Daily Politcal Media Summary: 9 October 2009

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Media Summary: 8 October 2009

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

Postal strike:  Christmas post will be affected by plans for a national postal strike which was voted for by 61% of Communication Workers Union member who voted.  The CWU must provide 7 days notice before any strike action takes place however unless further talks are successful, services will be disrupted and may create a “winter of discontent.” (Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 6, FT page 4, Daily Mail page 1, Daily Express page 7, STV, Scotsman page 7 Herald page 5 Times page 16 Telegraph page 8)

Aberdeen council jobs:  Aberdeen City Council may axe 600 jobs in an attempt to balance its budget.  This follows the 700 jobs which were lost last year.  The city’s Labour group and opposition leaders have criticised the move, urging the council to first consider other measures to make savings.  (Scotsman page 21 Herald page 1)

Fishing industry:  A pressure group has re-founded itself to tackle the issue to reduced fishing quotas which they say is ruining Scotland’s fishing industry.  A petition to Holyrood was issued in 2002, however was unsuccessful. The group have now reformed following requests from their local community in Aberdeenshire.  (Times page 29)

Population changes: Despite the current recession, warnings have been issued that Scotland’s failure to respond to population changes will lead to a shortage of people as opposed to lack of jobs.  (TESS page 18)

Crime:

Glasgow city centre:  Glasgow Chief superintendant Anne McGuire has stated that older people should visit the city centre in a bid to remove the city’s reputation as unsafe and provide a wider ranging clientele in pubs and clubs.  Ms McGuire believes this will assist any change in the negative drinking culture that the city suffers from.  (Herald page 10)

Transport

Trams: Testing on Edinburgh’s 27 trams will begin next year near Edinburgh Airport.  The Councils tram company, TIE, has stated that the main depot will be largely completed by spring 2010 dispelling claims that the project will not be finished by 2012. (Scotsman page 13)

Local Government

Emerald necklace:  Edinburgh could soon benefit from plans to link Princes Street Gardens, The Meadows, Carlton Hill, Queen Street Gardens and Holyrood Park by a series of tree lined walking and cycling routes in a bit to overhaul the city centre, based on the “Emerald Necklace” created in Boston, Massachusetts in the 19th century.  The plans are expected to coincide with the introduction of trams in 2012.  (Scotsman page 3)

Glasgow North East by election: The date for the Glasgow North East by election to replace Commons speaker Michael Martin, has been announced as the 12th November and has been cited as the last indicator for the next general election.   Candidates include Labour Party’s Willie Bain and SNP David Kerr.  The recent problems with SNP’s axing of the Glasgow Airport Rail link have led to calls that Mr Bain is the favourite.  (Scotsman page 8 Herald page 7 Times page 24)

Suffrage march:  Edinburgh will celebrate a century of women’s activism and participation by creating a repeat of the 1909 Gude Cause march in aid of female suffrage.   It is also intended to revive female voting in Scotland which recent research shows has fallen.  (Scotsman page 18)

Unpaid business rates:  Mobile phone company Hutchison 3G and finance company Credit Suisse Asset Management owes thousands of pounds in business rates.  The top ten offenders owe a total of £1.8 million.  Glasgow MSP Bob Doris has collated the figures following concern of the costs owed to Glasgow City Council. (Herald page 12)

Health

Swine Flu:  Scotland has reached a record in its number of people being admitted to hospital with Swine Flu.  Last week 36 people were admitted taking the total number since the outbreak in April 2009 to 208. However the total number of people to have contracted the disease has dropped.  Additionally the Scottish Government will be investigating evidence which links between obesity and Swine Flu fatalities (Scotsman page 8 ,Herald page 4)

Pest control: NHS Tayside Trust has come under fire following pest control being called out to hospital premises 462 times for numerous problems with unwanted pests. (Scotsman page 23)

Education

School  Building Programme: Labour last night accused Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop of “fiddling the figures” of new schools to be built under the SNP’s Scottish Future Trust, by adding plans for an additional 36 schools the day before debate on the issue. Opposition MSPs joined forces to reject claims that the government had overseen the construction of 236 schools since coming to power in 2007; surpassing the previous administration’s record of 205. The Labour motion stated that most schools built over the last two years have been “legacy” projects started under the previous administration. (Scotsman page 20, Press and Journal page 8)

Sex education: Glasgow’s non denominational schools will introduce a sex education programme in both primary and secondary schools in an attempt to move away from its previous approach which has been deemed as “shambolic”.  Critics have stated the policy to introduce basic education on the body to be inappropriate when applied to primary one children.  (Scotsman page 21 TESS page 4)

Advanced Highers:  Private and public schools are considering a proposition to join forces so that Advanced Higher exams can be made more accessible to pupils in public schools and provide a greater degree of collaboration between the public and private sectors. (Herald page 8, TESS page 2)

Teacher training:  Teacher training in Scotland could again be cut in certain areas as the Scottish Funding Council last week announced plans to redistribute its £700 million grant for teaching courses.  Once again, universities have made their opposition clear citing that the model used to calculate cuts is unsuitable for the discipline. (TESS page 1)

Politics

Liberal Democrats:  Liberal Democrats have indicated a revision of their position on Scottish independence.  Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott has previously opposed a referendum being held on the issue especially whilst during recession. Recent pressure has lead to plans for discussion at the next Liberal Democrat conference on 30th October.  (Scotsman page 3 Times page 29, Telegraph page 16, Courier page 1, BBC)

Salmond: First Minister Alex Salmond was last night told to keep his promise on paying council tax on his official residence in Scotland.  Labour leader Ian Gray accused Mr Salmond of “tax avoidance.”  Mr Salmond defended his position by stating that following advise he would continue to pay business rates on the property as part of the property is used for business purposes.  (Scotsman page 19)

BBC expenses claims: BBC Scotland senior staff has racked up an expenses bill of £80,000 over the last 5 years to be covered by public money.  Although much of the items listed have been deemed as reasonable, some claims have been criticised including UEFA Cup Final tickets.  BBC Scotland has defended their expenses policy.  (Herald page 1)  

David Cameron:  David Cameron’s attempts to win over the Scottish electorate may be futile as Scots still associate Tory rule with Margaret Thatcher.  A poll taken last week indicates that the Conservatives may only gain one more seat in Scotland and any attempt to make progress in Scotland will be a “long haul”. (Guardian page 1, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1, FT page 1, Daily Record page 8, Daily Express page 5, Sun page 8, Times page10)

Military Advisor: Major General David McDowall, who was until this summer Scotland’s most senior soldier, is to become a specialist military adviser to the Scottish Government. (Courier page 10)