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A week in Scottish politics: 31 May to 6 June 2013

Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 31 May and 6 June, which are freely available online.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Votes for prisoners: In an article for the Scotsman, the former chief inspector of prisons, the Very Rev. Dr Andrew McLellan, accuses the Scottish government of ‘weakness’ because of its resistance to allowing prisoners to vote in the referendum. He also said it was trying to ‘wriggle’ out of European law on the issue.

Scottish Conservatives divided:  Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph says the Scottish Tory conference will have a gaping hole in the middle because it will not discuss the party’s position on devolution of more powers, the issue representatives most want to debate.  

Independence referendum: Bill Jamieson, writing in the Scotsman, contends the Yes campaign is struggling to make an impact, two years after the SNP won a mandate to hold an independence referendum. He argues a lack of clarity on what independence will mean is a contributing factor.

Iain MacWhirter in the Herald suggests Jim McColl’s ‘independence in the UK’ vision is not impractical and even has some historical precedent. He argues the union is whatever the partners choose to make it. 

Tourism: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman believes the Scottish tourism industry is underperforming, despite focusing its efforts on the right sectors. He says more might be done to maximise the potential of golf and ancestry tourism.

Wednesday 5 June

Referendum timing: Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman considers the political and economic climate that the referendum will be decided within.

Scotland, rUK and the EU: Willie Rennie in the Scotsman argues that the UK leaving the EU would be bad for Scotland, whether Scotland was independent or not.

Ed Balls: Ian Bell in the Herald criticises Ed Balls’ speech, where he committed Labour to working within George Osborne’s spending plans, as “catastrophic” for Labour as it said the “Tories were right all along”.

Student bursaries: Lucy Hunter in the Scotsman, a former head of higher education and student support for the Scottish government, has advised that the government’s proposals to reduce student bursaries in favour of larger loans will lead to Scots from poorer backgrounds graduating with more debt that their peers.

Sunday 2 June

Sectarianism in Scotland: Writing in the Sunday Herald Peter Kearney discusses what he describes as a ‘widespread and at times pernicious anti-Catholicism’ in contemporary Scotland and urges an acknowledgement of the issue and larger debate. Andrew Wilson in Scotland on Sunday responded to the statement, noting a reduction in institutional discrimination and urging the Church to focus on pressing social issues like poverty and hopelessness.

Curreny: Angus Armstrong and Prof. David Bell in the Scotland on Sunday comment on a potential currency union between and independent Scotland and the UK.

Friday 31 May

SNP tax policy: Tom Gordon writing in the Herald comments on Johann Lamont’s criticism of Alex Salmond over SNP plans to reduce corporation tax in Scotland to 3 per cent below the UK level if Scotland becomes independent.

EU and independence: David Lee writing in the Scotsman comments on the former Labour defence secretary and former NATO secretary general Lord Robertson’s comments on the impact of Scotland’s independence on European separatist movements.     

Independence debate: Alison Rowat writing in the Herald comments on the negative effect ‘cybernats’ have on the Yes campaign and criticises attempts by both campaigns to obtain celebrity endorsement.

First Minister’s Questions: Simon Johnson writing in the Telegraph gives comment and analysis on First Minister’s Questions.