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Secretary of State for Scotland

Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Scotland is the principal minister of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland representing Scotland. They head a government department based in London and Edinburgh; the post was first created after the Acts of Union 1707 created the Kingdom of Great Britain from the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. It was abolished in 1746, following the Jacobite rising of 1745. Scottish affairs thereafter were managed by the Lord Advocate until 1827, when responsibility passed to the Home Office. In 1885 the post of Secretary for Scotland was re-created, with the incumbent a member of the Cabinet. In 1926 this post was upgraded to a full Secretary of State appointment. After the 1999 Scottish devolution, the powers of the Scottish Office were divided, with most transferred to the Scottish Government or to other British government departments, leaving only a limited role for the Scotland Office. From June 2003 and October 2008, the holder of the office of Secretary of State for Scotland from 13 June 2003 through to 3 October 2008 held another Cabinet post concurrently, leading to claims that the Scottish role was seen as a part-time ministry.

The current Secretary of State for Scotland is Alister Jack, appointed by Boris Johnson, replacing David Mundell. With the advent of legislative devolution for Scotland in 1999, the role of Secretary of State for Scotland was diminished. Most of the functions vested in the office since administrative devolution in the 19th century were transferred to the newly-established Scottish Ministers upon the opening of the Scottish Parliament, or to other UK government ministers; however the Secretary of State does represent Scotland in the Cabinet on matters that are not devolved to Holyrood and holds Scotland Questions on the first Wednesday of every month between 11:30 am and 12 noon, when any Member of Parliament can ask a question on any matter relating to Scotland. However devolved issues are not raised by MPs; the Secretary is the group leader of the Scottish MPs from the government party. As a result of this, the office acts as a go-between for the UK and Scottish Governments and Parliaments.

However, due to the Secretary's position as a minister in the British government, the convention of Cabinet collective responsibility applies, as such the post is viewed as being a partisan one to promote the UK government's decision-making in Scotland, as adherence to the convention precludes doing anything else. With the rise of the Scottish National Party in the Scottish and British parliaments and the resultant interest in Scottish Independence, the Secretary of State's role has subsequently increased in prominence; the Scotland Office itself has received a cumulative increase in budget of 20% from 2013 to 2017, with a 14.4% increase in 2015/16 alone. The UK government's website lists the Secretary of State for Scotland's responsibilities as being:"The main role of the Scottish Secretary is to promote and protect the devolution settlement. Other responsibilities include promoting partnership between the UK government and the Scottish government, relations between the 2 Parliaments." This seeming lack of responsibility has in recent years seen calls from opposition MPs for the scrapping of the role and the Scotland Office.

John Erskine, Earl of Mar had served as Secretary of State of the independent Scotland from 1705. Following the Acts of Union 1707, he remained in office; the post of Secretary of State for Scotland existed after the Union of the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England in 1707 till the Jacobite rising of 1745. After the rising, responsibility for Scotland lay with the office of the Home Secretary exercised by the Lord Advocate. Office thereafter vacant; the Secretary for Scotland was chief minister in charge of the Scottish Office in the United Kingdom government. The Scotland Office was created in 1885 with the post of Secretary for Scotland. From 1892 the Secretary for Scotland sat in cabinet; the post was upgraded to full Secretary of State rank as the Secretary of State for Scotland in 1926. From 1885 to 1999, Secretaries for Scotland and Secretaries of State for Scotland ex officio held the post of Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland. From 1999, the position of Keeper of the Great Seal has been held by the First Minister of Scotland.

Notes First Minister of Scotland Secretary of State, a senior post in the pre-Union government of the Kingdom of Scotland Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, junior minister supporting the Secretary of State for Scotland Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Secretary of State for Wales Official website of the Scotland Office

Sons of Serendip

Sons of Serendip is a classical crossover ensemble consisting of musicians Kendall Ramseur, Cordaro Rodriguez, Mason Morton, Micah Christian. The quartet met in graduate school at Boston University, while completing degrees in Cello Performance, Harp Performance, Theology. A year after finishing their graduate education, the group formed in 2014 for the reality competition, America's Got Talent, where they finished in fourth place. Sons of Serendip gained national attention in 2014 when they appeared on the 9th season of America's Got Talent. Celebrity judges Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howard Stern voted them through the audition round and Judgement Week, into the Quarterfinals. During the live performance rounds, viewers voted the quartet through several rounds and into the Top 6. During the finale, which aired on September 17, 2014, they performed their arrangement of "Drops of Jupiter" with Train, they placed fourth in the competition. In December 2016, Sons of Serendip joined a cast of America's Got Talent alumni for the first America's Got Talent Holiday Spectacular.

They performed "The Christmas Song" in collaboration with the Silhouettes. In 2019, Sons of Serendip was one of 50 acts selected from the global Got Talent franchise to compete in the first season of America's Got Talent: The Champions; the season premiered on January 7th, 2019 on NBC. On February 4th, 2019, the quartet performed "Somewhere Only We Know," and finished in the top three for the episode. Following the finale of season 9 of America's Got Talent, Sons of Serendip performed for America's Got Talent Live, alongside season 9 winner, Mat Franco, other selected finalists, at Planet Hollywood's Axis Theater, they made an appearance on Fox & Friends' Christmas, joining Andy Grammar, Jackie Evancho, Scotty McCreery, Jessie James Decker, Renée Fleming. The quartet has since toured nationally, performing at concert halls and performing arts centers, including Boston's Symphony Hall, The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and the Atlanta Symphony Hall in Atlanta, Georgia,Sons of Serendip has been featured guests at several charitable events, including Hank Aaron's Chasing the Dream Foundation, Inc. the Ron Burton Humanitarian Award Dinner, One Family's 15th anniversary gala, where they opened for John Legend.

Further, in 2016, the quartet performed for the In Memoriam segment for the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California. Their performance aired on September 17, 2016 on FXX; that year, they were featured artists for the Nantucket Project's annual conference. They performed the national anthem at the New York Knicks home opener for the organization's 75th anniversary. Sons of Serendip has collaborated with a number of orchestras, oftentimes performing orchestrations written and notated by pianist, Cordaro Rodriguez, cellist, Kendall Ramseur. In May 2015, they collaborated with the Boston Pops and guest conductor John Morris Russell at Boston's Symphony Hall; that year, they were invited to perform with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops for the Boston Fourth of July Extravaganza in 2015. The quartet performed with conductor, Steven Karidoyanes, the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra at the historic Memorial Hall in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Further, in May 2017, they reunited with conductor John Morris Russell and collaborated with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and broadway performer, Cynthia Erivo, for the annual Classical Roots concert in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In January 2015, they released their self-titled debut album, which placed in several categories on the Billboard Charts, including No. 4 on Heatseekers. Recordings from their debut album have been placed in various episodes of reality competitions America's Got Talent, The X Factor UK, The Four following its release, their second album, Christmas: Beyond the Lights, was released in October 2015 and charted on the Billboard Charts. On July 14, 2017, they released their third album entitled, Life + Love

Les Stillman

William Leslie "Les" Stillman is a former Australian first-class cricketer who represented Victoria and South Australia. He played Australian rules football for Essendon and Footscray in the Victorian Football League. During his time as a footballer Les Stillman played as a half forward. After making his league debut in 1968, Stillman was a semi regular in the Essendon team in 1969 and 1970, his best performance in a game came against Carlton in the opening round of the 1970 VFL season when he kicked six goals. Stillman played three senior games there, he captained Williamstown in the Victorian Football Association until 1975, twice placing in the J. J. Liston Trophy count, winning the club best and fairest in 1972 and 1973, he resigned the captaincy during 1975 after a disagreement with club hierarchy over the ongoing tenure of coach Ted Whitten, was cleared to Coburg, where he played the rest of his VFA career. His cricket career had begun with a solitary first-class match in 1970/71 but it was not until after leaving the VFL that he established a place in the Victorian Sheffield Shield team.

A right-handed middle order batsman, he broke into the side again in 1974/75 and had a solid season with 451 runs at 30.06. He remained with Victoria for a further two Shield seasons but failed to register his maiden first-class hundred, although he managed a half century against a strong West Indian pace attack in a tour game. Stillman did not play any top level cricket from February 1976 to November 1977 and when he came back it was with South Australia, who he represented in the 1977/78 Sheffield Shield season, he would return to Victoria as coach and coached at English club Derbyshire. List of Victoria first-class cricketers Cricinfo: Les Stillman Les Stillman's playing statistics from AFL Tables