Reform Scotland News: 01/11/2011

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. 




Independence referendum: Former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth has accused Alex Salmond of attempting to sabotage an independence referendum if it were to be called by the UK government rather than the Scottish parliament. Alex Salmond is believed to have said in a conversation with George Osborne that he would boycott a referendum organised by the Westminster Parliament and prevent police and public services from providing the support needed for such a referendum. The row comes amid growing concerns at Westminster that any more delay in naming a date for the referendum will damage the Scottish economy further. The SNP has denied any knowledge of such threats and has stated that as the majority party at Holyrood it alone has the mandate to deliver the referendum. (The Scotsman page 9, The Herald page 1, The Times page 8, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Daily Record page 6, The Press and Journal page 8).


SNP bully claim: The SNP has been accused by Labour of trying to mount a smear against one of their MPs, Ian Davidson after an email was leaked describing Mr Davidson as having a ‘history of bullying women.’ The email was sent by Gail Lythgoe, head of the Nationalists’ student wing and executive committee member in an attempt to persuade leaders of a women’s network to attend a protest against Mr Davidson. Mr Davidson has said that he is ‘shocked’ by the email’s content and is consulting with lawyers. This is the latest development since Ian Davidson was accused of threatening SNP MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford at a Scottish Affairs committee meeting. (The Scotsman page 8, The Herald page 6, The Times page 8, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Daily Mail page 10, The Daily Express page 2, The Sun page 6).


Sir Menzies to lead commission of home rule: The Liberal Democrats announced that they have selected their former leader Sir Menzies Campbell to lead the party’s Home Rule Commission. This follows a vote by party members to establish a body to investigate the distribution of power between London, Edinburgh and local councils. Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said that the commission will “set out our vision for a strong Scotland within the UK.” (The Herald page 6, The Times page 8, The Press and Journal page 7).


Glasgow protests: Glasgow City Council is today seeking the power to evict the Occupy Glasgow protestors from Glasgow’s George Square. Protestors in Edinburgh’s St Andrews Square say that they will welcome the evicted protestors from Glasgow which is expected to swell protest numbers in the capital. Essential Edinburgh, the organisation responsible for maintaining the privately owned gardens in the square has said that it too is considering its legal options. (The Scotsman page 3).



Global recession: A report by the International Labour Organisation ahead of the G20 summit in Cannes this week has warned that the global economy is on the verge of a deeper jobs recession that could lead to social unrest. It also warned that the UK economy could be facing another six years of pain and the slowest economic recovery in its history. Meanwhile a report by the think-tank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), has said that world leaders need to be far bolder if they are to avoid another recession. (The Scotsman page 2, The Herald page 1, The Guardian page 23, The Daily Telegraph page 1).


Greek referendum: The Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, has made a surprise announcement by saying that his country could hold a referendum on the European debt deal reached this week. Markets which have rallied in the last few weeks to news of a substantial deal last night reacted to the announcement with a sell-off of shares. A Greek vote against the deal could lead to its failure and a debt crisis to match that of the Lehman Brothers crash three years ago. (The Guardian page 1, Financial Times page 1, The Daily Mail page 2).


Cameron’s plan to back UK job creation: The UK Government have announced a £950 million investment in an attempt to create more jobs. The money will give grants to businesses which it is hoped will stimulate growth and create and safeguard more than 200,000 jobs. (The Scotsman page 2, The Daily Express page 15).       


Fishing cuts: Plans drawn up by the European Commission to further cut the number of days Scottish vessels can put to sea next year has received staunch opposition from interest groups. Alan Coghill, president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) has said the move will “break the back” of the fleet. (The Scotsman page 2).


Energy fines: NPOWER has been fined £2million by the energy regulator due to its failure to properly deal with customer complaints. This follows British Gas’s fine of £2.5million in July for breach of the same regulations.  EDF Energy is also currently under investigation by Ofgem. (The Scotsman page 11, The Herald page 12, The Daily Mirror page 15).


Scottish House Prices: A report by the Halifax Housing Market Confidence Tracker has revealed that people living in Scotland are more pessimistic about house prices than those living elsewhere in the UK. (The Scotsman page 15).



Scotrail prepares for winter: Scotrail has revealed details of its £2million improvement plans which it hopes will leave it better prepared for severe weather following last year’s disruption. The plans include techniques used in Finland such as power showers as well as polytunnels and space heaters. It is believed that last year around 40 per cent of Scotrail scheduled services were affected by last year’s storms and the firm hopes that the investment in protection this year will avoid disruption on the same scale this winter. (The Scotsman page 7, The Herald page 10, The courier page 7, The Daily Mail page 32, The Daily Express page 24, The Pres and Journal page 1.)



Scottish Child Care: A quarter of registered crèches closed in the past two years leading to the number of Scottish youngsters attending childcare services falling by a quarter. The figures have sparked fears over early years development in Scotland and the effect that could have on the generations’ attainment and future. The Scottish Pre-School Association (SPPA) has said that the closures were due to financial pressures and a fall in population in the last few years. (The Scotsman page 21).


University fees row: The president of the NUS in Scotland, Robert Parker, has accused the student president at Glasgow University, Stuart Ritchie, of being out of touch with the student movement due to his argument in favour of charging fees of up to £9000 a year. However Mr Ritchie has said that he does not favour an increase in student fees saying that the decision to increase fees had already been made and that he was merely pointing out that £9000 a year was the best option for students at Glasgow as it matched the policies of other universities in Scotland of a similar standing. (The Herald page 11).



New heart disease drug: A statement from Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) has announced that a new blood-thinning drug approved for use by the NHS will not be available for all patients. The HIS has said that the decision is not due to the cost of the new drug, £900 a year compared to the drug used by the NHS now which is £10. (The Scotsman page 10).


Scottish families: Scottish scientist Professor Sir Ian Wilmut has warned that couples in the UK should have no more than two children as an attempt to tackle the world’s rising population which yesterday reached seven billion. Professor Wilmut argued that the government has a responsibility to promote the idea that having more than two children imposes demands on the environment which it cannot withstand. The Professor’s argument has sparked heated debate with the Catholic Church in Scotland describing his views as “nonsensical irrelevance” (The Scotsman page 1).


New research centre: Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has officially opened the new research facility at The University of Strathclyde. The Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences building cost £36million and has space for 150 researchers and teaching labs for 160 students. (The Herald page 8).