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Reform Scotland News: 31 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

Nato controversy: The SNP is facing internal division over its proposals to drop the party’s long-standing anti-Nato stance. (Scotsman page 1)

 

Scottish presence in London: The Scottish government has come under fire for reportedly spending £400,000 (£25,000 per day) hiring a gentlemen’s club in London in which to entertain foreign dignitaries and businesspeople during the Olympics. SNP ministers have said it is important to promote Scottish trade, tourism and culture, but Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie has claimed it is “ridiculous” since they could have used the Scotland Office’s Dover House for a considerably less. (Telegraph page 1, Mail page 12)

 

Olympics seats: Tickets for empty seats will be put on sale to the public, according to Locog, the Olympics organising group. (Scotsman page 6, Herald page 5, Telegraph page 4, Guardian page 4)

 

Conservative leadership: A poll of Conservative party activists has found that London Mayor Boris Johnson is a popular choice to succeed David Cameron, with Foreign Secretary William Hague and Education Secretary Michael Gove the second- and third- most popular choice. (Herald page 6)

 

Alistair Darling: The former Chancellor discusses the ‘Better Together’ campaign in an interview. (Times page 15)

 

Benefits row: There has been some controversy over a “loophole” in the benefits shakeup concerning polygamous couples. Under the previous scheme it was possible to claim income support for multiple spouses, but the new plans don’t recognise multiple spouses, so that single person’s benefits will be claimed instead, potentially increasing the total amount paid per family. (Express page 1, Sun page 2)

 

Referendum question: Richard Simeon comments on the Canadian experience of how to word the referendum question.

 

National identity: Ewan Crawford comments on national identity and its implications for the ‘Yes’ campaign.

 

Science and policy: Iain Gray comments on the relationship between science and politicians.

 

Economy

Renewable energy: Plans for a large marine energy park in the Pentland Firth have been unveiled; with the government pushing for encourage private investment. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 4, Times page 16, Courier page 2)

 

Mortgage approvals: The Bank of England has found that mortgage approvals fell 10 per cent since last year, and are at an 18-month low. (Scotsman page 14)

 

Olympic effect: Central London shops, restaurants and theatres have been hit hard as visitors have stayed away. The Olympics are expected to have attracted about 100,000 foreign visitors, but in a normal summer London would expect about 300,000 visitors. (FT page 1)

 

Milk prices: Dairy farmers have announced plans to set up co-ops in order to better negotiate milk prices. (Herald page 9, Telegraph page 9, Record page 2)

 

Alternative energy: Peter Jones comments on the potential of algae as an alternative energy source in The Scotsman.

 

Health

Hospital hygiene: The Raigmore Hospital in Inverness has come under fire after inspectors found that basic hygiene standards were not met. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 7, Express page 10)

 

Education

Widening access: The Scottish Funding Council has confirmed that it will fine universities that fail to admit more students from disadvantaged backgrounds. (Telegraph page 10)

 

Justice

Organised crime commissioner: There are reportedly proposals to appoint a new ‘intelligence commissioner’ who would help to combat organised crime. (Herald page 1)