REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 02.11.2011

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. 

 

 

Politics

Independence Referendum: Downing Street has confirmed that there are no official minutes of the meeting between Alex Salmond and George Osborne which led to allegations that the SNP would boycott a UK government referendum on Scottish independence.

(The Times page 7)

 

SNP bully claim: SNP Student Leader Gail Lythgoe, has apologised for her email urging members of the Scottish Women’s Budget Group to join in a protest at a meeting attended by the Labour MP Ian Davidson.  Ms Lythgoe has admitted she went too far’ after alleging that Mr Davidson had a history of bullying women.  Labour has called for an internal SNP inquiry into the affair. (The Scotsman page 13, Daily Record page 6, Daily Express page 14, The Herald page 6)

 

Glasgow protesters: The Occupy Glasgow group, the group responsible for the ‘anti-greed’ protest camp in George Square, have been given a 48-hour reprieve from eviction and time to seek legal advice. Human Rights lawyer Aamer Anwar has stated that he has given advice to some of the protestors regarding freedom of speech. There are expectations that the group will leave the site by Friday the 4th of November. Glasgow City Council is keen to clear the area ahead of the Armistice and Remembrance Day. (Scotsman page 7, 9, Sun Page 18, Daily Record page 19, Courier page 11, Daily Express page 15, The Herald page 7, The Times page 11, The Press and Journal page 11)

 

Liberal Democrat cartoon gaffe: The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie, has apologised for an online cartoon which depicts Alex Salmond dressed in ‘Arab-style clothing’ and which drew similarities between Quatar and an independent Scotland under the SNP. The cartoon has since been removed.  (Scotsman page 22, Sun page 9, Daily Record page 6, The Daily Telegraph page 13)

 

Economy

Wi-fi in Scotland: A study by watchdog Ofcom has shown that large parts of Scotland are ‘without proper communications coverage’ and have poor broadband, digital TV and radio and 3G coverage. Ofcom hopes that their research will lead to a consideration of targeted investment in communications, especially in rural communities. (Scotsman page 15, Financial Times page 4, The Daily Telegraph page 8)

 

Greece: The shock announcement from Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou that he would hold a referendum on the European debt deal has caused great financial alarm and has led to a significant drop in bank shares. The announcement has been received poorly by other EU leaders who are concerned that it may lead to a new recession. There is speculation that Mr Papandreou could be forced to resign his position after the resignations of two of his members of government. The leaders of the G20 will discuss a hastily redrawn agenda tomorrow. (Scotsman page 8, Sun page 7, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mirror page 7, Courier page 11, The Herald page 2, Guardian page 1, Financial Times page 6, Scottish Daily Mail page 1, The Times page 1, 12, The Daily Telegraph page 1)

 

‘Robin Hood tax’:Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury has called for a new multimillion pound ‘Robin Hood’ tax on banks. Dr Williams has supported calls for a tax that ensures that financial transactions reflect the ‘moral agenda’ of anti-capitalist protestors. (Scotsman page 9, Financial Times page 1, 2, 11, The Daily Telegraph page 1)

 

Economic recovery for the UK: Chancellor George Osborne has stated that the UK economy still faces a “difficult journey” despite better than expected growth figures. The UK GDP has grown in the last third but the Chancellor has warned that the future may look bleak. The Conservative and Labour parties have clashed in the House of Commons over issues surrounding economic recovery and public spending cuts. (Scotsman page 10, Sun page 8, Guardian page 7,  Financial Times page 3, Daily Mail page 2)

 

Energy investment warning: Energy companies have been warned by a leading finance group, Citigroup, to reconsider investing in Scotland. The group warned that Scottish independence would leave Scotland unable to afford to fund the Scottish Government’s renewable plans. The Scottish Government had branded the analysis in the report as ‘wrong’ and have argued that the report failed to understand that exporting energy would play a large role in Scotland’s energy sector in an independent Scotland. (The Herald page 1, The Press and Journal page 10)

 

Health

SNP alcohol bill and EU law: The SNP proposal to impose a minimum price upon alcohol, speculated to raise the price of a unit of alcohol to at least 50p, in order to tackle problem drinking in Scotland, is likely to face a legal challenge at EU level. A leading expert of Scots law, James McLean of the Law Society of Scotland, has warned that the policy could be argued to contravene EU rules relating to the free movement of goods. The SNP government is under pressure to publish details of the legal advice which it received however has stated that they are waiting for the results of an updated report by the University of Sheffield into ‘the harmful health effects of alcohol abuse’. Labour have criticised the SNP policy for ‘shutting down public debate’ about the issue and alongside other opposition parties and trade groups have raised concerns about the economic impact of the proposals. ( The Scotsman page 4, The Scottish Sun page 2, Daily Record page 9, The Courier page 6, Daily Express page 5, 12, The Herald page 6, Guardian page 13, Financial Times page 4, Daily Mail page 13, The Times page 7, The Daily Telegraph page 6, The Press and Journal page 9)

 

Justice

Crime rate versus perception:  Despite official figures putting crime rates at a 35 year low more people believe that crime is rising both locally and nationally. A survey of 13,000 Scottish adults highlighted this gap between perception and reality. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has stated that ‘fewer Scots are likely to become victims of crime’ but Scottish Labour have called for tougher action on criminals to combat public concern about crime rates. (Scotsman page 11, Daily Record page 6, Courier page 7, Daily Express page 10, The Herald page 10, Daily Mail page 6, The Times page 19)

 

Judges Salaries:  The most senior judge in Scotland, Lord Hamilton, has told MSPs that falling pay rates have caused a struggle to attract the best people to fill the positions. High Court judges are currently paid £172,000. Lord Hamilton’s comments have been criticised by opposition MSPs who highlighted that most ordinary workers ‘could only dream of six figure salaries’.  (Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 3)

 

Bigotry bill: The Scottish Government has pledged to clarify its proposed law on sectarianism. The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill is currently progressing through Holyrood. The legislation will create two new offences relating to the incitement of hatred on racial or other grounds and will relate specifically to offences committed in or around football grounds and online. (The Scotsman page 2, Daily Record page 6, Courier page 7, Daily Mail page 7, The Times page 20)