Reform Scotland News: 28 April 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.


Scottish Election

Poll of Polls: The recent poll of polls indicated that SNP are on course for a decisive victory next week. This lead offers the potential for majority support for a referendum on independence. Analysis of the poll puts the SNP on 45 per cent of the vote in constituencies, ahead of Labour on 34 per cent, the Conservatives on 10 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 8 per cent.  (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1, P&J page 17, Daily Express page 6, Sun page 1)


Lib Dems: Labour leader Ed Miliband has appealed to disillusioned Liberal Democrat voters to back his party in Scotland and not “sleepwalk” into independence by going to the SNP. His appeal came ahead of a trip to Edinburgh today where he will meet voters. However, Mr Miliband denied he and other figures were heading north to rescue the faltering campaign. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 6, Times page 25)


Referendum: Labour leader Iain Gray has said the SNP should “stop hiding” their plans for independence and declare when they intend to hold the vote. Mr Gray’s attack follows the decision by Labour to switch its election strategy from attacks on the Tories at Westminster to focus on the SNP. (Herald page 6, Daily Express page 6)


Independence: Former SNP MP and MSP Margo MacDonald has told the SNP it is time to end the “stealth” campaign driving its independence push in recent years and give Scots the real picture. Ms MacDonald has warned she will only back an independence referendum if a full public information campaign is undertaken about the impact of Scotland going it alone. But she does believe Scots are ready to vote “yes” after growing disillusionment with Westminster over the recent wars in the Gulf and the MPs’ expenses scandal. (Scotsman page 10)


Supermarket Encounter: Labour has issued a press release claiming Alex Salmond had “hidden” from Iain Gray in a supermarket in Ardrossan. The SNP hit back saying the allegation was “complete fiction”. (Herald page 7, P&J page 17, Daily Telegraph page 8, Sun page 10)


Local Income Tax: Legal papers submitted to Scotland’s highest civil court reportedly show that Alex Salmond is concerned about the publicity and “lurid headlines” that would result if a confidential document outlining his local income tax plans was published. (Daily Telegraph page 1)


Post Offices: A row has broken out between Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott and his Green rival Patrick Harvie over support for post offices. Mr Scott was accused of “bare faced cheek” by Mr Harvie following a visit to Oban by Mr Scott to outline plans to continue the Post Office Diversification Fund. Mr Harvie continued that Liberal Democrat UK Business Secretary Vince Cable is championing the privatisation of Royal Mail. (Scotsman page 10)



Electricity: Opposition to the Scottish Government’s pledge to produce 100 per cent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020 has reportedly grown as environmentalists and energy experts have united to condemn the plan arguing that it could ruin Scotland’s landscapes and devastate the tourism industry. (Scotsman page 1)


Population: According to the National Records of Scotland, Scotland’s population has grown by almost 30,000 in a year, with the number of inhabitants now the highest since 1977. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 3, P&J page 5, Daily Telegraph page 9, Daily Mail page 2, Daily Express page 7)


AV: Liberal Democrat chief whip and Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael, has dismissed claims that senior figures in the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties fear the growing rift over the campaign for a new voting system for UK elections will continue after the campaign ends on May 5. (P&J page 10)



Royal Highland Centre: A £30 million revamp is due to start within months to transform the Royal Highland Centre, near Edinburgh Airport, into a “world class exhibition and event venue”. (Scotsman page 17)


Highland Spring: Perthshire-based firm Highland Spring has claimed its biggest ever share of the UK sparkling water market following an 8 per cent rise in sales last year. (Scotsman page 3)



Parcel Bomb: Police have confirmed that the parcel bomb sent to an Irish republican group in Glasgow was “viable” and capable of causing “real harm”. They have also confirmed that the device was sent from within Scotland.  (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 1, Daily Telegraph page 9, Daily Express page 11)



Funding Gap: The latest numbers from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that Scottish universities have more than 10.5 per cent of the total UK income but only 8.5 per cent of the population. However, university leaders said about half their income was from private and international sources and warned that if the expected funding gap was not filled next year, overall funding would slip. (Scotsman page 16)


College Merger: Stevenson College and Jewel and Esk College in Edinburgh are to merge to form an “Edinburgh city region” college by the summer of 2012 in a move expected to lead to dozens of job losses. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 11)


Glasgow Caledonian: Glasgow Caledonian University has removed the threat of compulsory redundancies for administrative and support staff. However, restructuring plans could see as many as 95 posts axed and see the university’s six schools merged into three. (Herald page 2, P&J page 6)


Private Schools: Private schools have urged Scotland’s charities regulator to remove them from its list of high-risk institutions. The independent sector spoke out after statistics show schools had been spending millions of pounds on additional bursaries for pupils from poorer backgrounds. The Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) said increased financial support – plus other measures – meant the sector should no longer be seen as a greater risk than other large charities. (Herald page 5)



Stem Cell Proposal: Professor Ian Wilmut, of the University of Edinburgh has joined with other scientists to express “profound concerns” that the European Court of Justice is considering a test case which could make it unlawful on moral grounds to patent applications using embryonic stem cells. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 10, Daily Telegraph page 1)