Reform Scotland News: 17 June 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.



Alex Salmond: The First Minister is facing internal criticism over his comments on one of the UK’s most eminent legal figures, after he repeatedly refused to apologise in parliament for his behaviour.  Mr Salmond was accused of demeaning his public office and faced calls by Labour to “grow up, own up and apologise” as pressure mounted on Scotland’s most senior politician.  (The Scotsman page 4&5, The Herald page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 1&10, The Times page 5, Scottish Daily Express page 2, P&J page 1, Courier page 1, The Sun page 1, Daily Record page 4)


Tom Peterkin gives comment on Alex Salmond and free speech in the Scotsman (page 4). John Forsyth provides analysis in the Scotsman on the Scottish criminal jurisdiction and the UK Supreme Court (page 5).  Ian Bell in the Herald (page 6) and Magnus Linklater in the Times also provide comment on the First Ministers refusal to apologise (page 5).


Digital TV: Plans for a digital television network in Scotland has been outlined in Holyrood.  Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop yesterday told MSPs about the areas in which Scottish Parliament can have more input over broadcasting, saying that the proposed Scottish Digital Network must be established as a public service broadcaster.  Ms Hyslop said that MSPs should be involved in any arrangements to do with license fees.  (The Scotsman page 2, The Scottish Daily Mail page 2, Courier page 6)


RAF bases: The Scottish Government has outlined its case for saving RAF bases threatened with closure ahead of the final UK Cabinet decision on its defence review.  In its submission the government argued that further cuts to RAF Leuchars or Lossiemouth were not justifiable on economic or defence grounds.  In addition senior military figures have warned that RAF Leuchars must be retained in order to prevent a 9/11 style terrorist attack on Scotland. (The Herald page 4, The Scotsman page 15, The Scottish Daily Mail page 25, Scottish Daily Express page 2, P&J page 11, Courier page 1, Daily Record page 4)



Scotland’s economy: According to a survey carried out my Lloyd’s TSB, the Scottish economy may be turning a corner after it revealed the best results for business in Scotland since the banking collapse.  The Lloyds TSB Scotland Business Monitor suggested that Scotland’s economy is “slowly strengthening” as it recorded a 2% increase in turnover for firms in the last quarter.  It comes in the same week that unemployment figures dropped for the seventh consecutive month in Scotland. (The Scotsman page 1)


Local Government

Inverclyde by-election: Five candidates will contest the Westminster by-election in Inverclyde at the end of the month.  The campaign to replace the late David Cairns gathered pace this week, as candidates took to the streets to gain votes. (The Scotsman page 19)



Anti-Sectarian laws: The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has warned the Scottish Government not to rush through a bill to tackle sectarianism in time for the start of the new football season.  The Rt Rev David Arnott said, “whilst we are not against the ideas in this bill, we remain unconvinced of the wisdom in this approach” (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 9, The Scottish Daily Mail, page 19, Scottish Daily Express page 2, P&J page 12)



Borders Railway project: Ministers are to review the future of the troubled Borders Railway project after one of the two remaining bidders signalled it would abandon the race for the £230 million contract.  The IMCD consortium’s move came after it was revealed that a key partner in the group has quit.  (The Scotsman page 10)


Passenger Tax: Scotland’s biggest airport group has given support to calls for devolved responsibility for aviation tax in order to promote business travel and tourism.  BAA, which owns Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports, claimed recent increases in Air Passenger Duty had cost £77 million in lost tourism in Scotland and that planned hikes would hinder aviation’s recovery. (The Herald page 3, Scottish Daily Express page 1)



University governance: A review into University governance has been launched by the Scottish Government in a bid to make higher education institutions more accountable to the taxpayer.  Education Secretary Mike Russell stated that the inquiry was not about taking control from independent institutions but making how they use their funds more transparent.  (The Scotsman page 12&13, The Herald page 10, The Times page 3, P& J page 13, Courier page 12)


Alastair Sim in the Scotsman provides analysis on the review and claims that there is an opportunity for Scotland, and that we need to advance from our position of strength (page 12). Andrew Denholm also provides comment and analysis in the Herald (page 10).


Scottish Studies: A new subject of Scottish Studies will be introduced in schools to help younger pupils “understand Scotland and its place in the world”.  Scottish Studies will include Gaelic language, Scots, Scottish history, poetry and culture with Gaelic schools and teaching units continuing to expand. (The Herald page 1)



Compensation pay-out: Health chiefs have settled a compensation pay-out in a £23 million lawsuit brought by the parents of a boy who was left paralysed after his spine was damaged at birth. The amount of damages that has been paid out by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has not been revealed, however it is believed to be a new Scottish record. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 13, The Scottish Daily Mail page 7, Scottish Daily Express page 9


Sun exposure: Young Scots are lying in the sun for 12 times the recommended time without wearing sun screen or any other protection, according to the Teenage Cancer Trust. The charity, launching its sun safety campaign Shunburn, say that Scottish Cancer Registry figures show that melanoma has taking over from lymphoma as the most common cancer in Scots between the ages 15-24. (The Herald page 8, The Scottish Daily Mail page 31)


Blindness: A Scottish eye expert Ian Jordan has developed what he says is the first treatment in the world for people who suffer from face blindness.  The condition, also known as prosopagnosia, impairs the ability of people to recognise faces and facial expressions and is common in people with autism. (The Scotsman page 25)