Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 19 August 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.
Edinburgh International Festival: Fiona Hyslop, Culture Secretary for Scotland, has defended the decision of the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) not to commission shows about the referendum next year. She told critics to ‘relax’, and stated that the themes of the Commonwealth Games and the First World War will contain ideas that will explore the referendum. (Herald page 1)
Steve Cardownie, the deputy leader of Edinburgh City Council, has said that political interference in the EIF would be ‘tantamount to state intervention’, and that ‘festivals need political meddling like a hole in the head.’ (Scotsman page 17)
Brian Ferguson, writing in the Scotsman, Lesley Riddoch, writing in the Sunday Herald, and EIR director Sir Jonathan Mills, writing in the Scotland on Sunday, comment on the debate about the EIF and the theme of Scottish Independence.
Labour shake-up: Lord Prescott has joined the calls for Ed Miliband to ‘shake-up’ his shadow cabinet. The former deputy prime minister warned that time was running out for the party to make an impact ahead of 2015’s general election. (Herald page 2, Scotsman page 10, Record page 6, Sun page 12, Mail page 12)
Meanwhile, shadow business secretary Chuka Ummuna has said that Mr Miliband will be ‘turning up the volume’ in the coming weeks (Telegraph page 4, Express page 2, Guardian page 4, Mail page 4) while Lord Glasman has called for the appointment of a party veteran to the shadow cabinet. (Times page 8) The Shadow pensions minister says that the party leader should ignore criticisms, and that he has plenty of time to craft his policies. (FT page 2).
Commonwealth Games: Tickets for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games have gone on sale today. Up to one million tickets will be available and children under 16 will be able to get them for half price. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 8, Telegraph page 4, Express page 15, Record page 1, Sun Page 8, Mail page 19, Courier page 13)
Two-thirds of Scots believe the Games will bring lasting benefits to Scotland. (Record page 4, Sunday Times page 4, Courier page 13)
Jane Devine, writing in the Scotsman, comments on the legacy that the Commonwealth Games could leave for disabled people.
Prince Charles’ Staff: Concerns have been raised about the ‘constitutional role’ of the monarchy after it emerged that members of the Prince of Wales’s staff have been seconded to government departments. Suggestions they were ‘moles’, posted by the Prince in order to influence policy, have been strongly denied. (Scotsman page 16, Guardian page 12, Mail page 12, P&J page 23)
Cabinet Papers: The Yes campaign has highlighted Cabinet papers, released under the 30-year rule, in an attempt to counter arguments about uncertainty in an independent Scotland. The papers show that after the 1979 devolution referendum failed, Scottish Secretary George Younger had to fight against severe cuts to the block grant. (Herald page 6)
Coalition Government: David Cameron has reportedly started planning for a coalition with the Liberal Democrats after the next general election, and has held talks over new party rules which would make it easier to strike another coalition deal. (Telegraph page 1)
Meanwhile, MPs have said that Labour’s promise to lower the voting age to 16 would increase the chances of a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition government following the general election. (Telegraph page 4, Record page 6, Sun page 11)
Church of Scotland: The Church of Scotland is facing accusations of ‘heavy-handed’ treatment of staff, after it reportedly told workers they would be sacked and then re-employed under new terms unless they signed up to a cut in their pensions. (Heraldpage 1)
Fracking: Lord Browne, the former CEO of BP, has said that hydraulic fracturing for shale oil and gas is ‘in the national interest’, and should be pursued if it can be done safely. (Scotsman page 18)
Prince Charles’ Donation: Prince Charles has reportedly made a ‘handsome’ donation to save the historic Bothwell Parish in Scotland. The church needs to raise £2million within a year to save the building. (Herald page 3)
‘Rip off’ pensions: The shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont has threatened to impose stringent legislations on pension providers if they continue to ‘rip off’ customers. (FT page 2)
Libertarianism: Brian Monteith, writing in the Scotsman, comments on Scotfree2014, a blog which is run by Scottish Libertarians who are in favour of an independent Scotland.
Labour: Geoffrey Wheatcroft, writing in the Guardian, comments on the ‘verbal fisticuffs’ which have been taking place this summer amongst senior Labour figures, and argues that the party’s problems reflect a general public disinterest in politics.
Growth: The CBI has increased its expectations for growth in the British economy this year. The organisation, which represents over 240,000 UK businesses, upgraded its prediction to 1.2% growth, up from 1%, in the economy this year. Last night, First Minister Alex Salmond said that economic recovery was ‘gaining ground’ in Scotland and Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said the new figure was ‘good news for Scotland’. (Scotsman page 1, Guardian page 18, Mail page 2)
Jobs: There has been a sharp rise in the number of people in permanent employment in Scotland, according to the Bank of Scotland labour market report. (Times page 18, Record page 6)
‘Bust Britain’: Ian Macwhirter, writing in the Sunday Herald, comments on the economic recovery and the recent rise in household bills.
Out patients: According to findings from the Royal College of Nursing Scotland, nurses who treat patients at home think they are unable to provide the level of care which out-patients need. Nearly two thirds of nurses say that, because of their workloads, they are unable to provide a satisfactory service and half say they cannot pay patients any extra visits. (Herald page 7)
Sickness benefits: A study by Stirling University has revealed that Scots claim a third more per person for sickness benefit than the rest of the UK. (Times page 7, Express page 2, Scotland on Sunday page 1)
Ill-health: Lesley Riddoch, writing in the Scotsman, comments on ill-health in Scotland and claims it is the symptom of a sick society.
Racist incidents: It has emerged that almost 1,300 racist incidents have been reported in Scottish schools in the last two years. The Scottish Liberal Democrats have called on the SNP government to rethink its approach to racism education. (Times page 18, Sunday Times page 4, Express page 15, Courier page 1, Sunday Herald page 15)
Exam statistics: The UK Statistics Authority has criticised the way in which the Scottish Government publishes school exam statistics. (Herald page 10)
Pay cover-up: South Lanarkshire Council has been accused of attempting a cover-up after it lost a court battle to keep the details of pay inequalities between its male and female staff secret. (Times page 6, Sun page 2, Sunday Herald page 13)