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A week in Scottish politics: 17 January to 24 January 2014

Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 17 and 24 January which are freely available online.

Thursday 23 January

Independence: Iain Macwhirter comments in the Herald that the latest Scottish Social Attitudes survey, which shows that most Scots would vote Yes if they were guaranteed to be £500 better off, and that most would vote No if they were to be £500 worse off, is not a sign that Scottish people are “so crass they would trade their country’s freedom for the price of a mini break”, but that they feel let down by both sides and are so frustrated with the entire political process and not knowing who to trust when it comes to the actual facts, that it might as well all come down to the matter of £500.

Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph that despite what Nicola Sturgeon says, the nationalist bandwagon is failing to win converts, and that white paper sales should not be mistaken for support for independence.

Nick Clegg: Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman that, as the Rennard affair traps him, brings his leadership skills under assault and tears his party apart, this is the worst of times for Nick Clegg, but that he may still yet become Prime Minister if Cameron falters over independence.

Public toilets: Janet Bulloch comments in the Scotsman that public loos are essential to Scotland’s successful tourist industry and that they must be provided in sufficient numbers to do the job.

Wednesday 22 January

Independence: John Curtice in the Scotsman comments on findings by the latest Scottish Social Attitudes Survey that suggest that debates over issues such as whether an independent Scotland could retain the pound or remain a member of the European Union will have little impact on how Scots will vote next September.

Tom Gallagher in the Scotsman suggests that some centrist Tories would risk a referendum upset in order to keep the Labour party ‘at bay’.

Lord Rennard: Ian Bell in the Herald and Dan Hodges in the Telegraph comments on the recent Lord Rennard scandal.

Lloyds Banking Group: Martin Flanagan in the Scotsman comments on Lord Levene’s accusation that both the Lloyds Banking Group and the government acted in “bad faith” in their handling of the controversial sale plan for 632 bank branches.

Tuesday 21 January

Lord Rennard: Ross Clark in the Express, Joan Bakewell in the Telegraph and Polly Toynbee in the Guardian comment on news that the Lib Dem peer Lord Rennard has threatened legal action against his party after the Liberal Democrats suspended for bringing the party into disrepute by refusing to apologise to four women who have complained about his alleged inappropriate behaviour.

Separation of powers: Michael Fry in the Scotsman outlines why he believes separation of the executive and legislative branches of government would benefit and independent Scotland.

Ed Miliband: Janan Ganesh in the FT asks Ed Miliband if choice and competition are so desirable in the private sector, why is he so adverse to their presence in the public sector?

Consumer politics: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments on Ed Miliband’s speech where he said he wanted the Labour Party to go into the next general election as “the party of competition”, “the party of the consumer” and “the party of hard-pressed families”.

Monday 20 January

Social Justice: David Torrance writing in The Herald argues that while there is a strong belief that Scotland is more egalitarian than the rest of the UK, most of the commitment to social justice and reducing inequality is largely rhetorical.

Opinion Polls: Brian Monteith in The Scotsman argues that instead of relying on polls, the public should focus on events and how politicians respond to them as the only indicators of outcome.

Friday 17 January

Independence: Brandon Malone comments, in the Herald, that he would not see a problem with a currency union or EU membership, if Scotland was to become independent.

Labour Party: Alison Rowat comments in The Herald that Ed Miliband has adopted a Blair-lite approach, resorting back to New Labour to win over the middle class.

FMQs: Alan Cochrane comments in The Telegraph on how Ruth Davidson, the Tory leader, was rebuked by the presiding officer at Holyrood for claiming that Alex Salmond had “misled the Scottish public on EU legal advice” and had to rephrase to “unadjacent to the truth” in respect to the legal advice from Alex Salmond.