Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 24 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.
Scottish Independence: The SNP have launched the biggest campaign in Scottish history, with a project, ‘roadmap to independence’ and fund-raising effort that will increase the referendum money-pot. The four key stages identified by the £1 million campaign contribute to an enormous effort by the SNP to contact every voter and persuade them to vote ‘yes’ to independence. Most of the money, £918,000 is from a bequest from the late Edwin Morgan, Scotland’s Makar, with party members also being urged to boost the referendum war-chest. Alex Salmond refuses to be drawn on details of the second option in the referendum ballot-paper, ‘devolution-max’ and his referendum strategy has come under fire with the SNP leader accused of making it easy for Scots to vote against independence. By giving voters the chance to vote for ‘devo-max’, which according to MSP Margo Macdonald, will deprive Scots of full equality, there is a likely constitutional settlement that falls short of outright independence. (The Scotsman, page 1, 4 and 5. The Herald, p1. Daily Express, page 2. Financial Times, page 3. The Courier and Advertiser, page 1. The press and journal, page 12. Scottish Daily Mail, page 1, Daily Record, page 2, Scotland on Sunday, page 1, The Financial Times, page 3)
EU crisis: EU leaders in Brussels have moved towards treaty changes to steady the eurozone. PM David Cameron said that progress was being made ahead of a crunch deal on Wednesday which it is hoped will reduce Greece’s debt burden and strengthen European banks. Nicolas Sarkozy has reportedly attacked UK interference in the eurozone crisis during the emergency summit (The Herald, page 2). Up to 100 Tory MPs could defy the Prime Minister by supporting a motion today calling for a referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU. (The Scotsman, p1, The Daily Telegraph, p1 and 4. The press and journal, page 11. The Times, page 1 and 8. Daily Mail, page 6).
Respect Agenda: Alex Salmond has showed his determination to take on the UK government by launching an attack on David Cameron and declaring that the respect agenda between London and Edinburgh is now ‘dead’. He reportedly claimed that the Prime Minister does not understand Scotland’s needs and future (Scotland on Sunday, page 4. The Sunday Herald, page 6. The Sunday Times, page 1).
Finance Secretary: According to John Swinney, Scotland could be the sixth-richest nation in the world, if it stopped subsidising the rest of the UK. At the SNP conference, the Finance Minister argued that Scotland contributes more in tax than it gets back in expenditure. He further challenged those who believe that Scotland could not be independent by arguing that the country would flourish if it had control of the North Sea oil revenue. (The Scotsman, page 6. The Herald, page 6. Daily Express, page 2. The Courier and Advertiser, page 9. Daily Mail, page 8)
Windfarm opposition: Following a release of a map showing almost 150 wind farms either in place or under construction in the Highlands and Islands and Grampian, campaigners have voiced opposition and urged the SNP government to rethink its policy on onshore wind. (The Press and Journal, page 1)
Retailers: Large retailers in Scotland claim that, from April, they will be hit with a double tax burden under the Scottish government’s plans. (Scotland on Sunday, page 6).
Universities: Ahead of a review of university governance set up by the Scottish government, the Principal of Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Professor Petra Wend, has said that universities need better managers and not elected principals. (The Scotsman, page 8).
Geographical disparity: Despite increases in funding by successive governments, an analysis of the numbers of pupils leaving school between 1999 and 2000 has revealed that the chances of young people entering higher education is still largely influenced by postcode. (Sunday Herald, page 10)
Murder hunt: Tributes were paid last night to a man whose body was found in a secluded industrial estate in a possible gay-hate murder. Police have launched a murder investigation and have refused to rule out the possibility that the attack was motivated by homophobia. Hate crime towards gay and transgender people is reportedly on the rise across Britain, and most especially Scotland,with thousands of people suffering abuse for their sexuality every year. (The Herald, page 3. The Sunday Herald, page 7)
Financial Scam: Almost half of Scots who took part in a recent poll have been targeted by a fraudster. Research, however, has revealed that only 5% of scams are reported. Citizens Advice Scotland called on the public to ‘declare war’ on scams by being more vigilant and reporting them when they do happen (The Herald, page 3)
Funding cuts: Cancer patients are reportedly skipping meals and worrying about losing their home because of the financial impact of their disease. Research from Macmillan Cancer has found that 73% of Scots cancer patients face increased costs and a drop in income due to their illness. The charity warns that the situation could get worse if UK government plans to cut support as part of the Welfare Reform Bill come into being. (The Scotsman, page 16 The Herald, page 7)