A week in Scottish politics: 19 to 25 October 2012


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 19 and 25 October, which are freely available online.

Thursday 25 October
Salmond in “liar” row: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, Michael Kelly in the Scotsman, Ian MacWhirter in the Herald, David Clegg in the Daily Record, Bill Leckie in the Sun, and Kerry Gill in the Daily Express all comment on the news that the SNP have not yet sought legal advice on EU membership, and the implications this revelation is likely to have for the SNP independence campaign.

SNP & businesses: Scott MacNab in the Scotsman comments on a supposed lack of faith among business leaders for the SNP government.

Austerity: Gavin McCrone in the Scotsman discusses whether ever-increasing austerity is really the best path.

Wednesday 24 October
EU membership legal advice: Brian Wilson comments in the Scotsman on Alex Salmond’s confirmation to the Scottish Parliament that the Scottish government had not obtained legal advice on an independent Scotland’s place within the EU.

SNP rebels: John Curtice comments in the Scotsman on the resignations of John Finnie MSP and Jean Urquhart MSP from the SNP following the party’s change in policy over Nato.

Jimmy Savile & the BBC: The BBC’s director general yesterday told the House of Commons culture committee that Newsnight editor Peter Rippon was solely responsible for pulling the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against Jimmy Savile. Newly published emails suggest that Peter Rippon dropped the story because it had happened 40 years ago and that the girls were “teenagers, not too young”.  George Entwistle also told Parliament that the BBC is investigating nine current employees over allegations of serious sexual assault. Comment and analysis from Rod Liddle in the Sun, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph.

Scotland after independence: Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman questions the SNP’s claim that Scotland could be the 6th richest country in the OECD following independence.

Independence impact on science: Iain Gray in the Scotsman argues that independence would lead to a reduction in research funding, highlighting that currently Scotland gets 12 per cent of UK research funding for physics, which would likely fall to about 8.6 per cent it we became independent.

Loophole allows dangerous artificial hips: Jeremy Hunt in the Telegraph comments on the “weakness in the regulatory system” which allows potentially dangerous artificial hips to be implanted into British patients.

Tuesday 23 October
Thinking: Sir Ian Byatt writes in the Scotsman that fostering a system in which analytic thinking and debate are allowed to thrive is key to driving Scotland’s economic growth.

Independence referendum: Peter Jones in the Scotsman suggests that the outcome of the independence referendum will be decided on whether Scotland will be better off financially as an independent country, if the electoral gains by Catalan and Basque nationalists are taken as an indication.  Alex Massie in the Scotsman suggests that the SNP’s campaign for independence focuses too much on their opponents rather than the arguments they are making.

Jimmy Savile:  Martin Bell in the telegraph writes that the decision not to broadcast the investigation into the Jimmy Savile sex abuse allegations shows a crisis of confidence at the heart of the BBC.

Monday 22 October
SNP and Nato: Magnus Gardham in the Herald and Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman comment on the SNP’ change of policy regarding Nato.

Political realities: Writing in the Scottish Sun, Andrew Nicoll points to a lack of transparency on both sides of the referendum debate, particularly regarding Scotland’s economic prospects.

Sunday 21 October
SNP Conference: David Torrance in Scotland on Sunday comments on Alex Salmond’s keynote speech at the SNP Conference,

Blair Jenkins and Yes Scotland: Blair Jenkins, the leader of the Yes Scotland campaign, shares his thoughts on the campaign, recent polls, and the prospect of independence in a Scotland on Sunday interview with Eddie Barnes. (Scotland on Sunday page 13)

Scotland and the world: Writing in Scotland on Sunday, Fiona Hyslop outlines her vision for Scotland’s role in international affairs.

SNP and Nato: Tom Peterkin in Scotland on Sunday comments on the SNP’s narrow victory to drop its opposition to an independent Scotland joining Nato

Friday 19 October
Referendum and Europe: Writing in the Scotsman, George Kerevan reflects on the implications of Scotland’s independence vote for the rest of Europe, particularly European member states with nationalist movements of their own.

Referendum debate: Writing in the Scotsman, Joyce McMillan explains that in the face of declining support for independence, Alex Salmond needs to reach out to a broader range of civil society.