A week in Scottish politics: 17 to 23rd August 2012


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 17 to 23 August 2012, which are freely available online.

Thursday 23 August

Referendum question: Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman and Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comment on the conclusions of the expert group led by Lord Sutherland, which was established by the Scottish Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems to come up with a question for the independence referendum.

Prince Harry: Peter Oborne in the Telegraph and Amanda Platell in the Mail comment on the publication of nude photos of Prince Harry which have been published in the USA, though UK Newspapers were reportedly warned against publishing the images.

Fiscal autonomy: Hugh McLachlan in the Scotsman comments that Scotland could not unilaterally decide that it wanted to stay in the Union, but with additional financial powers.

Legal advice: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments on the forum of experts set up by Advocate General Lord Wallace to look at the implications of independence.

Reshuffle: Martin Kettle in the Guardian speculates ahead of the widely expected reshuffle of the UK cabinet.

Borrowing: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman and Iain MacWhirter in the Herald comment on recent borrowing figures, which show borrowing increased by £600 million in July.

Bank of England: Kate Barker in the FT comments that the Bank of England is too powerful.

University places: Alistair Sim in the Scotsman comments that Scottish students won’t lose out to fee-paying students in the clearing process.

Transport projects: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman comments on the importance of timing with regard to large scale transport projects.

Wednesday 22 August

Independent Scotland: Iain G Mitchell QC writes in the Scotsman that proponents of independence must convince voters that keeping sterling, membership of the European Union and banking regulations is realistic in an independent Scotland.

University: Brian Wilson suggests in the Scotsman that the SNP’s policy of free university places for all is leading to Scottish universities limiting places to Scottish students and that the aim of policy regarding the issue should be centred on widening access to university education.

Tuesday 21 August

MoD contracts: John Curtice in the Scotsman comments on the news that the MoD will not be awarded contracts to build the next generation of Royal Navy frigates until the middle of the decade, after the 2014 independence referendum. 

SNP & SCVO: Joan McAlpine in the Record defends the impartiality of Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) following recent.

Green energy vs. landscape: Christine Jardine in the Scotsman comments that honouring green energy commitments should not be at the expense of blighting the landscape.       
Alistair Darling: Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman comments that Alistair Darling’s criticism of the UK government’s economic policy does not sit well with the former chancellor’s backing of the ‘Better Together’ campaign and instead helps the Yes campaign.

Ed Miliband: Janan Ganesh in the FT comments that Ed Miliband ought to have more of a lead over the Tories in opinion polls at present, highlighting that Neil Kinnock registered margins of 24 per cent, but never became PM.
Cameron & Osborne: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments on George Osborne’s involvement in a number of areas across government and suggests one role which could be removed, and pay political dividend, is his chairmanship of the Cabinet committee on preventing the break-up of the UK.

Aberdeen Union Terrace Gardens: Sandy Clark in the Scotsman argues in favour of the proposed development of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens.

Monday 20 August

Tuition fees: Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland, comments in Scotland on Sunday on the tuition fees faced by English, Welsh, and Northern Irish students.

Youth unemployment: Andrew McKie in the Herald comments on the challenges faced by today’s young people in finding employment.

Referendum: Alan Cochrane comments in the Daily Telegraph on the debate over referendum terms, while Iain MacWhirter in the Sunday Herald comments on the likelihood of First Minister Alex Salmond accepting a single question on the referendum ballot.

Labour and independence: Eddie Barnes in Scotland on Sunday comments on the challenges faced by Labour in the run-up to a referendum on independence.