Daily Political Media Summary: 23 September 2008


All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions.

Financial trouble:
Further news and analysis into the current economic problems facing the banks in the UK and around the world. In a loss of confidence, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have transferred themselves to lower risk and more tightly regulated banks. Bradford and Bingley, meanwhile may be about to give up its independence and be taken over. Santander, HSBC and Barclays have all been touted as potential suitors. (Guardian page 26)

Food costs: The cost of basic foods has soared by nearly 10 times the official rate of inflation according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics. (Express page 1)

Pensions: Pensioners living in affluent areas are to receive smaller pensions because they are expected to live longer under new schemes introduced by insurers. (Telegraph page 1)

Mobile Phone Charges: Both the British Government and the telecommunications watchdog Ofcom have attacked the EU’s plan to cut mobile phone roaming rates by as much as 70%. Mobile operators have warned that this will lead to a rise in charges and the potential end of free handsets. (Guardian page 29)

Petrol Prices: There were fresh fears for the price of petrol last night after it emerged that petrol had once more topped $120 a barrel. Prices rose by 11% yesterday, around $16 a barrel. (Sun page 1, Telegraph page 3)

Drugs: The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency seized drugs worth more than £20m last year. (P&J page 3, Telegraph page 12)

Open prison: Tory MSP Bill Aitken warned yesterday that open prisons should not become a dumping ground for hardened inmates to ease prison overcrowding. (Courier page 8)

East coast line: Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson announced yesterday that an extra 1,200 train seats are to be added to east coast services between Edinburgh, Fife and Aberdeen. (Herald page 3, P&J page 12)

University funding: Universities Scotland has said that Scottish universities are now receiving a lower proportion of Scotland’s overall budget than they did in 1999. (Scotsman page 17, Burning issue in the Scotsman, John Haldane in the Scotsman)

Virtual teachers: A new out-of-hours service that allows pupils to receive homework tips from teachers through a ‘vodcasting system’ is to be piloted by pupils at Alva Academy in Clackmannanshire. (Herald page 9)

School buses: Emma Christie in the P&J (page 8) examines the case for the introduction of American style yellow school buses.

Patients’ rights: Further coverage of proposals to allow Scottish patients who cannot be treated within legally binding waiting time guarantees to be sent overseas for treatment. The Patients’ Rights Bill is also aimed at moving away from what the Health Secretary sees as the unequal relationship between doctor and patient. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 11, Sun page 2, Courier page 10, Express page 2)

Local Government
Council Strikes: Striking bin men will receive time and a half payments to clear the mess that will be left by their own strike action. The strike by council staff across Scotland will see 150,000 workers walk out. (Daily Mail page 1)

David Miliband: David Miliband yesterday made his speech to the Labour party conference and despite praising Gordon Brown he was later overheard saying “I couldn’t have gone any further. It would have been a Heseltine moment.” (Scotsman page 10, Guardian page 6, Jonathon Freedland in the Guardian, Daily Mail page 8, P&J page 10)

Internet proposal: Gordon Brown’s proposal of a £300m household internet connection programme that is expected to be announced in his conference speech today will apply only to England with no Barnett consequential payments for Wales and Scotland. (Herald page 1, P&J page 1, Telegraph page 1)

PM’s Speech: PM Gordon Brown will make his speech today to the Labour Party conference today, and will seek to show the party that he is the only person with the intellect or experience for the job. (Guardian pages 1, 2, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, Times page 1, David Aaranovitch in the Times, Rachel Sylvester in the Times, Daily Mirror pages 6 and 7, Sun pages 1 and 4, FT page 2, Philip Stephens in the FT, Courier page 1, Express page 8, Patrick O’ Flynn in the Express)

Green Party: Patrick Harvie MSP is to become the new co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party. (Courier page 8)

Iain Gray: The Scottish Labour Leader told the party conference that Labour must unite to take on Alex Salmond. (Telegraph page 5, Express page 9, P&J page 10)

Energy nationalisation: The former environment minister Michael Meacher has called for the re-nationalisation of many of the countries utilities in the wake of the soaring energy prices. He has called for gas, electricity and water to come back under public ownership. (Guardian page 4)

HBOS: Andy Hornby, Chief Executive of HBOS, has broken his silence to say that he is convinced the company is doing the right thing. His comments came as the First Minister called an emergency meeting of Scotland’s business leaders saying he would fight to ensure the global headquarters of the new bank would be in Scotland. Alex Salmond is due to meet with bosses of Lloyds TSB today. (Scotsman page 1, Interview with Andy Hornby in the Scotsman, Hamish Macdonell in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Daily Record page 2, Times page 46, Angus MacLeod in the Times, Daily Mirror page 4, Sun page 2, Ron Ferguson in the P&J, Courier page 1, Express page 4, Telegraph page 10)

UK economy: In his speech to the Labour party conference yesterday Alistair Darling warned that there would be bumps in the road ahead for the economy and signalled that borrowing would have to rise. The Chancellor also called for an “urgent review” of banking regulations as well as a crackdown on City bonuses. (Herald page 6, Guardian pages 1 and 2, and 4,5, and opinion page 34, Daily Record page 8, Daily Mail page 10, Sun page 4, FT page 1 and page 3, Telegraph page 4, Boris Johnson in the Telegraph, Tracy Corrigan in the Telegraph, Guardian page 25, David Wighton in the Times)