Reform Scotland News: 30 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



Syria: Labour, Conservative, SNP and Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the government proposal for military intervention in Syria following the alleged use of chemical weaponsby the Assad regime. Ed Miliband challenged David Cameron not to use the royal prerogative to ignore the vote and Mr Cameron replied that it was clear Britain did not want to see military action and would act accordingly. (Scotsman page 1 & pages 4-7, David Maddox in the Scotsman, Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman, George Kerevan in the Scotsman, Herald page 1 & pages 6-7, Sun page 8, Express page 1, Times page 1 & pages 3-9, Telegraph page 1 & pages 4-6, Guardian page 1 & pages 4-7, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, Mail page 1 & pages 6-9, P&J pages 16-17, Courier page 14-15)


Bill Walker: Despite pressure from politicians of all parties, Bill Walker has dismissed calls for him to step down as an MSP. Mr Walker was convicted of 23 assaults and one breach of the peace and 82 of 129 MSPs backed a motion in Holyrood calling for him to resign as the representative for Dunfermline following his conviction. (Scotsman page 9, Record page 2, Sun page 2, Express page 9, Times page 11, Telegraph page 11, Mail page 19, Courier page 1)


Immigration messages: The UK government has been criticised over its ‘go home’ poster campaign in its Glasgow immigration office. Senior Kirk minister Rev Dr Iain Whyte has criticised the campaign as unacceptable and an attempt to bully vulnerable people. He has called on the Scottish Government to have the posters and stickers removed. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 1)


Islands: The leaders of Scotland’s island councils have agreed on a plan that could give them control over seabeds following talks with the Scottish Government. Liberal Democrat MSPs for Shetland and Orkney have expressed concern that the prospect of extra powers after independence is a bribe ahead of next year’s referendum but the “Our Islands Our Future” campaign has declined to take a position on independence. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 5, Times page 13)


Scottish Sovereignty Movement: The nationalist fringe group, the Scottish Sovereignty Movement (SSM) has been reconvened to contribute to the independence debate. The group’s spokesman Andrew MacDonald criticised the standard of debate between Yes Scotland and Better Together. (Scotsman page 16)


Lobbying: The Electoral Commission has expressed concerns about the UK government’s controversial plans on lobbying. The proposed bill would create a statutory register of lobbyists and set a £390,000 cap on the amount any organisation could spend across the UK during elections – excluding political parties. The Commission has warned that the bill raises significant issues of workability. (Scotsman page 18, Herald page 4)


Super Pumas: The Super Puma helicopters grounded following a crash into the North Sea have been cleared to fly but although three Super Puma models will be back in service, the L2 model will only be used for non-passenger flights initially. The black box from the Super Puma L2, which crashed last week, has now been recovered and investigations continue into the cause of the crash. (Scotsman page 1, Record page 6, Sun page 4, Express page 11, Guardian page 12, Mail page 10, P&J pages 11-13, Courier page 23)


Migration: Scotland’s migrant population reached an all-time high of 375,000 in 2012 according to a government report. Holyrood external affairs minister Fiona Hyslop welcomed the news saying they show Scotland is an “attractive and dynamic nation”. (Sun page 2, Mail page 17)


Friends of the Union: Ruth Davidson, Scottish Conservative leader, is expected to raise the profile of her party’s Friends of the Union group today with a speech advocating the positive case for the UK. Ms Davidson is also expected to warn of the negative consequences of independence. (Times page 24, Courier page 20)


Constitution: First Minister Alex Salmond has spoken in favour of a written constitution for an independent Scotland. He outlined his plan during a speech in Argyll, where he held a Cabinet meeting. (P&J page 20)



Child poverty: Campaigners have called for action to help raise living standards for children after a study by the National Children’s Bureau revealed the depths of child poverty in Britain. The report found that 1.5million more children are growing up in poverty than in 1973. (Herald page 2)


House prices: The new Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said he is ready to head off the risks of a house price bubble caused by low interest rates and the Government’s Help to Buy scheme. (Mail page 4)


Local Government

Edinburgh Old Town: Revised plans have been unveiled for a £150million redevelopment of Caltongate in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Artisan Real Estate Investors said that the development would create 2,500 jobs and provide 145 homes, eventually generating £43million a year for the local economy. (Scotsman page 24, Herald page 5, Times page 13)



Trains: New figures have revealed that Scotland has some of the worst train services in the UK with some operators struggling to have half their trains running on time. RMT transport union general secretary Bob Crow criticised the British train service saying that under privatisation Britain pays the highest fares in Europe for some of the most unreliable services. (Record page 2)