Reform Scotland News: 13.12.2011


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. 



EU veto: David Cameron gave a statement to parliament yesterday outlining why he vetoed the new EU treaty.  He said that his action was not just to protect the City of London but also financial services jobs in other parts of the country including Birmingham and Scotland.   Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg did not attend the statement after previously criticising the Prime Minister’s position, his absence has been criticised by Labour as “spineless”. Meanwhile Alex Salmond has requested David Cameron attend an urgent meeting with the devolved governments to explain his veto, which he wielded without consulting his Lib Dem coalition partners or the devolved powers in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. (Scotsman page 1, Michael Fry in the Scotsman, Wolfram Kaiser in the Scotsman, David Maddox in the Scotsman, The Herald page 1, The Times page 1, The Guardian page 1, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Daily Mail page 9, Alex Salmond in The Press and Journal, The Courier page 13, The Daily Express page 4, The Financial Times page 1 and page 3, The Sun page 2, The Daily Mirror page 10)


Scots back Cameron: A poll carried out by pollsters Populus has found that 45% of Scots believe that Cameron took the right action in vetoing a new EU Treaty. 22% said that they disagreed with the decision while the remainder either did not agree or disagree, or did not know. (The Press and Journal page 7)


Leveson Inquiry: Further coverage of the inquiry into press standards.  It has been reported that News of the World operatives may not have deleted voicemail messages from Milly Dowler’s phone. Meanwhile the former Labour Cabinet Minister, Tessa Jowell, has accepted £200,000 in damages after her phone was targeted by the News of the World. (Scotsman page 6, The Herald page 1, The Times page 1, The Guardian page 1, The Daily Telegraph page 12,)


Independence poll: An Ipsos MORI poll for The Times has revealed that two thirds of voters in Scotland want an independence referendum to be held before 2014. (The Times page 15)


Labour Leadership: Former MP, George Galloway, has spoken out against Labour leadership candidate Johann Lamont stating that if she were to win the election  it would make independence for Scotland inevitable as she would not be able to mount a credible challenge to the SNP. The attack is reported to stem from a long-standing personal grudge against Ms Lamont. She is currently the frontrunner to replace Iain Gray. The contest ends this weekend. (The Daily Mail page 6)



RBS: Yesterday the Financial Services Authority (FSA) published its report on the downfall of the Royal Bank of Scotland.  It found that the bank’s fall was due to “multiple poor decisions” and its £50bn “gamble” on buying ABN Ambro in 2007.  The FSA also said that concerns over Sir Fred Goodwin’s “assertive and robust” management style were first flagged up to RBS back in 2003.  The report also highlighted the strained relationship between the FSA and the bank and stated that the lax regulation of the City was a contributing factor. (Scotsman page 1, Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Peter Jones in the Scotsman, The Herald page 4, The Times page 2, The Guardian page 2, The Daily Mail page 1, The Courier page 4, The Daily Express page 2)


Renewable energy: Ahead of a Scotsman conference on energy being held today, Graeme Blackett, Reform Scotland Trustee and author of ‘Powering Scotland’, published yesterday, argues in favour of renewable energy with greater responsibility over energy policy devolved to the Scottish Parliament, while Richard Marsh argues against.)


Recession: Fears that Britain is heading for a double-dip recession were reinforced last night as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said that all major economies were losing momentum while the City of London cut their growth forecasts for Britain. (The Daily Mail page 2)



Facebook riot: Two Scottish teenagers who admitted attempting to organise a riot in Dundee through Facebook following riots in England during the summer have each been jailed for three years. They created a page entitled Riot in the Toon, which was viewed by more than 2,000 people, with the aim of creating widespread lawlessness in Dundee city centre on 17 August. (Scotsman page 7, The Herald page 3, The Times page 19, The Daily Telegraph page 2, The Daily Mail page 19, The Press and Journal page 9, The Courier page 1, The Daily Express page 24, The Sun page 15)


Prison reform: The Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, and the Scottish Government are being criticised for attempting to replace current prison visiting committees with an advocacy service, The move has reportedly worried many, including Tom Swinney, vice-chairman of the Barlinnie Visiting Committee, who believe that this would lead Scottish prisons to be the only ones in the UK who had “truly independent unfettered citizens checking what goes on in our prisons”. (The Herald page 6)


Drink drivers: More than 120 motorists were found by the police to be drinking under the influence of drink and drugs last week, despite warnings not to travel due to hazardous weather conditions. The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland said that the beginning of the festive season had seen a 27% increase in the number of people caught driving under the influence of alcohol. (The Herald page 3)


Crime figures: The Scottish Government Crime Survey published in October has been criticised for massaging figures by excluding figures for rape and sexual assault. Scottish Government data shows that rape and attempted rape has increased by 14% over the past year but were reportedly deliberately excluded from the official survey figures. (The Daily Mail page 17)



Edinburgh tram: Testing of the Edinburgh trams began last night on a 500m long test track at the network’s Gogar depot. The network is scheduled to open in summer 2014. (The Herald page 1, The Daily Mail page 25)


Weather warning: Motorists and householders have been warned to prepare for more hazardous weather for the rest of the week when it is expected there will be blizzards and high winds across Scotland. (The Herald page 9, The Guardian page 7, The Press and Journal page 8)


Local Government

Poverty plans: Scottish council leaders have accused the Scottish Government of freezing out local government in its £175 million plan to tackle poverty and deprivation.  Rob Murray, vice-president of Cosla, said that the programme of investment aimed at regenerating disadvantaged areas launched by the Scottish Government yesterday was published without any input from councils who will have to implement it. (Scotsman page 11)


Women hold Council top jobs: Newly released figures by Close the Gap show that for the first time in its history, the majority of top jobs in Scottish Councils are held by women. Of the top 800 best-paid council jobs, 56.2% are held by women compared with only 20% seven years ago. (The Herald page 9)