REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 02 NOVEMBER 2010

Reform Scotland

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Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 2 November 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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Defence Treaty between France and Britain: New treaties signed between Britain and France will guarantee hundreds of Scottish jobs. The treaties will be signed today, agreeing to the merging of the countries’ aircraft carriers, nuclear testing facilities and troops. It had been feared that Rosyth shipyard may lose its job of maintaining the newly built aircraft carriers to Brest, in north-west France. However, though defence sources stated that nothing could be ruled out, the likelihood is that the ships will remain in Britain. The treaties will also create a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force, made up of French and British troops, as well as more long-term projects, such as new missile systems and satellite communication networks. The Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the move as a benefit for both countries and dismissed the idea that the decision foreshadowed a co-operative European army, stating that that was “not the point”. (Scotsman, page 1&2, Herald page 1&2)

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Tax proposals: Alex Salmond has launched a scathing attack on the Calman Commission proposals for transferring news powers to Holyrood after it was revealed some of them could be in place as early as next year. Mr Salmond’s spokesman described the Calman plan as “flawed… and that we need real financial powers in order to keep building Scottish recovery, prosperity and social justice.” (Times page 5, Daily Express page 4)

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Economy

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New Luxury Glasgow Hotel: Construction is due to begin on a £6 million hotel in Glasgow, with an extensive maritime theme. The hotelier, Mr Wayne Gardener-Young, has expressed his wish to base the hotel on the specific cultural heritage of Glasgow, rather than a broader ‘retro’ theme. The hotel is due to be built on Sauchiehall Street, in a bid to revitalise the area and turn it into a more upmarket location. It will be built next to Victoria’s nightclub, which Mr Gardener-Young also owns, and will have full access to the establishment. (The Herald, page 10)

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Shetland Islands: The Shetland Islands have been described by The Lonely Planet Guide 2011 as one of the ten places to see next year. The guide describes Shetland as having “history in abundance” from such periods as the Bronze Age, the Vikings and WWII. A contributor to Lonely Planet, Tom Hall, called Shetland “nature in the raw” and stated that it was the kind of place that would excite travellers. Promote Shetland offered its congratulations on the entry on the list as did the local MSP. The guide also cited Edinburgh as the top city for artistic inspiration. (The Scotsman, page 3, Herald, page 3)

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Justice

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Sheridan Trial: A long-standing friend and colleague of Tommy Sheridan yesterday accused the former Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) leader of being a “pathological liar”. Responding to questioning from Mr Sheridan at the High Court in Glasgow, the party’s press and policy officer, Alan McCombes, said: “JK Rowling couldn’t make up the kind of stories you have made up in the course of this court case. It’s Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings combined.” Mr McCombes also said he knew the politician had visited a swingers’ club two years before the publication of the allegations in the News of the World newspaper. Mr McCombes said he grew concerned that Mr Sheridan had visited a sex club following a conversation with fellow SSP member Keith Baldassara in late 2002. He arranged to meet Mr Sheridan and said that on that occasion Mr Sheridan admitted it was true. Mr Sheridan denies lying to the courts during his successful action against the News of the World in 2006, which followed the newspaper’s claims that he was an adulterer who visited swingers’ clubs. (Press and Journal page 8, Sun page 7, Telegraph page 11, Daily Express page 7, Daily Record page 4, Herald, page 9)
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Fare Dodging on Buses: First Glasgow is planning to introduce fines for those who do not pay the correct fare on their bus services. The amount will be £30, rising to £60 if still unpaid after 21 days. First Glasgow has described the measures as necessary, stating that “our frequent network of services…is expensive” and that those deliberately dodging fares may force an overall ticket price increase. However, the chairman of Bus Users UK, Gavin Booth, stated that he felt the amount to be too high, saying that a £5 penalty would be more reasonable. (The Herald, page 4)

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Edinburgh Airport: Edinburgh Airport hopes to begin offering more flights across the Atlantic and to the Middle East, meaning that it would be possible to reach East Asia and Australia with only one stopover. The airport is expected to become Britain’s fifth busiest behind the London airports and Manchester, pushing Luton into sixth place. The introduction of more long-haul routes would allow Edinburgh to compete with Glasgow, which currently operates several transatlantic routes and has just begun flying to India. However, a spokesman for Emirates, which flies to Dubai from several UK airports, refused to say whether it planned to add Edinburgh to this list. (Scotsman, page 10)

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Health

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Cuts to Hospice Funding: Supporters of St Margaret’s Hospice, Clydebank, staged a protest outside the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow yesterday, where NHS executives were attending an annual review of funding. It is feared that the hospice may be closed due to a planned reduction in the number of long-term elderly care beds. (The Herald, page 7)

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NHS Roof Garden: £57,500 has been spent on a roof garden for Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital that the public are not allowed to use, because it does not comply with health and safety regulations. The garden was funded by the Yorkhill Children’s Foundation, which also provides money for medical supplies. However, a former midwife stated that the money would have been better spent improving the waiting room used by parents with critically ill babies, which she called “very basic”. (The Herald, page 7)

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Education

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Caged playground: The family of an 18-year-old who raised £500 to cover the costs of the outdoor facility, which they hoped would include decking and play equipment.  But Western Isles Council in Scotland instead erected a narrow compound just a few feet wide from wire mesh fencing. An autism charity branded the cage “a disgrace and 100 per cent cruel”. Council officials blamed a mix-up with suppliers over the specifications of the enclosure, which was built at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis. The parents decided to raise funds for the play area because their son has spent almost six hours per day inside temporary accommodation with a teacher, unable to join his schoolmates outside during breaks. (Telegraph page 13, Times page 3, Sun page 4)

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Gaelic learning: The number of Gaelic speakers must increase by 860 a year in order the halt the decline of the language. These findings were published by the Royal Society journal, stating that Gaelic was in danger of extinction due to the enormous prevalence of English in everyday life. The number of speakers has dropped from 250,000 in the census of 1891 to around 65,000 in 2001.(Scotsman, page 17)

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Exam results: Analysis of recent exam results shows pupils throughout Perth and Kinross continue to outperform their peers in most other parts of Scotland. Secondary school pupils did particularly well, setting a five-year high. A new report tells of very good progress throughout the local authority area. (Courier page 5)

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