A week in Scottish politics: 10 to 16 May 2013


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 10 and 16 May, which are freely available online.

Referenda: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman and Iain MacWhiter in the Herald argue that a combination of the referenda on the UK’s place in the EU and Scotland’s place in the UK complicate the British political landscape.

Independence referendum: Pete Martin, writing in the Scotsman, contends that the public needs to be vigilant of politicians being ‘economical with the truth’, particularly in the run-up to the referendum. Michael Kelly in the Scotsman asks why successful business leaders need politicians to give them the answers they need on the constitutional debate. John MacLoed in the Daily Mail believes the SNP and supporters of independence are concerned about Gordon Brown’s intervention in the debate.

Wednesday 15 May

EU: Further comment and analysis on the Conservative Party’s decision to hold an in-out referendum. (Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman, Allan Massie in the Scotsman, Iain Martin in the Telegraph, Charles Grant in the FT, Dominic Sandbrook in the Mail,  Seumas Milne in the Guardian, Melissa Kite in the Guardian)

Business for Scotland: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments that more businessmen and women need to speak up in favour of the Union.

Welfare: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on a Joseph Rowntree Foundation study which suggests that the public are becoming increasingly likely to say that individual characteristics, rather than societal issues, cause poverty.

Women & independence: Natalie McGarry in the Scotsman outlines what she believes needs to be done to engage women in the independence debate.

Gordon Brown: Ian Bell in the Herald comments on Gordon Brown’s recent speech launching Labour’s campaign for the Union. 

Food sales: Brian Ashcroft in the Scotsman comments on figures from the Scottish Retail Consortium which have shown that food sales in Scotland fell by 1.4 per cent in April, while total sales fell by 2.1 per cent. 

Housing market: Peter Geoghegan in the Scotsman argues that the Help-to-Buy scheme, to help fist-time buyers onto the property market, is unlikely to work.

Tuesday 14 May

Speeches on independence: Comment and anaylsis on speeches about the referendum made by Nicola Sturgeon and Gordon Brown. (Joan McAlpine in the Record and Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph)

EU:  The Conservative Party is reportedly going to publish draft legislation on holding an in-out referendum on EU membership. (Nicola McEwen in the Scotsman, David Maddox in the Scotsman, Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph, Dominic Raab in the Telegraph and Janan Ganesh in the FT)

Backing independence: Tom Banks, chairman of Scotland’s largest private care home provider, Balhousie, in the Scotsman comments that a Yes vote in the referendum is not an end to ‘Britishness’ and would be good for the whole of the UK.

Social union: Peter Jones in the Scotsman considers the UK’s social union and what impact independence could have on it.

Monday 13 May

Brown on Independence: In the Scotsman, Lesley Riddoch  responds to Gordon Brown’s reappearance noting that he might be a game-changer for the Better Together campaign but warns that Labour voters may judge him by his past performance.

European Referendum: Iain MacWhirter in the Herald reflects on the reasons behind the EU referendum, noting that concerns about bureaucracy and social protections are overstated. He instead attributes resistance to European integration as the fact that EU regulations are against the interest of the London financial system.

Sunday 12 May

Independence and the monarchy: Writing in the Sunday Herald, Ian Bell comments on the SNP’s approach to the monarchy, noting that First Minister Alex Salmond’s statements which emphasise close links and the ‘Queen of Scots’ may conflict with the goals of the party and with public opinion.

Friday 10 May

Monarchy: Alison Rowat writing in the Herald comments on the increasing presence of Prince Charles at state occasions in place of the Queen.

Independence: Robert McNeil writing in the Herald comments on the increasing number of scare stories in the press relating to the 2014 referendum.

A&E waiting times: Ian Bell writing in the Herald criticises Labour leader Johann Lamont’s claim that Alex Salmond does not care about patients depending on the NHS and her continuing criticism of the SNP’s attitude towards the NHS.  

Alan Cochrane writing in the Telegraph comments on Johann Lamont’s criticism of the SNP over a rise in A&E waiting times and draws similarities between her attack on Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s attack on Jack McConnell over the same issue when he was First Minister.