Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 19 September 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.
Independence referendum: A poll by Ipsos Mori has suggested that amongst those certain to vote, 31 per cent will vote yes and 59 per cent will vote no. A mock referendum of11,000 Aberdeenshire schoolchildren who will be eligible to vote found that 8,718 voted no and 2,847 voted yes. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 7, Sun page 8, Mail page 4, P&J page 11, Richard Lochhead in the P&J, Courier page 13, Times page 2)
Devolution: Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has told the Liberal Democratic conference in Glasgow that a ‘No’ vote did not rule out further devolution, insisting that the rejection of independence could lead to a better devolution settlement. His claims come among SNP suggestions that a ‘No’ vote would lead to calls for greater powers at Holyrood being ignored. (Scotsman page 8)
Lib Dem Conference: Liberal Democratic leader Nick Clegg yesterday insisted that his party had fought “tooth and nail” to maintain key Lib Dem policy, and had used their position in the Coalition to block key Tory policies – preventing the introduction of policies such as inheritance tax and the scrapping of the Human Rights Act. Nick Clegg also told delegates the Liberal Democrats had grown into a “party of government”, insisting he would be willing to work with either Labour or the Conservatives should a hung parliament result from the next General Election. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 8, Telegraph page 8, FT page 2, Express page 2, Macer Hall in the Express, Sun page 2, Record page 2, Guardian page 12, Mail page 8, John MacLeod in the Mail, P&J page 18, Courier page 18, Times page 8)
Lib Dem female MPs: Lib Dem MP Ed Davey has commented that the party’s record on female MPs was “not good enough” and alternatives may have to be considered after 2015. (Guardian page 1)
By-election: The Liberal Democrats have been the third party to heed calls to pick a female candidate to stand for election in the Dunfermline by-election, formerly the constituency seat of disgraced Bill Walker. (Scotsman page 13, Herald page 7)
Plebgate: Scotland Yard and the police watchdog have defended their handling of the investigation into the ‘plebgate’ affair, in the face of scathing criticism from former director of public prosecution Lord Macdonald. (Herald page 8, Scotsman page 13, Telegraph page 1)
Referendum: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman, comments that irrespective of the outcome of next year’s independence referendum, the debate about constitutional politics is still likely to dominate politics in Scotland. Jamieson also argues that in the face of a majority ‘No’ vote, the SNP is unlikely to fade into political obscurity.
Hung Parliament: A poll by ComRes for ITV has alleged that only one in ten voters would prefer the next General Election to result in a coalition government. Sixty-seven percent of those polled said they would like to see an outright victory by one party. (Scotsman page 8)
UK opinion poll: A YouGov poll has put the Tories and Labour both on 36 per cent in terms of voting intentions for Westminster across the UK as a whole. (Sun page 4)
Michael Moore: Iain Macwhirter in the Herald, comments that Michael Moore’s speech at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow has done little to further unionist sentiment within Scotland, and notes that comparisons between UKIP and the SNP were ineffectual and false.
Institute for Fiscal Studies: A report by the IFS due to be published today suggests that an independent Scotland may need to inflict cuts of up to £5.9billion due to austerity. The research showed that spending would have to be cut by £2.5billion or taxes raised, should a Scottish government follow the spending course set out by the existing UK government. (Scotsman page 6, David Phillips and Paul Johnson in the Scotsman, Herald page 7, Telegraph page 6, Express page 1, Guardian page 4, Mail page 1, Times page 1)
School meals: Two leading campaign groups, Child Poverty Action Group Scotland and Children in Scotland, have urged ministers at Holyrood to adopt the provision of free school meals for all five to seven year olds, in line with plans announced for school children in England. (Herald page 6)
Public sector corruption: Police in Scotland are to launch a specialist unit to root out alleged organised crime within the public sector and protect staff from corruption. Officers will instruct all public sector organisations, including health boards, quangos and the local authorities, on how to protect staff from criminals attempting to extort money. (Herald page 1)
ScotRail: Sunday trains in Scotland could all halt should ScotRail drivers vote to ban overtime as part of a pay dispute, their union Aslef have warned. The ballot, which comes after union members rejected pay offers recommended by union leadership, would be the first industrial action by ScotRail drivers for 11 years. (Scotsman page 11)