The Liddle Journalist

Tourists receive behaviour warning


By Calum Liddle
Published in the Scotland on Sunday

HOLIDAYMAKERS are being warned to behave after a court case in Greece in which a local woman was accused of setting fire to a British tourist after he allegedly groped her in a bar.

Britain's Travel Association ABTA will urge British holidaymakers to "appreciate local customs", after the woman charged with assault was hailed as a hero by locals who are fed up with rowdy British holidaymakers who have earned a bad reputation because of drunken behaviour.

An ABTA spokeswoman said: "We are putting together a letter, outlining advice which will be distributed to holidaymakers in particular resorts stating that they must appreciate local customs and law – otherwise they will face arrest."

The Greek woman, a 26-year-old student, said she poured the sambuca – a highly flammable drink – over Stuart Feltham, 23, from Swindon, Wiltshire, after he pulled his trousers down in front of other women and made inappropriate advances towards her.

In court, her lawyer said: "He fondled my client's breasts and buttocks and she poured her drink over him and left."

An ABTA spokeswomen said: "We are in the holiday business and we want people to have a good time but we don't condone this kind of behaviour. We want to encourage people to have responsible holidays. We know we have a part to play."

Officials on the Greek islands of Zakynthos and Crete are seeking to curb inappropriate behaviour by British tourists, while the British Ambassador to Greece, Simon Gass, visits local authorities to discuss the problem.

During his visit to Zakynthos, Gass said: "If you have a resort in which there are very large numbers of bars selling very, very cheap and often low quality alcohol in very large quantities you can't be that surprised when you get an awful lot of people who end up drunk."

Police forces failing to find black officers


By Calum Liddle and David Leask
Published in the Scotland on Sunday

SCOTLAND'S thin blue line is getting whiter.

The proportion of black officers in the nation's police forces tumbled last year amid one of the biggest recruitment campaigns in history.

Some senior officers now believe that would-be ethnic minority recruits are being put off joining up by stories of racism in the ranks and claims of "robust" policing of Muslims following the Glasgow Airport bombing.

Forces aspire to have roughly the same demographic make-up of the communities which they police. Just over 2 per cent of Scots are of a black or other minority ethnic (BME) background. No Scottish force, however, has managed to get close to that figure.

Strathclyde Police, the nation's biggest, yesterday admitted just 1.28 per cent of its officers were BME as of 31 March, 2009. That is down from 1.74 per cent a year before. The overall number of such officers fell from 129 to 102.

The vast majority of new recruits funded under the SNP government's drive to boost police numbers by 1,000 over the period of the current parliament have been white.

Insiders said the new recruits had "diluted" the police forces, making them whiter than for some years.

A spokeswoman for SemperScotland, the body that represents black and minority ethnic officers, said at least two of the recent passing-out parades from the national police college had contained no black or minority ethnic recruits.

The low recruitment figures come after complaints, especially from Muslims, about policing in the aftermath of the Glasgow Airport bombings. Pakistani and Afghan groups have protested over the way they are questioned at airports, with Special Branch officers regularly quizzing Asian-looking passengers about their views on Islam and terrorism.

Another insider said: "I blame the Secret Policeman show, the BBC investigation. They exposed locker-room racism and that has made it far harder to convince some people that things have changed, but they have."

Semper's vice-chairman Baseem Akbar, a Scotland-based sergeant in the British Transport Police, yesterday said: "The negative perceptions of the police still exist in some people's minds, unfortunately.

"The Scottish police service has never had targets for the number of BME recruits it gets. Perhaps the time has come for some long-term aspirations for this? We now have a concerted effort to use Muslim officers, for example, under the Prevent part of the anti-terror strategy."

Minority officers, however, have struggled to reach high positions in the police in Scotland. Strathclyde, for example, last year promoted just one officer who was officially listed as BME, accounting for just 0.69 per cent of all promotions. High-profile black senior officers tend to have been transferred to England, Akbar said.

Seven out of Scotland's eight forces were able to say how many black officers they had, bringing a total of 184.

There are just two in Northern, representing 0.29 per cent of the total. The highest figure was Lothian and Borders, READ MORE...

Most Popular Stories

calum d liddle

haud yer wheesht - children

By Calum Liddle and Myles Edwards

13 Nov, 2009


Children are being penalised for

using the Scots language in the

classroom as teachers are

mistaking it as bad English,

according to leading academics.

Scotland’s experts have called

for compulsory in-service

training to be provided to tackle

the “reluctance” of many English

teachers at secondary level to

deal with Scots words.


The EIS, Scotland’s Teaching Union, have previously opposed teaching Scots in secondary schools on the grounds that “not all school children are Scottish”.

Derick McClure,  professor of Scots at Aberdeen University said: “I know that some teachers still make the distinction -  wrongly interpreted and applied – between what they call ‘good Scots’... and what they call ‘bad English’.

McClure said “there is no co-ordination on the frontline of secondary teaching” for Scots.

He added: “I can understand the reluctance of some teachers [to teach Scots]. However, many simply do not know where to go for official information. The government should supply in-service training to teachers for the use and place of Scots in education.”










Duncan Jones of the Association of Scottish Literary Studies - an educational charity that aims to promote the study, teaching and writing of Scottish literature and the languages of Scotland - conceded that Scots was rarely ever taught at secondary level.

“We have run CPD (Continuous Progress Development) courses since the 1980s for teachers on Scots literature, specifically the Scots language. The teachers are a self-selecting group - obviously those who view Scots as a ‘bad’ language don’t show. However the courses can be very popular.”

Itchy Coo - a partnership between authors James Robertson and Mathew Fitt with Black and White Publishing in Edinburgh - provides resources for classroom education. Mathew Fitt has run workshops, classes and made presentations to over 500 schools and libraries and delivered over 150 in-house professional training sessions in 18 local authorities.

Mr Robertson said: “You are disadvantaging children educationally if you don’t enable them access to Scots material. Children need access to their own culture. Too often children in Scotland grow up believing all Scots is, is just bad English. That’s a fallacy.”

Robertson, author of The Smoky Smirr O Rain: A Scots Anthology continued: “Unless there’s a commitment in terms of actually some kind of compulsory element, it will continue to be squeezed purely because of Higher English.”

Many secondary schools have no teaching of Scots, amid accusations teachers prefer reading American literature and Shakespearean texts.

Derek Douglas of the Scottish Qualification Association (SQA) said: “From Standard Grade to Higher and all levels in between there are no authors or texts prescribed by the SQA. Each school or college decides which literature to study.”

McClure added the ‘Begbie’ image of Scots had to be addressed, in light of Scots being seen as an “under-class form of communicating”.

“We need teachers, children and young adults to grasp the difference between good Scots and bad Scots, old Scots and new Scots. Just as is done for English.”


SNP MSP Rob Gibson, who is fighting for Scots language equality in schools, defended the government’s progress.


“Scots is undergoing a resurgence backed by Government action. From the Audit and subsequent conferences which galvanised speakers and activists, to the liberation of teachers (in the curriculum for excellence) to use much more Scots in class. All are key factors in the normalising of Scots.”


Mr Gibson added: “What parity means is there’s naethin wrang wi spikin your ain leid'.”


What parity means is there’s naethin wrang wi spikin your ain leid'


- Rob Gibson, SNP MSP