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Reform Scotland News: 3 June 2013

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 3 June 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

Young people and the referendum: A survey of 14 to 17-year olds conducted by Edinburgh University found that 60% were opposed to independence, with 21% in favour, and 19% undecided. 94% of those surveyed were aware of the upcoming referendum and only 11% hadn’t discussed it with a friend, classmate, or family member. (The Herald page 1, The Scotsman page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, The Times page 2, Daily Express page 2)

Lobbying scandal: Following the revelations about Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, two Labour peers and an Ulster Unionist peer were suspended by their parties in what appears to be a growing scandal relating to lobbying at Westminster. All three are alleged to have agreed to take money for work offered by undercover journalists posing as lobbyists in an investigation conducted by Insight. (The Guardian page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 10, The Herald page 6, The Scotsman page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, Sunday Times page 1, The Times page 1, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 4)

Scottish Conservative strategy: Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has called for an end to ‘navel gazing’, a remark viewed as a rebuke to those within the party who have resisted calls for further devolution should the referendum on independence fail. Eddie Barnes interviews Ruth Davidson in Scotland on Sunday. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Daily Telegraph page 6, The Times page 1)

Holyrood judicial inquiry: Scotland’s top judge, Lord Gill, has refused to give evidence at Holyrood over judicial finances, saying that his refusal was based on the grounds of ‘constitutional principle’. The Scottish Parliament is hearing evidence regarding the creation of a register of interest for judges to ensure transparency in the system. (Sunday Herald page 3)

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.

Falkirk candidate selection: The Labour party reportedly faces questions about whether the union Unite paid the legal fees for its preferred candidate. The union has refused to answer questions on the matter. (Sunday Herald page 14)

Protests against SDL: Anti-fascist protesters turned out to challenge the activities of the Scottish Defence League who led a march outside Holyrood on Sunday. The event ended without violence. (Scotland on Sunday page 2, Press & Journal page 1)

Plastic bag tax: Results of a public consultation on a bag tax for Scotland (similar to that introduced in Wales and Northern Ireland) have stalled at Holyrood as the SNP government has not yet released the results of the consultation. Environmental campaigners have criticised the delay. (Scotland on Sunday page 8)

Economy

Bank of England talks: First Minister Alex Salmond is reported to be having private talks with Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, this week. The two men are expected to discuss the prospects of a sterling zone should Scotland become independent. (Sunday Herald page 8, Angus Armstrong and Prof. David Bell in Scotland on Sunday, The Herald page 6)

Retirement savings: Less than half of those surveyed by Scottish Widows are saving enough for retirement. 40% of women and 49% of men are saving adequately although a fifth of people are saving nothing at all. (The Scotsman page 9, The Times page 13)

Aggreko strategy: In an interview with the Times, Aggreko’s chief executive Rupert Soames has said that the financial situation in Scotland post-independence might force the firm to relocate. Mr Soames is scheduled to debate with Jim McColl of Clyde Blowers on the economic impact of independence. He argues that the benefits of independence are unclear while the disadvantages, particularly in energy, are more tangible. (The Times page 1)

UK and Scottish economy: A report by the Jimmy Reid Foundation asserts that the UK has been bettered by European counterparts on many economic indicators. The report criticises the economic planning initiatives which, according to author Margaret Cuthbert, are increasingly oriented towards London to the detriment of other regions. (Sunday Herald page 1)

Justice

Patient transfer: 100 successful appeals for transfer have been made from Carstairs to lower-security institutions. Of these, 18 were made by patients with convictions for violent crime. The appeals were made under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act of 2003 which allows for the appeal of treatment in high security hospitals, in line with the ECHR. (The Herald page 1)

 

Alcohol crimes: Despite a drink-ban introduced last year on trains, alcohol-related crimes have increased by 50%. Transport police have been called to deal with 15 violent assaults and 2 sex offences. (The Herald page 10)

Health

Smoke exposure in pregnancy: Pregnant women in Scotland are being offered carbon monoxide tests to monitor their exposure to cigarette smoke, whether as a result of smoking themselves or being around those who smoke. (The Herald page 1)