Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 7 September 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.
Referendum: Plans to hold a referendum on the voting reform passed their first hurdle last night as MPs backed it, with 328 votes to 269. The Coalition Government managed to pass the bill, despite opposition from within the Conservative party. The referendum remains scheduled for the 5th of May, the same day proposed for the Scottish independence referendum. Mr Salmond has conceded that the referendum cannot come before the elections, prompting Iain Gray to accuse him of “bottling out”. (Scotsman page 8-9, Herald page 2, 6, Times page 11, Guardian page 8, 15, Telegraph page 4, Courier page 10, Financial Times page 2, Daily Mail page 2, 19)
Mackerel War: Tensions between Scotland and Iceland/the Faeroes over mackerel quotas continue as Scottish fisherman are set to boycott an international fisheries meeting in the Faroese capital, Torshavn, today (Herald page 9).
Employment: Scotland’s financial sector received another boost today as Virgin Money announced they are to create 200 new jobs in the capital. The news follows yesterday’s announcement of the creation of up to 600 jobs with Barclays in Glasgow. These are grounds for optimism after the planned cuts at RBS and Standard Life revealed over the past seven days (Scotsman page 1, 4-5). The mixed news reflects the sober predictions of recruitment company, Manpower, that the coming year will see a “static” recruitment rate, in which job loss and creation are balanced (Financial Times page 3).
Robert Burns Museum: The Scottish Government will provide an extra £1 million of funding towards the rebuilding of the Robert Burns Museum, bringing the total government contribution up to £8.6 million. The museum, in Alloway, South Ayrshire, is due to open on 1 December (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 8).
Edinburgh Tram: Fresh doubts have been raised over the opening date of Edinburgh’s tram system, previously scheduled for May 2011. Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (Tie), the company responsible for overseeing the project, is reported to have privately admitted it will be March 2013 before the trams open for business. The company’s website maintains that they will be operational in 2012 (Herald page 11).
Heart Disease Risk: Unfit men working over 45 hours a week are more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as unfit men on shorter hours, a study has revealed. The research finds no increased risk of heart disease for fit men working long hours, suggesting that exercise remains crucial to good health (Herald page 3, Guardian page 9, Herald page 11, Daily Mail page 7).
Radiotherapy: NHS waiting lists and staff shortages are preventing cancer patients from getting access to radiotherapy, according to Cancer Research UK. While Scottish cancer patients fare better than their counterparts in the rest of the UK, with 43% receiving the treatment, research suggests a figure of 50% could be achieved (Scotsman page 17).
Doctors Working Hours: EU limits on working hours have a negative impact on the health and safety of hospitals, according to leading health professionals. Heads of the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Physicians have criticised the 48-hour European Working Time Directive for its perceived inflexibility and compromise of service quality (Times 12-13).
International Baccalaureate: The SNP have dropped plans to introduce the International Baccalaureate in Scottish schools. While their election manifesto pledged to “examine the case for introducing” the qualification, the government has admitted it has made no moves to introduce it. The move comes after concern about the credibility of the Scottish Government’s version of the qualification, the Scottish Baccalaureate (Scotsman page 17).