Reform Scotland News: 5 November 2012



Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 5 November 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


EU entry: In a YouTube interview, Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council criticised the SNP case, saying that ‘Nobody has anything to gain from separatism in the world of today’. Lord Kerr, former UK permanent representative to the EU, has noted that Scottish ascension to the EU could depend greatly on the ‘mood’ of Madrid which may use the decision as a means of sending a message to Barcelona and those who seek independence within the Spanish regions. Reportedly, sources in Cyprus would also expect Scotland to be asked to join the queue. Writing in the Scottish Sun, Andrew Nicoll assesses Mr. Van Rompuy’s remarks. (Scotland on Sunday page 2, Sunday Times page 1, The Times page 16, Daily Record page 2)

Scotland in the EU: Scottish officials have claimed that a gag clause in the ministerial code made it impossible for them to confirm whether or not they had received advice from the European Union on Scottish membership post-independence. However, a Herald investigation reportedly found that the government rewrote portions of this code while freedom of information inquiries were outstanding. (Sunday Herald page 14)

EU referendum: Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pension Secretary and leading Euro-sceptic, said that a referendum on the EU was not a matter of if, but when. Writing in the Herald, Iain MacWhirter compares efforts by the House of Commons to force a reduction in the EU budget to the Tory rebellion that took place in response to the Maastricht Treaty. (Daily Express page 15, Telegraph page 1)

Gordon Brown on Scottish independence: In a speech to supporters, Gordon Brown argued that the SNP’s plans for independence while maintaining close economic ties to the rest of the UK were ‘incoherent’. He described the model as ‘a form of self-imposed colonialism more reminiscent of the old empire than the modern world’. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Daily Express page 2)

Scottish blueprints: The Scottish civil service will reportedly produce 16 blueprints on topics ranging from security to welfare policy. The announcement was criticised by the Better Together campaign for using publicly-funded civil servants to build the case for independence. (The Herald page 2)

Paedophilia investigation: The children’s commission for Wales has backed calls for an investigation into a senior Tory who was reportedly involved in a paedophile ring in the 1970s and 1980s. (The Herald page 7)

Scotland for Marriage campaign: Scotland for Marriage plans to target MSPs, mobilising in their local constituencies and warning them that supporting the Scottish government’s proposals to legalise same sex-marriage may cost them their seats. (The Sunday Times page 4)

Greens on currency: Scottish Green leader Patrick Harvie has said that it might be in Scotland’s interest to slowly move to a separate currency, as did Ireland. (The Sunday Times page 2)

Texts between Cameron and Brooks: The Prime Minister is facing calls to release up to 150 emails and text messages between himself and former newspaper executive Rebekah Brooks. The former editor of the News of the World and chief executive of News International is awaiting trial on charges related to the phone hacking scandal. (The Telegraph page 4, Scotsman page 12)


Credit rating post independence: Speaking at a CBI Scotland event, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore is expected to claim that independence will lead to a lower credit rating for Scotland. However, credit agencies have refused to speculate on the credit rating of an independent Scotland. (The Scotsman page 4, Daily Telegraph page 2)

Living wage: Ed and David Miliband have backed proposals to introduce a living wage of £7.20 an hour. While the living wage has been adopted by many Scots councils, the proposals put forth would encourage private companies to adopt it, naming and shaming those who pay their workers less. Boris Johnson and Nick Clegg are also believed to be in favour of the living wage. (The Daily Record page 2, Daily Telegraph page 4)

Wind farm subsidies: Controversy over wind farms erupted when UK energy minister John Hayes called for a stop to onshore wind farms, a move later opposed by Lib Dem energy secretary Ed Davey. Wind farms are a key part of the Scottish government’s renewable energy policy and a change in policy at the UK level could lead to challenges in funding further renewable energies and meeting ambitious targets. However, a report by the Renewable Energy Foundation claimed that if Scottish consumers had to foot the bill, they would pay an extra £410 per year. (The Sunday Times page 21, Daily Express page 2)


Right to Die legislation: Reverend Scott McKenna of the Church of Scotland has broken with the church and lent his support to right to die legislation put forth by Margo MacDonald. He says that his views evolved after supporting families through the death of a relative and claims that legal euthanasia for terminally ill patients is compatible with scripture. (Sunday Herald page 6, The Times page 23, Libby Purves in the Times)

Quality of life gaps: A report published by the Scottish government found growing health inequalities between rich and poor. Research indicates that healthy life expectancy for men in the poorest areas is only 47 years, more than 20 years less than those in wealthy areas. This gap is the widest in Europe. (Scotland on Sunday page 6, Scottish Daily Mail page 13, Telegraph page 2)

Organ donation: Four in every ten potential organ donors, including those who have donor-cards, cannot save lives because of objections from their families. While families have no legal standing to block donation, transplant teams do not take organs if the families object. In response, Scotland’s largest health board has launched the Respect my Dying Wish campaign to urge open dialogue within families about their wishes should they die. (The Sunday Times page 5)


Violent children in the classroom: The leader of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association has argued for the permanent exclusion of violent pupils from mainstream classrooms. Under current rules, local councils must find a place for excluded pupils at their original school, a new school, or in extreme cases, to make arrangements for that pupil to be taught outside of school. (Scotland on Sunday page 4)

Scottish literature on English highers: Plans to have Scottish test takers answer at least one question on a Scottish novel, play or poem have been criticised by the teachers’ unions and the Educational Institute of Scotland, as it would lead to a greater degree of teaching to the test. Author Ronald Frame views the move as indicative of what he sees as a growing insularity in Scotland, one which may cause him to move if it begins to deflect energy from his work. (The Herald page 5, The Sunday Times page 3)