Reform Scotland News: 11 October 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. 


Reform Scotland

Scotland’s Economic Future: Professor Sir Donald MacKay in the Scotsman outlines the economic debate facing Scotland in the run up to the independence referendum.  His comments are the first part of the serialisation of ‘Scotland’s Economic Future’, to be published by Reform Scotland, which brings together a number of leading economic experts to examine the many issues facing the Scottish economy and how increasing Holyrood’s powers could help.



Defence Secretary: According to details published by the Ministry of Defence, Liam Fox met Adam Werritty 40 times at the Ministry of Defence and overseas since taking office, including in Washington, Bahrain and Israel.  Yesterday Dr Fox apologised to the House of Commons for “blurring” the lines between ministerial work and his personal life.  Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, is due to interview Adam Werritty about his earnings and links to defence companies. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Times page 1, Rachel Sylvester in the Times, Jim Murphy in the Times, Record page 2, Mirror page 1, Mail page 1,, Express page 4, Guardian page 1, Head to head in the Guardian, P&J page 5, Courier page 1, FT page 1, Telegraph page 1, James Kirkup in the Telegraph, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph)


Labour’s Scotland team: The Labour Party has unveiled a new Scotland team as part of Ed Miliband’s reshuffle.  The new Shadow Scottish Secretary, Margaret Curran, will head a team of 12 Scottish MPs who have been appointed key reserved portfolios to reportedly help take on the SNP in the referendum.  (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1, Record page 2)


Civil service: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments on the recent row over civil service impartiality.


Independence referendum: Alex Salmond has called on the other political parties to declare what they would campaign on if offered a second question in the independence referendum.  However, other party leaders have called on the First Minister to have a simple yes or no to independence referendum. (Times page 3, P&J page 9)


Tory leadership contest: Jackson Carlaw, one of four contenders to replace Annabel Goldie, has dismissed Ruth Davidson’s campaign as superficial and reportedly suggested that the party should not experiment with a novice as leader.  Malcolm Rifkind has said that if the party membership vote for the status quo, and not for Murdo Fraser’s plans to replace the party with a new Scottish centre-right alternative, they would be “letting Scotland down” (Times page 14, P&J page 7, Courier page 9)


Asylum seekers: One in six asylum seekers in Scotland have reportedly vanished after losing their right to stay.  According to Cosla there are 2,420 asylum seekers in Scotland waiting for the outcome of their applications, while figures from the UK Border Agency show that 546 failed asylum seekers have disappeared. (Mail page 1)


David Cameron has encouraged people to tell the authorities about illegal immigrants as part of his campaign to “reclaim our borders”. (Express page 2, Guardian page 16, P&J page 11)


Welsh politics: The Welsh Assembly may be given new tax and borrowing powers.  Cheryl Gillan, the Welsh Secretary, is expected to unveil a commission, to report next autumn, modelled on the Scottish Calman commission, which recommended greater tax and borrowing powers for Holyrood. (Guardian page 2, Steven Morris in the Guardian)



Children in poverty: The Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that the UK government’s policies for tax and benefits could see a quarter of children living in poverty by the end of the decade. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 5, Mirror page 11, Guardian page 1, Telegraph page 1)


Strike action: Unison is due to ballot their entire membership for the first time on industrial action over changes to public sector pensions.  The results will be announced on 3rd November with strike action likely to take place on the TUC day of action on November 30. (Record page 22, Guardian page 13, P&J page 8, FT page 4)



Edinburgh Trams: Lib Dem Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, Edinburgh’s transport convenor, has reportedly admitted that he and his colleagues were out of their depth with regard to the trams project and failed to oversee it properly.  His comments are expected to be aired as part of a BBC documentary to be screened tonight where Bilfinger Berger, the main contractors also blame the delays on the “frustrating” behaviour of the publicly funded company TIE.  Councillor Mackenzie and other councillors sat on the board of TIE. (Scotsman page 1)



Killing on bail: Daryn Maxwell,23, yesterday admitted murdering Reamonn Gormley in South Lanarkshire on 1 February this year after Raemonn refused to hand over his wallet. Barry Smith admitted culpable homicide.  Maxwell had been on bail at the time of the murder following an appeal against his sentence of 32 months for a previous stabbing in 2008, a crime to which he pled guilty.  Smith was subject to two bail orders at the time of the crime. The circumstances of the case have prompted politicians to question why bail was granted and to call for changes in the way knife crime is dealt by the courts. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Sun page 1, Times page 16, Record page 21, Express page 7, P&J page 11, Telegraph page 8)


Taking photos: Kerry Gill in the Express comments on the saga of the police called to deal with a father taking photos of his daughter at Braehead shopping centre. Braehead have reportedly reversed their decision and will now allow photography.



Organ donation: The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has suggested that the NHS pay for the funeral costs of organ donors to help increase the shortage of donations in the UK.  However, Scottish ministers have rejected the suggestion. (Scotsman page 3, Professor Ken Mason in the Scotsman, Guardian page 13, Telegraph page 16)


Hospital visitors: NHS Grampian has reportedly given permission for hospitals to restrict visiting times to as little as three-and-a-half hours a day in an effort to reduce the spread of infection.  Microbiologist Professor Hugh Pennington has said he was sceptical about such a policy. (Mail page 2, Express page 10)