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Reform Scotland News: 4 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

Opinion poll: The last major poll before tomorrow’s election has revealed a surge in support for the SNP.  According to the TNS poll the SNP would win 61 seats, Labour 32, Conservatives 18, Lib Dems nine and Greens 8.  The poll was carried for STV ahead of the last leaders TV debate last night. (Scotsman page 12, Scott Macnab in the Scotsman, Times page 4, Herald page 9, P&J page 8, Sun page 2, Express page 15, Mail page 2, Record page 10)

 

Newspaper leaders: Today’s Scotsman backs the SNP ahead of tomorrow’s election.  However, as the paper feels that the party has not faced up to the UK’s deficit and consequent spending cuts, it argues that the Scottish Conservatives can push the party towards “a greater realism” arguing that a formal coalition between the two parties would be the best outcome. (Scotsman page 1) Neither the Herald leader, nor the Express leader backs an individual party.

 

Business backers: 200 top business figures have backed the SNP for a second term. (P&J page 1)

 

Henry McLeish: The former Labour first minster has denied claims he was backing the SNP and has insisted he supports Iain Gray.  (Courier page 11)

 

Football supporters: 11 football players and managers, including Ally McCoist and Tommy Boyd have given their support to Labour ahead of tomorrow’s election. (Record page 12)

 

Impact on the coalition: John McTernan in the Scotsman comments on the likely consequences of the Holyrood election on David Cameron and the coalition government.

 

Alex Salmond: The SNP leader is interviewed in the Times and the Herald. (Times page 4, Herald page 13)

 

Iain Gray: The Labour leader is interviewed in the Mail and the Telegraph. (Mail page 19, Telegraph page 8)

 

Gray 40-hour campaign: Labour leader Iain Gray is to carry out a non-stop 40-hour campaign of key seats ahead of the election tomorrow. (P&J page 8, Herald page 8, Record page 10, Courier page 1)

 

Mortgage bills: Scottish mortgage rates would reportedly soar under SNP plans for an independent Scotland to join the Euro. (Mail page 18)

 

Single police force: The Scottish Liberal Democrats focused on their opposition to the proposed single force with a “Keep Scottish Policing Local” pledge yesterday. (P&J page 8)

 

Angus Council has rejected proposals to create a single Scottish police force. (P&J page 1)

 

Politics

Cabinet argument: Energy Secretary Chris Huhne reportedly clashed with Conservative colleagues at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting over anti-AV leaflets and the tactics used by the No campaign.  The confrontation has prompted speculation that Chris Hune may leave the government after the referendum. (Scotsman page 13, Times page 5, Herald page 8, P&J page 8, Sun page 2, Mirror page 8, Express page 15, Mail page 12, Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 11, Simon Heffer in the Telegraph, FT page 1)

 

AV referendum: Hugh McLachlan in the Scotsman comments that neither side of the AV debate has demonstrated that AV or first-past-the-post is more or less democratic.

 

Daniel Finkelstein in the Times speculates on how the Lib Dems will react if the AV referendum is lost.

 

David Starkey in the Mail argues that to vote yes would lead to more deals behind closed doors and power handed to minority parties.

 

Michael White in the Guardian comments that parties tend to favour electoral systems that offer themselves the best prospects.

 

William Hague and Margaret Beckett in the Telegraph argue that the current electoral system represents 200 years for history and progress.

 

Shadow Local Government Secretary Caroline Flint argues voters should vote no in the referendum while David Miliband argues they should vote yes. (Mirror page 9)

 

Greater powers for Holyrood: John Kay in the FT comments that greater fiscal autonomy along with tax-raising and borrowing capability will help the Scottish Parliament move from childhood to adolescence.

 

Economy

House prices: Scottish house prices fell in the first quarter of 2011.  The average house price fell by 1.1% compared with the same time last year, though were down by 7.4% compared to the last quarter of 2010. (Scotsman page 10, Tony Perriam in the Scotsman, Herald page 13)

 

Education

Union consider suing councils: The NASUWT teaching union is taking legal advice over plans for £45million in education cuts and two-year pay freeze for teachers.  The union claims the cuts will adversely affect women and could therefore be discriminatory. (Herald page 7 )