A week in Scottish politics: 31 January to 6 February 2014


Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 3 and 6 February which are freely available online.

Thursday 6 January

Independence: Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph that the nationalists can no longer silence doubters and that business chiefs are, at last, willing to brave the SNP’s anger by speaking out.

Democratic Standards: Iain MacWhirter comments in the Herald that all political parties have been corrupted by the collapse of mass membership and the subsequent need to raise cash from special interests such as big business and trade unions, and that we are now far too casual about the integrity of democracy.

EU referendum: Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman that the referendum on the UK’s European Union membership has vanished – after being dumped by unelected House of Lords despite it having been passed by the Commons – and that nobody even noticed because the media was preoccupied by the flooding and Mark Carney’s speech. He comments that this marks the second blow to the Conservative’s European strategy, and that this will pave the way for UKIP to tear chunks out of their support.

Oil and gas industry: Matt Qvortrup comments in the Scotsman that the statements by Bob Dudley could actually boost the Yes campaign as ‘elite’ people endorsing policies often backfires due to the fact that the average voter knows that such people rarely care about the same things that they do.

Wednesday 5 January


Terry Murden in the Scotsman comments on BP chief executive Bob Dudley’s comments on Scottish independence.

Brian Wilson in the Scotsman argues that a shared Sterling-zone with the rest of the UK would be unfeasible and impractical, and that the lack of an alternative plan is creating uncertainty, as highlighted by BP chief executive Bob Dudley’s comments. 

Ian Bell in the Herald comments that the failure of Better Together to unanimously address the issue of what happens should Scots vote No in the referendum is damaging the campaign.

Michael Fry in the FT argues that independence offers the opportunity for Scots people to revive a “proud capitalist tradition” and create a richer nation.

Government organisation: Allister Heath in the Telegraph comments on the structure and organisation of Westminster, and questions the suitability and experience of ministerial candidates for certain roles within government.

Tuesday 4 February

Scotland and England: Michael Portillo comments in the Financial Times on the effects Scottish independence could have on everyone in England.

Housing Bill: Jonathon Gordon in the Scotsman comments on the latest draft of the Scottish Government’s Housing Bill which will introduce a registration scheme for letting agents.

Independence asset split: Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments on the possibility of Scotland obtaining a fair share of the UK’s assets after a Yes vote. (Scottish Sun page 2, Daily Express page 4, Kerry Gill comments in the Daily Express)

Alcohol Pricing: Hugh Reilly in the Scotsman comments on Scotland’s relationship with alcohol and the pricing debate.

Monday 3 February

Immigration: Writing in The Scotsman, Lesley Riddoch discusses last week’s Ipsos Mori poll which showed immigration and the economy are the two most important issues for British people today. She argues that party politics, not immigration itself, are to blame for the public’s seemingly “irrational fear of foreigners”.

European elections: Brian Monteith in The Scotsman suggests a tactical vote for UKIP in the upcoming European elections may derail the course of the SNP’s campaign.

Scottish Independence: Mure Dickie and Keith Fray in the Financial Times argue that while Scotland has the potential to be a successful nation-state demographic issues pose a significant barrier, with an increasingly ageing population cited as one of the primary challenges.

Currency union: Andrew Nicoll in The Sun criticises Alex Salmond’s plan for a shared currency union with the rest of the UK.

Sunday 2 February

Scottish schools: Ian Bell in the Herald on Sunday considers the deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party’s decision to send his son to private school and discusses the implications of this for the party image, while assessing the link between house prices, better state schools and the continual dominance of private school alumni in public life.

Friday 31 January

Independence: Alan Cochrane comments, on page 5 of the Daily Telegraph, that Lord Lang’s claims could be perceived in different ways. He also comments on how Johann Lamont slipped up when reportedly referring to various matters that Scotland would control as “wee” things.