Yousaf recites George Floyd’s last words in Holyrood speech

Closing a debate on racism Humza Yousaf held back tears as he read out the final words of George Floyd.

Yousaf: Held back tears. Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images
Yousaf: Held back tears.

Scotland’s Justice Secretary has recited the last words of George Floyd in an emotional speech in the Scottish Parliament.

Humza Yousaf, closing a debate on racism for the Scottish Government, held back tears as he read out the final words of the 46-year-old father, who died in police custody on May 25 in the US city of Minneapolis.

Mr Floyd’s death was caught on camera and went on to spark protests across the US and the world, including thousands who defied the wishes of Yousaf and the First Minister to demonstrate in Scotland despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yousaf said: “There is no black MSP in this parliament, in a debate about Black Lives Matter, there isn’t a black voice here – to our shame.


“So I want the last words in this debate to belong to George Floyd.”

Yousaf, after urging MSPs to imagine the last words of Mr Floyd were said by a member of their own family, read out what could be heard in the almost nine-minute-long video.

The Justice Secretary went on to say that not only did members of the black and minority ethnic community have to put up with “racist slurs”, but racism was “literally killing minorities”.

Turning to the issue of race in Scotland, Yousaf said the death of Mr Floyd and other racial issues elsewhere “force us to hold a mirror up to ourselves”.


He added: “This is the part where we should all begin to feel uncomfortable.
“We have to accept the reality and the evidence in front of us, that Scotland has a problem of structural racism.

“Take this parliament as an example – over 300 MSPs have come and gone out of this parliament and in 20 years, not a single black member of the Scottish Parliament.

“Our shame.”

Yousaf, one of only two black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) MSPs currently sitting in Holyrood alongside Labour’s Anas Sarwar, pointed out that the Liberal Democrats, Greens and Tories have not had a person of colour represent them in the Scottish Parliament.

He added: “I don’t say that to point the finger, I say that to make change.”
The Justice Secretary went on to point out those who he deals with on a daily basis in his portfolio, all of whom are white.

“Reciting the names of the heads of the legal profession, the courts and the police, Yousaf punctuated them with the word “white”, before moving on to the medical profession, trade unions and directors general of the Scottish Government.

He concluded by saying: “That is not good enough.”


Yousaf went on to address white people directly, saying “as people of colour, we don’t need your gestures”.

“Don’t just tweet Black Lives Matter.

“Don’t just post a hashtag.

“Don’t just take the knee.”

He added: “What we need from you is action and for you to be anti-racist by your deeds.

“Don’t just tell us how you’re not a racist – I take that as a bare minimum – you must be anti-racist.”

Major emergency search through the night for seven-year-old boy

Carson Shephard went missing in East Ayrshire on Sunday evening.

Police Scotland
Carson is around 3ft 6in tall, has short dark brown hair, and is of slim build.

A seven-year-old boy is still missing following a major search operation by emergency services.

Carson Shephard disappeared in Afton Bridgend in New Cumnock, East Ayrshire.

The schoolboy was last seen in the village at around 7.20pm on Sunday with a public appeal issued later that night.

The seven-year-old was still missing on Monday morning with police deploying a helicopter, divers, dog units and receiving aid from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service water support unit.


Members of the community in Ayrshire have also been helping officers in the area, with locals asked to search sheds and garden for the missing boy.

Carson is around 3ft 6in tall, has short dark brown hair, and is of slim build.

He was last known to be wearing dark blue jeans, a t-shirt and a black top.

Anyone who has any information or may have seen Carson, or know of his whereabouts, has been urged to call Police Scotland on 101, or 999 in an emergency situation, quoting incident number 3162 of Sunday, September 19, 2021.

Children aged 12 to 15 start being offered Covid vaccine

Youngsters can now visit drop-in clinics to receive their jab following recommendation by chief medical officers.

valentinrussanov via IStock
Youngsters aged 12 to 15 are being offered the coronavirus vaccine from Monday.

Children in Scotland aged between 12 and 15 are now being offered one dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

Drop-in clinics opened for youngsters in that age group on Monday.

Next week, letters will be sent to all 12 to 15-year-olds inviting them to an appointment at a drop-in centre or vaccination clinic.

The move comes after the chief medical officers (CMOs) of the four UK nations advised younger teenagers should be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.


They concluded that vaccination could reduce disruption to education.

The decision to go ahead comes despite the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) deciding not to recommend mass vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds.

The JCVI had said Covid-19 presents a very low risk for healthy children and vaccination would only offer a marginal benefit.

But they suggested that the wider issues, such as education, should be taken into consideration and examined by CMOs.


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs last week: “We believe that vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds is important and we will, therefore, move to implement the advice as quickly as possible.

“It is, of course, important to stress the importance of informed consent. I know that many young people and their parents will have questions.”

Sturgeon explained that material will be made available to provide “balanced information” to help young people and their parents make informed choices.

She said that parents and carers will be invited to accompany their children for vaccination.

Scotland’s Children and Young People’s Commissioner welcomed the advice to offer the coronavirus vaccine to children.

Bruce Adamson said children of this age group have told him over the last few months that they are in favour of having the choice to be vaccinated.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teaching union, also welcomed the decision.


EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Offering the vaccine to young people in the 12 to 15 age group will make secondary schools safer by reducing the risk of the virus spreading through school communities and will help reduce the level of disruption to education.”

But parents have mixed views on whether their children should be vaccinated.

Arlene Dickson, who is a parent to boys aged 12 and 15, said her children already had the vaccine as their dad has an autoimmune disease.

She told STV News: “Yes, there are risks but I think the benefits outweigh them; the person getting the vaccine, it protects them from getting seriously ill and unfortunately there has been cases of 12-15 year-olds who have died and become seriously ill from getting Covid.”

However, Joanne O’Connor’s says her two children, aged 12 and nine, won’t be getting the jab. They are currently at home after testing positive for coronavirus.

O’Connor said: “Covid is rife at schools just now so ultimately a great majority of kids are catching it, so they are going to get their immunity from that.

“I just don’t see the need to force vaccination, there is no evidence to say children get extremely ill or unwell or get hospitalised, so for me it’s just the risk of the vaccine is not worth taking.”

More than half of all schools in Scotland reported at least one positive case of Covid-19 among pupils in the first two weeks of term, new figures show.

A freedom of information request submitted to Public Health Scotland (PHS) shows that 1455 schools in Scotland recorded a positive case between August 16 and August 27, the first two weeks of term – 58.7% of all schools.

According to Scottish Government figures released in December, there are 2476 schools registered in the country.

While it is not clear how many of the cases in schools were contracted there as opposed to the community, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly said the return of schools in Scotland contributed to the spike in Covid-19 cases seen in recent weeks, which she said this week has shown signs of dissipating.

Dr Sarah Chan at the University of Edinburgh “Children may not be getting as sick with Covid but they’re nevertheless suffering the impacts of the pandemic.

“And so the more we can do to slow and stop that the better.”

Meanwhile, Scotland’s rollout of Covid booster vaccinations for elderly care home residents is also to get under way this week.

The Scottish Government has confirmed older residents in care homes are the first to be offered both flu and coronavirus booster vaccines from Monday.

Frontline health and social care workers will able to book an appointment for a booster jab online at NHS Inform from Tuesday this week.

Adults aged 70 and over and those aged 16 and over who are on the highest risk list (previously known as the shielding list) will begin to be contacted by letter or by their GP from the end of September.

People on the highest risk list who were severely immunosuppressed at the time of their last Covid vaccination will be offered a third primary dose instead.

Three vaccines have been approved as safe and effective as boosters, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna, but experts have decided to opt for Pfizer as a preference after studies showed it is well tolerated and works well as a booster.

‘Human swan’ injured and support staff member killed in accident

Dan Burton dies as a result of paramotor accident in the western Highlands and Sacha Dench seriously injured.

Andrew Milligan via PA Media
Paramotorist Sacha Dench was seriously injured in the accident.

Sacha Dench, who was attempting a world-first circumnavigation of mainland Britain to raise awareness about climate change, has been seriously injured after a paramotor accident in the western Highlands of Scotland.

Dan Burton, a member of her support staff, was killed during the incident.

Ms Dench had been dubbed the “human swan” as she attempted a 3000-mile Round Britain Climate Challenge ahead of the COP26 conference due to start on October 31.

In statement, the trustees of the Conservation Without Borders, which was founded by Ms Dench, said the accident happened near Loch Na Gainmhich in the far north of Scotland.


The statement said: “We are very sorry to have to confirm that Dan Burton, the support paramotorist has died as a result of the accident.

“Sacha Dench is seriously injured and is being treated in hospital. Her injuries are serious but not life-threatening

“Both highly experienced paramotorists, our thoughts are with the family of Dan Burton to whom we offer our sincere condolences.

“The incident was attended by police and medics and enquiries are underway to establish the details of the accident.”


The statement added that the families of those involved had been informed and that the Round Britain Climate Challenge would now be put on hold.

More on:

Dad gets new heart just in time to see first child born

Ross Peters spent months in hospital waiting for a heart transplant while his wife was pregnant.

Ross Peters via Contributed
Ross, Shauni and Louis are now loving life at home in Dundee.

A young dad who spent months in hospital waiting for a heart transplant got home just in time to see his son arrive into the world.

Ross Peters was too sick to leave the Golden Jubilee in Glasgow as he waited for a donor – while his pregnant wife Shauni was preparing to give birth for the first time.

After eight weeks in hospital, he was woken by a nurse who gave him the life-saving news that a suitable heart had been found.

That meant 27-year-old Ross – telling his story to mark Organ Donation Week – could be at his wife’s side when their first child, Louis, was born.


‘Motivation to keeping going’

“Everything worked out perfectly, timing wise,” he told STV News. “It couldn’t have been timed any better.

“I was absolutely terrified I was going to miss the birth, it was a motivation to keep going and make sure I stayed as physically fit as I could for the operation, so I would recover quickly.

“But there was a part of me that genuinely didn’t think I would be there [at the birth]. I was told I could watch it through a webcam, but I said that wasn’t happening.”


No other cure

Ross, from Dundee, was just 21-years-old when he suddenly felt unwell while out with friends, and the next morning found himself struggling to catch his breath.

After being taken by ambulance to Ninewells Hospital, he was soon transferred to the Scottish National Adult Heart Failure Service at NHS Golden Jubilee, where he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body.

Ross was fitted with a defibrillator but was told there was no cure – other than a heart transplant.

Ross Peters via Contributed
Ross Peters recovers in hospital after his heart transplant.

In January 2020, the heart-starting device activated twice, and by the summer, Ross’s health had deteriorated so much that he was placed on the urgent transplant list and told he was too sick to leave hospital.

Over the next two months, coronavirus restricted the amount of time he could spend with his family, including his pregnant wife.

He said: “I went into the Golden Jubilee thinking it wouldn’t be that bad and was then told I was so ill I couldn’t leave the hospital and actually needed a heart transplant.


“It was during lockdown, my wife was pregnant, it was awful and all I could think about was being well enough to be at my wife’s side at the birth of our son.”

Ross Peters via Contributed
Ross holds a newly born Louis.

Ross is now at home and loving life with his young son Louis and wants others to discuss organ donation with their families.

“I take 15 tablets every day, but I roll out of bed – I can do anything I want,” he said. “Nothing stops me.

“I can raise my son and none of that would have been possible without a heart transplant. I’m so grateful and so lucky.”

‘We all celebrated’

For staff at the Golden Jubilee – who have performed 36 heart transplants since the start of the pandemic – getting Ross home in time to see Louis being born was a special moment.

Consultant transplant cardiologist Dr Jane Cannon told STV News: “With Ross, I know his partner was pregnant and we all felt part of that journey.

“So for him to get home and see the birth of his son – we all celebrated in that.”

‘So many people waiting’

Organ Donation Week – which runs from Monday, September 20 – aims to encourage people to speak with their families about their wishes once they die.

Scotland has moved to an opt-out system, which means it’s assumed organs will be donated unless people state otherwise or are in an “excluded group” – under 16s, adults who lack capacity and those who have lived here less than a year.

Dr Cannon said: “Organ Donation Week is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and transplant in general.

“This is an important topic which may not come up in everyday conversation, but it’s important to discuss with family and friends so your wishes are known.

“Despite best efforts, there are so many people waiting for a life-saving operation.”

Inquiry to begin into problems at two flagship hospitals

Probe into problems at hospitals in Glasgow and Edinburgh that contributed to the death of two children.

SNS Group via SNS Group
Inquiry is investigating the construction of Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

An inquiry will begin hearing evidence on Monday into problems at two flagship Scottish hospitals that contributed to the death of two children.

The Scottish Hospitals Inquiry is investigating the construction of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) campus in Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Edinburgh.

The inquiry was ordered after patients at the Glasgow site died from infections linked to pigeon droppings and the water supply, and the opening of the Edinburgh site was delayed due to concerns over the ventilation system.

Earlier this year, an independent review found the death of two children at the QEUH were at least in part the result of infections linked to the hospital environment.


The review investigated 118 episodes of serious bacterial infection in 84 children and young people who received treatment for blood disease, cancer or related conditions at the Royal Hospital for Children at the campus.

It found a third of these infections were “most likely” to have been linked to the hospital environment.

Two of 22 deaths were, “at least in part”, the result of their infection, it said.

Kimberly Darroch, the mother of 10-year-old Milly Main who died in the QEUH in 2017 after contracting an infection, has led calls for further investigation into issues at the hospital.


The opening of the Edinburgh children’s hospital – due to take place in 2019 – had to be delayed after the Scottish Government was alerted to safety issues there shortly before it was due to start receiving patients.

It finally opened in March of this year.

The inquiry will aim to determine how issues at the two hospitals relating to ventilation, water contamination and other matters impacted on patient safety and care and whether this could have been prevented.

It will begin hearing from affected patients and families on Monday.

Lord Brodie, who will chair the inquiry, said: “No other group has been more affected by these issues than the patients and families from whom we will be hearing in the next few weeks.

“Their experiences will help inform future lines of investigation as we turn our attention to subsequent phases of the inquiry.

“This first diet of hearings is the culmination of a year of preparation, providing us with a foundation to ensure that the inquiry is led by the evidence it uncovers during the course of its lifetime.


“Ultimately, our role is to understand what went wrong with the construction of these hospitals so lessons can be learned to prevent the recurrence of such issues in the future.”

The hearings will take place at offices near Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Square and will be streamed online.

They will run for three weeks before a two-week break. They will resume on October 25 for a further two weeks.

Gordon Brown given ambassadorial role at World Health Organisation

Former prime minister has been appointed ambassador for global health financing at the UN agency.

Duncan McGlynn / Stringer via Getty Images
Brown has been campaigning to ensure equitable distribution of Covid vaccines.

The World Health Organisation has appointed former prime minister Gordon Brown an ambassador for global health financing.

Brown has been campaigning tirelessly in recent months for wealthy nations and the private sector to ensure the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

He is calling for a concerted global effort to save lives, especially in poorer countries, to help end the pandemic and restore livelihoods the world over.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said: “I am delighted and honoured that Gordon Brown has agreed to serve as WHO ambassador for global health financing.


“In this role, he will elevate and support WHO’s work to raise awareness internationally on the great need for sustained global health financing, particularly from G20 and G7 countries.

“As a longtime friend of Gordon’s, I know that he will bring his sharp intellect, firm commitment and deep sense of justice to this ambassadorship.”

Brown said: “I have a tremendous personal regard for Dr Tedros with whom I first worked two decades ago, and I am delighted to be able to help his and WHO’s work raising global finance to ensure everyone has access to health.

“Our immediate task is to work together to finance the vaccination of the whole world and protect the poorest countries from the terrible effects of Covid-19 and other diseases.”

Four celebrities to explore Scottish wildlife in Channel 4 show

Actors Martin Clunes and Ben Miller, politician Baroness Warsi and the Reverend Richard Coles will all participate.

Lewis Whyld via PA Wire
Presenter Hamza Yassin will guide his celebrity companions on Scottish Wild Escapes.

Actors Martin Clunes and Ben Miller, politician Baroness Warsi and the Reverend Richard Coles will immerse themselves in Scottish wildlife for a forthcoming Channel 4 show.

Scottish Wild Escapes, the four-part series’ working title, will see wildlife cameraman and presenter Hamza Yassin guide his celebrity companions on journeys through west and eastern Scotland and the Highlands.

Show bosses say it will allow the guests to “escape the pressures of their daily life and with nature as their tonic, learn something about themselves while rediscovering their appreciation for the outdoors”.

Clunes, 59, is best known for playing Martin Ellingham in ITV series Doc Martin and Gary Strang in Men Behaving Badly, while Miller, 55, found fame as part of a comedy duo with Alexander Armstrong.

Ian West via PA Wire
Martin Clunes (Ian West/PA)

Coles, 59, is a broadcaster and former member of the band The Communards, while Lady Warsi, 50, was co-chairwoman of the Conservative Party from 2010 to 2012.

The celebrities will spend time cooking outdoors, stargazing and spotting British wildlife such as otters, deer, sea eagles, osprey and red squirrels.

Yassin will also teach his guests about the local wildlife and each area’s natural history.

Ian West via PA Wire
The Reverend Richard Coles (Ian West/PA)

He previously worked on Channel 4 documentary Scotland: My Life in the Wild, serving as both presenter and cameraman.


Commissioned for More4 by Harjeet Chhokar, Scottish Wild Escapes is produced by Hello Halo.

Three men killed and five injured in M8 motorway crash

The westbound carriageway was closed near junction 31 following crash early on Sunday morning.

MarioGuti via IStock
Police investigating fatal road crash in Renfrewshire.

Three men have died after their car left the M8 motorway and crashed early on Sunday morning.

The men, two aged 27 and one aged 31, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Five other men were taken to hospital for treatment of serious but non-life threatening injuries.

The incident happened at around 5.05am on Sunday, when a blue Audi Q7 left the road on the M8 westbound near to junction 31 in Renfrewshire.

A 35-year-old man has been arrested in connection with road traffic offences.


Inspector Darren Cook, of Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit, said: “Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of those who have lost their lives as a result of this crash.

“Our enquiries are currently ongoing to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident and we are seeking assistance from the public to help with our investigation.

“Although this happened in the early hours of the morning, we believe there may be other road users that can help with our enquiry.

“I would ask if you were driving in the area around the time of the incident or have possible dashcam footage that you come forward and speak to officers.


“Police can be contacted by calling 101 and quoting incident number 0860 of Sunday, 19 September, 2021.”

More on:

Demand for GP services ‘has never been higher in Scotland’

Tory MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane said he saw double the patients he would normally have seen in pre-pandemic times last week.

FreshSplash via IStock
Tory MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane said demand for GP services is 'unsustainable' as Covid cases continue to rise.

The demand for GP services is “unsustainable” as Covid cases continue to rise across Scotland, claims one NHS doctor.

Dr Sandesh Gulhane, shadow cabinet secretary for health, said he saw double the amount of patients he would normally have seen in pre-pandemic times last week.

Speaking on The Sunday Show, the Glasgow MSP said: “The demand for GPs has never been higher.

“On Monday, I had 80 patient contacts in general practice. That’s not safe, that’s not sustainable, but it’s the level of demand we’re facing.”


He added: “Pre-Covid you would have about 20 patients in the morning, and you’d have about 15 to 20 in the afternoon.

“And that’s sort of the levels that we would want to be working to, so it’s almost doubled the demand, and the telephones are ringing off the hook.”

Dr Gulhane said patients need to be flowing through NHS services again to help with the current demand.

“We need operations to start again, we need patients being seen in clinics,” he said.


“We’re struggling to treat them (patients) and all the new patients that are coming to us, so we need to get that flow going.”

Dr Gulhane said one of the main problems behind the backlog of patients was the lack of anaesthetists in hospitals.

He said the Scottish Government needs to make more of an effort to come up with a “strategic recruitment plan” to hire more anaesthetists to assist with appointments in clinics and hospitals.

On Friday senior surgeon Professor Michael Griffin, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, said the majority of the issues in Scotland’s hospitals and the knock-on effect to the ambulance service are not due to Covid.

Prof Griffin warned Scotland has “a real workforce problem in the NHS and in social care” that needs to be addressed and it is causing a “vicious circle” impacting all parts of the health service.

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme that increasing numbers of Covid cases and infected patients in hospitals are adding to the “very, very complex problem” facing the health service – including under-pressure paramedics.

It comes after the Scottish Government officially requested help from the army to support the ambulance service amid deteriorating response times.


The comments appear to contradict Nicola Sturgeon’s insistence that the crisis in the ambulance service is “largely caused by the Covid pressure” and it is “the latest in a number of significant challenges posed to us as a result of this pandemic”.

You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?