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A week in Scottish politics: 23-29 November 2012

Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 23 and 29 November, which are freely available online.

Thursday 29 November 2012

Leveson Report: In anticipation of the Leveson Report, Brian Donohoe in the Scotsman argues against statutory regulation of the press, whilst Leo McKinstry in the Daily Express discusses the apparently disastrous effect state press control would have on democracy. Sue Cameron in the Daily Telegraph comments on the history of press regulation by the state.

BAE systems and Scottish independence: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments on the prospect of BAE systems deciding to close their shipyard on the Clyde, and the suggestion that further companies will shun Scotland should it become independent.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Leveson Report: Dominic Raab comments in the Telegraph on the outcome of the Leveson report and whether enforcing a new tough law in light of the Leveson report would hurt the press.

Banning from Parliament: Brian Wilson comments in the Scotsman on Michael McMahon MSP being banned from the chamber for showing “gross discourtesy and disrespect” and criticises the Scottish Parliament for being undignified.

EU vote: Seumas Milne in the Guardian comments on the debate over whether there should be a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Shipbuilding: Joan McAlpine in the Record says that the SNP will make a priority to keep the BAE Systems Shipyard on the Clyde

Catalonia: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments that the example of Catalonia acts as a warning to the SNP that it does not have a stranglehold on the independence agenda with trade unions and the Greens offering differing views about what an independent Scotland would look like.

Staying in the Union: Christopher Whatley in the Scotsman says that, just like in 1707, the onus is on those who wish to see the union continue to suggest how Scotland will prosper in the future within the UK.

Language:  Hazel Crichton in the Scotsman says that learning a foreign language allows school pupils to develop a number of skills and therefore the Scottish Government’s commitment to increasing modern language provision is to be welcomed.

Monday 26 November 2012

Devo plus proposal: Writing in the Scottish Sun, Andrew Nicoll responds to proposals put forth by the Devo Plus group, set up by Reform Scotland. The group has continued to campaign for further powers for Scotland following the referendum. However, Mr Nicoll notes that without the SNP threat of independence, Westminster has little incentive to devolve further powers to Scotland.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Political debate: Writing in the Sunday Herald, Tom Gordon and Iain MacWhirter both discuss a shift in tone in parliamentary debates as tempers flare over independence, leading to concerns about the level of the debate. Writing in Scotland on Sunday, Euan McColm urges politicians to put aside hateful attacks and engage people in constructive debate.

Local government consolidation: Speaking at the International Policing Conference, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill indicated that while the police have consolidated into a single force, the maintenance of 32 local authorities and 14 health boards was untenable in today’s economic climate. While the Scottish government denied plans to consolidate these organisations, they did indicate they were exploring options to reduce duplicated efforts and bureaucracy. Writing in Scotland on Sunday, Eddie Barnes outlines the case for more co-ordinated service delivery, noting that co-operation between local authorities and health care providers could improve areas such as social care. He describes proposals by Reform Scotland to transfer more power to local authorities, while creating 19 bodies to combine local authority and health board functions which would be overseen by democratically- elected local councillors, giving local government more relevance and accountability.

Friday 23 November 2012

Holyrood Presiding Officer accused of being biased: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments on accusations by Labour that Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick is biased towards the SNP and ought to resign following the “unjust” barring of Labour MSP Michael Mahon who was given a one-day ban from Holyrood following an outburst in the chamber.