Reform Scotland News: 20 April 2012


Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 20 April 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. 



Doosan renewables: Alex Salmond has been attacked by opposition politicians for ‘lack of integrity’ over the Doosan renewables research plant, after he continued to cite the project as a success while concealing that it had been cancelled. (Scotsman page 6 , Herald page 5, comment by Alison Rowat in the Herald, P&J page 7, Mail page 6, Express page 10, Telegraph page 10, Times page 19, Sun page 10)


Starkey controversy: Comments that historian David Starkey made likening Alex Salmond to Hitler have been condemned by the SNP, Labour and Tory leaders in Scotland. David Starkey reportedly said that “Salmond is a democratic Caledonian Hitler” in a talk at the Bow Group. (Scotsman page 1, page 7, Herald page 1, Courier page 14, Mail page 5, Express page 5, comment by Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Telegraph page 8, Times page 15, Sun page 1)


Devo-max: Iain Docherty and Ronald MacDonald in the Scotsman encourage debate about the options surrounding devolution-max.


Female candidates: Less than 25 per cent of local election candidates are women, which academics at Edinburgh University fear will hinder progressive policies such as domestic abuse that disproportionately affect women. (Herald page 1)


Qatada: Theresa May is under increasing pressure as European comments suggest that she misunderstood the deadline for appeals, resulting in his early arrest and months of delays before the terror suspect can be deported to Jordan. (Herald page 2, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1)


Donor limit: The SNP has said it supports a cap on party donations, but would oppose attempts by London-based parties out of fears that it would be a ‘stitch-up’. The comments come months after receiving £2 million from wealthy donors. (Herald page 6)


Cameron comments: David Cameron called for further devolving powers to communities on issues such as education, suggesting that if parents wanted to start free schools they should be able to do so. (Scotsman page 8, P&J page 13, Times page 11)


Lords reform: Proposals to replace the House of Lords with an elected body would be the

biggest challenge yet to Mr Cameron’s authority,’ warn aides. (Telegraph page 2, Times page 5)



Wind farms: David Cameron reportedly expressed support for Scottish Conservative opposition to wind farms, many of which are approved on appeal by SNP ministers having been rejected by local councils. (Telegraph page 1)


Local Government

Council tax benefit: The Scottish government and local councils have decided to provide £40 million to protect council tax benefits in the face of 10 per cent cuts. Opposition parties have accused the SNP of trying to ‘buy votes’ in the upcoming local elections. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 6)



Bus services: Transport operator First is closing its Dalkeith bus depot with the loss of 200 jobs, and councillors want the government to take over the operation of rural bus services. Transport minister Keith Brown said that councils are legally prevented from running buses, which the Lib Dems said was ‘misleading’. (Scotsman page 9)



PFI Hospitals blunders: The £60 million annual contract with Consort to run the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary has come under fire as NHS Lothian health chiefs said they could “no longer tolerate the repeated, serious and potentially life-threatening” problems. The contract is due to expire in 2028, but Alan Boyter, executive director of NHS Lothian, said they are taking legal advice to explore the options. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 7, Record page 6, Mail page 18, Express page 19, Telegraph 16, Times page 1)


Home births: Research at Oxford University suggests that home births are more cost-effective and healthy for women at low risk for complications. (Scotsman page 11, Telegraph page 16)


CDs of hospital appointments: Prostate cancer patients are being given audio recordings of their appointments as research showed that patients who listen to the recordings have a better understanding of their illness. (Scotsman page 13)


Warning over coins: Experts have warned that the ‘cheap’ 5p and 10p coins could pose a health risk to the 10 per cent of women and 2 per cent of men who are allergic to nickel, which is banned in items such as earrings and belt buckles. (Scotsman page 17)