Reform Scotland News: 6 December 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.



Nelson Mandela: Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa’s first black president, has died at the age of 95. (Scotsman pages 1-5, Jim Murphy in the Scotsman, Herald pages 1-2, Times pages 1-11 and separate tribute section, Express pages 6-7, Record pages 1-6, Sun pages 1-3 and separate tribute section, Guardian page 1, Mail page 1 and pages 4-7, Courier pages 1 and 13)


Storm: A storm with winds of up to 142mph caused travel chaos across Scotland and left 130,000 homes without power. The entire Scottish rail network closed for the first time in eight years due to debris and trees on the tracks and a lorry driver was killed after his vehicle overturned in West Lothian. (Scotsman pages 6-7, Herald page 7, Telegraph pages 2-3, Express pages 1-3, Record pages 8-11, Sun pages 6-7, Guardian pages 4-5, Mail pages 2-3, Courier pages 2-5)


Independence and the EU: Professor Michael Keating, director of the ESRC, has told MSPs that Scotland will not be forced out of the EU after independence because it would leave a massive “hole in the single market”. However, Professor Keating added that the SNP’s estimate of an 18-month renegotiation of its membership was “too ambitious”. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 6)


Childcare: Labour leader Johann Lamont has criticised the SNP’s flagship policy for a major increase in childcare after independence. Ms Lamont accused the SNP of attempting to con voters into a Yes vote at next year’s referendum. (Scotsman page 17, Herald page 6, Robbie Dinwoodie in the Herald, Times page 21, Mail page 32)


Business vote: Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has called on Scottish businesses to make their voices heard in the referendum debate. Mr Carmichael also warned pro-UK parties that they need to offer a vision of what remaining in the UK means. (Scotsman page 17)


Referendum campaign: George Kerevan writing in the Scotsman criticises the running of the No campaign and Alistair Darling’s leadership.


Ethics watchdog: MSPs have unanimously approved the appointment of a new watchdog to oversee ethical standards in public life. Bill Thomson, an assistant chief executive at the Scottish Parliament, will become the new Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland. (Herald page 6)


White Paper: Former Secretary of State for Scotland Lord Forsyth of Drumlean has criticised Alex Salmond’s White Paper and called for a senior judge to lead a committee to examine it. (Express page 10)

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has accused the SNP of ignoring the north and north-east in its White Paper. (P&J page 10)

Gordon Wilson writing in the Courier suggests that most people will rely on media summaries of the White Paper rather than reading it themselves.



Autumn statement: Chancellor George Osborne has announced his Autumn statement and insisted his austerity plans are working, saying that Britain is on the mend and outpacing Germany, France and the US in its recovery.  The statement revealed plans for increases to pension age, petrol price freezes and an increase to personal allowances. Scotland’s budget is also set to rise by more than £300million in the coming years but Scottish finance secretary John Swinney has criticised any attempt to claim Scotland’s fortunes are improving, after spending was cut deeply earlier this year. Shetland Council is to receive £10million towards housing debt and Edinburgh University will receive an £11million space technology centre. (Scotsman pages 8-11, John McTernan in the Scotsman, Tom Peterkin in the Scotman, John McLaren in the Scotsman, Martin Flanagan in the Scotsman, Herald pages 4-5, Michael Settle in the Herald, Alison Rowat in the Herald, Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph, Jeremy Warner in the Telegraph, Telegraph page 1, page 4 and pages 6-10, Times pages 18-19 and separate dedicated section, FT pages 1-10, Matthew Engel in the FT, Martin Wolf in the FT, Janan Ganesh in the FT, Alison Smith in the FT, Express pages 4-5, Peter Jones in the Times, Record pages 22-23, John Swinney in the Record, Sun pages 12-13, Guardian pages 6-19, Patrick Wintour in the Guardian, Polly Toynbee in the Guardian, Quentin Letts in the Mail, Mail pages 11-19, Simon Heffer in the Mail, Paul Utley in the Mail, Courier pages 15-19)


Immigration: Michael Fry writing in the Scotsman argues that Scotland will need more immigrants in the future as its population ages and struggles to boost economic growth.


Oil revenue: Chancellor George Osborne has claimed Alex Salmond and the SNP are deceiving voters over oil and gas revenue. The comments came as he announced the Scottish Government’s budget will increase by £308million over the next two years. (Express page 4, Times page 21, Mail page 16, Courier page 15)


Treasury’s Plan B: SNP MP Angus MacNeil has officially asked the Treasury what its ‘Plan B’ is for a new currency if UK ministers refuse to share the pound with an independent Scotland. (P&J page 10)



rUK students: Education Secretary Mike Russell has announced that plans to charge students from the rest of the UK a “management fee” to study in an independent Scotland have been shelved. (Herald page 11, Telegraph page 20, Courier page 24)