Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 5 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.
Child Abuse Apology: Hugh Gilbert, the Bishop of Aberdeen and one of Scotland’s most senior Catholics, has issued an apology to victims of child abuse. During a service yesterday, he said that allegations about abuse at Fort Augustus Abbey in the Highlands had shamed the Church. The move has been described as a landmark step in the changing attitude towards abuse claims by the Catholic Church, which has previously been accused of being dismissive of such allegations. (Herald page 1, Telegraph page 6, Record page 4, Times page 5, Guardian page 6, Mail page 20, P&J page 11, Courier page 13, Scotland on Sunday page 1)
The apology comes amid revelations that ‘secret archives’ of the Church could contain claims of sexual abuse by as many as 100 priests that stretch back over 50 years. (Scotsman page 1)
Legal Advice on Independence: The Law Society of Scotland has called for the governments in Holyrood and Westminster to reveal the legal advice they have received on an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU. In a discussion paper published today the body, which represents Scotland’s lawyers, say that voters need clarity ahead of next year’s referendum. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 4 record page 4, Express page 2, Times page 1, Mail page 4, P&J page 12)
Benefits Cap: Alex Salmond has announced that there would be a cap on household benefits in an independent Scotland. The idea of a benefits cap was imposed by the Coalition government earlier this year. (Herald page 2)
University Pensions: Scotland’s universities could start a new replacement pension scheme if they are forced to leave the UK-wide Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). If Scotland becomes independent then the costs of creating a separate Scottish scheme would reportedly be relatively modest. (Herald page 2)
Trident: A report by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator has warned of technical problems with the Trident fleet, due to the service of the submarines being extended beyond their originally intended lifespan. (Herald page 3)
Female Breadwinners: Women are the main source of income in one-third of Scottish homes, the highest proportion in the UK. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 6)
UKIP Strategy: David Cameron’s election strategist Lynton Crosby is reportedly planning a campaign to target UK Independence Party councillors. He plans to monitor all the council meetings which UKIP members attend, and will try to undermine them by catching them making embarrassing comments. (Sunday Times page 1, Mail page 10)
Tam Dalyell: Pro-Union Labour MP Tom Dalyell has criticised the Better Together campaign, calling it ‘fraudulent’, and claiming that the way to save the UK is to abolish the devolved Scottish parliament. (Sunday Times page 1)
Ed Miliband: A Labour MP has publicly criticised the party and its leader for failing to take on the conservatives. Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley and Broughton in Greater Manchester, said the party was ‘slumbering’ and that the shadow cabinet was ‘almost invisible’. His comments follow last week’s claim from MP George Mudie that Ed Miliband is too young and under too much influence from the unions. (Express page 2)
To tackle these concerns, the Labour party will today begin an attack on the Coalition government over falling living standards. (FT page 2, Mail page 8)
Danny Alexander: Chief Secretary of the Treasury Danny Alexander has been criticised for protecting his own constituency in the Highlands from the effects of austerity. (FT page 2)
Sir Malcolm Rifkind: Recently released government documents from the Thatcher era reveal that Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former foreign and defence secretary, accused government officials in 1990 of being biased against Scotland. (Sunday Times page 7)
Army manpower: The Scottish Sun has reported that the army is dangerously undermanned and that almost all of the 36 infantry battalions are below strong, some by more than 100 soldiers. (Sun page 1)
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. (Sunday Herald page 22)
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.
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
Peter Capaldi: Scottish actor Peter Capaldi has been revealed as the new Doctor Who. The Glasgow-born Oscar-Winner, best known for playing Malcolm Tucker on political comedy ‘The Thick of It’, will be the third Scottish actor to take on the role. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1)
Sterling Zone: Chancellor George Osborne is reportedly making plans to block an independent Scotland from keeping the pound. The government in Westminster has previously stated that a currency union is unlikely to take place, but now Mr Osborne is planning to force the issue by imposing difficult economic conditions. (Scotsman page 4)
Social Spending: According to the Ditchley Foundation, a group of diplomats, academics and politicians, the Scottish government’s ability to promote greater social equality through public spending would be limited by the costs of setting up a new state. (Sunday Times page 7)
Meanwhile, a Danish expert on cradle-to-grave welfare in Scandinavia is set to help plan the welfare system for an independent Scotland. (Sunday Herald page 12)
Banking Reform: Ian Macwhirter, writing in the Sunday Herald, comments on the potential for banking reform in the UK.
University Growth: The principals of Scottish universities have called for an increase in the number of undergraduate places, to prevent middle-class students from losing out to bright students from poorer backgrounds. (Herald page 7)
Education Inequality: According to an economist at the London School of Economics, an independent Scotland may be better equipped to tackle inequalities in its education system, commenting that this is ‘a huge problem that devolution has been unable to solve’. (Scotsman page 6, Courier page 14)