Reform Scotland News: 15.11.2011


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. 


Reform Scotland

Police staff policy: Reform Scotland has published figures obtained under Freedom of Information which show that although the number of full-time equivalent police officers in Scotland rose by 897.6 between 2006/07 and 2009/10, the number of police staff jobs fell by 899.6.  Reform Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to be more open and transparent with regard to policing policies.  The report has been submitted to the Scottish Government as part of the public consultation on the SNP’s plans to merge Scotland’s police forces.  (The Courier page 7)



Defence contracts: Philip Hammond, the new Defence Secretary, suggested at defence questions at Westminster yesterday that an independent Scotland would lose out on defence contracts that currently underpin industries in Fife and on the Clyde. He said “It is unlikely HM Forces would wish to use facilities in a fully independent Scotland in the way they would wish to use facilities within the United Kingdom”. The SNP were quick to respond branding Hammond’s suggestion as “more anti-Scottish scaremongering.” (Scotsman page 1, David Maddox in the Scotsman, The Herald page 1, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Courier page 8)


EU: David Cameron used his Mansion House speech last night to call for a fundamental change in the EU and for its powers to “ebb back” to the member states. Cameron insisted that it was within the national interest to remain with the EU but that now was the time for a review of European relations.(Scotsman page 2, The Herald page 6, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Financial Times page 2, The Guardian page 2, The Daily Mail page 2, The Courier page 9, Daily Express page 15, The Press and Journal page 5, The Sun page 2)


Defection to SNP: Hugh Kerr, Tommy Sheridan’s former press chief and a former Labour MEP has defected to the SNP to fight for an “independent socialist Scotland”. (Scotsman page 6)


Press hacking: It has been reported that the police believe that the News of the World were still hacking phones as recently as 2009 and the notebooks belonging to private detective Glenn Muclaire suggest at least 28 News International staff commissioned him to illegally hack phones. This latest revelation contradicts News of the World insistence that Clive Goodman, the paper’s jailed royal editor, was a ‘rogue reporter’. The Leveson Inquiry into press ethics will also be exploring claims that hacking was commonplace at The Sun and the Mirror. (Scotsman page 7, The Herald page 2, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Financial Times page 4, The Times page 6, The Guardian page 1, The Daily Mail page 8, The Sun page 4, Daily Mirror page 14)


Independence: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments on the referendum on independence and the issues Scotland faces compared to what happened in Quebec in 1995.  Joan McAlpine, also in the Scotsman, accuses the Conservatives of scare tactics ahead of the referendum.


Salmond faces fresh criticism: First Minster Alex Salmond has once again been criticised for delaying a referendum on independence. David McLetchie has accused the SNP of exaggerating the significance of a remark made by Alex Salmond in an election hustings. The remark reportedly implied that a referendum would not be immediate which contradicts the SNPs official manifesto pledge that the referendum could be staged at any time. McLetchie accused the SNP of delaying the referendum because support for separation has remained at less than a third of the population. (The Daily Telegraph page 15)


Woman special adviser: David Cameron is reported to be looking to employ a female special advisor so that all policies can be vetted “through women’s eyes”. This move follows criticism that the Coalition Government is ignoring the voices of women. (The Daily Telegraph page 3)


Independence threatens UK position in Nato and the EU: Aidan O’Neill QC has warned that UK membership of international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, Nato and the UN could be under threat if Scotland left the union. O’Neill argues that if Scotland left the UK these organisations may want to recognise England, Wales and Northern Ireland as the sole successor state to what was the UK. (The Times page 5)


Scotland Bill: Labour Peer Lord Foulkes has suggested that the Scotland Bill may be dropped due to a lack of support in favour of new laws which reflect a growing appetite for ‘devo-max’ which advocates maximum devolution within the Union. (The Daily Express page 2)



Inflation: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was being forecast to come in at 5.1 per cent for October, marginally down from 5.2 per cent in September. (Scotsman page 2)


Energy companies: The number of consumers satisfied with their energy provider has dropped from an all time high of 73 per cent last year to 62 per cent, according to an annual survey carried out by u (Scotsman page 23)


House prices: The gap between the asking and selling price of a house has narrowed in the last quarter according to an s1homes Scottish House Price report and has been attributed to a rise in actual prices achieved. (The Herald page 5)


Youth Unemployment: Figures to be released tomorrow are expected to show a rise in long-term youth unemployment. The rise is being attributed to a more honest approach to presenting statistics which will mean that thousands of teenagers whose situation has not changed will now be included in the unemployment figures whereas previously they were recorded as being in ‘back to work’ programmes. The change will result in the number of young long-term unemployed having increased by 50 per cent since the election. (The Telegraph page 6, Daily Record page 10)


Petrol prices: Downing Street is considering scrapping its planned January increase in petrol prices. The government was planning to increase prices by 3p a litre but is thought to be rethinking the policy in an attempt to avoid damaging growth prospects. (The Times page 1, The Daily Mail page 1)


Scottish aid: A proposal to suspend Scotland’s foreign aid budget and use the money in order to tackle unemployment at home will be debated by MSPs today. The SNP has defended the overseas aid fund of £9million arguing that Scotland has “responsibilities to the wider world.” (The Daily Mail page 4)



Scotrail contract: Scotrail has awarded a £15million maintenance contract to train building firm Bombardier although it will not result in any new jobs. (Daily Express page 2)




College reforms: College principals have criticised the Scottish Government over the speed of their reforms to the education sector. Scotland’s Colleges, representing principals, said that more time and money was needed to help institutions carry out the proposed changes. (The Herald page 5)



Scottish airports: Theresa May’s response to queries by Commons Home Affairs Committee chair Keith Vaz revealed that Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh airports were among the 28 locations involved in the pilot scheme to reduce passport checks. (The Herald page 6)


Riots: Two teenagers who tried to start a riot in Dundee this summer are facing jail sentences. The two boys set up a Facebook page which encouraged their peers to loot shops, smash buildings and attack the police had attracted over 200 members. The pair will appear for sentencing in December. (The Herald page 8, The Daily Mail page 25, The Courier page 1, Daily Express page 6)


Cyberbullying: The results of a survey carried out by Scotland’s anti-bullying service, Respectme, show that almost one in six young Scots have experienced bullying online and a quarter are worried about cyberbullying on social media websites. (The Herald page 3)