Reform Scotland News: 27 July 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

Politics
Olympics:
With the £27 million opening ceremony of the Olympic Games due to take place in London tonight, David Cameron has commented that it was time for Britain to seize a “great moment” and put its “best foot forward” before a watching world. However, Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for the US presidential elections taking place later this year questioned the enthusiasm of the British people for the event saying it was “hard to know” whether history would judge them a success. Cameron also revealed his thoughts on how the Olympics will “unite” Britain, strengthening the country as a whole, whilst Alex Salmond encouraged people to cheer on the “Scolympians” rather than Team GB. Others believe that the games will only succeed in strengthening London’s identity. (Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 4, Financial Times page 2&4, Daily Express page 2-3, The Times page 1&12, The Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Record page 2, Sun page 2, P&J page 16-17)

Catholic Church controversy: Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland has claimed that a “vast” body of evidence showed that practising homosexuals could live as much as 20 years less than heterosexuals and described gay sex as “very, very hazardous”. (Scotsman page 9, Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman, The Daily Telegraph page 13,

Church of Scotland: The Church of Scotland has unveiled a reportedly new hard-line stance against any ministers who chose to conduct gay marriage ceremonies, with disciplinary procedures being threatened. (The Herald page 9, P&J page 11)

Baroness Warsi: A report by the House of Lords standards commissioner has cleared Baroness Warsi of abusing expenses by claiming for overnight property she was using for free, but she was found to have breached rules by failing to declare she was renting out her own London home. (Scotsman page 13)

Independence: Andrew Whitaker in the Scotsman comments that Alex Salmond will need the support of traditional Labour voters if he is to win the independence referendum.

Economy
Graduate employment:
 According to statistics from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, of the 19,000 graduates who left Scottish universities last summer with their first degree, only 72 per cent were in employment of a combination of work and further study six months after completing their degree. Graduates are repotedly being advised to “dumb down” their CVs and pretend they do not have degrees when applying for lower level jobs such as bar or shop work, in light of jobcentre evidence that higher qualifications are a “deterrent” to these types of employers. (Scotsman page 8, The Herald page 2, Daily Express page 21, The Times page 19, The Daily Telegraph page 6, Daily Record page 6, Sun page 12, Courier and Advertiser page 17)

Scottish recovery: Scotland’s chief economist, Dr Gary Gillespie, has commented that although Scotland will not get back to the prosperity levels it had before the financial crisis until 2014, our traditional prudence and higher savings could see Scotland recover quicker than the rest of the UK. (Scotsman page 10, The Herald page 6, Daily Express page 11, The Times page 20)

British Gas profits: British Gas has reported a 23 per cent increase in profits for the six months to the end of June, leading to calls for the company to drop its prices. (Scotsman page 18, The Herald page 12, Daily Express page 9, The Daily Telegraph page B1, P&J page 19)

Economic stimulus: George Kerevan in the Scotsman comments that George Osborne does not have the courage to do what is necessary to aid economic recovery. Alison Rowat believes that David Cameron relies too much on Osborne as his confidante, and demands that the Prime Minister should now engage in “grown up politics”. (Richard Lambert in the Financial Times, Peter Hoskin in The Times, Bruce Anderson in The Daily Telegraph)

Health
Fraud:
£538,000 fraudulently claimed from the NHS in Scotland has been recovered over the past three years.  Roughly £110million is thought to be lost to fraud across the health service in Scotland each year. (Scotsman page 19, The Herald page 3, Daily Express page 7, Courier and Advertiser page 2)

16 hour food delay for elderly patients: “Negligent bullies” at Wishaw General Hospital are reportedly forcing elderly patients to go without food for up to 16 hours, facing a longer wait between meals than prisoners in Scotland’s jails. (Daily Record page 13)