A week in Scottish politics: 24 January to 30 January 2014


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 24 and 30 January which are freely available online.

Thursday 30 January

Currency: Iain MacWhirter comments in the Herald that there are many promising currency options for an independent Scotland, and that whether it takes the Pound, the Euro or its own nominal currency, the country will not be cutting itself off.

Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman that a lack of detailed information on what currency sharing involves may cause ongoing problems for an independent Scotland, and that, in the event of a monetary union, many in the rest of the UK will be apprehensive about the Bank of England’s role as a lender of last resort.

Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph that even after Carney ‘debunks’ the myth of a properly independent Scotland, the Nationalist position is, as ever, that Scotland, and only Scotland, will decide what is best for the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

NHS: Helen Puttick comments in the Herald that the prognosis for the NHS in Scotland looks optimistic and that, given the rise in patient demand, staff at all levels are deserving of praise.

Wednesday 29 January

Immigration policy: Gus O’Donnell in the FT argues that politicians should show leadership on immigration, and points to figures that highlight the benefits of immigration to the UK economy, arguing that the political debate is hampered by public misconceptions.

Government transparency: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on Alex Salmond’s branding of inquiries into £54,000 of previously unaccounted spending on his trip to Chicago as “ridiculous frippery”.

Liberal Democrats: Allan Massie in the Scotsman argues that the Lib Dems should be praised for keeping the Tories ‘in check’ during their time in government. Furthermore, he argues that Nick Clegg and those around him acted in the interest of the country when they entered into a coalition with the Conservative party.

Growth: Jeremy Warner in the Telegraph and Terry Murden in the Scotsman comment on the foundation of recent economic growth. Both point out that three-quarters of British output continues to be services-based, while manufacturing and construction both shrank in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, increasing consumer spending is fuelled in large part by borrowing, a worrying trend that Mr Osborne should seek to correct.

Personal income tax: Ian Bell in the Herald and Allister Heath in the Telegraph comment on Labour’s announcement that they would restore the 50 per cent tax band for those earning more than £150,000 should they win the next General Election.

Tuesday 28 January

Top jobs for women: Colette Douglas Home in the Herald  comments on Nicola Sturgeon’s call for increasing the number of women in Scotland’s boardrooms.

Debt: Peter Jones in the Scotsman considers the debt that an independent Scotland could face.

Monday 27 January

ICM poll: John Curtice in The Scotsman argues that while Scots are generally more tolerant to issues concerning immigration and the European Union, the ICM poll illustrates their support for the EU is not boundless.

Women and the Referendum: Lesley Riddoch writing in The Scotsman insists on the significant power women hold in the independence debate, adding that Nicola Sturgeon’s “direct pitch to women voters” has paid off.

London’s dominance: David Torrance in The Herald argues that while Scottish politicians are quick to criticise and disassociate themselves from London’s dominance, it remains an “economically vibrant, multicultural and outward looking” city, which is everything the Nationalists want an independent Scotland to be.

Friday 24 January

Independence: Rebecca McQuillan comments on page 13 of The Herald that a yes vote could lead to a stronger right wing in Scotland.

Alex Salmond: Alan Cochrane comments on page 8 of The Daily Telegraph that Alex Salmond does not believe he should be challenged, due to his large majority in the Scottish Parliament.

University pay rises: Andrew Denholm comments on page 13 of The Herald on how large pay rises were not enjoyed by all principals of Scottish Universities.