Reform Scotland News: 3 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.


Scottish Election

Gordon Brown: Whilst out campaigning with Scottish Labour Leader Iain Gray yesterday, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that a re-elected SNP Scottish government would leave Scotland in the same economic mess as Iceland and Ireland, and that the SNP were “utterly distracted by their obsession with independence”. (Scotsman page 13, Times page 29, Herald page 13, Express page 19, Record page 16, Telegraph page 18, P&J page 1)


Solidarity: Gail Sheridan, wife of jailed former MSP Tommy Sheridan, has been campaigning with her sister-in-law, Lynn, who is standing as a candidate for Solidarity. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 12, Mail page 20, P&J page 8)


Scotsman interviews: Alex Salmond is interviewed in the Scotsman and comments on current polls, a possible independence referendum and paying for the SNP’s manifesto pledges. (Scotsman page 12) Iain Gray was interviewed in Monday’s Scotsman and talks about the Labour party’s policies on jobs and pledges for families.


Herald Face to face series:  Iain Gray is interviewed in today’s Herald; Tavish Scott was interviewed in yesterday’s Herald.


SNP campaign: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments that the SNP’s election campaign is one which has adopted policies from across the political spectrum in order to appeal to a wide section of voters.


Mail interviews: Allan Massie in the Mail interviews Annabel Goldie.  Tavish Scott was interviewed in Monday’s Mail.


Lib Dems: Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman comments on the prospects of the Scottish Liberal Democrats at the election.  The Guardian (page 21) also considers the impact of the Lib Dems role in the coalition government on the party’s prospects in the Holyrood election.


Election pull-out: The Scotsman includes a 12-page pull out looking at the opinion polls and individual seats.


A82: Alex Salmond visited Fort William yesterday and made a pledge to upgrade the A82.  The party had been criticised for not mentioning the trunk road in its manifesto. (P&J page 8)


Independence referendum: In an interview with the Sunday Times, Alex Salmond said that any referendum on independence would be put on hold until the final months of the next parliament; instead he wanted to focus on strengthening the Scotland Bill currently passing through Westminster. (Sunday Times page 1, Gillian Bowditch in the Sunday Times). In Monday’s Scotsman Brian Monteith argues that the unionist parties should force the SNP to hold their independence referendum, which he believed would be lost and politics could move on. 


Opinion polls: According to a YouGov opinion poll commissioned by the Scotland on Sunday, Labour has cut the SNP’s lead ahead of Thursday’s election.  The poll would give the SNP 55 seats to Labour’s 48. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, John Curtice in the Scotland on Sunday)


Spending cuts: Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, in the Sunday Times, comments that Labour and the SNP’s election campaigns are pretending that cuts are avoidable, but in reality difficult decisions will need to be made over the next parliament.



Osama bin Laden: Just after midnight local time on Sunday, Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader and mastermind of numerous terrorist plots including the 9/11 attacks in New York and 7/7 bombings in London, was killed by US Navy Seals in Pakistan. British embassies and military bases around the world have been put on heightened alert against any possible revenge attacks. (Scotsman page 1, Clive Fairweather in the Scotsman, Paul Wilkinson in the Scotsman, Times page 1, Ben Macintyre in the Times, Richard Kemp in the Times, Herald page 1, Sun page 1, Express page 1, Patrick Mercer in the Express, Mail page 1, Christopher Meyer in the Mail, Record page 1, Mirror page 1, Guardian page 1, Jason Burke in the Guardian, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, Mohsin Hamid in the Guardian, Telegraph page 1, Anne Applebuam in the Telegraph, Peter Oborne in the Telegraph, P&J page 1, Courier page 1, FT page 1, Ahmed Rashid in the FT, Gideon Rachman in the FT)


AV referendum: Former First Minister Henry McLeish has labelled the anti-AV group an “affront to democracy”. Nick Clegg has appealed to Labour voters to back the AV campaign while former Labour Home Secretaries John Reid and David Blunkett are urging Labour voters to vote no. There are allegations that the referendum is leading to a growing gulf between the coalition partners. (Scotsman page 14, Mail page 29, David Blunkett in the Mail, Guardian page 20, P&J page 9, FT page 10, Boris Johnson in Monday’s Telegraph, David Maddox in the Scotland on Sunday, Marie Woolf & Simon McGee in the Sunday Times)



Job losses: Roger Bootle, an economic adviser to Deloitte, has predicted that the coalition government’s cut backs could lead to the loss of 400,000 public sector jobs as well as 100,000 private sector jobs. (Scotsman page 17)



Train costs: The costs of acquiring 38 new ScotRail trains for the west of Scotand has risen from £230m to £430m. (Monday’s Herald page 4)



Alcohol: According to a BMA study, alcohol was a factor in 5,500 GP consultations in Scotland on one day alone last month.  The BMA warn that this would equate to 1.4 million consultations a year and cost the NHS about £28million. (Scotsman page 19, Times page 29, Herald page 10, Express page 27, Mail page 19, P&J page 11)