Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 8 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.
Jack McConnell: Former First Minister Jack McConnell has spoken out against the Labour administration of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, referring to their time in office as a “greed era” and “inconsistent policy on the hoof”. He also linked the government with “centralisation” and accused the ministers who introduced devolution of being unable “to adapt to the new political landscape of Britain.” These allegations provided the backdrop for Mr. McConnell’s announcement of support for David Miliband as a Labour leadership candidate (Scotsman page 7, Times page 1).
Referendum: An amendment to move the AV referendum from 5 May has been tabled by Labour through Dunfermline and West Fife MP, Thomas Docherty. A new date of 8 September has been proposed (Scotsman page 11). Meanwhile, Scottish Government ministers have given unanimous support for Alex Salmond’s proposal to delay the referendum on Scottish independence (Scotsman page 15, Daily Telegraph page 2).
Carbon Emissions: The Scottish Government faces scrutiny after public sector bodies’ CO2 emissions increased by 7% in 2008, despite an overall reduction of 3% for the same year. The rise of 100,000 tonnes was attributed to the need for more heat amid cold winters (Scotsman page 15, Daily Mail page 36).
Bob Diamond: Yesterday’s appointment of Bob Diamond as the president of Barclays has threatened to provoke political outrage. Mr. Diamond, Britain’s best paid investment banker, is widely considered to be a casino-style banker. The news has incensed senior Liberal Democrat figures, including Lord Oakeshott, who commented “you don’t put the chief croupier in charge of the casino” (Times page 6-7, Financial Times page 1, Guardian page 12-13, Daily Telegraph ‘Business’ page 1, 4, Daily Mail page 10, Daily Record page 12, Sun page 8, Daily Mirror page 10-11).
Lloyds lawsuit: Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, the charitable arm of Lloyds Banking Group in Scotland, has begun legal action against the corporation in an effort to recover the £3.5 million it claims to be owed. The grant-making trust, which distributes funds to recognised charities throughout Scotland, argues that the bank has breached a covenant which entitles the charity to a portion of the company’s pre-tax profits, with the bank using post-tax figures instead (Scotsman page 1).
Whitelee Wind Farm: Europe’s largest wind farm, at Whitelee in Renfrewshire is set to undergo an expansion which will make it one of the biggest in the world. An additional 75 turbines will be added to the current 140, increasing the output from 217 to 539MW, power enough 300,000 homes, one of the biggest in the world. The turbines will be provided by French company Alstom, in a deal worth £164 million. Owners ScottishPower Renewables expect the move to create an additional 200 jobs (Scotsman page 3, Herald page 25, Courier page 6).
Employment: An investment of £16 million into Irvine-based firm Ardagh Glass, £2 million of which has been provided through the Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) scheme, has safeguarded around 250 jobs (Scotsman page 32). Meanwhile, the collapse of social housing firm Connaught has put around 10,000 jobs at risk throughout the UK, 500 of which are based in Scotland (Herald page 2, Times 43, Financial Times ‘Companies & Markets’ page 1, Daily Express page 2, Guardian 28, Daily Telegraph page 4).
Crime: Crime figures have fallen to their lowest level in 32 years, with a decrease of 10% (or 40,000) on the 2008-9 total of 377,433 recorded crimes. The good news has been soured by a failure to improve detection rates, with the proportion of crimes solved remaining at 49%, despite this fall in crime levels and a record number of police officers on the streets. The news comes amid warnings from the Scottish Police Federation that the anticipated budget cuts of up to 25% would lead to 2800 less officers on street (Scotsman page 4-5, Herald page 1, 4, Times page 8, Courier page 11, Daily Express page 10, Daily Telegraph page 14, Daily Mail page 20, Daily Record page 2, Sun page 14).
Weather Havoc: High winds and seas caused disruptions across Scotland yesterday. Fallen trees closed the A827 road near Aberfeldy and disrupted rail travel at Dalmally and Dunkeld. Ferry services too were disrupted across the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland, and two boats sank in St Monans harbour in Fife. A number of buildings were evacuated after flash flooding in Dundee city centre (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 2, Courier page 1, 7, Daily Mail page 9, Daily Record page 10, Sun page 35)
ME Research: Scientists at the University of Dundee have found abnormalities in the white blood cells of ME patients, suggesting they had been fighting off an infection. ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis), which causes physical and mental exhaustion, has been seen by some as a condition with exclusively psychological roots. The research strengthens the argument that the disease to the contrary (Scotsman page 8, Times page 15, Courier page 9, Daily Express page 4, Daily Telegraph page 16, Daily Record page 22).
Teaching Time: An OECD survey has placed Scotland fourth in a table documenting hours spent by teachers in classrooms across the world, with staff in Scottish schools spending an average of 855 hours a year teaching (Herald page 4).