Daily Political Media Summary: 18 December 2009

Reform Scotland

\r\n

Daily Political Media Summary: 18 December 2009

\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

Economy

\r\n

British Airways: The travel plans of one million passengers were saved yesterday when British Airways won its legal bid to have a 12-day strike scrapped. The High Court ruling has forced the Unite union to abandon a planned walkout by 13,500 staff over job and pay cuts that was due to start on Tuesday. The surprise decision came after lawyers had predicted BA\’s move would fail because of the overwhelming backing for action in Unite\’s strike ballot.
\r\nMore than nine in ten cabin crew voted to strike on an 80 per cent turnout, but a judge ruled this invalid because hundreds of staff leaving the airline were included in the vote. However, the union has vowed to re-ballot cabin crew. (Scotsman
page 1, Herald page 11, Daily Record page 7, Press and Journal page 1, FT page 1, Guardian page 1) 

\r\n

Globespan: More than 8,000 calls flooded customer help lines yesterday, as efforts continued to bring home thousands of holidaymakers hit by the collapse of Flyglobespan. Some 550 staff at Edinburgh-based parent Globespan Group also lost their jobs yesterday. Forty are staying on temporarily to staff the help lines and help wind up the business, but 60 baggage handlers employed by subsidiary firm Alba Ground Handling at Glasgow Airport are likely to be the only ones to keep their jobs. (Scotsman page 8, page 9, Times page 1, Herald page 1, Daily Record page 1, Daily Mail page 1, Daily Express page 4, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Telegraph page 2, Alan Cochrane in Telegraph page 17, BBC, STV)

\r\n

Noble Group: Edinburgh investment bank Noble Group, which has around 90 staff in the UK and 20 in India, said yesterday it had agreed to be bought by Execution. The new institution, to be called Noble Execution, will have a staff of 250. It will be headquartered in London but will “retain a strong Scottish presence”. Noble Group chairman Ben Thomson, who chairs free market think tank Reform Scotland, has been a champion for retaining a strong Scottish financial sector. Mr Thomson will be a non-executive director of the combined company as will Noble board members Keith Jones, David Potter and Stephen Curran. (Herald page 32) 

\r\n

Transport 

\r\n

Snow: The Met Office said "severe or extreme" weather could affect many parts of the nation, with predictions of disruption across the Lothian and Borders area, Strathclyde and the south-west by Sunday. Meteorologists warned that heavy snow – between 5cm and 10cm deep – could also affect north and north-west Scotland over the same period. It is anticipated that temperatures in some parts of the Highlands could fall as low as -9C. A spokeswoman for the Met Office said ice on the roads would be the biggest problem facing Scotland over the coming days. (Scotsman page 6, Press and Journal page 5, Telegraph page 1, BBC) 

\r\n

Health

\r\n

NHS pay cuts: The Scottish Government will consider an NHS official\’s call for a pay cut for senior health workers, finance secretary John Swinney said yesterday. Earlier this week Dr Linda De Caestecker, the director of public health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, suggested medical professionals should consider a wage cut to help create a fairer society. Mr Swinney said the SNP government will consider suggestions on the issue. (Scotsman page 15) 

\r\n

Anthrax: Scottish health agencies have been placed on alert after a drug user who died in hospital tested positive for anthrax. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said the man died in Glasgow’s Victoria Infirmary on Wednesday. A woman being treated there has also tested positive.  Doctors fear more people could die and have ordered tests on every drug user in Scotland who has been treated for infections over the past month. (Herald page 1, Daily Express page 9, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 4, BBC, STV) 

\r\n

Education

\r\n

Private school inquiry: Ministers are being urged to investigate a top fee-paying school after a third sex scandal in just over a year. A teacher at St Mary\’s Music School in Edinburgh was struck off yesterday following his conviction over a nine-month relationship with a 15-year-old boy. Lord George Foulkes, MSP for the area, has now demanded an inquiry from education minister Mike Russell. (Scotsman page 13) 

\r\n

Primary school closures: Councillors in Edinburgh have voted to close four primary schools in the face of a massive budget deficit. The closures were among plans to save £90 million over three years scrutinised last night. Burdiehouse, Drumbrae, Fort and Royston schools were proposed for closure earlier this year as part of a “rationalisation process to reduce the number of expensive spare places across the city”. The council insisted it would attempt to avoid compulsory redundancies. (Herald page 2, STV) 

\r\n

Politics

\r\n

Powers: David Cameron yesterday backed boosting the powers of the Scottish Parliament, saying he would set out to enact reforms within a year of becoming prime minister. But on a visit to Scotland yesterday, the Conservative leader ruled out supporting a referendum on independence as a way of "shooting the Nationalist fox", declaring it would be "tricksy and wrong". Instead, he pledged to present plans before the Holyrood elections in May 2011, setting out how a Tory government would reform the Scottish Parliament. (Scotsman page 10, Times page 5, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Express page 15) 

\r\n

Copenhagen: Pledges on the table at the Copenhagen climate summit would commit the world to a dangerous 3C global warming, a leaked UN document has revealed. The confidential document came to light with only one day to go for the two-week, 192-nation summit to reach a deal on how to tackle climate change. It revealed action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions currently pledged by industrialised countries would lead to a 3C average global temperature rise. (Scotsman page 1, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman page 29, Times page 8, Herald page 4, Daily Express page 19, Press and Journal page 8, Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 12) 

\r\n

Public notices: Scottish ministers have announced plans to allow councils no longer to publish public notices in newspapers and instead put them online. SNP finance secretary John Swinney said the move would allow councils to save millions of pounds at a time when they were short of money. Councils have been pushing for the move after they got together to form a "public information portal". (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 2, Courier page 9, Press and Journal page 8)

\r\n

Smear row: Education secretary Mike Russell has reported himself to the Standards Commissioner in an attempt to clear his name over allegations that he was involved with a malicious blog. Mr Russell also warned that he will sue his former office manager, Mark MacLachlan, if he repeats the "unfounded" allegations. Mr MacLachlan was the author of a blog called the Universality of Cheese, which smeared leading opponents to the SNP. The subject dominated First Minister\’s Questions yesterday, where Labour leader Iain Gray demanded an investigation. He pointed out that Mr Russell had denied knowledge of the blog in a television interview and wanted to know if Mr Salmond was confident he had told the truth. (Scotsman page 15, Times page 5, Herald page 3, Daily Express page 2, Telegraph page 14) 

\r\n

Power map: Scotland has the least "powerful" parliamentary constituency in Britain according to a new report that found Glasgow North East was the weakest in the UK. Among the findings are that members of the current Cabinet are overwhelmingly elected to represent the least powerful areas of Britain while, in contrast, Conservative shadow ministers largely hold seats in some of the most powerful parts of the country, according to the think-tank. (Scotsman page 17) 

\r\n

Public spending: The Scottish Government\’s budget is expected to suffer an after-inflation annual cut of more than 3% for three years running, they warned. The SNP seized on the prediction, by the Centre for Public Policy in the Regions (CPPR), as vindication of its criticism of Westminster\’s planned funding levels for Scotland. SNP MP Stewart Hosie said: "This report confirms the warnings the SNP and John Swinney have been making for some time.”Scotland is set to feel the impact of London\’s spending squeeze and the Treasury\’s failure to accelerate capital this year will only exacerbate the effects." (Herald page 3) 

\r\n

Asylum seekers: A ten year old Scots asylum seeker and her mother were released from a detention centre yesterday after a high-profile campaign to have them returned home to Scotland. Precious Mhango and her 32-year-old mother, Florence, from Cranhill in Glasgow, had been held at Yarl\’s Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire for over three weeks after being moved from Dungavel detention centre in Lanarkshire. The family\’s case was taken up by First Minister Alex Salmond last month, who told MSPs that pressure was mounting on UK immigration chiefs to allow the mother and daughter to stay in the UK after lobbying from the Scottish Government. Last week, senior doctors called for an immediate end to the "profoundly harmful" detention of children in immigration removal centres. (Scotsman page 15)

\r\n