Reform Scotland News: 7 February 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 


David Miliband: David Miliband yesterday launched a report into youth unemployment, warning that the cost of not tackling the problem could reach £28bn.  There is speculation that the move indicates that the former Foreign Secretary is positioning himself to replace his brother, Ed Miliband. However, David has insisted his brother is the best man to lead the party into the next general election. (Scotsman page 10, David Maddox in the Scotsman, Courier page 21, FT page 2, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph)

Leveson Inquiry: The editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry yesterday. He admitted that the paper was using private investigators, but not the extent to which they were doing so. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 7, Guardian page 15, Times page 20, Mail page 4, , FT page 4, Telegraph page 13)

 Rev Ian Paisley: The former First Minister of Northern Ireland, the Rev Ian Paisley, 85, is in intensive case after suffering acute cardiac problems. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 4, Sun page 4, Mail page 8, P&J page 14, Courier page 18, Mirror page 17, Record page 2, Express page 11, Telegraph page 16)

Chris Huhne: David Maddox in the Scotsman comments on the departure of Chris Huhne from the Cabinet and the consequences for the Lib Dems and the coalition.

Civil service: The UK’s senior civil servants are reportedly freezing out the Scottish government’s permanent secretary, Sir Peter Housden, from high level talks regarding independence.  The situation has apparently arisen because permanent secretaries from Whitehall departments fell that they cannot have “free and frank discussions” on Scotland in front of Sir Peter. (Telegraph page 1)

Comment on the referendum:
Peter Jones in the Scotsman suggests that the Queen’s jubilee celebrations may have an impact on the independence debate.


Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman comments on the use of the words ‘separation’ and ‘independence’ in the referendum debate.

Lord Robertson in the Scotsman outlines the benefits of Scotland remaining within the UK


Matt Qvortrup in the Herald says that Scotland should learn from Quebec as it seeks to challenge any dispute involving the Supreme Court over the legality of its referendum.

Triple A rating: The Scottish government is facing calls from opposition parties to seek urgent advice from ratings agencies for draft opinions on the potential rating of an independent Scotland. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 6, Sun page 2, Times page 7, Mail page11, P&J page 11, Mail page 1, Express page 4, Telegraph page 10)

Bank of England committee: A new independent Bank of England financial policy committee, which would be able to set loan-to-value ratios on mortgages and force banks to hold more capital, could prevent another financial crisis according to George Osborne. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 2, FT page 3)

Clydesdale Bank: National Australia Bank, which owns Clydesdale Bank, is understood to be looking at options to sell or overhaul the bank. (Scotsman page 5)


Green energy: Community groups have warned that Scottish government plans to cut subsidy support for on-shore wind and hydro schemes could put community-scale green energy projects out of business. (Scotsman page 5)

Bullying at Education Scotland: An internal survey of staff working for Education Scotland has found that one in ten said they had been bullied within the past year, while just over a third of employees thought the quango was well managed. Education Scotland was formed in July last year and brought together Learning and Teaching Scotland and HM Inspectorate of Education. (Scotsman page 1, Education consultant David Cameron in the Scotsman)

College funding: According to calculations based on official Scottish Funding Council figures, the amount of public money being spent per college student will fall by more than 9 per cent between 2010/11 and 2012/13. (Herald page 2)

Tuition fees: The Scottish Labour party has reversed its support for free university tuition in Scotland arguing that the policy has become unaffordable. (Mail page 17)

Policing: Chief Superintendent David O’Connor in the Scotsman comments in favour of the proposals to create a single police for for Scotland.


Abu Qatada: Radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada, who is accused of posing a grave threat to British national security, is set to be released from prison on bail after six years in prison without trial.  The Home Office has criticised the decision by Mr Justice Mitting. (Guardian page 1, Times page 3, Mail page 1, P&J page 15, Courier page 18, Record page 2, Express page 1, Telegraph page 1)

Network Rail bonuses: The bosses of taxpayer-owned Network Rail have agreed not to accept controversial six-figure bonuses. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 1, Sun page 2, Guardian page 4, Times page 11, Mail page 10, P&J page 14, Record page 1, Express page 2, FT page 2)


Road improvements: A £300million package of road improvements to enable Inverness and the north to cope with increasing population levels has been unveiled by Transport Scotland. (P&J page 6)