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Daily Political Media Summary: 22 May 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

Oil & gas demand: Ian Marchant, Chief Executive of Scottish & Southern Energy told delegates at the All Energy 08 conference in Aberdeen yesterday that world oil and gas production levels were rapidly reaching a plateau where demand would outstrip supply, increasing political tension. (Scotsman page 12 , Herald page 34, P&J page 17)

Oil prices: Crude oil prices reached a record high of $133 a barrel yesterday as warnings were given that UK motorists faced increasing fuel prices. (Herald page 2 and page 34, Telegraph page 1, P&J page 8, Courier page 11, Express page 1, Guardian page 5, Mail page 2, Mirror page 8, Anatole Kaletsky in the Times)

Scottish economy: Comment and analysis suggesting that Scotland may not be as badly affected by the economic slowdown as the rest of the UK. While house prices across the UK are expected to fall by at least 7% this year Martin Ellis, Chief economist at HBOS, said “Scotland will outperform the rest of the UK because affordability is less stretched than elsewhere”. (Scotsman page 31, Peter MacMahon in the Scotsman, Herald page 33, FT page 1, Guardian page 5, Times page 52)

Parliamentary budget office: Tavish Scott MSP comments in the Scotsman (page 39) on the need for a parliamentary budget office to give expert advice to opposition politicians on the budget.

Monetary Policy Committee: The minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) were published yesterday showing that only David Blanchflower had voted for a cut in interest rates at their meetings on May 7 and 8, with the other 8 members preferring no change. However the MPC appeared split between those expecting growth to remain resilient and those fearing the weakened housing market will hit the economy hard. (Herald page 33, Mail page 78, Times page 57)

Crime

Community sentences
: The Scotsman (page 1) interviews Henry McLeish, Chairman of the Scottish Government’s Prisons Commission. Mr McLeish has said that community sentences were in need of reform to restore public and judicial confidence in the sentences, and that much needed offender rehabilitation programmes “didn’t come cheap”.

Care home abuse: The House of Lords yesterday barred individuals who claim to be victims of abuse by nuns at a Scottish children’s home from seeking damages. The Lords ruled that because the abuse had occurred over 40 years ago the individuals had left it too late to seek damages. (Herald page 8, P&J page 13)

Strathclyde police: Neil Richardson has been appointed as the Deputy Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police. (Herald page 4)

Lockerbie bomber: The Crown Office is next week expected to ask judges to bypass the defence team of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Magrahi and appoint special security vetted advocates to represent him in a court hearing to decide whether a previously confidential document should be made public. If the bid for a closed door session is successful, if would be the first time this has occurred in a Scottish criminal case. (Herald page 1)

Transport

Waverley Project: Bruce Rutherford, project director of the Waverley Railway Partnership, writes in the Scotsman (page 25) outlining the benefits of the Borders Railway.

Education

Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama: Actor James McAvoy has joined other Scottish actors including David Tennent and Alan Cumming in signing an open letter to the First Minister urging him to secure the future of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama which is currently facing a cash crisis. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 7, Daily Record page 7)

Outdoor education: The Scottish Conservatives have called for every pupil in Scotland to be entitled to a week’s stay at an outdoor education centre as part of their education. (Herald page 6, Courier page 6, Express page 17, Mail page 31)

Class sizes: Teaching union the EIS told Holyrood’s education committee yesterday that there was a need for smaller class sizes throughout primary school, not just in primaries one to three. However researchers in Glasgow have found there was little change in pupil performance between class sizes of 18 and 25. (Express page 17, Mail page 19, Times page 25)

Health

Tobacco sales
: Shona Robison, Minister for Public Health, has called for cigarettes to be kept under the counter or in a back room in shops, packets of 10 cigarettes to be banned and a tobacco licensing scheme, similar to the licensing scheme used for alcohol, to be introduced to help deter smoking. The Federation of Small Businesses has said that the proposals could put many small shops out of business. (Scotsman page 8, Telegraph page 1, Herald page 1, P&J page 1, Courier page 1, Express page 4, Sun page 6, Mail page 1, Times page 1)

Compensation for vasectomy which went wrong: Daniel Stalker from East Lothian has won the right to claim up to £1million compensation from Lothian Health Board after a botched vasectomy 12 years ago has left him in constant pain and largely bed-ridden. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 11, Daily mail page 11, Daily Record page 7)

Sunbeds: MSPs yesterday backed measures to ban under 18s using sunbeds. (Herald page 8, Courier page 3, Express page 2)

Public to question NHS chiefs: The Scottish Government announced yesterday that the public will be able to question NHS leaders directly at annual review meetings for the first time. (Herald page 5, P&J page 13, Courier page 6)

Diabetes: More than 26,000 people in Scotland have type 1 diabetes, but only 326 use an insulin pump which is more effective and cheaper, due to disparities between health boards. (P&J page 9)

Health records: Public Health Minister Shona Robison is facing calls to resign after it emerged that children’s health records left in disused Strathmartine hospital are still there 6 months after she was told of the problem. (Mail page 21, Sun page 2, P&J page 9, Times page 4)

Politics

Crewe & Nantwich by-election: Coverage and analysis about the by election taking place in England today and the possible consequences for Gordon Brown should Labour lose the seat (Telegraph page 16, Iain Martin in the Telegraph, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Mail page 2, Mirror page 9, Times page 36, Matthew Parris in the Times)

Scottish Conservatives: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph (page 10) comments on how the Scottish Conservatives can improve their performance in Scotland ahead of the party’s conference in Ayr this weekend.