A week in Scottish politics: 24th to 30th August 2012


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 24 to 30 August 2012, which are freely available online.

Thursday 30 August

Referendum deal: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments on the likelihood of Westminster and Holyrood reaching an agreement over the independence referendum

Nato: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman argues that as Nato is committed to nuclear weapons, it would be impossible for and independent Scotland to join Nato while opposing such weapons.

Nick Clegg: Martin Kettle in the Guardian considers Nick Clegg’s leadership of the Liberal Democrats.

Wealth tax: Iain MacWhirter in the Herald, Leo McKinstry in the Express, Howard Davies in the FT, Ian Martin in the Telegraph and Stephen Glover in the Mail discuss the reported fallout between George Osborne and Nick Clegg over the latter’s proposal for the introduction of a wealth tax.

Food & drink industry: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman comments on some of the regulations and restrictions facing Scotland’s food and drink industry.

Alcohol sales: Peter Rice in the Scotsman comments on new figures which indicate that although alcohol sales in Scotland have fallen this year, they are still 20 per cent higher than sales in England and Wales.

Methadone: Susan Dalgety in the Scotsman comments that as methadone has been found to be implicated in many drug-related deaths, there is an urgent need to re-examine how we treat drug addicts.

Learning: Ruth Wishart in the Scotsman comments that the “how of learning as much as the what” is vital in a child’s education.

Science: Alasdair Allan in the Scotsman sets out what the Scottish government is doing to improve science teaching in schools.

Wednesday 29 August

BBC post independence: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments that Alex Salmond’s policy of replacing the BBC with an ‘RTE’ (the national broadcaster in the Republic of Ireland) model for broadcasting is not in the best interests of Scots.

Trade unions: Gregor Gall in the Scotsman comments that although trade unions’ power has reached a low point, they could still have a key role to play.

Cabinet reshuffle: Ian Bell in the Herald speculates on the likely forth-coming Cabinet reshuffle.

SNP’s opposition: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph suggests opposition parties must be seen to be travelling throughout Scotland and meeting ordinary voters if they wish to overhaul the SNP’s majority in the Scottish Parliament and avoid independence.

Planning: Trevor Davies in the Scotsman comments that local authorities should have the powers to set planning policy for their own areas, rather than the Scottish government interfering in decisions from playgrounds to shop signs.

Tuesday 28 August

Government structures: Peter Jones in the Scotsman asks what structures and institutions the SNP intends to put in place in Scotland, should it become independent, to  ensure that the government failures we have seen overseas since 2007 do not occur here in the future.

Same-sex marriage: Collette Douglas Home in the Herald considers the stance of the Catholic Church in Scotland’s position on same-sex marriage.

Studying science: Iain Gray in the Scotsman comments on reports of fewer pupils opting to study fewer sciences at school.

University fees: Joan McAlpine in the Record comments on the SNP’s decision not to introduce tuition fees in Scotland.

Heathrow: Tory MP Tim Yeo has said that David Cameron must decide if he is “man or mouse” and drop his objections to building a third runway at Heathrow airport. (Telegraph page 1, Tim Yeo in the Telegraph, Mail page 6)

Monday 27 August

NATO: Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman  and George Galloway in the Record comment on the SNP’s open debate over whether an independent Scotland should join Nato.

Quantitative easing: Brian Monteith in the Scotsman questions the coalition government’s strategy of quantitative easing.

“Danny Boyle test”: Damian Green in the Telegraph comments that the Conservative Party needed to appeal to modern Britain by championing the people and institutions celebrated in Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony

Sunday 26 August
Aging population:  Eddie Barnes in the Scotland on Sunday considers the growing costs facing Scotland due to our aging population.

Referendum: Euan McColm in the Scotland on Sunday suggests that Alex Salmond is risking loosing the independence referendum by not making the case for a second question.

NATO and the SNP: Tom Gordon in the Sunday Herald considers the internal debate facing the SNP over whether an independent Scotland should join Nato. Angus Roberston puts the case for joining while Dave Thompson puts the case against.

Prince Harry: Ian Bell in the Sunday Herald comments why he believes it was the public’s right to see the nude photos of Prince Harry.

Friday 24 August
NATO:  George Kerevan in The Scotsman comments on why an Independent Scotland must stay in Nato.

Banking:  Peter Geoghegan in The Scotsman comments on how the economic crisis has prompted roughly 80,000 thousand people a month to move their money from the Big Five banks, believing that Britain’s banks should re-localise, creating branches that are adapted to the economic and social needs of their specific areas.