Reform Scotland News: 3 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. 



Conservative Party Conference: The Conservative Party Conference saw David Cameron defending budget revisions, promising new growth and rejecting the idea of a referendum on leaving the European Union (The Times page 6, The Scottish Daily Mail page 10, The Guardian page 7, The Herald page 6). Annabel Goldie, who is stepping down as leader of the party in Scotland, said in her farewell address that Alex Salmond ‘is not the face of Scotland’ (The Scottish Daily Mail page 2, The Telegraph page 1). There is further coverage of the Scottish Conservative leadership election which is being increasingly hotly-contested. (The Sunday Times page 23, The Sunday Herald page 10, The Herald page 7, The Daily Record page 2, The Courier page 11).


Scottish Conservative leadership: In the midst of the Conservative Party Conference, Scotland’s only Conservative MP, David Mundell, has said he rejects the notion of a new party even if it is endorsed by the party’s membership and will remain associated with the Conservative Party.  Murdo Fraser’s plans, should they succeed, would result in the Conservatives being transformed into a new party with some of the possible names being leaked to Scotland on Sunday. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, The Sunday Times page 1).


Independence referendum: David Cameron believes a cross-party campaign to keep Scotland in the Union will be vital if the SNP is to be prevented from winning the independence referendum. Mr Cameron, in an interview with Holyrood Magazine, voiced his expectations that the Scotland Bill currently going through Westminster which gives Holyrood certain increased powers would help “settle the issue for a generation” (The Times page 7).


Scottish Liberal Democrats: Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has rejected reports of the ‘demise’ of the party following the result of the last Holyrood election. Mr Rennie attacked the so-called centralising of power which was occurring under the SNP and vowed to remain at the cutting-edge of debate. (Scotland on Sunday page 9).



Tesco results: Tesco is reportedly to announce it has suffered its worst six months in the UK for 20 years. Europe’s largest private sector employer, with around half a million people around the world; announced that austerity cuts, rising unemployment, and falling real incomes, were to blame for shopping trends. The trends highlight that even well-established supermarkets, usually the last high-street shops to suffer, are feeling the impact of recession (The Daily Telegraph page B3, The Guardian page 2).



Scottish transport woes continue: Plans for the £295 million Borders railway unravelled as the Government failed to secure any of the proposed contractors. It marks yet another blow to transport following the deepening of the Edinburgh tram crisis and the announcement of further delays to the Aberdeen bypass. Financing of the project was already in debate and the agreed completion date seems already under threat (The Sunday Herald page 40).



University managers: Salaries for management teams which run Scottish universities have soared by a third in five years, revealed a review. Lecturers’ union UCU Scotland has said management were out of control at a time when academic staff faced pay freezes and job-losses. (The Herald page 1).



Alcohol pricing: Recent reactions by retailers to the Alcohol Act have made the Scottish government announce it will go even further in its attempts to cut drinking levels.  Retailers, which were meant to cut deals promoting the bulk buying of alcohol, have reportedly reacted by simply reducing the price of individual bottles and cans. A spokesman for the Scottish Retail Consortium, however, claims that irresponsible drinking is about drinking culture and should be tackled by education, not legislation on price or promotions. (The Times page 9).