Reform Scotland News: 26 May 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.



Church of Scotland: The Rev Roddy MacRae has become the first minister in the Church of Scotland to announce he is to leave the Kirk after it voted to accept openly gay ministers. MacRae said he would stand down as Minister of Glenelg and Kintail in the Highlands during the next few months, claiming the Kirk had “capitulated to society”. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 19)


Warship Building: The giant aircraft carrier Prince of Wales could be the last warship built in Scotland, according to the chairman of Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee Ian Davidson. Labour MP Davidson, whose Glasgow South West constituency includes Govan, said if the First Minister achieved his independence ambition Scotland would be a foreign country as far as the Royal Navy was concerned and consequently it would favour big orders being placed in England leaving the Govan and neighbouring Scotstoun years with an uncertain future. The attack was dismissed as “scaremongering” by Mr Salmond’s spokesman. (Herald page 8)


Sectarianism: Alex Salmond has vowed to launch a drive against sectarianism would be the first law to be passed by his new government. The legislation would increase the maximum jail term for sectarian hate crime from six months to five years. Postings on social-networking sites would also be covered by the law. Salmond wants the new measures to be pushed through parliament before the start of the football season in July. (Times page 5, Guardian page 17, P&J page 13, Sun page 2)



House-building: House-building in Scotland has slumped to its lowest level in almost 30 years after a collapse in the construction of private homes. New figures show the number of houses built last year was 16,852 – the lowest level since 1982- with the number of new private properties falling by almost half in just five years. The number of new public sector and housing association homes also fell by almost 10 per cent last year. Economists have warned that the collapse in the house-building market could mean increased strain on new families, who will find it harder to buy their first properties. (Scotsman page 2)


Bank of Scotland: Calls have been made for a “fundamental overhaul” in the way financial services operate after the Bank of Scotland was yesterday fined £3.5 million over the mishandling of customer complaints. The lender now faces a compensation pay-out of more than £17 million to customers who were mistreated. The Financial Services Authority said the group wrongly rejected a “significant number” of complaints it received about sales of several investments. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 1, Times page 54, Guardian page 33, P&J page 20, Financial Times page 19, Daily Mail page 18)


Female Unemployment: Labour MSP Jenny Marra has hit out it emerged that the number of women looking for work in Scotland is at its highest in 15 years. Marra said the revelation should act as a “wake-up” call for the Scottish Government. The figures, complied by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, show that 42,507 women claimed Jobseeker’s Allowance in April 2011. (Courier page 3, Daily Express page 15, Daily Mail page 1)


Amazon: Online retail giant Amazon is to create 900 jobs in Edinburgh in a new centre that will act as a hub for customer queries about its popular ebook reader, the Kindle. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 13, Times page 18, P&J page 21, Courier page 7, Daily Express page 4, Daily Mail page 2)




Supreme Court: Alex Salmond has warned the UK’s Supreme Court that it has “no role” in Scotland’s legal system after it controversially overturned a decision by the country’s highest court convicting Nat Fraser of murdering his estranged wife. The First Minister accused the UK Supreme Court of “second-guessing” Scotland’s justice system after the London Based court quashed the original guilty verdict. The Supreme Court ruled that Fraser’s original trial at the High Court in Edinburgh has been unfair. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Guardian page 18, P&J page 1, Daily Telegraph page 8, Daily Express page 5, Daily Mail page 4, Daily Record page 1, Sun page 1)


Hacker: Barack Obama said he would “respect” the legal process in the case of Scottish computer hacker and Asperger’s sufferer Gary McKinnon who is wanted in the US, signalling his government was prepared to soften its stance. McKinnon faces 60 years behind bars for hacking into Pentagon and Nasa computers. (P&J page 5)



Ash Cloud: The Volcanic ash cloud threatening bank holiday travel should be cleared by the weekend forecasters at the Met Office have claimed. As activity from the Grimsvotn volcano dropped, only a handful of flights in and out of the UK were cancelled yesterday. (Guardian page 11, Courier page 10, Daily Express page 11, Daily Mail page 20, Daily Mirror page 11, Sun page 17)



Robert Gordon University: Work has officially begun on the £170 million masterplan development for the campus at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. (Scotsman page 16)


Gaelic: Soaring demand for children to be taught in Gaelic has led to a pilot scheme to train non-native speakers. Glasgow alone has seen the number of public taught by teachers speaking Gaelic rather than English almost double in less than four years. A pilot scheme at Glasgow University has seen 12 teachers from across Scotland, who normally teach in English, learn how to teach in Gaelic. (Scotsman page 24)


Teaching Unions: Rival teaching unions are at loggerheads over the way pay and conditions are negotiated in Scotland. The split comes after the country’s largest union- the Educations Institute of Scotland (EIS)- backed council cuts to supply teachers’ salaries. The move was opposed by the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association and the NASUWT. However because the EIS has more votes on the teachers’ negotiating committee, to reflect its much larger membership, the proposals have been accepted. (Herald page 9)



E-coli: Health officials in Scotland are investigating a significant rise in cases of the most serious form of the E-coli infection. Figures from Health Protection Scotland showed that 55 cases of E-coli 0157 were reported in the first quarter of the year. This compare to 14 for the same period last year and is more than double the average 25 for this time of year over the last decade. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 14, Daily Mail page 21)