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A week in Scottish politics: 7 February to 13 February 2014

Reform Scotland’s round-up of comment and analysis pieces we have referred to in media summaries between 7 and 13 February which are freely available online.

Thursday 13 February

Currency:

Iain MacWhirter comments in the Herald that Osborne going ‘Dirty Harry’ on the currency union brings risks to both sides, and that while making Scotland an offer they can’t accept may persuade some anxious voters to vote No, it might also go down in Scottish folk memory as coercion by the UK and an act of economic warfare.

Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman that we need to be mindful of the consequences of the tit-for-tat game that we have now entered, and that a campaign like this could create deep divisions that will not be healed by the referendum outcome.

Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph that it is Scotland that is threatening the economic security of Scotland by refusing to pay their share of the debt if they do not get their own way regarding currency, and that it is one thing to enter the international community as a country with no debt, but another thing completely to do so having had debts but refused to pay them out of stubbornness.

Kerry Gill comments in the Express that it is no surprise that Nicola Sturgeon’s response to Osborne’s announcement is to paint the UK government as “unfeeling ruffians determined to force little Scotland into submission”, but he argues that portraying Scots as eternal victims is false and insulting.

Child guardians: Stephen Naysmith comments in the Herald that there is an “elephant trap” in the path of its Children and Young People Bill, and claims the policy only serves to guarantee an approach that is already seen by most people in child welfare as best practice, thus needlessly creating controversy, opposition and comparisons with Big Brother and Marxism where none existed before.

Wednesday 12 February

Ukip: George Kerevan in the Scotsman comments on the growth of Ukip.

Neighours: Allan Massie in the Scotsman comments that the Scots and English have more in common than he thinks the SNP are willing to admit.

Child guardians: Aileen Campbell in the Herald argues in favour of the named guardian policy being introduced by the Children & Young People Bill.

Tuesday 11 February

Independence:

Colette Douglas Home in the Herald and Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph argue that irrespective of Scottish public opinion of Prime Minister David Cameron, he has a duty to represent the UK and debate for the Union.

Alex Massie in the Times comments on the effectiveness of the Yes campaign, noting the increase of support for independence in recent polls.

Peter Jones in the Scotsman warns that independence could lead to higher energy bills as the rest of the UK will not be subsidising Scotland.

Energy: Martin Flanagan in the Scotsman comments on Energy Minister Ed Davey’s warning that the ‘Big Six’ energy providers could be broken up.

Monday 10 February

Labour Party: Lesley Riddoch writing in The Scotsman suggests that the referendum could be a game-changer for Labour if they commit themselves to devolving income tax, welfare and oil revenues. This could, she suggests, reverse the Party’s image in Scotland, who are seen to be “membership-lite, demoralised and rudderless” by many.

Friday 7 February

Independence referendum: Philip Stephens comments in the Financial Times on the future of the Union and the forthcoming Independence referendum.

Kenny MacAskill: Alan Cochrane comments, on page 11 of the Daily Telegraph, on the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Curriculum: Graeme Logan in The Herald comments that the new curriculum, which has been ten years in the making, is working effectively.