Reform Scotland News: 6 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.



Supreme Court: According to a survey, three out of four lawyers in Scotland believe that the Scottish Government was wrong in its criticism of the Supreme Court and a majority opposing appeals going to Strasbourg rather than London. Out of 597 legal professionals who responded to a survey by Scottish Legal News, 456 said the right of the appeal to Supreme Court did not threaten the independence of Scots law. In addition, 70 per cent wanted appeals heard at the Supreme Court rather than the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg – the Scottish Government’s preference.  Former Solicitor General Lord McCluskey will head a four-man team commissioned by the Scottish Government to investigate what part the court should play in deciding human rights cases north of the border. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 1, Sunday Herald page 5, Scotland on Sunday page 2, Press and Journal page 7, Times page 3)


Independence: Catalan’s former de facto ambassador in London has called for his nation and Scotland to work together in a new alliance to push for independence in both countries. Xavier Solano i Bello, who stepped down from the role last month to write a book on politics, believes that both his country and Scotland are being held back and independence is within their grasp. In an interview with The Scotsman, he describes First Minister Alex Salmond as “inspirational” and one of Europe’s “most influential politicians”. (Scotsman page 10)


Lib Dems: The new leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has announced a policy U-turn by saying he will back renewed SNP plans to impose a minimum price for alcohol. Willie Rennie said the proposal, which was opposed by his party in the last parliament, is necessary to fight Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with drink. The minority SNP Government failed to win over the opposition when the legislation was brought before MSPs last year. However, after winning a majority in May’s Scottish election, SNP ministers can push the law through without help from other parties. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6, Courier page 3, Press and Journal page 9)


Labour MSP: A newly-elected Labour MSP was reportedly disciplined in a previous post after verbally abusing and intimidating a colleague from an ethnic minority. Anne McTaggart was moved to another job and attended an anti-racism course after her employer upheld a raft of complaints against her. A spokesman for Scottish Labour said the party would be asking “a number of questions” about the revelations. Ms McTaggart, 41, was elected as a Glasgow List MSP at last month’s Holyrood election. An ally of Steven Purcell, the disgraced former city council leader, she is also a councillor for the Drumchapel and Anniesland ward.  (Sunday Herald page 5)



Organised Crime: A Scottish police force has broken up 20 organised crime gangs over the past two years. Northern Constabulary has targeted 25 known bands of criminals in the Highlands and Islands since January 2009. More than £2 million worth of drugs have been recovered and 67 people arrested. Many have received substantial prison sentences. Cash and vehicles in excess of £167,000 value have also been seized during a number of operations. The figures emerged after The Herald’s sister title, the Sunday Herald, revealed that at least 93 organised crime groups in Scotland are actively using corruption tactics against the country’s leading officials. (Herald page 4, Sunday Herald page 10-13, Press and Journal page 7)


Drink-Drive Campaign: Police chiefs across Scotland have launched a summer campaign to crackdown on driver using drink and drugs. The campaign, which is co-ordinated by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos), will run for two weeks until Monday June 20, and is designed to drive home the possible consequences of getting behind the wheel after drinking. Acpos says anyone caught driving under the influence of alcohol could face a fine of up to £5,000 as well as an automatic driving ban for 12 months. A court conviction will stay on a person’s licence for 11 years, as well as a criminal record that can remain for 20 years. (Herald page 8, Courier page 4, Press and Journal page 7)



A8: Proposals to sell land for a major motorway upgrade on the outskirts of Glasgow have been given the go ahead for later this year.  The work, including a six-mile section of the A8 on the eastern side of the city will began after compulsory purchase orders were passed without objection. Transport Scotland confirmed the process for the A8 upgrade between Baillieston and Newhouse, the last remaining non-motorway section of the Glasgow-Edinburgh road, as well as improvements to the M74, M73 and Raith Interchange would start at the end of the year. (Herald page 10)



Pomegranate Juice: Pomegranate juice could reduce stress in the workplace, according to new research. The study found that having the drink every day resulted in lower stress hormones and a reduction in blood pressure. Researchers at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, studied the physiological effect of daily consumption of 500ml of Pomegreat Pure pomegranate juice over a two-week period. They found that all 60 volunteers – from a range of working environments – reported being more enthusiastic and less distressed after having the drink.  (Scotsman page 14, Herald page10)


Hypnosis Treatments: Hypnosis treatments could be used on a range of medical conditions to save the NHS millions of pounds, according to a group of medical experts. The Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) believe the therapies help relieve pain and stress. But it warned patients need to be protected from rogue practitioners, who cause harm and end up costing the NHS more. (Scotsman page 21, Herald page 10, Press and Journal page 11)