A week in Scottish politics: 7 to 13 June 2013


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 7 and 13 June, which are freely available online.

Thursday 13 June 2013

United With Labour: Natalie McGarry in today’s Scotsman believes the creation of United With Labour is indicative of organisational discontent within the No campaign. She argues the failures of Better Together have been highlighted and the two campaigns are now competing with each other.

Scottish Economy: Bill Jamieson writing in the Scotsman notes the economic outlook has improved considerably since the turn of the year but contends the situation might be altered by the first new piece of bad news. Iain MacWhirter highlights the fact that improved Scottish employment figures have not resulted in a similar improvement in retail figures. He attributes this to the squeeze on wages revealed by the Institutes for Fiscal Studies. 

Justice Committee: Alan Cochrane writing in the Telegraph argues the flaws in the Scottish Parliament’s committee system were highlighted when nationalist MSPs voted against the interests of their constituents and in favour of the SNP’s plans to close 10 sheriff and seven Justice of the Peace Courts. 

Wednesday 12th June

Welfare & independence: Nicola McEwen in the Scotsman, Brian Wilson in the Scotsman and Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comment on news that an expert group set up by the Scottish government to look at delivering a welfare system in an independent Scotland has concluded that there would be a “common interest” in maintaining the existing UK-wide benefits system for a transitional period, up to 2020, following independence.

Scottish Tories: Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman comments on the education element of Ruth Davidson’s conference speech and considers what can be done to help increase attainment in schools.

Britishness: Stuart MacDonald in the Scotsman argues that the idea that Westminster has ownership of “Britishness” is untrue.

Corporation tax: Peter Geoghegan in the Scotsman questions the SNP’s policy of cutting corporation tax in an independent Scotland, arguing that as George Osborne has cut corporation tax with little effect on growth in the UK, why would the situation be different in an independent Scotland?

Inflation: Martin Wolf in the FT comments that at present there may be a risk that inflation is too low, not too high.

Disadvantaged students: Ian Bell in the Herald comments on the difficulties of achieving greater social mobility and widening access to Scottish universities.

Tuesday 11th June

SNP: Peter Jones in the Scotsman has commented that while SNP members coalesce around the principle of independence, defining the nuts and bolts of what actually constitutes a state of independence is a lot harder.  As a result, the party is likely to face future problems as members disagree on matters like NATO and a Scottish currency.

Monday 10th June

Scottish Tories: In the Herald, Andrew McKie urges the Scottish Conservatives to adopt a localised approach to rebuild support in Scotland, while Alan Cochrane urges Ms Davidson to focus on securing a no vote in the referendum rather than positioning the party for the 2015 General Election.

Friday 7th June

Oil and Shale gas: Andrew Wilson writing in the Telegraph criticises the spending of revenue raised by North Sea oil and gas reserves and argues that the UK should take the Norwegian approach of creating a sovereign wealth fund from revenue from shale gas reserves.

First Minister’s Questions: Alan Cochrane writing in the Telegraph comments on Alex Salmond’s success during First Minister’s Questions at responding to Labour leader Johann Lamont’s criticisms of the SNP.

Referendum campaigns: Alison Rowat writing in the Herald comments on the public faces of the Yes and No campaigns and what they suggest about how the different campaigns see Scotland.

Arts in Scotland: Joyce McMillan writing in the Scotsman comments on culture secretary Fiona Hyslop’s speech in Edinburgh last Wednesday and the appointment of Janet Archer as chief executive of Creative Scotland.

Young people and independence: George Kerevan writing in the Scotsman comments on the Edinburgh University study that showed the majority of 14-17 year old Scots will vote no in next year’s referendum. He also warns the SNP to take this as a wake-up call to make their cause more appealing to Scotland’s young people.

Fraser Nelson writing in the Telegraph also comments on Edinburgh University’s study and warns that the SNP’s case for independence may be falling apart.

Independence and defence: Professor Sir Hew Strachan writing in the Scotsman criticises the SNP’s defence plans in the event of a Yes vote in next year’s referendum.