Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 4 March 2011
All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is highlighted and underlined.
In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News.
Old Firm: Matches between Rangers and Celtic have been criticised by Alex Salmond and the head of the Scottish Police Federation for the chaos caused during the matches. They have been said to lead to more than 200 crimes both on and off the pitch and to have cost over £40 million in policing, prosecution and health care. Proposed solutions to this problem include banning alcohol during the games and playing behind closed doors and the First Minister has announced the first ever Old Firm summit involving clubs, police and football officials to discuss the issues raised by the explosive encounter. (Times page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Guardian page 10, Scotsman page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 1, Daily Express page 8, Daily Record page 1, Telegraph page 1,)
Church of Scotland: In a secret ballot, it has been revealed that 19.4% of Kirk Session members have said they would leave the church if same- sex relationships were allowed. This could mean a loss of up to 100,000 members. The issue of gay clergy has divided the Kirk and the consultation has been sparked by the appointment of gay minister Scott Rennie in Aberdeen. (Herald page 1)
Scotland Bill: Wendy Alexander has unveiled her committee’s report on The Scotland Bill which includes some additional proposals. In what she calls ‘Calman plus’ amended version there are recommendations that would give the Scottish Parliament new powers to raise up to £5bn for major infrastructure projects by borrowing or issuing bonds (double the amount proposed by the UK Government). (Herald page 6, Times page 3, Press and Journal page 11, Courier page 8, Daily Express page 10, Scotsman page 6, Telegraph page 9)
Fuel price rise: A plan has been submitted to Europe by Chief Secretary to The Treasury Danny Alexander to discount fuel prices to all of Scotland’s islanders saving them 5p a litre. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 4)
Westminster constituencies: It has been announced that Scotland will lose 7 seats at the next Westminster election due to new boundary changes. This means a 12% reduction in Scotland’s representation at Westminster. (Times page 16, Herald page 6, Scotsman, page 9)
Train line changes: The £300 million Waverley line connecting Edinburgh to the borders has come under threat after Transport Scotland unofficially changed the route without seeking approval from Scottish Parliament. The alteration has been said to undermine Holyrood’s authority and there is fear that it will lead to more accidents on a redesigned stretch of the A7. (Herald page 7)
University staff cuts: Glasgow Caledonian University has announced twice the number of redundancies originally sought in an effort to save £12 million over the next 3 years after public funding cuts. (Herald page 1)
School classes: Due to staff shortages, and in an effort to cut back on spending, it has been proposed that in several schools pupils aged 15 to 18 be taught in the same classes. The model of combining years S4 to S6 has emerged as a key theme among several case studies highlighted yesterday by Education Secretary Michael Russell to illustrate how the Curriculum for Excellence could work in the senior school years. (Scotsman page 5)