A week in Scottish politics: 19 to 25 April 2013


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 19 and 25 April, which are freely available online.

Thursday 25 April

Alex Salmond: Martin Kettle in the Guardian reflects on what he sees as Alex Salmond’s personal “low-key response” to George Osborne’s comments this week on currency following independence.

TSB: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman and Iain MacWhirter in the Herald reflect on the news that the TSB brand is expected to reappear on the high street following the collapse of the deal to sell off more than 600 branches belonging to Lloyds Banking Group to the Co-operative Bank.

Violence: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments on the Institute for Economics and Peace labelling Glasgow the least peaceful major urban area in the UK.

Literacy and numeracy standards: Hugh Reilly in the Scotsman comments on the difficulties facing teachers dealing with S2 pupils, reflecting on the drop in performance between the end of primary and start of secondary with regard to literacy and numeracy standards.

Science: Iain Gray in the Scotsman comments that independence could threaten Scotland’s world-beating innovation in science.

Wednesday 24 April

Currency: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman, Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Ian Bell in the Herald,  John Kay in the FT and Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph reflect on George Osborne’s  comments that it might not be worth the risk for the rest of the UK to agree to a currency pact with an independent Scotland.

Employment figures: Ceri Goddard in the Scotsman comments on a study carried out by the Fawcett Society which  found that although unemployment among men is falling, the number of women out of work across the UK is at a 25-year high. 

Borrowing: Martin Wolf in the FT comment on the latest public sector borrowing figures.

Credit unions: Robbie Mochrie and Jeremy Peat in the Scotsman comment about the role credit unions can play to help ensure more responsible lending and improved financial literacy.

Abenomics: Simon Jenkins in the Guardian comments that the UK should follow what is happening in Japan and print more money and ensure that is pumped out into the productive economy.

Local government budgets: Jim McCormick in the Scotsman comments that people with vision are needed to try and solve the problem of local government funding.

Tuesday 23 April

Devolving Tax: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments that if Scots were to reject Scottish independence it could cost billions for Holyrood to gain more tax powers as a devolved nation.

Monday 22 April 2013

Scottish Labour: Further comment on Scottish Labour in the context of its party conference and the publication of its commission report on devolution. Andrew Nicoll writing in the Sun argues Scottish Labour need to start coming up with policies if it wants to start shaping the political debate in Scotland. Brian Monteith writing in the Scotsman argues Scottish Labour appears to be adopting a new language in an attempt to communicate with working-class central Scotland. Lindsay McIntosh writing in the Times argues that Johann Lamont must tackle the constitutional questions despite MPs wanting the opposite.

Scottish Banknotes: The Finance Secretary John Swinney, writing in the Scotsman, says an independent Scotland will retain the pound as it is in everyone’s interest and the existing banknote situation will remain in place because it is underpinned by the 2009 Banking Act. Andrew McKie writing in the Herald argues that an independent Scotland will not control its currency unless it adopts its own. He also contends that debt is the more pressing economic issue.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Scottish Labour: Further comment on Scottish Labour in the context of its party conference and the publication of its commission report on devolution.  Ian Bell writing in the Sunday Herald argues Scottish Labour’s commission on further tax proposals for the Scottish parliament has produced a flawed report. Eddie Barnes writing in the Scotland on Sunday says the Scottish Labour leader has to contain the splits within her own party and forge a new vision for devolution. 

Faith Schools: Euan McColm writing in the Scotland on Sunday argues that faith schools, with their greater social diversity, might be able to offer to solutions to inequality in education.

Friday 19 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher: Ian Bell in the Herald and  Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman  offer further comment on the debate in the Scottish Parliament on Margaret Thatcher and her legacy.

Income tax: George Kerevan writing in the Scotsman comments on proposals by the Scottish Labour Party to give Holyrood full powers over income tax.

Monetary union: Crawford Beveridge writing in the Scotsman argues that a monetary union with the rest of the UK is the best solution for an independent Scotland.

Welfare: Iain McLean, Jim Gallagher and Guy Lodge writing in the Scotsman comment on Scotland’s relationship with the welfare state and how this may change with greater devolution or independence.

Austerity: Polly Toynbee writing in the Guardian comments on George Osborne’s case for austerity and suggests that it is time to revise his plans for tackling the deficit.