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A week in Scottish politics: 12 to 18 July 2013

Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 12 and 18 July, which are freely available online.

Thursday 18 July

Independence: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman criticises the tactics used by both the pro and anti-independence campaigns. He also argues that the debate on independence lacks substance.

Council powers: Steven Heddle in the Scotsman argues that the Councils of Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles are right in demanding more powers from the UK and Scottish government. He puts forth that the islands are being industrialized against the wishes of locals, and to the detriment of key industries – tourism and inshore fishing – with the revenue and benefits heading south to Holyrood and Westminster.

BBC: Iain Macwhirter in the Scotsman comments on a recent report by Audience Research Scotland that revealed 52% of Scots felt that BBC Scotland’s news coverage failed to reflect life north of the border.

Saltire: Christine Jardine in the Scotsman criticises Alex Salmond’s decision to wave the Saltire during Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory.

Wednesday 17 July

Trident: Angus Robertson in the Record suggests that most Scots do not want Trident. However, Jim Murphy in the Times argues that Scotland would not benefit from unilateralism.

Scottish Labour: Gregor Gall in the Scotsman comments that should the independence referendum be lost, Scottish Labour must be prepared to capitalise by establishing greater distance between the agendas of the Labour Party in Scotland, and the UK Labour Party.

Welfare reform: Ian Bell in the Herald criticises the Coalition government for its focus on saving money by reducing government spending on public services and the welfare state. Polly Toynbee in the Guardian comments upon the possible impact of the closure of Sure Start Centres. However, Paul Gilbride in the Express argues that Scots should support the Coalition government’s welfare reforms.

Quangos: Alison Payne in the Herald argues that the use of quangos threatens democratic accountability and transparency.

Renewable energy: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman argues that the Scottish renewable energy industry has benefited from developing within a single UK energy market, and would be damaged if Scotland were to become independent.

Tuesday 16 July

A&E report: Magnus Gardham in The Herald comments on opposition MSPs calling for a report on Scotlands A&E departments to be published, and suggests that all MSP’s should support this.

Monday 15 July

Independence Paper:
Alan Bissett in the Guardian comments on Alex Salmond’s suggestion that part of the Scottish government’s white paper on independence should be “composed by one of Scotland’s great literary talents”.

Saltire:  Jane Devine in the Scotsman writes in defense of Alex Salmond waving a saltire at Wimbledon last week.

Independence campaign: Brian Monteith in the Scotsman argues that asking questions about what might happen following independence isn’t being negative of scaremongering.                                         

Conservatives in the North-East: David Skelton, writing in the Telegraph, comments on how the Conservatives can ‘win back the working class’ by appealing to voters in areas, such as the North-East of England, where the Labour party is losing influence.

‘Churnalism’: Tanya Gold, writing in the Guardian, comments on ‘churnalism’, which encourages people to mock politicians without examining their policies.

Sunday 14 July

Salmond Vs Darling: Iain Macwhirter in the Sunday Herald compares Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond and considers that the SNP are today “more Labour than Labour ever were”.

Labour & independence: Stephen Noon, chief strategist for the Yes campaign, in the Scotland on Sunday, claims that the Scottish Labour Party will have an important role to play to make an independent Scotland a success.

MPs’ pay: Gerald Warner in the Scotland on Sunday argues against the proposed increase in MPs’ salaries.

Local/central control: Martin Sime in the Scotland on Sunday agrees with the Local Government Regeneration Committee’s report that many of the barriers to reforming public services could be overcome by a change in attitudes and behaviour.

Friday 12 July

MPs’ pay: Alison Rowat in the Herald comments on the proposed pay increase for MPs.

Faslane: George Kerevan in the Scotsman and Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comment on the speculation and denial that the UK government was considering claiming the Faslane nuclear base as a sovereign UK territory in the event of independence. 

Independence: Alex Massie in the Scotsman comments that the independence debate should be about what kind of nation we aspire to be.

Labour & the unions: Tom Peterkin in the Scotsman comments on Johann Lamont’s perceived silence following Labour’s recent problems with the Unite union in Falkirk.

HS2: John McCormick in the Scotsman argues that high speed rail should be extended to Scotland.