Reform Scotland News: 29 January 2013


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



Independence and foreign affairs: Nicola Sturgeon has told the Commons foreign affairs committee that the SNP envisage an independent Scotland having an internal security service, similar to MI5, and a service similar to MI6 is an option. Concerns were raised by the committee about the set up costs of such services and that a small country such as Scotland would not be able to match the lobbying clout of the UK’s diplomatic network in promoting Scottish industries around the world. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 6, Telegraph page 1, Express page 4, Times page 1, Mail page 6, P&J page 17)


Mackerel fishing: Scottish fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead has called for an international mediator to be appointed to help end the long running dispute over mackerel with the Iceland and the Faroes. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 5, P&J page 18)


Wind farms: The Scottish Conservatives have called for local authorities to be given new powers to suspend wind farm schemes for a year in a bid to cut the number being built. They have also called for subsidies for renewables to be reduced and for wind farms to be built a minimum of 2,000km away from homes. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 9, Telegraph page 10, Telegraph page 10, Times page 16, P&J page 16, Courier page 18)


Freedom of Information: Scotland’s information commissioner has ruled that the Scottish Government breached its own Freedom of Information rules by not releasing e-mails regarding the referendum. Opposition parties claim the e-mails showed attempts to thwart a leading expert who clashed with ministers over proposals for a second referendum question on more devolution for Holyrood. (Scotsman page 18)


Referendums: Peter Jones writing in the Scotsman comments on the new questions raised for Scottish voters as they face two referendums.  Hugo Rifkind writing in the Times comments on the UK government authorising another two referendums and argues that they are not about democracy but rather a symptom of a panicky government.


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.


Referendum files: Quebec Premier Pauline Marois and Alex Salmond are due to hold talks in Edinburgh today and Marois has revealed she will offer Salmond her administration’s independence files. (Herald page 6)


BBC: The SNP have accused the BBC of misconstruing Irish minister Lucinda Creighton’s comments regarding an independent Scotland’s membership of the European Union. A BBC spokesperson has denied the accusation and Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson has criticised the SNP for their comments. (Mail page 6)


Referendum question: Alex Salmond is under pressure to accept the findings of Electoral Commission and change the wording of the referendum question. The commission is expected to reject the SNP’s question – Do you agree Scotland should be an independent country?  Critics claim the wording is biased in favour of a yes vote. (P&J page 16)



Autumn Statement: The Treasury select committee has criticised Chancellor George Osborne for using his annual Autumn Statement on the economy as a second full-scale Budget. This latest criticism comes after business groups, opposition parties and leading Conservatives expressed concerns that the government’s strategy to boost growth is failing. (Scotsman page 8, FT page 4, Guardian page 18, Courier page 21)


Debt: Scots have the second lowest level of personal financial debt in the UK according to a new report released by the Office of National Statistics. (Scotsman page 16)


Banking: The Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland has had its competency in rebuilding financial sector integrity questioned after it refused to strip disgraced bank Fred Goodwin of his fellowship. The Institute has been criticised by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards who said that it called into question whether the body could play a role in restoring public confidence in the banking sector. (Herald page 10)



Law protests: Lawyers will demonstrate outside the Scottish Parliament today against proposed changes to the profession. Among the issues being raised are contributions to criminal legal aid, restrictions on access to the Supreme Court, and the possible abolition of the requirement for corroboration to bring a prosecution under Scots law. (Scotsman page 15, Herald page 8)


Police force: Perth and Dundee have joined forces in a bid to bring the headquarters of the new single Scottish police force to Tayside. The move is in response to fears that the new force could become “Strathclyde-centric”. (Courier page 1)



HS2: Transport minister Keith Brown has called on Westminster to give a concrete timetable showing when the High Speed 2 rail project will be extended to Scotland. Local authority leaders in Edinburgh and Glasgow warned that the two cities would be at a “huge economic disadvantage” if the project did not extend north of the Border. (Scotsman page 4, Record page 13, Herald page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Express page 9, Times page 11, Mail page 10)



“Telehealth”: An online “Telehealth Booth” is being set up in the West Highland village of Kilchoan where patients will be diagnosed by doctors in an emergency care centre via an internet satellite call. The scheme is expected to go live in the next few weeks and if successful could be extended to other parts of Scotland. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 8, Express page 16)



Curriculum for Excellence: The Educational Institute of Scotland, Scotland’s largest teaching union, is to survey its members on the implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence. The survey is to explore issues around the curriculums senior phase relating to pupils in later years at secondary school. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 7)


Literacy: Scotland’s chief medical officer Sir Harry Burns is calling for more to be done to tackle poor literacy standards in a bid to lift more children out of poverty and break the link between poverty and poor literacy. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 5)