A week in Scottish politics: 15 November to 21 November 2013

Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 15 and 21 November which are freely available online.

Thursday 21 November

Currency union: Ian MacWhirter comments in the Herald that Welsh politics is too often ignored, and that their own progressing devolution could have implications for an independent Scotland.

Education inequality: John McTernan comments in the Scotsman that Scotland’s education system is failing children from low-income households, and that statistics often mask this inequality.

Alcohol issues: Helen Puttick comments in the Herald that there is a hidden side to Scotland’s alcohol problem.

White Paper: Alex Massie comments in the Times that the SNP’s White Paper will have failed if it does not excite voters.

Wednesday 20 November

SNP economic policy: Ian Bell in the Herald and Kerry Gill in the Express comment on the report published by the SNP, alleging that independence would lead to the creation of almost 200,000 jobs within Scotland.

Free speech: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments that people in Scotland must be able to speak freely in the run-up to next year’s referendum without fear of retribution, describing MSP Shona Robinson’s alleged attempt to silence an academic as the stuff of “tin-pot dictatorships”.

Currency union: Alistair Darling in the FT questions why in the face of a majority ‘Yes’ vote in next year’s referendum, would it be in the interest in the United Kingdom to maintain a currency union with Scotland.

Youth benefits and employment: Mary Riddell in the Telegraph comments on proposals reportedly being considered by the Labour party to prevent those under the age of 25 from claiming unemployment benefits unless they can prove they are in “purposeful” training or carrying out an “intensive” job search.

Tuesday 19 November

Welfare in an Independent Scotland: Dr Robert Black argues in the Herald that as Scotland spends £21 billion a year on social protection we need to ‘scrutinise the future of welfare in an independent Scotland’

Monday 18 November

Social mobility: Following Sir John Major’s comments on the “truly shocking” domination of the privately-educated and middle class in the “upper echelons” of public life, David Torrance, writing in The Herald, argues that a bold change is needed in order to improve social mobility.

Regionalisation: Brian Monteith in The Scotsman argues that Britain could be better governed if further regionalisation took place in England.

Intensification of the independence debate:
Gillian Bowditch in The Sunday Times considers the intensification of the independence debate, as the publication date of the White Paper on independence looms. (The Sunday Times page 31)

Independence Referendum 2014: Torcuil Crichton in the Daily Record discusses the surprisingly high levels of complacency about the result of the 2014 independence referendum, arguing that the poll is still very much wide open.

Friday 15 November

First Ministers Questions: Alan Cochrane writing in the Telegraph comments on Alex Salmond’s and the issue of an independent Scotland’s currency and the accusations that a SNP Minister has attempted to intimidate an academic opposed to independence.

Sterling and independence: George Kerevan writing in the Scotsman questions what Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael and the rest of the UK Government’s plans are if Scotland does become independent and there is not a currency union.