Reform Scotland News: 5 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



Commission on School Reform:  Yesterday the Commission on School Reform, which was established by Reform Scotland and the Centre for Scottish Public Policy, published its final report ‘By Diverse Means: Improving Scottish Education’.   The report sets out 37 recommendations and argues that in order to reverse decline in education and become world-beating once again, we need to promote more variety and diversity in Scotland’s schools and increase the autonomy of individual schools.  The Commission believes that empowering schools will not only raise standards across the board but will help to tackle the chronic problem of underachievement among young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. (Scotsman page12, Keir Bloomer in the Scotsman, Alan McKenzie in the Scotsman, Scotsman Leader, Herald page 6, Record page 8, Express page 10, Times page 7, Telegraph page 14, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Sun page 14, P&J page 12, Courier page 16, Caroline Lindsay in the Courier)



Cardinal Keith O’Brien: Archbishop Philip Tartaglia has told worshippers in Glasgow that the Catholic Church’s credibility and moral authority has been damaged by the revelations about Cardinal Keith O’Brien. Calls have also been made for Cardinal O’Brien to apologise for comments he made about the gay community. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Collette Douglas-Home in the Herald, Record page 8, Joan McAlpine in the Record, Express page 4, Kerry Gill in the Express, Times page 1, Telegraph page 1, Bill Leckie in the Sun, Guardian page 16, P&J page 17, Courier page 14)


Tourism: The Scottish Government has indicated that year-long themed tourism campaigns are to be kept. Tourism minister Fergus Ewing has also revealed that a celebration of food and drink is likely to feature in the future. (Scotsman page 7)


Social turmoil: Peter Jones writing in the Scotsman comments on the effects the social turmoil the UK is facing may have on the independence referendum and argues that it may play into the hands of the pro-independence camp.


Acts of Union: David Torrance writing in the Scotsman comments on the document produced by the UK Government on Scottish independence and argues that the history of the United Kingdom is more complicated than either Nationalists or unionists appreciate. 


Welfare tourism: Downing Street has acknowledged that any restrictions on health and welfare benefits for immigrants from European Union states would apply equally to UK citizens under EU law. Reports had suggested there could be a rush to change rules before Bulgarian and Romanian citizens gain full rights to move to the UK amid concern about “welfare tourism”. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 6, Express page 15, Telegraph page 4, Guardian page 9, Mail page 6)


EU and independence: A report for the European Policy Centre has claimed that some EU member states find the prospect of an independent Scotland worrying. (Mail page 12)


Postal workers: Members of Scotland No 2 branch of the Communication Workers Union representing Post Office workers have pledged to work towards securing a Yes vote in next year’s independence referendum. (P&J page 12, Courier page 16)


Military: Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is expected to announce today that Royal Marines are to remain stationed in Arbroath. Scotland will also see a £100million investment as part of the coalition government’s basing review and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards are expected to return to Scotland from Germany. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Express page 2, Telegraph page 1, Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph, Guardian page 7, Mail page 2, Courier page 1)


Trident: Harry Reid writing in the Herald comments on Defence Secretary Philip Hammond’s assertion that any further cuts should be made in welfare and supports Vince Cable’s argument that all the savings required could be made by getting rid of Trident.



Independence: Andrew Goudie writing in the Scotsman examines the economic ramifications of an independent Scotland and warns that it may face limits as both Scotland and the UK seek safeguards that the other would not tip a “sterling zone” into instability.


Vion: Poultry and red meat processing businesses owned by the Dutch company Vion are to be bought by 2 Sisters Food Group. The move will reportedly save over 1,500 jobs in Scotland. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 2, Record page 2, Express page 2, Mail page 8, Courier page 22)


Green projects: Projects designed to address climate change have received £2.1million of Government money. Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse announced the latest round of Climate Challenge Fund awards during the Scottish launch of Climate Week. (Herald page 8, P&J page 23, Courier page 15)


Back-to-work scheme: Figures have emerged showing that just 10 Scots on incapacity benefit have found work after being placed on the Government’s back-to-work scheme. (Record page 1)



Miners: MSPs have been urged to review miners’ strike convictions from the 1980s disputes over pit closures. Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill initially refused to review the convictions but the Scottish Parliament has agreed to hold a debate on the issue following pressure from Labour MSP Neil Findlay. (Scotsman page 16)


Rape law: Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has said abolishing the need for corroboration in rape cases is the right thing to do but that it will not help improve rape conviction rates. (Herald page 9, Record page 2, P&J page 15)



Death rates: Following the implementation of new safety regimes in wards across Scotland, figures have shown a fall in death rates at Scottish hospitals. (Scotsman page 1, Express page 14, P&J page 10)