0131 524 9500 | info@reformscotland.com

Daily Political Media Summary: 15 August 2008

Economy

Scottish Enterprise: The newly slimmed down economic development agency has posted a £2.5m surplus on its £535m budget in 2007 (Scotsman page 29, P&J page 18).

BA & American Airlines: BA have sparked a row after signing a joint business agreement with merger target Iberia as well as American Airlines to co-operate on flights between Europe and North America. Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic described it as a “monster monopoly” (Mail page 31, Express page 66, Times page 44, Herald page 12).

Inflation: Samuel Brittan in the FT (page 11) comments on ‘inflationary expectations’ and their impact on policy decisions.

Supermarket price war: Fierce competition has opened up between the major supermarkets leading to a number of price cuts (Express page 1, Times page 8).

Crime

Death by careless driving: Motorists who cause death by careless driving in Scotland could now face a prison sentence of up to five years (Scotsman page 15, Mail page 34, Record page 34, Express page 4).

Fiscal fines: The number of fiscal fines being handed out as a diversion from court has increased over the past 18 months while the workloads of some courts has fallen by a fifth (Sun page 2, Mail page 1).

Education

Glasgow schools: Glasgow’s schools are starting to close the gap with the rest of Scotland in reading, writing and maths for 5-14 year-olds (TESS page 5).

Health

Cancer: A study by the Cancer Care Research Centre has found that although treatment of cancer in Scotland is often good, the focus was too much on the disease rather than the whole person including their emotional and psychological needs (Scotsman page 8, Mail page 19, Express page 6).

Dead body in ward: A man’s body was left in a ward in Stobhill hospital in Glasgow for seven hours after his death (Mirror page 4, Telegraph page 8, Courier page 2, Mail page 8, Express page 9).

GPs’ opening hours: Just over half of Scottish GP surgeries are now offering appointments outside normal office hours to comply with the Scottish Government’s new policy on opening times. Dr Dean Marshall, Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish GPs’ Committee said that his members were implementing a “badly thought-out plan” (Herald page 1).


Local Government

Local Income Tax: Peter Jones in the Scotsman (page 31) sets out the business case against introducing a local income tax.

Politics

Glenrothes by-election: The Prime Minister is reportedly facing pressure from MPs to put himself at the heart of the Glenrothes by-election campaign. Henry McLeish, former First Minister and MP and MSP for Central Fife has been asked to consider standing for the seat. (Scotsman page 16, Record page 2). Robbie Dunwoodie (Herald page 6) thinks he could be the ideal choice. However, some Labour MPs are thought to be trying to prevent him becoming a candidate (Times page 7). Michael Kettle argues (Guardian page 35) that Gordon Brown should not delay the by-election.

Scottish Labour leadership: Cathy Jamieson in the Scotsman (page 28) argues why she should be the new leader of the Scottish Labour party. Yesterday Ms Jamieson called on the First Minister to set up a £50 million hardship fund to help pensioners with fuel costs. (Sun page 2). Fellow candidate Iain Gray has called for an increase in apprenticeships (Courier page 9, Record page 2).

Scots among the happiest in Europe: Research carried out among 24 countries in Europe has found the Scots are the third happiest nation in Europe (Scotsman page 4, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Herald page 3, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 13, Express page 11).

Freedom of expression: A UN report has accused the government of restricting freedom of expression and calls for the reform of Britain’s libel and terrorism laws (Guardian page 1).

Creative Scotland: The Culture Minister has said that she will go ahead with plans for the new arts quango Creative Scotland, despite an increase in the estimated transition cost to £7million (Times page 7).

Unclaimed benefits: Age Concern has launched two pilot schemes to encourage all those entitled to claim their fill benefit entitlement because pensioners are currently missing out on £4.6billion in unclaimed benefits (Herald page 12).

Politics of fear: Alf Young (Herald page 17) argues that politicians increasingly pander to prejudices in order to occupy the centre ground.