Sky News cameraman killed in Eqypt

Mick Dean was shot while covering protests in Cairo.

A Sky News cameraman is one of two journalists reported to have been killed in Egypt this morning.

Mick Dean, 61, was shot while covering protests in Cairo. He was reportedly taken to hospital but died a short time later.

Gulf News reporter Habiba Ahmed is also reported to have been killed during violent clashes in the Egyptian capital.

The killings happened as Egyptian security forces attempted to clear two protest camps occupied by supporters of former president Mohammed Morsi.

According to reports on the BBC, witnesses claim to have seen “at least 40 bodies”, while the Muslim Brotherhood has said that the death toll is now in the hundreds.

Deane was working with Sky News Middle East correspondent Sam Kiley who has been reporting from inside Rabaa al Adawiya protest camp in Cairo. Kiley talked about coming "under very heavy gunfire" and said the camp was facing a "massive military assault on largely unarmed civilians in very large numbers".

Riot police attack a protest camp in Cairo (Source: Reuters)

Sky News said in a statement: "It is with the greatest regret that Sky News announces the death of Mick Deane, an experienced camera operator, while working on assignment in Cairo this morning.

"Mick was part of a Sky News team reporting on the disturbances in the city with Middle East Correspondent Sam Kiley when he was shot and wounded. Despite receiving medical treatment for his injuries, he died shortly afterwards. None of the other members of the Sky News team were injured in the incident.

"Mick, aged 61, was a hugely experienced broadcast journalist. He had worked with Sky News as a camera operator for 15 years, most recently across the Middle East and previously in the United States. He was married with two sons."

Head of Sky News John Ryley said: "Everyone at Sky News is shocked and saddened by Mick’s death. He was a talented and experienced journalist who had worked with Sky News for many years. The loss of a much-loved colleague will be deeply felt across Sky News. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and family. We will give them our full support at this extremely difficult time.”

This piece first appreared on Press Gazette

Mick Dean. Photograph: Press Gazette
Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Scotland's vast deficit remains an obstacle to independence

Though the country's financial position has improved, independence would still risk severe austerity. 

For the SNP, the annual Scottish public spending figures bring good and bad news. The good news, such as it is, is that Scotland's deficit fell by £1.3bn in 2016/17. The bad news is that it remains £13.3bn or 8.3 per cent of GDP – three times the UK figure of 2.4 per cent (£46.2bn) and vastly higher than the white paper's worst case scenario of £5.5bn. 

These figures, it's important to note, include Scotland's geographic share of North Sea oil and gas revenue. The "oil bonus" that the SNP once boasted of has withered since the collapse in commodity prices. Though revenue rose from £56m the previous year to £208m, this remains a fraction of the £8bn recorded in 2011/12. Total public sector revenue was £312 per person below the UK average, while expenditure was £1,437 higher. Though the SNP is playing down the figures as "a snapshot", the white paper unambiguously stated: "GERS [Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland] is the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances". 

As before, Nicola Sturgeon has warned of the threat posed by Brexit to the Scottish economy. But the country's black hole means the risks of independence remain immense. As a new state, Scotland would be forced to pay a premium on its debt, resulting in an even greater fiscal gap. Were it to use the pound without permission, with no independent central bank and no lender of last resort, borrowing costs would rise still further. To offset a Greek-style crisis, Scotland would be forced to impose dramatic austerity. 

Sturgeon is undoubtedly right to warn of the risks of Brexit (particularly of the "hard" variety). But for a large number of Scots, this is merely cause to avoid the added turmoil of independence. Though eventual EU membership would benefit Scotland, its UK trade is worth four times as much as that with Europe. 

Of course, for a true nationalist, economics is irrelevant. Independence is a good in itself and sovereignty always trumps prosperity (a point on which Scottish nationalists align with English Brexiteers). But if Scotland is to ever depart the UK, the SNP will need to win over pragmatists, too. In that quest, Scotland's deficit remains a vast obstacle. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.