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Daily Political Media Summary: 22 December 2009

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Media Summary: 22 December 2009

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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.

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Transport 

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Aberdeen Bypass: The Scottish Government has approved the long-awaited construction of the 28-mile Aberdeen bypass. The project is expected to cost at least £400 million and will be the first transport scheme in Scotland to be funded through the non-profit model developed by the Scottish Futures Trust. Concerns have been raised about the financing of the project.  The Scottish Government has agreed to fund 81 per cent of the project, with Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council each contributing 9.5 per cent. (Scotsman page 4, Opinion page 30, Herald page 2, Press and Journal page 1, FT page 4, Courier page 6, Daily Express page 2, STV, BBC)

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Drink Driving: More than 100 motorists have been arrested in Scotland as a result of the campaign to reduce drink driving. In week two of the four week campaign, 129 drivers including 11 repeat offenders were arrested for being over the limit. (Scotsman page 9)

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Eurostar: Partial resumption of services has begun today, but tens of thousands of passengers will be unable to make their planned journeys as backlogs of passengers from the weekend are travelling. (Times page 4, Daily Telegraph page 4)

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Globespan: Administrators sorting out the collapse of Globespan Group have demanded that its payment processing firm E-Clear hand over £35 million. (Scotsman page 13, Press and Journal page 5, FT page 4, BBC)

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Health

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Parkinson’s Disease: Five MSPs have agreed to donate their brains to scientific research for Parkinson’s Disease. These include Labour’s Wendy Alexander, Marlyn Glen, James Kelly and Helen Eadie, along with SNP’s Kenneth Gibson. The number of people agreeing to donate their brains to research has almost doubled following an appeal in April. The charity behind the drive is requesting that more men and younger people who have Parkinson’s sign up. (Scotsman page 3)

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NHS Care: The Scottish Labour Party has accused the SNP of being hypocritical as figures revealed that NHS Scotland is receiving £5.5 million a year from private patients. The SNP had promised to ban private operations in NHS hospitals when in opposition in an effort to stop “queue-jumping”. (Scotsman page 10, STV)

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Midwives: The Royal College of Midwives in Scotland has complained of a decision by the health board in Greater Glasgow and Clyde to increase the number of maternity care assistants (MCAs). The RCM claims that the number of MCAs undermines the work of fully qualified midwives and that MCAs end up doing work for which they are under qualified. (Herald page 1)

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Politics

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Televised Debates: First Minister Alex Salmond has condemned upcoming televised debates between the UK’s three main party leaders as “rigged”. The debates mark the first time in British political history that the main party leaders have agreed to take part in a televised pre-election debate. The BBC, Sky and ITV are each hosting their own debate and none have invited leaders from other political parties. The broadcasters said that they would take steps to ensure other parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were given coverage in line with their agreement of due impartiality. Mr Salmond said the exclusion showed “an extraordinarily high-handed attitude and depressingly metropolitan mindset.”The SNP are considering legal action to stop the debates being broadcast in Scotland. (Scotsman page 1, Analysis page 2, Daily Telegraph page 1, Press and Journal page 1, FT page 4, Courier page 11, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Mirror page 1, Sun page 1, BBC, STV)

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Blogging Row: Angus Nicolson, a former SNP member of Western Isles Council, has alleged that Mike Russell contacted him with regard to contributing to a Nationalist blog. Mr Nicolson wrote on his personal blog that Mr Russell asked him “to get involved in a pro-SNP blogging ring” and he would “be part of the ‘group’ as an ‘influential’ blogger” but that he was not contacted again. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 4)

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Independent Scotland: Bank of England governor Mervyn King has said that an independent Scotland would not have any influence over interest rates for the pound. Mr King responded to Liberal Democrat requests to clarify an SNP proposal that an independent Scotland could keep the pound until a referendum on joining the euro. Mr King wrote, “It would not be possible for interest rate decisions to take account of inflation in an independent country with its own fiscal policy, in the absence of a proper monetary union framework.” Alex Salmond dismissed the letter as a “typically silly attack”. (Scotsman page 8, Analysis page 8, Opinion page 30)

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Lockerbie: The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission will be reviewing what details to release in the Lockerbie bomber case. Details would be released in February, but only with the permission of the agencies that provided the information. (Scotsman page 14, Families React in The Times page 3, Daily Telegraph page 8)

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Enterprise: Jack Irvine, executive chairman of PR firm Media House, writes that taxes and red tape in Scotland are driving away enterprise. (Scotsman page 29)