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A week in Scottish politics: 5th to 11th October 2012

Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 5 and 11 October, which are freely available online.

Thursday 11 October

Cameron’s conference speech: Comment and analysis following David Cameron’s party conference speech. David Maddox in the Scotsman, Iain MacWhirter in the Herald, Peter Oborne in the Telegraph, Max Hastings in the Mail, Jonathan Freedland  in the Guardian, Martin Kettle in the Guardian

Referendum: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman asks Alex Salmond to clarify the benefits of Scottish independence at the SNP Annual Conference next week, commenting that more evidence is needed in order to inform public opinion.

Referendum: Matt Qvortrup in the Herald discusses the implications of allowing 16 and 17 year-olds to vote in the Scottish referendum on independence.

EU: Michael Fry in the Scotsman considers whether the UK would be better off leaving the EU.

Abortion: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman comments on the comments made by UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil regarding abortion.

Wednesday 10 October

Conservative Party Conference: Following Boris Johnson’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference and ahead of David Cameron’s speech, Eddie Barnes, Allan Massie, Harry Mount, Mary Riddell, Chris Skidmore, Denis MacShane, Matthew Engel and Max Hastings give comments and analysis.

Special advisors: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman suggests that the recent story regarding a special advisor to Alex Salmond trying to get Donald Trump to back the release of the Lockerbie bomber highlights the need to question the role of special advisors.

Europe Referendum: Patrick O’Flynn comments in the Daily Express on the imminence of a referendum on Britain’s future in the EU.

Tax havens: Peter Geoghegan in the Scotsman comments that the UK government’s actions do not suggest that it is serious about stopping tax avoidance.

Public debt: Martin Wolf in the FT considers the lessons that can be learnt from history regarding public debt.

Tuesday 9 October

George Osborne: The honesty about the deficit presented by the Chancellor in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference represented a sharp contrast to the dishonesty of Ed Miliband’s, according to Benedict Brogan.

Ruth Davidson: Alan Cochrane praises Ruth Davidson’s decision to break way from the left-wing consensus that has built up around public spending by suggesting only 12% of the Scottish population contribute more to public services than they take away.

Student bursaries: Hugh Reilly in the Scotsman comments that to take away bursaries for students would represent a backward step, forcing many students to forego a place at their favoured university because of the cost.

Monday 8 October

David Cameron: Andrew McKie in the Herald suggests that the Conservative Party Conference could be one of the last opportunities David Cameron has to persuade people he knows what he is doing and urges the Prime Minister to stop talking and start doing.

Universal benefits: Writing in The Scotsman, Scottish finance secretary John Swinney defends the economics of universal benefits. Also in The Scotsman, Lesley Riddoch writes about the mismatch between care and outcomes, urging politicians to consider devolving responsibilities to the local level

Sunday 7 October

Party conferences: Writing in the Sunday Herald, Ian Bell reflects on Labour leader Ed Miliband’s message of one nation while Iain Macwhirter writes about the challenges facing Prime Minister David Cameron.

Nuclear weapons and independence: Andrew Wilson in the Scotland on Sunday discusses the strategy behind changing the SNP’s policy to allow an independent Scotland to join NATO.

Friday 5 October

Scots Universities slip down in world rankings: George Kerevan in The Scotsman comments on the inaccuracy of university performance tables, but highlights a need for Scotland to raise its game in order to catch up with other countries in terms of University rankings, suggesting an increase in University spending.

Scotland’s new Curriculum for Excellence: Education Secretary Michael Russell in The Scotsman responds to parent Gaynor Allen’s reservations concerning the new Curriculum.