A week in Scottish politics: 31 August to 6 September 2012


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 31 August  and 6 September 2012, which are freely available online.

Thursday 6th September
Scottish reshuffle:  Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Iain MacWhirter in the Herald and Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph consider Nicola Sturgeon’s new role within the Scottish government of taking change of the referendum.

UK reshuffle & planning system: Bill Jamieson comments on David Cameron’s recent reshuffle and what the change in personnel suggests about potential changes to the planning system and the green belt.

Iraq war: Jim Sillars in the Scotsman argues that Holyrood should introduce retrospective legislation to enable it to indict Tony Blair on war crimes regarding the war in Iraq.

Scottish OBR: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman calls for Scotland to have its own Office of Budget Responsibility.

Devo Max confusion: Jeremy Purvis in the Scotsman comments that there is little explanation regarding what Devo Max actually means, which is causing confusion in the independence debate.

Empty property tax: David Lonsdale in the Scotsman comments that the Scottish government’s plans to increase business rates on empty commercial properties could make a bad situation worse.

Wednesday 5th September
UK Cabinet reshuffle:  David Maddox in the Scotsman, Brian Wilson in the Scotsman, Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, Seamus Milne in the Guardian, Tim Montgomerie in the Mail and James Purnell in the FT consider the reshuffle of the UK government’s Cabinet.

Independence referendum & legislative programme: Allan Massie in the Scotsman, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph and Ian Bell in the Herald comment on the Scottish government’s legislative programme which includes a referendum on independence, extending childcare provision for three and four year olds and bringing NHS and social care services under one umbrella.

Johann Lamont: Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman considers the work Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has ahead of her and comments that she must answer the question of how Labour proposes to run the country now that there’s no money left.

Devo Max: Phillip Blond in the Scotsman outlines his support for Devo Max.

Breast cancer campaign:  Audrey Birt in the Scotsman considers the new campaign to raise awareness breast cancer.

Tuesday 4th September
Cabinet reshuffle: Peter Wintour in the Guardian considers  the complex dynamics of promotion and demotion in government and what it means for Cameron’s leadership.

Coalition and the LibDems: Janan Ganesh argues in the FT that Nick Clegg  should not risk discrediting the idea of coalition government altogether by adopting a “fissiparous” approach in government in the interest of differentiating his party from the Conservatives. “He should not think of himself as the leader of the LibDems at all,” he writes, “but as an ambassador for the idea of coalition” and focus on long-term gains for the party within the greater, evolving party system, rather than on significantly smaller victories in government  now.   

The morning after independence: Simon Pia, in the Scotsman, questions whether Scotland would really be as fair, as leftist and as social-democratic an independent state as so many assume.

Disabled Britain: Bill Leckie condemns, in the Sun, the stark contrast between the extremely positive media and government coverage of the Paralympics and its associated inspiring stories of disability and perseverance, and the comparatively scant coverage of the controversy surrounding the Remploy factory closures and strikes and the difficulties faced by disabled people in the jobs market.

Monday 3rd September
Accessing GP practices: Alison Payne in the Scotsman outlines Reform Scotland’s latest Report, Patients First: Improving access to GP practices.

Nick Clegg:  Brian Monteith in the Scotsman addresses Nick Clegg’s “poorly thought” idea to introduce a temporary wealth tax.

BBC: ,Iain McWhirter in the Sunday Herald comments on Alex Salmond’s proposals for the BBC if Scotland becomes independent

Minister facing reshuffle: Andrew Nicoll in the Sun comments on Michael Moore’s position as Scottish Secretary

Sunday 2nd September
Welfare cuts and ‘Better Together’: Euan McColm in the Scotland on Sunday considers the impact reported additional welfare spending cuts could have on the relationship between unionist parties campaigning in the run up to the independence referendum.

Nick Clegg:  Gerald Warner in the Scotland on Sunday asks “what is Nick Clegg for?

Friday 31st August
Referendum: Tom Peterkin in the Scotsman suggests that Alex Salmond has an upcoming struggle facing him, if he is to consider a two-question independence ballot.

Wealth tax: George Kerevan in the Scotsman argues against taxing the wealthy, believing that it is arbitrary, complicated to administer, and does not raise enough money relative to the trouble it takes to collect it.