Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 19 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.
Energy policy: Confusion over the Government’s energy policy continued after Prime Minister David Cameron seemed to back down on a pledge to ensure energy companies charged consumers their cheapest rates. Earlier, Energy Secretary Ed Davey had said that the forthcoming Energy Bill would oblige companies to offer their best deal, not the cheapest rate. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 1, The Times page 1, Daily Express page 1)
SNP and Nato: The SNP is planning to overturn historical opposition to Nato at its party conference today. However, Lord Robertson, former secretary general of Nato attacked the move, calling into question whether the defence organisation would accept a non-nuclear power. Winnie Ewing embraced the move by the SNP, citing Norway’s successful involvement in Nato without nuclear weapons. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 7, The Times page 6, The Telegraph page 7, Financial Times page 4)
Spain and Scottish independence: A senior member of Spain’s ruling People’s Party has said that the Spanish government would oppose Scotland’s automatic entry into the European Union following a successful referendum on independence. He confirmed that this position was taken because of separatist movements in Spain. Should Scotland be required to go through the ascension process, it might be obligated to join the Eurozone and take part in the Schengen agreement. (The Scotsman page 6)
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.
Salmond at SNP conference: Speaking yesterday to the SNP conference at Perth, the First Minister has vowed to “end the nonsense” of UK rule. Chairman of the Yes Campaign, Blair Jenkins and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will speak today. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 6, The Times page 6, The Telegraph page 7, Daily Express page 2, The Guardian page 6, Daily Mail page 6)
Section 30 order: Lord Forsyth requested that the Scottish Government publish the Referendum Bill prior to Westminster’s approval of the Section 30 Order as a “constitutional courtesy.” This, he said, would allow for an informed debate and ease worries amongst ministers that the referendum would be “more rigged than the Cutty Sark” (The Herald page 6)
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.
Financial regulator and RBS: The Financial Services Authority faced criticism from MPs for its management of the failure of RBS. The report by the Treasury Select Committee found that the FSA should have intervened in RBS’s takeover of Dutch rival ABM Amro. (The Scotsman page 1)
Rangers sale: Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte is preparing to claim millions from the sale of Rangers assets. However, an analysis by administrators Duff & Phelps indicates that the company believes that Whyte is not owed anything. (The Herald page 1)
Human trafficking legislation: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill introduced statutory aggravations which can be added to existing charges. These charges will allow for harsher sentencing for those involved in activities related to human trafficking. Statistics indicate a rising number of victims in the UK. In 2011, 93 people were reported as suspected trafficking victims in Scotland. (The Herald page 2, The Scotsman page 18, The Times page 9, Daily Express page 12)
Transport and housing: A survey, published by the Bank of Scotland, analyses the economics of a daily commute, comparing average housing prices and the cost of a travel card. The housing markets in Edinburgh means that it makes sense for people to live outside of the city and commute in by train. In contrast, it may be more advantageous to live inside Aberdeen than in the outskirts. (The Scotsman page 15)
Mental health and economic downturn: According to a study published by NHS Health Scotland, more Scots are suffering from the effects of the economic downturn. The statistics show a rise in alcohol dependence and deaths from drug-related causes, although the suicide rate has fallen. Poorer areas are especially hard hit by the downturn and the health of the residents may reflect this. (The Herald page 5)
Minimum pricing study: A study in Canada found that the introduction of minimum pricing for alcohol coincided with the fall in consumption of strong beer. Price increases for stronger products may have also encouraged a shift towards lower alcohol content beer, wine, and cocktails. (The Herald page 9)