Reform Scotland News: 25 February 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



Oil and gas: In response to David Cameron’s warnings regarding the future of the North Sea oil and gas industry in an independent Scotland, Alex Salmond has branded the UK government “thieves” for supposedly wasting the nation’s oil and gas resources over a number of years. His use of such language was criticised by former Scottish Conservative leader Baroness Goldie, who said that playground politics like this have no role to play in the debate. (Herald page 1, Times page 4, Financial Times page 3, Daily Express page 6, Daily Record page 6, Sun page 8, Guardian page 4, Daily Mail page 6, Press and Journal page 10, Courier page 14)

Sir Ian Wood, former oil industry boss, has warned that there could be a 50% fall in investment in the North Sea oil and gas industry in the next decade unless urgent action is taken to address underlying regulatory problems in the sector. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 5, Telegraph page 4, Financial Times page 3, Daily record page 7, Press and Journal page 13, Courier page 16)

The UK Government has announced multimillion pound funding to develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant at Peterhead. If the project gets approval next year, it will be the first of its kind in the world to take emissions from a gas power station and store them underground. Energy Secretary Ed Davey has insisted that this is not an “independence bribe”. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 5, Financial Times page 2, Daily record page 6, Daily Mail page 6, Press and Journal page 13, Courier page 16)


Currency: Alex Salmond is facing renewed pressure to clarify his currency proposals after he reportedly appeared to hint that Scotland would keep the pound whether or not the UK agrees to a formal currency deal. His comments have attracted warnings that such an arrangement would cause a “jobs exodus” in Scotland. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 1, Financial Times page 1, Press and Journal page 12)

Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman has said that Alex Salmond has to “get real about money” if he is going to lead Scotland to into independence, saying that his present approach seems “deeply muddle-headed”. (Daily Express page 7, Daily record page 7, Courier page 16)


Independence debate: A poll by executive search firm Korn Ferry has found that 65% of chairmen from 32 FTSE 100 companies oppose Scottish independence and believe that it would be bad for business if Scotland were to split from the United Kingdom. (Herald page 6, Daily Express page 7)

David Cameron has suggested that he would back an independent Scotland in their bid to join the EU, but that he will not support the fast-track approach favoured by Alex Salmond. (Herald page 6)

Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph that David Cameron chose to have his cabinet meeting on Alex Salmond’s home turf largely to show that he can, and that the twin meetings held by the two governments just seven miles apart were more about style than substance.

Magnus Gardham comments in the Herald that the recent ICM poll, which asked people how they think others might vote in the election referendum, perfectly illustrates how difficult it is becoming to interpret the results of the independence debate opinion polls, and that this sort of statistical bombardment is leading both sides to believe that the public mood is swinging in their favour.

Peter Jones comments in the Scotsman that, even if there is a Yes vote, Scotland will still have to depend on the rest of the UK to make the transition successful.

David Cameron was reportedly overjoyed that David Bowie chose to speak out against Scottish independence at the Brit Awards ceremony, and hopes that the celebrity’s words might perhaps reach parts of Scotland that his own can not. (Times page 4, Telegraph page 4, Daily Record page 6)

Hugh Reilly, however, comments in the Scotsman that David Bowie’s unsolicited intervention in the independence debate puts the credibility of other high-profile backers under scrutiny.


Food banks: Collette Douglas Home comments in the Herald that the current food bank situation is a scandal, and that Alex Salmond should be doing more about the glaring injustice of food poverty before the referendum, rather than saying that it will all be sorted out after Scotland gains independence.


2015 general election: David Cameron is reportedly not in favour of another coalition government, and is preparing to fight next year’s election based on a promise to the British people that his party will not form another coalition with a smaller party, and would instead attempt to rule as a minority government. (Telegraph page 1)



Exam materials: Teachers in Scotland have warned that schools still do not have sufficient course material for the new Higher exams, just months before the students are to begin studying for them, meaning that staff will not have enough time to prepare the proper lesson plans required to successfully teach for the new qualifications when term starts in August. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 12, Press and Journal page 15)



Corroboration: Campaigners for Rape Crisis Scotland have claimed that an increase in the number of rapes reported across Scotland is proof that corroboration laws need to change. (Times page 16, Daily record page 2, Sun page 2)



Vulnerable children: An investigation at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Scotland’s largest health board, has warned that mistakes in the way that some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children are cared for may be repeated because lessons from serious cases have not been passed on to frontline NHS staff. (Herald page 1)


Hospital pressure: Dr Neil Dewhurst, who this week will stand down as president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, has warned that doctors and nurses are being put under ”almost intolerable pressure” as a result of cuts in hospital beds, and that the number of hospital beds being occupied now regularly exceeds the maximum safety level. (Herald page 9, Scotsman page 15, Press and Journal page 18)