Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 15 October 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.
Referendum deal announcement: Prime Minister David Cameron is to fly to Edinburgh today to announce a deal with First Minister Alex Salmond on the terms of Scotland’s referendum on independence. The deal is expected to include 16- and 17-year olds in the electorate but exclude a second question on a form of devolution falling short of independence. The referendum must be held by the end of 2014. (The Guardian page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 1, Sunday Herald page 6, The Sunday Times page 1, The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 1, Daily Express page 1, The Sun page 9, Daily Telegraph page 1, Financial Times page 3)
Commentary on referendum deal: In Scotland on Sunday, Eddie Barnes notes that Mr Cameron’s reception in Edinburgh on Monday will mark the beginning of a fierce campaign. Writing in the Scotsman, Lesley Riddoch argues that Scottish voters have been let down by the agreement which ignores the 40% of voters who wanted something between the status quo and full independence. In the Telegraph, Alan Cochrane comments on Mr Cameron’s success in bolstering support for the Union.
Referendum campaign spending: The SNP may challenge guidelines set forth by the Electoral Commission that allow campaigns to spend up to £1.5 million, twice the cap proposed by the SNP. Parties then would be able to spend more, a figure calculated by their share of seats in the Scottish Parliament which would allow Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat parties a greater combined spend than the parties in the Yes camp. (Scotland on Sunday page 1)
Votes for teens: Writing in the Sunday Times, Gillian Bowditch and Jason Allardyce analyse the role that teens might play in the independence referendum. While the First Minister is hoping to draw on youth, preliminary research indicates that teens may be more supportive of the status quo than initially anticipated. (The Sunday Times page 22)
Nordic defence: SNP defence spokesperson Angus Robertson has made an appeal for party members to drop opposition to Scotland joining Nato following independence. He did so on the grounds that it was necessary for close cooperation with Scotland’s North Sea allies. Writing in the Sunday Herald, First Minister Alex Salmond spells out the case for staying within Nato while maintaining support for a ban on nuclear weapons. (The Scotsman page 4)
Same sex marriage: Gordon Wilson, SNP leader from 1979 to 1990, criticised the SNP’s stance on same sex marriage, pointing to the opposition put forth during the consultation period and branding the move as a trend towards “step towards fascism”. (The Sunday Times page 2, Scotsman page 8, The Herald page 6, The Telegraph page 7)
Lib Dem home rule plans: A home rule commission convened by Liberal Democrats would give new powers to the Scottish Parliament should the country vote against independence. While falling short of full fiscal autonomy, the proposal would give MSPs additional powers in income generation. (The Sunday Times page 7)
Arms firms controversy: A Sunday Times investigation revealed that retired generals have been lobbying for arms firms, an activity which breaches regulations on the issue. In response to the scandal, generals may face restrictions on their contacts with ministers. (The Sunday Times page 1, The Telegraph page 6)
Trident removal costs: Should Scotland vote for independence, the Ministry of Defence would have to remove Trident nuclear submarines from Scottish waters. However, the future home of the submarines is unclear and the cost of relocation could top £25 billion. (The Sunday Times page 7, Daily Express page 5)
Declining household incomes: Families are £8 a month worse off than a year ago, a result of sluggish growth in incomes. Pressure on households is likely to increase with rising prices for gas and electricity as well as food costs. (The Scotsman page 14)
West Coast contract: Virgin Trains is expected to be given a further 18 months in charge of the West Coast Main Line after a botched bidding process between Virgin Trains and FirstGroup. (The Times page 3, The Telegraph page 1)
RBS sale attempt: RBS will ask the European Commission for a reprieve after its deal with Santander collapsed over the weekend. RBS was ordered to sell more than 300 branches in 2009 after receiving a £45.5 billion bailout. Virgin Money has expressed an interest in buying the branches after the deal fell through. (The Times page 37, The Telegraph page 83, Financial Times page 1)
Abortion in Scotland: Research indicates that the proportion of teenagers seeking out abortions in Scotland is the second highest in countries where the medical procedure is legal, with 24% of abortions being carried out in patients under twenty although teens make up only 14% of the population. Researchers point to a lack of openness about sexual health which may lead to risky behaviour and unwanted pregnancies. (The Sunday Herald page 12)
War on drugs: A report by scientific and legal experts called for an overhaul of drug policy in the United Kingdom, finding that smoking cannabis is no worse than eating junk food, gambling, or partaking in moderate drinking. (The Times page 1)