A week in Scottish politics: 20 to 26 September 2013


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 20 and 26 September which are freely available online.

Thursday 26 September

Labour Conference: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman, Richard Lloyd in the Scotsman, Kate Devlin in the Herald, Iain Macwhirter in the Herald, Harry Wallop in the Telegraph, Bill Leckie in the Sun, and Dr Monica Giulietti in the Scotsman all comment on Miliband’s plans to freeze energy prices should Labour win the next General Election.

Royal Mail: Christine Jardine in the Scotsman comments on the privatisation of the Royal Mail, suggesting that it could prosper as a private company in the same manner that saw British Telecom flourish, suggesting that a Royal Mail free from government constraints and able to mobilise and modernise more efficiently would be able to compete with current alternatives.

Policy Proposals: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman criticises pledges made by the Lib Dems and Labour in their respective conferences, commenting that parties appear to have forgotton “austerity” Britain, and that with recovery apparently underway parties have reverted to pledges, reminiscent of the spending and borrowing bubble that contributed to the 2008 crisis. However, Jamieson also notes that no party can hope to succeed on a platform of cutbacks, restraints and austerity.

Devolution: Gordon Matheson in the Herald argues that both Westminster and Holyrood should devolve more power to city regions, and in general local government. He comments that the growth and innovation within urban areas drives the economy, and that more focal and tailored urban strategy would better serve Scotland’s economy.

Wednesday 25 September

Labour conference: Following leader Ed Miliband’s keynote speech at the Labour Party conference, Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, Seamus Milne in the Guardian and Max Hastings in the Mail all comment upon the content of Mr Miliband’s speech. However, both Patrick O’Flynn in the Express and Ian Bell in the Herald argue that the electorate remain unconvinced by Mr. Miliband’s leadership and the prospect of him becoming Prime Minister. Meanwhile.

SNP: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments upon a perceived lack of credibility regarding the SNP’s proposals to renationalise Royal Mail and pay pensions earlier in an independent Scotland. Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman comments upon whether under devolution or independence there is the political will and public appetite to use the economic levers required to reduce inequality. Alex Massie in the Times argues that an independent Scotland will be unable to emulate the Scandinavian social-democratic orthodoxy often aspired to. 

Premature acquisition: Prof. Colin Mason and Dr. Ross Brown in the Scotsman argue that whilst there are short-term benefits to emerging and successful Scottish companies being taken over by oversees businesses, in the long-term the trend is detrimental to the Scottish economy.

Tuesday 24 September

Labour conference: David Maddox in the Scotsman comments on the Labour Party conference.

Trams: in the Scotsman comments on the future viability of Edinburgh’s trams. Sir Donald MacKay

Monday 23 September

Scottish Labour:  Ruth Wishart, writing in the Scotsman, comments on the hard work Labour will have to do to return to power in Holyrood in the event of a No vote in next September’s referendum.

Female candidates and domestic abuse: Jane Devine, writing in the Scotsman, comments on MSP Bill Walker’s abuse conviction and argues that fielding female candidates to replace him is tokenism and does not address the issue.

Independence: Alan Cochrane, writing in the Telegraph, comments on the ambitious promises which the SNP are making about the future of an independent Scotland, which include more generous pensions and the re-nationalisation of the Royal Mail.

2015 Election: In the Guardian, Chris Huhne, suggests what he thinks Ed Miliband needs do to if he is to win the 2015 general election, while Neil Lawson sets out the challenges facing the Labour party ahead of the election.

Friday 20 September

Royal Mail: Alan Cochrane writing in the Telegraph comments on Alex Salmond’s pledge to return the Royal Mail to public ownership if he was leading the government of an independent Scotland following the referendum.

LibDems and independence: Joyce McMillan writing in the Scotsman comments on Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats claims that they would move for enhanced Scottish home rule following a No vote in next year’s referendum.

Yes campaign: George Kerevan writing in the Scotsman discusses the reasons he will be joining the Yes campaign’s march in Edinburgh tomorrow and encourages other Scots to join it.

Political correctness: Alison Rowat writing in the Herald comments on the resurgence of concerns over political correctness and argues that it is not ‘political correctness gone mad’, it is progress.

Referendum and education: Andrew Denholm writing in the Herald asks what effect the result of the referendum will have on education in Scotland and comments on the latest edition of Scottish Education’s predictions.