Media Summary for 13/01/2012


Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 13 January 2012

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: The SNP won a vote in the Scottish parliament last night to on the independence referendum. They put forward the Scottish government’s right to decide the timing and arrangements, adding that 16 and 17-year-olds should be allowed to vote as well. Alex Salmond has also warned the Labour party that they will pay a high price if they align themselves with the Conservatives in an anti-independence campaign. This came during a Holyrood debate which also saw an attack by the other parties on Alex Salmond’s parliamentary aide Joan McAlpine after her reported comments calling the pro-Union parties “anti-Scottish”. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 5, The Telegraph page 1 and 22, The Times page 15, The Guardian, The Daily Mail page 4, The Press and Journal page 8 and 9, The Courier page 9, Daily Express page 4, The Sun page 9)


George Osborne and currency: In a statement yesterday, George Osborne spoke about the prospect of preventing an independent Scotland from using the pound. Amongst other issues raised was the immense exposure to national debt and in particular that faced by Scottish banks. Analysts have put Scotland’s current share at about £100bn. The SNP argue, however, that they should not need to foot the bill as the problem was caused by ‘”lax” regulations in London to begin with. (The Scotsman page 1, The Times page 1, The Financial Times page 2, The Guardian page 9, The Telegraph page 1, The Herald page 7, The Press and Journal page 9, The Courier page 1, The Scottish Daily Mail page 1, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, Daily record page 9, The Sun page 8)


Campaign chief split: There has reportedly been disagreement over who exactly is to lead the pro-Union campaign against Alex Salmond and how. The Tory/Lib Dem coalition is believed to be pushing for Labour’s Alistair Darling to take on the role with former Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie acting as a deputy. Former deputy first minister Lord Stephen has altogether rejected any UK leaders’ involvement as it would simply risk giving “ammunition” to the SNP. Others still consider it may be a mistake to have one figurehead at all and instead propose a more collegiate approach. (The Scotsman page 4, The Press and Journal page 1, The Guardian, The Daily Mirror)


Canon Kenyon Wright: Kenyon Wright, convenor of the Scottish Constitutional Convention which drafted plans for the Scottish parliament in the 1990s, has supported Alex Salmond in his attempt to create a third way in a future referendum. He makes clear that giving only an option between “independence and the status quo effectively disenfranchises a large number of Scots who want neither”. He further said he was angry at any prospect of having to go to the polls in 2014 and being denied the choice which a clear majority are suggested to currently want. (The Herald page 1)


Independence poll: According to the latest poll on attitudes to independence there has been an eight point swing in favour of separation since May. The gap between separation and the union, however, remains and there is still more support for keeping the union. What such polls also continually show, apart from the many fluctuations, is the number of those who are as of yet unable to make their mind up. (The Herald page 7)


Child benefit: Proposals to scrap child benefits for high-earners is reportedly to be revised to protect families with stay-at-home mothers as critics had deemed the policy unjust. (The Telegraph page 1, The Scottish Daily Mail page 2)



RBS jobs: Royal Bank of Scotland has confirmed that it will cut 3,500 jobs in its investment banking offices in London, Hong Kong and the US. The announcement follows a multi-billion pound withdrawal from the sector. The news prompted an immediate rise in its shares as the markets reacted. The move plots a trend under UK government advice among financial institutions to separate retail operations from other more volatile investments. (The Scotsman page 15 and 32)


Tourism boost: According to figures, one million extra visitors came to Scotland this year compared to last year. It helped raise almost £300 million in just nine months. Many have put the increase down to the amount of holidaymakers opting for a “staycation” in the UK to help save money. (The Herald page 3, The Courier page 11)



Supply teacher boycott: Scottish schools are facing strain as classroom cover provided by teachers is starting to be boycotted due to low rates of pay. In some parts of Scotland, MSPs heard, 90 per cent of short-term supply requests are not being filled. This comes as 300 similar jobs were just recently saved from proposed budget cuts across the Highlands. Hugh Henry, a former education minister, says it is “no wonder” jobs are not filled as they are sometimes earning half of permanent wages. Mr. Henry has demanded action in response to the Scottish Government’s pledge to “monitor” the situation. (The Scotsman page 12, The Press and Journal page 1)


Bursary support: Students have accused the Scottish government of ignoring an agreement to improve bursary support. The Education Secretary Michael Russell has nevertheless warned of 8.5 per cent budget cuts next year. (The Times page 24)



Breast implants: As many as 4,000 women in Scotland may have had breast implants made by a company which used non-medical grade silicone. In a statement by Alex Salmond, he made clear that none had been offered under the NHS but that the independent sector was being further investigated and urged those concerned to see their local GP. (The Courier page 9, The Daily Mail page 12, The Herald)


Staff safety fears: More than 7,000 crimes were committed in hospitals and NHS grounds in 2010-2011 with Scotland’s largest police force seeing a 6 per cent rise in violent crimes in hospitals and a 27 per cent rise in assaults on staff. Labour health spokesman Jackie Baillie has called the figures “shocking” with Conservative justice spokesman David McLetchie calling for tougher sentences for such crimes. (The Daily Mail page 19)


Local Government

SNP candidates: The SNP will attempt to put forward twice as many candidates in May’s local elections than stood in 2007. In a declaration, it outlined plans for 600 candidates in all. The party added that they hope to finally topple Glasgow’s long-standing Labour administration along with Lanarkshire’s. (The Scotsman page 7, The Herald page 6)