Reforms Scotland News: 30 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.

 

Politics

 

EU: A senior figure in Angela Merkel’s CDU party has labelled Eurosceptic Conservative backbenchers as the ‘English Tea Party’ in a speech criticising the condition of European politics. (Scotsman page 14, Times page 4)  

 

Politics departures: The SNP’s Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie has raised concerns about the number of individuals leaving British politics for highly paid jobs at three big accountancy firms. According to the Scotsman, at least seventeen former ministers, high-ranking civil servants and advisers have joined KPMG, Deloitte and PwC since 2003. (Scotsman page 10)

 

Offensive Behaviour Act: Michael Kelly, writing in the Scotsman, argues the judiciary has undermined the credibility of the SNP government on justice by deciding not to convict a number of people under the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act.

 

Woolwich: Writing in the Scotsman, Hugh McLachlan contends policies designed to tackle extremism are likely to be counterproductive. In addition, he argues people should have the right to hold extreme views so long as they obey the law. Leo McKinstry in the Express argues ‘a progressive agenda’ has destabilised Britain by encouraging mass immigration and multi-culturalism.

 

Yes Scotland: Political opponents have criticised the claims made by Yes Scotland in a new promotional video that setting up an independent Scottish state would cost less than £300million. (Herald page 1)

 

Iain MacWhirter, writing in the Herald, argues there is a listless quality to the SNP’s case for independence. He goes on to state, ‘I am not entirely clear the SNP knows what it is about any more.’ John MacLeod, writing in the Daily Mail, describes attending a Better Together meeting in Stornoway and being surprised by the turnout which was more impressive than a similar Yes Scotland event a few months earlier. 

 

Labour: A new YouGov poll carried out for The Times has found Ed Miliband is viewed by voters as less trustworthy, decisive or competent than Gordon Brown. He was, however, regarded as a better Labour leader. (Times page 1)     

 

Currency: The Treasury has reportedly rebuffed calls from the Fiscal Commission to enter talks with the SNP government about a possible currency union between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK. (Times page 19, Mail page 8)

 

Economy

 

UK Economy: The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has cut its UK growth forecast because of developments in the eurozone and the deputy governor of the Bank of England has said recent figures could imply a ‘less optimistic outlook’. (Scotsman page 14, Herald page 6, Press and Journal page 13, Mail page 19)

 

Education

 

Tuition Fees: The absence of tuition fees for Scottish students has reportedly not led to an increase in the proportion of those from the poorest backgrounds attending university. Writing in the Scotsman Professor Sheila Riddell, of the University of Edinburgh’s Education School, says the recruitment of students from disadvantaged backgrounds has actually fallen over the past decade. (Scotsman page 1)

 

Health

 

Synthetic Blood: Scientists based at the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine have been given permission to carry out the world’s first trials of synthetic blood in humans. It is hoped stem cells can be used to manufacture blood to help ended shortages and combat the spread of infections. (Scotsman page 1 )

 

Chronic Pain: The Health Secretary Alex Neil has pledged a new dedicated pain management system which will offer specialist care to the estimated 700,000 Scots who suffer from chronic pain. (Herald page 11, Mail page 19)

 

Local Government

 

Budget Cuts: Edinburgh City Council is facing annual budget cuts of more than £100million. A report by the Accounts Commission is expected to express concern about ‘the scale of the challenges that the council faces’. (Scotsman page 9, Mail page 19)

 

Transport

 

Glasgow-London Train Service: Virgin Trains is reportedly pushing ahead with plans to introduce the first non-stop train service from Glasgow to London since the 1930s. It is hoped the direct service would cut the journey time to under 4 hours. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 8)