Reform Scotland News:9 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: David Cameron has called for the Independence referendum to be held “sooner rather than later” and is prepared to discuss giving the Scottish Parliament the ability to hold a legally binding referendum.  This is seen as a move to bring forward the vote which is provisionally set for the second half of the SNP government’s term. Mr Cameron claims the “uncertainty” is having a damaging effect on the Scottish economy. This move has been met with some controversy. SNP MP Pete Wishart dubbed Mr Cameron’s actions as “interfering”. (The Press and Journal, page 12, The Herald page 1, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Financial Times page 2)

A bid by a member of The House of Lords would also see 750,000 Scots living in other parts of Britain given the chance to vote in a referendum. (Scotland on Sunday page 1,)


Trident in Scotland: In an article in Scotland on Sunday, Professor William Walker questioned the SNP’s policy of removing Trident from Scotland. He cited the financial costs of physically moving the infrastructure as a main concern. Additionally, the politics involved in creating a nuclear base south of the border when the UK has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty may be difficult. (Scotland on Sunday page 13)



Boardroom earnings: 2012 has seen a cross-party trend which criticises rising executive pay. Amongst the complaints, business secretary Vince Cable this month has published the results of a consultation on executive pay. The increase in pay seen for the directors of British companies in recent years is claimed to be out of touch both with company performance and a nation asked to accept austerity. David Cameron announced plans yesterday to give shareholders a power of veto over Executive wages. This comes after research revealed that 87 out of 100 of Britain’s company Chief Executives earned over £5 million each last year. (The Financial Times page 1 and 3, Express page 15)


Renewable energy deal: Alex Salmond will travel, next week, to Abu Dhabi to sign a renewable energy deal with the company Masdar. A leader in innovative renewable technology, it is hoped the partnership will provide Scotland with new ways of combating domestic carbon emissions. Mr Salmond will also be addressing the World Future Energy Summit as a guest of Masdar whilst there. Speakers will include the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. (The Courier and Advertiser page 10)



Schools performance: Recent figures show that many schools have the same or higher indications of social deprivation among students yet differ greatly on exam performance. David Cameron, an education consultant and former head of education at Stirling Council, said that ‘It may well be a self-fulfilling prophecy in some situations.  Often aspirations are not set particularly high if the child is from a more deprived or challenging background’. (Scotland on Sunday page 6)


Madras Secondary: Keir Bloomer, a leading educationalist, has spoken out about the proposed building plans for renovation and expansion of Madras Secondary school. He has said that the prospect of building more on the St. Andrew’s school site, would lead to further cramped conditions and that the best available option would be to build one campus on a 25- acre site. This would provide enough space to reunite the currently separated year groups. (The Courier and Advertiser, page 1)



Report on alcohol consumption: A report just published indicated many of the middle class may be over consuming alcohol on a regular basis, putting themselves at heightened risk of cancer and stoke. The study advised having “two dry days every week”.  The problem is thought to be concentrated within the middle classes, with many unaware that they are over consuming alcohol at all. The study also calls upon greater education about what constitutes a unit as well as adverse effects.  (The Scotsman page 1)


Faulty Implant fears: MSP Fiona McLeod has called for an explanation as to why a leading surgeon’s fears over substandard silicone implants were ignored. Many women are now anxious that their breast implants could be made by the firm Poly Implant Prosthesis. The Edinburgh doctor believes over 40,000 may have been given the faulty implants. It has been proposed that those who did receive the faulty implants should be offered correction surgery on the NHS. (Daily Record page 2, Guardian page 1, Scotsman page 4)



High-speed Rail: With a bid to create a high-speed train connection between Birmingham and London set to be backed by Ministers this week, it is hoped the line will be extended north of the Border. The SNP are calling for an alternative to the carbon heavy short domestic flights. (Sunday Herald page 3)