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A week in Scottish politics: 6 January to 9 January 2013

Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 6 and 9 January which are freely available online.

Thursday 9 January

Labour & the Lib Dems: Tavish Scott in the Scotsman comments that George Osborne’s proposal for further spending cuts after the next election has allowed Nick Clegg and Ed Balls to unite in opposition to the Conservatives.

Scandinavian example: Ib Hansen in the Scotsman comments that the Scandinavian countries have illustrated how small nations can work together while keeping borders intact.

Immigration: Iain MacWhirter in the Herald comments on the different experiences of immigration north and south of the Border.

Tax: Bill Jamieson in the Scotsman comments on the looming 31 January deadline for tax returns, arguing that it is a testing time for small businesses and the self-employed.

Criminal Justice Bill: Michael Kelly in the Scotsman comments on the Criminal Justice Bill currently before Holyrood.

Corroboration: Bruce Beveridge in the Herald argues that the reforms to corroboration in the Criminal Justice Bill could be hugely damaging to the Scottish legal system.

Wednesday 8 January

Osborne’s budget: Ian Bell in the Herald comments on George Osborne’s announcement that £25billion will have to be cut from government spending after the next general election. He argues that any restraint exercised by the Chancellor is due only to electoral considerations, and that cuts are to be felt exclusively by the worst-off in society.

Party politics: Brian Wilson in the Scotsman comments on Nicola Sturgeon’s appeal to both Labour and Tory voters to vote for independence in the referendum, arguing that contrary to Ms Sturgeon’s claims, a majority Yes vote in the referendum would further pave the way for an SNP government in an independent Scotland.

Children in parliament: Emma Cowing in the Scotsman comments on Jo Swinson’s proposal for children to be able to be brought into the voting chamber of the House of Commons.

Childcare: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments on Alex Salmond’s unveiling of a new £114million family support package designed to provide extra childcare and free school meals, commenting that voters should be wary of the SNP ‘bearing gifts’ to win votes vote in the referendum later this year.

Tuesday 7 January

Devo Max: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments on Nicola Sturgeon’s speech in St Andrews and argues that Devo Max is looking more appealing to the SNP.

EU: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments on the importance of the elections to the European Parliament, due to take place in May this year.

Positive no: Henry McLeish in the Scotsman argues that the Better Together campaign needs a positive message, and this needs to be championed by the Labour Party.

Cuts: Gregor Gall in the Scotsman and David Maddox in the Scotsman comment on news that Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to cut £25 billion in spending after the next general election, including a £12bn cut in the welfare budget and suggestions that under-25s and those earning over £65,000 per year should not be able to claim housing benefit.

Monday 6 January

Televised independence debate: With 56% of UK voters keen to witness a televised debate between Alex Salmond and David Cameron, Lesley Riddoch in The Scotsman questions Mr Cameron’s reluctance to participate.

Brian Monteith writing in The Scotsman reflects on the challenges David Cameron will face in the coming 12 months, citing the referendum as a test.

David Torrance in The Herald considers the realities of the independence referendum, describing Alex Salmond as “a teller of tales” in his attempt to make Scotland appear colonised by England.

Alan Cochrane writing in The Daily Telegraph discusses the fact that despite the SNP being a force to be reckoned with thanks to their “unquestioning devotion” to the pro-independence campaign, support for independence in the opinion polls has barely moved.