Reform Scotland News: 24 November 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



Devo Plus: Malcolm Chisholm in the Scotsman comments on the need to give Scotland control over its own finances and highlights the work done by Reform Scotland.  He states “Independent think-tank Reform Scotland, however, deserves a great deal of credit for its Devolution Plus paper which not only addresses the financial accountability issue but also suggests significant new policy areas for devolution”.


Severin Carrell in the Guardian comments on the independence referendum and Reform Scotland’s work on Devolution Plus.


Media hacking: Gerry and Kate McCann, parents of Madeline who disappeared in 2007, gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry yesterday.  Kate McCann commented that she felt like she had been “violated” following the News of the World’s publication of her leaked journal. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 13, Guardian page 1, Sun page 14, Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Record page 11, Press & Journal page 9, Daily Mirror page 10, Courier page 13, Times page 6, Daily Express page 2, Daily Mail page 12, Financial Times page 2)


James Murdoch has reportedly resigned as a director of the companies that publish the Sun and the Times. (Scotsman page 9, Guardian page 5, Daily Telegraph page 7, Daily Mirror page 10, Times page 6, Daily Express page 6, Financial Times page 2)


Party donations: The SNP became the third richest party in the UK over the summer, ahead of the Liberal Democrats.   The party’s finances have been helped by a £1m donation from Euro Lottery winners Colin and Christine Weir and a legacy left by the poet Edwin Morgan. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6)


Labour leadership: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments on the Scottish Labour leadership contest.


Scottish independence: Ian MacWhirter in The Herald comments on the proposed referendum.



Economic boost: According to minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England,  the Bank may boost the level of quantitative easing, but not until February next year. (Scotsman page 2)


Energy grid:  A study published at the Irish-Scottish conference in Glasgow yesterday suggested that Scotland and Ireland’s power grids could be connected by a vast network of undersea cables as part of plans to boost the reach of renewable energy. (Scotsman page 10, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Press & Journal page 1)


Positive side to climate change: Lord John Krebs has reportedly suggested that there could be a positive side to climate change for Scotland as the melting of ice across the Arctic could open up new shipping routes for Scottish firms. (Scotsman page 12, Patrick Harvie in the Scotsman, Lewis Macdonald in the Scotsman)


Foreign workers: Gavin Ellis, owner of a hotel in Moray, gave evidence to Holyrood’s economy committee yesterday.  He suggested there was a problem with Scots being unwilling to work weekends which is why there was a soaring number of overseas workers in hospitality. (Scotsman page 19)



Trams: Official documents released under Freedom of Information have indicated that Finance Secretary John Swinney personally approved the decision to remove Transport Scotland from the Edinburgh trams project board in 2007.  The removal of Transport Scotland was heavily criticised in a report by Audit Scotland.   However, almost  every line of the information released was blacked out and explained by the need for officials to “discuss the making of policy” without talks being made public. (Scotsman page 7, Daily Telegraph page 1, Times page 11, Daily Express page 6, Daily Mail page 9)


Transport Scotland:  Opposition politicians have accused the transport quango, Transport Scotland, of “spouting Nationalist rhetoric” after it released a statement indicating that constitutional change would improve the rail network. (Scotsman page 7)



Sectarianism: The Scottish Government yesterday announced plans to spend £9million over the next three years on community projects aimed at tackling sectarianism. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 10, Press & Journal page 14, Courier page 7)


Supreme Court: The UK’s Supreme Court yesterday threw out a bid by convicted killer Luke Mitchell to appeal his conviction for the murder of Jodi Jones.  The Court backed the High Court in Edinburgh which had already thrown out his appeal. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 9, Sun page 10, Daily Telegraph page 20, Daily record page 9, Courier page 6, Daily Express page 23, Daily Mail page 5)


Court delays: A report by public spending watchdog Audit Scotland found delays in the courts cost an estimated £87m last year, half of it due to late guilty pleas and £10m due to witnesses not showing up.  Catherine Dyer, Crown agent and chief executive of the Crown Office and Procurator-Fiscal service, told Holyrood’s Audit Committee that some lawyers instruct their clients to delay entering a plea until they know that witnesses have turned up, however, that they would not tell witnesses not to show up, thus countering the claims of committee member George Adam. (Herald page 6, Press & Journal page 11, Courier page 6, Daily Express page 22)



Care home managers: Figures elicited by the Labour health and wellbeing spokeswoman, Jackie Baillie MSP, show that almost half of the managers in charge of care homes for vulnerable adults and the elderly in Scotland have not achieved qualifications demanded by regulators. Unless further training resources can be located, hundreds of homes could be close as a November 2012 deadline is approaching. (Herald page 1)