Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 13 May 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.
Brown on Independence: Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has entered the debate on independence, heading up a Labour-led anti-independence initiative. Concerns have been raised amongst unions and Labour activists that participation in the umbrella Better Together was inappropriate given the participation of the Conservatives. In the Scotsman, Lesley Riddoch responds to Mr. 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. (Sunday Herald page 14, The Scotsman page 8, Daily Telegraph page 1, Daily Express page 4)
European Referendum: Ed Miliband has warned that a referendum on European Union membership is counterproductive and the uncertainty is threatening British businesses. Tory backbenchers are expected to bring forward legislation which would mandate a referendum, a move which Labour and SNP MPs oppose. Mayor of London Boris Johnson has warned that Britain’s problems originate from within rather than from Brussels. Iain MacWhirter reflects on the reasons behind the 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. (Scotsman on Sunday page 23, Sunday Times page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, The Guardian page 1)
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.
Church of Scotland vote: The Church of Scotland will vote on whether to allow the ordination of gay ministers. The vote, if successful, might reportedly lead to up to 50 congregations leaving the church in protest at the move which according to more conservative congregations is contrary to biblical teachings. (Sunday Times page 1, The Herald page 4, Scotsman page 8, Scottish Sun page 2, Daily Express page 10)
UKIP in Scotland: Nigel Farage claims that his party’s popularity is growing in Scotland. The party will put forward a candidate for the Aberdeen Donside by-election. The UKIP leader plans to target disillusioned SNP supporters rather than Scottish Tories. (Daily Telegraph page 7, Daily Record page 15)
Sturgeon speech: Nicola Sturgeon is expected to launch an effort to encourage women to vote yes to independence. Her address will emphasise the protection of the benefits system in an independent Scotland. (The Herald page 1, Daily Record page 2)
LibDem activist attack: Police are still looking at clues in the death of Margaret McDonough, a Liberal Democrat activist, who was fatally injured on Friday night. Ms. McDonough’s daughter was also critically injured. (Sunday Herald page 1, Scotland on Sunday page 1, Sunday Times page 13)
Oil supplies: Scotland’s energy minister Fergus Ewing has claimed North Sea oil and gas production will continue until the end of this century, if supplies are managed properly. Some oil experts and political opponents have contested the claim. (The Scotsman page 1)
Care homes investigations: Concerns have been raised by families and charities about the standard of care provided to elderly people living in care homes. The Sunday Herald investigation was provoked by a number of blood infections and concerns raised regarding the standard of care in such homes. (Sunday Herald page 8)
Cigarette packaging: Scotland will become the first country in Europe to require cigarettes be sold in plain packaging. The move is designed to discourage young people from taking up smoking and the redesigned packaging would bear photos of smoking related cancers. While a UK-wide prohibition would be easier, SNP ministers were prepared to move unilaterally to enforce the regulations. (Sunday Times page 1)
Heart attack research controversy: A team of 12 paramedics has been equipped with small chest cameras to capture footage of patients suffering heart attacks. The footage is used to test out of hospital care. However, concerns have been raised about the privacy of patients who are unable to give consent. (The Herald page 1)
Gaelic education: Data from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey indicates that half of Scots back the right to send children to a Gaelic school. A third also agreed to compulsory Gaelic lesson for pupils aged five to 16. (The Scotsman page 15)