Reform Scotland News: 12 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: In the second part of the Scotsman’s serialisation of ‘Scotland’s Economic Future’, to be published by Reform Scotland, John Kay  looks at the banking sector and how an independent Scotland could cope with a banking crisis.



Defence Secretary: Adam Werrity, Liam Fox’s friend at the centre of recent allegations, was questioned by government officials yesterday over how he funded his foreign trips with the Defence Secretary as it has been reported that Adam Werrity’s consultancies had just made £20,000 in the past four years.  New allegations in the press suggest that Werrity operated as means for the Defence Secretary to get round Whitehall inertia and ensure that his policy vision, which could be at odds with government policy, did not get clogged up in the civil service. (Scotsman page 8, John McTernan in the Scotsman, Times page 1, Daniel Finkelstein in the Times, Herald page 1, Mail page 1, Express page 9, Mirror page 11, Guardian page 1, Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian, P&J page 10, FT page 2, Record page 2, Courier page 11, Telegraph page 1)


The Sun (page 1) has claimed that the Conservative Party lied when saying Liam Fox was alone in his flat when he was burgled last year as he had a younger man staying with him.  The paper says that Dr Fox did not lie to the police about who was in the flat.


Same-sex marriage: Gordon Wilson, the former leader of the SNP, has called for a referendum on gay marriage, which he warns could have “extremely destructive consequences” for Scotland.  His comments come through his role as the co-author of a submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on behalf of the Christian faith group Solas.  A spokesman for the Scottish Government said that its initial view is that same sex marriage should be allowed but that faith groups should not be obliged to solemnise such marriages. (Scotsman page 1, David Torrance in the Scotsman, Times page 9, Herald page 1, Sun page 4, Express page 10, Record page 6, Courier page 1, Telegraph page 1)


Sir Gus O’Donnell: The Cabinet Secretary, the UK’s most senior civil servant, Sir Gus O’Donnell has announced that he will retire at the end of the year (Scotsman page 14, Times page 17, Herald page 6, Mail page 8, Express page 5, Mirror page 6, Guardian page 7, FT Page 4, Telegraph page 10)


Tory leadership: Lord Forsyth has described Murdo Fraser’s bid to create a new centre-right party to replace the Scottish Conservatives as a “ludicrous and superficial” analysis of the party’s problems.  Lord Forsyth also said that he felt Ruth Davidson, who he is backing, shared some characteristics with Lady Thatcher. (Scotsman page 16, Allan Massie in the Scotsman, Times page 23)


House of Lords: George Foulkes, a member of the House of Lords, has called for an age limit to be introduced into the upper chamber.  He has suggested that Lords should be forced to retire by the age of 84 or if they fail to turn up enough. (Herald page 6, Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph)


Devolution: Michael White in the Guardian examines where the devolution process in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland leaves England, while Simon Jenkins, also in the Guardian, looks at the consequences for England of Scotland opting for a ‘devo max’.



Euro bail-out: George Osborne has reportedly rejected a plea from the President of the European Commission to contribute to the Greek bail out as part of the eurozone crisis. (Scotsman page 2, Mail page 8, Norman Lamont in the Mail, Express page 15)


Bank bonuses: MSPs on Holyrood’s economy committee have called on the Chancellor to tackle bankers’ bonuses and the “massive inequality” in pay in the financial sector. (Scotsman page 2, Courier page 11)


North Sea oil: According to leaked contingency plans, proposals by BP to drill more than 4,000 feet into water off the coast of Shetland could lead to an oil leak of 10.5million barrels for 140 days if an accident occurred. (Times page 1, Herald page 5)


A report by Oil & Gas UK has suggested that the Government’s North Sea tax increase is causing smaller projects to be put on hold, while larger projects with guaranteed returns are going ahead.  As a result, the organisation warns of a “two-speed” oil industry.  The report also suggests that there could be as little as 14 billion barrels of oil and gas left. (Scotsman page 1, Mike Tholen in the Scotsman, Mail page 12, Courier page 7)


Labour should sorry for financial mess: Labour MP Frank Field has said that his party should make a “very clear apology without reservations” to the UK public for leaving the UK’s finances in such a mess.  However, he added the apology should be shared by the Conservatives and Lib Dems for encouraging Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in borrowing to fund expenditure. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 1)


Housing market: New data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders has shown the volume and value of loans in August was 30 per cent higher than the same period last year, suggesting “signs of life” in the housing market. (Scotsman page 15)



Trams: Dave Anderson, the director of city development at Edinburgh Council, admitted the council made a ”big mistake” by agreeing to shoulder the burden for problems with underground tramworks when the contract was being drawn up. (Scotsman page 6)


Prestwick airport: Infratil, the owners of Prestwick airport, have indicated that they are considering selling the airport.  Prestwick has seen its passengers fall by a third over the past two years. (Scotsman page 9)



Lockerbie bomber: The SNP have accused Tony Blair of being “economical with the truth” after the former Prime Minister claimed that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi had been excluded from the prisoner transfer agreement signed by Tony Blair with Gaddafi.   However the SNP say the once Blair left office Jack Straw, then Justice Secretary, made it clear he would be included in the deal due to “overwhelming interests for the United Kingdom.” (Herald page 6 )


Bail: More than 24,000 crimes in Scotland, including murder and rape, were committed by offenders on bail according to figures obtained by the Daily Mail. (Mail page 1)


Local Government

Litter fines: South Lanarkshire council has approved plans to fine under-16s for dropping litter.  A similar scheme was introduced in Glasgow three years ago. (Scotsman page 23, Herald page 1, Express page 14, Record page 9)