Reform Scotland News: 30 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. 



Rupert Murdoch: Yesterday, David Cameron appeared on the Andrew Marr Show to deny that a “grand deal” had taken place with Mr Murdoch over the scandal. He admitted that he did discuss BSkyB with senior people at News Corporation but did not involve himself in a backroom deal. However, the prime minister now faces the prospect of disclosure of emails between him and senior News International figures in the Leveson inquiry. Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News Corp, under investigation is understood to be ready to disclose any emails between her and David Cameron over the scandal. Meanwhile, the former first minister Jack McConnell will pursue legal action after he was informed that his family were also victims of the phone hacking by News of the World. (Scotsman page 1, Sunday Times page 1, Herald page 2, Courier page 18, P&J page 15, Daily Mail page 6, Record page 6, FT page 1, Guardian page 1)


Eurozone Crisis: David Cameron was warned that the eurozone crisis is only halfway through as he blames Britain’s double-dip recession on the continent’s economies. He advises that this will be a “long and painful process” as they continue to work out the single economy policy. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 4, Courier page 19, Guardian page 4, Sun page 2)


Scotland’s reliance on oil: A new study by the think-tank Centre for Public Policy for Regions (CPPR) has found that an independent Scotland will be “over-reliant” on oil and gas. (Scotsman page 16, Sunday Herald page 43, Herald page 4, P&J page 21)


Alex Salmond and News Corp: Duncan Hamilton argues in Scotland on Sunday that in light of the News Corporation scandal, First Minister Alex Salmond was only protecting Scotland’s national interest; whereas he believes that Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was part of backroom deals. Over the weekend, Labour also raised questions about the conduct of the First Minister’s aide, Geoff Aberdein, in this matter. Meanwhile, before campaigning in Glasgow this past weekend, Mr Salmond called Mr Murdoch one of journalism’s most “substantial figures.” (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Courier page 18, P&J page 14)


Charm Offensive: After a difficult week for the First Minister, Alex Salmond is reported to have embarked on a “charm offensive” as he visited local campaign centres and cities ahead of Thursday’s council elections. His confident “public relations performance” comes after accusations of inappropriate relationships with Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump. Eddie Barnes in Scotland on Sunday signals that this week raises larger questions about Salmond’s political strategy ahead of the independence referendum. (Courier page 9, Scotland on Sunday page 13)


Tories poll: This past weekend, a YouGov poll revealed that support for the Tories dropped to 29%, the lowest it has been since 2004. While David Cameron’s personal ratings have dropped in light of the double-dip recession and a series of domestic issues, he now faces a political crisis as the Tories lose ground. (Sunday Times page 1)


Bill Walker: As Bill Walker faces claims about domestic violence, Holyrood MSP’s are reportedly planning a walk-out in protest against him at the Scottish Parliament. If Mr Walker does not stand down, these MSPs are considering direct action. (Sunday Herald page 3)


Terror Risk: Labour MSP Graeme Pearson, former head of the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency, warns that an independent Scotland will prove a terrorist threat. He believes that a newly independent border will cause confusion with two different intelligence services, leaving Scotland ultimately vulnerable to attack. (Scotland on Sunday page 1)



Energy Cost: The think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) will warn today that unless there is tougher regulation of the market, the gap between true cost of energy and what the consumers are paying will swell to the £2billion mark by 2020. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 9)


Scottish Rich: Despite the recession, Scotland’s richest citizens are getting even richer according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2012, which recorded a large number of Scottish billionaires. In relation to last year, there are more Scots among Britain’s 1,000 wealthiest people, up from 70 last year to 74 this year with an entry point for Scots into the rich list at £52 million. (Sunday Times page 1, Daily Mail page 7)


Local Government

Corruption Probe: Another Edinburgh city council officer has been sacked as the £30 million local government investigation continues. This senior staff member is reported to have asked a council repairs contractor for a holiday loan. In this corruption probe, 7 staff members have already been sacked, while 14 are suspended. (Sunday Herald page 5)


Council Elections: Ahead of Thursday’s council elections, both Labour and the SNP are claiming that they are at the top of the latest opinion polls three days before the vote. John Curtice of Scotland on Sunday writes in his analysis that this election of all 32 councils will be the “biggest test of Scotland’s political temperature,” as the question of the referendum will be dependent on SNP success. (Scotsman page 12, Scotland on Sunday page 5, Herald page 6)


Battle for Glasgow: Tom Gordon argues in his piece in The Sunday Herald that the atmosphere inside Glasgow’s City Chambers is feverish as candidates worry about the outcome of “the most significant election in a generation.” The only thing that parties can agree on at the moment is that this election will be exceptionally close and that turnout is absolutely critical. (Sunday Herald page 16)


Funding Proposal: Glasgow’s recent bid to become one of 10 UK cities to receive a £100 million fund that is designed to promote superfast broadband has now been rejected by the Westminster government. The government criticised the city’s proposal as ultimately “unambitious” in a pre-local election blow. (Sunday Herald page 42)


Newspaper watchdog: The SNP plans to discuss the idea of creating a separate newspaper watchdog for Scotland that could be established under independence in an attempt to restore confidence in the press. (Sunday Times page 2)



NHS waiting times: Scotland’s health minster assured the public that the waiting times probe at NHS Lothian was simply an isolated problem, but has now been questioned after the release of new figures. Recently, NHS Tayside has been asked to explain why “substantial” numbers of patients were removed from the waiting lists as concerns rise. (Sunday Times page 1, Courier page 11)


Teenage Drug Use: In the largest-ever imaging study of the human brain, international scientists have discovered that brain circuits may lead some children to experiment with drugs over others. The study used scans of 1,896 14-year-olds in addition to tests of impulsivity and records of lifestyles. (Herald page 9, Scotsman page 18)



Cash Cow Students: The University of Edinburgh has been accused of treating English students as “cash cows” as they offer more places to English students than Scots for the first time. Students from England are charged £36,000 for a degree, making this institution more expensive than elite English universities. (Sunday Times page 6, Daily Mail page 4, Daily Telegraph page 8)



Edinburgh Airport: Last week, Edinburgh Airport finally changed hands as Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) bought the airport for £807 million. This is the first time Glasgow and Edinburgh airports have different owners since the 1970s. (Sunday Herald page 40)