A week in Scottish politics: 11 October to 17 October 2013


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 11 and 17 October which are freely available online.


Thursday 17 October

Independence: Ian Macwhirter comments in the Herald that the SNP needs to be seen to be thinking progressively, and should ‘be bold’ by holding a cross-party pre-referendum national convention to map the way forward after a Yes vote.

Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph that Alex Salmond will need more than applause from his followers to win the battle, and that while his party rank-and-file may cheer loudly, separation remains unpopular.

Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman that securing a Yes vote is not the only challenge facing the SNP at the moment, and that there are troubling questions lying beneath its main objective of independence.

James Mitchell comments in the Guardian that it is possible that the SNP can still win the referendum campaign if they can convince Scots that they will protect the welfare state.

Prestwick Airport:  Helen McArdle comments in the Herald that the Scottish Government’s rationale in stepping in to save the airport was sound, but is unsure whether pumping public money in to it long-term is a viable option.

Michael Kelly comments in the Scotsman that the only sensible reason for taking on Prestwick Airport is to shut it down in an orderly fashion, and that the airport under public ownership will serve no other purpose but to divert resources from a more sensible central hub solution.

Wednesday 16 October

Royal Mail: Ian Bell in the Herald comments on allegations that Royal Mail was sold off too cheaply.

Freedom of Information: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on the Scottish government’s attitude to freedom of information requests. 

Deputy Speaker: David Maddox in the Scotsman comments on the election to replace Nigel Evans as Deputy Speaker in the House of Commons.

Independence: Gregor Gall in the Scotsman comments that the Yes campaign should focus on demonstrating that individual Scots will be better off after independence, rather than whether Scotland as a single entity would be better off.

Tuesday 15 October

Oil fund: Peter Jones in the Scotsman questions whether an oil fund in an independent Scotland would be realistic in the short term.

Press regulation: Christine Jardine in the Scotsman argues in favour of the Royal Charter to regulate the press.

Local taxes: Ben Thomson in the Scotsman argues that local authorities should be responsible for raising more of their own income.

Monday 14 October

ndependence: Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman comments on the latest TNS/BMRB polling results, highlighting that the benchmark of “one year to go” hasn’t transformed the independence debate. She goes on to accuse the mainstream media of being ‘independence-averse’, and comments on both camps’ campaigning methods.

Ed Miliband: Brian Monteith in the Scotsman argues that while Ed Miliband’s ‘new, active and even bold’ approach to leadership may have been seen as successful, his apparent veer to the left and resulting policy can potentially be used by the Conservative party to attack him.

Friday 11 October

Energy firms: Ann Robinson and Terry Murden in the Scotsman comment on Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) raising of its energy prices, just shortly after Labour leader’s Ed Miliband’s pledge at the Labour party conference to freeze energy prices until 2017 should Labour win the next General Election.

Oil fund: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont labelling of Alex Salmond as “dishonest” in the wake of a report showing that the SNP government had been warned that the creation of an oil fund would lead to a rise in taxes, borrowing or spending cuts.

Shale gas: Alex Massie in the Scotsman comments that the SNP could become less reliant on oil revenue in the economic case for independence by pledging to produce fuel in the form of shale gas in Scotland.

Youth unemployment: Joyce McMillan in the Scotsman argues that young people in the UK have less incentive to perform well in education due to a lack of job prospects, while also commenting on figures that would suggest the UK is increasingly un-meritocratic.