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A week in Scottish politics: 27 September to 3 October 2013

Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 27 September and 3 October which are freely available online.

Thursday 3 October

Conservative Party conference: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman, Leo McKinstry in the Express, Matthew Engel in the FT, Iain Macwhirter in the Herald comment on David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party conference

North Sea resources: Stuart McDonald in the Herald comments that the oil and gas in the North Sea are a bonus, and should not be the basis for voting Yes in the referendum.

Identity: Tom Devine in the Scotsman comments that statistics on identity can be misleading.

Wind farms: Niall Stuart in the Scotsman comments that investment in renewables in Scotland is already paying off and that bigger opportunities are still to come.

High speed rail: Helen McArdle comments in the Herald that a failure to include Scotland in HS2 will leave Scotland more isolated from UK markets, leaving Scotland worse off economically, while only cutting the travel time between Glasgow and London by 53 minutes.

Wednesday 2 October

Scottish universities: Lloyd Anderson in the Scotsman comments that Scottish universities deserve their reputation for excellence, noting that four Scottish universities broke into the top 100 in a recent leading survey. Anderson insists that there is room for improvement however, and expresses his satisfaction with universities’ refusal to “rest on their laurels”.

Energy firms: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman argues that the government cannot risk leaving the supply of electricity and gas to the mercy of the free market.   Government, Wilson argues, has a responsibility to make sure that access to electricity and gas is affordable for families.

Conservative conference: Allan Massie in the Scotsman argues that David Cameron has the ability to win the next General Election, though risk losing voters to UKIP in 2015.

Independence: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments on the allocation of Ms Davidson’s prime slot on the main platform immediately ahead of David Cameron.

Tuesday 1 October

Conservative conference: David Maddox in the Scotsman, Janan Ganesh in the FT, Judith Woods in the Telegraph and Polly Toynbee in the Guardian comment on Conservative Party conference in Manchester. 

Referendum: Peter Jones in the Scotsman considers a scientific approach to examining the facts on the independence debate.

Price-freeze: Tom Greatrex in the Scotsman outlines the benefits of Ed Miliband’s proposed energy price-freeze.

Ukip: Harry Reid in the Herald argues that Ukip has no relevance in Scotland.

Scottish Tories: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments on proposals from the Scottish Conservatives to allow schools to opt out of local authority control and have the ability to select pupils.

Higher education: Lucy Hunter in the Scotsman argues that that Higher Education in Scotland is facing a continued squeeze on student funding.

Monday 30 September

General Election: Andrew Mckie, writing in the Herald, comments on how David Cameron can attract voters at the next general election. He argues that the Prime Minister can use the UK’s economic recovery to convince voters, and that Labour’s policy pledges are ‘pipe dreams’.

Energy: Tim Sharp, writing in the Herald, comments on the row over energy policy following Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze bills, and argues that the state will always have a role in the operation of the private sector.

Chris Huhne, writing in the Guardian, argues that the UK needs to import shale gas from the USA to help keep energy prices low, and that the Prime Minister should be putting pressure on Washington to help this happen.

Marriage tax allowance: Tanya Gold, writing in the Guardian, comments on the marriage tax allowance, and points out that it will not benefit single mothers or widows.

Sunday 29 September

Labour: Ian Macwhirter, writing in the Sunday Herald, comments on Labour’s apparent shift towards social democratic values, and discusses whether this could be problematic for the SNP.

Friday 27 September

Ed Miliband: John McTernan writing in the Scotsman writes in support of the promises Ed Miliband made in his Labour Party conference speech.

Britishness: George Kerevan in the Scotsman criticises a new ‘Britishness’ and suggests Scottish independence would benefit England by eradicating the concept.

Ed Miliband impact on Conservatives: Polly Toynbee writing in the Guardian comments on the effect Ed Miliband’s speech will have on the Conservative Party and their upcoming conference.

Pensions: Alan Cochrane writing in the Telegraph comments on First Minister’s Questions and Alex Salmond’s reference to a letter received by one of his constituents from the Department of Work and Pensions stating that independence would have no effect on the pension payment they received.