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A handy train delay

Last week's damning detail on the West Coast line franchise cock-up will be music to the ears of Transport Minister Keith Brown, who in December issued a statement proclaiming the superiority of the Scottish franchise regime ("We are clearly in a better place") and tut-tutting about Westminster's "accumulation of errors caused by inadequate planning and preparation, a complex organisational structure and a weak governance and quality assurance framework".

"I fully expect the DfT to be revising its internal structure and processes in the light of the report," he added, somewhat pompously.

Enquiries into this classic Whitehall farce have been seized on by the Scottish Government as a handy excuse to delay the award of the new ScotRail franchise by five months "to allow time to process the results". But cynics will note that the five-month delay moves a potentially controversial decision from just before the independence referendum to after it, a sign perhaps that Brown does not expect the next franchise deal to be a particularly attractive one from the taxpayer's point of view.

IT is not a great reflection on modern Scotland that Adam Smith, Glasgow University's greatest student, professor and rector, is so much better known abroad than at home. Be that as it may, Glasgow is belatedly putting the prestige of the sage of Kirkcaldy to work for it internationally, by rebranding its thriving business school in his honour next week, 275 years after Smith, then 14, entered the university gates.

Established in 1986, the soon-to-be Adam Smith Business School is the second-largest such school in the UK with 110 academics and more than 3600 students. It already attracts 1600 international students from 54 countries, and is hoping for more as its name pops up in economics students' web searches from Beijing to Buenos Aires.

Head of the school, Professor Farhad Noorbakhsh, says: "Adam Smith continues to inspire people from all over the world and naming the Business School in his honour is a fitting way to mark his legacy."

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