A week in Scottish politics: 18 October to 24 October 2013


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 18 and 24 October which are freely available online.

Thursday 24 October

Grangemouth oil refinery: Iain Macwhirter comments in the Herald that if Grangemouth is to survive then it is going to require the “abject humiliation” of the union, and that it would not be wise to opt for no jobs to avoid loss of face. He adds that there are also lots of people who would jump at the offer of wage freezes and the loss of pensions in exchange for jobs paying £40,000.

Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman that the events unfolding at Grangemouth serve as a reminder of how quickly government pledges can be derailed, and that voters should be wary of political promises.

Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph that, as oil is the bedrock of Salmond’s economic case for separation, the closure of Scotland’s only refinery would be a blow to the SNP’s independence dream.

Martin Kettle also comments that the Grangemouth issue could shape the Scottish independence referendum as the independence debate becomes less about nationhood and more about the kind of society that Scots want to live in.

Corroboration in criminal trials: Hugh McLachlan comments in the Scotsman that we should be wary of the Scottish Government’s current proposal to abolish the requirement of corroboration in criminal trials in response to low conviction rates in rape cases, because it is not the function of the courts to secure convictions, but to ensure the accused are tried fairly and justly.

Health inequality: Helen Puttick comments in the Herald that true health equality requires action not words, and that it is deprivation which needs to be addressed in order to close the health gap.

Wednesday 23 October

Energy firms: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comment son the former Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Major’s declaration that it would be “entirely reasonable” for the Treasury to impose a sizeable levy on energy firms’ profits next year.

Grangemouth oil refinery: Ian Bell in the Herald comments on the future of the Grangemouth oil refinery.

By-election: Eddie Barnes in the Scotsman comments on the Dunfermline by-election, stressing the importance of the outcome to the SNP especially.

Tuesday 22 October

Social justice: Peter Jones in the Scotsman considers why Scotland needs independence to address problems related to social justice.

Alex Salmond: Matt Qvortup in the Scotsman examines Alex Salmond’s SNP conference speech and argues that he has been transformed into a man with courage and vision

Singapore: Roddy Gow in the Scotsman argues that Singapore offers lessons of how Scotland’s economy could be successful, whether Scotland was independent or not.

Round the clock care: Dr Nikki Thompson in the Scotsman responds to comments from Alex Neil saying that he envisaged “more senior doctors being on site at weekends rather than on call at home”.

Monday 21 October

Independence referendum: Alan Cochrane in The Daily Telegraph says that unionists should be more forthright in their campaign to prevent separation and that this “silent majority” should be more vocal. 

Lesley Riddoch in The Scotsman discusses a “shameful” week for British democracy and questions whether this will sway Scottish voters towards voting ‘yes’ to independence.   

Andrew McKie in The Herald argues that the SNP cannot guarantee what independence would bring.

Friday 18 October

Grangemouth: Alison Rowat writing in the Herald encourages Alex Salmond to involve himself in the industrial dispute over the Grangemouth oil refinery.

Oil fund: Gavin McCrone writing in the Scotsman comments on the feasibility of an oil fund in an independent Scotland.

 SNP conference: George Kerevan writing in the Scotsman comments on the SNP conference and claims the SNP is a consistent centraliser.

 Alan Cochrane writing in the Telegraph comments on the effect the crisis at Grangemouth is having on the SNP conference.