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Reform Scotland News: 24 October 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

Grangemouth oil refinery: Unite, the union at the heart of the dispute at Grangemouth oil refinery has capitulated in a final attempt to save 800 jobs at the plant, conceding on most of the proposals put forward by owner, Ineos. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Times page 1, FT page 1, Telegraph page 7, Daily Express page 1, Daily Record page 1, Sun page 1, Daily Mail page 1, Guardian page 4, Courier page 1, Press and Journal page 10) 

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. 

Independence: The New Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has warned that independence would increase job insecurity in Scotland and reduce access to employment, and that the pro-UK message needs to be more ‘real’ (Herald page 8, Scotsman page 19)

The director of Tate Britain, Penelope Curtis, has said that Scottish independence would spark a review of the leading contemporary art award, the Turner Prize, and may also result in changes in the museum’s name and policy. (Herald page 15)

David Aaronovitch comments in the Times that the 2015 UK election is likely to be a farce and produce constitutional chaos if Scotland were to leave the UK.

 

Economy

Aviation tax: SNP MP Angus MacNeil has warned that air passenger duty deprives Scotland of revenue and could be influential on people voting to support an independent Scotland. (Herald page 2, Press and Journal page 16)

Bankruptcies: Figures released by Accountant in Bankruptcy (BiC) have revealed that fewer people are going bankrupt in Scotland, with the number of personal insolvencies down 15%. (Herald page 13)

 

Health

Winter deaths: A report released by the National Records of Scotland showed that, even though there has been an overall downward trend, winter deaths in Scotland are have risen to their highest level in four years. This is despite the Scottish Government having launched an action plan to improve emergency care since last winter, raising concerns that the measures taken were not enough. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 16, Daily Express page 12, Press and Journal page 14)

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.

 

Transport

Road Casualties: Figures issued by the Scottish Government show that the overall number of road casualties in Scotland has fallen to its lowest level since records began, but the number of cyclist deaths has increased. Scotland has also been named Europe’s ‘deadliest place to go for a walk’ as new figures reveal it holds the record for pedestrian deaths in Europe. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 13, Daily Mail page 32)

 

Justice

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.