Hello and welcome to The Midge, your first bite of the day’s politics in Scotland and elsewhere. 


HeraldScotland: Environment Secretary Hilary Benn


  • Corbyn gets his way on Trident but Benn (above) stays
  • Cameron snubs SNP call for EU exit pledge
  • MPs to debate banning Trump
  • Labour: Sturgeon must break silence on SNP MP inquiry
  • Scots teachers diagnosed with war zone disorder PTSD
  • Salmond turns talk DJ with LBC radio show

06.00 BBC Radio Four Today headlines

Corbyn completes reshuffle … North Korea H-bomb… GP practices in England report recruitment crisis … Scotland Yard seek boyfriend of actress … Quarter of parents struggling to prise children from screens. 

07.00 BBC Good Morning Scotland headlines

North Korea … Corbyn reshuffle …. Nicola Sturgeon to make announcement on school testing … Rock threatening A83 to be exploded.


The front pages


The Herald leads on David Cameron’s response to SNP demands to give Scotland an opt-out from Brexit if the country votes to stay in. On the wing, the paper reports on calls from Labour and the Tories for Nicola Sturgeon to speak out on two of her MPs - Phil Boswell, being investigated by Westminster’s standards commissioner over the registration of his financial interests, and Dr Lisa Cameron, who bought former council houses to rent out. Also on the front page, the paper cues up the story of the two Scots teachers diagnosed with PTSD.

The National says Nicola Sturgeon yesterday put independence at the heart of May’s Holyrood poll, while the Scotsman says the FM is confident of winning a new referendum in the “next few years”. 


In the Evening Times, Rebecca Gray reports that the family of missing Glasgow father John Murphy are to widen their search across the UK.

The Scottish Daily Mail, the Sun, and the Daily Record lead on the  search for the partner of Sian Blake. The body of the former EastEnders actress, and those of her two young sons, were discovered yesterday in London. 

The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian picture a tearful President Obama explaining the need for stricter gun control. Mr Obama made his plea at the White House yesterday while surrounded by families of shooting victims. 

The Times says David Cameron was forced to allow Ministers to have a free say on Brexit. The announcement was brought forward, reports the paper, after the PM spoke to Eurosceptic ministers Chris Grayling and Theresa Villiers. 

The FT splashes on an attempt by J Sainsbury to buy Home Retail Group, the owner of Argos and Homebase, to head off Amazon’s shift into the UK grocery market. 


Camley's cartoon


Camley nails Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet reshuffle. 


Need to know

HeraldScotland: In the last 10 years great steps have been taken for the workplaces, Pat McFadden

It took more than 30 hours to reorder a team of just 30, and in the end it was less night of the long knives and more day and night of the butter knife, but the Corbyn reshuffle finally concluded just before midnight. In summary: Paisley-born MP Corbyn critic Pat McFadden (above) has been sacked from the Europe job; Hilary Benn stays at foreign affairs but has had to promise not to disagree with his leader in public; pro-Trident renewal Maria Eagle has been replaced at defence by anti-Trident renewal Emily Thornberry; and Maria Eagle replaces another Corbyn critic, Michael Dugher, as Culture Secretary. Although the Eagle-Thornberry swap solves Corbyn’s Trident problems as far as the Shadow Cabinet goes, and puts the UK leadership in line with the Scottish party, it will not go down well with defence sector unions such as the GMB and Unite, and he has yet to convince the party as a whole. Critics will therefore be left asking what, other than a presentational issue, he has really solved. 


The diary

  • Commons: First PMQs of session. Scottish Questions. Opposition debate: Government’s record on the economy. Environment Agency chairman Sir Philip Dilley before Environment Committee. Treasury Committee takes evidence from Barclays and HSBC on the economic and financial costs and benefits of the UK's membership of the EU.
  • Holyrood: Finance Committee takes evidence on the UK Spending Review from Robert Chote, chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility, and on the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget form the Scottish Fiscal Commission. Neil Findlay MSP leads debate on “the need for an inquiry into undercover policing in Scotland”.

Talk of the steamie: the comment sections

HeraldScotland: German Chancellor Angela Merkel claims the UK still has a role to play in the European Union (AP)

In The Herald, Marianne Taylor examines German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s uncharacteristically rocky start to 2016 while Maurice Smith ponders what the Corbyn reshuffle means for Scottish Labour. 

Holly Case and John Palattella in The Guardian look at a new movement in Hungary which is using comedy to take the country’s nationalist leader to task. 

HeraldScotland: Boycott call after Croydon Advertiser "exposes" brothel


In The Times, Magnus Linklater says Scotland needs a sceptical, curious, well-funded, well-motivated media to speak truth to power. 

Jonathan Brocklebank in the Mail chews over the Tunnock’s “Great British Tea Cake” stushie and is dismayed at what it says about modern Scotland. 

HeraldScotland: Christmas fair to raise cash for charity


Rowan Pelling in the Telegraph says forget taking the Christmas decorations down on Twelfth Night - we need the cheer too much. 


Afore ye go

HeraldScotland: ALEX SALMOND: Scotland’s First Minister is pushing for full independence from the United Kingdom

"Wish I had a device that instantly zaps all sound from the radio whenever Alex Salmond's irritating voice is heard."

To welcome the former FM to his new radio show on LBC, the station invited listeners to send him some "mean tweets".

HeraldScotland: AHA! Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge

"It's called the off switch, dummy."

Mr Salmond's response shows he has what it takes to be the new Alan Partridge (above), should he so choose. 


HeraldScotland: Incestuous affair 'crucial' to BBC One's new adaptation of Tolstoy's War And Peace, says writer

“It’s like War and Peace, without the horses … or sex … or power … or glamour.”

Matt on the Corbyn reshuffle. Daily Telegraph

HeraldScotland: Darth Vader

“You could have watched the entire run of Star Wars movies but we still don't yet know who's been seduced to the dark side.”

David Cameron teases Jeremy Corbyn over what the PM called “the longest reshuffle in history”.

HeraldScotland: Ruth Davidson has already put forward proposals to tackle what she claims are 'failing' schools by giving parents an 'opportunity voucher'

“They have comprehensively failed in the only two duties an official opposition has - they have failed to hold the Government to account, and they have failed to put forward a positive alternative vision for our country.”

Tory leader Ruth Davidson takes the fight to what many see as her real target in May - Scottish Labour.

HeraldScotland: BBC local video plans rejected

“I don't think the BBC in London get the new Scotland.”

John Archer, chair of Independent Producers Scotland, appearing before Holyrood’s Culture Committee. 

HeraldScotland: Warnings: Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate for Richmond Park, believe there could be an "education crisis" in Kingston

“The hottest really rich people in the world ever”

Zac Goldsmith, Tory candidate for London mayor, probably won’t be using his inclusion in this excitedly-titled Tatler list in his election material.

HeraldScotland: Boris Johnson is a supporter of Croydon as the third city

“This is child abuse, there is no question at all."   

London Mayor Boris Johnson on the child who appeared in the latest Isis video urging jihad. LBC Radio.  

HeraldScotland: Sir Alan Sugar

“There are some ignorant scum on Twitter. I love making them look stupid.”

Lord Sugar takes a less than sociable approach to social media. 

HeraldScotland: Gayle made his T20 debut in 2005

“I hope we can have a drink after. Don’t blush baby.”

Melbourne Renegades and West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle’s novel approach during a live TV interview with female reporter Mel McLaughlin earned him a £5000 fine from his club for “inappropriate conduct”. CNN

HeraldScotland: Racism, sexism, bile and hate ... is there nothing that can stop the rise of Donald Trump?


The number of people who have signed a petition calling for Donald Trump to be banned from the UK. A debate will now take place in the Commons on January 18

HeraldScotland: GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WAIT: Charity swimmer Doug Hussey, left, with Matthew Betts, landlord of The Old Rooms, and a  pint of Guinness F5093

"Imagine if Guinness had said they wouldn't promote Ireland or Toblerone saying they wouldn't promote Switzerland.”

A Twitter user on Tunnock’s use of the slogan “The Great British Tea Cake” on ads in England. The row has now reached the heart of Middle England, aka the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2. 


Thank you for reading. See you tomorrow.