Review of the year: April - June

HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of two new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy, is pulled by tugs under the Forth Rail Bridge in the Firth of Forth, as she sets sail to begin her sea trials.
HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of two new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy, is pulled by tugs under the Forth Rail Bridge in the Firth of Forth, as she sets sail to begin her sea trials.
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Continuing our look back at the year in news when politics was never far from the headlines. This edition covers May to June.

April

FINANCIER and Yes campaigner Peter de Vink launched a fierce attack on the SNP as he bowed out as an independent councillor in Midlothian. He accused Nationalist politicians of being obsessed with a second referendum and petty political point-scoring, and complained about the Scottish Government’s “centralising iron hand”.

Plans to create a £250 million film studio complex on the outskirts of the Capital were given the go-ahead when ministers overturned a recommendation from a Scottish Government reporter that the Pentland Studios project be thrown out.

Businesses in the West End launched a “deep clean” of the area after complaints about the grimy state of the streets. A special cleaning squad was hired to blitz the pavements with high-pressure water equipment and target chewing gum and litter.

Plans to double car parking charges at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary were scrapped after a furious backlash from staff. Workers were facing fees of £15 per day to use spaces designated for visitors and patients. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had also branded the new charges unfair.

Human remains found at Gosford House, Longniddry, were identified as those of missing mother-of-two Louise Tiffney who vanished from her Dean Village home in 2002. Police still treating the case as a murder inquiry pledged to leave no stone unturned in trying to piece together Louise’s last moments.

Horse owner Deborah Thomson, from Gullane, East Lothian, celebrated as One For Arthur won the 2017 Grand National. Eight-year-old Arthur – the 14-1 shot – was the first Scottish winner of the race since 1979.

The opening of the new Boroughmuir High School was postponed for a sixth time. Council chiefs said the £35 million facility would not open its doors until January - some 17 months after the original date of August 2016.

Nicola Sturgeon gave her backing to the Evening News campaign for a new statue to honour Edinburgh’s greatest woman. She said: “It’s absolutely right that Edinburgh’s famous daughters should be recognised in the same way as its famous sons.” The First Minister was joined by Labour’s Kezia Dugdale and Tory Ruth Davidson.

Theresa May announced a snap general election for June 8. The prime minister said the election would strengthen her hand in Brexit negotiations and claimed it was “the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead”.

A film charting the rise of Scottish music industry mogul Alan McGee, written by Irvine Welsh and featuring Trainspotting star Ewen Bremner in the lead role, was refused funding by arts agency Creative Scotland – for not being Scottish enough.

A leaked email revealed Edinburgh Royal Infirmary came close to meltdown as 36 patients waited in the emergency department for up to 17 hours in the midst of an on-going beds crisis. A medical director warned of the “many” safety risks to “patients and their families” as staff searched for spare hospital beds across southeast Scotland and Tayside

May

A hen party in Benidorm ended in tragedy when Kirsty Maxwell, from Livingston fell to her death from an apartment.

Kirsty, 27, had been married less than a year, tying the knot with Adam Maxwell in September 2016.

Scotland’s first urban average speed camera system was announced for the Capital, targeting drivers on Old Dalkeith Road, following a spate of fatal and serious crashes.

Residents’ group Action Porty got the final go-ahead to take over the redundant former Old Parish Church and Halls in Bellfield Street as the first urban community buy-out under new Scottish Government legislation.

The SNP emerged from the city council elections as the largest party for the first time. The Tories were just one seat behind with Labour in third place.

But plans to form an SNP-Labour coalition were delayed as the two parties fought each other in the general election.

A have-a-go gran fought off a would-be carjacker who threatened to stab her husband. The 66-year-old ran screaming from her house in Abbeyhill after the tattooed yob pushed her 71-year-old husband to the ground. She pulled open the driver’s door and grabbed the attacker by the hair and shoulder as he tried to drive off in their VW Golf.

Lothian Green MSP Andy Wightman called for more powers for councils to control short-term accommodation after research claimed half of all city centre properties would be holiday lets by 2050 at current rates.

Penicuik restaurant Stewarts was named home of the best burger in Scotland after beating competition from both Edinburgh and Glasgow to win the title at the Scottish Entertainment and Hospitality Awards. Judges were impressed by the “Stewarts burger”, combining an eight ounce handmade beef patty - sprinkled with head chef Andy McLeish’s secret ingredients.

The plight of schools faced with budget cuts and staff shortages was spelled out by Isabel Marshall, head of Newtongrange Primary School in Dalkeith, as she prepared to quit after 33 years teaching. She said she regretted the decision but felt she no longer had “the resources to do the job to the level I feel it requires”.

Shocking levels of plastic contamination were revealed on the Bass Rock, home to the world’s largest colony of northern gannets. Photographs showed plastic rubbish strewn on the island, around nests and even in the beaks of seabirds.

A damning report on Edinburgh’s elderly care services exposed a catalogue of failings, with patients being made to wait for months before receiving support, demand for home care outstripping supply, and too many patients stuck in hospital because care packages cannot be arranged.

The Capital announced it was bidding to be the first city in Scotland to establish a Low Emission Zone, where lorries, vans, buses and possibly cars which do not meet strict emission standards would be forced to pay tolls or be fined.

Planning permission was granted for 180 homes at the former B&Q site in Warriston Road, close to the Water of Leith.

Bosses of a popular live music venue Studio 24 on Calton Road blamed noise rules after deciding to shut down and sell off the building to a property developer. They said a long-running battle with the city council and neighbouring residents had led to the demise of the venue which once hosted rock giants Nirvana.

Armed police were deployed at key locations in Edinburgh in the wake of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack when 23 people died outside an Ariana Grande concert.

Former US president Barack Obama addressed a charity dinner at the Edinburgh International Convention Centre. Senior firefighter Steve Gourlay was stunned to be chosen to meet the president – and when he called him “Sir”.Scottish ministers vetoed any money from the long-awaited City Deal - involving cash from both Scottish and UK governments - being used to fund Edinburgh’s tram extension.

June

Medical student Zhi Min Soh, 24, died after her bike wheel got stuck in a tram track before she was hit by a tour bus. It was the first fatal accident linked to the tramline. Lawyers accused the council of failing to heed warnings about safety risks associated with the tracks.

A succession of organisations offered apologies as Scotland’s national inquiry into historical allegations of the abuse of children in care got under way.

Legendary barbers’ shop Sam’s Place in Gorgie Road announced it was shutting after nearly 50 years. Alfonso Russo and Sam Rizzo decided to retire after decades trimming the locks of the likes of Sean Connery.

A fatal accident inquiry into the death of 12-year-old Keane Wallis-Bennett heard how teachers made desperate efforts to save her after a wall collapsed in a changing room at Liberton High School in 2014.

Tram services were curtailed and cancelled due to flooding as torrential storms hit Scotland and a month’s worth of rain fell in Edinburgh in just 48 hours.

Theresa May’s bid to increase her Commons majority and strengthen her mandate for Brexit failed when the general election resulted in a hung parliament. The SNP lost seats while the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems in Scotland all made gains.

The last traditional bronze and iron foundry in the UK, Charles Laing & Sons in Beaverbank Place, closed its doors after almost a century of operation in the Capital. Over the years it had been responsible for plaques to commemorate the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle, Eric Liddle and Elsie Inglis.

Staff at Liberton Medical Centre said they were too scared to work there after it had come under attack from vandals. with rocks even being thrown at the building while cleaners were inside. Doctors said patients are being put at risk after the group of teenagers shattered windows, set fire to bins and tore guttering off the roof in a series of overnight attacks.

Plans for an SNP-Labour coalition to run the Capital finally got the go-ahead - 42 days after the council elections. Labour’s Scottish executive committee had previously held up the deal, but eventually agreed to give approval.

A horrific blaze engulfed Grenfell Tower, a London block of flats, killing 71 people. The rapid spread of the fire is thought to have been accelerated by the building’s exterior cladding. Residents of the block had previously raised fire concerns and Kensington & Chelsea council were criticised for alleged failings.

Two of the Capital’s biggest employers, Standard Life and Scottish Widows, announced merger talks, sparking fears over job losses. The move came after Standard Life merged with Aberdeen Asset Management.

Rival designs for a new outdoor concert arena in Princes Street Gardens went on show as architects revealed their competing visions for the £25 million project to replace the historic Ross Bandstand and its run-down amphitheatre.

The Scottish Government announced 50,000 people would get the chance to walk across the new Queensferry Crossing before it opened to traffic on August 30. Within hours, the number of applications had exceeded the number of tickets available

Health bosses said staffing shortages meant the children’s ward at St John’s Hospital in Livingston would have to close over the summer for the third time in six years, sparking fresh concerns about its long-term future.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest and most powerful ship ever built for the Royal Navy, manoeuvred out of Rosyth with just inches to spare, as the £3 billion, 280-metre, 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier set sail for the first time and headed for its maiden sea trials.