Daily Political Media Summary: 26 August 2008

Daily Political Media Summary: 26 August 2008
All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is blue and underlined.

Economy
Fuel Costs: Soaring fuel costs have left the average family nearly £2,500 worse off after paying for household essentials such as food and housing. (Herald pages 1 and 2)

Edinburgh Fringe: The organisers of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe have reported that they sold 160,000 less tickets than last year. The 62nd Fringe sold just over 1.54m tickets, compared to 1.7m last year. (Herald page 5, Scotsman page 6)

Health and Safety Bill: A private members Bill being introduced to Parliament by MSP Bill Wilson to toughen health and safety laws in the workplace would hit shareholders hardest if their company was found responsible of having caused injury or death. (Press and Journal page 10)

Economic Outsourcing: In the Scotsman (page 31), Andrew Rigby examines the case for outsourcing, and asks what it must do to lose its negative image.

Crime
Tolerance Zone: The Cockburn Association has called for a prostitution tolerance zone to be set up around the Salamander Street area of Leith in Edinburgh. They have claimed it would demonstrate an “enlightened approach”. Resident’s Associations in the area have hit back calling it “middle-class” and “naive”. (Scotsman page 17)

Rape Cases: Reports today suggest that only one in fourteen rape cases lead to a conviction. Of the 922 rapes reported to police in 2006/7, only 65 of the alleged crimes resulted in a prosecution. The Crown Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers have both undertaken their own investigations and have written up a list of recommendations. (Scotsman page 12)

Transport
Cars: The number of licensed vehicles on the road jumped by almost one-third over the course of the last decade and by 1% last year. There are now more vehicles on Scotland’s roads than at any other time. The rise also coincides with a rise in the amount of public transport used. (Herald page 9, Press and Journal page 1, Scotsman opinion page 25 and pages 1 and 4, Daily Mail page 17, Daily Express page 4)

BAA Break-Up: In the FT (page 13) Philip Stephens comments that the break up of British Airport Authority (BAA) will be a positive move because competition will bring about increased quality for passengers.

Health
Dr Iain Kerr: The doctor who prescribed sleeping pills to help end a woman’s life has said that he fears losing his job as a doctor despite only being suspended by General Medical Council. (Herald pages 1 and 3)

Drinking Epidemic: A major new report into the state of the drink problem that surrounds the Western Isles has suggested that the problem is so endemic that they are unsure of which parts of the population to target first to try and treat the problem. (Herald page 9)
Depression Treatment: Sufferers of depression are to be given a new treatment over the phone using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to try and help reduce the need for the use of anti-depressants. (Herald page 3)

Caesarean Children: Diabetes UK has found that babies born by caesarean are more than 20% more likely than those born naturally to develop diabetes. It has been suggested that this could be linked to exposure to hospital drugs present during the birth. (Herald page 7)

Local Government

Glasgow City Council: Leaders of Glasgow City Council are to be quizzed as to why minority groups working within the Council are more than five times more likely to raise a grievance than their white counterparts. Disabled employees are also twice as likely to have cause for official complaint. (Herald page 6)

Connery backs Trump: Sir Sean Connery has backed Donald Trump’s plans for a £1bn golf resort in the north-east saying that the area had been “neglected” (Press and Journal page 9)

Aberdeen Council: The interim head of Aberdeen Council will today meet with the media for the first time. Robert Coomber, a troubleshooter, will however have the answers to any awkward questions already to hand. The Council has also rejected an offer from a resident to cut a patch off grass owned by the Council for free. (Press and Journal page 10, Scotsman page 16, Daily Mail page 6, Sun page 21, Daily Express page 10)

Politics
Police Pensions: Labour has criticised the Scottish Government for not doing enough to tackle the impending crisis over police pensions. The Government faces a £50m bill over the next three years to pay to retiring officers, while there is also an equivalent £16m bill for the fire service. The Government has retorted that there are discrepancies in the Barnett formula that results in money not coming to Scotland. (Herald page 6, Courier and Advertiser page 10, Press and Journal page 8, Scotsman page 15)

Party Expenses: The SNP have come under fire from Labour for putting up notices at a farm fair and then claiming the money back as expenses. The notices advertised the chance to meet Alex Salmond, Stewart Stevenson and Maureen Watt. (Press and Journal page 9)

Labour hustings: At a meeting in Dundee last night, the three contenders for the party leadership – Cathy Jamieson, Iain Gray and Andy Kerr – were told by party supporters that they must take more of a stance against the SNP. (Courier and Advertiser page 2)

Thatcher: Douglas Fraser in the Herald (page 15) comments on how the UK will remember former PM Margaret Thatcher, while Colette Douglas Home remarks on the difficulties caused by dementia. Reports also suggest that the SNP proposed a deal with Thatcher over devolution, two years before they sided with the Tories to help bring down Jim Callaghan’s government. (Sun page 2)

Post Offices: Danny Alexander, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, will tomorrow deliver a sack of mail to Downing Street from constituents irate at the closure of local post offices. (Herald page 6)

Higher Education: Jack McConnell has today backed a plan for a proposed increase in funding so that an increased number of children can go on to study further education at either college or university. Universities Scotland is reported to be targeting a number of around two-thirds of Scots schoolchildren going on to some kind of further education. (Herald page 8)

Scottish GB Team: Following reports yesterday that Sir Sean Connery was in favour of Scotland creating their own Olympic Team, gold-medal winner cyclist Chris Hoy has refused to back the idea, saying “I’m a proud Scot and I’m a very proud Brit as well”. Despite pressure form the Prime Minster, Scottish football fans are still also opposed to the creation of a GB football team for the London Olympics in 2012. (Press and Journal page 5, Scotsman page 10, Daily Mail page 7, Daily record page 4 and 5, Times page 4, Telegraph page 1 and 2, Courier and Advertiser page 11)

House of Lords: Hamish MacDonell writing in the Scotsman comments on the future of the House of Lords, and writes that debates in the Lords are of a higher quality because there is less party interest.

Labour’s summer: In the Guardian (page 27) Polly Toynbee states that assertions coming from the Tories over the summer have led to Labour cowering for not knowing how to reply.

Lib Dem Leadership: The outcome of the Scottish Liberal Democrat leadership race will be known today when it is announced at Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh. Tavish Scott is still expected to win despite late rallies by contenders Ross Finnie and Mike Rumbles. (Times page 17)

Union’s Demands: The trade union Unite is demanding a change at the very top of the Labour Party after saving it from bankruptcy. Since 2005, Unite has given Labour £11m. (Daily Telegraph page 4)