A week in Scottish politics: 14 February to 20 February 2014

Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 14 and 20 February which are freely available online.

Thursday 20 February

SNP bullying claims:

Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph that the Scottish Nationalists are not in a position to complain that Scotland is being threatened or bullied every time their opposition says something that they don’t agree with, because they are no strangers to issuing threats themselves.

Martin Kettle comments in the Guardian that the SNP are acting like spoiled children, and that by refusing to engage properly with those who question their policies, and continuing to accuse all critics of “bluff, bluster and bullying”, they are acting like they have already lost the race.

Central banks: Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman that, in the event of having to find a currency arrangement “plan B”, an independent central bank may not be worth the money. He cites Scotland’s thriving free banking era, which ended in 1845 and was characterised by prudently managed banks and an alternative system of liquidity management, as evidence that a central bank is not always necessary.

Wednesday 19 February

Currency union: Alan Massie in the Scotsman argues that cross-party opposition in Westminster to a currency union is a means of extracting leverage in the event of independence. The process of negotiation, Mr Massie argues, will not be unilateral should Scotland vote Yes in September.

Independence:

Ian Bell in the Herald comments that irrespective of the outcome of September’s referendum, the nature of the No campaign is bound to leave a bitter legacy in Scotland.

Allister Heath in the Telegraph argues that an SNP-governed independent Scotland could never prosper as a result of a lack of organisation by the SNP, and the effects of their proposed policies.

Welfare reform: David Cameron in the Telegraph defends both the right of the clergy to criticise the government, and addresses the clergy’s criticisms of his welfare reforms.

Inflation: David Bell in the Scotsman, Terry Murden in the Scotsman and Hamish McRae in the independent comment on the news that inflation has dropped below the Bank of England’s target of 2 percent.

Tuesday 18 February

Currency: Angus Roxburgh in the Guardian, Alan Cochrane in the Daily Telegraph, Peter Jones in the Scotsman and David Maddox in the Scotsman comment on the debate over a whether Scotland and the rest of the UK could enter into a currency union following independence.

Independence:

Harry Reid comments in the Herald that for him, the decision over Scottish independence is more a matter of the heart than the head.

Gideon Rachman comments in the Financial Times that Scotland can be a “consensual and peaceful” model for how to handle separatism.

Monday 17 February

Currency Union:

David Torrance in The Herald suggests that while Alex Salmond is media savvy, unflappable and strategic in his politics, his financial nous is more rhetorical than real. He argues the currency union is a more political and tactical solution, rather than an economic one and that with increased scrutiny of the SNP, “holding the line” on such issues is no longer possible and that the party must address the tension between rhetoric and reality.

Lesley Riddoch writing in The Scotsman argues that George Osborne’s “thuggish menace” misjudged the consensual approach of many Scots towards a possible currency union, which is seen to be “reassuring and quite modern” to some voters. Regardless, she argues that the Chancellor’s attempt at “clarity” stood little chance of success in the face of Scotland’s “visceral hatred of wealthy southerners” and that the self-preoccupation of the London political elite is making more Scots back full independence.

Independence Referendum: Brian Monteith in The Scotsman considers the advantages that being within the United Kingdom has had and reflects on the Scots that have made a considerable impact upon the cultural, political and historical framework of Britain.

Friday 14 February

Currency:

Alan Cochrane comments, on page 6 of The Daily Telegraph, on the decision of all three major parties not to approve a currency union and Alex Salmond’s response to this.

Kerry Gill comments, on page 12 of the Daily Express, that Alex Salmond’s currency miscalculation could have a severe political cost.