newlands Road and Newhouse Road, in Grangemouth.
“He was taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital where he is described as being in a critical condition.
“Enquiries to establish the full circumstances are ongoing. Anyone who was walking or driving in the area and saw the man between 4pm yesterday and 5.45am this morning is asked to contact police with information on 101, quoting reference number 0417 of May 13.”
Voters are going to the polls in a by-election to choose a new MP for the Airdrie and Shotts constituency.
Polling stations will open on Thursday morning in the North Lanarkshire seat in the race to replace incumbent SNP MP Neil Gray.
Gray stepped down to contest the same seat in the Scottish Parliament election, and became an MSP last week.
The two elections were not held on the same day due to concerns about coronavirus and the possibility of voter confusion because of the different ballot systems used in Westminster and Holyrood elections.
Gray held the seat for the SNP in the 2019 general election, taking 45% of the vote, with Labour coming second on 32%. This gave the SNP a majority of 5201 votes.
Modern studies teacher Anum Qaisar-Javed is the SNP candidate, facing Labour councillor Kenneth Stevenson.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon campaigned in Airdrie and Shotts with Ms Qaisar-Javed on Wednesday, alongside the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar was also on the campaign trail on Wednesday with Mr Stevenson.
The other candidates standing for the seat are Stephen Arrundale, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Ben Callaghan, Scottish Conservatives, Martyn Green, Reform UK, Donald Mackay, UKIP, Neil Manson, Social Democratic Party and Jonathan Stanley for the Scottish Unionist Party.