0131 524 9500 | info@reformscotland.com

Daily Political Media Summary: 25 June 2008

All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Economy

Energy prices: Senior executives from the UK’s main energy companies were quizzed by MPs yesterday about rising prices. The executives said that profit margins were so tight therefore the costs of higher wholesale gas had to be passed on to the consumer. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 5, Telegraph page 4, Mail page 18, Courier page 16, FT, P&J)

Stagflation: George Kerevan in the Scotsman (page 31) comments on the return of stagflation and argues that whilst the situation may not be as bad as in the 1970s, strains were appearing in the labour market, including growing industrial action. While Simon Heffer in the Telegraph (Page 20) argues that the blame for the current inflation crisis is squarely the fault of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling.

Social mobility: Ian Bell in the Herald (page 15) comments on the Prime Minister’s speech on social mobility.

Crime

Police: Chief Constable Stephen House of Strathclyde Police Force told MSPs yesterday that more rank and file officers were needed to carry out traditional police work. He also criticised the police having to arrange activities such as five-a-side football for youngsters. (Express page 9, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Mail page 1, Courier page 9)
Reoffending: According to figures published by the Scottish Government yesterday almost half of all convicted criminals re-offend within two years. (Herald page 9, Express page 15, Telegraph page 10, Times page 6, Sun page 2, P&J)

Transport

Edinburgh/ Glasgow line: Network Rail has decided that Scotland’s busiest rail line should have “world class” punctuality and reliability and plans to spend an additional £5m a year on the Edinburgh to Glasgow route. (Scotsman page 8)

Diesel: The average price of a gallon of diesel has broken the £6-a-gallon mark for the first time. (Herald page 5)

Education

University funding: A joint university and Scottish Government taskforce yesterday outlined a road map for the future of higher education funding which would see more freedoms for universities and increased funding in return for a focus on government economic priorities (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 13, Courier page 10, P&J)

NEETs: New statistics on the number of school leavers not entering education, employment or training were published yesterday showing that 13% of school leavers fall into this category. (Herald page 11, Courier page 11)

School dinners: The number of secondary school pupils eating school dinners has fallen to its lowest level in a decade with 6,813 fewer pupils this year than in 2007 taking a school meal. (Herald page 11, Courier page 10)

Health

Health inequality: A study by the Scottish Public Health Observatory, focusing on key health indicators, has shown wide variations in health across Scotland. One indicator focused on alcohol related admissions to hospital, which were highest in north Glasgow, closely followed by the Western Isles. (Scotsman page 11, Mirror page 19, Courier page 9, P&J)

Teenage pregnancies: Statistics published by the Scottish Government yesterday revealed that teenage pregnancies had risen to a record high of 9,252 in 2006. The number of pregnant girls under 16 rose to 772, the highest level since 1988. (Mail page 10)

Male screening service: The first male only screening service run by the NHS in Scotland will begin in 2011 to spot potential lethal abdominal aortic aneurysms. (Herald page 4, Sun page 2, Courier page 3, P&J)

Skin cancer: According to new statistics from the Scottish Government skin cancer cases in Scottish men have increased by 43% between 1995 and 2005. Cases in women rose by 20%. (Daily Record page 4, Times page 17)

Local Government

Renfrewshire Council: Renfrewshire Council’s Chief Executive has proposed that senior staff receive pay deals of up to 16.7% over two years. Union leaders have said the proposal was insensitive when compared to the 2.5% offered to council workers. (Herald page 1)

Politics

Jack McConnell: The former First Minister has come under pressure to stand down as an MSP, triggering a by-election, so that he can take up his role as British High Commissioner to Malawi. The House of Commons foreign affairs select committee has made it clear that he could not prepare to take over such a role while remaining as a MSP. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 14, Express page 8, Kerry Gill in the Express, Telegraph page 11, Mail page 17, Daily Record page 6, Times page 14, Sun page 2, Courier page 1, P&J)

Opinion poll: An ICM/ Guardian poll has put Labour on 25% – its lowest poll rating for 24 years. The Conservatives were on 45% and Lib Dems on 20%. 74% thought that Gordon Brown had been a change for the worse compared to Tony Blair. (Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 2, Herald page 6)

Scottish elections: The UK Government yesterday rejected calls to give the Scottish Parliament control over its own elections. (Herald page 6, Telegraph page 9, Times page 4, Sun page 2, Courier page 3, P&J)

Conservative candidates: Allan Massie in the Mail (page 16) argues that David Cameron was wrong to suspend Philip Lardner, the candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran. Massie argues that parties are broad coalitions encompassing a variety of views and it is inconsistent for David Cameron to argue in favour of localism in public services, and then override the local constituency’s choice of party candidate.

London Mayor: Businessman and star of ‘The Apprentice’ Sir Alan Sugar has admitted he may stand as the Labour candidate for Mayor of London in 2012. (Mirror page 3)

Nationalism: Magnus Linklater in the Times (page 26) comments that the SNP appear to favour an image for Scotland which is “predictable, unadventurous, backward-looking and self-centred.”

Gordon Brown: The Guardian (page 12) examines the style and key moments of Gordon Brown’s premiership.