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Reform Scotland News: 31 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

Unite:  Stephen Deans, the union official in the middle of the dispute at Grangemouth reportedly faces losing his position as chairman of the Falkirk West ­Constituency Labour Party in a vote of no confidence.  David Cameron referred to Mr Deans as a “rogue operator” at Prime Minister’s questions yesterday.  (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 13, Times page 1, Daily Record page 7, Daily Mail page 1, Press and Journal page 12, Courier page 23)

Dan Hodges suggests in the Telegraph that it is the “red guard”; a tiny elite of professional unionists not representative of most members, that cause fiascos like the one at Grangemouth, not the unions themselves, and that Unite’s problem at Grangemouth wasn’t that it didn’t want to protect the workforce, but that it didn’t know how to.

Independence: Professor John Kay has commented that Scotland must seriously consider plans to adopt a separate Scottish currency to replace the pound, and that negotiations to join the EU will only see Scotland handing over more money to Brussels (Daly Mail page 10)

Michael Kelly comments in the Scotsman that while Alex Salmond’s case for independence might be lost after his economic arguments suffered their worst week ever, it doesn’t mean that Labour has won, as Johann Lamont missed her chance to make an impact during the Grangemouth debacle

A report by Strathclyde University professor Robert Wright has argued that EU officials would insist that an independent Scotland join the Schengen area, and that, as the UK is not part of the zone, Scotland would no longer be part of the UK’s Common Travel Area, increasing the prospect of checkpoints and patrols at the Scottish-English border. (Scotsman page 8)

Gordon Brown: Gordon Brown has been accused of forgetting about his constituents in Scotland after referring to himself as an “ex-politician” despite still being an MP. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 6, Telegraph page 4, Times page 28, Sun page 10)

Scottish Futures Trust: The government body in charge of commissioning schools, hospitals and roads has come under fire for repeated delays and excessive costs, with leader, Barry White accused of frequently getting his targets wrong. (Herald page 2)

International aid: SNP minister for external affairs and international development Huzma Yousaf has said that an independent Scotland would meet UN aid targets and would give away £7 million out of every billion it earns. (Herald page 6, Daily Mail page 2)

Communications spending: The Scottish Government has been accused of wasting money on referendum “propaganda” after it was revealed that £800,000 has been moved from the budget of Scottish Water to pay for communications regarding referendum promotion. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 8, Telegraph page 1, Times page 29, Daily Express page 16)

Phone hacking trial: The trial of Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson over phone hacking offences continues at Old Bailey. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 13, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, FT page 2, Daily Express page 9, Daily Record page 8, Guardian page 1, Daily Mail page 6, Press and Journal page 18, Courier page 22)

Press regulation: The newspaper industry’s last minute court challenge to stop the UK government introducing a Royal Charter on press regulation has failed. (Herald page 11, Scotsman page 7, Times page 10, FT page 2, Daily Express page 2, Sun page 11, Guardian page 9, Daily Mail page 12, Press and Journal page 18, Courier page 22)

 

Economy

Shale gas: Conservative energy Spokesperson Murdo Fraser has told SNP ministers that they should be encouraging fracking in Scotland as a key part of the rescue package for the petrochemical plant in Grangemouth. (Herald page 2)

Economic recovery: The Fraser of Allander Institute has warned that the debt-fuelled spending by families which the recovery has so far been built on is not sustainable, and that an export and investment boom is needed. (Scotsman page 4, Telegraph page 4, Daily Express page 2, Daily Mail page 19, Courier page 33)

Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman that good economic performance will not ensure that a government will sustain office, and that fiscal ups and downs have little impact on whether a government stands of falls, even in the case of Scotland.

Local government

Tax reform: Scottish Labour has called on finance secretary John Swinney to bring forward a “fairer system” as an alternative to council tax after warnings that services have been impacted by the freezing of bills. (Herald page 6, Telegraph page 7, Times page 4, Daily Express page 16, Daily Mail page 2)

Costs of council services: Audit Scotland has found major discrepancies across Scotland’s 32 councils on charges for services, and has called for costs to be more consistent as it is revealed that the public finds these variations “unfair and confusing”. (Herald page 13, Courier page 15)

Transport

Road safety: Helen McArdle comments in the Herald that Scotland needs to push to make sure that our roads are safer for everybody, especially vulnerable users, who face heightened risks despite reads becoming safer overall.