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Reform Scotland News: 25 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.

In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News

Politics

 

Labour conference: In his keynote speech at the Labour Party conference, leader Ed Miliband has set out aspects of his policy agenda should he become Prime Minster after the 2015 General Election. Mr Miliband promised an energy price freeze until 2017, and although the party expects the proposed policy to be popular with voters, it has attracted criticism from energy companies, who have claimed it will damage investment (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, FT page 1, Guardian page 1, Record page 8, Sun page 2, Express page 2, Mail page 1, P&J page 12, Courier page 13). Whilst Mary Riddell in the Telegraph, Seamus Milne in the Guardian and Max Hastings in the Mail comment on the content of Mr Miliband’s speech, both Patrick O’Flynn in the Express and Ian Bell in the Herald argue that the electorate remain unconvinced by his leadership and the prospect of him becoming Prime Minister. Meanwhile, Daniel Finkelstein in the Times comments on the significance of long-term public perceptions’ of the Labour party.

Independence referendum: A report from the Electoral Commission has called upon both the Scottish and Westminster Governments to publish their post-referendum plans by 20th December 2013. Whilst the UK Government has previously refused to pre-negotiate an independence deal before the referendum, the elections watchdog has called for more information on how independence would be achieved in practice to be made available to the electorate. (Scotsman page 12)

Lord Carloway: One of Scotland’s most senior judges, Lord Carloway, has been criticised by Holyrood’s justice committee, with regard to the evidence presented in support of the recommendation to remove the need for corroboration in criminal cases. (Scotsman page 11, Herald page 2, Express page 10)

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. 

Damien McBride: Following the revelations regarding Gordon Brown contained within Damien McBride’s memoirs, Allan Massie in the Scotsman comments upon the sometimes underhand nature of politics.

Economy

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.

Health

Cancer treatment targets: Statistics published by Information Services Division Scotland show half of Scotland’s health boards are failing to meet a key target for cancer patients to start treatment as soon as possible, with the differences between health boards causing concern amongst patient representatives. (Scotsman page 14, Mail page 20, P&J page 10)

Education

Michael Russell: Education Secretary Michael Russell will use his address at the Scottish Learning Festival today to announce that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will evaluate the Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence (Herald page 1). Meanwhile, the Education secretary has also been criticised by opposition parties after the Scottish Government distributed a video message from the minister to colleges, requesting it be shown at graduations or on the institutions online platforms. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 5, Record page 2, Mail page 26)

Justice

Police Scotland: Chief Superintendent of Police Scotland David O’Connor has warned that the national police body will struggle next year to maintain the present record-high number of police officers, whilst making the financial savings demanded by the Scottish Government. (Scotsman page 20)