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, business correspondent Kevin Scott reports that 5000 shops in Scotland will pay more in rates than those in England and Wales. 

“It’s just Nutt true” is the headline in The National accompanying the story of Ukip leader Paul Nuttall admitting he did not lose close friends at Hillsborough, as had been claimed. 

The Mail says the rates at the SNP’s HQ in Edinburgh are to be cut by a third to £12,908, while the Times reports that Amazon is in for a rates cut at six of its distribution centres. 

The Guardian spotlights Diane Abbott’s warning that abuse is putting young women off entering politics. See Afore Ye Go, below. 

“Football is as harmful as boxing” is the lead in the Telegraph, reporting a study by University College London that examined the link between brain damage, dementia and early death. 


The Evening Times looks forward to a jobs boost for Glasgow

Camley’s cartoon


Remember the Alamo says Camley, as Education Secretary John Swinney rides into town with the promise of hundreds of new teachers. Read the story here. 

FFS: Five in five seconds

What’s the story? The fall-out from Michael Flynn’s resignation as US national security adviser is drawing closer to the president. 

In what way? In a “what did he know and when did he know it” way. It emerged last night that the president found out on January 26 that Mr Flynn had misled vice president Mike Pence about speaking to the Russians about sanctions. It is an offence in the US for a private citizen to “conduct diplomacy” in this way. 

So why wait till yesterday to oust him? A source told the Associated Press he initially thought Mr Flynn could survive the row. Others have said it was misleading the VP, who went on TV to defend Mr Flynn, not the conversations with the ambassador, that meant the adviser had to go. 

What is the White House saying? Spokesman Sean Spicer said last night: “The evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation and a series of other questionable incidents is what led the president to ask General Flynn for his resignation.”

And the president himself? He had been uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter, then popped up to point reporters in the direction of what he said was the "real story":

Afore Ye Go


“Other women look at how those of us in the public space are treated and think twice about speaking up publicly, let alone getting involved in political activity.”

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott speaks out about the sexist and racist abuse she faces daily online, saying if she had known 30 years ago it would be like this the young Diane would have thought twice about entering politics. Guardian


Citing Brexit minister David Davis sending a text message saying he did not kiss her as “I’m not blind”, Ms Abbott also mentioned Tory MP Nicholas Soames having to apologise to SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, above, for making barking noises as she spoke. “Such sexism towards female MPs is sadly still commonplace,” said Ms Abbott. Guardian


"I know the BBC has a special contract that I'm to burst into tears at one point in this programme, but I can't do it, I'm from Dundee.”

The man himself in Andrew Marr: My Brain And Me, a film charting his progress since a stroke in 2013, which aired last night on the BBC (and available on iPlayer). He closed the programme with the line: “If there's any lesson from this, it's worth never giving up.”


"While Nicola Sturgeon obsesses with Brexit and independence, Scottish companies large and small are staring down the barrel of a gun.”

Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson calls for an urgent parliamentary statement on business rates following reports in The Herald that hikes in rates were threatening firms and jobs. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Did you get your Valentine from Tory peer Baroness Mone?

As the row between Piers Morgan and JK Rowling raged on, YouGov decided to hold a popularity contest.


US president Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka posts a photo of herself seated at the Oval Office desk while her father and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau stand on either side. Not everyone was impressed:


Thanks to the BBC's Jack Evans.


Iranian director Asghar Farhadi is to boycott the Oscars because of Donald Trump’s travel ban. Instead, the filmmaker, already an Oscar winner with A Separation, will premiere his nominated film, The Salesman, at a free screening in London organised by London mayor Sadiq Khan. Ian West/PA Wire


"I get put in the changing room and clothes are passed to me under the door - a bit like feeding time at the zoo.”

Former prime minister David Cameron, still publicising his wife’s new clothing line, on shopping for clothes. Above, the Camerons leave Downing Street in July. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Just in case you are in the market for a new family pet. Finally in pet corner:

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