Reform Scotland News: 05/09/2011


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.




Conservative leadership election: The Scottish Conservatives are debating the possibility of turning the Scottish party into a new party with its own distinct identity. The idea has been spearheaded by the leadership front-runner Murdo Fraser, who wishes to create a more viable centre-right alternative in Scotland. Certain members of the party, however, feel it may be an over-reaction to the problems the party is facing. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 6, Scotland on Sunday page 1, The Times page 1, The Sunday Times page 1, The Sunday Herald page 4, The Guardian page 4, The Telegraph page 1, The Courier page 1, The Scottish Sun page 8, Daily Express page 2, The Scottish Daily Mail page 4, The Daily Record)


Darling memoirs: Former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling has revealed in his new book, ‘Back from the Brink’, the extent of disagreement within the last Labour Government. Disagreement which he claims seriously impaired the country’s ability to tackle the financial crisis. (The Scotsman page 18, The Herald page 6, The Sunday Times page 1, The Guardian page 10, The Telegraph page 12, The Times page 5, The Courier page 10, The Scottish Sun page 2, Daily Express page 7, Daily Record page 2, The Scottish Daily Telegraph page 12)


Independence poll: The latest TNS-BMRM poll published today, which has been monitoring opinions on independence for exactly four years, reveals that support for independence is once again in the lead. The number of unsure voters, however, remains high and leaves much to play for in the run-up to a vote on independence. One which some analysts say the SNP is in a good position to win given public support and the lack of unity amongst the unionist opposition. (The Herald page 1, Scotland on Sunday page 12 and 16, The Sunday Herald page 16)


Knighthood investigation: Alex Salmond has reportedly referred himself for investigation under the ministerial code over the alleged misleading of MPs with regards to the knighthood given to Sir Brian Souter, who is a party donor. Mr Salmond stresses that the knighthood was handled by senior civil servants and not politicians. (The Sunday Times page 3, Scotland on Sunday page 4, Sunday Herald page 7, The Courier page 7) 


MI5-Gadaffi connections: According to documents found at the British embassy in Tripoli from 2005, MI5 was, amongst other things, responsible for disclosing information on Col Gadaffi dissidents residing in Britain. It also shows requests by MI5 to obtain information from torture victims held by Col Gadaffi’s government. (The Sunday Times page 1, Scotland on Sunday page 1, The Guardian page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 1, The Herald, The Telegraph)


Sectarianism: The minister in charge of the SNP’s crackdown on sectarianism offered new figures to support her case amid backlash against the new law by sports clubs, amongst others. Roseanna Cunningham stated that there was overwhelming public support for the proposals and warned of the problems that sectarian violence was still causing in parts of Scotland  (The Scotsman, The Sunday Times page 24, The Sunday Herald page 11, Scottish Daily Mail page 2)




RBS-US subprime lawsuit: The US Federal Housing Finance Agency has filed lawsuits against 17 banks, including The Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS has vowed to defend itself against US government claims it misrepresented the quality of mortgages it sold. (Scotland on Sunday, The Times page 45, The Sunday Herald page 6, The Daily Telegraph page B3)


Executive bonuses rising: According to a report by the High Pay Commission, top company directors have seen an average rise in bonuses of about 200 per cent over the last ten years despite falling share prices. The chairman of the commission says this exposes the myth that bonuses increase company performance. (The Scotsman page 1, Daily Express page 15)


Edinburgh and the Olympics: The Olympic Games to be held in London for more than two weeks from July 27th coincide with Edinburgh’s main festival season. Organisers are trying to pull out all the stops to entice as many of the massive influx of visitors as possible to incorporate a visit north by positioning the city as an important cultural destination. (The Sunday Herald page 2)




SNP tram vow: The SNP, after abandoning their long-standing opposition to the tram scheme for Edinburgh, have now vowed to take a more ‘hands on’ approach and do everything they can to see the project through and put a lid on spiralling costs. (The Scotsman page 15, The Sunday Herald page 20)    




Alcohol pricing: SNP ministers are preparing to introduce tougher laws on the minimum pricing of alcohol in an effort to curb the negative effect of alcohol consumption in the country. According to an NHS report from last week, Scots are consuming 23 per cent more alcohol than those in other parts of Britain. The proposals, which did not get through the last Scottish Parliament, will now go through due to the SNP majority at Holyrood. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Daily Express page 10)