A daily newspaper journalist since January 1974, I was deprived of my first front page splash by Richard Nixon's resignation. I could forgive him Watergate, but not that. I covered Northern Ireland in the 1980s, joined the then Glasgow Herald in 1989, and turned to political journalism in 1994. Married with children and grandchildren, I consider myself a Humanist, with strong political views but have carried no party card since 1971.
Is a single police force for Scotland a good idea and is it really going to work?
I arrived in (Scotland in) November 2007 and within a year I was being asked if it was feasible. I have been consistent in saying it’s feasible but it was only in the last three years that I said I thought it was something we should do. That was a relatively lone voice. The Superintendents’ Association has always said it’s what we should do.
Instead, detectives will be dedicated to combating organised crime and terrorism because the volume of work will keep them sharp and make most effective use of resources.
Chief Constable Stephen House – who will run Police Scotland when it officially becomes operational on Monday – said there were two reasons for combining counter-terrorism and organised crime in the same unit, in contrast to the situation in England.
New independent figures predicting the North Sea will generate up to £24 billion less than Scottish Government estimates sparked angry clashes following George Osborne's statement.
In a separate row, Finance Secretary John Swinney accused the UK Government of "deceit" and "baloney" over claims the Budget would give Scotland extra spending power.
SNP ministers came under pressure after the independent Office for Budget Responsibility lowered its predictions for North Sea tax take by nearly £1bn over the coming five years.
Mr MacAskill said he had "complete faith in the police to take appropriate action against those who broke the law" and noted it was Labour in 2006 who had brought in the requirement for those planning to march or demonstrate to seek permission in advance from the local authority.
"In relation to events in Glasgow on Saturday, no such application was received," he said, adding that the police would be happy to brief any MSP on the events and, after any trials, make CCTV footage available to them.
Thirteen people were arrested for alleged public order offences in Glasgow on Saturday, and have since been released pending further action.
MSPs, QCs and independent legal advisers have joined football fans in accusing the police of "harassment, victimisation and disproportionate actions", Labour MSP Michael McMahon told Holyrood.
He was joined by fellow Labour MSP Hugh Henry in calling for an independent inquiry to ensure that the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act is not being used to "harass football fans".