The National:

AS we move into 2019, the time seems right to look back at what caught the eye in 2018 – and what the most-read articles on our website last year reveal.

While there are some fun items in the mix, there is a more disappointing tale too.  That story is of a Westminster more shameful than ever in its treatment of Scotland, and of a need to stand up for our democracy.

So, in reverse order, here are our 17 most-read articles of 2018.

17. WATCH: Mhairi Black nails the absurdity of the UK on Brexit

The National:

MHAIRI Black never disappoints in her speeches, and that was no different in 2018.

She nailed down the absurdity of the UK Government's behaviour on Brexit in a way that nobody else in Parliament can.

"Is it any wonder that the rest of the world are looking at this and laughing,” she said.

The SNP MP might have to make a few more similar speeches in 2019...


16. Supreme Court hears the sentence that says it all about the dis-United Kingdom

The National: Lord Keen told the court that the UK Parliament is sovereign while Scotland's isn't

THE UK Government went to the Supreme Court to challenge the Scottish Government's alternative Brexit Continuity Bill, arguing that it was not within the "legislative competence" of Holyrood.

Spoiler: The court would later find that it was almost entirely competent at the time it was passed ... but the UK Government had used the delay to change the rules, so that this was no longer the case.

There were 10 words said during the case that we should not forget, however, as we make the case for independence.

The Advocate General for Scotland, Lord Richard Sanderson Keen, Baron Keen of Elie, giving Westminster's case, said: “The UK Parliament is sovereign, the Scottish Parliament is not.”


15. Dear Jeremy Clarkson, you don’t have a clue about Scotland

The National: Jeremy Clarkson – left, pictured with co-host James May – made some rather ignorant comments about Scotland in his newspaper column

TASMINA Ahmed-Sheikh's response to a newspaper column by Jeremy Clarkson proved hugely popular.

His comments on Scotland and Scottish independence were as off-the-mark as you'd expect, and her reply was perfect.

She wrote: "When it comes to understanding the independence question I must say your interpretation is about as sketchy, ill-informed and studded with clichés as my grasp of the internal combustion engine."

The column is a fantastic rebuttal to attitudes about Scotland that are, unfortunately, not unique to Clarkson.


14. READ: Presenter rips apart Scottish Tory MP's attack on Nicola Sturgeon

The National:

SCOTTISH Tory MPs and car-crash interviews – always an iconic duo.

Colin Clark tried to score political points against the SNP, as Alex Salmond took the Scottish Government to court over its handling of an investigation into sexual harassment complaints made against the former First Minister which he has entirely denied.

Unfortunately for Clark, he had no evidence to back his arguments up ... and he'd be very happy if this transcript had been left in 2018.


13. These new Nike trainers are Bowfin

The National:

NO, this wasn't our review of Nike's latest offering – "Bowfin" was the actual name of the famed brand's new hiking trainers.

It seems Nike didn't do its consumer research in Scotland.

Whether the Bowfin trainers are bowfin, we'll leave our readers to decide...


12. Taxi company slammed after offensive Nicola Sturgeon Facebook post

The National:

A TAXI company was flooded with negative reviews after mocking the First Minister and independence supporters.

Connect Cabs Dumfries saw its post backfire spectacularly as the All Under One Banner march came to town.

It had said there would be traffic disruption due to the "Jimmy Krankie appreciation society", alongside a picture of the First Minister as Jimmy Krankie.

The one-star review began piling up on Facebook, as the firm said it was intended as a bit of fun.


11. 'Appalling' secret Tory plot to shut out Scotland in Brexit deal exposed by leak

The National: The EU could be 'secretly preparing' a special deal for a frictionless Irish border

THESE were the leaked papers that proved to be painfully true.

They revealed that the UK Government was ensuring the Irish border proposals post-Brexit were written in such a way as to prevent the SNP FROM calling for the same for Scotland.

Northern Ireland would be able to remain in the single market, but the UK would plot to prevent this for Scotland – despite it being the Scottish Government's wish.

That tactic has not changed.


10. Scottish Government tells newspapers: You have 28 days to apologise over Union flag 'nonsense'

The National: Many in England are envious that Scots have Nicola Sturgeon for a leader

THE Scottish Government called on The Daily Mail, Daily Express and Telegraph to apologise over claims that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had reduced the number of occasions that the Union flag could be flown from Government buildings.

She even took to Twitter to respond to explain why the articles were inaccurate.

The Daily Mail quickly offered an apology ... the others did not, and the Independent Press Standards Organisation rejected the Scottish Government's complaint against them.


9. Glasgow Science Centre begins to 'melt' in record Scottish heat

The National:

We started the year with the Beast from the East, a devastating cold wave.

It was a story of extremes though, as by summer, we were seeing record-high temperatures in parts of Scotland.

Glasgow Science Centre even began to "melt"  in the fierce heat of the end of June.


8. Westminster votes through power grab on Scotland in 15 minutes

The National:

THIS was one of the most important stories of 2018.

The UK Government and Labour pushed Scotland aside to vote through a power grab on Holyrood.

Debate on the issue took place over just 15 minutes at the end of proceedings ... and even that was filibustered by a Tory minister so that there was only one speech.

It was a day that made the Westminster contempt for Scotland entirely open, and may well end up a pivotal moment in Scotland's future.


7. M&S 'Union Jackery' row takes an astonishing twist

The National:

THIS was a follow-up to a story you'll find later in this list.

Scottish Government minister Fergus Ewing went straight to the top of M&S over its labelling of Scottish whisky as British.

This correspondence was "revealed" by the Scottish Tories in a bid to label the SNP as parochial.

In fact, M&S assured Ewing that it would rectify the issue – thus helping to protect Scotland's brand.


6. Scots react to calls for 8pm ban on alcohol sales

The National: Alcohol

Scotland attracted global attention after introducing minimum alcohol pricing across the country.

The advisors behind it had a follow-up proposal, too – banning alcohol sales after 8pm.

That one didn't go down too well with Scots.


5. BBC Question Time audience member slams 'disrespectful' UK

The National:

IN June 2018, Question Time made one of its rare trips to Scotland – one of the few times we get Scottish politicians on the show, despite the SNP being the third biggest party at Westminster.

One woman stole the show, by a distance.

She took the panel to task over the lack of respect the UK Government had shown to the Scottish Government in Brexit negotiations, and her words clearly resonated.


4. WATCH: Tory MP in vile 'suicide' heckle towards SNP in Commons

The National:

YOU'LL be noticing a common theme by now – the lack of respect shown towards Scotland by UK politicians.

The Tories had just pushed through a power grab on Scotland with 15 minutes of so-called debate, prompting SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford to ask what options would be available to ensure the voices of those opposed would be heard.

Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger shouted "Suicide!" in response. He later claimed to have been misquoted, to have not been in the Chamber (video suggested otherwise) and had apparently been referring to "political suicide". He also said the SNP were "a petty bunch of wankers who have ruined my country – I am a Scotsman".


3. This is what happens if Theresa May says No to indyref2

The National: Sturgeon needs to remind May that her permission is not required for Scotland to have an indyref2

THE Wee Ginger Dug's column is always a must-read for Yes activists – but this one proved particularly popular.

In it, the Dug sets out how the First Minister should approach Prime Minister Theresa May on securing a Section 30 order, and the consequences of her saying no.

It's a forensic piece, and one that is still well worth reading ... and re-reading.


2. ITV gets its knuckles rapped over Nicola Sturgeon interview

The National:

IN the independence movement, we see shoddy coverage of the facts of our case far too often – so it's important for this to be called out.

That's what happened when regulator Ofcom found that ITV's Good Morning Britain had been "clearly inaccurate" in an interview with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Host Ben Shephard read out a quote which he said was from the party’s Sustainable Growth Commission report, claiming the SNP would have to impose “austerity policies” and “years of tight public spending” on Scotland if voters backed Yes in an independence referendum.

The First Minister pointed out that this was not in the report. Sturgeon was correct. It was from one analysis of the report.

That didn't stop the presenters from insisting she was simply dodging the question by correcting them – and they ended up having to apologise.


1. M&S tells Scottish customer: You've had your referendum and you're part of England now

The National: M&S said the response from its customer service representative in no way reflected its views

THIS was our most-read story of 2018. National reader Edith Davidson wrote to M&S about the high-street giant labelling Scottish whisky as British, but whisky made south of the Border as English.

The reply from the shop’s customer service representative was incoherent, rambling and astonishing: "I am able to inform you that the National Scottish Referendum has taken place and the majority of Scotland decided that the lovely country of Scotland would belong in and stay within the UK and will be a part of the country known as England."

And that was only part of it.

This attitude towards Scotland is one worth remembering and reflecting on as we enter a crucial year.