Scotland gave little sign of being on the brink of its second referendum campaign in a generation (now measured as four years). Among the leading items on the BBC Scotland website this morning were: National Museum most popular attraction; Scots artist teaching Sir Patrick Stewart; app offers virtual tour of Scotland; ice cream firm in rising costs warning. The few 'stories' not taken straight from press releases were mainly concerned with court appearances after the usual violent weekend: the 36-year-old woman charged with stabbing her husband to death in Perth, the man accused of a double murder in Dundee.
Having endlessly criticised the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in England and Wales for the long delay in taking evidence, the newspapers evinced little interest in the first of its public hearings (into the post-war child migrant scheme). Elsewhere, the head of Operation Hydrant – the nationwide inquiry into historical child sexual abuse – said that forces were being overwhelmed by reports of abuse and suggested that paedophiles who view indecent images of children should not face criminal sanctions
unless they pose a physical threat. A freedom of information request by the BBC radio programme, File on 4, revealed that 23,000 complaints of abuse were made against staff working in care homes across the UK between 2013 and 2016. There were many protests about the home secretary’s inhuman treatment of Irene Clennell, who was deported to Singapore without having an opportunity to say goodbye to her English husband of 27 years and her children; the Home Office refused to discuss her case.
Theresa May was reported to have decided that, as soon as she triggers the start of Brexit negotiations in mid-March, any EU citizen who arrives in the UK after that date will not have the automatic right to remain. The former prime minister, John Major, in a speech at Chatham House, accused May’s government of not being honest with voters about the consequences of Britain’s exit from the EU: 'I have watched with growing concern as the British people have been led to expect a future that seems to be unreal and over-optimistic. Obstacles are brushed aside as of no consequence, whilst opportunities are inflated beyond any reasonable expectation of delivery'. One of the architects of Brexit, Nigel Farage, demanded the expulsion of his party’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, which cynics claimed might be connected to suggestions that Carswell had frustrated Farage’s ambitions for a knighthood. Farage’s new best friend, Trump, announced plans to increase military spending to near-wartime levels at the expense of foreign aid and environmental protection.
The newspapers continued to be obsessed by a mix-up at the film awards in Hollywood. There is likely to be a shortage of brazil nuts. Police boarded a train in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, after complaints that rowdy passengers were placing bagels on other passengers’ heads. A businessman by the name Elon Musk said that two people had booked a private tour to the moon, possibly as soon as next year, but declined to say who they were or how much they had paid. Storm Ewan, successor to the annoying Storm Doris, didn't amount to much.