Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 8 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.
Referendum rules: The Electoral Commission has warned Ministers that they must follow the rules set out in the Edinburgh Agreement dictating the terms of the referendum vote. However, Nicola Sturgeon has threatened to overrule the elections watchdog if Ministers disagree with its recommendations. (The Herald page 2)
Civil service protests: The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) is urging its members, which include around 30,000 Scots workers, to take action on November 30 over plans to change working conditions in the civil service and related organisations. (The Herald page 3)
Merkel wants UK in the EU: Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has said she could not imagine the UK leaving the European Union. This comes ahead of talks with David Cameron to discuss the EU’s budget. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 8, The Times page 3, The Sun page 2, FT page 8, The Daily Telegraph page 12)
Salmond won’t “go on and on”: In a speech yesterday to mark his positions as Scotland’s longest-serving First Minister Alex Salmond said he won’t “go on and on” in politics, in contrast to Margaret Thatcher’s statement in 1987 saying she planned to go on and on. (The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 15, David Torrance in the Scotsman comments on Salmond’s time in office, The Times page 23, The Daily Express page 10, Keith Aitken in the Daily Express)
Darling puts pressure on SNP: Former Chancellor and head of the Better Together Campaign, Alistair Darling has asked Alex Salmond for transparency in the row over Scotland’s place in an independent EU, and to admit that the key terms of membership would have to be negotiated. (The Herald page 6, The Daily Telegraph page 14)
Soldiers employed in “Army Reserve”: Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said he wants the re-branded Territorial Army to be called the Army Reserve, and that thousands of retired soldiers will be encouraged to sign up as “reservists” in an attempt to double the number of part-time soldiers to 30,000. (The Herald page 7, The Times page 5, FT page 7, The Daily Telegraph page 18)
Leveson findings: The coalition has said they will support the findings of the Leveson enquiry, and that a new system of press regulation will come into play. (The Herald page 9, The Scotsman page 2, FT page 8)
Law chief defends SNP: The SNP Government’s senior law officer, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, has defended the decision not to admit earlier on that no legal advice existed on an independent Scotland’s place in the EU. (The Scotsman page 14)
American Independence lessons: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman suggests that Scottish nationalists are mistaken if they think America’s past strengthens their case for independence.
“Default” leave of EU: As EU membership is increasingly debated amongst politicians, Michael Fry in the Scotsman discusses the idea that that Scotland may have to leave the EU “by default” if the UK decide to head that way.
Economic slowdown: Strathclyde University’s Fraser of Allander Institute, has predicted that the Scottish economy will contract in the coming year, with growth rates slowing and unemployment rising. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 8, The Times page 23)
Fuel prices causing poverty: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has spoken about the recent rise in fuel prices, and how this is undermining attempts to tackle fuel poverty in Scotland. (The Herald page 6)
Saving Hearts: The Scottish Government has promised to help Hearts football club stay in business. HMRC currently has an unpaid tax bill of almost half-a-million pounds. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 3, The Times page 19, The Sun page 11, The Daily Record page 1, The Daily Express page 1)
Cuts to legal aid budget: The Scottish Legal Aid Board has said that more savings on legal aid, which the Scottish Government gives out to help people on low and middle incomes defend themselves in court, will be a “substantial challenge”. Ministers have said they want it reduced to £132.1million by 2014-15. (The Scotsman page 17, The Times page 20, The Daily Telegraph page 14)
Eurozone Crisis: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman comments on the likelihood of a “euro meltdown”.
Debt target unlikely: The European Commission yesterday predicted that the UK government will not reach its next public debt target. It is expected that Chancellor George Osborne will concede this to be true, as discussions are underway on the next best action to take. (FT page 8)
Growth of small businesses: A Scottish Government report has revealed record numbers of people now self-employed, with around 70% of all private businesses in Scotland found to be lone-traders. The overall number of businesses in Scotland was found to be at its highest level for more than a decade. (The Daily Express page 4)
Nursery teaching: A report by Education Scotland has found high variations in the amount of time nursery children spend with a qualified teacher, due to councils interpreting Scottish Government guidance in different ways. The Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) has used the report to call on MSPs to introduce national, legally enforcing standards on access to a qualified teacher. (The Herald page 8, The Scotsman page 18)