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Reform Scotland News: 28 August 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:
Ian Davis, director of Nato Watch, has suggested that Westminster could prevent an independent Scotland from joining Nato, if the break-up of the UK soured cross-border relations. (Times page 11)

Dorries Vs Mensch: Tory MP Nadine Dorries has criticised her fellow Conservative MP, Louise Mensch, for backing the Sun’s decision to print the nude photos of Prince Harry.  Ms Dorries describes Ms Mensch as “void of principle”. (Times page 13, Sun page 2, Express page 3, Telegraph page 9, Mail page 11)

“Danny Boyle test”:  Home Office minister Damian Green has reportedly commented that the Conservative Party needed to appeal to modern Britain by championing the people and institutions celebrated in Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony. (Sun page 2, Mail page 24)

Reshuffle: A Guardian/ ICM poll has indicated that 48 per cent of voters thought the Chancellor, George Osborne, should lose his job in the forth-coming Cabinet reshuffle.  39 per cent of voters who voted Conservative in 2010 also thought Mr Osborne should be moved.  Senior Tory MPs reportedly want George Osborne and William Hague to swap roles. (Guardian page 1)

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.

Economy
Cut spending to fund growth:
In a submission to Holyrood’s Finance committee, CBI Scotland has called on the Scottish government to make a bolder approach to making savings so that it can help economic growth by increasing investment in “GDP-enhancing measures” and avoid new business taxes. (Herald page 2)

Wind farms: The Scottish government has upheld an appeal to allow the development of a 21MW wind farm near Keith to go ahead, despite Moray Council rejecting the plan following objections from individuals and Scottish Natural Heritage. (Telegraph page 8)

Food bills: Families’ food bills are reportedly set to increase due to droughts hitting the US, which produces crops used for many of our staples such as bread and pasta. (Mail page 1)

Health
Borders General Hospital:
A report by Healthcare Improvement Scotland has called for a shake-up at Borders General Hospital in Melrose after if found that staff were using inappropriate language on the wards and failing to respect the confidentiality of patients medical needs. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 11)

Gagging clauses: Hundreds of NHS staff are reportedly leaving their jobs with deals which include gagging clauses, officially known as compromise agreements.  Many of the deals apparently include provisions to stop former employees from ever criticising the organisation or talking about their reasons for leaving. (Express page 14, Herald page 6)

Justice
Bill for appeals:
Official figures have indicated that 10,000 appeals have been lodged by convicted criminals in court  in Scotland since 2007, costing the taxpayer just over £18 million. (Sun page 2, Express page 2)

Education
Exam results:
Figures published by the Scottish Council of Independent Schools have shown that 56 per cent of all Highers sat by private school pupils in Scotland were awarded an A, compared to 53 per cent last year. (Scotsman page 1, David Raffe in the Scotsman, herald page 7, Courier page 9)

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.

Transport
West Coast Main Line:
The Labour Party is reportedly calling on the Department for Transport to hold off on allowing the £5.5billion deal for FirstGroup to run the West Coast Mail Line to go ahead so that MPs on the Transport Committee could scrutinise the deal.   Sir Richard Branson yesterday offered to run the route for free to allow time for the deal to be examined, but was apparently re-buffed by the Department for Transport. (Herald page 6, Ross Clark in the Times, Sun page 2, Record page 8, Mail page 8, Guardian page 9, Courier page 22, P&J page 19)

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)