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Reform Scotland News: 25 September 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
Referendum question:
Alex Salmond has conceded that the UK government “won’t offer” a second question on the independence referendum ballot and suggests that those individuals who would have backed devo-max will be instrumental in delivering a ‘Yes’ result.  The move is reportedly seen as a signal that there will only be one question on the ballot paper. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Record page 2, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 6)

Vince Cable: The Business Secretary delivered his speech to the Lib Dem conference yesterday.  He took the opportunity to make a joke about the Andrew Mitchell saga and called right wing Tories “headbangers” and “backwoodsmen”.  The speech was reportedly seen by some activists as “the alternative leader’s speech”. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Times page 12, Rachel Sylvester in the Times, Record page 8, Sun page 2, FT page 2, Telegraph page 11, Guardian page 8, Mail page 8, Courier page 18, P&J page 12)

Call for English to speak up: During his speech to the party conference, Scottish Lib Dem leader, Willie Rennie, is expected to call for people living south of the Border to speak out in favour of Scotland remaining within the UK. (Herald page 6, Times page 13)

Andrew Mitchell: The Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood has decided that there would not be “any purpose” in an inquiry into Andrew Mitchell’s confrontation with the police in Downing Street as Mr Mitchell had apologized. The official police record of the incident does state that Andrew Mitchell called the officers plebs, something the Chief Whip denies. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 6, Times page 6, Hugo Rifkind in the Times, Record page 2, Express page 5, Sun page 1, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 4, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, Mail page 12, Courier page 19, P&J page 13)

Senate to replace Lords: Lord Foulkes has called for the House of Lords to be scrapped and replaced with a senate where each devolved parliament sent its own appointed representatives to the new second chamber in London. (Scotsman page 14)

Creative Scotland: Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop has reportedly again called on Creative Scotland, the national cultural funding body, to be more transparent in its dealings with artists and companies. (Herald page 5)

Salmond’s hospitality: According to figures obtained by the Daily Telegraph, Alex Salmond spent more than £370,000 on official entertaining during his first term in office. (Telegraph page 6)

Clegg’s leadership: David Maddox in the Scotsman considers whether saying “sorry” is enough to save Nick Clegg’s leadership.

Conference speeches: Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman considers the preparation that goes into a party leader’s conference speech.

Financial priorities: Colette Douglas Home in the Herald questions the policy of providing free prescriptions and bridge tolls to those who can afford to pay while some areas of the health service are struggling to provide key new drugs to patients in need due to costs.

Supporters of independence: Joan McAlpine in the Record comments on some of the converts to independence.

Economy
Atos tests: A group of charities have compiled a report which shows that 84 per cent of GPs have patients suffering stress, anxiety and depression as a result of the work capability assessments. (Record page 6)

Devolved economy: Alan Trench and Guy Lodge in the Scotsman look at the experience of devolved administrations in Europe and the additional financial powers they have and what lessons Scotland can learn from them.

Wealth tax: Janan Ganesh in the FT comments that a tax on wealth can be consistent with Conservative principles.

Health
Malnutrition in hospitals:
Since 2007, malnutrition has reportedly been a factor in 400 deaths in Scottish hospital wards, while dehydration has killed, or contributed to the death of 750 patients according to figures released under Freedom of Information.  One ten who answered a Scottish Government survey also said they had been left struggling to eat or drink. (Mail page 1)

Education
Lecturers: The Educational Institute of Scotland has rejected a 1 per cent pay increase offered to lecturers from higher education employers.  As a result members of the union will vote on taking industrial action. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 5, Record page 5, P&J page 17)

Bryan Ferry & Glasgow School of Art: Brian Ferry is reportedly set to campaign to create a £20m research centre of international repute at the Glasgow School of Art. (Herald page 3)

Educational reform in England: Alex Massie in the Scotsman suggests that it is worth considering the changes to schools in England through the growth of “academies”.

Justice
Extradition:
Abu Hamza, Baber Ahmad and three others have lost their final legal challenge and are expected to be extradited to the United States within weeks. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 1, Times page 3, Record page 2, Express page 1, Sun page 6, Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 1, Mail page 12, Courier page 21)

Drug abuse: The Courier has carried out a special investigation looking at how drugs affect lives in Scotland. (Courier page 1)

Local Government
Glasgow worst for pollution:
The European Environment Agency has suggested in a report that Glasgow is the UK’s most polluted city for traffic fumes and the fifth worst in Europe. (Scotsman page 1)

Transport
Potholes:
A Scottish government commissioned survey has suggested that only 40 per cent of motorists are happy with the trunk road and motorway network in Scotland.  Three quarters of complaints related to potholes. (Herald page 2)