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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 10 MAY 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 10 May 2010

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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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In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News. 

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Politics

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Hung parliament: A historic deal between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats edged closer last night after David Cameron and Nick Clegg met for a second private face-to-face meeting. The Liberal Democrats have demanded six cabinet posts, including the roles of Foreign Secretary and Scottish Secretary, in return for joining the Conservatives in a new coalition government. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, page 2, page 15, Times page 1, page 10, Telegraph page 1, FT page 1, Guardian page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, Daily Express page 1, Daily Mirror page 1, Daily Record page 1, Sunday Herald page 2, Scotland on Sunday page 4, Sunday Times page 15)

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Gordon Brown: Gordon Brown is reportedly set to bow to pressure and step down as Labour leader as soon as the outcome of the negotiations between the Conservatives and Lib Dems becomes clear. Allies of the Prime Minister believe there is little prospect of him being approached to form an alternative coalition should the talks between the other main parties collapse, meaning it is only a matter of time before he is forced to stand aside. (Scotsman page 4, Times page 8, Telegraph page 6, FT page 3, Guardian page 6, Daily Express page 2, Daily Mirror page 2, Sunday Times page 1) 

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SNP: In a highly personal attack on the SNP leader, Jim Sillars said Alex Salmond had presided over a "shameful abandonment" of the party\’s central independence message in favour of a "fatuous" and "irrelevant" election campaign. He argued the First Minister wasted his high profile and diluted the intellectual weight of the party by casting aside Nationalists with independent views in favour of "acolytes" unprepared to challenge him. Mr Sillars – a former deputy leader of the party and prominent critic of the First Minister – also attacked Mr Salmond\’s actions in the wake of the election result, calling his offer to enter into a "progressive coalition" with Labour and others as "delusional" and "risible". (Scotsman page 6, Jim Sillars in Scotsman page 29) 

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Alex Salmond: Alex Salmond has claimed Lib Dem supporters in Scotland would desert the party if their leader, Nick Clegg, agreed a coalition deal with the Conservatives. He said Mr Clegg and his advisers should canvass the alternatives of an agreement with Labour and parties such as the SNP before “they stitch up a deal with the Conservatives which would cause, I think, the complete collapse of Lib Dem support in Scotland”. A Lib Dem spokesperson said they would not be commenting on Mr Salmond’s remarks since they were “hypothetical”. (Herald page 5, Telegraph page 8) 

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SNP and Labour: Alex Salmond has insisted the SNP were still relevant to the talks on the complexion of the next UK Government, claiming his party and the Welsh nationalists were “in a position to make real gains” should Labour stay in power. In a joint statement with Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones, the First Minister said the two parties would work together to maximise the benefits for Scotland and Wales. “The assumption by some that the only option now available for a new UK Government is a Tory-Liberal pact is not correct,” said Mr Salmond. (Sunday Herald page 3) 

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Tories in Scotland: The inquest into the failure of the Conservatives to make headway in Scotland during the General Election will gather momentum this week. Senior party members will meet to discuss how they can change the brand to make it less toxic to the Scottish electorate. (Scotsman page 7, Iain MacWhirter in Sunday Herald page 7, Sunday Herald page 48, Scotland on Sunday page 11, Sunday Times page 23) 

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Scottish Lib Dems: The Scottish Liberal Democrats could form a coalition with Labour or the SNP after the next Holyrood elections, despite Nick Clegg’s talks with the Tories at Westminster, the Scottish party leader has revealed. Tavish Scott has said his choices after the 2011 Scottish election would not be limited by Lib Dem support for David Cameron south of the Border. Lib Dem MSPs would be free to decide whether to govern with Labour or the SNP if their combined numbers gave them a majority. (Sunday Herald page 15)

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Spending row:  A quango chief executive criticised for his lavish spending has been paid £45,000 in bonuses in four years. Alan Sutherland, the £140,000-a-year chief of the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS), is refusing to tell the Government whether he will waive any bonuses. His organisation has also blocked the release of how much it has spent on chauffeur-driven cars. The WICS, which employs around 24 staff, was set up in 2005 to regulate public utility Scottish Water. (Sunday Herald page 18) 

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Economy

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The euro: Alastair Darling attended emergency talks in Brussels yesterday designed to agree a new "European stabilisation mechanism" in an effort to convince world markets that the euro is a stable and credible currency. However, with the General Election having resulted in a hung parliament, the Chancellor will need to consult his Conservative and Liberal Democrat counterparts, George Osborne and Vince Cable, before signing up to any position. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund yesterday approved a 30 billion euro (about £26bn) rescue loan for debt-stricken Greece. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 6, Times page 3, Telegraph page 1, Courier page 3, Daily Express page 5) 

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Economic recovery: Scotland’s economy continued its recovery last month although the pace of expansion eased and remains "considerably weaker" than for the rest of the UK, research today reveals. Employment levels, activity and new orders remained in positive territory in April, according to the latest Bank of Scotland Purchasing Managers\’ Index (PMI) report. However, the survey\’s headline activity index, measuring total output from the private sector, fell to 51.6 from 52.3 in March, prompting economists to warn that Scotland\’s recovery "remains fragile". Any reading above 50 denotes expansion. Recent official figures revealed that the economy emerged from recession during the final quarter of 2009. At 0.2 per cent, the rate of growth was half that of the UK as a whole. (Scotsman page 35, Bill Jamieson in Scotsman page 39, Herald page 28, Press and Journal page 8, Courier page 3) 

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Transport

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Volcanic ash: Hundreds more flights across Europe were cancelled yesterday due to the volcanic ash cloud as disruption spread to Germany, Switzerland and into the North Atlantic. Three airports in the Western Isles remained closed until 7pm, but Glasgow airport handled thousands of extra passengers after nearly 30 flights were diverted from Iceland. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 1, Press and Journal page 7, Daily Record page 3) 

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Health

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Breast cancer breakthrough: Five common genetic variants have been identified that increase a woman\’s risk of developing breast cancer by up to 16 per cent. The discoveries take the total number of known common "low-risk" genetic sites associated with breast cancer to 18. As more mutations are found, it increases the chances of combining them in a test for susceptibility to the disease. Such a genetic test could help doctors give advice to women at risk of breast cancer and assist with diagnosis and treatment. (Scotsman page 18) 

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Education

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Teachers’ pay: Teachers are working an extra 10 weeks a year without pay, according to new research by a major teaching union. A workload survey carried out by the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA) has revealed that nearly 54% of teachers work 400 extra hours for their employers each year. The union uncovered that one in 10 teachers works more than 55 hours a week. The survey also found a culture among head teachers and local authorities which maintains that being on the receiving end of verbal and physical abuse is “part of teaching”. (Sunday Herald page 18)

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