Reform Scotland News: 18 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.

In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News


SNP Nato vote: SNP MSP John Wilson has called on his party leadership to postpone the vote on proposed change to policy which would see the SNP supporting an independent Scotland retaining its Nato membership.   Mr Wilson has argued that the change should be put to a referendum of the party’s 24,000 members rather than a vote by delegates attending the party’s conference tomorrow. Another SNP MSP, Marco Biagi has commented that “there is a false narrative that voting Yes means only endorsing the SNP vision of an independent Scotland” including with regard to Nato membership.  (Scotsman page 1, Marco Biagi in the Scotsman)


MoD give Nato warning: The Ministry of Defence has voiced a warning prior to the SNP vote today that an independent Scotland will not necessarily be welcomed in to Nato, citing SNP opposition to Trident as a key factor in membership determination. The Foreign Office also claimed that an independent Scotland could put UK security at risk, with concerns over increased child abduction, forced marriage and crime rates (The Herald page 6, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Daily Record page 2, The Daily Express page 10, The Courier page 17)


Home Rule Commission: Menzies Campbell yesterday published the findings of the Liberal Democrats’ Home Rule Commission which they want to see implemented if independence is rejected in the referendum.  The report says that councils should be free to set their own local tax rates commenting that the current council tax freeze set by the Scottish government “confuses questions of local accountability”. The report is seen as a blueprint for a federal UK. (Scotsman page 5, Tavish Scott in the Scotsman, The Times page 17, The Daily Telegraph page 5, The Daily Record page 2, The Courier page 16, Ian MacWhirter in the Herald)


Support for independence falls: A new Ipsos MOR pollI has revealed support for independence has fallen, sitting at 30% among Scots certain to vote, with support for the Union on an upward trend (The Times page 1, Robert Worcester and Mark Diffley in The Times)


‘Pleb row’: Labour leader Ed Miliband yesterday described Andrew Mitchell, as “toast” as pressure mounted on Conservative chief whip to resign over his alleged verbal attack on a police officer in Downing Street. (Scotsman page 5, The Herald page 6, The Times page 3, The Sun page 4, The Daily Telegraph page 4, The Daily Record page 2, The Courier page 18, The Press and Journal page 17)


Independence: John McLaren in the Scotsman examines whether Scotland will be better off financially by staying in the UK or becoming independent.


SNP referendum campaign: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments that the SNP are not fully explaining the consequences of leaving the UK.


Sturgeon confident of ‘yes’ vote: Nicola sturgeon has informed fellow delegates at the SNP conference today that she is confident Scotland will be leaving the UK following the 2014 referendum vote (The Herald page 6)


Cameron promises EU referendum: David Cameron yesterday confirmed that an EU referendum promise will be included in the next Conservative general election manifesto (Daily Express page 2)



Jobless figures: According to new official figures the number of people out of work in Scotland has increased to 222,000, an increase of 7,000 from June to August this year.  In comparison unemployment across the UK fell by 50,000 to 2.53 million over the same period. (Scotsman page 1, David Bell in the Scotsman, The Herald page 2, The Times page 15, The Sun page 2, The Financial Times page 4, The Daily Telegraph page 5, The Daily Record page 8, The Daily Express page 2, The Courier page 16, The Press and Journal page 27)


Energy tariffs: David Cameron has announced that energy companies are to legally be forced to offer their customers the lowest available tariff following concerns about rising levels of bills. (Scotsman page 10, The Herald page 2, The Times page 1, The Sun page 2, The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Daily Express page 25, The Courier page 20)


Starbucks: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman comments on the wider issues following reports that Starbucks has not paid corporation tax in the UK for the past three years.


Retail chains abandon Scotland: Big-name retail stores are reportedly pulling out of Scotland at a rate of one shop a day as the economic downturn continues to affect the high street (The Herald page 1, The Financial Times page 1, The Daily Express page 9, The Press and Journal page 29)


EU summit on banking union: 27 European leaders are meeting in Brussels today to discuss the banking union proposals, with hopes that they will bring stability to the Euro (The Herald page 6, The Times page 2, The Financial Times page 2)


RBS boost: The Royal Bank of Scotland may be showing signs of recovery after it left a state-backed insurance arrangement yesterday; marking its return towards the private sector (The Financial Times page 2, The Daily Express page 57, The Courier page 29)



Corroboration: The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents and the Scottish Police Federation have joined opposition to abolishing the need for corroboration in criminal trials. (Scotsman page 9)


Police numbers over-hyped: The Strathclyde Police authority (SPA) chairman Phil Braat has commented that the link between police figures and low crime rates was “tenuous in the extreme” and that all political parties are focussing too much attention on police numbers.  (The Herald page 10)



Cost of funding EU students: Education Secretary Michael Russell has commented that it would cost Scotland £150m a year to fund students from the rest of the UK who would be entitled to free tuition if Scotland became independent. (Scotsman page 4)


Colleges struggle with cuts: A report by Audit Scotland has highlighted the struggles ahead for colleges after facing £74 million in cuts from the Scottish Government, as well as a planned merger of one-third of the sector (The Herald page 5, The Times page 15, The Daily Record page 26, The Press and Journal page 13)



 Aberdeen bypass: Five judges at the Supreme Court yesterday rejected a final bid by protest group RoadSense against the propose Aberdeen bypass. (Scotsman page 11, The Herald page 7, The Times page 9, The Sun page 8, The Daily Telegraph page 12, The Daily Record page 35, The Courier page 2, The Press and Journal page 1)