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A week in Scottish politics: 2 to 8 August 2013

Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 2 and 8 August which are freely available online.

Thursday 8th August

Alex Salmond: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments on the First Minister’s criticisms of the ruling Labour group in Aberdeen Council, arguing that the First Minister’s comments further demean his office.

Referendum: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman argues that as a result of further devolution in the face of a majority ‘No’ vote next year, the disintegration of the UK is ultimately inevitable.

Exam Results: Alex Massie in the Scotsman comments on the rise of Higher pass rates for the seventh consecutive year, arguing that high pass rates are masking inadequacies in the Scottish education system.

Interest Rates: David Maddox in the Scotsman argues that the Bank of England’s decision to not increase from 0.5% until unemployment in the UK had fallen below 7% could ultimately work in the Conservative party’s favour, with Carney’s announcing that the recovery “is now under way” alongside the introduction of new policy effectively rubber stamping his approval on the coalition’s austerity policies.

Terry Murden in the Scotsman expresses concern for the new policy introduced by Mark Carney, noting that the recovery may remain weak and may not take hold as promised, with current outlooks optimistic. He comments that the focus on unemployment as a tie-in to economic performance is questionable, with inflation rates still likely to be the main driver.

Growth: Iain MacWhirter in the Herald argues that growth remains unstable and fragile, and descriptions of the British economy as ‘Boom Britain’ are premature.

Open University: Dr James Miller comments on the increase of young students who opt to further their education at The Open University.

Wednesday 7th August

Budget Cuts: John McLaren in the Scotsman argues that there will therefore be great uncertainty amongst voters regarding the future of public service provision as they vote in 2014 and 2015.

Ed Miliband: Ian Bell in the Herald comments that Ed Miliband’s actions have failed to increase his personal credibility as party leader.

Conservatives: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments that the Scottish Conservatives might benefit from emulating their Welsh counterparts’ stance on education.

Independence: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman considers the economic arguments for independence, suggesting that Scottish nationalism is based on separatism rather than an economic rationale. Allan Massie in the Scotsman comments that it is not negative for voters to reject Scottish independence, whilst Tommy Brennan in the Scotsman argues that an independent Scotland would allow self-determination of policy to the Scottish people. David Pratt in the Herald comments that whether Scotland becomes independent or not, the Scottish Government should seek to develop its own foreign policy stance on the international stage. 

Currency: John Kay in the Financial Times comments that it is possible that the pound could feasibly be used as the currency of an independent Scotland.

Employment: Seumas Milne in the Guardian comments on Citizens Advice Scotland’s warning that a third of people employed in Scotland are in part-time or temporary employment, and as such any decreases in unemployment have been accompanied by increasing rates of underemployment.

Tuesday 6th August

Exams: Brian Boyd writing in The Herald questions whether exams are the best way to test young people. Christine Jardine in The Scotsman also questions this and comments that exams are not the best way to show success.

School Abuse: Colette Douglas Home writing in The Herald comments on the allegations of abuse in two schools in Scotland.

Referendum: Alan Cochrane writing in The Daily Telegraph comments on the possibility of further devolved powers for Holyrood if the referendum should result in a no vote.

Independence: Joan McAlpine writing in the Daily Record comments on how independence could benefit the Scottish agricultural industry.

Monday 5th August

Scaremongering: Andrew McKie, writing in The Herald, comments on the Better Together campaign and the accusations that is spreading fear about the referendum.

Labour for Independence: Brian Monteith, writing in The Scotsman, comments on the Yes Campaign and the Labour for Independence Group.

Referendum Campaigns: Steve Richards, writing in the Guardian, comments on referendum campaigns ahead of next year’s Scottish independence referendum and a possible referendum in 2015 on the UK’s EU status.

Sunday 4th August

French for Yes: Mark McNaught, writing in the Scotland on Sunday, comments on the ‘French for Yes’ campaign and the deep mutual affection between the French and the Scots.

Absurd Arguments: Andrew Wilson, writing in the Scotland on Sunday, comments on ‘absurd arguments’ in the referendum debate

Banking Reform: Ian Macwhirter, writing in the Sunday Herald, comments on the potential for banking reform in the UK.

Friday 2 August

Independent Scotland: George Kerevan writing in the Scotsman sets out his vision of an independent Scotland and argues that devolution does not go far enough to change Scotland.

Land reform: Michael Fry writing in the Scotsman comments on land reform in Scotland and the lack of progress over the 14 years since the Scottish Parliament’s creation.