Good morning and welcome to The Midge, your first bite of the day’s politics from Scotland and elsewhere. 

HeraldScotland: David Cameron is off to the north of England on the campaign trail

Today’s top stories

  • David Cameron (above): "Seven UK attacks foiled in six months"
  • Row over Glasgow asylum flights
  • Government to hire 1900 more intelligence staff
  • France launches airstrikes on Isis stronghold Raqqa
  • G20 meeting in Turkey
  • Scottish Affairs Committee MPs to “regularly’' travel north 

06.00 BBC Radio Four Today headlines

France launches airstrikes in Raqqa… Extra government funding for 1900 UK security staff … David Cameron has 1:1 with Vladimir Putin in Turkey … Only a quarter of European chief financial officers more optimistic than 3-6 months ago … Police officer stabbed in stomach in East London … Japan enters recession for fourth time since global financial crisis … Cynthia Payne, former brothel keeper, dies aged 82. 

07.00 BBC Good Morning Scotland headlines

French strike Raqqa … Two Scotswomen caught in attacks are home … Extra staff for MI5/6 and GCHQ … Cameron meets Putin … number of shops empty at lowest level for four years … Charity calls for HIV testing to be as common as dental checks … Cynthia Payne dies … The Legend of Barney Thomson wins best film at Scottish Baftas. 

The front pages

HeraldScotland: As Scotland prepares to welcome Syrian refugees tomorrow, a charity has criticised Home Secretary Theresa May’s assurances that full background checks have been carried out, The Herald reports. Robina Qureshi, director of homelessness charity Positive Action on Housing, said assumptions should not be made about who carried out the Paris attacks. Inside, Kate Devlin reports on Wesminster suggestions that the SNP could drive English voters towards Brexit. 

The National begins six pages of coverage with a picture of one of several memorials in Paris carpeted with flowers and messages. 


In the Evening Times, Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has warned Paris-linked hate crimes will not be tolerated following a number of weekend incidents, including a clash in Ayrshire.

The Times has a picture of Salah Abdeslam, sought by police across Europe. The 26-year-old Belgian is suspected of being the “eighth man” behind the attacks. 

The Scottish Daily Mail says police and security services stand accused of “appalling blunders”. One of the gunmen was stopped after the attacks, it reports, but let go. The Sun and the Daily Record also lead on Salah Abdeslam, with The Scotsman carrying a picture of a vigil in Copenhagen last night.  

The FT reports German leader Angela Merkel coming under pressure over migration policy. Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soder said: “Paris changes everything.”

The Daily Telegraph front page is given over entirely to the attacks, including a report from a special mass at Notre Dame. 

The Guardian carries pictures of some of the victims, “killed in the pitiless name of terrorism”.

The Daily Express picks up on a speech last week by Charles Farr, director of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, warning that there were about 750 British citizens “of interest” to the security services had travelled to Syria, with 60% returning. 

Camley's cartoon


Camley stands in solidarity with France

Need to know

At 07.10, PM David Cameron gave his first extended interview on the Paris attacks to the Today programme’s Nick Robinson. The attacks could have happened here, he said. As for what can be done, the UK can boost security services and airport checks but a political settlement in Syria is essential. Security services had been on alert and training for “similar but different” attacks and had been aware of cells operating in Syria. Seven attacks on UK had been foiled in six months. On the prospect of UK airstrikes in Syria, he said: “Isil don’t recognised the border between Iraq and Syria and neither should we.” But he had promised that Parliament would decide and that remained the case. Timing had to be right because a failed vote would be damaging. Where British interests are at stake, however, he will act. Finally, he was asked if he would take his children to the England-France match? “Yes. It’s very important to carry on with our lives.”

Talk of the steamie: from the comment sections

In The Herald, David Torrance says the First Minister struck the right tone in saying we should not turn on each other, but he is concerned that public opinion is a fragile thing. Rosemary Goring says pitiless acts of murder will not change the essential nature of a city built upon tolerance. On the letters page, the debate over a church leader’s call to ban sport in schools enters the second half. 

In the Daily Mail, Max Hastings looks at the arrival in Britain tomorrow of Syrian refugees. “The vast majority of refugees who come here have no desire to do us harm,” he writes. “But the Paris massacre emphasises some unpleasant and unwelcome realities which we do well to acknowledge rather than deny.”

In The Guardian, Matthew d’Ancona writes about the Commons opposition to Syrian airstrikes, urging Cameron to act. “How murderous and how close to home does the Isis campaign have to get before [Cameron] decides to ignore a parliamentary convention (one that has no legal force whatsoever) and to authorise air strikes anyway?”

Boris Johnson in the Telegraph says this was a 9/11 moment for Paris and says he has less and less sympathy for opposition to new surveillance powers.

In the FT, John Sawers, former MI6 chief, says Europe cannot expect the US to ride to the rescue. 

The Diary

Ankara: David Cameron to meet Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit. 

Scotland: Scottish Labour leader to visit school; Scottish Affairs Committee to publish report on workings and future inquiries. l

Westminster: End of day debate on the illicit arms trade in Africa.

Afore ye go

Nous sommes solidaires avec vous. Nous sommes tous ensemble. 

David Cameron tweet to France. 

HeraldScotland: Jeremy Corbyn ahead in YouGov poll as he closes on Labour leadership“The horrific events in Paris were an attack on all multicultural and multi-faith societies. Solidarity to all affected.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Finally, ten things we now know about Nicola Sturgeon after Desert Island Discs:

HeraldScotland: Cilla Black returning to TV with new dating show1. The young Nicola was a Cilla fan

A “childhood obsession” with the Liverpudlian singer led to a her throwing a tantrum in Woolworths when mum and dad would not buy her Black’s new album. Grandad saved the day. 

HeraldScotland: Duran Duran have had to postpone gigs because of Simon le Bon's vocal problems

2. Simon le Bon tweeted her recently

After hearing she was a fan, the Duran Duran frontman messaged her to say, “I always thought you had good sense.”

HeraldScotland: Skating legends Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean

3. She could have been one half of Torvill and Dean

A favourite teenage haunt was Frosty’s Saturday night ice disco at the Magnum Leisure Centre where she would wear Dayglo legwarmers and skate to Wham and Culture Club. 

HeraldScotland: Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

4. It’s all about Thatcher at the moment 

On the coffee table is a copy of Charles Moore’s biography of the former premier. 

HeraldScotland: Wham!, with Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael, were one of the bands managed by Jazz Summers

5. The soundtrack to her political awakening was Club Tropicana

No, sorry, I’ll listen to that bit again. It was in fact Letter from America by The Proclaimers, which included mention of her home town of Irvine as well as a being a searing indictment of Tory rule in Scotland. 

HeraldScotland: VIEW WITH A ROOM: June and Leon give their thoughts on a week’s worth of TV viewing in Gogglebox

6. She and husband Peter Murrell are the Leon and June of Scottish politics

Like the Gogglebox regulars, the FM and her SNP chief executive husband like nothing more on a Friday than to sit in front of the telly. 

HeraldScotland: IT’S GOT TO BE: Eddi Reader is at the Electric Palace in Bridport on Tuesday

7. Eddi Reader danced at her wedding

The chanteuse also sang My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose before Nicola and Peter exhanged their vows. The song is Ms Sturgeon’s must rescue among her eight chosen discs. 

8. The most eye opening experience of the last 12 months has been…

The loneliness of leadership

HeraldScotland: I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!

9. The producers of I’m A Celebrity need not bother calling

“I wouldn’t survive a week” on a desert island, the famously non Bear Grylls-like Ms Sturgeon told questioner Kirsty Young.

HeraldScotland: A video of Kate Bush lookalikes dancing to Wuthering Heights was our second most popular video of the month...

10. She is a Janeite

Her chosen book would be The Complete Works of Jane Austen. She also confessed to playing Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights while reading the book when young. 

Thank you for reading The Midge: your first bite of the day’s politics from Scotland and elsewhere. See you tomorrow.