Reform Scotland News: 23 January 2014


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



Independence: Jim Sillars has warned that it is crucial for the Yes campaign to win over Labour voters if it is to stand a chance of victory in 2014. (Herald page 6)

Scottish Secretary Alastair Carmichael has announced that there is “no guarantee” that there would be a common travel area between an independent Scotland and the remainder of the UK. He also warns that Scotland might face an “incredible bill” to keep out terrorists and criminals. (Herald page 6, Telegraph page 1, Daily Mail page 6, Press and Journal page 16)

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has claimed that Scotland benefits from being part of a state that has London as its capital due to the wealth that the city generates for the whole of the UK. (Herald page 6)

Alex Salmond’s attempts to increase support for independence by painting Scotland as hugely different from England have reportedly been undermined by a new report from the ScotCen Social Research institute, which revealed that Euro-scepticism and concerns over benefits are rising in Scotland and that the values of Scottish people are not actually that different from the rest of the UK. (Times page 8, Press and Journal page 15)

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.


Scotland in Europe: Leading expert Sir David Edward has suggested that Scotland’s case for seamlessly re-entering the EU will be boosted by the fact that without Scotland as a member, the EU would lose jurisdiction of its largest sea area. (Herald page 2, Telegraph page 9)


Refugee vote: Labour is to force a vote on the matter of the UK taking in refugees from Syria, calling for Britain to sign up to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees appeal for western states to take in 30,000 of those trapped in the region. (Herald page 3, Daily Express page 11, Daily Record page 2, Sun page 2)


Lord Rennard case: As a court battle looms, Alastair Carmichael has denied any Lib Dem cover-up in the Lord Rennard harassment row. (Herald page 3, Scotsman page 13, Telegraph page 4, Times page 7, Daily Express page 2, Sun page 10, Guardian page 4, Daily Mail page 10, Courier page 24)

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.


Dalgety Bay: Former PM Gordon Brown has called for the Ministry of Defence to launch a £1 million clean up operation of the beach in Dalgety Bay, which is contaminated with radioactive material thought to pose a “significant” risk to recreational beach users. (Herald page 9, Scotsman page 16, Daily Mail page 29, Courier page 13)


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.


Malawi wind farms: External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf has announced that an extra £400,000 is to be spent building wind farms in Malawi, bringing the total amount of Scottish public money spent on green projects in the African country to £2 million. (Daily Mail page 1)



Spending proposals: Following talks on how to mitigate the bedroom tax, Labour has voted to support the spending proposals of the SNP for 2014-15. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Courier page 20) 


Interest Rates: An unexpectedly sharp fall in unemployment in Britain has raised the prospect of an interest rate rise, as the current figures of 7.1% falls to very close to that of the Bank of England review figure of 7%. (Herald page 2, Scotsman page 1, Times page 2, Daily Express page 1, Sun page 2, Guardian page 10)


Film Industry: A review of Scotland’s film industry has found that the nation should set up its own film studios, which would enable Scotland to double the amount of films it makes. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 16)


Economic upturn: Alastair Carmichael has reportedly said that the latest economic figures for Scotland show how well Scotland is doing as part of the union, while SNP Finance Secretary John Swinney argues that without independence Scotland cannot secure greater levels of growth. (Daily Express page 4)



Doctor training: Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Sir Harry Burns, is calling for reform of the way junior doctors are trained, as he is unsure if the current method is producing what is needed by the NHS. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 14, Times page 1)  



Working inmates: Prisoners in Scotland’s newest jail, HMP Grampian, are to be paid for working in an on-site call centre and trained in sales prior to their release in a measure to prepare them for life outside of prison. (Herald page 3, Sun page 4)


Corroboration: High Court judge and former solicitor-general Lord McCluskey has warned that more rape cases might fail at trial if the government were to abolish the need for corroboration, and that the practice is necessary to prevent police wrongdoing. (Scotsman page 15)


Forced marriage: Forced marriage is to become illegal in Scotland, as MSPs vote to back moves to adopt new Westminster laws regarding the matter to be applied in Scotland. (Herald page 4 , Daily Express page 2)