Reform Scotland News 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.




Woolwich Attack: Widespread coverage of the murder of a man, believed to be a British solider, in Woolwich, London. The two men who carried out the attack are suspected of being Islamic fundamentalists and were subsequently shot by the police and remain under arrest in hospital. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 1, Financial Times page 3, Sun page 1, Record page 1, Telegraph page 1, Express page 1, Guardian page 1, Mail page 1, Press and Journal page 1, Courier page 13)


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.


Eric Joyce: The independent MP for Falkirk West is reportedly facing breach of the peace charges after an alleged incident at Edinburgh Airport on Sunday. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 3, Sun page 9, Record page 6, Telegraph page 18, Express page 8, Guardian page 7, Mail page 11, Press and Journal page 16, Courier page 15)


Public Pay-offs: The Accounts Commission has revealed that 1200 public sector staff in Scotland shared £224million in pay-offs. Other public bodies, including the Scottish Government, spent £561million on redundancy and early retirement packages in the past two years. (Herald page 1, Times page 8, Sun page 8, Record page 8, Telegraph page 10, Express page 2)


Youth Training Dispute: Emails between the SNP Government and Glasgow City Council have reportedly revealed the First Minister wanted to block council leader Gordon Matheson from highlighting a city-wide youth training scheme because he thought it might upstage his own initiative. (Herald page 6)


EU: Humza Yousaf, the Scottish Government’s External Affairs Minister, was criticised by political opponents for telling the Doha Forum that the UK Government wants to leave the EU. (Express page 8, Mail page 19).


David Cameron has told Eurosceptics within his own party that he does not intend to alter his plans to hold referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU at the end of 2017. (Guardian page 13, Mail page 10)


Referendum: Hamish MacDonell, writing in the Daily Mail, suggests Alex Salmond appearing to sideline John Swinney might signal a move away from substance and towards spin from the Yes campaign.




UK Economy: A report from the International Monetary Fund has urged the Chancellor George Osborne to bring forward spending on infrastructure projects in a bid to improve the performance of the British economy. Its annual economic health check claimed Britain was ‘still a long way from a strong and sustainable recovery’. (Scotsman page 12, Financial Times page 1, Record page 8, Guardian page 7, Mail page 12, Press and Journal page 23, Courier page 14)


Google: David Cameron insisted he raised the issue of Google’s UK tax arrangements when he met the company’s chief executive Eric Schmidt at Downing Street. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 6, Record page 8, Courier page 14)


Labour Leader Ed Miliband criticised the lengths Goggle has gone to in order to avoid paying tax. He also claimed there was a ‘culture of irresponsibility’ at some major companies in his speech to Google’s Big Tent event in London. (Scotsman page 13, Financial Times page 3, Guardian page 22)


Wave Power: The Scottish Government has given permission for the Edinburgh-based firm Aquamarine Power to build the world’s largest wave power scheme off the coast of the Western Isles. (Scotsman page 18, Press and Journal page 11)


Debt: Bill Jamieson, writing in the Scotsman, argues the Scottish independence debate is not engaging with the difficult economic problems facing the UK and wider world, particularly debt.




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.




Measles: According to figures released by Health Protection Scotland, 83 cases of measles have been recorded in Scotland since the start of the year. The figure for the same period last year was 31, an increase of almost 170 per cent. (Scotsman page 17)  


Local government


Local Government Reform: Local Government Minister Derek Mackay has reportedly insisted there are no plans to reform local authorities or reduce their number. (Herald page 6, Press and Journal page 11) 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.  




University Education: Professor David Bell from Stirling University has estimated that an independent Scotland would need to spend an additional £222million on free education for university students from the rest of the UK. (Telegraph page 12)