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Daily Political Media Summary: 1 August 2008

Economy

Scotland’s economy: Peter Jones in the Scotsman (page 31) argues that if the SNP are serious about improving Scotland’s economy, more radical action is needed. Alf Young discusses the economy and Scotland’s sense of ‘victimhood’ (Herald page 19).

Energy prices: Some Labour MPs and union leaders have called for a windfall tax on energy companies after Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, reported an 88% rise in pre-tax profits to £2.97bn (Telegraph page 6, Mail page 1, Express page 6, Times page 1, Herald page 1, P&J). Charles Clover (Telegraph page 22) and Martin Walker (Times page 41) argue against such a tax.

Rebalanced economy: Samuel Britton in the FT (page 11) outlines the conditions he believes are necessary to rebalance the economy.

HBOS: HBOS reported a 76% fall in profits for the first six months of this year, saying that market conditions were ‘unprecedented’ (Herald page 30).

Education

Shortage of headteachers: Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop has expressed concern at the number of teachers willing to become headteacehrs (TESS page 1).

Fiona Hyslop: Brian Monteith in the TESS (page 26) comments on the possibility of Fiona Hyslop being replaced as Education Secretary by Mike Russell.

Skills: Neil Munro in the TES (page 22) comments on the skills debate and the move toward a demand led skills approach.

Crime

Social work reports: A Sheriff has harshly criticised the reports he receives from Scottish Borders Council’s Social Work Department, saying they are “verbose, historical, substantially irrelevant, frequently unhelpful and time consuming” (Express page 27).

Transport

Trains: Scotland’s trains are to be branded with a permanent Saltire livery, removing the different coloured schemes used in the east and west of the country. (Scotsman page 1).

A77 upgrade: Improvements to a dangerous stretch of the A77 have resulted in a 76% fall in accidents, prompting renewed calls for a similar upgrade to the A9 (Herald page 1).

Local Government

Council housing: Edinburgh Council leaders have put forward proposals to build over 1,000 new council houses. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 13).

Council workers strike: The GMB and Unite unions, representing over 150,000 council workers, confirmed yesterday that their members had agreed to take industrial action over pay (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 3, Mail page 2).


Politics

Gordon Brown & David Miliband: Further comment and speculation about whether there will be a challenge to Gordon Brown’s leadership of the Labour party and whether David Miliband will be sacked over his comments in the Guardian. (Scotsman page 12, Ross Lydall in the Scotsman, Mirror page 6, Sun page 2, Mail page 4, Times page 2, Courier page 2, FT page 1, Guardian page 7, John Kampfner in the Guardian, P&J). Alice Miles profiles the Miliband brothers (Times2 page 4). A poll for the Telegraph shows that, although Gordon Brown’s popularity is at an historic low, replacing him would not save Labour from defeat at the next general election (Telegraph page 1).

Constitution: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman (page 24) comments on the collapse of the Labour party north and south of the border and the consequences this may have for the constitution of the UK.

Scottish Lib Dems: Tavish Scott, favourite to be elected leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, comments on the state Scottish politics and argues for more powers for the Scottish Parliament (Herald page 19).

Scottish Labour: Iain Gray launched his campaign to be Scottish Labour leader. He said he would be a unifying candidate and rejected an independence referendum in 2011, saying the timetable and question would be rigged (Herald page 9, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Times page 8, Courier page 7, P&J)

Children’s hearing system: The Scottish Government has published plans to reform the children’s hearing system. The 100 different bodies which make up the system will be merged and brought together with the Children’s Reporter service (Herald page 14).

Traditional values: Professor John Haldane in the Scotsman (page 28) questions whether ‘traditional values’ are making a political comeback.

Spending caps: Labour’s plans to stop the Conservatives pouring millions into key marginal seats have been dealt a blow by the Electoral Commission which has said it has “strong reservations” about the Government’s plans (Guardian page 1).