Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 23 December 2010
Please note that this will be the last newspaper summary before the Christmas and New Year break. We hope you all have an enjoyable festive period and the summaries will resume after the New Year.
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.
Coalition trouble: As the pressure on Business Secretary Vince Cable continues, the Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has said he will continue to promote Lib Dem values and policies. The Scottish Secretary has come under attack from all sides having been recorded criticising both his own actions and the coalition itself. The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, Tavish Scott, has also warned that the Westminster coalition is not working. Meanwhile, PM David Cameron has been defending his decision not to remove Vince Cable from office.(Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 4, Guardian page 2 & 6, Daily Mail page 12, Daily Express 4, Sun page 2, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mirror page 6, FT page 2, Press and Journal page 5, courier page 13, Times page 7)
RAF Kinloss: The Scottish Government has vowed to assist those facing possible redundancy due to the closure of RAF Kinloss in Moray. The government will provide £300,000, to be channelled through Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council, which will be used to create new places at colleges and provide training and skills development for those pursuing a new career path. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 8)
Expenses scandal: Prosecutors are considering whether to press charges against another politician for abusing allowances. The identity of the latest suspect has not been disclosed, but there is speculation that it involves either Denis McShane or Margaret Moran, both of whom have been subject to investigation in recent months. (Telegraph page 2, Press and Journal page 5)
BSkyB: The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, has cleared Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt to rule on the BSkyB takeover bid, despite Labour claims of bias. (Daily Mail page 12, FT page 2
Lockerbie families: On the 22nd anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has come under attack from the families of the victims as the widow of one of the victims has admitted feeling ‘betrayed’ by Scotland for releasing Mr Al Megrahi on compassionate grounds. (Daily Mail page 4)
Economic recovery: The UK’s recovery is reportedly not as strong as previously thought. The Office for National Statistics downgraded its figures from growth of 0.8% to just 0.7%. If GDP stagnates in the last three months of the year, the economy will have expanded by 1.5%. This would be 0.2% lower than previously estimated, but it is still stronger than the forecast in June (1.3%). (Telegraph page 27, Daily Mail page 4, FT page 3, courier page 11)
Interest rates: Paul Fisher, executive director of markets and a member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England, has warned that the economy may suffer another period of contraction in 2011. He said that the recovery was on track, but it could still be bumpy. He also warns homeowners that a 5% interest rate could be on its way. (Telegraph page 2 & 27, FT page 3)
Tourism: The Chairman of VisitScotland, Mike Cantlay, has said the country is well placed to bounce back from the economic downturn due to the rise in tourism set to occur in 2011. The organisation estimates an extra 30,000 tourists will visit the country over the coming year, greatly assisting economic recovery. (Scotsman page 19)
Sheridan trial: As Tommy Sheridan’s perjury trial comes to a close, he has admitted being afraid of the jury, of what their verdict will be, and how it will affect his family this Christmas. His fate is now in the hands of the deliberating jury. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 3, Telegraph page 12, Guardian page 8, Daily Mail page 5, Daily Express page 5, Sun page 13, Daily Record page 4, Press and Journal page 9, courier page 6, Times page 5)
Travel promise: As Heathrow airport still struggles to resume its flights, Keith Brown, the newly-appointed Transport Secretary, has promised to get Scots home for Christmas. The pledge involves providing more buses to cope with the lack of trains and planes to bring families back together. The pledge comes as BAA Chief Executive, Colin Matthews, turns down his annual bonus. (Scotsman page 4, Herald page 5, Guardian page 2, Press and Journal page 8, courier page 9, Times page 8)
Schizophrenia scan: Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have revealed that brain scans could predict whether young people – with a family history of the disease – will go on to develop it also. Experts already know that the illness is linked to a decrease in brain tissue and the scan would allow doctors to anticipate the risk of Schizophrenia before symptoms developed. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 8, Press and Journal page 7, courier page 7)
Fracture epidemic: Hospitals have warned people to take care in the icy weather, as the number of patients admitted with bone fractures, after falling on ice, soars. The problem can put the same pressure on hospitals as major accidents and disaster situations. (Herald page 1)
Drunken attacks: The number of attacks and verbal assaults by inebriated patients on NHS staff is on the rise, especially during the festive season. Many staff have admitted being personally subject to violence and abuse in the line of duty and worry about the lack of respect given to them by patients. (Daily Record page 16)