Hello and welcome to The Midge, the e-bulletin that takes a bite out of politics in Scotland and elsewhere. 

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In The Herald, deputy business editor Scott Wright reports on a growing revolt in Scotland’s pubs, restaurants and hotels over rising business rates. The head of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association calls it the trade’s “poll tax moment”. 

“On this Valentine’s Day we choose EU”, declares The National. 

“Murderer who got away” is the headline in the Mail, accompanied by a picture of Luke Knight, 40, one of the five men the paper accused of killing Stephen Lawrence. 

The Guardian says 200-plus celebrities including Michael Morpurgo and Ralph Fiennes have written to PM Theresa May urging her not to close a scheme allowing in lone child refugees. 

The Telegraph splashes on Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson’s London speech in which she said London politicians “should not dismiss the challenge the SNP poses”. 

The Times pictures the Bennet family from the Wirral. More than £170,000 has been raised by wellwishers following the death of the three children’s parents within days of each other. 


Who is the latest big name retailer to quit Sauchiehall Street? Find out in the Evening Times. 

Camley’s cartoon


Camley finds one patron raising a glass to protests against rate rises. 

FFS: Five in five seconds

What’s the story? 

Broadcaster Piers Morgan has attacked JK Rowling. 

We know that. Twitter spat. Some Aussie comedian told him to “**** off” on a TV show when Mr Morgan said the Trump travel ban was not a Muslim ban, she applauded the comic’s move? 

Yes, all that, and Ms Rowling was widely held to have trounced the Good Morning Britain anchor on Twitter. But now he has fired back from his turf - a column for the Daily Mail’s website. 


That she has a history of backing the losing side in politics, from Brexit to Hillary Clinton. He also raises her support for the No campaign, suggesting it was one reason she was having a go at him. “Maybe she is trying to earn back Brownie points in Scotland where she is widely loathed having urged people not to vote for independence a couple of years ago,” he writes. Calling her “JK ‘do as I say’ Rowling”, he added: “The sad truth about JK Rowling is that the more she has scorned, mocked and abused those who don’t agree with her political views, the worse her preferred options have performed.”

So it’s all over now?

No. Martina Navratilova has weighed in on Ms Rowling's side:


And Ms Rowling’s response?

Nothing as yet …

Afore Ye Go


“[I] inadvertently briefed the vice-president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador.”

And with that, Michael Flynn, national security adviser, became the first resignation from Donald Trump’s administration. The former Army lieutenant general is alleged to have spoken to Russia about US sanctions before he was appointed to the job. 

There is no vacancy, unless they know something we don’t, but that has not stopped the people at Ladbrokes calculating the odds on who will be Scotland's next First Minister. 


“They were from years ago when I was tweeting along with TV programmes but nevertheless, I shouldn't have tweeted those comments and I apologise for the offence they have caused.”

Gareth Snell, Labour's candidate in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, after the Guido Fawkes website uncovered social media comments in which he called panellists on ITV's Loose Women "squabbling sour-faced ladies” and called presenter Janet Street-Porter, above, second left, a "polished turd”. 


The winning picture in the 2017 World Press Photo competition, as taken by Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici. The photo, one of a series, shows Mevlut Mert Altintas after he shot the Russian ambassador in Ankara on December 19.

Not your conventional Valentine's day greeting from the Scottish Conservatives Murdo Fraser.


"Jeremy Corbyn is unwavering in his beliefs whether he is criticised for them or not. I would like to be his friend.”

Snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

What Mr and Mrs Cameron did next.


Spot the typo? Whoever proof read the official inauguration poster of Donald Trump did not, alas. The Library of Congress, sellers of the posters, withdrew them for amendment. USA Today. 

Someone unwisely has a go at Sky News' anchor Kay Burley over a story about Britain's oldest donkey.


Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow. Twitter: @alisonmrowat