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A week in Scottish politics: 17 to 23 May 2013

Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 17 and 23 May, which are freely available online.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Scottish Conservatives: Murdo Fraser, writing in the Scotsman, has questioned whether Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is doing enough to revive the party’s fortunes in Scotland. He also repeated his belief that it might be necessary to form a new centre-right party, independent from the UK Conservatives.

Court Closures: The former Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray, writing in the Scotsman, argues the SNP government’s plans to close ten sheriff courts and 16 justice of the peace courts might spell disaster for Scottish towns.

Local Government Reform: Michael Kelly, writing in the Scotsman, has supported the intention of Chief Superintendant David O’Connor to call for an examination of the cost and structure of Scotland’s local authorities and health boards

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Immigration: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman outlines what he envisions would be the difficulties following independence for Scotland and the UK, which share a land border, but would have different immigration policies.

Emotions: Matt Qvortup in the Scotsman argues that people’s emotions and passion are more importation to winning the independence referendum than economic statistics.

Contradictory campaigns: Ian Bell in the Herald comments on what he sees as the contradictory messages in both the unionist and independence campaigns.

IMF: Eddie Barnes comments ahead of the IMF’s report due out today on the UK’s economic situation.

 Tuesday 21 May 2013

Pensions: Peter Jones from the Scotsman has stated that Alex Salmond must develop a strategy to show that pensions in Scotland will remain safe or even better to secure a win in the referendum. Jones believes that pensions are the key vote-determining issue of the independence debate.

Monday 20 May 2013

Conservative controversy: Andrew McKie in the Herald  comments on the allegations that Lord Feldman described grassroots activists in the Conservative Party as ‘swivel-eyed loons’.

Ukip: In the Scotsman, Brian Monteith urges Alex Salmond to condemn the treatment of Nigel Farage (who required a police escort after activists disrupted an event) in the name of free speech.

Kirk divide: Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman comments on the debate at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland over the ordination of gay ministers.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Ukip: Writing in Scotland on Sunday, Euan McColm reflects on Nigel Farage’s canny use of the media in Scotland, noting that the party leader knows Ukip won’t win the Aberdeen by-election but is using it as an opportunity to raise the profile of the party in Scotland

Friday 17 May 2013

Political system: Joyce McMillan writing in the Scotsman criticises the focus in Westminster on Benefit fraud rather than tax avoidance and the lack of political leadership on the centre-left of British politics.

EU membership: John Curtice writing in the Scotsman comments on surveys which suggest views on EU membership are very different in Scotland than in England.

Independence: George Kerevan writing in the Scotsman argues that Scotland needs to be independent before the rest of the UK leaves the EU.

Tax avoidance: Alison Rowat writing in the Herald comments on the increasing evidence of multinational corporations’ tax avoidance and criticises the HMRC for not keeping up with the internet age.

Free prescriptions: Alan Cochrane writing in the Telegraph comments on First Minister’s Questions and comments on the difficulty Alex Salmond faced in responding to Johann Lamont’s criticism of the ‘free’ prescriptions system which prevents patients accessing more expensive drugs.