Reform Scotland News: 11 March 2013



Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 11 March 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.              


Catholic Church: Frank Docherty, founding member of In Care Abuse Survivors, has called for a review of the Catholic Church’s policies on how allegations of sexual abuse are handled. He contrasts Cardinal O’Brien’s swift resignation in the midst of allegations of inappropriate behaviour with the ‘brick wall’ faced by members of the public who have been mistreated. The former head of the Church’s working party on child protection, Alan Draper, has called for the Church to release secret files on problem priests. The Church faced additional attention as media advisor Peter Kearney said that the church must do more to support gay Catholics. (Sunday Herald page 16, The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 11, Sunday Times page 1, The Times page 5, Daily Record page 9)

Same sex marriage legislation: Equality campaigners have expressed concern that legislation could be introduced which is reminiscent of the Section 28 legislation which forbade the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools. The Scotland for Marriage campaign has argued that discussions of same-sex marriage should be taught with other controversial topics rather than integrated into the curriculum and that parents should have the right to withdraw children from lessons on the subject. (Scotland on Sunday page 1)

Military bases row: First Minister Alex Salmond has written to Prime Minister David Cameron demanding an apology for the UK government’s decision on stationing troops in Scotland. Several thousand troops were originally due to be repatriated from Germany but it now appears only 800 will be. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, The Herald page 10, Daily Telegraph page 1, The Times page 7, Daily Express page 17, Scottish Sun page 2)

Lib Dem spring conference: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is on the offensive, calling on Lib Dems to mobilise against Conservatives and describing their coalition partners as a ‘broken shopping trolley always veering to the right’. (The Scotsman page 4, Daily Telegraph page 9)

Scottish Constitution: Writing in the Scotsman, Brian Monteith responded to proposals for a Scottish Constitution which would guarantee key economic, social and environmental rights. He notes that the Scottish government and the SNP is in no position to make these promises.

Citizenship post-independence: Claims made by Humza Yousaf, the Minister for External Affairs, which indicated that those living in Scotland but born elsewhere would be eligible for dual citizenship have been rebuffed by the opposition. (Daily Express page 5)

Referendum fatigue: Sir Tom Farmer, businessman and SNP backer, has warned that voter turnout may decline in the face of referendum fatigue. Sir Tom described the debate as ‘confusing’ as both sides make claims. (The Sunday Times page 1)

Chris Huhne sentence: Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce are expected to be sentenced today for perverting the course of justice. (The Daily Telegraph page 1, The Times page 4, Daily Record page 2, The Scotsman page 5)


Independence and oil: Writing in the Sunday Herald, John Swinney outlines the case for a wealthier Scotland, an argument made on the basis of an oil boom which would allow for the funding of public services and the creation of a long-term oil fund. Also in the Sunday Herald, Ken Macintosh, shadow finance secretary for Scottish Labour, contrasts John Swinney’s leaked report with the public face of the party. In Scotland on Sunday, Eddie Barnes responds to the leaked report which emphasised the volatility of the oil markets. (Scottish Daily Mail page 6, The Scotsman page 1, The Sunday Times page 19, Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Record page 2, Andrew Nicoll in the Scottish Sun, Scottish Sun page 2, Torcuil Crichton in the Daily Record)

Economic prospects: Writing in the Sunday Herald, Iain Macwhirter weighs in on the debates on Scotland’s economic prospects post-independence. Writing in Scotland on Sunday, Ronald Bowie of Hymans Robertson argues that independence would imperil both public and private sector pensions. (The Times page 7)

Commonwealth Game pricing: Organisers of next year’s games have promised cheaper tickets than those available for the Olympics. Organisers have also said that they don’t want empty seats like those seen in London. (The Scotsman page 11)

Disability assessments: The Coalition’s scheme to get people off benefits is reportedly in chaos with long waiting lists for health assessments which verify a claimant’s eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance. Busy GPs are refusing to testify at tribunals which test eligibility of disability benefits. Some GPs, who note that the NHS does not pay for this extra work, are charging patients £165 for a letter. The prospect of controversial ‘bedroom tax’ has led to an increase in requests as patients begin to build their case for the maintenance of their space. (Sunday Herald page 4, The Herald page 1)


Sexism at Glasgow University: The debater who faced sexist abuse during a debate championship at Glasgow University has faced further attacks online. The incident has sparked discussions about sexism at the university. (The Sunday Times page 5, The Sunday Herald page 20)


Flu vaccines for children: The NHS will begin offering flu vaccines to children aged 2 to 17. However, campaigners have expressed concerns that the low-dose nasal spray may lead to more instances of flu amongst children. Children rarely have complications as a result of flu. (The Scotsman page 1)

Obesity campaign: The Academy of Royal Medical Colleges and Faculties has challenged the way that the public health sector has engaged with the obesity crisis. The Colleges have announced the launch of a new campaign which will encourage doctors to challenge patients about their weight and eating habits, promote local food networks, and form exercise groups. (Scotland on Sunday page 10)

Antibiotic resistance: Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, has called for action on superbugs, noting a dwindling number of drugs which can treat them effectively. She called for the inclusion of antibiotic resistance on the UK government’s National Risk Register which includes terrorism and natural disasters. (The Scotsman page 17, The Times page 15)