A week in Scottish politics: 25 to 31 January 2013


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 25 and 31 January, which are freely available online.

Thursday 31 January 2013

Northern alliance: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman comments on the economic relationship between Scotland and Northern England after a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote.

New Scottish Conservatives: Andy Maciver in the Scotsman speculates on the future of the Scottish Conservative Party.

Referendum: Iain MacWhirter in the Herald comments on the Electoral Commissions advice to Alex Salmond and the Yes campaign. 

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Unionist campaign: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments that the unionists need to consider starting to negotiate what a revised balance of powers could look like after the referendum is over.

Yes campaign: Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman comments that the Yes campaign using the ideas of fairness and inequality is a gamble.

Government spending: Michael Fry in the Scotsman comments that Alex Salmond should consider the warnings of Nobel prize-winner James Buchanan who commented that the state is not the omniscient, omnipotent, omnicompetent organ collectivist thinking assumes it is.

High-speed rail: Ian Bell in the Herald comments about Scotland being left out of plans for the HS2 high-speed rail link.

Tuesday 29 January

Referendums: Peter Jones writing in the Scotsman comments on the new questions raised for Scottish voters as they face two referendums. 

Yes campaign: Jim Sillars writing in the Scotsman argues that the Better Together campaign is thriving on fostering fear and the Yes campaign should become proactive in sending a more positive message on the merits of independence.

HS2: Alan Cochrane writing in the Telegraph comments on the plans for the High Speed 2 rail project and questions when Scotland will get the connection.   

Monday 28 January

SNP and the BBC: The SNP has criticised the BBC for its coverage of Irish Europe Minister Lucinda Creighton’s remarks on the prospects of EU membership for Scotland. Ms Creighton said her remarks, in which she spoke about the length and complexity of the process, had been misconstrued. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Alan Cochrane says that the SNP’s attack on the BBC signals desperation.

Independence polls: Euan McColm in the Scotsman explains that the SNP must regain its ‘feel good factor’ as well as present more detailed social and economic proposals ahead of the referendum.

Trident decisions: Writing in the Scotsman, Lesley Riddoch reflects on the implications of hints that the UK may decide to scale back its nuclear submarine force in face of economic concerns. She notes that should Westminster make a u-turn on Trident replacement, the SNP would see one of its arguments for independence undercut but a lack of a decision might help the party.

Scottish Conservative proposals: Writing in the Scotsman, Brian Monteith reflects on Ruth Davidson’s u-turn on more powers for Scotland. He commends the Scottish Conservative leader for her honesty regarding the state of the party in Scotland but argues that she must assert her leadership, particularly against Scottish Tory MP David Mundell who spoke about more powers for Scotland.

Tory leadership bid: Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph  comments on a ‘secret’ plot to position backbench MP Adam Afriyie as future Conservative  party leader.

Sunday 27 January

EU referendum in Scotland: Writing in Scotland on Sunday, Eddie Barnes discusses the implications of a referendum on the European Union for the debate about Scotland’s constitutional future. He notes that continued EU membership in an independent Scotland served as one of the key points of uncertainty. However, he warns that we shouldn’t necessarily accept the rhetoric of Scotland as significantly more in favour of Europe than the rest of the UK. Writing in the Sunday Herald, Ian Bell discusses the opportunities opened up to Alex Salmond by the proposals.

West Lothian question: Writing in Scotland on Sunday, Michael Keating notes the complications inherent in separating the UK from the European Union. He argues that while the SNP has been accused of acting as a separatist and inward-looking, in fact ‘It is the British Conservatives who now look like separatists and isolationists’.

Nicola Sturgeon on independence: Writing in Scotland on Sunday, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon makes the case for independence. She argues that Scotland’s economic performance as well as higher levels of poverty have not been adequately addressed by the current system. She also warns that should Scotland vote no, more powers for Scotland will be pushed to the bottom of the Westminster agenda.

Friday 25 January

Simon Jenkins reacts to David Cameron’s speech on the EU and argues that possibly Cameron is on the right side of history as the EU is failing to react to rising unemployment in Spain. There is speculation that Cameron’s stance on the EU might force it out of complacency and ideology.