0131 524 9500 | info@reformscotland.com

Daily Political Media Summary: 8 September 2009

Reform Scotland

\r\n

Daily Political Media Summary:

\r\n

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.

\r\n

\r\n

Economy

\r\n

Bausch & Lomb: The Scottish Government is working with US firm Bausch & Lomb to keep the Livingston manufacturing plant open. It is understood that the plant’s internal operations review is being made available to government officials for assessment. Alex Salmond has said the government is keen to look into issues of research and development and possibly manufacturing. (Scotsman page 2) 

\r\n

Job Summit Plans: Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy, First Minister Alex Salmond, STUC general secretary Grahame Smith and CBI director Iain McMillan have announced a summit on jobs and skills will take place in Scotland before the end of the year. The purpose of the summit will be to study the effectiveness of politicians’ actions in relieving the burden of unemployment caused by the recession, and how to position Scotland for a recovery. (Scotsman page 2 and page 30, Herald page 6, Press and Journal page 13, Daily Express page 2)

\r\n

Public Spending Cuts: Alistair Darling will announce today that the Labour Party would be prepared to cut public spending if it was elected back to power at the next General Election. Mr Darling is expected to declare that public spending cuts will have to wait until the economy is more stable, but when it is safe to do so, spending will be tighter “globally”. He will promise that British economic stability will always be a top priority. (Herald page 6, Alf Young’s analysis page 28, Financial Times page 3, Scottish Daily Mirror page 6, Guardian page 9)

\r\n

Transport 

\r\n

National Rail: National Rail has announced that its West Coast Main Line has been running more efficiently, with 9 out of 10 of its trains running on-time. However the company may still face fines from the Office of Railroad Regulation (ORR) for earlier poor performance. The ORR has said that it will continue to monitor National Rail and that not all of its infrastructure problems have been addressed. (Herald page 4, Press and Journal page 17)

\r\n

High-Speed Rail Line: Edinburgh and Glasgow city councils have joined with a coalition of eleven UK cities to lobby for a UK high-speed rail line. The group are set to hold a conference to press for £35 billion in funding to build a rail line between London and Scotland. The exact route is still in discussion. (Herald page 4)

\r\n

Education

\r\n

Parental Choice: Annabel Goldie is set to lead a conference today where Tories will declare that Scotland’s education system is failing its youth. They have asserted that parents should have the right to remove their children from a school they believe to be performing badly, and move them to one where standards are better. The Tories also propose that a “pupil premium” should be given to children from needier areas, and to children with special needs. (Scotsman page 13, Scottish Daily Mail page 4)

\r\n

Job Shortage for Teachers: Teachers from South Ayrshire have complained that their contracts are being cut short by local authorities before they secure employment rights. Cash-strapped local authorities are said to be denying contracts to newly-qualified teachers in order to reduce the number of permanent teachers, therefore saving on their wage bills. It has been said that Scotland is training too many teachers for the number of posts available. (Herald page 4)

\r\n

Special Needs Schools Merger: Glasgow City Council has announced a merger of 5 of the city’s 46 special needs schools, which will affect about 150 children. The City Council has said that the merger would save taxpayers about £1million, which will be put toward the remaining schools. Officials have said that although less staff will be needed, there would be no compulsory redundancies. Rather, they will look for staff willing to take early retirement. (Herald page 9)

\r\n

Politics

\r\n

Al-Megrahi: Kenny MacAskill has said that he wants to release al-Megrahi’s appeal papers to the public. Mr MacAskill is meeting with the Scottish Criminal Cases Review (SCCR) to ascertain how many documents can be released regarding its findings that al-Megrahi’s conviction was unsafe. An aide to David Cameron has said it is unlikely that many papers could be released, and those that were cleared would be “highly dubious”. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Scottish Sun page 6)

\r\n

Scottish Independence Inquiry: A Holyrood committee is to investigate claims that top civil servants are actively seeking Scottish independence. This comes in reaction to yesterday’s news of a leaked minute of plans for future spending to be used toward “preparing Scotland to be a sustainable independent country”. A spokesman for Alex Salmond has responded that it is a “statement of the obvious” that the Scottish Government is in favour of Scottish independence. (Scotsman page 12, Press and Journal page 12, Courier page 11, Times page 13, Commentary by Alan Cochrane in Daily Telegraph page 6, Daily Express page 2, Daily Scottish Mail page 2, Scotland’s Daily Record page 4)

\r\n

Independence Referendum: A senior research fellow at University College London has polled 1000 Scots and found that Labour Party members are less likely to vote for independence if a Conservative leader were to become Prime Minister. He has cautioned that there is not enough support for independence at the moment, and that the issue may be buried for another generation. (Herald page 15)

\r\n

\r\n

Smear e-mails: Conservative MP Nadine Dorries is suing former Number 10 special advisor Damian McBride and Labourlist website editor Derek Draper for allegedly sending out smear e-mails containing rumours about her and other Conservatives. (Scotsman page 23)