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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 5 JULY 2010

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 5 July 2010

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. 

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

Politics

Conservatives: An internal report outlining the full minutes from the party’s Scottish Council meeting has been leaked to the Herald. The meeting’s central issue was the failure of the Scottish Conservatives in the UK election, stating the need to reach out to the young and the inadequate policies used in the Scottish context. The revelations have lead an influential Tory website, Conservative home, to suggest that the Scottish Tories should drop Conservative from their name and be set free from their central headquarters in London. (Sunday Herald page 1, The Herald page 1 and page 6.) 

SNP: The new US engagement plan made by the SNP Scottish Government entails a promotion of “Scotland as a nation”, and raising awareness of the “further constitutional change in Scotland” as a part of the aim to manage the country’s “global identity.” Other objectives entail a focus on economic growth and on investment. The opposition parties have criticised the plan, arguing that it is propaganda. (Sunday Herald page 8, The Courier page 11, The Daily Mail page 12.) 

Vote rigging: The SNP has reportedly gained 300 new members on the eve of the internal MSP selection process in the West of Scotland. This raised suspicions and the SNP’s National Executive decided to remove the new members from the process by changing the deadline for voter eligibility from the 20th June to the 6th June. The SNP is now facing demands to hold an investigation to uncover a candidate suspected of attempting to rig the vote, which could have guaranteed them a seat in Holyrood. Nevertheless, the SNP denies that the selection process has been tainted. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, The Press and Journal page 9, Daily Express page 10, The Times page 7, The Daily Telegraph page 8, The Daily Mail page 24, The Herald page 6, The Daily Record page 2, The Scotsman page 12.) 

AV referendum: The UK Government’s plan to hold the AV referendum on the 5 May, the same date as the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland parliamentary elections, has led Alex Salmond and the other First ministers to sign a letter, indicating their disapproval of the proposed date. (Scotland on Sunday page 2.) 

Calman proposal: Michael Moore, the Secretary of State of Scotland, argues that the Calman recommendations fit the time and purpose before them, creating the economic balance necessary for further devolution in the future. (Daily Express page 12.) 

Economy

Defence: Several army bases in Scotland are under threat as Government Ministers try to find £36 million of cuts. The SNP’s defence spokesman, Angus Robertson, said that cuts to the defence base in RAF Lossiemouth, with the potential loss of 3,000 jobs, could diminish the armed forces’ capabilities and harm communities. (The Press and Journal page 3.) 

Budget cuts: Civil servants are drawing up plans to axe services based on a 15 percent reduction as Scotland faces £4,4 billion of cuts. The cuts will lead to pay freezes and job losses for tens of thousands of civil servants, with health care and schools seen as other likely areas of cuts. (The Daily Mail page 8.) 

Justice

Right to lawyer: The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPOS) has told its frontline staff that it was “inappropriate” to allow suspects access to lawyers as soon as they are detained. This is against the guidelines provided by Government, which state that the Human Rights Act 2008 providing the right to see a lawyer before an interview is held, should be followed. The guidelines have also been opposed by the Glasgow Bar Association, representing solicitors in the west of Scotland, who state that their members should not attend clients they do not represent. (Sunday Herald page 5, The Press and Journal page 7, The Courier page 9.) 

Transport 

Compensation claims: 700 motorists in North-East and Tayside have filled in claims to receive compensation for damage caused by accidents and potholes during the winter season. However, only a handful of the claims have been settled due to the difficulty in proving that the local councils knew about the hazard before the damage was caused. In the rest of Scotland, where more claims have been accepted, it has put pressure on the councils’ road budgets. (The Press and Journal page 1, Daily Express page 9, The Daily Mail page 10, The Scotsman page 1.)

Examination of vehicles: In a bid to cut the number of dangerous trucks and coaches on the roads, vehicle examiners in Scotland are expected to be given powers to stop suspect vehicles. (The Herald page 10.)

Health

Domestic abuse: In a pioneering initiative made by the NHS in Scotland, staff have started training to spot patients who are victims of domestic abuse. (Sunday Herald page 1, The Press and Journal page 9, The Courier page 9, The Herald page 4, The Scotsman page 2.) 

Ambulance Service: The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) paid for a new digital communication service to be installed more than two years ago. The cost was £7 million, but due to a series of delays it has not been installed, with the latest deadline moved to “later this year.” (Sunday Herald page 15.)  

NHS spending: NHS managers are spending £4 million a year on spin doctors and press officers. The Scottish Labour Party criticised the expenditure, arguing that the money should be spent on employing nurses and “real doctors.” (Sunday Herald page 16, The Press and Journal page 9, The Courier page 11, The Daily Telegraph page 9.)  

Hospital food: Doctors are calling for the removal of unhealthy meals from NHS hospitals because it sends the wrong message to the patients. (Scotland on Sunday page 8.)

Education

Immigration cap: A major educational body, Universities Scotland, warn that the cap on immigration could turn away talents from the Scottish universities and could threaten the quality of the education and research at the universities. (Sunday Herald page 18, Scotland on Sunday page 9.)