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Reform Scotland News: 8 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 & the SNP: A number of SNP politicians, party branches and senior figures are reportedly ready to challenge the leadership’s proposals to drop the party’s opposition to an independent Scotland joining NATO.  MSP Jamie Hepburn has apparently sent a document to those against the change setting out how to organise themselves to best vote down the policy change. (Scotsman page 12, David Torrance in the Scotsman, Herald page 6, Times page 11, Sun page 10, Daily Express page 9, Mail page 17)

 Coalition: David Cameron indicated yesterday that he would press ahead with proposed boundary changes to reduce the number of seats in the House of Commons, despite Nick Clegg saying he would allow Lib Dem MPs to vote against the proposals.  It is thought this could lead to Lib Dem ministers voting against their own government.  (Scotsman page 6, Allan Massie in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Sun page 10, Daily Record page 8, Mail page 17)

 Independence: Canon Kenyon Wright has urged MPs against dictating terms of the independence referendum following comments from the Scottish Affairs committee which said Holyrood did not possess the legal powers to hold a referendum on constitutional change. (Herald page 6)

 Little Bernera: Count Robin de la Lanne-Mirrlees, who died in Stornoway in June, has left the 250-acre uninhabited island of Little Bernera, off the coast of Lewis, to the National Trust for Scotland. (Scotsman page 7, Daily Record page 19)

 Emma Thompson: The Oscar winning actress who stars in the Disney animated film set in Scotland, Brave, and who considers herself Scottish, has spoken out against independence when asked about it by a Spanish TV station. (Scotsman page 19, Daily Telegraph page 10, Daily Record page 8)

 Scottish Labour Party: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman sets out how he thinks the Scottish Labour Party overcomes the problem that roughly one in five voters, who vote Labour in other elections, do not do so at elections to the Scottish Parliament.

 Economy

Years of woe: The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has suggested that the UK economy is unlikely to return to the economic height of 2008 until 2014. (Herald page 6)

 Education

University places: There are reportedly few places available to students in Scotland wanting to get a university place through the Clearing system, though there are still hundreds of empty places for students coming from outside of the EU who pay tuition fees.  The funding deal in place for universities reportedly means that places not taken up by foreign students, or those from England, who also pay fees, cannot be transferred to Scots. Furthermore, due to record Higher exam passes, it is suggested that 10,000 applicants will not get to go to university. (Scotsman page 8, Herald Page 5 , Daily Telegraph page 9,  Daily Express page 7, Mail page 25, Courier page 16)                                      

Exam results: Lindsay Paterson in the Scotsman comments on the debate over whether exams are getting easier.

 Transport

Level crossings: Every level crossing in Scotland is to have safety barriers after an announcement by Network rail that the 23 open level crossings are to have a new, cheaper mini barriers installed. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 9, Times 11, Daily Telegraph page 12, Daily Record page 19, Mail page 33, Courier page 2)

Health

Legionnaires’ disease: Professor Hugh Pennington has warned there could be more outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease due to many cooling towers being inspected as infrequently as once every ten years.  He has called for a public inquiry into the outbreak in Edinburgh. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 10, Courier page 18, P&J page 11) 

Organ donations: Research has suggested that one in ten families of deceased patients on the organ donors register still refused to allow their relative’s organs to be donated. Dr David Shaw, honorary lecturer at Aberdeen University’s applied health sciences division has said this is “unethical” as not only goes against the patients dying wish, but also results in a waste of organs and therefore other lives.  (Herald page 2, Times page 10)