A week in Scottish politics: 10 January to 16 January 2013


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 10 and 16 January which are freely available online.

Thursday 16 January

Bonuses: Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman that despite Ed Miliband struggling in the polls, his attack on bank bonuses will hit Cameron where it hurts.

Corroboration: Iain Macwhirter comments in the Herald that the abolition of corroboration is a “populist bridge too far” and that it is hugely concerning that sensible people can so casually disregard the rights of the accused.

Michael Kelly also comments in the Scotsman that it is astounding that Kenny MacAskill should announce to the Justice Committee at Holyrood that the case for scrapping corroboration has been made, as he argues that it is, at the very least, not proven. He also states that MacAskill’s piecemeal approach to legal reforms shows a lack of proper consideration of the changes afoot.

Tuition fees: Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph that Alex Salmond’s habit for announcing things and insisting they will come to pass is well known and that his tuition fees plan being declared illegal by the EU is just “another reverse for Project Fib”.

NHS workforce plan: Helen Puttick comments in the Herald that the Scottish Government’s plans to prepare the NHS workforce to cope with the growing elderly population is all very well-meaning but involves little more than describing planning structures.

Wednesday 15 January

Independence: Alistair Heath in the Telegraph calls for a more federalised Britain, arguing that policy such as welfare, education, pensions and as many other policy areas as possible should be devolved to each of the UK’s component-nations’ parliament, while each of the component-nations should also be responsible for the raising of whatever money it spends. Heath argues that such an approach would inject a healthy dose of competition and ensure good policies attract both investment and talent, while bad ones trigger exodus.

Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on Tory MP David Mundell’s questioning of SNP priorities, while arguing that the SNP is more interested in using issues to push independence rather than the powers that they already have.

Ian Bell in the Herald comments on Scotland’s assumption of its share of the UK national debt in an independent Scotland.

General Election: Andrew Whitaker in the Scotsman predicts that the Lib Dem’s abandonment of their longstanding anti-Tory stance is set to lose the party votes in next year’s General Election.

Ed Miliband: Chris Roycroft-Davis in the Express comments on Miliband’s claim that the Labour party represents the middle-classes.

Inflation: John Authers in the FT comments on inflation falling to the Bank of England’s 2 percent target in December for the first time in more than four years.

Start ups: Terry Murden in the Scotsman comments on a report by academics from three Scottish universities urging the government to abandon their long standing support for high-growth firms, and technology start-ups

Corroboration: Magnus Linklater in the Times comments on Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill’s decision to place the removal of the requirement for corroboration on hold while experts give further consultation to safeguards before the change comes into force.

Tuesday 14 January

Scotland’s Prisons: Harry Reid comments in the Herald that, with regard to Scotland’s prisons, the SNP’s White paper does not set out a vision for an independent Scotland, but merely answers some very basic questions.

National debt: Peter Jones comments in the Scotsman that when it comes to the repayment of the national debt, financial opinion means more than politics.

Independence debate: Magnus Gardham comments in the Herald that the Yes and No campaigns have spent the first week of 2014 arguing about what they should be arguing about, but what they are really arguing about is the importance of everyday politics in the independence debate.

Monday 13 January

Federalism: David Torrance in The Herald discusses the intolerance that continues to surround the question of federalism, when it generally enjoys wider political support than granting independence.

Childcare: Brian Monteith writing in The Scotsman questions why the SNP is failing to provide “equal” pre-school education, adding that they fail to deliver existing policies “fairly and comprehensively”.

Better Together: Alan Cochrane writing in The Daily Telegraph discusses Jim Murphy’s “common sense” approach to the independence debate.

Friday 10 January

Recession and independence: Tom Gordon writing in the Herald comments on Labour leader Johann Lamont’s attack on the Scottish Government’s White Paper comparing Scotland to small European countries from 1977 to 2007, before the 2008 crash.

Independence debate: Alison Rowat writing in the Herald argues that David Cameron should agree to Alex Salmond’s requests for a televised debate.

Free school meals: Alan Cochrane writing in the Telegraph comments on Labour’s decision not to back the SNP motion aimed at bringing in free school meals.