A week in Scottish politics: 14th to 20th September 2012


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 14 and 20 September, which are freely available online.

Thursday 20 September

Scottish Labour leadership: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman and Iain MacWhirter in the Herald discuss internal problems facing the Scottish Labour Party.

Welfare reforms: Martin Sime in the Scotsman and Anne Johnstone in the Herald comment on proposed changes to  welfare benefits.

The geopolitics of recovery: Bill Jameson in the Scotsman, is optimistic that business confidence is slowly but surely returning worldwide. Fewer doom and gloom reports about the eurozone and about the lack of a strong and sustained recovery in the United States have diminished the fear gripping the hearts of investors. What could reverse the increasing trend of confidence, though, has less to do with financial stability mechanisms and US employment figures, and far more to do with growing fears of a military stand-off with Iran and the spike in oil prices that would likely cause – and so global geopolitics could prove to be the next straightjacket for the slowly recovering world economy.

Wednesday 19 September

Independence referendum: John Curtice and Rachel Ormston  say in the Scotsman that the key battleground for the independence referendum is whether it will be financially beneficial for Scotland and that voters see this as the key factor in deciding which way to vote.

Ministerial meetings: Allan Massie in the Scotsman speculates about David Cameron and Alex Salmond’s meeting at the Joint Ministerial Council and the implications for the referendum.

Banking crisis: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman suggests that Holyrood has must investigate the 2008 banking collapse, calling it ‘our biggest disaster since Darien’, given the role of Scottish banks in the crisis.

Tuesday 18 September

Referendum law: Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman  comments on the what the likely number of questions will be on eth referendum ballot and the subsequent consequences.

Scotland and Quebec: Peter Jones in the Scotsman suggests that the recent electoral success of the pro-independence party in Quebec could offer some lessons for the SNP.

Scottish Labour Party: Simon Pia in the Scotsman comments on movements within the Labour Party’s grassroots to try and reclaim traditional ground and highlights the publication, ‘People Power: The Labour Movement Alternative for Radical Constitutional Change’, produced by the Red Paper Collective.

Conservative communications: David Maddox in the Scotsman comments on the appointment of Susie Squire as the Conservative Party’s new head of communications.

European Union: John Edward in the Scotsman outlines the benefits of the EU to Scotland and Scotland Europa, while Nigel Farage in the Express comments that mainstream politicians try to fudge the issue of the EU.

Scottish Tories: Harry Reid in the Herald considers David Cameron’s attitude to the Union, suggesting it would be more politically savvy of him to focus on England rather than being a steadfast defender of the Union.

Right-wing government: Polly Toynbee in the Guardian suggests that David Cameron’s government is the most right-wing of all post-war government.

Support for independence: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments that results from opinion polls, elections and the British Social Attitudes Survey suggest that there is not support for Scottish independence.

Austerity: Janan Ganesh in the FT suggests that austerity is changing the make-up of the electorate, which may help the Conservatives at the next election.

‘Squeezed middle’: Gaby Hinsliff in the Guardian calls on politicians to define what is the “squeezed middle”.

Monday 17th September

Charitable status for schools: Brian Monteith in the Scotsman argues that rather than removing charitable status from private schools, that same status should be given to state schools.

EU & independence: Andrew McKie in the Herald argues that we should be given the answer to what relationship an independent Scotland would have with the EU prior to the referendum.

Sunday 16th September

Quebec, Catalonia, Scotland: Eddie Barnes in the Scotland on Sunday comments on what Scotland and the SNP can learn from what is happening to nationalist movements in Quebec and Catalonia. 

Scottish Labour: Euan McColm in the Scotland on Sunday reflects on what impact the review of the Scottish Labour Party has had, suggesting that the party is “adrift.

Friday 14th September

Disgraced banker: George Kerevan in the Scotsman asks whether ex HBOS chief Peter Cummins was made a “scapegoat” over financial dealings, or whether he was in fact a “knave”, who did nothing fraudulent and was treated unfairly.

Economy: Trevor Davies in The Scotsman calls on Britain to avoid the “economic insanity trap” by urging political leaders to take a different strategy in order to boost UK growth, which includes taxing unearned wealth and closing the gap between the rich and poor. 

EU plans for Scotland: Alan Cochrane in the Daily Telegraph comments on Alex Salmond’s reluctance to give an answer on Scotland’s EU status, his confusion over Scotland’s future, and his lack of evidence in backing up his Independence claims. Angus MacLeod in The Times comments on Scotland becoming a “new state” in Europe, and explores Salmond’s belief that Scotland should not have to apply for EU membership in the basis that the UK has been an EU member for 40 years.