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REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 1 SEPTEMBER 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 1 September 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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Blair: Tony Blair has blamed Gordon Brown for Labour\’s defeat in the 2010 General Election, claiming that he had been a "disaster" in the polls by abandoning the New Labour direction. He goes on to claim that he could not have prevented Gordon Brown from becoming Prime Minister and because he could not fire him their relationship was so stressful that it pushed him to drink. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Guardian page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, FT page 1, Daily Mirror page 1, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mail page 1, Sun page 10) 

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BBC: Joan McAlpine comments in The Scotsman that the BBC is failing Scots by allowing prejudice on the air, and that ‘a consensus appears to have been manufactured suggesting that Scotland is the poor, ignorant sponger.’ (Scotsman page 33) 

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Minimum alcohol pricing: A UK-wide price limit on drink should be brought in to curb alcohol misuse, a specialist commission has said. The proposal is among a raft of recommendations made by The Alcohol Commission, which was set up by the Scottish Labour Party. While it has rejected the SNP Government plans to introduce minimum pricing per unit, it also said central and local government functions and events hosted by public bodies should be alcohol-free, to show their commitment to tackling Scotland’s drinking culture. (Herald page 6, Telegraph page 7, Alan Cochrane in Telegraph page 7, Times page 8, Angus Macleod in Times page 8, Press and Journal page 6, Courier page 1) 

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Economy

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Cairn Energy: Greenpeace campaigners have dodged Danish military ships and police boats to reach the Cairn Energy oil rig, where they have tied themselves to railings 15ft above the water. The breach of the 1,650ft security perimeter around the Stena Don rig off western Greenland forced the Edinburgh-based oil and gas explorer to put a stop to drilling work yesterday – potentially costing the firm hundreds of thousands of pounds. The stunt was branded an "openly-illegal act" and a "gross violation" of safety rules by Greenland\’s Prime Minister, Kuupik Kleist. (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 3, Telegraph page 6, Guardian page 13, Press and Journal page 5) 

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Banking bail-out: Holdings in British banks bailed out at the height of the financial crisis are set to earn the Government nearly £30 billion, analysis has shown. The figure represents a dramatic turn-around from predictions at the time of the rescue that propping up the banks could cost taxpayers as much as £850 billion. It will be achieved if equity prices rise in line with predicted economic growth over the next five years, delivering a profit of around £19 billion to the taxpayer by 2015, according to The Banker magazine. (Herald page 13) 

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Justice

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Re-offenders: The number of criminals in Scotland who go on to reoffend within two years has reached its highest level in a decade, according to official figures. The statistics also reveal stark differences in reoffending between those who served a short prison sentence and offenders given a community service order, with the Scottish Government claiming this backs its emphasis on community penalties as an alternative to custody. Lawbreakers given a fine or community service are least likely to be reconvicted within two years, with a reoffending rate of 40 per cent, but almost three-quarters of people completing a sentence of six months or less were found guilty of another offence within two years of their release. (Herald page 8, Telegraph page 8, Daily Express page 10) 

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Health

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Health statistics: A study prepared for SNP ministers found a larger proportion of people in Scotland have heart disease or diabetes than people in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Alcohol consumption among men and women in Scotland was higher than south of the Border, while a larger percentage of both genders smoke.  Fruit and vegetable consumption was significantly lower among Scots, with only a fifth of men and a quarter of women eating their recommended five portions per day.  More than two-thirds of Scottish men are deemed overweight and more than six out of ten women, in both cases far higher than comparable figures in the rest of the UK. (Telegraph page 6, Press and Journal page 9, Courier page 7, Daily Mail page 9)  

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Bed-blocking: Official figures revealed that the number of delayed discharges among patients rose dramatically over three months.  A census of Scottish hospitals revealed 62 patients were stopped from being discharged for more than the six-week target period during the last quarter, an increase from zero in an April census, and a rise from the 55 seen in July 2009. (Scotsman page 7, Press and Journal page 9) 

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Dentists: The Scottish Government has been urged to investigate why almost a third of people in Scotland are not registered with an NHS dentist. Official statistics revealed 70.1 per cent of Scots were registered with an NHS dentist at the end of June. The lowest sign-up was found in Grampian and Highland, where less than 50 per cent of people were registered, and in Orkney and Borders, where barely half signed up. NHS Ayrshire and Arran had the highest proportion of the population registered, with 75 per cent registered at the end of June. (Scotsman page 7, Press and Journal page 10) 

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MS donation: JK Rowling has donated £10 million to set up a multiple sclerosis research clinic at Edinburgh University that will be named in honour of her mother, who died from complications caused by the disease. It will focus on patient-based studies to find treatments that could slow progression of the condition and eventually stop and reverse the disease. It will also look at other degenerative neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease and motor neurone disease. (Herald page 11, Scotsman page 3, Telegraph page 9, Times page 13, Guardian page 11, Press and Journal page 15, Courier page 9, Daily Mail page 5, Daily Express page 9)